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Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm On a Booksiogning Tour in NYC until June 7

Hi Everyone,

I've been booksigning in NYC this week and will return home on June 7. One interesting conversation I had was with a woman about her divorced husband. She said she would choose, as her next husband, someone who "brought out the best in her instead of the worst."

Perhaps that might be a good start. However, a real value in any relationship, it seems to me, is one that shows your your faults so that you can correct them. And who better to bring our your faults than a husband. The trick is to "get" the idea that blaming is the way we avoid the pain of our own fear. So when we start blaming our husband for his bad behavior, and we remember to turn the focus back on ourselves, we will experience that old repressed fear that we need to acknowledge and allow to finish. A. B. Curtiss

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Seem to be Losing my Memory

Dear A. B. Curtiss

I really appreciate the help you gave me during my period of depression. I now realize the input of thoughts have a huge impact with your mood. Since you are an expert on thought processes, I wonder if you can give me advice on a different challenge. I am making simple mental errors--things that are usually automatic Examples include trying to open my door with the wrong key and incoherent sentences.

We all make mental mistakes on occasion but it is happening too often on a daily basis. I use affirmations as well as visualization to counter these actions but it seems to reinforce it. It was happening most when I was in public, though now I am pretty relaxed but it is not clearing up. Should I stay the course or do you have a different possible solution? Thank you, T_____

Dear T____

You should check with your physician to see if you are suffering from short-term memory loss for some reason. A. B. Curtiss

Friday, May 21, 2010

What's the Point of Anything?

Hi again

My whole thing started just like this. In the middle of the class one day a bad feeling came with a thought why should fight this much for life to achieve so many things. What's the point? And I felt that something went way from me, and there is no warmth on my heart for what ever I do. Some times I do get the good feeling for doing things, but is just for a few second. Can you please give me an answer? thank you, E_____________

Dear E,

The trouble for most human beings who are not feeling good is that they have a lot of repressed fear that covers over their essential feelings of good will and saps their energy to engage with life. Trying to build good feeling on top of repressed fear never works, for you keep reaching “out there” for things to make yourself happy. If you could yourself to face your fear, allow it to surface and let it go, then you would recover your essential okayness and the zest for life. If you read again Chapter ten of Depression is a Choice, this will explain this more fully.

A. B. Curtiss

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Just Want Clarity and Organization and Consistency

Dear A.B Curtiss,

My friend J_______ introduced me to your wonderful memoir. He also helped me get off of the Cymbalta that I had been on for four years. That one book helped me through one of the most trying times in my life. I can't even say thank you enough for what you wrote in those pages. The pain you went through to give hope to so many people astounds me.

When I realized the importance of higher mind principles and the idea that my thoughts were thinking me rather than me thinking them I felt much more at home. It all felt so right. I realized that although I have this pain of mind it does not have to have me. Those ideas along with the many others pulled me up into clearer thinking.

I am writing you now because I have been bothered lately by what I call confusion, but not in the regular sense. It feels like my thoughts never finish, and they don't mesh together. It feels disjointed. Could it be the constant chronic back pain that I am in? I feel like I have gotten through one hurdle only to come to another.

I just want clarity and organization and consistency. What I have right now is confusion, forgetfulness and disjointedness. My fear is that if I am confused and forgetful, how will I remember or even know to tell myself those things that I learned in your book. They calm me and give hope. How can I make sense of things? If this is to many questions I will be happy with a generalized answer. Thanks for your help! –T_________

Dear T________

Physical pain is very enervating and causes confusion. What is causing your chronic back pain? Have you had an MRI? I had terrible back pain that was diagnosed as a slipped or ruptured disk by Kaiser but after two weeks of agony,where I could not lie down, only sit up, and consequently couldn't sleep much, I got an MRI .

They found the pain was caused by a synovial cyst between my 4th and 5th vertebra. I didn't opt for meds or surgery (they suggested removing the cyst but then they would have to fuse the 4th and 5th vertebra.) I asked them to explain what the problem was. They explained that a small flap of skin fills up with synovial fluid and impinges on the nerve causing the pain. Since it was a cyst that formed by a flap of skin filling up with fluid from the spinal cord, I figured that the treatment they offered before (for a supposedly ruptured disc), to remain immobile, was counter-productive. I figured if the flap filled up with fluid little by little, and I exercised perhaps I could force the fluid back out, little by little. I decided to do yoga and swim, and I was out of pain in a week. It worked. It hasn't come back but I do yoga and swim every day.

But not all pain can be dealt with so quickly and easily. You must know the source of the pain. If it is fixable, like mine, then take care of it. But if it is not fixable then you will have to do pain management before you can get clarity, organization and consistency. I suggest for chronic pain you read the book A Whole New Life by Reynolds Price. He had radiation treatments for cancer of the spine. His cancer was cured but it left him with excruciating chronic pain. After trying pain medicine, he opted for hypnosis.

Mind exercises can distract you from chronic pain the same way they can distract you from depression, but physical pain is much harder to distract yourself from than psychic pain. A. B. Curtiss

Dear A.B. Curtiss,

Thank you so much for your response. I have been to quite a few doctors and have gotten nothing conclusive. Some said it was disk degeneration disease. At the age of 25? cmon. They didn't know what else to tell me I guess. Then I found out that one of my ribs was loose and they said that could cause quite a bit of discomfort.

I finally decided to go to the University of Utah and have them do x-rays and what not. Previous to this I have had MRI's as well. This time they did a Firescan. Apparently it's supposed to fuse two pictures together to get even better results. The doctor I went to is world renowned. He came into my room for our visit. Looked over the scan and then looked at me and said that there is nothing wrong. That's the good news.

But... Why do I hurt? He put it this way. "You look like a pretty tense person." I agreed that I did. Then he went on to say that a person that wasn't as stressed as I might feel a slight sense of discomfort at times but that my tense state of body was contributing greatly to the distress my back was in constantly.

Right now I am in pain more than usual because I am at school and working and am a little more stressed than I normally would be. Your advice is very good advice. I have thought about yoga but the most interesting thing happens when my back starts to hurt less. I forget about it. I don't deal with it because it isn’t bothering me as much.

Right now I don't know that I can do yoga but in my less painful state I know I could. I just tell myself that I don't need it. It takes to much time. Whatever! IF I don't feel like doing it I think I’m going to take that as a sign that I should. So, You really do think that the constant pain is making me feel confused and scattered? Its not repressed emotions or things that I haven't dealt with or something else? Sorry for all the questions. Thank you so much for responding. –T_______

Dear T_________

It's a vicious cycle. Repressed fear also could be a problem. If you are having physical pain and there is no physical reason for it, you probably have a lot of repressed fear that causes body rigidity, and needs to be dealt with. You can deal with both depression and pain with mind exercises to take the edge off the pain in order to enable you to get on with your day, your work, etc.

