According to the depression icd 10’s  landing page here https://gpnotebook.com/simplepage.cfm?ID=x20091123152205182440, you will see key symptoms of depression and the metric to judge its severity. For most of my University life I struggled with depression and seeing that list, it is evident that my depression was severe, and I needed help. I found solace in books, and books played a tremendous part in my life, helping me overcome my depression, thus, shift focus in my life.

I did go to school therapy to get help and even had an intervention at home with my family, however still nothing much really changed.

I quit therapy after two sessions and I hated the home intervention my family gathered for me because I felt as though I was not understood. No one was getting my problem therefore they could not help me.

According to this 2018 South African Depression and Anxiety Group article here http://www.sadag.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2965:diepsloot-school-talks-february-2018&catid=84&Itemid=120 when young people go through depression, it is hard to come out in public about it, however they wish they could speak to someone who would listen and understand their problems in order to effectively help them cope better with stress and stressful situations.

My life only changed after I read these book that I will be sharing here with you. I will give summaries of each of the book and tell you the core concepts and tools the books offer to also help you combat depression in order to get you’re life back in track and into a luminous path.

Books are great because there are wide arrays and genres of book to read from. One can connect with books through shared experiences with the author and get the needed help to change ours lives and help ourselves.

In books we all find that voice that speaks to us to empower us, and genuinely helps us get through our struggles and problems whatever they may be, whether it may be an addiction problem, feeling unworthy, lack of confidence, guilt and shame, anger, alcoholism etc, this article is for you and these books that I am about to mention here will astoundingly help you understand the root of your problem [s], and cope better with challenging situations that put us in tight spots that lead us into getting depressed.

While all these books circle around similar themes/ Ideas, each one presents concepts differently and each book is designed for one specific purpose in helping the reader overcome a certain circumstance in life.

***Compassion Psychology***

The Road Less Travelled – M. Scott Peck

Premise: Spirituality, Discipline and Love

This book is written by a psychologist and journeys the reader into a path of human psychology.

It takes you on a journey into understanding love as a tool in development phase to raise children that are self-aware, disciplined and loving. It explains discipline and love as tools to spiritual growth.

This book restored my sense of being and spiritual awareness.

It got me into a space whereby I had to do a self- introspection… for real now, and not run away from anything.

I had actually heard of this concept, however, never really took it seriously. This book got me to confront the things I had shied away from and choose to ignore. It restored my distorted sense of being and assisted me to find my path and passion.

For the first time in my life, I have tapped into the consciousness of my energy, understanding its workings and I have realized the power I hold in me and how to harness it.

Growing up in house which matters of faith were a rare discussion, I did not know what to believe in. In University during the peak of my depression I lost faith which then this resulted in me feeling alone and empty.

I had become agnostic. University as a first-year student can be very confusing, learning to juggle and handle different perspectives and opinions from other scholars. It is after this read however I finally understood that each of us has to journey alone into a path of faith because as we grow, beliefs change and what works for my parents probably wont work for me, therefore my parents did me justice by not imposing their beliefs in me and allowed my individuality to flourish and truly find myself and what makes me happy.

This timeless classic book is not on any organized religion like Christianity, Islam,  etc,  but more of a guide to help us all understand better our beliefs and how they work shaping us and can be wielded to our advantage for us to flourish in life and have a sense of being. The first and second chapter feel like a parenting guide but it is a point the author drives to show with examples how love and discipline contribute into spiritual growth.

The Compound Effect- Darren Hardy

Premise: Habits

“The Compound Effect” is a term extracted from Investment (which is accumulation of interest-money in a long period of time).

In this context though, the author refers to “The Compound Effect” as a procedure of accumulating something, slowly overtime.

See, depression is a “Ripple effect” of overthinking the worst of things and channeling more energy into negative self-talk.

A ripple effect is the results of bad habits repeated over and over again in a long time. In this book, author Darren Hardy makes us aware of how habits shape our lives over time and also tries to give advice through scenarios/ case studies on how to overcome addiction and bad habits.

From this book, what you will learn is the effect of every habit and how even the smallest of habits we do, not being aware of, have a major impact in our lives overtime a long time. So, with that said, beware of all you do and take time to think:  Will this have positive or negative effects in the future when I do it on a daily basis?

This book will make you be aware of the power of not running away from the responsibility of taking accountability for your life choices and give you back the power of grabbing life by the horns.

