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Does Self-Help Work

By Earnest Long

Copyright 2017 Earnest Long

Smashwords Edition

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Chapter 1, Help or No Help at All

Some people say that self-help books cause worry and anxiety themselves. In a way, there is a very basic means by which they do this. This is simply to tell you to set goals and to tell you that you can be a success if you want to be. The success you might have is in business, with your social skills, with girls, increasing your income or how much you're able to save and things like this. Really, anyone with even the most mundane knowledge of self-help books would say that this is bound to cause anxiety. Yet, how many people miss it. They do when they don't remember the first thing they read was almost impossible to reach goals of being a millionaire, getting laid every night with the most beautiful girls and being a super salesman, successful business owner and everything else. Only later when they reflect if they can do with their fevered minds do they see where the anxiety came from in fact by looking at the advice it gives in self-help books themselves about long-term difficult to achieve goals causing anxiety.

Possibly, it is a roller-coaster ride that is a publishing phenomenon and nobody is hurt. 'Did you really think that you were going to be rich and famous by reading a paperback book? That is better than any drug I've heard of ever'. Indeed, this is what someone might say to anyone worried. As well, this is when he's saying as well that he no longer feels he can be a success. Yet, often the most ugly people and hopeless losers bought this dream for 10 bucks off the shelf of a bookstore they were once in many years ago in a time most people have now forgotten. Still, some people feel today in the here and now they need just to pay their way, lose weight and make other adjustments to their lives. But that they've now as well real problems from reading self-help. And it could lead to bad things. This is if something doesn't change. And it would have to change in really their very near future. It is with this in mind that this book has been written. And the book is as well for people who want just to stop going the way they were going. Instead, they want to get back to normality.

The book is in five chapters. The first chapter is this introduction Help or No Help at All. Then there are a few chapters of the main text and a final concluding chapter. Chapter 2 is What Doesn't Work? This talks about some things that self-help books say you shouldn't do and then examines whether in other places in the same books even they say you should do them. The next chapter 3 is Personal Experience of Self-help. This is somebody who had problems with it. It says how reading books about self-help can cause anxiety. But to start with, it helped with anxiety. And the penultimate chapter Reading Again is about somebody trying to read more, watch the same amount of television, use his computer less and do fewer hobbies but consume more media that might get him better social skills. The last chapter is the conclusions for the book.

This book is best to read as a whole from start to finish. It contains many ideas about self-help some readers may be familiar with but others won't be. The progression of ideas in it is better understood not missing bits out.

Really, to help yourself one tip is you know you're succeeding if you can keep to all your health and goals plans. A health plan might be to do more exercise, cook more often and other things like that. And a goals plan might be to watch enough TV and do at least some reading that might give you better social skills. When you have achieved these almost entirely, then you may not need to plan so much. Really, this is just common sense. Instead, you can do other things just for yourself that don't involve worry. This is good news. And it can be just a very short time before you get back to normality.

Normality though is boring. So, beware! 'You have to want to go back to normality'. This might be the only other piece of advice. Then, you will have achieved something often just by coming right back to where you started. Still, if this is what you want, then read this book. And if you don't want to get off your cloud just yet, then you don't have to. Enjoy the feeling if you are going to lie on it. Or else, you can read this book.

Chapter 2, What Doesn't Work?

It is often an interesting exercise to ask people how not to do it that they claim to be an expert on. The answers are often surprising what they say doesn't work. Part of this is that they often give short more understandable answers to what doesn't work than what they say does work. They can write a whole book on what will work but only a page or two on what won't work. And often in the same person or the same book, they might inadvertently say something wrong considering the rest of their book.

Such an exercise the author did for books on cognitive behaviour therapy. He looked at what they said didn't work and made a list of them. And then he looked at the rest of the book to see how the same ideas were included with a positive spin.

Nature or nurture is to blame for my problems

If you are really going to try to do a lot, then nature and nurture actually does become an issue so to speak. It does because nature and nurture might matter as to whether you're succeeding or not. This is then ideas around success and nature or nurture.