However, that said, you can't have a successful life on top of repressed fear. If you don't know you are afraid, you won't call up your courage to deal with the trials and errors of the day. You will get more and more tense. A tense body is not a healthy body. Everything will seem difficult. You will retreat into distractions like physical pain, or blaming your bad luck, or criticizing others around you. Blame is the way we avoid fear. Read Chapter Ten again in my book Depression is a Choice. You said you had the book.

Take a yoga class or just get a tape and do some of the simple exercises. Don’t overdo it because if you are dealing with a lot of repressed fear, your body is starting to tense and get very rigid as a way of protecting yourself.

Look up some anti-stress exercises on my website or in Brainswitch out of Depression. Trancendental Meditation helps to relieve stress until you can address more of your fear. You don't have to take a course, look it up on the Web, read about it, then do it yourself. It's easy both simple and easy.

Read Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People to help with social skills and social anxiety.

Kaiser gave me a great book on back’s called Treat Your Own Back by Robin A. McKenzie.

When I was a young woman I wore one of those neck collars for two years to help me with my neck pain. Twice a week I went to a chiropractor and he relieved the pain. One day he said to me, Mrs. Curtiss I can get your neck in alignment, like we've been doing, and the pain subsists for a few days, but have you ever asked yourself why your neck keeps getting out of alignment? WOW.

The light dawned. I had something to do with this. It wasn't just foisted upon me. My problem was anxiety and repressed fear (well, I got the idea about repressed fear much later) I don't think I ever went back to him. I started on my journey of self-discovery, meditation, etc. I think I started with Trancendental Meditation first. This is a great way to get some idea of relaxation. It also got me more familiar with my brain and helped me to some idea of how one might be a less anxious and self-focused person. It's takes time. Don't give up. You can be completely well and whole.

A. B. Curtiss

Dear A.B. Curtiss,

Wow. You are good! I've been hampered by fear my whole life. The most interesting thing has been happening lately. I went back to school after 7 years of being afraid I couldn't do it. I'm doing it right now. There is fear. Fear that I will fail and fail miserably just like I have before. I'd remember instances when I was fearful. They were childhood memories that I had forgotten. I couldn't believe it. I have been fearing my whole life. All of a sudden I am realizing what that phrase " you have nothing to fear but fear itself" means. Fear is awful!! Ok ok not completely because you wouldn't function if you didn't have fear , but fear that is not taken into some action, That's awful. Fear paralyzes. It makes more sense now that I have been a very tight and tense person my entire life. I'm just beginning to see now that it really isn't me. My fear isn't me. Yep, Thank goodness Jacob told me about your book.

I've actually noticed that I've started to blame lately. I stop it when I notice it though because I read what an hindrance it is in your book. I've coupled your book with some writings by Jon Kabat zinn. Something in your book bothered me though. You mentioned that you weren't at the point yet to be able to just watch your thoughts while meditating. If you can't do that yet (maybe now you can) I hesitate to start meditating again because that is what I was doing up until recently. Does meditation make it more difficult to deal with emotions? What is transcendental? Also your book brainswitch has interested me a lot but I guess I fear (yuck!) that It won't be like your memoir. I'm sure it wont be because it's an exercise book. right?

I truly appreciate your time! Thank you again for the responses you have sent. Major enlightenment! Didn't you quote something along the lines that enlightenment is the realization that there is no problem? I love that. Thanks! –T_______

Dear T_________

You misunderstand me. I didn't say I wasn't ready to do meditation. I said I wasn't ready to meditate upon my depression, to use my depression as a meditation. I just get rid of it as soon as it rears it's ugly head. Maybe some day I'll just accept it, and meditate on it. I've even started to do that on occasion but I usually just give it up as a time waster, and do a dumb little exercise.

Read a little bit about Trancendental Meditation, it's a simple idea, easy to do. You'll catch on in a hurry.

My book Brainswitch out of Depression is more of a how-to book that gives you an education on your brain. Depression is a Choice is the philosophy of getting out of depression, Brainswitch is the neuroscience of getting out of depression.
A. B. Curtiss

Dear A.B. Curtiss,

Thanks for clarifying what I read. I understand why depression is not the best object of meditation. I will read about the Transcendental Meditation. I've already started looking at chapter 10 in your memoir. I have the better part of that chapter marked up and underlined. I'm going to go through it again. Also, I tried to find your book Brainswitch Out of Depression at the library but they don't have it so I'll look into ordering it. I did find How to Win Friends and Influence People at the library. Im comfortable with being social though so maybe I don't need to read it? Thank you for your fast responses! -T_________

Dear T_________

Dale Carnegie's book is unusual in that he understands deeply that your relationship with people should be based on what you give or share with them, not what you can get from them or manipulate them into thinking.

I'll be glad to answer any questions you have along the way. A. B. Curtiss

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm Chronically Depressed, Can You Help Me?

Dear A. B. Curtiss

I am chronically depressed. I am familiar with your techniques and writings and think they might be of very significant help to me. Could we speak briefly over then phone? I have some questions I'd very much like to ask you. I live in San Francisco. E___________

Dear E______
I will be glad to answer any quetions you have via email, no matter how complicated. I have found over the years that for someone to coalesce their thinking into a question does some very important organizing work in the brain. A. B. Curtiss

Dear A. B.
Thanks for your kindness, I will work on putting my questions together in a careful, comprehensive way. it may take a while but I shall indeed do it and I look forward to your responses and clarifications very, very much. E_______________

Dear Ms. Curtiss,

I have come up with one clear question. I have others I am formulating in my thinking- May I ask you this one now? In your experience, do your techniques per your books and clinical practice work well even for persons who have , like me, been very chronically unhappy/depressed?

Thanks for help, E____________

Dear E________

Yes, these techniques work for any kind of serious depression as you can see from the letters that people have written to me, and the reviews of my books. Whether or not you take drugs for these problems, learning how to get your brain to do what you want, training your brain, and building new healthier neural patterns in your brain can help immensely. If you know how your brain works, you won't give it the wrong signals, and you won't simply follow it along old habitual thinking lines, you will be able to take your brain in a new more positive direction. A. B. Curtiss.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's a Good Idea to Honor Your Major Commitments

I missed the 60s having babies while friends of mine were burning their bras. I was thinking this morning that I got way off track in the 1970s due to a heavy intake of new-age thinking and women's liberation telling me I didn't need to waste my talents cleaning kitchen counters, and wiping kid's noses, and above all I should be "true to myself." What did it matter that I already had four children?