The author states that: “The compound effect is always working. You can choose to make it work for you, or you can ignore it and experience the negative effects of this powerful principle” (2010).

It is never too late to start getting your life back together, just like teaching a child at foundation phase something new, the same can be done to unlearn bad habits and re-learn new and better ones.

This book is a must read for everyone struggling in any aspect of your life and feeling behind or slacking somewhere, it is a call to action to help you plan better, and set goals you can commit to long-term and ensure a you a fulfilling and prosperous life.

The book offers worksheets to help guide you into the process of helping your self into a luminous path of life- long committing to what you really want and need. It will also motivate and encourage you to mentally prepare and get set for the challenge.

Sane: How I Shaped My Mind, Improved My Mental Strength and Found Calm- Emma Young

Premise: Lifestyle changes for overall health

Emma Young, the author of this book, took a journey to find ways to better cope with everyday stress, you know the kind of stress that makes you a little irritable and moody towards your loved ones? The one that sends you into a feedback loop afterwards?  The one that makes you anxious and agitated when you think of stuff? …

Well, Emma took to the streets in this Memoir to go ask expects: ‘What best works to alleviate this stress and maintain sanity when you do not feel so sane at all?’

On this book, the author experiments with some of these methods and brings us information on simple guides into incorporating some habits needed for maintaining a healthy mindset and body in order to avoid succumbing to depression and daily stress.

She shares results of her research on diet, meditation styles and mind tricks proven to help us all cope better with stress.

She shares expect tips from Professors, researchers, Army soldiers, Yoga guru, etc. to bring us variety in content and methods each and one of us can choose from to work for our needs, and help cope better with daily stress.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down- Haemin Sunim

Premise: Mindfulness

In this fast-paced world of ever-changing things, slowing down and practicing mindfulness has become such a struggle and something that some of us are shying away from.

Haemin however in this book shares how slowing down can help us harness the power of mindfulness, be aware, and be able to help ourselves restore sanity back to our lives and find fulfilment in everyday life situations.

No matter how busy you are in life, one needs to take time and ask oneself “why am I so busy?” and attend to a self-care and awareness routine.

Haemin in this book delves into other topics and gives advice on self -improvement, finding your purpose in life and strategies to harness better relationships with others.

***Tough Love Psychology***

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck- Mark Manson

Premise: Empowerment to care about what really matters in your life.

While some do not like Mark Manson’s writing, when I was depressed, I found his writing to be the most compelling writing I had ever come across on in my life.

Mark’s writing propelled me back into reality since I was lost in wallowing, self-worthlessness, and self-pity.

I always believed that when someone is going through depression, you would have to walk on eggshells with them and tell them “everything is going to be okay”.

This is what they even portrayed in the movies that I watched, even when you go to therapy in the movies, it is portrayed the that the  therapist is this sweet, speaks softly lady or gentleman that will tell you sweets nothings.

What a wrong perception!

When you are depressed you need to hear the truth so that you know what to start working on making changes in your life and where you need to focus to make the change.

You would also need coaching into changing your perception about your mentality with a problem. Mark’s coaching is tough love in this book, but a must hear for most people depressed because depression can only heal from acknowledging you have a problem, understanding it and then actually fighting to fix it.

And like the other books in this article state; we all need to beware of the choices we make in life and take accountability about how we feel and think of them.

This book will help you understand how to weed out things you should care about and should not, it offers unfiltered advice about how to deal with challenges in our lives and thus, live a better and happier life.

The Nice Girl Syndrome- Beverly Engel

Premise: The real guide to stop being fake; live an unapologetically life; protect yourself and prosper.

This book is more like an essential guide to living an “authentic life”. The core principle in this book is a massage to all the “Nice Girls” to stop living a fake life trying to please everyone, even those that you do not like because they have a stinking attitude but you continue being nice to them all the time due to certain beliefs that hold us captive to this cycle.

If you know that you are too nice for your good, I suggest you get yourself this book. It will help with you get out of the mentality of trying to please everyone even though it hurts you to do so and assist you in managing your life better.

This book is a guide to help you take care of yourself, your feelings first and help you have better relationships with others. It will help you feel empowered to take action and establish boundaries with others and get the respect you deserve from people.

Have you noticed how super nice people are not respected? They are pushed around by others, manipulated, taken for granted and eventually abused?

