Monday, October 25, 2010
Some of My Early Experience With Mood Change
I'm editing my book Depression is a Choice to put it on Kindle. Yesterday, I ran across this paragraphs about my early experience with getting control over my mood change and thought it might be a helpful addition to the posts lately.
"When I was depressed I, too, heard people say that depression was caused by self-pity and it helped me “keep a lid on myself,” out of shame, in front of those people. (Sometimes it is a great source of strength that we do not dare to show weakness in front of our fellows) Later, as a therapist, I noticed that everyone who believed that depression was caused by self-pity didn’t suffer from depression. One of my first investigations was to find out if these people believed such a thing because they didn’t get depressed, and were simply ignorant of the pain the rest of us had to endure. Or was it the other way around? Was the reason they didn’t get depressed directly due to the fact that they had that belief?
I concluded that the reason some people don’t suffer from depression is because they believe it is caused by self-pity, and therefore they simply refuse to concentrate on how bad they feel and, as an act of will, turn their attention to something else the moment depression falls upon them. It was my first important clue. My second important clue was people who believed that they could be happy if they just “put their mind to it,” and acted “as if” they were happy, whether they “felt like it or not.”
At first I considered such people stupid, boring, phony, and shallow. Then, when I found I could replicate their experience, I learned from them that the painful strategies of the primal mind can be fooled into “standing down” if we act “as if” we’re happy, and before long we will actually feel happy. This is corroborated by other therapists’ work. In his book on depression, Terrence Real encourages his patients to do the behavior and let the feelings follow later–to fake it until you make it. Which is really just another way of saying we should choose to fund our behavior by the use of higher-mind principles no matter how we feel, and let the resulting rational and creative thinking effect a positive mood change in the primal mind, sooner or later, as a result.
To be honest, in the beginning my mood control was more clever than wise as I often slipped right over into mania, of which I was sublimely unaware. The important thing about these experiences was that they taught me to question the reality of things that I had always taken for granted. I began to question the reality of my depression. This was the paradigm shift in attitude necessary to develop the concept of Directed Thinking.
But please understand that I am not just talking about intellectual conjecture. I experimented with myself by initiating behavior different from the usual just to see what would happen. When I got depressed I did something other than just taking to my bed. Anything else. It is not possible to question the reality of depression without some actual experiences that cause one to question it.
Much later I found the neuroscientific explanation for the positive outcome of these experiences, such as the mood management by those inveterate “happiness thinkers.” The mood change comes about because their very specific choice of thoughts or action activates neural activity in the higher mind, thereby causing a lessening of neural activity in the primal mind, where depression is located."