Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression Info

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"A practical, proven guide . . . Superb." - Dr.
Oz

Despite the billions spent on prescription anti-depressant
drugs and psychotherapy, people everywhere continue to grapple with
depression. James Gordon, one of the nation's most respected
psychiatrists, now offers a practical and effective way to get unstuck.
Drawing on forty years of pioneering work, Unstuck is Gordon's
seven-stage program for relief through food and nutritional supplements;
Chinese medicine; movement, exercise, and dance; psychotherapy,
meditation, and guided imagery; and spiritual practice. The result is a
remarkable guide that puts the power to change in the hands of those
ready to say "no" to suffering and drugs and "yes" to hope and
happiness.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression:

1

Mar 02, 2011

This book actually kind of pissed me off. I guess I'm in the (apparently minuscule) percentage of people who don't get relief from their depression without heavy medication, and Dr. Gordon doesn't believe I exist.

Instead, he "prescribes" rest, relaxation, and alternative medicine. (He actually talks about St John's Wort and says that it's a safe and effective herb, but tell that to the dysmenorrhea it triggered in me to the point where I became anemic.)

Bottom line: His exercises, while helpful This book actually kind of pissed me off. I guess I'm in the (apparently minuscule) percentage of people who don't get relief from their depression without heavy medication, and Dr. Gordon doesn't believe I exist.

Instead, he "prescribes" rest, relaxation, and alternative medicine. (He actually talks about St John's Wort and says that it's a safe and effective herb, but tell that to the dysmenorrhea it triggered in me to the point where I became anemic.)

Bottom line: His exercises, while helpful for someone with mild or maybe even moderate depression, are not going to get someone out of a severe suicidal depression. He barely recommends medication, I'm willing to bet he thinks going inpatient is idiotic. And sometimes that's what you need.

If you need a calm, helping hand, his book has great advice about finding a therapist and changing your lifestyle to mitigate your depression. If you need something more, please look elsewhere. ...more
2

May 16, 2018

Ugh! Anti-meds and too much religion (“spirituality”). Feels too much like snake oil. No thanks.
3

Jul 12, 2008

This is a really useful book. If you deal with depression at all, especially if you'd like to check out of Anti-Depressant Nation or come up with some alternatives at the same time, I'd read Dr. Gordon's book. I used to shelve self-help at Borders and after years as a counselor can smell b.s. This man is sincere. And if he's not, I can't tell, so good for him.

The beginning is a little long on exposition ("I will teach you," "I will tell you," etc.) for my taste, but then again, MY ANXIETY makes This is a really useful book. If you deal with depression at all, especially if you'd like to check out of Anti-Depressant Nation or come up with some alternatives at the same time, I'd read Dr. Gordon's book. I used to shelve self-help at Borders and after years as a counselor can smell b.s. This man is sincere. And if he's not, I can't tell, so good for him.

The beginning is a little long on exposition ("I will teach you," "I will tell you," etc.) for my taste, but then again, MY ANXIETY makes me impatient! ;) Once he gets cooking, he's cooking with fire. I like a lot of what he has to say about mind-body stuff, meditation, exercise - nothing too radical, just common-sense, actually pretty cool ways to take care of yourself.

I don't like to treat depression like this alien thing, and neither does Dr. Gordon. I wish more people wrote about it in such a non-hokey way. ...more
4

Jun 18, 2008

As someone who has known depression this book is like a beam of hope. Dr. Gordon is correct when saying that it is just a runt and you need to turn it around. The seven steps (although not always easy) are the right ones. You don't have to have depression to read it you just have to be human.
5

Sep 07, 2018

I think everyone's journey with depression is so different that no singular book is probably ever going to be a cure-all. That said, I found this book extremely helpful in some of my darkest hours, and I think it's a great one to have in your arsenal of self-help lit. Dr. Gordon covers many different approaches to dealing with acute depression -- from diet, exercise and supplements, to mental/emotional cataloging, expression and exercises, to mediation and, of course, counseling. It's filled I think everyone's journey with depression is so different that no singular book is probably ever going to be a cure-all. That said, I found this book extremely helpful in some of my darkest hours, and I think it's a great one to have in your arsenal of self-help lit. Dr. Gordon covers many different approaches to dealing with acute depression -- from diet, exercise and supplements, to mental/emotional cataloging, expression and exercises, to mediation and, of course, counseling. It's filled with relatable anecdotes from years of treating patients. All of which helps to add context and clarity to what you may be experiencing in your own life.

