The Pocket Therapist is packed with 144 short essays -- or, at least, "Things to think about when you're down." I'm not exactly sure what to call them, but we'll stick with the word "essays". Each essay tells you a little bit about the author's personal experience with chronic depression, addiction and other psychological battles and also offers an idea to help keep you out of your own dark hole. #104 on p. 142, for example, is entitled "Rip the tags off." I'll just share part of it:
Here's a telltale sign of a noncommitter: a closet full of dresses and pants with the tags still on. Because by snipping off a sales tag, you are essentially taking a stand on life, making a decision to wear the dress in public; you lose the option of returning the dress. And, noncommitters adore possibilities and choices.I try to rip off as many tags as I can today because I know, by experience, that having a cool wardrobe of never-worn skirts--of blowing off invitations to socialize with and meet fellow moms, neighbors, bloggers-- further propels me down the depression hole.
This is also an example of one essay that's completely useless to me. I don't have a problem with leaving tags on outfits. I have a problem with not having any idea where to find people to socialize with (in person, that is -- I have plenty of friends online and I've discovered those relationships do fine face-to-face when I do manage to meet up with the people I've gotten to know distantly).
#105 - "Love the Questions" begins with a comment about why the author prefers math to literature and goes on to say:
But life is like literature. Where the answer--if there is one--depends on what your teacher ate for dinner the night before or how late her husband returned from work.
She goes on to say that for instructions on dealing with the questions in life, she goes to this quote by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke:
Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
Oh. I like that. In general, though, the book is give and take. If you're having a mildly off day, one or two of the essays in The Pocket Therapist may help you to reevaluate your attitude and give you the boost you need to change your day into a good one. Sometimes, I did find the book helpful. It's a mistake to just blast your way through the essays on a really bad day. If it's not helping, I'd say it's best to do something you know usually helps or even just step outside and stand in the sun, rather than reading someone else's thoughts on how to get your mood to lift.
Recommended for the odd blue day, but not to be relied upon as a panacea. Read an essay or two when you're down; choose the ones that really work for you and mark them to return to. I don't think the entire book can possibly be right for everyone, but I personally found a smattering of essays that help me rethink my mood and make changes on a bad day. I'm a very moody chick, you know.
I keep forgetting to return to writing my cover thoughts! So . . .
Cover thoughts: I really like the bright, simple look of this cover. It's a grabber because of the colors but it's also clear from both the image and the title exactly what the book is about.