It was perfectly all right to get a job, hire a nanny, or put the kids in daycare, get out in the "real world" and climb the ladder of success to become a CEO or found my own company. My first venture was trying to be a singer/songwriter. I learned to play the guitar, I bought a tape recorder, and though I got so far as to actually have my songs under contract to RCA in NYC, and to see a story about my trip to Nashville in Redbook Magazine, none of my songs ever sold.

I can't tell you how many failed business ventures I engaged in over a period of ten years. I started an advertising company, I started a Shopper's Guide for a tourist town, I started a catalog company, I owned a framing gallery, I sold real estate, I opened a gift store, I started a greeting card company,I bought a franchise for "Pop wheels--sandals that could turn into roller skates when you pulled the button.

It took me much too long to figure out that "doing whatever the Hell I felt like" could be mistaken for "being true to myself." Meanwhile my children were not doing well in school, my marriage was falling apart, I stopped setting the table for dinner, I was always "behind the clock" and if I could describe myself in one word I would have to say "driven." I also had to take some time out from these "manic" activities to spend a week or so, now and then, as I "took to my bed" with depression.

A single phrase woke me up as I was driving to work one day--"you should honor the major commitments of your life." I never thought of that before. That wasn't part of the feminist movement or new age philosophy. I kind of hung out with that phrase for a number of years and it was helpful.

When I rededicated my efforts to my marriage and my family, I realized how much time it actually takes to achieve a pleasant "lifestyle." How much creative effort it takes to run a home so that it is clean, attractive and unrushed-- clothes washed, dried and put away, kitchen counter uncluttered, with time to chat, make a cup of tea, and share the day's events.

Then when my family was pretty much grown, I went back to graduate school to become a therapist and help myself, because the depressive episodes kept getting worse and worse. I do look back and wonder why I didn't do better when I was younger--now I know all about raising kids, keeping priorities in order. I'm babbling on here. What's the point? Not sure. Everything turned out fine for me, all five of my children are successful, good-hearted people.

Perhaps the point I want to make here is that sometimes, when you're on the fence, that little phrase might come in handy--"you should honor the major commitments of your life."

Or maybe my point is this. I heard a woman recently say that she worked outside the home because she, personally, didn't get any big thrill from shining her stainless steel sink. And I realized how lucky I am that I do.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wanting What you Have is the Same as Gratitude

Yesterday I was talking about wanting as, perhaps, the antithesis of despair. This morning I had only a tinge of depression kind of like a stain left over from yesterday which hid in the brain shadows and ventured out. ZAP! It was easily dispelled with a moment or two of "1,2,3,4 who are we for" exercise. Then, before I got up, I lay in bed a few minutes and thought a bit about wanting. Maybe it was, indeed, a possible mood changer to think about wanting something.

Then I realized that it was important to want something you already have, rather than wanting something you don't have. Wanting something you don't have is a bit stressful. Wanting, or desire, as a kind of fear to get you going is a bit different. It's okay to want something you don't have in order to put a fire under yourself to strive to do better to attains your goal. And it's good to have goals. But wanting what you already have is a gratitude that puts you in a nice place to start the day and wouldn't be a bad thing to think about more often.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It is Hard to do the Simple Exercises to get out of Depression

I just want to say, this morning, that I know how hard it is to do a dumb little exercise when depression hits. I got hit with one this morning when I woke up and I couldn't believe the pain. Like the end of the world. AND I DIDN'T WANT TO DO ANY EXERCISE. Actually, as I look back and try to remember, I didn't WANT anything. I guess maybe you could even say that depression is the INABILITY to want anything. I never thought of that before. Maybe lack of desire, lack of the ability to want anything may be the same as despair. Maybe sometime for an exercise I'll try and want something. Easy to say that now because I'm not depressed. I don't know if that will occur to me when I get hit with depression.

At any rate, for me, I have committed myself that depressive feelings, despair, any kind of disturbing thoughts IS NOT AN OPTION FOR ME. So I started in with my old standby, "Yes, we have no bananas, Yes, we have no bananas." Then I morphed into 1,2,3,4, who are we for. And I kept at it for a couple of minutes. Then I got dressed and went out to do some gardening. I think I stopped doing the exercises as I was getting dressed, as I was thinking about getting dressed, and what part of the yard I was going to weed. By the time I got downstairs the depression was completely gone.

I also thought, later on, I wonder if I had not done the exercises and just let the depression go if it would have continued or ended on its own. I don't think I want to try that as an experiment, at least not right now. I spent too many years periodically not being able to get out of bed for two weeks. And I have decided that NO MORE THAN 30 SECONDS AFTER I GET HIT, I DO AN EXERCISE. I think it is important to catch depression right at the very first before it has a chance to leave its stain on your brain.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Your Work Most Valuable When Speaking with Patients

Dear Ms. Curtiss,
I wanted to make sure I could add a link to your website, as I have found your work most valuable when speaking with patients.

Kindest regards,

Dr. Watson
Associated Psychological Health Services
Toby T. Watson, Psy.D.
Clinical & Doctoral Training Director
2808 Kohler Memorial Drive, Suite 1
Sheboygan, WI 53081
920-457-9192 O
920-208-7226 F
International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology
Executive Director

Dear Dr. Watson,

You may add a link to my website. Glad to help. A. B. Curtiss

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How do you Fall out of Love with an Inappropriate Person You're in Love With


Okay, well I'll try and keep this short: I seem to have "fallen in love" with my best friend , who has a partner, and it is making me horribly depressed. I can't seem to get over the love, and it is holding me in depression. I'm still doing my best to go about my daily life, and have started using your exercises etc., but it is incredibly difficult to fend off the bouts. The two are not helping me maintain a good relationship with this person. I feel they have gotten more distant lately, probably because they have noticed that despite my best effort, or I might just be imagining it, but either way it only makes me feel worse.

I really just have no idea what to do, it all seems tied together in a complicated lot of fear, insecurity, etc. I'm also not sure which one precipitated the other. It could be the insecurity of the depression triggered the neediness that I'm calling love for the time being, or the other way around. They both started at the same time and they both seem to be feeding into each other.

Any advice you could offer would be unbelievably appreciated!


Dear C________
If you can distance yourself physically from the "loved" one whom you do not think it is appropriate for you to be in love with, if you simply do not see them for a while, cold turkey, the "love" will fade in two or three months.
In a year you will hardly remember your passion for them. If you keep seeing the person, the passion can last years. It is painful. However if you simply accept the pain every time it appears, it soon fades, as well. But physical distance is by far the easiest.

Seeing the person all the time is just self-torture. Distance yourself physically. You can pick up the friendship after the passion is over. The mating instinct is built into us to continue the species, it is strong, it seems like our very soul. It isn't, but it seems like it when it is happening. Afterwards we can't believe we ever felt that way.. A. B. Curtiss

Dear A.B.

