Taking drugs for depression often turns out to be a medical and emotional yo-yo. If one drug doesn’t work, says the American Psychiatric Association, try another. If you don’t get relief from changing one drug for another, use a combination. For a third of the population though, according to recent research, no drug works. It is heart-breaking to read how many sufferers, especially teen-agers, commit suicide even while on their meds.
There’s some light at the end of the tunnel. Physical exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy are now shown to be as effective as anti-depressants. The best cognitive behavioral technique I have found for depression is Brainswitching, which was developed from neuroscience research and brain mapping.
Brainswitching uses simple mind exercises to switch the neuronal activity from the emotional part of the brain (the subcortex) to the thinking part of the brain (the neocortex) which does not have the capacity for depression.
Here’s an example of an exercise. If you wake up depressed, instead of thinking “I’m so depressed,” think some neutral or nonsense thought over and over, repetitively, like “green frog, green frog” or “yes, yes, yes, yes,” or sing a nursery rhyme to yourself like “Row, row, row, your boat.” Scream it in your mind if you have to. Concentrate on the phrase you have chosen. Refuse to think the thought “I am depressed.” It won’t take you long to get really good at this..
Concentration upon your neutral or nonsense thought in the neocortex will thoughtjam the cognitive awareness of whatever depression is going on in the subcortex. It will elevate neuronal activity in the neocortex and withdraw neuronal activity from the subcortex, thus correcting the chemical imbalance feeding the depression.
This switch in neuronal brain activity from the subcortex to the neocortex happens naturally, sooner or later, even in the worst cases of depression. This is the reason depression is cyclical. But Brainswitching accomplishes the switch as an act of will and a lot quicker than waiting for nature to take its course. Depression is like living in a room of pain. With Brainswitching you can leave the room. I spent much too much time in that room myself.
I was the third person in my family, after my father and brother, to be diagnosed with manic depression and I suffered with it for more than 30 years. I’m one of those people who went into the field of psychology to help myself. I found in my study of the research of neuroscience, brain-mapping the answer to depression for which I had been looking so long.
My research included the physiological components of our feelings — how do we feel what we feel? I studied in depth the feelings receptor station in the neocortex which underlies the neuronal process of pain perception, the process whereby signals from the emotional part of the brain (the subcortex) must travel upwards and be acknowledged in the thinking part of the brain (the neocortex) before a human being is able to feel any pain or emotion.
This moment of neo-cortical pain perception is such a tiny event, brain-wise, that it happens beneath our level of awareness. But this small instantaneous process underlies the reason depression is cyclical. Depression only happens in the subcortex. Remember, there is never any depression in the neocortex and you can learn how to brainswitch from the subcortex to the neocortex when depression attacks.
Another part of my research concerned the capabilities of the human attention span that is the scientific basis for medical hypnosis and Transcendental Meditation. To simply the principle — the mind can only concentrate on one thought at a time and you can think any thought you want. This is why it is possible to do heart surgery using no anesthetic but hypnosis. This principle and the principle of pain perception coupled with simple preventive strategy, mental exercises and mind tricks can literally brainshift you out of your depression anytime it comes down upon you.
I describe the effect of brainswitching on my life in my first book, Depression is a Choice: Winning the Battle Without Drugs. It is the memoir of my journey out of manic depression using the process of brainswitching. They call it bipolar now but I still prefer the older term for its more graphic description.
The book shows the progress of my ability to handle the difficulties brought on by my condition. It delineates the philosophy of my early thinking — how I thought as a bipolar, how I behaved as a bipolar. Then, as my understanding of the workings of the brain expanded, and I stumbled upon the little-known process of brainswitching, the memoir follows the subsequent changes in my thinking and behavior. By the end of the book you can see how the old depression and mania which once controlled my life was now under my own control.
I still retain the manic-depressive personality of high activity and creative output. But I no longer suffer either depression or mania. I may be temporarily thrown into depression or mania because I spent so many years being depressed that those old neuronal patterns are practically hard-wired in my brain. But I immediately employ mind tricks which take me out of either depression or mania in minutes, instead of the weeks and months it used to take. Many people who have read this first book have been able to use brainswitching to come off their medication with the help of their doctor.
My second book, Brainswitch Out of Depression: Break the Cycle of Despair is a synthesis of the first book into a more simplified how-to book with many, many exercises and the important, graphic things you need to know about the workings of the brain in order to get out of depression and anxiety when it hits. One reader wrote that Brainswitch Out of Depression is like a get-out-of-depression-free card.