Mind over matter

<strong>You Don't Have to be Famous to have Manic Depression</strong>

Jeremy Thomas and Tony Hughe

You don't have to be famous to have reservations about this book, especially as the foreword is by the (very famous) Stephen Fry. However, as the co-author Jeremy Thomas has always felt "nauseous at the sight of self-help books", this guide aims to be different.

The first section, "The Manic Dialogues", is a record of conversations between Thomas, a sufferer of manic depression, and Dr Tony Hughes, his GP and long-time friend. Next comes "Life Stories", a collection of anonymous contributions from people who have struggled with manic depression. The final section is the "A-Z Insider's Guide to Mental Health".

It is tempting to poke fun at the book's naff packaging and cringe-inducing phrases such as "Mr or Mrs Sane, Groovy and Wonderful". It is hard not to feel cynical when each story ends with an upbeat message ("Don't be afraid to dream, anything is possible"). One also questions the benefit of listing the 13 best rock/pop songs to "wallow in gloom and misery with". But the A-Z glossary does contain a lot of useful information, and the book should not be written off. As with any of the numerous treatment options out there, some may find it very helpful, and others may want to throw it against the wall.