Book Review – Managing The Depression Puzzle by A.L. Peterson from MentalHealth@Home.

If you know Ashley from her blog MentalHealth@Home, you’ll be already familiar with her no-nonsense and straight to the point writing style. Her latest book, ‘Managing the Depression Puzzle’ is a short one, 124 pages, but is packed full of information about, you guessed it, depression. The book is written in short chapters which makes it easy to digest.

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When you yourself struggle with depression chances are that you’re very tired and maybe your concentration isn’t at its optimal level. Short chapters come in handy in that scenario. If you like, you can make a workbook out of it, as many handy ideas are provided from bullet journalling to making mind maps for your holistic treatment plan. It is written in an active style that calls to action providing many possibilities of how to do that. Beware: there is no magic wand to be found in the book. It does what it promises and doesn’t leave you with some sort of phony solution as there are to be found in the self-help department, in my humble and very personal point of view.

The author explains what types of medications are currently used to treat the illness. This can be very helpful because suffering from a mental illness still requires you to understand certain things. Having access to the right information presented in an simple manner, can make you stronger. I mean, when you read that chapter, you’ll maybe understand why your doctor may or may not prescribe such and such medication. I know I would have been interested to know all that, when ‘all’ I had was the World Wide Web, emphasis on Wide!

A summary is given of other somatic treatments and psychotherapy. Again, when you are proposed something, you’ll at least have a clue about what they are talking about. I believe that this can help to feel a little more empowered instead of being swept away by the illness.

It’s hard enough to go through depression, make it easy on yourself where you can.


Activation, Mindfulness and Self-Care are talked through and held under an interesting magnifying glass. When you see all the pieces of the puzzle, it becomes easier to start fitting some of them together while holding an overview of the others. The wholeness of the picture of depression is prominent throughout the book and that is something to hold on to when you’re live is shattered as mental illness has that effect.  

Ashley describes specific symptoms of depression through a realistic lens and gives you an insight in terminology that is useful to have in your toolkit. When confronted with depression of any kind, you’ll realize that there is a whole world out there of mental health that you haven’t even heard of. It makes it so much easier when you learn the language.

The acute stage is address through making an (crisis) action plan and the chronicity of depression is talked about while giving you insight what changes with depression in terms of hope, identity and stigma just to name a few.

Knowledge is power and that power is provided in this book. I would recommend it for everyone who is interested in depression, is with living the illness themselves, knows somebody struggling with depression or who wants to have a better understanding of the condition.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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