If you just watch television, then it is not so important that you are functioning at a high level. Or even if you do mainly just watch television and go on your computer to use hobby and art software and that is really what you're doing, then if you think what you're doing is more it can make you want to learn about ideas you wouldn't have otherwise.

You put others down

But then, who said you were doing it to start with. Often anxious people are too afraid to upset anyone already. They fear it but don't actually do it. And they often have been told since a young age to think of things in terms of right and wrong that includes not annoying or upsetting people.

You feel too superior for your own good

You have the personal attention of a psychologist, a psychiatrist and you are referred to other specialists such as dietitians to help you. This is all makes you feel superior. You are worth having all this treatment just for feeling a bit sad.

Somebody you didn't really trust to start had told you that you should see a doctor. And they weren't lying that you actually needed the attention of a medical physician. They probably told you that you might just feel a bit sad but they could tell that in a few short days you would probably die of some terrible physical illness that you didn't know you had but depression was the first innocuous by chance however odd it may seem symptom. This is when you didn't know that depression was the start of a serious physical complaint that would leave you in terrible pain and you would die from it. But instead, you thought it was an independent illness and that's not what they were talking about. They will also deride any idea in your head that therapists make money from therapy that doesn't work to people who don't need it to start with but then do afterwards. And they will say that therapists are keeping the country at work and holding civilisation together and that is not some joke that they are doing the opposite and causing the problem to start with but that people were really ill themselves right at the beginning anyway. And millions of people could have died without their therapy. Therapists just happen to advertise as they do but really millions of people were going to die. Then, you forget all this drugged up for years.

As well, after a few years when they are ready to discharge you, they tell you that far from being an outcast you can be at the centre of your community. And they did not make you an outcast, nor are you an outcast and you're mistaken in that. If you ask what about the paints there were put out in occupational therapy like you were children to play with and is that what they mean by taking part in arts projects or being members of your community and active in it, they will tell you 'this session is over' and you are to get ready to leave. Even in the community, you are monitored and not just left there to rot. Some people are but then they have different problems.

As well, everything in cognitive behaviour therapy is about somebody who's doing lots of things, an active member of their community, trying to get in touch with their values and everything else that might make somebody feel superior.

Do you think you are special!

The entire cognitive behaviour therapy makes you feel special. You have the attention of a psychologist who even wants to know what you had for breakfast. They will ask you what you have done that day that is not just watching television. And they will ask you what you've done to get in tune with your feelings and be an active member of your community. This is more than just going out to the shops to buy a loaf of bread. They will also ask you what you've done to get in tune with your values. And the entire book is full of ideas around people not just watching TV, having a bite to eat and going to bed but that they are thinking types of person that have lots going on for them in their head or in real life. Often, they have so much going on in their heads that it caused a problem. They are told the only solution is to be cured with the 'hair of the dog' or what caused problem to start with. It is like drinking more alcohol when you've got a hangover. And you are told to go away and do more thinking exercises and more homework and be more active and do more activities.

You are too controlling of others

Cognitive behaviour therapy tells you to control your own life and that that is the route to happiness. As well, it tells you to get involved in your local community and arts projects. Really, it is telling you to go out, influence people, and not just be a passive member of your community or passive consumer. And that is really telling you to criticise others, shake them up and make them do things.

You feel it necessary to defend your own self-worth

Self-help tells you that you have a right to be happy that is just the same as saying you should have self-worth. And it tells you that self-worth or the right to be happy is the most important thing in your life. You have a whole book about defending your self-worth even if you hadn't thought of it beforehand. Cognitive behaviour therapy is all about thinking you should have self-worth. That is what the right to be happy is.

You wrongly place yourself above any criticism

A lot of cognitive behaviour therapy blames you for being fat, not doing enough exercise, not keeping with the program and that you're to blame for not being happy yourself by not following the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy. It also encourages you to have a wonderful life where you're supposed to be an active member of your community, do art or play sport that would open you to criticism by other people. This is more than if you were just a couch potato who watched television and then just went around visiting his friends. Also, it asks you to be self-critical even if others are not going to be critical of you and it gives you a new philosophy that it tells you is right and scientific.