Yes, it is the most awful thing to witness and this book covers all you need to know about taking control of your life so that all this stops and you become an empowered woman that is able to take care of herself and protect herself. It will help you as a ‘Nice Girl’ understand the source of your behavior, it will help you deal with the hidden anger of trying to please everyone at your expense and give you a clear and concise guide into standing up for yourself and making a change in your life.

How to be Normal- Guy Browning

Premise: Hilarious sarcastic and passive aggressive take on understanding how to be “Normal”.

This book is a humorous take to accepting ourselves as we are and understand that there is no such a thing as “Normal”, in fact what we refer to as “Normal”, sometimes it’s something that is boring and what are a lot of people are doing to conform to societal standards and pop-culture.

Browning asserts that “Normal” is accepting certain things the way they are, like physical features we often consider not so normal and…well…uhm… I don’t know what really this book is about, I am lying, however I am not lying by saying it gives a good laugh when reading it, which Is something we all need even when we are depressed.

A good laugh does the trick to give that two-minute distraction and joy.

This book is short concepts explained with sarcasm and passive aggressiveness to help us all understand what “Normal” is.

***Poetry***

Poetry engages our emotions and often times it is relatable to our life experiences. poetry is the voice that someone utters for you how you feel to the world, and validates our emotions.

Poetry speaks, it heals, it comforts us and brings us solace in our lives knowing that someone else shares experiences with us.

Poetry is the most beautiful work of art. Word aesthetic, if there is such a word, I would say its found in poetry.

Poetry whispers to us power, it uplifts us in our lowest and darkest moments and encourages us to take action sometimes when we feel trapped or stuck in certain situations in life.

Below here are my favorite poetry reads to provide you with all that and bring you some sunshine.

Questions for Ada- Ijeoma Umebinyuo

This book covers all things Black-Girl. It is my first poetry read that I could relate to and made me fall in love with poetry.

I got a glimpse of the Igbo culture, the reality of being a Nigerian (African) woman out in the world, in the Western world and having to adjust and keep balance between the Western culture along with the African culture.

The book covers a wide range of themes, however one theme that stood out for me when I first read the book was the theme of making amends with the past in order to be able to move on and start afresh.

Self-love and compassion and forgiving oneself for past mistakes.

I found solace in understanding that the healing process from trauma and relationship heartbreaks, for all of us, it takes time and one should not expect it to happen in just a few months or days as we may want it to because it is a process that takes a long time.

Healing is a process that takes time and one should not rush it, rather acknowledge it, and take it one step at a time dealing with it.

The book journeys you into self-consciousness, love, healing, and feminism concepts, thus it is a woman empowerment poetry book.

Nector- Upile Chisala

“Nector” is a compassionate compilation of poetry and touches on themes of spirituality and the theme of Black lives struggles, Love and relationships. And just like all the poetry books that I have mentioned in this article, this book is for all of us that are still healing, healed and embracing a new identity in becoming better beings.

Soft Magic Upile Chisala

This book is Upile’s first published poetry book and revolves around the theme of compassion and empathetic girls and empowers all of us how to find balance in having compassion for others and taking care of ourselves as well and our needs first.  

It bring awareness to being cognizant of toxic relationships. Nector is an extension of this book, hence the given name Nector-a sweet substance.

Conclusion,

The core principles emphasized in these books to assist all of us cope better with life’s challenges is:

  1. Establish better habits.
  2. Always remember that Consistency is key to overall success over a long period of time.
  3. Stop complaining and start competing. You will never find solutions in complaining rather than doing something to change a situation.
  4. Love is verb, Love is hard work that requires life-long commitment, attention, willingness to give without expectation rather willingness to help the next person grow spiritually to become the godliness form they could be. If we could do this, M. Scott Peck asserts that Love will be reciprocated to us in return.
  5. The subconscious mind is powerful beyond measure once we could master it and be able to use it to our advantage.
  6. Depression is a sign to take action, take it!
  7. Willingness to solve our problems is willingness to kill the old version of ourselves in order to embrace the new, and spiritual growth
  8. Brain restructuring is never too late.
  9. And learning balance is key to a happy life.
  10. Stand up for yourself and take control of your life.

I hope this article and the books I have shared become helpful resources.

If you have read any of these books and would like to share how a particular book shaped a better version of you, please do share on the comment section.

Cheers!

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