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Friday, December 8, 2017

Your Book Helps Me a Lot

Hi Curtis,

My name is ____________ I bought your book at your booksigning.  We were there and you signed it too.  I have been reading it because I was or I am  interested in knowing how our brain works when going through depression.  I had an episode of depression several years ago.  Because my culture super huge stigma of this type of disease I was clueless about when I was experimenting it.  So, this lasted for about two years; it was awful.  Recently, well let me tell you, to compensate for what I was thinking the first time I tried to go off that thinking comparing it to something else just to help me to stop thinking about that specific thought.   Time passed and everything was going great but  until recently my mind unconsciously started bringing up a lot of the thinking I used to compensate for the first thought. That sparked a lot of guilt and condemnation again.   I started to read your book and it's so refreshing to know more of how my brain works and how I am not my thinking and so many more you wrote in your book.  However, I still feel like I am dragging but slowly coming up of this second episode.

I am a christian, and unfortunately, there are not many literature about depression also  I think because of the stigma in the christian community.  But now I am convince that is not only spiritual.   We are a fallen human race and somehow we have been busted in every area since the fall.  Of course, I know I am forgiven by God if I just repent of my sins but I still have to manage my life here on earth.  Now more than ever I am sure that God uses people like you who have invested  time doing lot of research about this topic and who also has experience the same situation in your own life. 

I am very thankful that people like you write books so other can benefit from your best input in your own experience. I feel I can Identify with you a lot, that is why you are the only one I can confide this situation with. My son, who is also in the field of psychology  knows about the first episode but not about this one.  He has also helped me a lot.  But of course I do feel that you have more experience and definitely more knowledge to help me just getting through this stage.  Even though I have been reading your book and believe me it has benefited me greatly, I still have this longing to talk to someone like you.  but I would really like if I can give you a call to have that connection with someone professional.  I don't have any health insurance so I don't have anyone to talk to in the professional arena.   I will provide my phone number if you could please reach to me and I would greatly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.  


PS.  I really hope you understand my writing.

Dear Sincerely,

Thank you so much for your emaiI. Receiving feedback such as yours is inspiring to me in my work. As for a telephone conversation, I have found over the years that telephone calls are not as successful as emails. In emails one has to coalesce their thinking into some kind of question or statement and that is most of the work already done.  People often answer their own questions just as well as I could. I will be glad to correspond with you by email. This way anytime you feel shaky, night or day., you can email me and I will answer you right away. This way you can count on my friendship as one human being to another. In one area I know more than you but there are some areas in which you probably know more than I do. A.B. Curtiss

Thank you Curtis!  It is nice to know that I can learn from you about this matter.  

God bless you 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Everyone Should Understand "Projection."

Everyone should know about the psychological defense mechanism called "projection." I used to be socially fearful and immature, they call it social anxiety now and proscribe Paxil for it. 

But the real problem with social anxiety or any feeling of social alienation is a psychological defense mechanism known as “projection.” It took me a long time to realize that I was projecting my own sense of coldness on others when I walked into any party or even a small gathering of my peer group. They weren’t cold and rejecting, I was cold and rejecting to protect myself from possible hurt from their coldness and rejection. 

When I understood this I found I could always find someone to become interested in. I might start slow with a waiter in a big party and make a few friendly comments to loosen up and get out of my focus on myself. I found most people were not rejecting and cold. 

The cure for social anxiety is the courage to risk hurt and reach out to interest yourself in and love other people. Everybody wants love and respect and we are on the Earth to give it to one another. Wise men say that every person is fighting a great battle and we never know what secret and heavy burdens the person next to us is carrying. Let us lighten their burden with showing that we care about them. Let us be each others’s angels on Earth. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

All I Feel is Empty Sadness



I had emailed you a few months ago about me starting college and realizing that I wanted to become a therapist. I started school in august. And it's been going pretty well. I had better control over my depression and anxiety. I have been seeing someone for the past year. It's long distance. She lives 5 hours away. But we haven't been official for the past month. Just slowly trying and seeing how things naturally grow.

The other day she told me about a girl she met who is in an open relationship and that they have a mutual interest. So she wanted to know if I still wanted to keep things the way they were for now with us. Free and open but still involved and letting things grow.

 I love her like no one else I've loved. And so I said yes that's fine. I'll talk to other people too. But I feel stuck. I can't pull out of this empty sadness and then I start to overthink and become almost manic about losing her to this other girl. I try to talk to other people but I have no interest in anyone but her. We've been best friends for 2 years. She's younger than me and still trying to figure herself out.

This has made me lose my ambition with my social life and it's starting to affect my schooling. I've tried reading the brain switch book but I can't give it my full attention. I need help rebalancing my brain basically. And stay focused on what I need to do in my life. But I do not know where to start.


The first thing to do when you are in a negative space in life is to head toward something positive. Every thought you think is either negative or positive. Everybody has great battles to fight. No one knows when they are going to be thrust on a new and desperate battlefield of life. It could happen in an instant.