You are always trying to get people to like you

Many self-help books tell you to avoid negative others and situations. So how is it a bad thing trying to get everyone to like you? Also, how can you be a member of your community if you're annoying people? You can't be. Nor can you be an artist, sportsmen or anything else if you have an abrasive personality and can't get on with anyone. And what about therapists teaching social skills? Isn't that just for people who want others to like them? It probably is a lot of it.

Some people constantly try to avoid failure

You are bound to feel failure following a course of cognitive behaviour therapy. It tells you that you should plan for your future, you should lose weight and you should do plenty of other activities and not just watch television. And in these endeavours, you are bound to fail just from having to try to start with when there is always a chance of failure. Also, it tells you that you have a right to happiness that is more than just seeing the sun come in the window in your apartment in the morning and being healthy enough to go out to the shops or go to the park. Instead, you have to be somebody who is more than just a normal person despite having a history of illness and depression.

Possibly, there is one common factor in many of the above supposedly correct explanations that might mean they really are correct. And this is that to have pretensions when you so clearly have your own problems that you can still do things that you used to be able to do before is wrong. It is wrong because you cannot perform at the same high level of somebody that did not have anxiety and other problems. At least, you should realise how bad some of your life is and that no one could want to follow you or believe in what you said. This is seeing the state of your bedroom, your kitchen or your house. And it is not believable that somebody that might have problems making small talk to others at a function could also be the main attraction of the function that people were paying to attend or going there to discuss something important. Yet how many people reading books about social skills think they could also be top professionals or leaders in any field. It might just be the hardest thing to be able to tell people that they have to scale down their ambitions. And this is just because they might have eaten something, unfortunately banged their head but there is no other answer to it. They were not told it was so common for this to happen because you can't tell children that. Nor is there any point blaming someone for leaving a door open or anything else when that will not mend their heads.

And if they felt there was something more to it such as they had done it to hundreds of other people already and they should be brought to book, then they should just leave it and everything else to somebody else. This is even if there was some reason for it that nothing had been done to people like this before, then they won't be able to understand it anyway with the brains they have now. And that is such a sad tragic fact but true. So then, they can just leave everything else as well. And they should pay attention to lessons in cognitive behaviour therapy such as being grateful for what they have.

Chapter 3, Personal Experience of Self-help

Someone's experience of reading self-help books was that the lessons would work quite well for the first two or three weeks and then it would say something that completely contradicted the first thing it ever did. An example of this is that you might feel like having heartfelt discussions about conflicting emotions. And doing this could embarrass you. As well, books would tell people that they needed to do more exercise but give them no help as to how they could do it. This was except on rare occasions they gave some kind of sports psychology. Yet, it did not stop them being given the goal of doing more exercise and told that it was highly beneficial or they could even die without it. Also, some books would say that it was medical or biological advice only that they had been given. And that they were not saying anything such as to have an approach where they didn't worry about getting it all right to everything else and 100% they had to do it for exercise everything they had been told. Also, that they should worry about it if they didn't do all of their exercise program. They needed to see somebody else about cooking, cleaning or anything other than a few things they discussed in psychology books.

For some people, reading self-help books did help them. Yet, for others, they felt there was very little information about whether it actually worked. Other people point out for example that Freud is famous. And he cured millions with his books. This is cheaply and economically. But some people say that therapies including the famous Freudian psychoanalysis have no effect on people at all. Yet more other people say that this is nonsense as millions of people have been cured for decades. Often people became less anxious after the first two to three things they read in a book. But after that, they became more anxious. Some people say that a lot of it was just homespun wisdom or it reminded them of things they had heard when going to religious services. Yet more other patients said that religion had done nothing for them and that they thought that cognitive behaviour therapy for example was a genuine scientific medical treatment for something that had no other explanation other than that they were indeed actually ill. And nothing but nothing except these ideas could have helped them. They accepted that these books are not written by a dietitian, fitness instructor, and cook or cleaner. This would be to give books like these the all-powerful attribute of a parent to a child. But this is when they really aren't able to give you all the skills you need and you have to find out some others for yourself. For example, and you have to know how to cook, to clean, to do exercise, to remember how to take medicines, to get a good night's sleep and everything else. But then, some people have these already. They just forget to use them or they are not any longer motivated enough to do it.

