I jumped at the opportunity offered through the Sacramento Bloggers website to interview local Sacramento writer and entrepreneur, Janna Marlies Maron, about her new e-Book, How to Manage Depression without Drugs(set for publication April 18th). I have known many people over the years who suffered bouts of depression who have had varying degrees of success in dealing with their condition through the use of traditional medical treatments. I looked forward to previewing the book and seeing what insights it would provide to aid them in their quest to maintain a normal life.
Reading through the Preview provided by the author and doing a brief phone interview with her, I realized that my initial excitement was dashed by the Tom Cruise-ian tone of both. I am referring to the strange episode back in 2005 when Tom Cruise went off on psychiatry and big pharma as he channeled his best Scientology talking points to bash the state of treatment of depression and other psychological conditions. Though on a less extreme scale, both the new e-Book and its author bring the same sense of incomprehension to my rational sensibilities.
The one part of the reading which does pull the author back from the Tom Cruise extreme is a warning at the beginning of the book(possibly for liability protection?). It reads, “This ebook is a work of nonfiction, based solely on the author’s personal experience. It is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. If you have specific questions or concerns about your mental or physical health, please consult a qualified healthcare provider.”
The e-Book is subtitled, 5 game plans that helped me get my life back. A chapter is devoted to each: ‘rewriting’ her story; finding music which frames a happy, positive outlook; a change to diet; the development of rituals which emphasizes essential oils; and finding resources online and in the real world to have more knowledge of the conditions which ail you. Each in its own right is, at worst, neutral and, at best, positive advice that any physician would give you. It is advice that I have seen those I know affected by depression use themselves, yet the author surrounds it with a mystical quality that makes it sound as if it is a gift from some higher level or source. In the words of the author, “The Story has to do with the mind and thoughts, how every thought creates energy and cellular memory. The Music also has to do with the mind and focuses more specifically on self-conditioning; how sound associated with specific things dramatically affects a positive outlook. The Food deals with, well, food; how everything entering the body affects every internal system. The Rituals deals with specific activities and practices, how action reinforces belief. The Resources offers a starting point for moving forward after reading this ebook.”
What makes the book potentially dangerous though is that while the author talks about the positive effect these lifestyle changes had on her depression, she also goes beyond that condition to talk about it being a ‘cure’ for her Multiple Sclerosis(MS). Reviewing her blog entries covering the MS question, I found references to a neurologist finding the precursors to the condition but no actual diagnosis of it. The author also references a work(Healing Multiple Sclerosis by Ann Boroch)about an individual who have found a cure for the condition yet there is non-naturopathic literature which is referenced in confirming this claim. Like Janna’s case, it seems more a case of fatigue and depression which was cleared up by a reframing of attitude and a change in diet.
While the book may offer a positive if new age(and very California) view on dealing with depression, it takes a step too far by championing it as a ‘cure’ for physical disease.