Once in a while, a non-fiction comet crashes next to you and makes your world a little better, a little brighter!
I could not be happier to let you know what I think of Psycho-Logical by Dr Dean Burnett today!
Author: Dean Burnett
Narrated by: Matt Addis
Date of publication: 10 October 2019
Format: Audio book
Length: 10 hours 15 minutes
Countless charities and awareness campaigns work tirelessly to show people that mental health problems are common and serious issues. But when it comes to mental health matters, one question that’s rarely asked is…why?
Why are conditions like depression and anxiety so common?
Why is our mental health so vulnerable to the stresses and events of modern life?
Why do so many mental health problems have pronounced physical symptoms?
Why, if mental health problems are so commonplace, does anyone need to be made ‘aware’ of them in the first place?
And why is there still so much confusion and stigma about mental health matters?
Drawing from nearly 20 years working in the areas of neuroscience, psychology and psychiatry, international best-selling author Dr Dean Burnett (The Happy Brain, Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It) hopes to answer these questions and more in his new audiobook Psycho-Logical (exclusive to Audible). Combining in-depth research with genuine testimonials from those who deal with their own issues on a daily basis, Psycho-Logical aims to uncover just what we think is going on with our brains when serious mental health problems occur, how and why the available therapies work (when they do), and just how flexible and uncertain much of the scientific understanding of mental health is.
Psycho-Logical combines in-depth research with genuine testimonials from those who deal with their own issues on a daily basis. Contributors are: comedians Bethany Black, Dan Mitchell and Guy Kelly; sex blogger Girl on the Net; writer and actor Amelia Stubberfield; journalist Rachel England; HR officer Lowri Williams; and social media manager Martha Mills. Each contributor has narrated their own section.
Expertly narrated by Matt Addis, and written in an engaging and straight-forward style, Psycho-Logical is must for anyone who’s ever dealt with mental health issues of their own, knows someone who has, or is interested in the ever-more-important subject matter of mental health, for whatever reason.
I am always on the lookout for books about mental health. We need to better understand it, whether we suffer from any issues ourselves or know someone who does, or even just to be aware of what is plaguing so many human beings in our world.
Usually, I go for non-fiction written by people who have or are experiencing mental health issues. Write about what you know, right? I must admit I tend to go for people who have a personal knowledge of what it is like to live with such often debilitating conditions.
Psycho-Logical is a fun title for a book. I love how it captures the essence of the subject and make it less scary or complicated than we usually think it is. Reading about the author being a neuroscientists and best-selling author should have made me cringe. Doctors and their big never-ending words, writers with millions of copies sold? Not my go-to people for an easily readable yet important book on mental health. Weirdly, though, this time I didn’t mind. The synopsis introducing Dr Dean Burnett as personable, a stand-up comedian, offering an accessible take on how the brain works, appealed to me.
Call it instinct. Well, my instinct was right!
I listened to Psycho-Logical either while walking the dogs or knitting. Instead of a know-it-all patronizing narrative, I was nicely surprised to meet a smart, hilarious doctor ready to dissect our brains. I was delighted to get a comprehensive understanding on how the realities of mental health issues, brain interactions, and our society shape our diagnoses and how we react to what we are faced with.
Jumping from funny analogies to more scientific explanations to explore what mental health and its issues are, there is no down time with Psycho-Logical. I was astonished to hear Dr Burnett describe depression, anxiety, or addictions with such detail, as if he’d been there too. I would like to emphasize that the author shows huge amounts of empathy, and understanding.
My favorite part definitely is the very significant point made by Dr Burnett, society plays a part in how we react to mental health.
“We judge mental health based on society norms. But society is confusing.”
How come I never thought of this? It is so true I just wanted to slap myself and take a step back from everything I thought I knew to reassess on what I’d been basing my own opinions. This is how powerful this book is. Dr Burnett is absolutely not judgmental when he discusses subjects surrounded by stigmas. He even shots dead some of those stigmas with great illustrations, like homosexuality being deemed a mental health issue until not so long ago.
Words are also really important. When you think “mental health” what comes to your mind? For me, it was merely a tag to talk about all the illnesses we can blame the brain for. Yet Dr Burnett made me realize mental health is the exact same thing as physical health. It doesn’t require illnesses to take care of it. When you chat about physical health, you don’t think about broken legs. You think “Hm, I should try Pilates.” Mental health should be taken care of too, instead of only being whispered when something is “wrong”. Mental health is different from mental illness!
I wised up on many things thanks to Psycho-Logical. I suffer from a general anxiety disorder, depression, and agoraphobia, and now, I get a better picture of what happens in my brain, thanks to the scientific parts dissected my the author so my definitely-suck-at-anything-scientific mind could grasp the general idea of the mechanisms behind my health issues. I was comforted in the idea that mental health issues have impacts on our physical health, and vice versa. I was literally over the moon to hear a doctor tell me that “snap out of it” was an insensitive and useless thing to say to someone fighting a mental disorder. How many times have we had those sentences thrown at us as if we were responsible for our state. Gah!
Did I mention the style of this book is hilarious and really good. I know, “hilarious” or “fun” are not words you expect from a book about mental health… Well, now you should!
What’s more, the testimonies gathered in the book from different people is a powerful reminder that everyone can suffer, not every treatment works for everyone, and that we are not alone.
I could go on and on about how Psycho-Logical is a must-read if you are even just remotely interested in educating yourself. This book is a fun well of knowledge that everyone should get, for the sake of our brains! Open your eyes, your ears, and your mind to a perfectly balanced and far-from-boring account of reality and science to put words on pains affecting millions of people.
Psycho-Logical is so full of key elements that for the first time in months, I took notes while listening!
So, would I recommend Psycho-Logical? ABSOLUTELY. This book is vital to anyone interested in the subject!
Interested to know more? Follow the great blog tour!
I would like to thank Anna from Midas PR from inviting me to be part of this blog tour.
Dean Burnett is a working-class Welsh science writer.
Having grown up in a pub in the former mining village of Pontycmer, in the Garw Valley, South Wales, Dean is now a doctor of neuroscience, an honorary research associate at Cardiff University Psychology School, and a Visiting Fellow at Birmingham City University. He is the author of four books and counting, which have been translated into over 20 languages, as well as countless articles and blog posts across a wide range of media platforms, including the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, LA Times, New York Magazine, and more.
Dean is much in demand as a speaker, pundit, talking head and all-round contributor for TV and radio whenever a complex brain-related subject requires explaining in the mainstream.
Part of his outlook and relatable style comes from the fact that Dean has also spent close to two decades performing stand-up comedy, having performed on stages as large as the Hammersmith Apollo.
Dean currently lives in Cardiff with his wife and two children, and their cat Pickle who, even by cat standards, is something of a psychopath.