THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
Last Christmas I almost killed myself. Almost. I’ve had a lot of almosts. Never gone from almost to deed. Don’t think I ever will. But it was a bad almost.
Living Better is Alastair Campbell’s honest, moving and life affirming account of his lifelong struggle with depression. It is an autobiographical, psychological and psychiatric study, which explores his own childhood, family and other relationships, and examines the impact of his professional and political life on himself and those around him. But it also lays bare his relentless quest to understand depression not just through his own life but through different treatments. Every bit as direct and driven, clever and candid as he is, this is a book filled with pain, but also hope — he examines how his successes have been in part because of rather than despite his mental health problems — and love.
We all know someone with depression. There is barely a family untouched by it. We may be talking about it more than we did, back in the era of ‘boys don’t cry’ – they did you know – and when a brave face or a stiff upper lip or a best foot forward was seen as the only way to go. But we still don’t talk about it enough. There is still stigma, and shame, and taboo. There is still the feeling that admitting to being sad or anxious makes us weak. It took me years, decades even to get to this point, but I passionately believe that the reverse is true and that speaking honestly about our feelings and experiences (whether as a depressive or as the friend or relative of a depressive) is the first and best step on the road to recovery. So that is what I have tried to do here.
It is fascinating to see how someone seen as strong and tough can talk so openly about his vulnerabilities. I’ve no doubt that many sportsmen and women will both identify with and learn from LIVING BETTER * MARO ITOJE, Saracens and England rugby player * LIVING BETTER is a profound and moving book and everyone should read it * JOHANN HARI, author of Lost Connections * As a fellow sufferer, I found LIVING BETTER fascinating, compelling and totally relatable. There were times it moved me to tears, other times it had me smiling and laughing, but above all it made me reflect that I am not alone, and that there are always new things we can do to help others, and to help ourselves. If everyone read and acted on this book, the world would be a better place * DENISE WELCH, of Coronation Street and Loose Women * A book about hope and about love and how they can conquer all * DELIA SMITH * Very touching, I’m sure it’ll help many people. It made me feel less alone * MARIAN KEYES * I thought I knew everything there was to know about Alastair but LIVING BETTER reveals so much more. It is typical of him to take his own struggles and lay them out so candidly to help those who have depression deal with it and help those who don’t – like me – understand it better. Alastair is living proof that it is possible to have depression and yet achieve so much * TONY BLAIR * Superbly readable, supremely useful. Unflinching, clear-eyed, honest, raw and revealing, this book may be the most important achievement of Alastair Campbell’s vivid and varied life. For anyone who has lived with depression or lived with someone who lives with depression LIVING BETTER will be indispensable and – potentially – even a life-saver * STEPHEN FRY *
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