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What I Do to Get Through: How to Run, Swim, Cycle, Sew, or Sing Your Way Through Depression

Olivia Sagan, James Withey (Editors)

What I Do to Get Through: How to Run, Swim, Cycle, Sew, or Sing Your Way Through Depression


More than thirty different people share their stories in this inspiring and easy to read book. Each person talks about how their hobby benefits their mental health.

The writers eloquently describe how their hobby, which ranges from birdwatching to cycling, making art to cooking, offers them solace in challenging times. For Lorraine, writing is a release for her and allows her to get her feelings out.  “Releasing pain in the form of poetry lessens its power and hold,” she says.

One of my favourite chapters is by Ellen Kanner, who focuses on cooking. Cooking for Ellen is about treating yourself with loving kindness. “Cooking and eating a home-cooked meal will not solve all the world’s problems but it can make them more manageable…you’ll give your spirits and microbiome a boost.”

Many of the writers have suffered from depression and some from bipolar disorder. Hobbies have helped them to cope with their anxiety and allow them to express their creative side. “When we are creating, we are in our ‘thinking brain’, positive and thoughtful, and our ‘survival brain’, the high-alert, anxious, guarded mind, goes to sleep for a little while,” explains Mel, who after some traumatic experiences, took up photography.

Ami describes how after a breakdown, she took up quilting and this hobby started to block her negative thoughts and replace them with positives ones.

With a foreword from Cathy Rentzenbrink, this book provides solace and encourages us to embrace our hobbies, not only for what we can achieve, but perhaps more importantly for our mental health.

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Copies in our library:

Bipolar Edinburgh maintains a small library of books, CDs and DVDs. To borrow from the library you need to have attended at least two group meetings and registered your contact information with the group facilitators. We normally allow people to borrow items for two months, but please bring them back earlier if possible.

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