Tuesday, October 9, 2007

BrainSwitching out of Depression (Part 1)

Yesterday was the most stressful day of all in a month of prolonged stress. It wasn't due to all of the effort (which was significant) that my mother's caregiver and I expended getting my mom back to her assisted living facility from the hospital. Rather, it was caused by the behavior of my siblings.

Still, I have vowed not to let other people make me sick. The new skill I'm developing that is truly a lifesaver is from the book, BrainSwitch out of Depression: Breaking the Cycle of Despair by A.B. Curtis who is a licensed cognitive behavioral therapist.

While I'm only on page 67 and it's a 306-page book, I've got to say that it's the only helpful book I've ever read on depression. The basic concept is that when stressful situations occur, part of our brain reacts in an automatic mode (usually this is called kindling), and our neurons travel the same paths they have before.

To be more specific, if a situation occurs where a lover, spouse, or sibling is dishonest, disloyal, or abusive, and we've experienced this behavior before and it's made us depressed, over and over, our brain reacts in the same way--unless we switch out of it.

Curtis believes that through conscious thought and practice, we can change the path of our neurons. And she should know. She suffered from severe bouts of depression (she was diagnosed as bipolar) for many years before she returned to school and became a therapist. And, since she's figured out this method, she's changed her life.

She writes, "Although I am a happy person now, for almost 30 years I was an unhappy one. Chronic depression devastated my life and almost ruined my marriage. In the last fifteen years I have been so little troubled by depression that I no longer think of it as the enemy of the spirit by as the teacher of the soul."

(more to come)


Syd said...

Susan, this is wonderful news! It confirms what I've been thinking, and what we've both been blogging about for months now. I think I need to read this book too. Thanks so much for sharing this information.

My thoughts and prayers are with you during this stressful time. Just remember, some people are simply toxic - and the fact that they just happen to be related to us by blood doesn't make us immune to them! :)


marja said...

Hi Susan. I'm back, finally catching up on everyone's blogs. I've felt guilty not checking up on you, Syd, and other friends. It's just been more than I can handle. But tonight is a blogging night for me. I look forward to it and will put all else aside.

That book sounds wonderful. I agree with the parts you shared here. And when Syd says that even those who are related to us being toxic, I would say that those related to us can be even more so than people we hardly know.

A. .B. Curtiss said...

Someone sent me this link. Thank you so much for your comments about my book, Brainswitch out of Depression. In case you might be interested I started a blog a couple of months ago to post letters from fellow travelers on this same road, and helpful information about depression and anxiety. And if you have any questions I'm always glad to answer them A. B. Curtiss

my blog is http://mobyjane.blogspot.com/

Wellness Writer said...

Dear A.B. Curtis,
Again, thanks for commenting. I'd forgotten about your book. I'll have to reread it again for some tips.