Self-help books, self-help, self-love, selfish?

24 Jun 2022

Many people mention self-help books on Mental Health here. I have read (or ‘grazed’ through some) but get a bit cynical. Written by self-styled ‘life-changers’, experienced doctors and psychiatrists, many ‘fashionable’ for a few years till a new ‘star’ appears or they are debunked. Maybe I am a ‘know-all’. I find many patronising. There is no measuring if their advice is good, or works, coping with Mental Health really starts with ‘self’ using every sort of help/support available, and reading what you should do in a book I do not find helpful.

I have no idea why I bought it, probably to help my French: it is a translation of ‘Happiness for Dummies’ by an American psychologist, W. Doyle Gentry. The USA has a great out-pouring of this sort of book, therapy a thriving industry, Stage 1 gives a ‘starter’ list, interesting if anybody here has such a ‘list’ and finds it helpful. ‘Write poetry – play football – organise social events or join associations – write (fiction or non) go fly fishing – collect objets d’art or stamps – go to political meetings – paint – garden – hand crafts, pottery, basket work, making jewels – cook – play cards. Hm, quite a challenge, does not state if you have to do them all at once – it does say that if nothing of this grabs your interest you will become apathetic and discontented. The ‘presumption’ in this particular book is that you have access to all these possibilities.

Today has been crazy, like the whole week, endless talking, first half strangers, in French, now English. This morning friends from Moodscope, off the boat, two hours lovely conversation. Afternoon alarming – people my mother-in-law would have disapproved of, her ‘band’ of acceptable friends was very narrow. They had rented the B and B next door, they have a dog, there is no garden. We sat in mine; they are drinkers – hot afternoon, TWO bottles so-so red wine between three, crisps and biscuits, not my taste. They were pleasant, she very over weight, hip and knee trouble, can hardly walk, what WILL that wine do to her? (and my head, idea of going out to dinner scotched).

Done loads Future Learn courses, many very good on Mindfulness, CBT, Care work. Now two diametrically opposite – on ‘Humanists’ do not take to it, seem another range of people whose ideas are the ‘right’ ones. Then one on the future of the Luxury Trade, out of my comfort zone.  Back to pure selfishness, ‘Carpe diem’, seize the day. My garden a joy; arum lilies, white rambling rose, sky-blue iris, all colours of leaves, a black-bird, giving pleasure to the wine drinkers, and re-reading my second novel in French. It IS good, people say so, and achieved marriage of character, dialogue, actual history and miles of research. So, self? Four for the ‘proud card’, something they can’t take away from you? Bit of showing off? Got a book, ‘I think, therefore I am’. Philosophy. Totter between stoicism, hedonism, Epicureanism, and a list of ‘metas, isms and ologoies!!’

The Gardener

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

Email us at to submit your own blog post!


Login or Sign Up to Comment and Read Comments