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Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm Sorry to Tell You this but You are Wrong and Disrespectful

I had an anonymous  comment on my post We Have No Idea What Percent of our Thinking is On-going Negative..."October 18. 2010:

“I am sorry to tell you this but you are wrong. Studies show that football players who have a lot of concussions missing brain cells get depressed. Also the chemicals in your brain can be off or it can be genetic. Please try and be open minded because you cannot make up a disease that millions of people have. This is disrespectful.” Anonymous

I pass along this information, not because I am not respecting people who suffer from depression, but because I absolutely respect their ability to take advantage of ideas and processes which are not well known to the general public, outside of the field of neurobiology.

It is certainly true that there can be tissue damage to the brain due to physical trauma, and the capacity for self-management of thinking and mood will therefore be limited. But for a normal brain that hasn’t been damaged by physical trauma, and chronically goes in and out of depression, obvious there isn’t tissue damage involved.

By knowing our brains work, how we actually get from one thought to another, and the importance of neurotransmitters and neurobiological processes like the process of pain perception  to getting out of depression, we can learn how to manage it. Psychiatrists, instead, point to chemical imbalance as a “probable cause.”

However there is a chemical consequence in the brain for every thought we think. If we think the thought lemon, there is a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes the physical symptom of salivation. The chemical imbalance rights itself when you stop thinking the thought lemon and you stop salivating.

A depression pamphlet from Kaiser Permanente states right on the front page “nobody knows the real cause of depression.” Once you know how your brain works, and that depression is only located in the subcortex, never in the neocortex, it is only common sense that if we are depressed  we should think thoughts that stimulate neural activity in the neocortex, our thinking brain, instead of our subcortex, our emotional brain (where depression is raging) .

It can be shown by neuro-imaging that some thoughts stimulate neural activity in the neocortex and other thoughts stimulate neural activity in the subcortex. This is not a matter of disrespect, this is a matter of science and anyone can check it out by hooking themselves up to a neuro-imaging machine.

As far as a genetic connection with depression. There is no medical evidence that points to depression as being inherited rather than a family, group, or or cultural “contagion” of adoptive thinking habits and behavioral strategies. See the book Depression is Contagious by Dr. Michael Yapko. There is medical evidence that depression is contagious.

There is ample medical evidence that the brain always follows the direction of its most current dominant thought and you can make any thought dominant by thinking it repetitively. This is how you can effect a mood change if you wish to make the effort. Again you can check this out with a neuro-imaging machine.

I was in a science museum in Connecticut last month that had a neuro-imaging set-up where  even children can hook up to the machine, lower their brainwaves by thinking non-stressive  thoughts and watch their brain activity on a screen go from agitated to calm.

Knowing about these things, things  like the process of pain perception is so important. All depression is produced in the subcortex  and the signals must go up the brain and be, not only received, but acknowledged in the neocortex before you can be depressed. With the use of interstitial choice you can block the message in the neo cortex that depression is being produced  in the subcortex and the depression, without your concentration on and acknowledgment of it, will soon fade in intensity.

People, including doctors and psychiatrists, who don’t know much about neurobiology will be necessarily limited in their ability to handle their depression. Unfortunately most doctors today are rushed and too dependent on pharmaceutical salesmen who are marketing their latest drug. While the cover story this year in Newsweek magazine (Jan 29) tells us that new research shows antidepressants are no better in the treatment of depression than placebos

Some people, just because they hear it constantly in ads from pharmaceutical companies, or read research funded by pharmaceutical companies get boxed into thinking they are the helpless victims of depression.  This is a hard psychological position from which to manage their depression.

It is sad that my work as a cognitive behavioral therapist to offer exercises and information to people who want to become self-responsible and learn how to direct their thinking and moods  to get out of depression  would be thought to be disrespectful to depressed people.

You don’t have to believe in the exercises. Do them and try them out for yourself. There are no negative side effects to educating yourself as to how your own brain works, or doing mind exercises to improve your management over your own thinking and moods. A. B. Curtiss


Anonymous said...

I agree with the person that sent you that comment this blog may be hurting peoples feelings

Anonymous said...

Maybe its the title of your book Depression is a choice....that could bother someone.

A. .B. Curtiss said...

The title of my book was decided by my publisher, Hyperion. My title for the book was "The Woman Who Traded Her Mind for a Green Frog."

"Green Frog" was the first mind exercise that I stumbled into while I was in the throes of a major depression. That dumb little exercise got me out of the worst of it, after going in vain to psychiatrists for 30 years for some common sense answer to my manic depression. I wrote about that incident in my book Depression is a Choice.

I never took drugs for depression. Antidepressants had not worked for either my father or my brother who were also diagnosed with manic depression so I refused to take them. I'm convinced that both my brother and I "learned" how to succumb to depression from our father, rather than try to get ourselves out of depression. Anyway, this dumb little exercise opened my eyes to other possibilities that neither I nor my psychiatrists had ever considered.

I still don't understand why it would bother someone to know they can actually do something about their own depression. Why would they be offended? Why wouldn't they be thrilled?

Are saying to me that people are satisfied that their depression is not their fault, and they don't want to be disabused of that conviction? And therefore, they are offended by any suggestion that they can do something to help themselves. Is that what you mean?

Ginger said...

There is no reason to defend or explain, A.B. There will always be people who don't embrace your work, as it is very unorthodox. You know that.

Moreover, sometimes the most difficult things to hear are the ones we need to hear the most in order to grow. There will always be people who don't want to accept that fact.

While it indeed may be tough to hear what you have to say sometimes, I never doubt your wisdom or compassion. You share what you have learned to be truly benefical. You have never suggested that your approach was easy to implement. You have always insisted that it requires hard work and dedication.

Many people don't want to do the work. They want to take a pill and get sympathy. Being told I have a disease brings me attention and provides me with "strokes." I can complain, exert little effort, and win sympathy and attention if I follow the medical model's approach to treating depression. But functioning this way will insure that I stay depressed!

You don't coddle people, you believe in people. You believe that we can do what we need to do to win the battle over depression without drugs.

In my view that is far more loving and respectful than behaving as if we are helpless to control ourselves and our moods without medication.

A. B. Curtiss said...

Thanks for the supportive comment, Ginger. Sometimes it does get discouraging to get negative hits even though you know this is the way it has to be. I tell this to others and, of course, I need to take my own medicine. When you stand up to be counted for something, you make yourself a target for something else. A. B. Curtiss

Anonymous said...

Maybe those first people did not know where you were coming from? I think they jumped to conclusions. Keep going A.B I am sure your work has helped many.