One aspect to all of this is that people might just relapse because they've forgotten their lessons or it was some time ago since they had them. You can keep your books on cognitive behaviour therapy and other self-help to hand to read later. A joke is that if somebody had no money because somebody else was taking it, then usually people like this don't have any problems with self-help and psychology. It is one of those odd things that choice might cause anxiety. And this is even for people spending their spare cash that doesn't have to amount that much. This is at least that they're not rich. It is almost still pocket money. Sometimes you might think there is something odd about some people that they can't even manage a bit of change. Yet, in another world, they are normal people who just have problems.

Also, telling people to do things even if it's to read a book when they don't feel like reading a book and then putting pressure on them that nobody needs can cause them to become angry. Other people do respond to some prodding. But you can't make them do it all the time. And some people say that if somebody's has problems already, then you should encourage them to do nothing. It is only a rest that can help them. Really, it is almost an anxious type thinking where there is no middle ground often. People should always be doing something all the time and pressured if they aren't or they should not be allowed to do anything even if they want to.

Chapter 4, Reading Again

Really, I had had a few bad dreams about something that had happened. In the shared area of the apartment block that I lived, there was a dining room and TV room. They were in a combined one room for both. And when I had used the community wireless, somebody had left the microwave oven on and I had sat there for at least 1 to 2 hours. This was without realizing it was on the entire time. And somebody in the apartment block was leaving it on regularly like this for when people were trying to use the shared area.

I felt now really quite depressed and low. When you feel depressed, you really can't stand being in a community and having people expect anything of you. Then, I remembered a previous instant when someone had done a similar thing with a microwave oven and then as well I had felt a bit depressed after that. I had told a medical person that I thought the microwave had caused my depression. The nurse said that there would not be any treatment for it by pills. This is when I might know the correct explanation myself. At least, drugs would not help me as far as he knew. So I was really stuck.

But I had felt a bit better just going back to bed and feeling the texture of my pillow and bed coverings as well as the sound of the clock ticking and bird song outside the window that was comforting. It was just a problem doing this a lot of the time because my social skills might get worse if I did no goals. But then, I did not really need to do many goals for social skills anyway as even 1 to 2 hours per day was often enough to talk about. Yet, I'd been doing even less than that recently that explained my poor social skills.

So, now I knew that I was not the full person that I might have thought I was even a few short months ago. And all these things people can do on computers, in the community as you hear both cyber and real were perhaps not going to be what I could do. Really, I was never ever going to impress anyone or myself even ever again. Nor was I ever going to be the 'the next biggest thing' or 'the man'.

Really, I did not want to see my girlfriend that I hand. I needed though to save up some conversation before I saw her. As well, I needed to save money now. This is when I had recently been giving her some money. I switched off my mobile phone so people didn't call I had already said that I didn't want to see. This was for a week.

As well, I started a new file for computer time. I thought the type of file I chose was most convenient of the different possible alternatives you have with computers. And I hope to get off my computer after every hour and use my computer in total less than two hours per day. That really might be all my problems. I did have a plan to keep it simple and watch only television. But that is not going to work if I am already bored with television and movies. It isn't going to work if bored unless I start watching daytime and other television I hadn't seen before. But I might do that in fact. On a movie website, I flicked through it and was bored with it all. I had by chance been trying in the last few months to watch a bit more television and use my computer less and had largely succeeded. But then again, I had really forgotten most of what I'd done, seen on television and I still had poor social skills.

