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Depression is not a passive activity, it's exhausting. It's a pervasive and relentless despair, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Depression is not a passive activity, it's exhausting. It's a pervasive and relentless despair, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The World Health Organisation forecasts that by 2020 depression will be the second largest illness after heart disease. It is estimated that 10% of the Australian population will suffer a mental illness at some time in their lives. My Life As A Side Effect aims to define depression, overthrow stereotypes, and demistify and destigmatise it.

Depression is an ongoing illness that requires understanding and treatment in the same way that diabetes does. Mental illness shouldn't be a valid excuse for anything and everything, but it can be unpredictable and debilitating and therefore knowledge and awareness will make the world a happier and easier place for all involved. Many people and their friends, family and colleagues don't know where or how to get help. This book will point them in the right direction and bring them understanding.

My Life As A Side Effectis a loose diary of Milissa's depression and the journey to conquering / managing it, through drugs (prescribed and social), therapy, self-harm, relationship breakdowns, paranoia, anxiety, suicide attempts, understanding (from herself and others), love and maturity. Along the journey Milissa displays anger, despair and quite a bit of humour. Best of all it has a happy ending.

Milissa is currently full time employed, medication- free and in a happy and lasting relationship. Her story takes place in NY, Sydney and Newcastle. My Life As A Side Effect includes interviews with people who suffer and struggle to manage depression. They range in age, manifestations of the illness, and techniques and uses of drugs, therapies and pure willpower to manage it. Some of the testimonies are shocking, some show pure grit and others are inspiring.

My Life As A Side Effect includes interviews with medical professionals and practitioners. SANE Australia and Mental Illness Education Australia (MIEA) contribute fact sheets, information, and strategies for dealing with depression and stress on a daily basis.


Milissa Deitz takes us into the inner world, turmoil and blackness experienced both by those with depression and by many creative individuals. The juxtaposition of her own story with the experiences of others build to the point that there are multiple types of depression, with differing causes and differing responsiveness to available treatments. Her brittle, self-deprecating and whimsical writing style is in sharp comparison to the many dismaying experiences that she describes.

Gordon Parker, Professor of Psychiatry UNSW, the Black Dog Institute

I would like to take this opportunity to say that it is an absolutely FABULOUS book! You are to be commended on your courage and honesty about our experiences with depression. It is not easy to speak about and from my own experiences and by reading your book, yours as well, admitting to what goes on in your own world without being scared of the judgement, stigma, etc it is not an easy task. Your book is the first that I have read that really said what goes on in my world and so many others.

Fiona Read, Board member SANE Australia, anythingbutblue

My Life As A Side Effect is an impressive work. It is a great pleasure to give it my enthusiastic endorsement, because it is so well constructed, so well written, and so much needed.

Emeritus Professor Scott Henderson, AO

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    July 1, 2004

    Random House Australia

    224 pages

    RRP $24.99

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  • EBook


    September 28, 2011

    Random House Australia

    224 pages

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