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Living Better

How I Learned to Survive Depression
Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
4.9 out of 5 stars (71 ratings)

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Summary

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.

©2020 Alastair Campbell (P)2020 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Critic reviews

"I thought I knew everything there was to know about Alastair but Living Better reveals so much more." (Tony Blair)

What listeners say about Living Better

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Fascinating

This honest deep dive into serious depression was not the sad and heavy book you may imagine. It’s packed full of funny, searingly honest and often vulnerable stories. Also packed full of useful tips and practical suggestions. Everyone should read this book. Alastair and Fiona I salute you.

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Thank you!

I don't do God, or politics or self help books, but I loved this. Thanks

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important and accessible to all

Honest, open account from AC. Depression can affect people from all walks of life. This book will validate many people's experiences and offers helpful ways in which to feel better. Enjoyable listen.

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Have a listen ... it could help you and others in so many ways

Fascinating insight into someone who was ‘just a name I recognised’ but didn’t know very much about ... and I’m sure the courageous behind the scenes revelations will be helpful for so many, especially at this time ... thank you.

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Excellent Read.

Been fond of Alastair's writing style for quite some time. Our politics don't always match up, but I've always been fascinated in the part he played in the New Labour era and beyond. After reading his diaries, I was deeply interested to see that he had just written a book on struggling with depression. I must say, it's fantastic. You might like this book for two reasons. First, if you have read the Campbell diaries as I have, this is an excellent companion piece. Not exactly a memoir, this book charts some of the most dramatic episodes in Campbell's life so far, including a few that you will already be familiar with. Excellent context to his extraordinary life in politics. Secondly, if you have at all experienced any kind of mental health issue, this is as informative a listen as it is enjoyable. Having lived with depression for decades, Campbell's persuasive writing style perfectly conveys his unique insights into the illness as well as the results of the research project he undertook in the second half of the book. An excellent read, to be sure. Fair warning, though - if you're a hardcore Brexiteer who can't stand 'remoaners', best give this one a miss. If you're a New Labour-hater, you won't like it much, either. And if you're an anti-Iraq War activist, I can confirm that the chapter on 'guilt' will firmly not be of interest to you. To everyone else - or any of the above who can put politics aside for an enlightening listen - I couldn't recommend Living Better more highly.

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Very interesting listen

Really great listen. Interesting stories and information regarding Alastair's life. I definitely recommend this book.

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A must read. Brilliant!

I loved it. wonderful book and beautifully narrated. Fascinating and makes me understand a bit more about my own depression. I will have to work on creating my jam jar. Thank you Alistair.

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Outstanding - resonated along with much learning

So much 'clicked' for me with this book. Similar experiences shared with much learning. Alistair's writing is so honest, open and sincere. The book has made me appreciate that mental health doesn't just effect me in the ways it does but also Alistair and, I'm sure many many others. To bare the soul so openly is refreshing, at times funny (though terrible!)and a real comfort to aid strength, recovery and development. Even though it's up to all of us to find our own solutions, Alistair explains his which really really helps. Thank you. Thanks also to Audible. Over time I've understood my auditory learning style and love the platform.

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Easy listening despite the subject matter

This is a must read for anyone who has every suffered from depression or supported someone with it. It is a simple and truthful story...startling in clarity really. I keep recollected parts of it while going about my day...

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Excellent and profound

An excellent and personal analysis of mental illness that is among the best available.