Whatever you're facing right now that's led you to inquire about this book, it's a safe bet that UNSTUCK will help you. You're not alone. You're not hopeless. You're not crazy. You're just a little stuck. (And that's ok. It happens to the best of us!) Now you just need to get UNSTUCK.

See what I did there. ;) Haha. You got this. Sending you peace and love. ...more
1

Jul 14, 2018

My doctor recommended this because of the mind-gut connection. Since the health of your gut can affect your mental state, her theory seems to be that it can work both ways. That just seems like a mind-over-matter hope to me, and meditation and journaling have so far had no effect on my "non-textbook illness."

I would *never* recommend this book, particularly to anyone dealing with legitimate depression or other mental health concerns. While multiple therapies can (and should?) be used in My doctor recommended this because of the mind-gut connection. Since the health of your gut can affect your mental state, her theory seems to be that it can work both ways. That just seems like a mind-over-matter hope to me, and meditation and journaling have so far had no effect on my "non-textbook illness."

I would *never* recommend this book, particularly to anyone dealing with legitimate depression or other mental health concerns. While multiple therapies can (and should?) be used in conjunction with medication, this author disparages the use of medications in treating mental illness. Like other self-help books, all his methods are presented as being easy and having quick, clear results. His examples of former patients always include a particular therapy (deep breathing, dance, exercise) as his first suggestion; the patient goes away, does the therapy religiously, and sees noticeable improvement by the time of the next office visit.

Like many self-help books, including several of the health books I've read this year, there's a certain implied responsibility on the reader, a certain level of "you deserve this" and "if you'd only try hard enough, you'd be well." It's one thing to be a little irresponsible flirting with dairy if you're lactose intolerant; it seems like another class entirely to put the onus on the patient when it comes to depression and related mental illness. Oh, still feeling a bit sad? You obviously didn't [journal/breathe/run/swim/chat/meditate/yoga/etc.etc.etc.] hard enough. All you have to do is get up and move, regardless that depression makes it nearly impossible to get out of bed. Shame on you for not feeling like dancing.

It was also difficult to follow some of the author's ideas, since he co-opted religious terminology but assigned his own meanings. ...more
1

Jan 23, 2016

This is one of the worst books I have ever read in regards to treating and living with depression. Depression is biological in nature, as are most mental illnesses. Anyone who has ever truly suffered from depression know that's cutting out dairy and gluten is not the answer.

The only positive thing I found about this book is that it does mention Vitamin D. My vitamin D was extremely low earlier this year, "bottomed-out" low because of other chronic health problems. After several months of daily This is one of the worst books I have ever read in regards to treating and living with depression. Depression is biological in nature, as are most mental illnesses. Anyone who has ever truly suffered from depression know that's cutting out dairy and gluten is not the answer.

The only positive thing I found about this book is that it does mention Vitamin D. My vitamin D was extremely low earlier this year, "bottomed-out" low because of other chronic health problems. After several months of daily vitamin supplementation and exposure to the sun when possible (I live in Michigan) it was up to an "acceptable" number. However, during those months I slowly saw improvement in my depression. Certainly not a cure, but it certainly helped. So there is a correlation between low Vitamin D and depression and fatigue. In my opinion, the rest of this book is terrible and frankly pissed me off. Medication isn't for everyone and doesn't help everyone. Just like meditation and relaxation doesn't help everyone. Please try telling someone with chronic depression and anxiety to meditate because it will cure their mental illness and see how they react. This book is terrible, do not waste your time reading it. ...more
0

Aug 09, 2008

Great common sense. As I'm reading this book I'm thinking the following thoughts. After years of being prescribed an antidepressant for everything from esophageal ulcer to back pain, I've found something that makes sense. When I was prescribed Prozac for the first time, I had been stressed out of my mind for so long. I felt like a miracle had happened it was so effective in getting me back out there dealing with it all. Since then it seems that doctors assume that's all I need. Yes, there are Great common sense. As I'm reading this book I'm thinking the following thoughts. After years of being prescribed an antidepressant for everything from esophageal ulcer to back pain, I've found something that makes sense. When I was prescribed Prozac for the first time, I had been stressed out of my mind for so long. I felt like a miracle had happened it was so effective in getting me back out there dealing with it all. Since then it seems that doctors assume that's all I need. Yes, there are times when I have anxiety and depression and I'm way overdue in addressing the reasons for ending up that way to begin with. I have a normal brain that does what any brain is designed to do. When I've had so much stress I'm about to explode, my brain prevents it by causing me to implode. Next thing I know I'm in the fetal position not wanting to get dressed.Duh! Do the steps and quit bearing the load of an oxen. Take care of your precious self first.
...more
4

