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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Knowledge of How Our Own Brain Works Can Get us Out of Depression

Dear A. B. Curtiss

Good afternoon to you. My wife and I live in ____________ and have currently been undergoing sessions to treat her depression. I was wondering if there are sessions available with you to be taught the practices mentioned in your book. Please be in touch to let me know. I look forward to hearing from you. J________________

Dear J_______________

I don't take private patients anymore. However I answer any questions via email as people are struggling to put to practice the ideas in the two books, Depression is a Choice and Brainswitch out of Depression. I do not charge for this. Once you know how your brain works, and start putting the ideas based on neuroplasticity and the process of pain perception into practice you should be able to do this on your own with some coaching on the sidelines via email when you run into a snag. It is not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of courage and perseverance, but it can be done no other way.

What is your wife currently doing to get out of depression?

What mind exercises is she using?

Has she read the letters in my blog http:/MobyJane.blogspot.com/ These might prove helpful.

Has she read both books and feels she understands where her depression is produced and how she can do mind exercises to block the acknowledgment in the neocortex that depression is being produced in the subcortex long enough for the chemical balance to right itself? Have you read both books yourself so you know how to support her efforts? Do you have any questions about any of the information in the books?

No one can do this for your wife. The depression is produced in her brain, by her own thinking, and it is her brain and her new thinking only that can get her out of it. Drugs generally have not proved to be much help because they provide no coping mechanism whereby you can use the brain's natural plasticity to change your brain. Drugs may even make it worse and many people have committed suicide while on such medication. The cover story in Newsweek Magazine earlier this year showed how the latest research proves that anti-depressants are no more helpful than placebos.

Your wife can email me anytime. I'm also wondering how come you are emailing me instead of your wife? We all need help and compassion now and then when we come to a stopping point in our lives, but if you have depression, it is not the time to hang back, hide under the covers, and do nothing. It is time to get about the business of getting out of depression.

Of course you won't feel like doing anything to help yourself. Depression deprives us of all motivation, but it does not deprive us of our will, nor our duty to ourselves and to our family to learn how to be cheerful, and how to re-engage with life, whether we are depressed or not. So, we must provide the missing motivation by our earnest commitment to moving forward and doing something about the way we have been using our brain. Usually what is the case is that we are letting our brain just go its own way with no management or proper direction on our part.

I have found that counseling sessions are basically a waste of time with the psychologist doing all the work, having all the good lines, and the patient learning how to be even more dependent and continuing to be encouraged in the belief that they are the helpless and unwitting victim of their own brain .

Telling the same old stories over and over are not helpful. Listening to the same advice over and over is not helpful either. There is nothing more useless than the answer to a question we have not yet asked. We need new stories of what we are currently doing to help ourselves, not a running inventory on how desperate we feel. We need new thinking and actual practice in getting out of depression since we have had all the practice we need in getting into depression.

As you probably already know, I am a board-certified cognitive behavioral therapist, diplomate of the board--psychology. I have found that very few psychologists have ever heard of the process of pain perception and what is has to do with getting out of depression. Your wife needs knowledge about how her brain works, and practice in using this knowledge to manage her thinking, not more counseling sessions. I'm afraid I'm sounding harsh. But depression is such serious business. Not to be fooled around with. I know how painful it is to be depressed but it is self-caused pain and we don't have to do it because we can learn how not to do it anymore.

I'm going to post this letter on my blog, editing for privacy because it may help someone else as well. Certainly if your wife begins on a journey to get out of depression her own experiences and subsequent insights may be a guide for others as well. I will be glad to answer any questions you have. A. B. Curtiss


Anonymous said...

Dear A.B.,
Your reply really hit the spot for me where I needed it right now while Im learning this new method. I also have been in therapy/counseling for years but until I implement successfully your methods, it does feel like just the same thing over and over. It's a small achievement but I use to always have depressing, anxiety thoughts whenever I went to the bathroom, because it was that moment where I was used to reflecting what I was feeling. Now whenever I'm in the bathroom, I do the cheerleader chant 1,2,3,4....! and don't let those unwanted thoughts come in.
Thank you for this post as it's given me a renewed commitment that I have to prevail even harder to make it work. Sincerely yours, Y

Ginger said...

Good for you, Y! I really admire your commitment & progress.

The sentence that really resonated with me in this post was,
"We need new stories of what we are currently doing to help ourselves, not a running inventory on how desperate we feel."

That's a good reminder for me. Lately, I have fallen back into doing the "running inventory" due to all the news coverage about the housing market.

I started fretting again (as I previously did for over a year) about how I bought my house in 2006when the market was high. Recently there has been more grim news about falling values.

I have found comfort in A.B.'s reminder to tell myself a "new story," and stop focusing on the anxiety-provoking old ones.

Don't the news broadcasters just want to keep us stirred up anyway, lol!

Again, Y, I'm so glad you shared your progress here. I think about you, & wonder how you're doing. Keep up the good work!