So never feel resentful of your own battle by comparing your battle with someone else's life who seems more fortunate.

If your friendships are unrewarding or shaky, it is logical to believe that there is someone else out there who might make a good friend for you.  It is possible to have an uplift from a conversation with a passing stranger. That is a positive thought. Look forward to meeting someone that you don't even yet know. That is a positive thought.

Think not that life is your enemy but your friend and if you are brave and courageous, you will approach your own skirmishes by thinking that it may be hard but you will be the stronger for them. If you have work to do, then do it without waiting for your life to "get better". Our life only gets better when we become better persons.

Empty sadness means that you are concentrating on the negative in your life. If you are sad thinking about yourself, think about someone else. Wish someone else well. I am now wishing you well and it expands my own life and sends me in a positive direction.

There is always some "next thing" that you can do to improve your life. Some small task that needs to be done. Look around and find one small positive thing to do. The second thing will then present itself. There is always some "next thing" you can to and this is always a good way to start when you feel stuck. Don't hold up your life waiting for some "big problem" to be solves.

Problems are never really solved. If they can be solved, they are not problems but work. We tend to park ourselves in what we think are overwhelming problems because do not want to exercise our courage and take on the day. When we take on our life with a good attitude, we just grow bigger than our problems and thus transcend them to the point where they are no longer problems because we have something more positive on which to focus our attention. Hope this helps.

A. B. Curtiss


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I'm Anxious About Upcoming Test

My Question Is:

Shortly I will have final exam for becoming a tourist guide. It is my second time attending because first time I failed. It can be difficult exam, because as a guide I will lead small group of people ( including committee professors) either on the bus or outside.

My last experience was not so good, because I was so self-focused and I disliked feeling the stress before my turn. Thanks to you, I understand that it is mind’s survival mechanism and I know very well to direct my mind into different direction, using non-emotional and neutral thought.
Anyway, I am afraid that emotions will prevail again and that I will lose clarity of mind. Last time on the exam my brain was really excited to perform, I was maybe too confident and I made some big mistakes. 

For instance, I knew the right name for mountains ahead of us, but brain told me wrong names and it was only at the end that somebody told me I made a mistake with names of the mountains. I was really puzzled, because I was sure I was correct during the performance. 

To make it short, how can I focus my brain and keep calm before my performance starts. Usually it gets very wild minutes before I will perform. My heart starts racing and lots of heat goes in the head. 
The second question is, how to avoid depression that hits afterward, when such events are finished? Usually I need 2 days to recover and rest. 

I thank you again for this great work you do. Thank you for reply. 

My Answer:

Most people have social anxiety about speaking in public. Many have test anxiety. Both can be helped by a deep breath, relaxing the shoulder muscles and focusing on the task ahead rather than self-focusing on your fear.  

For public speaking, substitute a pat on the back for yourself instead of frightening yourself. “You studied, the words will come to you. It’s all right to hesitate and collect your wits. You can actually pause and look around at the crowd or the person you are addressing or even say out loud something like, I’m really happy to be here or some such innocuous phrase.

For tests, always use the self-falk “I know this, the answer is coming to me now.” Or any positive or neutral thought to replace the panic thought—“I don’t know this, I’m going to fail,” which are not helpful. Hope this helps.

As for depression, fear dumps adrenalin into the brain which is very hard on the metabolic processes and causes the down shift in energy. But fear accepted and the adrenalin used up in thinking or speaking activity does not have the same downshift effect. Remember that depression is a thought. It cannot think itself when you direct your thought process in another direction and refuse to think the depression. A. B. Curtiss

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I Lost the Feeling of Love for my Husband

Unknown has left a new comment on your post "My Husband is Mean and Yells at Me. I'm being Bull...":

Hi,,, I am 10 years married now to my husband, and it's starting to get really hard for me to endure my husband's attitude,, I have left my family behind to be with him, and now after 7 years of not seeing them is getting to me.. Anything that I try to do in a good way for him never satisfies him, instead its always mean words do degrade me and call me names while screaming so loud the neighbors hear him.. when he does yell at me he spits because he is talking so loud.. I forgive him for the way he does things but now I think I am falling in depression,,

We never do anything any more and I have lost the feeling of making love, it’s like I am dead inside... tears are starting to build up in my eyes talking about it.. I don't know what to do, I am afraid alone,, no help... it is hard I just feel like leaving, but my heart still clings to him... I just don't know what to do,, I give him everything and anything he wants but it’s not enough. His aggression is horrible!!!

Dear Friend,

You are living in a constant state of fear. But that is not your husband’s fault. At least in this country you can count on your personal freedom so if your husband is physically abusive, you can call 911. Meanwhile you are totally responsible once you reach adulthood to take care of yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually.

One clue is that blaming others is the way we avoid the pain of our own fear. Your husband has the same problem. His own fear is causing him to blame you for whatever is going wrong or whatever failure he senses about his own life.

 One of you has to wake up to the fact that no one is here on earth to take care of you and everyone on the planet is doing the best that he can at the moment. There is always the possibility of redemption. You are supposed to take care of yourself and share your life with others.

Most of us suffer from repressed fear left over from our childhood. Fear is painful. To avoid the pain of our own fear we, instead, focus our attention on what others are doing wrong. And we can always find it in the people around us. Especially in our own family.

Anything you do out of fear is not going to be inappropriate to your own life in some way. So all our action should be, as much as possible, out of love. Since you love your husband you are probably confusing the issue by thinking that if you give in to him, it is an act of love when it may, instead, be an act of fear and therefore have a totally inappropriate outcome.

Anything you do out of love is bound to be appropriate to your life in some way. So you must take care of yourself in these adverse situations with your husband out of your love of doing the right. you won’t be able to do that unless you can call upon your courage by acknowledging your fear first. I had the same problem many years ago and my marriage at that time was very unhappy. I finally got the message and when he would raise his voice to bully me, or silence me, or criticize me I would say to myself “How can I take care of myself in this adverse situation.”  My typical response had been to slink away and get depressed.

After a while when my husband could no longer bully me because I was no longer impressed with the inappropriate way he handled his own fear, he was left with his own outrageous and bullying behavior and I could either walk away, perfectly happy with myself, or point out to him that I was not impressed that he was so out of control.

It is hard work to be a human being sometimes. But we can’t blame others for our failure to take care of ourselves. And you can visit your family whenever you want.

A lot of information on this topic is on my depression website or on my blog (you are not the only one  who is struggling) or in my book DEPRESSION IS A CHOICE.

I’ll be glad answer any other questions you have.  A. B. Curtiss

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I Refer to Your Book Often

Dear A.B.

I met you at one of your book signings a year or so ago. I have referred back to your book "Depression is a Choice" many times. I find it a valuable read, considering the alternative systemized approach of prescription drug solutions that have NOT enhanced my life. It has been a tough battle and I want to win-without prescription drugs dragging me down.

I would like to surround myself with like minded people. Can you offer any suggestions with CBT groups or perhaps an up-coming lecture to attend? I want to break out of this programmed mindset and see things from a different perspective. Thank you for any positive feedback /suggestions /new directions you might have on this journey.Thank you again ,

A fellow traveler

Dear Fellow Traveler,

Thank you for your letter. The main thing to remember is that anything you do in a proactive way by thinking anything other than a depressive thought, is heading       your mind in the right direction 

And if you keep heading in the right direction, since the brain always follows the direction of its most current dominant thought and you can make any thought dominant by thinking it over and over, you will ultimately be victorious. When depression hits, you do the same proactive thinking,

You might check into some of the possibilities at the Deepak Chopra Center in Carlsbad, CA. They have many valuable programs and updates.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Your Work Connects Well with non-dual Eastern Wisdom

Dear AB

I read your books some 10 years ago and today I again find so much refreshment and clarity in what you say. I tried to understand and study non- dual wisdom from East. I think your work beautifully connects both. The life of a person and awareness which we all are as one source. The understanding how the brain works and how one thinks is very important and I think it is like a pre-qualifiaction if we really want to re-cognize who or what we are in the absolute sense.

I would like to ask you, if you also study or learn about the non-dual wisdom (Advaita Vedanta) or Self Knowledge?

My second question is, why are humans so attracted to self centeredness and thinking about one self-misery is so much easier than thinking a neutral thought? I know it very well for myself and it looks I am just starting again from the start. Like you say, it is a good news that our brain has endless capacities for new neural acitivities.

I want to thank you for your effort you put in through writting and speaking. The video on your website is amazing and gives us very important message.

With love from Europe,

Dear With Love from Europe

Thank you so much for your letter. I’m happy that my work has been helpful to you.

To answer your first question: I studied Vedanta under Dr. Alan Anderson of San Diego State University. This great professor is no longer there but I began to understand what an unusual teacher he was when I realized that there were three members of the class that were quantum physicists who had traveled from Los Angeles to San Diego three days a week for ten years to study under him. They helped the class understand some of the Eastern religion maxims in terms of quantum physics. Lately I have been studying the work of Deepak Chopra.

As to your second question: The reason we are all so self-centered is based upon our primitive survival instinct, our flight or fight response, which gives us increased energy in times of danger and which can also be triggered by other events than real danger. We must not forget that the mind is basically a defense mechanism and therefore as paranoid as a secret service agent looking for something that might go wrong when the President is traveling. It is our default mechanism when we are not engaged in other on- purpose thinking activities.When we allow ourselves to slip into accidental rather than on-purpose thinking we can easily trigger the fight-or-flight response because it is always turned on and ready to defend us.

 A. B. Curtiss