Harsimran kaur  ON  Feb 20, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, The Book Of Feeling Blue—Understand And Manage Depression By Gwendoline Smith

Rating: 3.5/5

A philosophical view of any mental illness would be ‘the fault is in our stars’. But, doesn’t all this turn out to be a damp squib? Is it really a misbegotten ‘stale mate’ by the heavens or destiny has been a sledge hammer scourging on our fertile land. Whatever the reason be, living life pusillanimously without acknowledging ‘Whats eating us up’ is a clarion call to the destiny supervisors – ‘come, we are ready for more.’

Destiny cannot be altered—true! But we can make an illness appear as a ‘de trop’ and try to eliminate the defeatist worm inside.

‘Let’s not feel the blue as we do not know when the blue currents cascade us to the depths of the ocean, placing torpidly on the bed waiting for the breath of survival to screen off. The mind—let it not be so fragile—honk it, repel what lies in it; the solipsistic chemical perjury and finally turn the blues into hues of happiness and contentment.’

Any illness if last longer than usual can make us feel depressed. ‘Depression’ as an illness too can be a host to other imperfections culminating in the body. It’s the mind, a human hubris—cut, chopped in the gallimaufry of uncomprehended emotions and selective symphonies.

  • Has depression been a concomitant struggle of your life?
  • Are you in a secret alliance with your thoughts? Scared that popping a pill will label you as ‘mad.’
  • What about the therapies? Nothing works!! The hit and trials have been like an ant struggling under the load of the matchstick.
  • How to deal with the insensitivity of the people around you? It has been like a corrosive acid.

‘The problem in the mind is not the problem of the mind.’ It’s just in the head. The ‘what’s’ and ‘how’s’—nobody wants to figure that out.

Gwendoline Smith in her latest book ‘The Book of Feeling Blue’ is a messiah for people who are battling with depression. It is an attempt to remove the cobwebs regarding the prejudice against mental illness. Depression is destructive; childhood anxieties, teenage buffers of resorting to alcohol and drugs, old age crisis and gender-specific extrapolations are a tempest in the teapot.

There is a science behind all this; neurotransmitters—Serotonin and Dopamine are responsible for overall well-being and good mood. Any decline puts the rabbit back into the hole. Smith concentrates though more on various therapies and treatments; she expounds an injury to an organ needs to be treated, no discrimination between a Kidney, Liver or the Mind.  That’s the benevolent streak we all need to have. An emotional disruption does not make you mad, you can be treated; pull up your socks and be back on the racing track.

The ‘cartoon filters’ in the book are the diaphanous human brain imbroglios. ‘The hiccup of not being wanted’, ‘I am not so mad after all—a good therapist is all I need’, ‘I still have hobbies—I am old but not down in the mouth.’ It’s the idea of not being aversive to our depression and coming in contact face to face to realize that after all corrigendum just needs to be fixed.


If depression knocks at your door, be rest assured that it’s not a thief that will rob you off of all your valuable expertise and memory. Our brain mechanism is very complex; even a slightest ‘blue’ in our life can transform into depression considering the many factors that guide our temperament.

Whether it’s post-natal depression or the lugubrious dampness of sexual orientation which may result in anxieties, things need to be brought in control through knowledge and acceptance. Fomenting a terror of disproportionate analysis of any mental illness is like igniting your own pyre. It’s like any other illness and needs proper medical intervention.

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