Depression, in varying degrees, affects the majority of people at some point in their lives. The sufferer feels exhausted, isolated, profoundly sad and very unwell. Sleep is both a stranger and an enemy when accompanied by nightmares; food has no taste; tears exhaust, and the body and mind withdraw from life. The worse thing is the sense of being out of control of the day-to-day elements of living. Other people make the decisions. Philip Barker has stood beside many people in this dark place and realized that part of the resolution of profound sorrow lies with the sufferers regaining, and sometimes learning for the first time, to take control of their lives and to provide the gifts of kindness and power for themselves. This companion guide, which also forms part of Philip's book Severe Depression, published by Chapman & Hall in 1992, provides a way of taking control again. The book should be read slowly, step by step. The next step should be taken when the last has been mastered. This is not easy when too depressed to concentrate, but a page at a time is manageable. The reward is likely to be that of being in control again and being able to enjoy some of life's pleasures. This book should be of interest to psychiatric nurses; health professionals working with sufferers of severe depression; and sufferers of severe depression.