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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Depression is a Failure to Love

One thing about depression, stress and anxiety is that it keeps us from connecting with others in a loving way. It's ironic because the way out of depression, anxiety, and stress is to figure out how to reconnect.

This Christmas season has us thrown together with some relatives and acquaintenances that we don't particularly "like." We find them annoying. They dampen our spirits. Hooray. For it is just such an occasion that can call us back to our essential selves and our essential connection to our fellow man. We don't often think of our least favorite relative as our fellow man. But in the cosmic scope of things, such is the case.

Instead of focusing our judgment on people during these emotional times when we secretly feel they are "ruining" the occasion for us, we could use these situations as a meditation on the path of veneration that Rudolf Steiner advises. Rather than focusing on the person through the screen of our dislike, we could decide to "enter lovingly into their merits." Because that helps our own heart to open. Our hearts will not open while we are in a mode of judgment. When our hearts are open is when we experience the joy of life. We cannot experience the joy with our heart closed up like a shaking fist.

Our hearts only open when we insist on trodding the path of veneration. Because in the final analysis, all is sacred. It always works. There is always another way to look at a person. We just need to move beyond our fear (dislike is a kind of fear) and be open to something new. It is only then when we get out of depression and approach reality. And reality is always a surprise. You can't plan reality but you can plan to move yourself onto a path that leads to it.

Merry Christman, A. B. Curtiss

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's Temporary

One of the important things to remember about depression when it hits is that it is temporary and you can reconnect with reality by a quick change of thinking and activity. It's an emotional game of dodge ball. The ball is coming at you and you step aside. A. B. Curtiss

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Words of Wisdom: Let it Be


I am reading and enjoying "Brain-Switch." I am wondering if I could employ the opening lines from the Beatles song, "Let It Be", as a means of sticking in a thought to distract from the depression thoughts. The lines: "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be." My mother's name was Mary (as was Paul McCartney's). 

What do you think? Thanks for your thoughts on this and thanks for the books. I have communicated with you before and I have found your books to be helpful. All I need to do is get out of my own way.

Thanks for your letter. I’m glad that the books are helpful. You can certainly use this inspired and comforting song as a brainswitching tool. I have used it myself. A. B. Curtiss

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Attitude Chages Everything

I no longer believe I am my mind. I do not yield to depression. I do not take any drugs for depression or mania. My wide mood swings have not altered, nor has anything else around me changed in any significant way. My brain is the same; it is I who have changed. My mind is the same; it is my intentions that have changed. The world is the same; it is the attitude from which I view the world that has shifted since I live now by principle rather than by feeling.

I cannot make it on my own; I cannot hold on to my sanity all by myself. But connected, finding common ground with others, I still have pain but I can stand it. I still get groundless feelings of grandiosity, but I can usually refrain from announcing them to the world. I still get the old feelings of primal-mind depression and mania, but I can separate myself out from them by judging them as irrelevant to present reality.

Someone asked Buddha, after he became enlightened, if he “was happy.” He response was simply that “there is no pain.” This side of enlightenment we will always have pain. We can do nothing about that; that is the job of the subcortex driven primal mind. We just have to make sure that the pain does not have us. We can do something about that. That is our job.

Today is a good example of how a change of attitude can change our world view. Not just about depression. Here’s my story for today.  I ship out my books all the time. I got a call the other day from someone who said the mailman had delivered my book to her but put it on top of the mailbox and since it “rained all day” of course the book which was in cardboard packaging “was ruined.”

I couldn’t see how this could possibly be my fault and certainly not my responsibility. But the woman was quite adamant that I should send her another replacement book at no charge. At first I was annoyed. Her attitude seemed unreasonable. If the tables were turned I would figure it was either my fault or the mailman’s and indeed when I inquired at my own post office the manager told me the carrier shouldn’t have left it outside the mailbox on a rainy day.

So, what to do. I wasn’t going to mess around with amazon.com because they could care less. So, I thought, I surrender, I’ll send another book, dammit, so I don’t have to think about it anymore. I wrapped up a book, covered it entirely in a plastic bag so it could sit all day in the rain for all I cared (an act of irony which would not be noticed by anybody, I’m sure) and set off for the post office. My mood was not great as I had nothing else to mail and the post office is jammed today.

