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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Three More Questions

There are three more questions that I wanted to answer from the letter in the last post.

3. If someone asked you in less than one minute explain to me the best you can what depression is and why you think it is choice, what would you say?

3. ANSWER: Depression is a neural pattern (habit) of despair and hopelessness that triggers off suddenly or when the fight or flight response is triggered by downer thinking. There is a chemical consequence in the brain for every thought one thinks. The depressive neural pattern will be stronger and more compelling the longer one stays in depressive behavior—thinking about how depressed you are, concentrating on how bad you feel, withdrawing from interacting with people, talking in a sad, weak voice, and withdrawing from physical or mental activity that might lead to more positive thinking and therefore more positive emotions. The choice concerns one’s behavior when depression hits. You can get busy with exercise, work, entertainment or interacting with others to distract yourself from your painful feelings and pursue positive activity which can lead to better feelings. When you stop thinking depressive thoughts, the brain is not encouraged to continue to produce stress chemicals because the fight or flight response powers down.

4. Will my mom most likely be like this for the rest of my life? If so, will she ever be able to have a normal relationship with me?

4 ANSWER: Not every one has the intellectual understanding, the knowledge of helpful mind techniques, the sustenance of some faith in a higher power which can come to one's aid, or the physical stamina to pull themselves out of depressive thinking. If you are self-consumed with depressive thinking  and behavior, it is almost impossible to get out of depression. The neural pattern continues to re-trigger. It is not possible to have a reciprocal loving connection with someone who is depressed because depression is an extreme disconnect from present reality and a shared reality with others in favor of an extreme concentration upon one’s own painful inner emotional experience. 

It is possible to have a fairly normal relationship with a depressed person but the non-depressed person will have to take the more active role. It is more difficult to connect with a depressed person. But there are many other reasons that make it difficult to connect to another person. We are all a varied combination of good qualities and the seven deadly sins.  Once we reach adulthood, we start to understand that our happiness does not depend upon our relationship with another person. Our happiness depends upon self-handling our own negative emotions, accepting them, and moving forward with our day in some positive direction by learning how to take care of ourselves despite our very real and frustrating difficulties.

5. How will this most likely affect me and my younger sisters as we continue to grow up with a mom who is never quite 'there' (physically and mentally)?

5 ANSWER: The answer to children of families whose parents have failed them is for the older ones to help the younger ones and draw the family circle together to include the failed parent to the extent possible but not to count on the failed parent for guidance and nurturing because it is beyond their capability. Guidance and nurturing will have to come from others, from other relatives, from caring friends, from mentors, from self-education and books and from ones own developing spiritual strength as one steps forward with hope and faith in a higher power that can be continually called upon. The only option should be to proceed in a positive direction both physically, mentally and spiritually. Negative thinking and negative behavior should never be an option. Negative thinking and negative behavior will occur. They should be acknowledged, accepted and one should move forward anyway, in a more positive direction.
I am convinced that the truth of life is available to any human being, but they must find it by continually turning away from the negative toward the positive. Nothing good comes from bad. Good only comes from good. Nothing positive comes from the negative. Ever. Hope this helps. 
A. B. Curtiss

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I acknowlege your experience and credentials but respectfully disagree with your position on depression. Moreover, your advice to readers that depression is a weakness and that it is a learned/habit behavior is very disappointing. Depression took me by surprise and brought me to my knees. I spent more than a year fighting feelings and physical ailments that I had never experienced before. The harder I fought the stronger the depression(I didn't know it was depression at the time) persisted until my body just gave out. I do not agree with your take that depression is due to weakness, lack of exercise skills etc. I sought help once I realized I couldn't fight this thing on my own (still not knowing what was making me feel and act this way.) I acted on all recommendations and excercises learned in cogitive therapy. I attended several sessions of 8 week classes. Even with all my natural strengh, perseverence and dedication to applying the cognitive skills, depression still took over. I am certainly not weak. I completed my MBA in the middle of having my second daughter,even nursing her between classes. I finished a marathon after pulling my groin on mile 13. I climed the corporate ladder passing my male peers. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I am not weak but I was still taken down. I spent a long period of time in the hospital. Of course many combinations of medication and nothing worked. Finally after deep soul searching and research I decided to try ECT. My doctor and ECT saved my life. Everyday is still a very difficult road. I have had three relaspes including the one I am fighting now. Reading your comments on weakness, brain habit etc. are offensive and quite frankly demotivating. I just hope someone at the bottom of their rope does not read your site because you may be responsible for pushing them over the edge by insinuating it is their fault. We are lucky enough to live in the USA so we have freedom of speech, but I fear that your advice may push people over ledge. Your advice for the people closest to depression sufferers is irresponsible at best. You are communicating that depression is in the head of the sufferer as a learned habit and due to weakness they choose to live this way. People with depression need love, support and understanding and those closest to sufferers need love, support and understanding too! It is not the fault of anyone and weakness has nothing to do with it. Your thoughts are as silly as saying someone who died of cancer died becuase they were too weak to fight it, so it is their fault that they died. I expect that you will tell me I AM being strong becuase I keep fighting. You make it sound so easy to just fight the "learned habit brain behavior". I don't know how long you have suffered from depression (I assume you suffer since you have such a bold opinion)but your approach and view on depression is in the minority. God Bless any readers suffering from depression. It is an illness no different from other illnesses and it is NOT your fault or due to any weakness.