WELCOME TO THE LAND OF DEPRESSION
Welcome to the Land of Depression where backward thinking rules. In fact, backward thinking is the law of the land, and you actually believe that you are what you feel.
You don’t focus on the facts of life. Instead, you focus on your feelings.
If you want to know how you are doing, you look at your feelings rather than at the facts.
In the Land of Depression, facts don’t matter; it’s feelings that count. And if the facts contradict your feelings, then you go with your feelings and ignore the facts.
Although backward thinking is your passport to the Land of Depression, it’s the quagmire of twisted thinking that holds you there.
If you become skilled at backward thinking and fully master all of the techniques of twisted thinking, you can stay in the Land of Depression forever.
When you live in the Land of Depression, you must live by its laws.
The laws are simple to understand and follow. Anyone can do it without special training.
The First Law of Backward Thinking states: I am what I feel.
The Second Law of Backward Thinking states: My emotions must be real because they feel so real.
The Third Law of Backward Thinking states: My twisted thoughts and emotions are a fair and objective assessment of who I am and of the world in which I live.
If you buy into these laws, depression and mood disorders will become your constant companions, and they will rule your world.
Closely examine these laws and discover whether backward thinking controls your heart and mind.
FIRST LAW OF BACKWARD THINKING: I AM WHAT I FEEL
People living in the Land of Depression believe that they are what they feel. Distorted and twisted emotions rule their lives. Although this makes them miserable, that is the price they pay to live in the Land of Depression.
If you believe that you are what you feel, you are thinking backward.
Your emotions are supposed to be the result of your thoughts.
First you think a thought, and then an emotion happens in response to that thought. Thoughts should come first.
In the Land of Depression, people believe that thoughts don’t come first. Feelings come first, and they rule.
When depressed people wake up in the morning, they aren’t interested in the facts. What they want to know is their feelings.
They check out how they feel, and that sets the tone for the entire day.
If their first emotions are negative and depressing, it starts a cascade of negative and depressing thoughts that follow them all day long.
People living in the Land of Depression begin their day with the question, “How do I feel?” Then, they spend the rest of the day answering that question.
They are experts at making their thoughts consistent with the way that they feel.
They are good at thinking backward, because they do it most of the time.
For every fact of life, there are dozens of different feelings that you can attach to them.
Depressed people skillfully ignore the facts; they skip over them and go straight to their feelings. Once they totally immerse themselves in their feelings, they make up facts that are consistent with those feelings. For all practical purposes, they think backward.
In order to achieve a deep and unremitting state of depression, you must master all of the techniques of backward thinking.
You learn how to push your mind in a negative direction, twist your thoughts, and distort your emotions.
You become a Master of Misery and wear your black belt of depression wherever you go.
Whenever you see a positive thought, you quickly bring it into submission and dismiss it from your mind.
You take the facts of life and bend them to your negative will.
You pulverize the positive possibilities that could turn your life around.
There is no limit to how miserable your life can become when you let backward thinking take control. You may even decide to take up permanent residence in the Land of Depression.
Thinking backward is a trip to fantasy land that takes you down a street called Despair, reserves a room at Heartbreak Hotel, and takes you on a tour of the Pit of Depression.
Backward thinking is dangerous because you create a make believe world that exists only in your mind.
Although your physical body remains in the real world, your heart and mind are off in a world of their own. You live in a parallel universe in which distorted emotions rule.
People with mood disorders ride the roller coaster of negative and twisted emotion until they become sick.
Once they climb on board, they don’t know how to get off. They go for a wild ride that progressively becomes worse, and there is no limit to how bad their life can become.
If you want to escape from the Land of Depression, you must break the Laws of Backward Thinking. You must learn to ignore the feelings of life and focus on the facts.
Once you get your facts straight, your feelings come right. You rejoin the real world and escape from the tyranny of twisted emotions that have been ruining your life.
BACKWARD THINKING DOESN'T REAL EXIST: IT'S AN ILLUSION CREATED BY A DEPRESSED MIND
There is a fundamental problem in the way depressed people run their mind. They believe that backward thinking actually exists, when, in fact, backward thinking is a figment of their imagination. It’s a compelling illusion that controls their life.
The truth is that they are not thinking backward.
Although it appears like they are thinking backward, what is really happening is that they are ignoring the thoughts that cause their emotions, and instead focusing only on their emotions.
They have a massive perceptual problem; they can’t see the depressing and twisted thoughts that started the problem in the first place.
How does this happen?