 But halfway there I started thinking along a different line. Hey, I said to myself. You are lucky people want to buy your books and you should be grateful instead of stressed out and annoyed. So sending this book should really be an act of gratitude, shouldn’t it, for all your success? That thought changed my whole attitude. I was mailing a book out of gratitude for being an author. Not because I gave in to an unreasonable person. In a way, mailing out this book was an act of love not anger. My mood jumped higher than the moon. Nothing had changed except my attitude. A. B. Curtiss


Monday, December 14, 2015

Question About Meditation


From the bottom of my Heart, I thank you for writing this book. I am an artist and also have a keen interest in yoga and meditation; from that standpoint could you please explain or elaborate just a little about Johann Wolfgang Goethe's quote at the top of page 8 regarding meditation and mental disease. 




This is the passage to which your question refers:


 “If the self does not choose to direct the mind, the mind may bury the self in all sorts of varieties of negative thinking and mood disorders. In the absence of any conscious direction by the self, the mind can direct itself right into mental illness.

Goethe was clearly referring to this same idea when he wrote, “Where a man has a passion for meditation without the capacity for thinking, a particular idea fixes itself fast, and soon creates a mental disease.” Yes, depression is strong and painful, and we can get very focused on it when we get into that downward spiral. But we don’t have to. We can cure our easy habitual reaction to depression, which is to succumb to it, and, as an act of will, regain our lost equanimity.

That is because we can improve the mind with education and practice. We don’t improve the self. Rather, we more or less uncover the self, or don’t uncover the self; use the self, or don’t use it. Human beings don’t just know something, we also know that we know it.  What we know (mind) may change as to improvement, but the awareness that we know (self) is not a matter of improvement or gradation, it is a matter of “either/or;” it is a matter of “asleep to it or awake to it.”


Another way of referring to the self is to think of it as “self awareness”,as being awake to yourself and what thoughts (including meditations) are bouncing around in your mind.

The point of this passage is that meditation should be done by the “self” not the mind. In a way, depression is a meditation that the mind does and the person erroneously thinks that the depressive thought pattern is somehow their reality, that it is their self that is suffering. Which isn’t true because your “self” can actually meditate on your depression without suffering at all.

But if your “self” is not meditating on your depression, and it is just your mind meditating on your depression, your depression can become a “disorder” instead of a momentary and habitual thought pattern of downer thoughts that triggers automatically due to the accidental triggering of the fight-or-flight response (fear.)

 Referring to Goethe’s quote: In just such a way a person can think that what they are meditating on is reality. Meditation done properly is done by the “self” observing what the mind is meditating on. Goethe is referring to the meditation done by the mind and not properly observed by the “self.”

If this explanation isn’t working for you, you can ask more questions and I will try again.


A. B. Curtiss



Sunday, December 13, 2015

Stuck in the Cul De Sac of Depression


When I get stuck in the downs, I just don’t know what to do. I feel helpless. I don’t see any road ahead. I feel stuck in a cul de sac. Around and around and no way out.


We all feel helpless when we get stuck in the downs. You just have to take the next step. So what is the next step? The next step is like any first step. Difficult because we lack the motivation. The downs deprives us of motivation so we have to take the next step ANYWAY.

How? There are exercises and meditations, and just doing the next thing that could comprise the next step. You have to make a template, a plan, that you can call upon so that when the downs hit, you follow the template, the plan, to move ahead and cease to follow your feelings which stick you in the cul de sac.  Brainswitching exercises make a wonderful template.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I Will Take it On

Thank you so much, I will take it on again and again :-)

This thank you is for the previous post referring to my response to the question. This is absolutely the right attitude. We must take on what life sends us again and again. This includes the feelings that suddenly grip us and cause us fear and terror. We should not allow ourselves to be terrorized by our own emotions. We must take them on again and again.

One way to take them on is a meditative stategy. A wise man said to me recently: "I had an epiphany--everything is good. Everything is good. This rang so true for me. So often when I get hit with a deep dive into utter despair I choose to remember that phrase. "Wait a minute," I tell myself. "Everything is good. I can do this. And I can also think of something better than despair. I am not limited to that or confined by it or prevented by despair to turning about from it and turning toward a better thought."

Doesn't have to be a noble thought. It could just be a plain, solid thought like my grandmother would have suggested. "What is the next thing I can do today." Terror is not reality, it is a body state of alarm which has accidentally triggered. We don't have to give it credence. We can turn away toward something better. Because, no matter the sheer terror that momentarily bubbles up, everything is good. We can relax into that. Everything is good. A. B. Curtiss

Monday, December 7, 2015

We are Each Other's Angels


I bought your book (Depression is a choice) when you were booksigning at a small bookstore in San Diego. I'm divorced, and have children and a great career in one of the helping professions.