Unfortunately, physical distance isn't an option as I go to college with this person, but never mind, I'll just have to take the path less traveled by and hope for it to ease in time. It's just a feeling and some thoughts, after all and I'm the one who is probably giving them all this significance. I'll try and just accept them like you suggested and see what comes up.

Dear C________

Also it helps to refocus your life. Everyone has some great talent that can define them. Perhaps you are not doing what you need to do to become a more independent and strong person in your own right. Do you have a life's work, a mission, a craft that gives your life meaning beyond the everyday mundane..

Do you have some "work" that helps to identify yourself to yourself as "I am that." In my own life, for instance, "I am a writer." I do other things, I am a wife, I love my husband dearly and he returns that love, but this in itself would not sustain me "in the cosmos" by itself. I help people get out of depression, I raise children and help with grandchildren but my core identity and the thing without which I would not be truly myself is that "I am a writer."

Earlier in my life I had a burning desire to play the guitar and sing which I did for many years but this was not my core interest. Behind this "burning desire" I always knew I was supposed to write something, some great life work. . Not great to anybody else, mind you, but great in my own eyes. It wasn't until late in life that I finally "got" what it was I was supposed to say. I did write that book. It is called The Children of the Gods and is my least successful book. But after I wrote it and published it, some great burden was lifted from my neediness. I felt I trod the world more solidly, assuredly. I had done what it was I was supposed to do. I had done what, since the age of 4, I realized I was supposed to do. I realized myself as "a writer."

Now and then someone will contact me and say it is the most profound book they ever read. One person did that the other day who was given the book 15 years ago and never read it until just now. I feel good about that. It sustains me because I know the work is good, whether or not most people understand it or not. All during my life, when things were terrible, when I was failing, there was always the thought in my mind that "someday I will write that book." And I did. A. B. Curtiss

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What do you think of Neurofeedback?

Dear Ms. Curtiss

Since my father`s death 8 months ago I suffer from severe depression, anxiety and obsessive thinking. I had episodes of depression when I was 12, but they disappeared and did not show up for 36 years.

Various kinds of strong anti-depression medication failed (it only got worse). The only thing that gives me some relief is a tranquilizer once in a while and Trazodon (75-150mg)which helps me sleep.

I am now on 75mg and want to reduce it even more (my doctors are with me). I already found some coping strategies which help me. Your exercises give me joy and I will start right away to use them.

All this is hard work, as you know quite well. Recently, I came across some new technology which seems to show amazing results in healing depression: it is a brain state conditioning, invented by Lee Gerdes. And I wonder what is your opinion? I’ll send you the link to the tape with greetings from Vienna, Austria.

Thank you, J_____________

Dear J

I didn't have time to listen to the whole tape. I got as far as neurofeedback, which absolutely works. But then you have to use expensive machinery. You can train your brain to do what you want without neurofeedback or biofeedback. To me, training your brain with neurofeedback, using the machinery to actually see your brain scans so you can watch the result of your thinking, is like going to the gym and using the treadmill, hooked up to monitor heart rate, etc rather than just going out the front door for a jog.

Neurofeedback helps with credibility, you are sure you are doing it right because you can see the result on the screen. But the machine doesn't do the work of building neurons, only your intention and will and yes, hard work, can do that.

A. B. Curtiss

Monday, May 10, 2010

How Can I Help My Depressed Brother?

Dear A. B. Curtiss

My brother is depressed to the point where he is totally debilitated. I am sick and scared for him. He is seeing a psychologist, a psychiatrist, is on drugs and went through 12 sessions of shock therapy. All to no real avail. He is still not functioning.

I purchased your book "Brainswitch out of Depression" and started reading it when I was visiting my brother. He took it and started to read it himself so I let him have it. While I did not read all of your suggested exercises, I did read some, and talked to him about them. I agree you can't concentrate on two things at once, your depression and some exercise, and what you recommend makes sense.

The problem is my brother cannot motivate himself to do anything but dwell in the past and on his depression. He is on several medications for depression, anxiety and paranoia. Still nothing is helping. He does not want to get out of bed in the morning, does not want to shower or do anything. We have begged him to exercise, but can only get him to go if we drag him. Do you have any suggestions on capturing the will of someone to help themselves? N___________

Dear N_________

Of course this is the million-dollar question, isn't it? How do you inspire the will of some someone to help themselves? Trying to help someone who will not do anything to move forward with their day is an exercise in frustration.

Depressed people are so CERTAIN that they are helpless. People who are coming from a POSITION OF CERTAINTY are just not open to new information. They have to first be moved to a POSITION OF UNCERTAINTY. We must get them to do some small thing, so their position of certainly is pierced, and they might question themselves as to whether they are completely helpless.

Your brother does not know he is afraid, and therefore he cannot summon up his courage to do anything about his life. When we don't know we are afraid we blame others, or other things other than ourselves for our failures, including our depression. Blame is the way we avoid the terrible pain of our own fear.

Therefore your brother thinks there is nothing wrong with him that he can do anything about. He feels that he has been attacked by a disease over which he has no power. The medications keep him docile and passive, so the normal anxiety and fear that gets people up and going will not be working for him.

This is very difficult. It's like shooting in the dark to know what is the thing that a person might reach out for at this low point of motivation. Psychiatrists tell us that depression deprives us of will. But this is not true. Depression only deprives us of motivation. Sometimes our love for our depressed relative can somehow supply the missing motivation.

But our interference in another's life must be delicate, and it takes time. You can't call for a fix-it session, and hand out orders. You have to "hang out," put up with a lot of nonsense, and sometimes, in the course of a lengthy conversation, there comes an opportunity to make some very small positive point. It can't be a negative point. To pierce the position of certainty.

For instance, it would do no good to say, "You should be more active, get more exercise, why not sign up for basketball at the Y." Rather, it would be better to say something like, "Remember how good you were in basketball. I saw some fellows playing at the Y and they looked like such clunkers to the way I remember you used to play." And then drop it. Don't go any further. If nothing comes of it, try again some other time. Advertising executives tell us that customers need to hear something 7 times before it sinks in.

You won't ever be rewarded with any credit for making a small point. You won't even know your small point has hit its mark until you hear the other person repeat it later on, as if he has thought of it himself.

Your brother is not really helpless, he CAN do anything, but he doesn't FEEL like doing it. This is a very secure and certain place, for there is no risk here. He can't lose anything. If he tries to do something, there is the chance he'll fail. You probably feels like yelling and screaming at him, but truthfully, only love and patience works.

