New Book: Depression is a Choice: Winning the Battle Without Drugs
by A. B. Curtiss
Ten years ago, as a result of her experiences as cognitive behavioral therapist and struggles with her own severe mood swings, the author "discovered the real cause of depression" and hasn't "been depressed" since that time. Depression has become a disease, Curtiss insists, due to the continual choice of psychoanalytic theory over neuroscience and the pervasive presence of pharmaceutical companies in the doctor's office and the research lab. The pain called depression is simply the chemical alarm system of the inadvertently triggered flight-or-fight response which is supposed to lead us to forward action but ends, instead, in itself, a negative feedback-loop of escalating panic, fear and despair.
"Drugs are not the answer," she says, "Directed Thinking is." Directed Thinking, a method of exercises devised by Curtiss, turns out to be a remarkably simple and easily understood thought-jamming process. It is not based upon Freud's psychological model of the unconscious mind, but upon the neurosurgeons' mapping of the physical brain. The tenet of philosophy upon which Directed Thinking is based is that human beings are not forced to function from instinct but may choose to function from reason-- freedom of the will. "But here is the really important point, says Curtiss, "this is not just an ancient philosophical concept, neuroscience shows us how freedom of the will works physically, in the brain! "
Curtiss's ideas owe much to the research of neuroscientists Antonio R. Damasio and V.S. Ramachandran. "Neuroscience tells us that the upper-brain higher mind which is responsible for our reason, language, and other rational cognitive faculties is located in a different part of our brain from our lower-brain primal mind, which is the seat of our instincts, irrational impulses, feelings and emotions such as excitement, fear, anxiety and depression. Further, neuroscience has demonstrated that as an electrode can stimulate a part of the brain and elicit a thought, so also can a particular thought elicit neural activity in a particular part of the brain." Particular thinking exercises can activate more intense neural activity in the area of the upper-brain which contains reason, language and creativity (but not depression). This increased neural activity in the upper brain results in less of the pain-producing neural activity (depression) in the lower brain. The brain like any other machine has a finite amount of "horse power." When simple Directed Thinking exercises are followed immediately by regular routine activity, the chemical imbalance causing the pain is naturally restored.
"I was among the deluded at first," Curtiss admits. " The moment I felt depressed, it never occurred to me to do anything else but be depressed. The progression from a feeling of depression to being a depressed person was a foregone conclusion that I never questioned. But one day when depression began its periodic and pitiless attack upon me I decided to fight back mentally and found that I did not have to meekly go the way of my feelings. I could fight them for precedence and win."
© A. B. Curtiss
A. B. Curtiss is a licensed marriage family therapist, a certified cognitive behavioral therapist and a certified hypnotist with a private practice in San Diego. She has written several books. Visit the author's web site at http://www.abcurtiss.com.