The Reading List: Depression

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The Independent Culture


Coming Back to Me: The Autobiography of Marcus Trescothick; HarperSport £7.99

Like Michael Yardy last week, when England batsman Marcus Trescothick retired from international cricket due to his continuing struggle with depression, he stunned the sporting world. In this acclaimed memoir, he offers an account of his experiences and sheds light on the pressures brought on by life in the sporting spotlight and long, draining international tours.


The Bell Jar; Faber £6.99

Sylvia Plath's classic roman à clef, The Bell Jar tells the tale of a magazine intern who finds herself falling into an ever-deepening state of despondency. It is a feeling, she says, not unlike being trapped "under a bell jar". After a string of suicide attempts, Esther is institutionalised. As the book ends, it remains unclear if she will ever return to life outside.

Short Story

The Yellow Wallpaper, The Yellow Wallpaper & Other Stories; Dover Thrift £2.50

First published in 1892, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story details the experience of an unnamed woman who is forced to pass her days in bed after being diagnosed with "temporary nervous depression". In the event, her enclosure proves a worse fate than her original symptoms. A seminal piece of feminist literature, The Yellow Wallpaper has become essential reading for scholars seeking to understand 19th-century perceptions of womanhood.


Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression; Bloomsbury £15.99

Founding editor of Elle, Sally Brampton had a lot to be happy about: a high-flying career, a family and home. But a string of events – a divorce, a move and a thyroid problem – saw her mood plummet. In this lucid account of 21st-century depression, she recalls how she attempted suicide and how she recovers her health thanks to therapy and support from friends.


Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy; Paperback £5.99

Positively assessed by a variety of controlled trials, Feeling Good is well-established in the field. Using cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques, the reader is encouraged to identify problematic thought processes, then use mental activities designed to change them. Unlikely to "cure" depression on its own, fans of Feeling Good are nevertheless vociferous in their recommendation.