In a way your brother has reverted to emotional infancy. He's telling himself he's helpless. But he's certainly not helpless to REFUSE to do anything. REFUSING TO DO ANYTHING is the only thing he can control, so he's not going to let it go easily. He can't control his real life, but he can control the fact that nobody can get him to do anything. The victim is always in charge of his victimhood.
I suggest that you get your brother to walk until he is tired, then at least he would have the benefit of some natural relaxation after physical exertion. This might interrupt the tension caused by suffering. And there would be some sense of accomplishment.

Perhaps some magical thinking might get him going psychologically. The Law of Attraction might capture his fancy. He might like to read the book "The Secret." Since he is addicted to depression he might just switch the addiction to something benign like the law of attraction. Often one addiction can be substituted for another. Why don’t you watch the DVD of "The Secret" with him.

Sometimes comedy DVD's give people some relief from despair by triggering off different neural patterns, and breaking up the continual negative feedback loop. But you would have to make him sit for it at first. People are extremely resistant to comedy when they are depressed. Too bad, for comedy is a good neural exercise.
The fact is that depressed people are only comfortable with the negative .

If your brother has some craft or trade, it might help to get him doing some small things. Again, this would activate different neural patterns other than the depressive ones. One man actually cured his own depression by quitting his white-collar job, and taking the lowly job of managing a newspaper route. His interactions with his customers finally broke through his sense of isolation and aloneness.

Sometimes you can break the sense of isolation by getting out in the wildness of nature. Looking at the stars at night give people the idea that they are part of the world, and as such, they feel a spiritual connection which they lose with depression. Any reconnection is good, even if it's connecting to a tree.

Getting somebody else to improve their situation is almost impossible. It's hard enough for us to improve our own situation. We can cajole, inspire, accompany. As long as we do it in a spirit of love, sooner or later, sometimes our love can make a difference. It can bring some doubt into the certainty of a depressed person that they have nothing going for themselves when they have our love. A.B. Curtiss

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Coming from a Position of Uncertainty

Dear Ms. Curtiss,

Well, I finally bought Brainswitch out of Depression & I'm enjoying it very much. It was a realization of my son's struggle with depression that impelled me over to Barnes & Noble to pick it up. I sat there & sped through the first 104 pages. It was at page 104 that I knew I had to buy this book.

I have actually struggled for so long with depression that I have come up with many of these strategies by trial & error - and necessity. I had to raise my son alone, so it was imperative that I find ways of functioning in this world.

I was chronically tired from the incredible amount of energy & courage it took for me to get through a day. One thing that helped me to find tools that work (because my parents are alcoholics) is 12-Step Alanon. Much of the wisdom in your book I found in my 23 years in Alanon. But I was unable to pass these skills on to my son.

I thought that it was just natural teenage rebellion that he refused to follow my example and do the things that work.I thought he'd snap out of it & start to choose happiness over his dark "stinkin' thinkin'" as it is called in 12-Step programs.

Your book is really helping me in reaffirming many of the things that I know.Thank you for your insights, many of which I did not directly know. I am not sure how to proceed with my son though, except prayerfully & gradually.

I am wondering if you have any direct strategies for helping a loved one. I thought I would send him a select page or two because he has already refused to read any books that I have bought for him. I have searched Brainswitch for just the right pages that might peak his interest. B_________

Dear B_______

It is very difficult to help someone else, even your own child, unless you have built up the kind of trust that when the person is confused, or hits some kind of wall, they ask you for your opinion.

The reason it is so difficult is that people are usually fearful, and it is their fear that has caused them to develop defensive strategies (such as drinking) to alleviate the fear. (Fear is extremely painful and most people repress it.) Mostly what fearful people fear is criticism. Even the suggestion of criticism. They just can't take it. They consider criticism an attack, rather than helpful, no matter how excellent and well meaning.

You can see people walking around with hunched shoulders and a caved-in chest because their fear has gotten them to take this protective posture (to protect their heart which is breaking but they repress the pain of it). They have protected their minds as well with a big fence to keep out all criticism, which is how they view someone's offer of suggestions.

The way a human being avoids the pain of fear is to blame. As long as you are blaming, you are focused on someone else's faults or weaknesses and are not focused on your own pain. So the fearful person is poised to blame the help-giver because the help is seen by them to come in the form of criticism. This defense strategy is not at all helpful in regular life, but it serves to alleviate fear.

Since most people don't know they are afraid, they just think the other person is wrong, or non-supportive, or that life, in general, has given them a bad deal. The other thing that fear does is make you right. Being right is a defense against fear. Being right (defensive) means that you are coming from a position of certainty—“I am right,” or “fine” or “don't need you,” and you are stupid, or wrong, or don't know anything.

From the position of certainty, your brain is closed down to further information. You already know everything. This is especially true of teenagers.

In order to get people to consider new information, you have to move them ever so gently from a position of certainty to a position of uncertainty. Sometimes in a counseling situation, the counselor might respond to someone who has just regaled you with how they are just “fine, thank you very much, I don’t need counseling” by asking--

"So things are working for you the way you want?”


“Do you have your hopes and dreams coming true or are you just coping?”

The person might decide at this point that maybe they could do a little better. A tiny spark of doubt might penetrate their own mind. They might wonder to themselves that they actually don't know what to do next. If so, they might be open to some new information. Not much, all at once, but something. Something small and non-critical that might seep in and later they assume they thought it up themselves.

Mostly teenagers are afraid and don't know it. For a person to improve, they must somehow confront their fear and start to grow their courage. I know I talk about dealing with repressed fear at great length in Chapter 10 of my book Depression is a Choice. You can get that book for just a couple of dollors on amazon.com A. B. Curtiss.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Just Want my Life Back


My name is Dr ____________.I came across your website after praying about getting healed from my depression. I agree with most of what you are saying, but I do believe there are many components to being depressed :
1) genetics
2) environment
3) relationship you’re in
4) NUTRITION is a huge component
5) spiritual warfare
6) stress, lack of sleep

I'm a Chiropractor who has suffered with on/off bouts of chronic anxiety, panic attacks and depression. 5 months ago it was like someone turned off the light switch, my thoughts went from being positive to negative. I started having panic attacks again, back in the ER 3 times, and back on meds ( Celexa and Lorazepam). Thank God for the meds at the time, that's how bad things get.

Have you ever heard of TRUE HOPE? They are a company based out of Canada that has come up with a nutritional formula that feeds the brain, basically the ingredients that create neurotransmitters, especially the B vitamins....B12.....??

Is there any way of me being able to talk with you ? I haven't been depressed in over 10 yrs, which landed me in the hospital in 2000, and both my brothers have been diagnosed with BI-POLAR. One has tried to kill himself three times unsuccessfully--he's addicted to crack and heroin ( poor soul). The other tends to manage his life without drugs, but can't cope with a job. I myself have had my own practice for 6 yrs, am.highly creative when I'm healthy, highly energetic, passionate and enthusiastic. I used to say I get high on LIFE, but when my lows come.they really wreak havoc. My panic attacks have gone, but being on the meds (20mg) Citalopram (generic celexa), I'm kind of numb, and it deflates my personality.

