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Better to have published and been Insulted & Humiliated than to have never published at all.

There are some excellent self-help material out there. Some of it can change lives, or at least instill excellent habits and help one see things in a new light. Think and Grow Rich is a classic. Steve Pavlina’s articles are informational and motivational. Joe Novarro’s books on body language are a must read for everyone. There’s something I noticed about people who don’t get many benefits from self-help.

Self-help books assume that you’re healthy to begin with. How can you Get Things Done when you can’t even change the cat litter less than once a month, or do the laundry or dishes?

These things aren’t easy, but for some people they just aren’t possible. It’s not that one may be physically incapable of doing something, but for people who suffer from depression (clinically, not just occasional sadness,) it’s easy to justify against doing anything. No matter how good this advice is, telling a depression person to exercise daily will never produce results. Telling a depressed person to quit smoking will never produce results. That person may be able to exercise and quit smoking after the depression is taken care of. In this sense, these things would serve as symptoms of depression rather than a cause.

If you’re stuck and you can’t seem to move forward, especially if it has been this way for a prolonged period, I recommend seeking professional help. It takes a lot of courage to get past the stigma of mental illness (it takes about 8 years to diagnose depression, on average) but it doesn’t make sense to loiter through life until it gets bad enough that you will end up seeking professional help anyway.

After the mental illness is being taken care of, the self-help material begins making sense in a new light. It’s no longer just mental masturbation, but begins being actual habits that you can work into your life slowly. Treating the depression will not change the bad habits a person depressed for years may have integrated into his life, but once you treat the illness (either via medication or psychoanalysis, or both) getting things done, exercising on a regular basis, getting over shyness, socializing, etc become feasible, especially after you begin seeing changes occur at such a rapid rate.

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