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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Are you Suffering from Depression or PTSD--You Need to Know the Difference

Dear Mrs. Curtiss,  

 I read your book "Depression is a Choice" about 10 years ago because I was concerned about my son. Since being  in his 30's, he has been through pills,  combinations of pills,  and also ECT. The best thing about ECT is that he had to go off all meds. Well I knew, and he knew, after 12 ECT treatments that was also was not working. He never went back on meds,  and just rode through the depressions, waiting for relief and normalcy.

My son is now in his late 40s, owns his own company and works every day.  There are many days he cannot concentrate and feels hopeless but he has employees and he can, as he explains to us, hang at his desk looking busy.  I have read so often that depressed people end up not working.  He is a good athlete, plays racquet ball, golfs all summer. He knows he feels better with exercise so he makes himself go,  this is good.  But when the depression hits like a thief in the night and roams around for weeks...  you know the rest.

Well, the depression has been markedly worse and seemingly more frequent for the last 2 years.   I have just finished reading your book "Brain Switch".  Your explanation of the human brain in layman words as it pertains to depression is wonderful and I am so very grateful. The reason I am writing to you is I think my son would do well with a counselor for accountability and encouragement from some one WHO HAS BEEN THERE. 

In the past psychiatrists have been a great disappointment, so he is weary and leery of that approach.  I have not found a counselor WHO IS ON YOUR PAGE.   I trust with confidence someone who has been there, fought the battle, understands the pain and miracles of miracles through trial, studying the brain, etc.and writes a book to give others the hope and chance to live a normal life. 

My question, if Patrick came to California for an interview, would you consider counseling over the phone for a period of time?  Or can you recommend someone in my area who believes and follows your approach of direct thing  to treating  depression.  Thank you for your work.

Most sincerely, M

Dear M,

You said you read both books. How about your son? Has he read them?

I find that people who go to psychiatrists, in general, are unwittingly taught to take a dependent position as it concerns the state of their own psychological health. Even if someone is very independent in the social or business world, they may be taking a back seat to the workings of their own mind, almost as if it's none of their business and it is, instead, the business of the doctor to study and fix it. 

Most depressed people believe that their depression is being visited upon them through no fault of their own and therefore they believe there is nothing they can do, themselves, to alleviate the situation. What both of my books do for this situation is to give people some ideas, exercises and new ways of thinking which, if followed, can rid them of the learned and habitual behaviors which lead to and prolong depression. Strengthened by this knowledge and intimate personal study of their own behavior,  people have a wider, more inclusive picture of the structure of their depression. Therefore, instead of constantly looking for someone else to give them "the answer," "to fix it," or "to be the one responsible" for their emotional well-being, they can now begin to take control of their own well-being.

Here's a quote from Herman Melville's Moby Dick that describes the value of mucking around in your own habitual behavior with a new sense of purpose and awareness toward the idea of studying and assessing what you have been doing that heretofore you had not as thoroughly been aware.

"Faith like a jackal feeds among the tombs and, even from these dead doubts, she gathers her most vital hope."

Now the caveat to what I have just said if this. Perhaps your son has been on a lot of medication, that has so depleted his adrenal system that his system does not have sufficient amino acids for his brain to produce enough neurotransmitters to get out of anxiety, which is the default mechanism of the human mind since it is, after all, a defense mechanism. We call this PTSD and for this I would suggest a homeopathic practitioner or a Dr. of Chinese medicine to give him a battery of blood tests and an extensive overview of his diet. 

And the book for this kind of anxiety, and oversensitization of the nerves,which is a little different from depression, is by Dr. Claire Weekes and called Hope and Help for Your Nerves. I read this book three times when I myself had PTSD due to an overdose of oxycodone that the doctor prescribed for a back injury. It takes a lot of "hanging out" with Dr. Weeke's 4 simple principles which only finally come clear to you with the practice of applying them. As with a lot in my books, an intellectual understanding of what I am suggesting is not sufficient. The depressed person must take some action, must start putting into practice the principles before they will "get them to the core." It took me four months of nutritional help and "hanging out" with Weeke's book but, finally, I was completely cured and in the several years since, PTSD has not returned.

If your son is unsure which is his situation, he can do a couple of things.

Have a thorough battery of blood tests and examination by a good nutritionist or homeopathic practitioner.

He can also read my two books, study some of the relevant correspondence on my blog, and put into practice a few simple ideas which can help him rid himself of many of the behaviors of depression, so he can then see what is left of his discomfort to better assess from which he is suffering, depression or PTSD.

It all might take an initial investment in time but then you are cured for a lifetime. I suffered for 30 years with depression but not for the last 30 years. Yes, I have normal ups and downs like everybody but the downs are short-lived and don't have a chance to escalate into what's known as depression.

If your son begins to take a more active view of his situation, I would be glad to talk to him by phone. I would not charge for it. And, as always I answer anyone's email and I don't charge for any of it either.

Hope this helps.  A. B. Curtiss