Do you believe in the Candida theory of depression ? Systemic Candida ?? what are your thoughts ?

I just want to get my life back. In the last 2 years I built a business to 10-15k in less than 15 months.and came off my meds for the 1st time in 4 yrs. I was feeling great,until this all started happening. I USUALLY SNAP OUT OF IT.....

Would love to hear back from you....
with unconditional love and gratitude.

Dear Dr. __________

I was diagnosed with bipolar (along with my father and brother--they called it manic depression those days). I suffered with panic attacks, migraine headaches, claustrophobia, depression and mania for more than 30 years.

I became a board-certified cognitive behavioral therapist to help myself, but found little to help me get out of my bipolar condition in either psychology or psychiatry. Not until I studied neuroscience did I see exactly how my brain got into depression, headaches, panic attacks, etc, and how I could absolutely prevent all of it.

The key to depression is he process of pain perception. If you read my book Depression is a Choice (I think they have it for $1 on Amazon now) you will see how I educated myself to get out of being controlled by my own brain--it is the philosophy of how to get out of depression.

My book Brainswitch out of Depression is more "how-to" --the neuroscience of how to get out of depression. If you read all the info on the website, and read the letters on my blog http://MobyJane.blogspot.com/ you will see that the main component of depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain.

I flatly reject the genetic component. The fact that you or your siblings are not in charge of your own thinking is the problem, not some inherited disease. Street drugs, and alcohol abuse always end up in depression. But so do anti-depressants. Relationships are influenced by your depression, they don’t necessarily cause it. You can always alter your environment, or, if that is not possible, you can alter the way you think about your environment and the way you interact with your environment. For understanding this I suggest you read Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Nutrition is necessary for good health, if you’re not in good health, that could cause depression, but not necessarily.

The chemical imbalance, which all these anti-depressants purport to cure, is caused by anxious thinking (much of which you may not be aware) that triggers the fight or flight response and dumps a bunch of stress chemicals in the brain which are extremely hard on the metabolic processes of the body. You don’t need drugs to change your way of thinking. You can do it as an act of will. Taking drugs to change your depressive thinking is like taking your car to the repair shop because it isn’t driving you to the correct address.

The ads they have on television where people complain about having to wind themselves up to be interested in life and therefore you need drugs are disgusting. So wind yourself up. Get moving. Get up and do something, no matter how bad you feel, and in the doing of something productive, you begin to feel better.

I will be glad to answer any specific questions you have about depression as you look over this material and try to apply it to your life. I do not take private patients anymore but answer anyone's specific questions and I do not charge for this.

A. B. Curtiss

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Brainswitching as Post-Hypnotic Suggestion


I am a qualified counselor and Clinical Hypnotherapist in Australia. It is with great interest that I read an article of yours about brain switching and depression. I am going to purchase the book on Amazon, however I was wondering if brain switching could be incorporated as a post suggestion in a hypnotic script, and if it could, what would be the best way of going about this. I am seeing a clinically depressed client on Tuesday. Her husband has stated she is suicidal so any additional information which would help her would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

All the best


Dear Christine,

Yes, you could use brainswitching as a post hypnotic suggestion. Whenever you think of something you make a new neural pattern of that thought. When you think of that same thing repetitively, over and over, you make the thought dominant. The brain always follows the direction of its most current dominant thought.

With hypnosis, you accomplish making the thought dominant with your post hypnotic suggestion since the hypnosis trance provides the same strength (dominance) to the thought as thinking the thought over and over repetitively.

Another way to make the thought more dominant is to think the thought during emotional stress. This is why faith healers say "You're cured" as they push the unwary person backwards. The person does not know that someone has been stationed behind them to cushion their fall, and so experiences emotional stress (fear) at the same time the thought occurs which "sets" the thought (makes it more dominant).

You have to decide what thought do you wish to "set" in your patient's brain. For myself I have "set" the thought "Do an exercise right away" and "linked it" (through learned association) to occur at the same time a depressive thought occurs.

Your patient will have to choose an exercise to use in place of the depressive thought, then you can link the idea of doing the exercise with the depressive thoughts as they surface. If someone is suicidal I would certainly make sure that they not be alone as long as they are suicidal, and that they do some hard physical exercise to tire themselves out--jogging, working out, etc. to deplete some of the stress chemicals. A. B. Curtiss

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Depression is not Reality

Dear A. B.

I found your book “Brainswitch out of Depression” fascinating and have started using your techniques. I’m able to work at my business in Laguna Beach, CA, but I have to force myself to do everything. I’m using the technique for my brain to focus on “yes yes yes” or “green apple” every time it wants to think about depression. I’m normally outgoing and full of life and have many hobbies, and I have a great support system.

Please let me know what else I can do to get out of this episode of depression. It started 3 months ago, With much appreciation, T._______

Dear T.

The main thing to remember is that depression masquerades as reality. It is not reality. Depression masquerades as the real you. It is not the real you. It is only a chemically based state of alarm that has no power except some pain that you don't have to pay attention to and then it goes away.

It is very difficult, though simple, to take control of your thoughts if you have not done it before. Depression is extremely seductive. You are drawn to think it. It takes great effort to think something else instead, but it is the only way out.

Nobody else can do it for you. After a while, you build different neural patterns. One of them is that you slowly get the idea that your brain is not more powerful than you are and it cannot think what it wants unless you go along with it, and you never have to go along with it. Then you become a free person, not the slave of your thinking and feeling. This "I am a free and okay person" neural pattern sometimes is temporarily overcome by the depressive neural pattern. However, the more you think the new neural pattern, the stronger it becomes.

This neural pattern helps immensely with the terror. No matter what your brain wants to think in negative terms, never go along with it. For myself, it is no longer an option to think a downer thought of any kind. Depression is a thought. I refuse to think it. Or allow myself to think a downer feeling of any kind. A downer feeling is a thought. Downer thoughts pop up. Depression pops up. Downer feelings pop up but I immediately think something else instead. "Hippity hop" or "1 2 3 4." When the edge is off I get into some work or project and have trained myself to refuse to think about what I am feeling. I think only about what I am doing. After a while I notice I am no longer in a state of alarm. I am completely okay.

You say you have to "force myself to do everything." What's wrong with that? So force yourself. Depression, any kind or sort of depression is not reality. It is a state of body alarm. In this state of alarm nothing seems possible. This is why regular cognitive behavior therapy doesn't work. Not enough neural activity in the neocortex to do real thinking. So you force yourself to think, and do those simple rote exercises which will stimulate neural activity in the neocortex, and get your body moving out of a state of alarm.

