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)