Sh*t Happens: Lessons for dealing with life’s ups & downs

Author Kyle MacDonald is passionate about improving access to mental health and addictions treatment and educating the public about psychotherapy
Found in: Book Reviews / Self-help
Author: Kyle MacDonald
Book Year: 2023
Publisher: Upstart Press, Auckland
ISBN: 9781990003677
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Sh*t Happens: Lessons for dealing with  life’s ups & downs

Full disclaimer – I know Kyle Macdonald. Kyle and I have been on TV and radio together and if I am straight with you the reader, Kyle is always worth listening to. If Kyle were beside me while I write this review, I am pretty sure he would say everyone is worth listening to. And he would be right. Kyle has done over twenty years’ worth of listening in his role as a psychotherapist, so when I found out he was writing a book I was really interested to see the result because I know first-hand of his passion for people and people’s mental health.

If you start at the book’s title Shi*t Happens you know now that this isn’t going to be your stock standard book about life’s ups and downs, I mean the first chapter is titled - Are we all a bit mad? In writing the book Kyle has often said that he hopes readers will think of the book as a map. “It contains a smorgasbord of helpful things I’ve learnt along the way. Hopefully, this map that I unfurl in front of you will show you some things that people learn in therapy, and then help you be more selective in the ways you approach your emotional world.”

Kyle has brought his wealth of psychotherapy experience, mental health knowledge, and his personal life and shows us ways that we can all cope with (or accept) life’s ups and downs. Because like it or not they will happen to us all. The explanation of many psychotherapy/mental health/wellbeing concepts (in terms that all readers can understand) is outstanding and makes the book relatable.  

Without revealing the full contents of the book, just some of the topics Kyle covers in his book are  anxiety, emotional dysregulation, mindfulness, death, being a parent, being a teenager, and parenting a teen. Believe me when I say I have only just scratched the surface of the content of the book. But what you should be able to tell from this snippet of topics is that Sh*t Happens is a book that has something for everyone. Kyle explains in the book the concepts that he uses in his practice to help people understand the repeated behaviours and patterns they (or their loved ones) fall into especially under stressful circumstances.    

If I am being completely honest with you most mental health, self-help books that I own normally only last for one read. I then trade them in to my local book exchange and then the contents of the book are normally forgotten quickly. But Kyle’s book Sh*t Happens still sits on my bookshelf some six months after reading it and it’s not because I know Kyle (trust me my copy isn’t even autographed). But because it has become a great reference for me with ways that I can cope with things when ‘Sh*t Happens’ in my daily life or perhaps when I am looking for a ‘why’ when somebody behaves or reacts in a certain way to a situation. 

If you want to read a book that explains why you do what you do, or what other people do when Sh*t Happens, then do yourself a favour and go and get a copy of Kyle MacDonald’s ‘Shit Happens: Lessons for Dealing with Life's Ups and Downs’ because as we all know sh*t does happen to us all eventually no matter who or what you are. 


 Review by Bryan Ward, Senior ‘Constable Bryan’ Ward, Q.S.M  

Sh*t Happens: Lessons for dealing with  life’s ups & downs

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in mental health and wellbeing topics.