When you are out of a state of alarm then everything is possible. Reality never changes. You change in and out of a state of alarm. Depression seems like reality. Don't buy into it. It is only a body state of alarm. Nothing will give you any pleasure when you are in a state of alarm. Stop thinking you have no pleasure, this is simply another downer thought. When you are not in a state of alarm, everything is a pleasure. Or if you want to fool around with your brain, insist that the depression you are undergoing is a pleasure. That's better than thinking you have no pleasure. Or go the simple route and think “green frog” or “barber, barber shave a pig. “

And remember, it does you no good to be outgoing, have many hobbies and be full of life as long as you are allowing yourself to remain self-focused in a state of alarm. To remain in a state of alarm you must self-focus on negative and downer thoughts and feelings. You do not have to focus on them. Actually, when you are not in a state of alarm your life is great even if you are not outgoing, full of life and have many hobbies and a great support system. A. B. Curtiss

Thanks, A. B.

I go to work and I don’t focus on the depression in spite of being in a state of alarm. I keep saying “blueberry muffin” if any negative thought comes in and I know soon I will be out of depression, Your words are golden ,much appreciation I’m in charge of my life not the depression. I look forward to your great respnse, Warm regards , T

Dear T.
Glad to help. If you have any questions as you continue on your path I'll be happy to answer them. A. B. Curtiss

Dear A. B.
Thank you. How long does it usually take to get out of the alarm state once you use new positive thought rather than focusing on the depression? Much appreciation , T.

Dear T.

It is not a matter of time. It is a matter of remaking the neural patterns of your brain that you can use instead of the old habitual downer ones. Every time you do an exercise or refuse to go along with the old thought by thinking some new thought you make new neural patterns and make the useful neural patterns stronger.
Nobody ever teaches us how we get from one thought to another or indeed how we come upon a thought in the first place. It is a basic lack in our education that we don’t know anything about how our own brain works.

Some syndromes like fear, followed by the pain of depression (which is caused by stress chemicals that fear produces), trigger off by themselves, they are an instinct, our human psychological defense mechanism.

As for regular thinking, that is behavior that we do either habitually and passively or on-purpose. People are always saying they wonder what people are thinking when they do really stupid things. I’m going to say something that you will think is something that goes without saying. But it is a simple thing that, if you think about it deeply, has great application for your life.


This is why educating ourselves is so important. We brain-ingest our thoughts like mother's milk. We are not born with thoughts already in our brain. Well, okay, many believe the fetus picks up thoughts even in the womb. But, all our thoughts come from others starting when we are born (or in the womb). Too many in our culture has learned depressive thinking. Those who don't want to be depressive have to learn a different way. You do get immediate relief when you first decide to take over your own thinking. Some people “get it” right away and simply never believe their depression again. They just do a dumb exercise, ignore the pain, and get on with their lives.

If you do this, the time element is irrelevant because it disappears into the new direction your brain has taken and you don't notice that you are okay until you start focusing again on how you are feeling. A. B. Curtiss

Dear A.B.

Thank you for your wonderful email. Amazing insight. I so appreciate all of your concrete advice. My new happy voice is helping and I’m only holding focus on positive thought Even at work, I keep putting in my mind "happy times" or "blue berry muffin". I’m getting quite good at it. Kind regards, and much appreciation T.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Depression is Lifting

Dear A. B.

Ate a decent dinner and slept well last night--no sweats today. Hopefully, I am nearing the end of the episode. No question, articulating my condition and getting loving and helpful suggestions is speeding the healing process.

What appears to happen is the depression sneaks up on me and I begin to feel unwell, physically and psychologically, until I am forced to recognize something is wrong. Usually, I think I ate something and that is the cause of my distress. Takes a while to realize the source is in my head.

Once I come out of my shell and start asking for help, I am already moving toward the end of the episode.

A consequence of living alone is a bit of self absorption.

Age seems to bring more awareness of feelings, not less. The young have the strength to deny upsets, the older I get I probably don't have the energy, nor the need to cover up.

Talking to my friends at the pool yesterday I found out that several of them sleep poorly and have night sweats almost every night, and they readily accepted the notion of male menopause.

Will keep you posted.._________________

Dear _______

Older people generally wake up several times at night. I wake up at least twice during the night and must use my dumb little exercises to get back to sleep. Last night instead of "1,2,3,4 who are we" for I used another old high school cheer that came to me "baby pink and baby blue (our opponent's colors) I think that's very sweet don't you."

When my husband and I traveled with another couple several years ago I was shocked to find out that, when they woke up in the middle of the night, they used Ambien to get back to sleep. I taught them my dumb exercises and they said they worked for them. But it is hard to insist on using the exercises which sometimes take as much as half an hour to work (though most often less than five minutes)and easier to take a pill so it may be that as soon as they got home they reached for the pills again. Another friend gets up and watches late night TV every night. I have a passion for Dove dark chocolates and I have more trouble sleeping if I eat too many of them before I retire. I long ago gave up coffee.

You can learn to become more aware of downer thinking before it becomes downer feeling, and nip it in the bud before it gets entrenched and then you become aware of it from physical symptoms. I often turn around downer thinking by remembering an old quote of Marcus Aurelias: "I will cling to nothing else save reason alone." I also use the quote for downer feeling if it comes to that.

Young people are busier and have more social interaction that keeps them more in the workaday world. Isolation isn't good because we're a herd animal. We need feedback from others to create present reality. Even if you are physically isolated you can still get a feeling of community if you are engaged in things that are also important to other people, some craft or trade or past time, like gardening, that keeps you somewhat objective, thinking about what you are doing instead of what you are feeling.

It's important to be objective because in being objective you are giving your brain tasks which is the only sure way to activate the neocortex. It may activate by accident, through learned association, but the only sure way to activate the neocortex is to give your brain some small command. The subcortex, being an instinct, activates all on its own. It's only from the neocortex that you can use your five senses to create, with your fellows, present reality. Depression is not present reality, it is a state of alarm, although psychiatry is doing its best to make everyone believe depression is present reality. A. B. Curtiss

Monday, May 3, 2010

Morning Depression

Dear A. B.

For the last several weeks I have been experiencing morning depression .. not as devastating as you describe, but painful none the less.

I have been waking at 4 and staying in bed until 5 which is the usual time for me to get up. During that 4-5 time I have psychosomatic symptoms.. it could be an arm .. or my chest ... accompanied with not so much sad but world weary feelings, hot flashes and shakiness.

Flashes I have had before.. male menopause.. at nearly 70 years old.. not bad.. but uncomfortable none the less.

Then I walk the dog.We take a long walk by 7 and then when we get back home the symptoms return until about 11 or 12 noon.

