From autumn 2002 - I'm Not Supposed to Feel Like This (Book Review)
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This is an excellent book, written by a Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, the pastor of a Baptist Church and a Consultant Psychiatrist in Leeds. It provides a Christian view on anxiety and depression, and is written for sufferers and their carers as well as providing practical help for church leaders. Because of its multiple authorship and wide appeal, it is a book that could probably be dipped into at different times by readers from the differing constituencies. It is accepted that a depressed person may well find it difficult to read through the book at one go, yet it is written in such a way as to make reading and reflection easy. There are invitations to 'stop, think and reflect'. Various parts of the text are highlighted. There are spaces to make one's own notes. Key points are recorded at the end of many sections and prayers are suggested.
The book is quite clear that depression and anxiety are not due to a lack of faith in God - they are illnesses and should be treated as such. Whilst most people have an idea about treatments for physical illnesses, many are not so well informed about the treatments that are available for depression and anxiety. Along with the stigma of mental illness, there are often preconceived ideas about mental health treatments with stereotyped fears that are inaccurate. There is an excellent chapter on psychiatry and health services that should allay the majority of these fears. The section on 'overcoming your problems' is written from a cognitive behaviour therapy viewpoint and is very full in its treatment.
The book well recognises that as Christians we are all different, with varying personalities and experiences of church life. Some prefer a more emotional experience and others are more intellectual. For church leaders there is a similarly excellent chapter emphasising the integration of spiritual and medical approaches as helpful aspects of whole person care. The development of a Religion and Spirituality Special Interest Group in the Royal College of Psychiatrists is further evidence of the positive working relationships that are developing between professionals working in the Health Service and within churches to the benefit of our patients.
Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director of
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust