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Friday, July 2, 2010

There is No Easy Way Out of Depression


I'm sure you must get e mails all the time asking for help and I appreciate how busy you must be.

I am 28 years old and I have been very depressed since 16. I have just started seeing a good psychologist and I feel I can make some head way with her. I am currently caring for my mother who in in the midst of her third bout of cancer (this time the breast cancer has returned and it is incurable) they give her until sometime next year.

My ? is both my doctor and shrink want to medicate me. I have always refused meds but I am open to the idea that they might be able to help me. I am prepared to entertain the idea of taking 25mg of Zoloft a day ( I am only 47kg) I simply don't know what is better.

Do I push and fight and survive the way I have been going. I also work when I can as an actress and I start studying nursing next year. I am scared that the constant feeling of sadness and helplessness and anger and pain will only strengthen throughout next year.

Is Zoloft the easy way?? will it bring relief like doc's etc are saying?? I am so aware I need to cope next year, be strong and survive, and somehow get my life together whilst caring for the terminally ill on my own.

I know you are not a doctor but you have BEEN THERE and I trust your advice on this subject.

I worry a lot. I rely on Valium to sleep and I don't like the habits I have developed either to cope or the habits my depression has caused.

Any advice??? Ta (sorry Aussie for thanks) for your time. I wish you well.

Love J__________

Dear J________

First, there is no easy way to get out of Depression. Drugs may SEEM like the easy way but they don't help build coping mechanisms that make you a stronger, more courageous person. You need to be strong and courageous to get out of depression because you are, in essence, in a battle with your own brain.

About advising you on drugs. My first depression was age 12, and I spent years refusing drugs so I know nothing about drugs. I refused to take them myself so I can't advise you on that. But, although once being diagnosed as manic depressive --bipolar they call it now, I no longer struggle with it anymore because I have educated myself about how the brain works and how I can get it to do what I want instead of letting the brain go its own habitual way--chronically into depression.

You must listen to what your doctor has to say and decide for yourself. I personally think using drugs for changing your thinking is simply wrong headed. Taking drugs for changing your thinking is like bringing your car to the repair shop because it didn't take you to the right address.

Depression is a thought pattern. It exists as a neural pattern in your brain. But you don't have to use that particular neural pattern when it pops up. You can learn to choose another neural pattern to think. The brain is like your thinking car, it will take you to the thinking address that you command it to take you. The brain always follows the direction of its most current dominant thought. When you are depressed your dominant thought is how bad you feel. You are concentrated on that thought, so your brain takes you to the address of depression. You can make any thought dominant, however, by thinking it repetitively. You can get your brain to take you to the address of okayness. It takes strength and courage to learn to take the reins of your brain but you can do it.

I certainly think you are better off with mind tricks to get to sleep than valium. Unfortunately even some doctors know absolutely nothing about how the brain actually works. They talk about neurotransmitters but do not know what they really do as far as depression is concerned. It is better to learn HOW you think rather than to douse your thinking with chemicals.

Learn how you get from one thought to the other (it is by learned association). Learn how the brain is powered (it is not powered by neurotransmitters but by thought--neurotransmitters are merely the boats that carry the learned associations from one neuron to another.)

You must know about the process of pain perception which may be harnessed to get out of depression. I suggest you read both of my books which are very inexpensive on amazon.com and then make your decision. I can't tell you in one letter all the information I have written in 800 pages. DEPRESSION IS A CHOICE is the philosophy of how you get out of depression and BRAINSWITCH OUT OF DEPRESSION is the neuroscience of how you get out of depression.

I would ask your doctor what the process of pain perception has to do with depression and see what she says. Or ask her where in the brain the pain of depression is being produced (it is the subcortex)Then after you read the books you can give them to your doctor.

I did not find what I needed in the discipline of psychology to get me out of my bipolar situation, not even in cognitive behavioral therapy. I found what I needed in neuroscience, and educating myself about how my own brain worked so I could get it to work FOR me instead of against me.

I don't take private patients anymore but I answer anybody's questions via email and I do not charge for this. A. B. Curtiss

1 comment:

Ginger said...

It sounds to me like J.'s docs want to "medicate" her out of sadness, not depression. Isn't to be expected that a 28 yr. old woman or person of any age, would be feeling some "anticipatory grief" when caring for a terminally ill parent?

I understand that there is the "get you through a rough patch" approach to psych meds. Some docs who otherwise don't prescribe them, subscribe to the notion that drugs are helpful when a patient must deal with *daunting circumstances beyond their control.*

But most of life is out of our control. It just doesn't usually strike us that way until we are faced with life and death scenarios, I guess.

I wish J. could find others to companion her on this journey with tenderness & compassion. I'm glad she feels her therapist is "good," & maybe she will offer J. the support she needs, with or without drugs.

A.B., we all must experience fears when faced with serious illness & death in our families. Is this primal fear, since it is tapping into survival issues? We are driven by fear I would think, not only to survive ourselves, but to protect our kin?

Would simply allowing oneself to feel the fear, feel the sadness, feel the pain, help? Not with the view to wallow in it or heighten it, but to then release it? If a grieving person doesn't feel their pain, won't they repress it, causing further trouble down the road?

Cultural & psychological community expectations that we must not feel sadness or pain at anytime in our lives seems unreasonable, and frankly really strange to me.

Our mourning *will* turn to dancing, Winter turns to Spring, and the darkness opens to dawn.