Also, I did read my cognitive behaviour therapy and other self-help books and it helped. I had been meaning to read again for literally years but not done it. But then, I think that it is just saying the real problem that many people have are they are just too pretentious. Then, they go on their computers and don't just go to the park and enjoy themselves. Also, it was starting drinking when I had decided I would not use my computer so much. And I went to bed not even having cleaned my teeth or changed out my day clothes. Really, it was pretension that you need a drink to mark the passing of time and you couldn't just do it on your own that I got from a psychology, social science or history book or fiction. It seems conflicting advice in cognitive behaviour therapy books but really, it is just saying to reject it all and not bother with it.

That is except that you still have to keep to a health plan for exercise, diet, hygiene, sleep, rest and medication. Also, you have to do some goals to talk about and that's about it. And all else it is saying about these things as well is that you have to do some exercise for at least 20 minutes a day and different types of exercise, you have to cook occasionally and have an extra portion of veg and not have chocolate or soft drinks particularly if you're prone to diabetes. As well, you have to clean your room regularly, wash regularly, do the laundry so you don't run out of clothes and you have to go to bed before the daylight is starting to come up. And some people can take a multi-vitamin if they feel it helps or they have a medical condition.

So if just,

Eat, cook, clean, go to bed, take my medicines, do some exercise, take breaks from my computer, don't use my computer for more than 2 hours per day,

Watch some TV I hadn't seen yet, read if there's nothing on television, listen to radio plays if I really do want to hear them and they are not pretentious or something else about them that causes anxiety over them

Then I should be OK for just about everything.

Writing after he had decided on the last things in the above paragraphs, he says,

I had to go out to get some essentials from the shop that was as well some exercise before it got too late at night and I had not remembered to do until only then. And I wanted to clean up a bit before a visitor came but couldn't do all of it by the time they arrived. So I have more exercise, more cleaning, reading, television and radio to do before bed that is beginning to feel a bit familiar. Yet hopefully I have decided one thing that is not to use my computer so much. But I know that won't work if a project needs working on and that I have been thinking about. So really, it is a bit disappointing except that I might decide not to go online any more.

But if I had a good mind and thought I was doing different and decent art or just entertaining my friends by being an artist that was believable, I could really still have a cyber life and it might be a positive benefit in my life. Yet, I really have a reason now to believe that I might not just go online anymore. And I could never even beforehand take breaks from the computer let alone use it less no matter what I did. This is only unless I had no new ideas for creative projects. Or it was only if really nothing much had happened that day to write in my diary.

'It really may to reduce to not spending so long on your computer you can't concentrate and do normal things such as clean your home or go out for a walk or do some exercises. Also, you're not spending so long on your computer and not concentrating as well that you're not doing enough of other goals such as television or reading so that you don't have normal social skills'.

Television although it is stories, news, sport and you would think everything does have something similar about it. This is in that it uses TV cameras, moving picture and sound together, actors, presenters and scripts. As well, TV shows cost money to make and need a professional crew to make them. Also, they have to be well researched when so many people see them. TV companies are well-known brands and institutions. They have a reputation. And there is a lot similar about people who work for any TV Company or Production Company and the institutions themselves.

For good social skills, don't talk only about television. This is because there really is something similar about it that will sound like you're talking about the same thing if you mention more than two or three TV shows. Also, talking about television comes from the same part of the brain that might be what people really object to. You appear to have better social skills if you spend the same time also listening to radio or reading. This is despite not having any better memory then you did previously when you were only watching television. Though, you might have better concentration not watching so much television as you might do otherwise that is a direct result of it.

Television can have screen radiation but then, even when it doesn't have screen radiation such as you have a low radiation or no radiation at all television set or a small televisions set, you still have flashing images that can affect concentration and any television set will have electricity going through it that is electromagnetic radiation. As well, watching television, listening to radio and reading keeps up your own interest more than just television on its own and so you won't become so bored generally in yourself. Again part of this boredom is that you use a different bit of your brain, you have less radiation and you're doing different things. Also, you might have a chance of talking better to people and making better friends or getting on with your family better. And it will feel more relaxed to do so when you are not as well just talking from the same part of your mind the whole time even for yourself doing it or living generally.