Oct 31, 2016

My professor who is known for giving great book recommendations suggested this book. I liked it and now respect James' passion for healing and development. I think Unstuck reflects well on Gordon's intentions and concern for humanity. Throughout the reading I had a real sense that the author is wise, experienced, and very well educated. His intervention is intense and if followed I'd expect there would be measurable and meaningful results. If you're one of the many struggling with depression My professor who is known for giving great book recommendations suggested this book. I liked it and now respect James' passion for healing and development. I think Unstuck reflects well on Gordon's intentions and concern for humanity. Throughout the reading I had a real sense that the author is wise, experienced, and very well educated. His intervention is intense and if followed I'd expect there would be measurable and meaningful results. If you're one of the many struggling with depression (bless your heart), then you may find value in Gordon's work. If, however, you're not interested in trying out an intensive program, or too depressed to try, then I'd suggest giving Acceptance and Commitment Therapy a look. It's in a similar vein in regards to acceptance and mindful awareness.
It's worth noting that I was surprised by his inclusion of Chinese Medicine. Nothing against the tool, I'm just unfamiliar with its efficacy as treatment for depression and have never seen it recommended. ...more
3

Jun 19, 2013

Gordon's MBSR prescription is based on his experience and a series of evidence-based confirmations of elements of MBSR. He offers no evidence for the effectiveness of his 7-stage method. His scientific rigor is completely absent when he advocates for Chinese medicine. This isolated but telling collapse of his credibility affected my view of his book.
5

Oct 22, 2016

This is the book for anyone that is serious about taking charge of their emotional and mental well-being. Beginning with many well defined suggestions for self care and ending in richly descriptive examples of successful cases, it's a manual for navigating the depressive's rough and uncertain landscape.
4

Mar 18, 2016

Love the tone of this book, the author felt like a good listening friend.
3

Jun 19, 2019

I'm pretty mid-range on this book. I liked a lot of the exercises in it (in particular, the self-forgiveness meditation and the soft belly breathing exercise), and think I'll probably use some of them in my practice. The stories of his patients/clients was interesting, as well. I also liked the focus on the body and listening to its signals.

I get why people are saying this book is anti-med - it is based within our current scientific understanding of medication (e.g. that mild-to-moderate I'm pretty mid-range on this book. I liked a lot of the exercises in it (in particular, the self-forgiveness meditation and the soft belly breathing exercise), and think I'll probably use some of them in my practice. The stories of his patients/clients was interesting, as well. I also liked the focus on the body and listening to its signals.

I get why people are saying this book is anti-med - it is based within our current scientific understanding of medication (e.g. that mild-to-moderate depression responds equally well to medication and placebo) but is a little more harsher against meds than I would typically be.

My distraction came more from the way the book is ordered, and the emphasis placed on both eating and spirituality. The first chapter is a mess of medical jargon about biology, and though it doesn't go too far, and I can understand why you would start out here, it's kind of off-putting. There's also a lot of focus on spirituality and religion, which is meh for someone who doesn't really put much stock in those. I am also always skeptical about white dudes writing at length about Chinese medicine and practices. ...more
4

Dec 02, 2018

I found this book helpful. I’ve read a few books on depression and am looking more into things that are recommended consistently in each book (diet and supplements, etc); however, I felt some supplements/herbs were recommended without discussing side effects. Anything one might consider taking should be researched. St. John’s wort for example could end up causing other health issues, and I’m not interested in trading problems for problems. I think these things really need to be worked out with a I found this book helpful. I’ve read a few books on depression and am looking more into things that are recommended consistently in each book (diet and supplements, etc); however, I felt some supplements/herbs were recommended without discussing side effects. Anything one might consider taking should be researched. St. John’s wort for example could end up causing other health issues, and I’m not interested in trading problems for problems. I think these things really need to be worked out with a nutritionist who knows how these will affect you and what is actually beneficial for you. Overall, I was motivated to look further into solutions and feel hopeful that antidepressants aren’t the only option. ...more
3

