of all, I want you to know how much I appreciate a view such as
yours; I find it empowering and hopeful. Most of my psychology studies
have left me feeling weak and useless, wondering if drugs were not
the only way to deal with some situations.
there is no authority without responsibility. When doctors succeed
in getting us to abrogate our responsibility for our own thinking
and behavior we feel weak and useless because we have lost the proper
authority over our own lives.
recently, I did not consider the notion that choice could play a
role in most mental illnesses. Most of what people believe to be
mental illness is simply security-minded self-bondage to habitual
thinking patterns which could be changed as an act of will but are
not changed due to excessive fear of failure. The only reason pills
work for mental illness is that they power down the fear but medicine
cures nothing about our thinking. All mental illness is disordered
thinking. Mental illness should not be confused with physical brain
among others have recognized the importance of staying connected
with other people, especially in the face of mental health crises.
are all afraid whenever we feel alienated from our fellows because
we are a herd
animal. People who are mentally ill have not been able to connect
properly with their fellows and therefore live in a chronic state
of fear. This is the basis for Carl Rogers idea of unconditional
positive regard for the patient. Not a bad idea but must be followed
by teaching the patient that when we feel alienated it is our self-focus
on our fear rather than the other persons lack of interest
in us that is the problem causing our pain. With this knowledge
we can remind ourselves, in stressful situations, to get our attention
off our feelings and redirect our attention to those around us or
the task at hand, which may be the same thing in social situations.
I have to do this now and then in social situations myself when
I feel stuck. I say to myself. "Uh-oh Im feeling a bit
alienated so I must be self-focusing again. I need to direct my
attention outward to these well-meaning people around me."
mention that it is crucial to find or create obligations to life,
and especially to the people in it. As a therapist, what do you
recommend to those people who have no children, significant others,
or other intimate connections? Where does one begin to look for
such things in their absence?
one lives in a world devoid of other people. Whoever is around you
is someone you can start to relate to by redirecting your attention
from yourself and your feelings of loneliness to the other person
and engaging them in some kind of interaction. In addition you can
seek out like-minded people for more in-depth relationships on the
basis of your own interests: photography, philosophy, metaphysics,
study of history, writing, reading books, civic activities, swimming,
fishing, jogging, yoga, whatever. A person who reads can join a
reading group or get to know their librarian. Reading groups are
usually posted in libraries or local book stores. The Internet can
provide information about national groups in areas of interest and
direct you to local chapters in your area of these national groups.
led quite a whirlwind of a life before you realized that you were
ultimately in control of your actions despite your moods. Do you
think that the answer you've found to your depression could have
been had earlier, or did it take all your experiences to reach that
answer that question. Perhaps I was not ready for the information
and it escaped my attention even when it was right before me or
it just happened that I never ran across the information until very
late. In a way it is the same for people who read my book. Many
say they just never came across that information before and yet
most of the ideas in the book are centuries old and have been noted
by other writers and thinkers.
people seem to "outgrow" (or at least partly leave behind)
their mental illnesses as they age.
people do profit from experience and when they make an honest attempt
to handle their difficulties they become stronger. Those who dont
attempt to handle their difficulties get worse and worse.
if this is because the symptoms (be they depression, mania, hallucinations,
etceteras) become less intense with time, or because these people
have finally learned to deal with them better as a result of life
peoples life energy lags with age but depression with the
elderly is a terrible problem. (Likely a combination, I think.)
In short, if someone had put a summary of the strategies you've
discovered in front of you in your early thirties, would you have
been able or willing to utilize them right away?
have profited from some better knowledge about human motivation
but I also think there is something magical and mysterious about
life. I didnt have anything in my younger days that I thought
I could count on as a bottom line life-preserver when I felt "over
my head," so I lived in a state of constant low-grade fear
even when I was feeling stabilized. Now I have life tools to use
during stressful times so I always convert my triggered fear into
positive action: the task at hand; the phrase Im getting better
and better; and I do believe that if I ask for help at any time
I will get it.
for help like a person prays. "Im needing some help here.
Can you help me? Im needing some direction, I dont know
what I am supposed to do." I dont direct my plea for
help to any entity by name, just to life itself perhaps, or sometimes
I imagine that there might be higher beings who can guide me. But
in addition to my asking for help I continue to devote myself to
the task at hand and utilize helpful mantras to calm myself whenever
I am agitated. I take it as my responsibility to maintain my sanity
regardless of the fact that I will, sooner or later, get help from
greater spirits if I ask for it.
put any time limits on when, where, or in what form the help will
appear so I know it is up to me to keep sane in the meantime. I
dont believe I would have done as well had I not genuinely,
humbly asked for help. Or to put it a better way. I think I progressed
because I asked for help. I think the most important thing in life
is for a person to surrender themselves to a higher power which
is what one does when one humbly asks for help; even if it turns
out that the higher power to whom one surrenders ultimately turns
out to be on self It would have to be oneself ultimately, wouldnt
it at the at-one level of being? But I am not an enlightened person
so I dont see everything. The trick to surrendering is that
it doesnt matter so much what one surrenders to as it is in
the act of surrendering to "what is" that one ultimately
surrenders to oneself and in this surrender gets out of the fearful
mind into a more objective reality. When we surrender to "what
is," having nothing more to lose, we step outside of our fear.
A wise man once said, "surrender to a tree if you are afraid
to surrender to anything else."
your time, and hope you have a good trip to wherever you are going!