It’s really quite simple.
When you have a negative thought, the amount of time it takes for your mind to generate a negative emotion consistent with that thought can be measured in fractions of a second – nanoseconds.
The time between the thought and emotion is so quick that most people can’t separate the thought from the emotion.
When the emotion pops into their mind, the thought that caused it disappears before they even notice it was there.
That’s one reason why people have believed for years that depression was a problem with their emotions rather than a problem with the way they think.
Twisted thinking creates twisted emotions. Unfortunately, twisted thoughts fly by at the speed of light, and people only notice the emotions left behind in their wake. Therefore, therapists and patients focused primarily on emotions and acted as if backward thinking actually existed.
The second reason people don’t recognize their twisted thoughts in depressive illness is because their rational mind whispers while their emotions shout.
It’s not that the voice of reason is weak as much as it is that the voice of emotion is so strong.
Their rational mind whispers for milliseconds, and their emotions shout for hours on end.
It’s no wonder depressed people focus on their emotions and believe that they are what they feel, because that is what they are hearing inside their head.
The odds are massively stacked against them because they never hear the facts of life unless someone points them out.
Inside their head, they only hear their distorted and negative emotions shouting at them, and they treat the thoughts that caused those emotions as if they didn’t exist.
Backward thinking happens when you focus on the emotions of life and ignore the facts that made those emotions happen.
The cure for backward thinking involves helping people hear the inner voice that created their negative emotions. They need to learn how to recognize the twisted thoughts that cause their twisted emotions. Then they need to hold those distorted thoughts up to the light of day and discover the truth that sets them free.
As long as you believe that you are what you feel, you remain stuck in the Land of Depression.
When you understand that backward thinking is a trick you play on yourself, there is real hope you will get better.
When you learn how to recognize and reject the twisted thoughts that create your twisted emotions, you leave the Land of Depression and start a new life.
THE SECOND LAW OF BACKWARD THINKING: MY EMOTIONS MUST BE REAL BECAUSE THEY FEEL SO REAL
The second law of backward thinking tells you that your emotions must be real because they feel so real.
Make no mistake, depressed people experience negative and depressing emotions, and those emotions are real.
Unfortunately, the second law is a compelling deception that focuses depressed individuals on their feelings rather than on the facts of their life.
This aberrant focus leads them deeper into the pit of depression.
Of course their feelings are real when they are depressed. That is why depression is so bad. It feels bad.
Everyone knows that depression is real and feels bad.
Depressed people are missing the point.
The question isn’t whether their emotions are real.
The question is, what are the facts of life, and are their emotions consistent with those facts, or are they simply the emotional fantasies of a negative mind?
One of the first lessons we learned as children is that seeing is believing.
Depressed people are convinced that feeling is believing.
It’s hard for depressed people to improve because their emotions are continually in their face. When something feels so real, it must be real.
Depressed individuals need to relearn the basic lesson that the feelings of life often do not reflect the facts.
The intensity of the emotion has nothing to do with whether the emotions are consistent with the facts.
It doesn’t matter how loud or long the voice of emotion pummels them, it’s still the facts of life that should rule their emotions and not the other way around.
THE THIRD LAW OF BACKWARD THINKING: MY TWISTED THOUGHTS ARE A FAIR AND OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT OF WHO I AM AND OF THE WORLD IN WHICH I LIVE.
People with mood disorders have a fatal flaw in the way they think and assess the world. They have twisted thinking.
Not only is their outlook negative, it’s also distorted.
They take the facts of life and twist them until they are so distorted that they become unrecognizable.
Their beliefs about themselves are twisted, and their beliefs about the world are equally distorted.
Unfortunately, they are not aware of the twisted and negative bias in the way they think.
Positive thinking is the natural software for the mind, and your mind functions best when it’s under the influence of a positive operating system.
A negative operating system is inefficient and self-destructive.
Depressed people run their minds using a negative operating system.
Twisted thinking is a by product of a negative operating system distorted by the pressures of life.
When a negative operating system comes under pressure, mental slippage occurs, and twisted thinking begins. The greater the pressure, the more mental slippage, and the more the thinking becomes distorted.
If you take metal bar and subject it to pressure, the metal eventually distorts.
If you take a mind under the influence of a negative operating system and relentlessly subject it to high levels of chronic stress, the mind produces distorted and twisted thoughts.
Unfortunately, the mind under stress believes that the twisted and distorted thoughts actually reflect the world in which they live.