When I feel this way I eat very little, which is a great way to lose a few pounds.. Afternoons I have been going to the community pool and I am OK from then on. I have social contact..

My analysis is that I am still recovering from my relationship ending. I put everything into it but she turned out not able to handle it. The disappointment must be deep. Someone pointed out that I was lonely and that has some truth to it. ( I have no regrets about the break-up,. but have lingering dreams of what could have been).

Joined a dating site for a month.. plenty of action, few suitable to actually meet .. all quality folks but nothing so far. I have a few dates lined up for this week.

The same depression occurred last year and I will check but I think it happened several times around this time of year. I thought it was physiological each time but the doc. said I was healthy as a horse, as they say.

This will end soon if history is any guide. Meanwhile I use some of your techniques .. which helps a lot.

I like living alone.. just need a love in my life, which I hope to find. ________

Dear _______

Morning depression is no fun. I still use my "Yes, we have no bananas" for that, as well as a new one, "1,2,3,4 who are we for" an old high school cheer. Just dumb stuff, but enough to thoughtjam the downer thoughts so they don't get "airspace."

Your hot flashes and shakiness can be the result of stress chemicals. Hot flashes, weakness, weariness at the core, and shakiness, sweating and twitching at the extremeties are the body's natural reaction to stress chemicals. The stress chemicals can be produced when downer thoughts cross the line and become strong enough to trigger the fight or flight response that produces the stress chemical in your brain.

The other thing that I often think when I wake with morning depression is that I am in the company of millions of others who are also suffering at that time and I must be strong for us all. If I can rise up out of it maybe, somehow, it will help everybody else, and my love and compassion for the others who suffer along with me starts leading me out of my self-focus into a more objective reality.

The other thing I think about is that depression is not reality, it is just a thought. And I can change the thought by thinking another thought. A. B.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Depression is a Mind-set

I do not understand why psychiatrists don't teach depressed, anxious or insomniac patients how their brain works, what a mind-set is. Perhaps the psychiatrists don't know very much about how the brain works. I'm not saying that psychiatrists need to be neuroanatomists, but they need to know how the brain works, functionally, even if they don't know much about the architecture of the brain.

If doctors don't know how the brain works, if they don't know how people get from one thought to the other, how the process of pain perception works in depression, if they don't know what is the force that powers the brain, how learned association works, what neurotransmitters do, how in the world are they professing to help people with their depression? With their anxiety and stress? With their insomnia?

If psychiatrists don't know how the brain works, then I would have to say that psychiatry is little more than an expensive scam. I wish that some of you who read this and are seeing psychiatrists or clinical psychologists would ask them to explain some of these questions and let me know what they say.

Because it is important. People need to know how their own brain works. Here are some of the things that people need to know if they have any hope of becoming the master of their thinking instead of the slave of the habitual neural patterns of their own brain.

First, the brain works by neurotransmitters such as serotonin. These are the biochemical reactions that allow the neurons to communicate with one another. If you are not doing any on-purpose thinking and just letting your brain slide into passive, low level thinking, or emotional meandering around in the subcortex (the emotional part of the brain), the level of serotonin, as well as other neurotransmitters, will decrease because there is less need for them. The neurons are not calling up huge amounts of neurotransmitters because there aren't that many messages for the neurons to send.

If you start to do more productive and pro-active thinking, if you force yourself to concentrate on some chore or project, the serotonin level will increase because the neurons will be calling up the neurotransmitters in order to pass on their increased number of messages so the brain can do its work.

Remember that neurotransmitters are merely the chemical boats that carry the learned associations from one neuron to another. The neurons call for the boats when they are activated by a thought, so they can communicate it to another similar thought-related neuron. The brain is powered by thoughts in the same way that a car is powered by a motor. The brain is not powered by neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters are more like the gas in a car.

How do we know thoughts power the brain? Research shows that when an electron probe is touched to a living human brain it elicits a particular thought. When the probe is put to a different part of the brain a different thought is elicited.

We can make the brain work in the science laboratory by introducing electricity from the outside with an electron probe. Since we know there’s no little electron probe that lives inside the brain, what generates the electricity in normal life?

The answer is that thoughts electrically power the brain. Brain scans show that when a person thinks a certain thought, neuronal activity lights up in a certain part of the brain, not in all parts of the brain. Some thoughts spark neuronal activity in the subcortex, the feeling part of the brain. Other kinds of thoughts spark neuronal activity in the neocortex, the thinking, cognitive part of the brain.

The brain works electro-chemically. Thoughts stimulate the neurons electrically, and then thoughts are communicated between the neurons chemically by neurotransmitters. Thoughts are what power the brain and rule the mind.

If a man sees a shadow on the ground and thinks SNAKE, the thought will immediately stimulate a particular part of the brain and initiate a particular chain of thinking (through learned association) that will put him in a particular mind–set and cause the production of particular chemicals.

If he sees a shadow on the ground and thinks ROPE, the thought will activate another part of the brain. If he looks at a Playboy centerfold and thinks “BABE,” the thought will access yet another part of the brain and initiate another line of neuronal arcing that will put him in an entirely different mindset, with different chemicals produced.

Depression is also a mindset. We get to the depressive mindset the same way we get to any other mindset. We think our way into it. And just as we think our way into a mindset through learned association, we can also think our way out of it through learned association. One thought leads to another similar thought, etc., etc.

Again, this is the reason depression is cyclical. The mindset of depression can be temporarily interrupted by some maverick learned association that randomly sparks up. Or some outside circumstance might lead to alternative thoughts that can send the mind off in another direction away from depression. Remember, the brain always follows the direction of its most current dominant thought.

In the midst of a terrible depression you could win the lottery, or a fire could suddenly blaze up in front of you. The depressive thought pattern would then be interrupted by other kinds of thought leading the neural thought pattern away from the depressive mindset into another mindset. Like the mindset of buying a new car with your lottery winnings, or trying to save your life from a fire.

But we don’t have to wait for circumstances around us to change so that our thinking can change. We can change our thinking anytime we want and interrupt the depressive mindset. We just have to remember that this is an option. This is the whole point of Brainswitching. We can take full advantage of this random, cyclical nature of depression. We can move the mind, on purpose, as an act of will, into a new thought pattern and thus more quickly out of depression mode.

Getting out of Depression is not a war of will and mind. We are not working in opposition to some part of our mind as may be the case with other methods. We are simply letting depression go, according to its nature, in the direction it would go anyway, away from itself.

This happens as a result of the firing of neurons with different learned associations than depressive ones. We can always think of anti-depressive learned associations on purpose instead of waiting for a fire or the lottery to spark them up by accident. This way we can move depression out faster and as an act of will. Once you get the hang of this you never have to fear depression again. Whenever it comes you can quickly brainswitch out of it.