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You pace yourself with a realistic number of activities that you can accomplish. These include your responsibilities and obligations, pleasurable and positive experiences, and mastery experiences (see chapter 4). You understand that it is not helpful for you to stay in bed or on the couch all day, with endless hours of free time on your hands. You know how difficult it is to go to work or be active when you are depressed and tired and don't have an interest in anything. The best advice is to do it anyway, and motivation will eventually follow. Many people have found that they start off feeling too tired to do something, but when they become engaged in the project, the fatigue seems to get better or disappear. Managing your depression effectively requires that you pay attention to your symptoms and monitor them. You are aware of your specific Warning Signs and Triggers for worsening depression. You have made a plan with your treatment team to intervene when a change in these signs becomes problematic. Managing your illness well also means that you take steps to minimize the chance of relapse occurring. You do this by following the basic preventive steps mentioned above, which will help you maintain emotional stability and decrease your vulnerability to fluctuations. You learn to use effective coping skills in the short and long term to help get you through the rough patches. This means that you identify in advance what is pleasurable, relaxing, and distracting for you and are ready to engage in those activities when needed. You use problem-solving techniques and avoid negative behaviors. All of the above prepares you to do the really hard work of managing depression, which is learning how to control the negative, distorted thoughts and self-talk that seem to dominate your mind and upset you. This is not easy to do, and it may take years to develop the skill. You learn to identify a negative thought when it appears and understand that it is the depression talking, that it is not a fact. You learn to challenge the negative thought and replace it with a more realistic one. When you understand the source of the negative thought, you take away the power it has over your thinking and in turn your mood. You may wonder how you can follow these recommendations to manage your illness when you are depressed and feel no hope.

It is helpful for you to believe in the exercises to get the most benefit from them, but not essential. Do them anyway. If you do not feel hopeful about your future, borrow some hope from a person you respect, who knows and understands you. Tell yourself, "Jon believes there is hope for me and he is no fool." Eventually you will find that the hope is your own. The ad catches your eye, "build confidence, reach peak performance in work, studies, the arts or sports...conquer habits like smoking, alcohol and drugs without the struggle...relieve stress, enhance healing...[achieve] effortless weight control for a lifetime."1 You read this and think, "Sounds great--how can I do it?" Upon further reading, you learn that a newly discovered technology using subliminal tapes is the answer. The tapes play while you sleep, and since they target your unconscious, proponents claim that dramatic results can be quickly achieved. Too good to be true? Maybe, but the ad appeared in Psychology Today, a reputable magazine whose articles cover current developments in psychological research that influence our everyday life. Intrigued, you search the Internet and find research reporting that subliminal tapes can enhance a person's memory, self-esteem, concentration, and word power. It seems pretty convincing, so you buy a tape to improve your memory. After playing it for a few weeks while you sleep, you notice that you actually can remember things better. "It's amazing!" you tell your friends, "You've got to try this tape." But does the improvement you see provide reliable evidence that the tape works? Consider the following study. Psychologists gave one group of people a subliminal memory tape and told them it was designed to improve their memory. Another group was given a self-esteem tape and told it would improve their self-esteem.2 Prior to each person's listening to the tape, the psychologists measured each individual's perception of his or her memory and self-esteem, and then instructed each to listen to the assigned tape every day for one month. When measured a month later, the people who used the memory tape reported improved memory, while those using the self-esteem tape reported improved self-esteem. Seems pretty convincing, doesn't it? But how good is this evidence? Although it may seem scientific, a close examination reveals that the evidence is purely anecdotal--amounting to nothing more than the personal testimonials of people who have used the tapes. To scientifically test the credibility of these personal testimonials, the psychologists also analyzed two additional groups of people, but for these groups the tape labels were switched.