Everything makes perfect sense in your book. Your book is awesome. Haven't finished yet but 150 pages into it. I have heard most of it for many years, but you putting it together in the way you did and me being ready to hear and apply it has pushed me to a new awareness and practice. 

Someone recently suggested I get professional help in doing regression therapy for some unhealthy behavior that obviously stems from my childhood so I am reaching out to you for suggestions, help, guidance and most of all for connection.

I feel so disconnected and alone. I feel cynical and resigned with life. I am open to any suggestions, guidance, connection. I want to love life, I want to love and be grateful for what is in my life, I want to make a difference 

Thank you for reading and letting me share, you have already made a huge difference in my life and I am grateful for your sharing.

I’m much like you. I can easily dip into a hole of despair if I allow myself. Which I don’t. My husband never feels this way. I understand what you are telling me. No matter what the thought, no matter how reasonable it appears, if it is a negative one it is probably better ignored and if the negative feeling is intense, do a nonsense exercise until you can get going with something more profitable.

The feeling of isolation, of disconnection is because of fear. You can do two things with the fear, either ignore it, refuse to acknowledge it by use of mind tricks (brainswitching) or meditation (simply accept everything as if you were just a disinterested onlooker) by sitting quietly and allowing what is to be what is.

To release repressed fear you don’t really need regression therapy, you can just start to recognize and release all the little fears that you have always ignored. Read Chapter Ten for this. And make an effort to develop friends for a support system. Read my blog and you will see that you are not alone. The people who ask me questions are an important connection for me as well. It is a good thing to take connection wherever you can. Even the person standing ahead of you in the grocery line. Every human connection we make helps re-establish our own humanity. We never know how a smile or small bit of conversation helps someone else as well as ourselves. We are each other angels.  A. B. Curtiss

Friday, December 4, 2015

Thanks for Your Support

Thanks Curtiss for the support and the clarifications you sent yesterday.  It seems the current unstable situation  in the middle east where I live due to war has an impact too since I feel and read news. will work on reducing exposing to news too.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Where Does My Sudden Arrogance Come From?


Hi Ms Curtiss

How are you and Hope you keeping well. My life as general has been improving after being busy with work and building a house. 

New symptoms has to me suddenly without knowledge of why this happens now. Its very annoying stops me from meeting people.

I really do not know if depression has a connections to it. 
- arrogant suddenly  to all people including my close family father and mom and work mate which cause lots of embarrassing to my self and annoying the psyche 
- stops me from facing people 
- easily noticed from people my face expressions

Is this because I have good work and going to have a small house which impact my life, really do not know what to do

Thanks for usual Supprort Curtiss 


First of all, I notice that your English is much improved.

Whenever you get discouraged just think how far you have advanced yourself. Not too long ago you couldn’t even get up the courage to apply for a job. We all have our forward advances and our setbacks. You are no different from millions of other people who struggle to keep themselves on the bright side of life. It takes effort to be a cheerful, peaceful and giving, loving person. 

Why aren’t we?The answer to that question is the answer to many questions. The answer is FEAR. REPRESSED FEAR. Despite all the work we do, we all have some lingering repressed fear that trips us up now and then. It is this unacknowledged repressed fear that causes all the arrogance and isolation for us. When we are afraid, we try to make ourselves seem bigger and better somehow to protect ourselves. We don’t need to protect ourselves but when we are afraid, we are just not aware that our fear causes us to fear those around us and either blame them or cause us to think ourselves better than they are. This is the way we keep from feeling vulnerable.

The good news is that we can just allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We can mentally surrender to those around us and let them do “their” thing. Yes, our fear will be hurting us but if we just accept that it is fear from the past that has been repressed and just needs to be accepted and finished, we can just “ride out” that painful feeling. It usually doesn’t last long. 

When we accept our emotional pain it just finishes itself and fades away. While dealing with our repressed fear we can treat the people around us with love and respect despite what flaws we may see in them. Fear causes us to blame as well. But in this way those around us are a great gift to us despite their flaws. They allow us to experience our repressed fear so that we can finally unload it instead of carrying it around with us. The less repressed fear we carry the more effective, joyful and peaceful we are.

Take this setback as a gift that you have further work to do with repressed fear. Read “The Ten Paradoxical Commandments” for a reminder how to treat people and for a reminder of how to get in tourch with repressed fear, review Chapter Ten in Depression is a Choice.  It takes courage to face our own limitations. But that is the way we grow and prosper. You have done so well so far. I’m sure you will continue to do well. Keep in touch. A. B. Curtiss