Managing The Depression Puzzle


Today I am going to review one of the most impressive books written by a blogger whom I respect immensely. Of all the books written by WordPress bloggers that I have bought and read, “Managing The Depression Puzzle” written by Ashley Peterson, the creator of Mental Health @ Home, is one of the most useful and valuable.

I have to read a lot of health related material in connection with my role within the NHS. As well as having relatives and friends with mental health challenges I also have had a taste of trauma, despair and intense emotions after some of my own experiences. Here is a quote from the World Health Organisation on the subject of mental health:

“Mental disorders afflict hundreds of millions of people in every part of the world and impact on the lives of their loved ones. One in four people will be affected by mental disorder at some point in their lives.

Depression is the single largest contributor to worldwide disability. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are among the most severe and disabling disorders.

Although huge numbers of people are affected, mental disorders remain hidden, neglected and discriminated against.”

World Health Organization (WHO).

It is my belief that some people are still frightened about the subject of our mental health, even though all people, people of all ages and cultures, should be aware of what can impact both their physical, emotional and mental health. The value of a health professional like Ashley Peterson writing articles on WordPress about mental health and producing comprehensive books is highly appreciated.

Ashley has already published three books and I bought and read all three in fascination. I am reviewing “Managing The Depression Puzzle” because it is so fresh in my mind.

The most important thing I wanted to mention to you is that right from the start I love the tone of this book. I felt as if Ashley was an experienced guide and was holding my hand and reassuring me, as she explained all sorts of facets of a mental health diagnosis and the array of potential treatments to aid recovery. As I mentioned above, there is still so much fear as well as stigma about mental health. So to read this book and to feel as if I was not on my own, but Ashley’s calm and wise voice was going over things step by step, and at a pace that was comfortable to read was very helpful.

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Ashley clearly knows her subject. Her professional experience shines through from start to finish. She has been careful to cite her resources which makes her work even more authoritative and authentic. But if you know anything about Ashley, you will know she has been there, and she has the T-Shirt! Yes, one of the most significant factors in reducing fear and providing reassurance is the way Ashley candidly mentions her own experience throughout her book.

I mentioned earlier that I have had some challenges myself, and at times it was irritating when people told me what I should do to “get-over” it and move on with life. I have started reading some mental health resources and given up quickly because they were so unrelatable and frankly provoking.

But I did not feel this way at all when I read Ashley’s “Managing The Depression Puzzle“. I never felt patronised or pressured towards one treatment option. Ashley dignifies her readers in presenting clear information and allowing them to determine how useful it is to them. I especially appreciated that, because decisions on medications, therapies and matters like spirituality may be deeply personal. Whoever you are, whatever makes you “you”, Ashley communicates a respect for you being the one who is equipped to make decisions.

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She is careful not to endorse on the basis of what has worked for her, explaining how different we all are, and that what may work for one person may not work for another. But in providing information on a wide range of treatment options, from medications and therapies, from physical factors such as nutrition, exercise and sleep to perhaps more emotional factors such as pleasurable activity, creativity and spirituality, Ashley looks holistically at all of the aspects that can add up to make a significant difference to any of us who are aware we need to address mental health challenges that are impacting negatively on our enjoyment and satisfaction in life.

This book is excellent for anyone who has experienced any form of depression or another diagnosed mental health condition. I think it a great aid for those working within a medical field. However, even if you have not (or perhaps we should say not yet) had to avail yourself of professional assistance to support your mental health, a very large section of Ashley’s book still of great benefit. I say this because all of us have good days and bad days, all of us find it hard to maintain balance. So in the process of detailing and discussing all of the factors that can make a difference to our mental health, Ashley has shone light on how all of us can be aware of how becoming unbalanced, or neglecting some of the factors that make you “you” and me “me” overtime, can be detrimental to us.

We live in a world that is changing rapidly. Perhaps so far, your life has been relatively calm. But what if your stress levels began to increase and your mental health began to suffer? The last few chapters of “Managing The Depression Puzzle” deal with some of the frightening challenges that may come along with a mental health crisis. Yet again, Ashley provides tremendously reassuring practical suggestions that indicate that even if your darkest fears came descended before you, there is so much help available.

One of the most helpful aids to managing your own depression puzzle or mental health challenges is somebody who knows what they are talking about. Not only have they studied the subject inside and out, but they have also experienced what it is like to go through a mental health crisis and to try different treatment options to aid their recovery.

Ashley Peterson is an absolute treasure! Through her writing she is making an invaluable contribution to mental health resources. I am sure that not only will you be impressed by her in-depth knowledge, but also you will find that in candidly sharing so much of herself, she provided reassurance and that feeling that you are not alone in the sometimes frightening field of mental health.


You can find out what Caramel has been reading in her very own little reading corner, as she published book reviews of books written by WordPress bloggers each Saturday.

If you have any recommendations, please leave a message in the comments below.