Nov 24, 2018

I didn’t quite finish this book because the chapter on Spirituality was a little too broad for me, promoting religions and philosophies that I know firsthand that have been oppressive to many people, rather than helping them get “unstuck”. Overall I think this book has some very helpful suggestions and if nothing else it helped me adopt a “go with the flow” attitude about life that has helped me find where I need to be rather than fight against where I am too often, and draining my energy.
5

Aug 17, 2019

Amazing. I was able to meet Dr. Gordon, and practicing the techniques mentioned in this has been transformational for me. I have found a new sense of grounding for myself. I recommend this book highly to the clients I work with in grief care.
3

Mar 10, 2017

hmm not really sure about this book. hits some good points. Alot of things make sense.. I found in annoying at times..some eye roll moments....but I finished it.. so there's that....
3

May 31, 2017

Several months ago, I felt I was circling the drain around depression. I wasn't clinically depressed, but situational depression threatened to become something larger and more permanent. Rather than wait around for circumstances to improve, I set out to make specific measurable changes which might help to change my downward spiral. I'm happy to report, it's working.

I'm not opposed to medical treatment for either physical or emotional problems, and I also do not think I was to the point that I Several months ago, I felt I was circling the drain around depression. I wasn't clinically depressed, but situational depression threatened to become something larger and more permanent. Rather than wait around for circumstances to improve, I set out to make specific measurable changes which might help to change my downward spiral. I'm happy to report, it's working.

I'm not opposed to medical treatment for either physical or emotional problems, and I also do not think I was to the point that I needed medical supervision for my choices. However, I also believe there are effective ways to care for ourselves outside the purview of traditional western medicine.

In his book, Unstuck, ways to combat physical and mental illness through more contemplative and non-traditional methods. Nutrition, meditation, journaling, reiki and therapy are just some of the ways he explains and illustrates as support on the journey to wellness. Complete with meditation and visualization scripts, contact information for local therapies and a numerous resource bibliography, Unstuck is literally bursting with tools for the person who wants to take control of their well-being.

Occasionally I did get bogged down in the extensive research and explanation, but overall I am very glad I read this book. I use many of the tools in my daily life, and am grateful to have it as a resource for myself and others. ...more
2

Oct 03, 2013

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A very good friend recommended this book to me--and his record is over 90%. And I was well enough to go to my favorite local bookstore and get a copy!

I appreciate the ideas for help in the book. They are constructive for maintenance if you are already functioning. But we have an issue in our culture with terminology.

There's depression and there is major Depression. And, I'm sorry, sir, but one of these is a disease or some kind of medical dysfunction for sure.

And, no, the drugs and other A very good friend recommended this book to me--and his record is over 90%. And I was well enough to go to my favorite local bookstore and get a copy!

I appreciate the ideas for help in the book. They are constructive for maintenance if you are already functioning. But we have an issue in our culture with terminology.

There's depression and there is major Depression. And, I'm sorry, sir, but one of these is a disease or some kind of medical dysfunction for sure.

And, no, the drugs and other remedies we have aren't much better than what's in Plath's The Bell Jar. We've been told the drugs are better, but mostly, the marketing has been a lot better.

Also major depression is not related to "happiness." You don't get sick because you are unhappy. That's another misunderstanding. People aren't thrilled to have any illness, but that correlation is not causation. There are millions of unhappy people walking around just fine who are not depressed, and I'm not sure if this book would help them or not. It might improve their life, depending on their circumstances.

A holistic approach is definitely the priority here; and now many apps exist to help track all moods and activities.

But most of the activities in the book require that you can get out of bed--get out of the house. So people need to understand there is depression and Depression. And our "mental health system" is lacking in every way. If anyone you care about would need more than this book, you might start to worry and be disturbed. So advocate for better resources and care now!! ...more
5

Jan 10, 2019

I read this book through once quickly to help get out of a very bad depression and then went back and re-read it, taking copious notes. It has practical approaches to getting out of a depression and potentially preventing, or at least minimizing the severity of, future depressions.

I read this before and after reading The Untethered Soul, which was an excellent companion book, as it approached things from a different, but complimentary perspective.

I believe this book has been life changing for I read this book through once quickly to help get out of a very bad depression and then went back and re-read it, taking copious notes. It has practical approaches to getting out of a depression and potentially preventing, or at least minimizing the severity of, future depressions.

