Depression is a Choice

Depression is a Choice In our culture, it is taken as an unquestionable fact that depression is a disease, that it is quite common, and that it is the explanation for everything from lethargy to conditions and actions that are much more serious. In her thoughtful and at times explosive new book, A. B. Curtiss takes a look at these assumptions, exploring them from a philosophical, psychological, and often a deeply personal point of view. She tells us that for many, depression is a choice. Using a technique the author labels "directed thinking," Curtiss creates a road map for converting the energy we put into being depressed into a strength that can ultimately lead us out of depression.

As someone who has suffered from depression herself, and who is also a practicing psychotherapist, Curtiss is uniquely qualified to pose these questions. For example, she asks whether, in the name of depression, we excuse ourselves of responsibility in certain areas of our lives. While acknowledging the seriousness of depression, she asks whether at times we falsely classify what we are feeling as depression, the disease, when in fact we are simply experiencing the difficulties that are part and parcel of the human condition, part of the process of living.

Curtiss suggests that we are living in a culture that is deeply "psychologized," and that psychological terms and perspectives have become so imbedded in who we are and how we categorize people and things that at times we may rest on those categories, and therefore give up the chance to overcome them, on our own.

Curtiss takes the available research on depression and the brain, and makes a convincing case that just as individuals who are depressed reside in their depression -- to the point where it becomes their focus -- that focus can be turned on its head and into a determination to find our way out.

The book's website (see below) will put you in touch with some entirely new thinking about depression which began with the publication of the book Depression is a Choice: Winning the Battle without Drugs by A. B. Curtiss. On this site you can read some of the latest writings about depression from many thinkers who look beyond prescription drugs for a cure for depression; thinkers like Paul McHugh, Psychiatrist-in-Chief of Johns Hopkins University, and Martin E. Seligman, the father of positive psychology. On this site you will find some helpful do's and don'ts for when depression hits. You will also find a section of mental exercises that can help change the habitual neuronal connections in your brain which contribute to depression.

You can also visit this book's website at

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Submitted by: Arline Curtiss
Submitted on: 1-Jul-2002