Twisted thinking is not a reflection of the world. It’s a reflection of a mind operating under high levels of stress.
If you relieve the stress, usually the twisted thinking subsides, and you realize that your twisted thoughts are abnormal; they don’t accurately reflect who you are or the world in which you live.
Twisted, distorted, negative thoughts are a warning telling you there is a problem.
When negative and twisted thoughts take over, you must heed the warning and immediately take steps to rectify the situation.
Don’t believe your twisted thinking.
Closely examine such thoughts under the light of day, and it won’t be long before they cease to be a problem.
You learn to ignore those thoughts because you know that you are not listening to the voice of truth; you are hearing the sound of a stressed out mind slipping into negativity and depression.
GET OFF THE ROLLER COASTER OF EMOTION
The Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, is one of the largest malls in the northern hemisphere. It even contains a theme park that has a massive roller coaster.
It’s not an ordinary roller coaster; its loops and spirals are not for the faint of heart. People who are pregnant or who have a heart condition definitely shouldn’t climb on board.
I strapped myself into this mechanized fear machine. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I trapped myself in.
Two huge curved bars came down over my shoulders and locked into place. I wasn’t in a roller coaster. I was in a rolling jail cell with bars holding me firmly in position.
The bars on this supercharged rocket pressed firmly on my collar bones. There was no way to escape from this mobile prison even if I wanted to; I was confined for the duration of my sentence.
Fear slowly mounted as we crept up the incline to the top of the roller coaster. When we were at altitude, we passed the point of no return and the ride began.
From my point of view, all hell broke lose. Those bruising bars across my shoulders tortured my torso. Every twist, turn, and loop threw the weight of my body against those restraining bars and my collar bones took a major beating.
Riding a roller coaster is a good way to turn seconds into minutes and minutes into hours. Those few minutes on that roller coaster seemed like forever.
The roller coaster was definitely in control and the ride wasn’t over until it was over; there was no way to shorten the terror or pain.
When I rode the roller coaster, I could do nothing except endure the ride.
That’s the way it is when you ride the roller coaster of emotion in depression.
It’s a rough ride and hard to get off.
Backward thinking controls the direction of your life until the ride is over. Fortunately, you have the ability to get off the roller coaster of emotion if you are willing to do whatever it takes.
DON'T STRAP YOURSELF INTO THE ELECTRIC CHAIR OF DEPRESSION
Depression is your own personal torture chamber. You strap yourself in to the electric chair of depression and turn on the current.
Your negative thoughts create jolt after jolt of negative emotion.
Twisted and distorted thoughts burn themselves like hot pokers into your mind.
You take a licking, and for a while it seems like the watch of life stops ticking.
It seems like time has stopped and your depression will last forever.
Days seem interminably long and nights seem like eternity. Depressed people lay on their beds at night, and time stands still. Each second seems like hours, and negative thoughts and emotions fill those hours with despair.
It’s no wonder that people who are depressed sometimes commit suicide. They are trapped in a world that they hate, they torture themselves with twisted thoughts and depressing emotions, their misery seems to go on forever, and they see no way to escape.
ESCAPING FROM THE LAND OF DEPRESSION
In order to escape from the Land of Depression, you must break all three laws of backward thinking.
This is one of the few times you have the privilege of flouting the law. In fact, breaking these laws is encouraged.
You no longer believe that you are what you feel.
Instead, you turn the law around and say that the facts of life determine the feelings of life.
You become an expert at ferreting out the facts and making sure that the feelings are consistent with them.
If the feelings aren’t right, you ignore the feelings and go with the facts until the feelings change.
You no longer believe that your emotions are correct just because they feel so real.
The intensity of the emotion has nothing to do with whether the emotion reflects the way things are in the world.
Emotions are transient, and therefore, they change. They no more reflect the facts of life than shadows from the clouds in the sky control the sun that creates them.
The shadow of emotion does not control your life.
You no longer believe that your twisted and distorted thoughts accurately reflect who you are or the world in which you live.
Twisted thinking is an anomaly of a dysfunctional mind, and it has nothing to do with reality; it’s a distortion of reality.
You learn to distrust the twisted thoughts echoing in your mind. You put a name on those thoughts and reject them for the imposters that they are.
That’s the job you have ahead of you.
You must break the laws that rule the Land of Depression.
If you become good at being a lawbreaker, you can say good-by to the negative and depressing thoughts that have made your life into a nightmare.
If you want to learn more about how to win the battle against depression, you can read Zero Tolerance to Negative Thinking by Dr. Dave.