That is, the "memory" tape was labeled "self-esteem," and the "self-esteem" tape labeled "memory." Amazingly, those who thought they had received the memory tape reported improved memory, despite having listened to a self-esteem tape, while the group who believed they were listening to a self-esteem tape reported higher self-esteem. To top it off, other more objective tests of memory effectiveness and self-esteem revealed no actual improvement in any of the groups. So the tapes were worthless, but they generated plenty of personal testimonials. Why? People thought their memory or self-esteem improved because they were expecting improvement. The implications are clear. We simply can't trust personal testimonials to provide us with objective, reliable evidence. If we can't use personal testimonials to form our beliefs, what can we do? The most credible forms of evidence are those produced by scientific inquiry, and one of the more common and effective techniques used by scientists to evaluate a claim is the experimental method. With an experiment, some people receive a certain treatment (the "experimental" group), while others do not (the "control" group), and the two groups are compared to see if the treatment had any effect. What about all those studies reported on the Web supporting the usefulness of subliminal tapes? They seemed scientific. The problem is, many studies that appear to be scientific are, in fact, the result of pseudoscience. Remember, those who practice pseudoscience often try to look "scientific," so it's sometimes difficult to tell the two apart. How can we tell the difference? First, if the study relies heavily on personal testimonials, be wary. Second, if an experiment is conducted, we need to evaluate how tightly the experiment was controlled. Good science requires extremely tight controls, while the controls in pseudoscientific experiments are often loose, opening up the possibility that alternative explanations caused the results. Not all experiments are created equal--an experiment is only as good as the tightness of its controls. You show up at lunch and announce to your friends, "Guess what!

I just won the lottery and I'm getting married! Look at my new ring!" Now, as we've seen, they might all wiggle and giggle, but there's a good chance that at least of few of them are thinking: Bitch! People just aren't always really happy for your successes. If you let them control you with that jealousy, if you let them drag you down and define who you are, they will define you in a way that is convenient and nonthreatening for them. That's what I mean by leveling: the attempt that others make to compromise you, to bring you to a level lower than the one they see themselves occupying. Subtly, so subtly, and consciously or not, jealous people are going to sabotage you for reaching a higher level than they have. This can be major league confusing, because jealous people flip-flop on you: They work for you when you are failing and against you when you are succeeding. Even when their life circumstances have never been sorrier, many people still crave the status quo: They do not want change, even change for the better. That's because there's safety in the status quo. They are living in their own fictional script and who are you to try to mess up their performance. In showing your success, they may not be ready to look at their own weaknesses because even if the life they are living is inauthentic, it appears to be easy. At least everyone knows the rules and everyone knows what to expect--even if it's destruction. The point is that the status quo offers a refuge from the fear of change. A shift of position by anyone is seen as a major threat to all. That means that any move you make toward reconnecting with your authentic self may trigger resistance: The group or partner that you're dealing with may rise up against the perceived threat. Don't let this mind-numbing commitment to the status quo dampen your spirit or your passion for authenticity. You are alive for a special reason and that reason is to be the best that you can be. Do not allow anyone or any group to take that responsibility from you, especially not for the sake of their own comfort. You'll need to be particularly guarded and discreet in approaching the following exercise, since it may involve people who have great meaning to you. The goal is simply to help you focus on how other people might sabotage your efforts to reconnect with your authentic self.

Remember that these people may not be consciously robbing you of your authenticity. In fact, they may be telling themselves that they are protecting you, that they want only the best for you. Their reasoning may be lofty and gracious, but the result is the same. In your journal, write down the names of the people you feel--intentions aside--might sabotage you in your quest for your authentic life. Next to each name, and looking back at the descriptions I've given you, write down the category of their likely sabotage, the particular way they may sabotage you. Please understand that this is not a blaming exercise. It is merely a way of alerting yourself to those people who could undermine your pilgrimage in even the kindest of well-intended ways. As to each person in the list you've created, decide what response you are going to give. Are you going to smile and express appreciation, courteously deflecting his or her interference, even as you know within yourself that you are going to pursue your own path? Or will you need to be more direct, telling that person to get out of your face and let you run your own life? Let the chart below guide your thinking as to both steps in this exercise. There's a moral to this story and you already know what it is: The world is not devoted to your nurturance. It is devoted to your conformity and compliance, independent of how that dovetails with your gifts, skills, abilities, wants, and visions. If you leave it to the world in general, if you leave it to others to determine who you are, you will not be living your authentic self as it was originally composed. Instead, you'll be living a fictional self, which is nothing more than a structure of convenience for the world at large and for all of the people you encounter within it. To deny your authentic self is to sell yourself down the river. It is to betray yourself in all that you truly are. That is why I have sought to inoculate you against manipulation by the people in your life and by a society that is running its own agenda. The marketing machines, your parents, employers, friends, all have needs for you to be a certain way. And in all likelihood, you have complied with and conformed to those expectancies, at the expense of your own gifts, abilities, and dreams.