Friday, January 11, 2008

One book down, 51 to go!

Well, the first book I read wasn't on my list but it was well worth it. It was a non-fiction book called The Imp of the Mind and was written by a psychologist named Lee Baer. The book, as it subtitle says, explores the silent epidemic of obsessive bad thoughts. Dr. Baer defines bad thoughts simply as unbidden, socially unacceptable thoughts. As an example from his own mind he offered the fact that every time he sees someone driving a pickup truck with a dog in the back, the image of the dog being thrown from the truck and run over by his own car enters his mind. It's not that he actually wants to hurt the dog, but that the image comes into his mind and he can't shake it. He says that this is really normal and that most people have something like this. Occassional bad thoughts strike everyone, but, and this is why his book is important, for some people these bad thoughts take over and can destroy their lives. People suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulisve Disorder, depression, and especially post-partum depression (that's me! that's me!) are extremely susceptible to this disorder.

The book details the different types of bad thoughts and ways to combat them, but I suppose what I found most valuable was just his willingness to bring this subject to light. In his first chapter he details the struggles a new mother has with bad thoughts about her infant and it was as if he had been inside my head. At first I was horrified to have these very dark and frightening thoughts articulated--heaven knows I spent a lot of time hiding from them. To be honest, I had never even told my therapists about them. I had heard that Brooke Shields mentions them in her book on PPD, Down Came the Rain, but seeing as I'm terrified of reading her book I wasn't sure. To have Dr. Baer talk about them in such an open way really took a lot of their power away.

I don't know that this is a book I would recommend to people at large, but I found it valuable. And I would readily recommend it to anyone who suffers from any of them above conditions. It's always nice to know you're not alone, and that you're not as crazy as you think you are :)

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

I agree - this is a great book & I found it very comforting in addition to being informative.