Chapter 5, Some Help or All

Do self-help books cause worry and anxiety themselves? In a way, they clearly do by asking you to set goals that even just by chance you might not succeed at. But then, what achievements has man made ever without setting some goals? It is really such a basic thing of human nature that you need to plan for success. Otherwise, 'it isn't ever going to happen'. And self-help books really do give a lot of advice that is really quite good advice on how to plan. Possibly, you really could achieve something that you hadn't beforehand. And you might really have a better life in a number of different ways. For example, people can save some money, feel fitter, be happier or do more than just sit in front of the television as some other people do.

Yet for others it can be a vicious cycle of planning to be a success, failing and then planning again. Only when somebody has made some improvements and seen some progress might you cut this vicious circle. Also, you can have better sex, relationships, and probably really everything else. This is perhaps except the one thing they tell you about that is becoming a millionaire. You would probably need a degree in accountancy or business and have some business contacts or started working in a business as a young age. So it is odd in a way that this still is held up to be the dream. And some people can pursue this particular dream to their detriment when they just have average jobs or they are the office boy.

Possibly, self-help is a publishing phenomenon for good reasons. And nobody is hurt. That is except a few unfortunate people that probably have poor minds anyway that they should not really try to be any type of success. Still, they can always try cooking for themselves, doing some exercise and sleeping better that might improve their brains. And it really is something to offer people anyone might want for the price of a cheap paperback book. That is you can fulfil all your dreams. And it says how to do it in the book.

It might not just be a con. Yet, it can work for some people at least in some ways and for some things in their lives. Nonetheless, for some people you're putting them on a treadmill where they are going to get nowhere fast. But then, their lives might not have been so great beforehand anyway. Who is the loser? Only someone who didn't read his books properly about it or who lost his books and didn't just replace them might still be confused. Yet, there is some room for confusion and the author hopes that this book helps some people for whom self-help was something they didn't want to do any more.

One tip is if you know you're succeeding a bit and you can see the end in sight, then the pressure is off and it means you no longer feel stressed about it or spend too long planning and problem solving that you don't have to do now either. In fact, this is just common sense that you build up a body of knowledge to help you. Then, you don't anymore have to learn always-new things. And thinking what your plans would be that might really help the average person is another tip. This is if you are just an average person. A health plan might be to do more exercise, cook, sleep better and clean your house. And a goals plan might be to watch enough TV or to read that you have decent social skills. That keeps it simple, doesn't it?

Normality they say is boring. But don't go back to using a computer too much or all the other things you use used to do just because you feel a bit down. This is having done everything already so you felt there was nothing left to do. Normality is not really an achievement even if your 'normality' is on a higher level than what you did beforehand. And normality is just having enough money to live off, having a girlfriend, normal social skills and not being overweight.

With this book if you have already tried other self-help books, then perhaps you can do what the books really said you should do and that you wanted to do but still you just felt something was missing. Or there really could be a big hole in your life that needs filling somehow. This is when you might generally have only a few friends, a problem family, a precarious or low income or other situations. But then, self-help can still help you with these. If the last self-help book you read said perhaps you should really have given up by now, then self-help can still help you. Possibly, it did not waste too much of your time. Instead, you can just concentrate on doing some exercise and keeping fit, cooking a meal for yourself, tidying up after yourself and going to bed at a reasonable time.

Also, you can just watch TV if you want. As well, you can read a book if you really do find one that is more interesting than television. This is even for you. And it's probably when you love your telly. There are good reasons for this but television itself can cause depression, poor concentration and an inability to plan or do exercise. And computers are worse. Who said reading was too intellectual? Or that radio was old fashioned? You could just do some of these to get a better life and not worry what they say about them. That is the final tip in the book and it may be the only necessary one. Alternatively, if you have watched a lot of television or you've use a computer a lot, then don't expect too much for yourself. Nor expect too much of yourself if you're just feeling a bit tired that explains it... and... But that would all be another self-help book.

The End

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