I read this before and after reading The Untethered Soul, which was an excellent companion book, as it approached things from a different, but complimentary perspective.

I believe this book has been life changing for me. ...more
4

Oct 21, 2008

With the concept that for most people depression is simply a sign that one's life is out of balance - not an illness - James S. Gordon lays out his plan to help people figure out what is wrong in their life and how to change that.

I expected to find lots of hokey ideas to become less depressed and I found them. If you've read any books on depression and/or how to work your way out of depression most of these exercises will be familiar.

And then I tried one of the exercises. It didn't lead to any With the concept that for most people depression is simply a sign that one's life is out of balance - not an illness - James S. Gordon lays out his plan to help people figure out what is wrong in their life and how to change that.

I expected to find lots of hokey ideas to become less depressed and I found them. If you've read any books on depression and/or how to work your way out of depression most of these exercises will be familiar.

And then I tried one of the exercises. It didn't lead to any new ideas or epiphanies. Until about three hours later. Which led to a conversation with my sister. Which led to another epiphany.

Now I am bound to start the book again and go through all of the exercises, hokey or not.

I have to add a disclaimer: This may not be the book for you. I have no idea if I was simply ready to have this epiphany or if the book helped me to this new realization. ...more
4

Apr 19, 2016

I believe I first read Unstuck in 2014 or 2015, but I have read it at least three times through since then - it's one I continue to return to, begin again, read different sections of when I'd like a refresher, etc. It was a powerful book for me, recommended by my General Practitioner when I was experiencing particularly concerning symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety. Along with medication, the skills and strategies recommended in Unstuck have helped me to see the world, and my I believe I first read Unstuck in 2014 or 2015, but I have read it at least three times through since then - it's one I continue to return to, begin again, read different sections of when I'd like a refresher, etc. It was a powerful book for me, recommended by my General Practitioner when I was experiencing particularly concerning symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety. Along with medication, the skills and strategies recommended in Unstuck have helped me to see the world, and my experiences with depression, much differently. It has given me the most powerful anti-depressant, hope! I highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced mild/moderate/severe depressive episodes, and doesn't know how to prevent them from recurring, or what to do to get out from under the over-bearing rock of doom they induce! It's not your fault, but no one can fix it but you! Find hope and empowerment, and many new ideas you probably haven't tried, here. ...more
3

Jul 17, 2012

Although there are a lot of ideas/approaches in this book that don't appeal to me, it is the first work on depression I've seen that is actually hopeful. Gordon believes that depression is more of an opportunity than a disease, and that is a rare viewpoint! The idea that depression forces us to face things, to make changes, and to move on in a different plane of life - that's a novel and expectant way to approach it.
Gordon's advice about therapists feels caring, and I also appreciated his take Although there are a lot of ideas/approaches in this book that don't appeal to me, it is the first work on depression I've seen that is actually hopeful. Gordon believes that depression is more of an opportunity than a disease, and that is a rare viewpoint! The idea that depression forces us to face things, to make changes, and to move on in a different plane of life - that's a novel and expectant way to approach it.
Gordon's advice about therapists feels caring, and I also appreciated his take on the thorns of depression: procrastination, perfectionism, loneliness, lethargy, and resentment.
If you're able to skim through the parts that don't resonate with you, there is much to gain from this book. ...more
2

Nov 13, 2010

I had high expectations for this book, but sadly, it hasn't delivered the real "push" I hoped it would. I was initially captured by the author's perspective on depression as something that has become medicalized and highly, over-medicated by western medicine. On this issue we agree. However, the book itself is boring me back into depression. That's a bit of an overstatement - there have been some tips that I've found helpful & useful (and, happily enough, things that I've already been I had high expectations for this book, but sadly, it hasn't delivered the real "push" I hoped it would. I was initially captured by the author's perspective on depression as something that has become medicalized and highly, over-medicated by western medicine. On this issue we agree. However, the book itself is boring me back into depression. That's a bit of an overstatement - there have been some tips that I've found helpful & useful (and, happily enough, things that I've already been doing). But, I'm getting stuck trying to read unstuck.

...more
3

Mar 13, 2012

A book about how to beat depression without drugs. Some of the exercises were really helpful, meditations, etc. Some of it was a little out there for me - taking out rage by shaking/dancing etc. I have re-started journaling as a result of this book, which has been helpful. Lots to chew on and think about here. I will probably re-read it.

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