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You must be no less committed to finding your own path back to your authentic self and your authentic life. Just like Debbie, you must learn to paddle your own canoe and the fewer passengers you invite onboard, the easier it will be for you to reach your goal. You have the right to choose those people who will be around you while you do your work and to choose when and where you will do it. You have that right and you must claim it unapologetically. Don't continue to pretend that you don't know who has your best interests at heart and who does not. You know it as surely as you're sitting there. It's time to give your self permission to act on that knowledge. You have the right to choose your team and, if you want to succeed, you will do it with your eyes wide open. I have discovered some of the dynamics of how people react toxically to your becoming consistent with your authentic self. You need to know these dynamics so that you won't be sabotaged along your path of healing. There are four basic destructive patterns that others can introduce into your quest for authenticity. Go on the alert for these patterns. Be cautious when you are most vulnerable and always plan a way out in case you get trapped into a conversation, as Joan did. Remember that the people who respond to you with one of these pattern behaviors are "carriers of toxicity" to the self, whether they intend to be or not. And as I said before, they are normally not trying to do you harm, but rather they are trying to protect their own lives, their own fears, and their own fictional selves. Understand that I am not concerned here with intentions. Whether these people mean to hurt you or not is not the issue. I'm being selfish on your behalf here, which means I am looking only at results. If someone "accidentally" runs over my foot with their car, they may not have intended to hurt me, but my foot is crushed just the same. Right now, you haven't got the luxury of being magnanimous about intentions.

You cannot afford to say, "Well, gee, I'm screwed here and am right back where I started, but I know you didn't mean it." Not only was I wasting time reading too many articles, I'd often end up with dozens, if not hundreds, of open tabs strewn across my browser. These external triggers not only made me more likely to be distracted in the future but also led to dreaded crashes, whereby all my tabs, and whatever else I'd been working on, would be wiped out. Thankfully, a simple rule fixed all my tab troubles and has helped me steer clear of mindless web browsing: I never read articles in my web browser. Everyone knows that multitasking destroys productivity, right? Haven't we all seen studies and read articles telling us that it's impossible to do two things at the same time? In some ways, that's true. The evidence is pretty clear that humans are awful at performing two complex tasks at once. Generally speaking, we commit more errors when juggling many tasks at the same time, and we also take longer--sometimes double the time--to complete the tasks. Scientists believe this wasted time and decreased proficiency occurs because the brain has to work hard to refocus attention. However, when used correctly, multitasking can let us get more out of our schedules with little extra effort. I call it "multichannel multitasking," and it's a terrific trick for getting more out of your day. To multitask the right way, we need to understand our brain's limitations that prevent us from doing more than one thing at the same time. First, the brain has a limit on its processing horsepower--the more concentration a task requires, the less room it has for anything else. That's why we can't solve two math problems at the same time. Second, the brain has a limited number of attention channels, and it can only make sense of one sensory signal at a time. Try listening to two different podcasts, one in each ear. Not surprisingly, you won't be able to understand what's going on in one without mentally tuning out the other. However, although we can only receive information from one visual or auditory source at a time, we are perfectly capable of processing multichannel inputs. Scientists call this "cross-modal attention," and it allows our brains to place certain mental processes on autopilot while we think about other things. As long as we're not required to concentrate too much on any one channel, we're able to do more than one thing at a time.

Studies have found that people can do some things better when they engage multiple sensory inputs. For example, some types of learning are enhanced when people also engage their auditory, visual, and tactile senses at the same time. A recent study found walking, even if done slowly and on a treadmill, improved performance on a creativity test when compared to sitting down. Some forms of multichannel multitasking pair particularly well together. Cooking and eating a healthy meal with friends allows you to do something good for your body while also investing in your relationships. Stepping out of the office for a long walk while taking a phone call or inviting a colleague for a walking meeting checks off two positive things at once. Listening to a nonfiction audiobook on the way to work is a good example of making the most of a commute while investing time in self-improvement. Doing the same while cooking or cleaning makes the chores seem to pass more quickly. Another form of multichannel multitasking has been shown to be an effective way to help people get fit. Katherine Milkman at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School has shown how leveraging a behavior we want to do can help us do things we know we should do. In her study, Milkman gave participants an iPod loaded with an audiobook they could only listen to at the gym. Milkman chose books like The Hunger Games and Twilight that she knew had story lines likely to keep people wanting more. The results were amazing: "Participants who had access to the audiobooks only at the gym made 51 percent more gym visits than those in the control group." Milkman's technique is called "temptation bundling" and can be used whenever we want to use the rewards from one behavior to incentivize another. In my case, the articles I save to Pocket are my rewards for exercising. Listening is a communication skill that is important to maintaining your relationships. With depression, the thought distortions and lack of concentration can affect your ability to listen well and communicate clearly and effectively. Practice using these recommendations to improve your ability to listen and to relate well in your relationships. You have every right to keep your illness confidential and disclose it only to those closest to you. This is advisable in many situations, such as for people you have just met or recent acquaintances you do not know very well. You may also choose to keep it private from your employer and co-workers.

This depends on your work situation, the type of work you do, the length of time you have worked there, your relationship with your boss, your seniority in your job, and many other factors. You may just decide to take an "extended lunch" for a doctor's appointment and say nothing more. It is all up to you--there is no right or wrong answer here. If your illness is beginning to interfere with your job performance, however, it may then be preferable to disclose it confidentially to your employer so that he or she has a realistic understanding of why your previously outstanding work has slipped. Then together you might decide to modify your duties, change to a part-time schedule, or take some time off while you recover. You may be surprised to find out that most employers would understand. A good working relationship with your treatment team (psychiatrist, clinical psychologist or therapist) is essential to managing your depression or bipolar disorder. Your treatment is a collaboration between you and your health care providers. You must be able to communicate well with each other so that your needs are understood and met. This includes taking the time to ask questions and make your concerns known. We each have our own way of coping with stressful situations and illness. We have our own set of personal experiences with illness, relationships, life events, and work. Because of these differences, people have varying needs, and there are many ways to offer help. What does it look like and feel like to manage your depression successfully, to actually do everything mentioned so far in this book? The strategies are not a magical cure for depression. But they will help you get through the illness with episodes that are perhaps less intense. The first thing you experience when you manage your depression is being able to go about your day with an acceptance that depression is an illness, one that can be treated and managed. It is not a weakness or a character flaw. When you manage your illness, you do not listen to those who offer misinformed comments or unhelpful advice. This is a big relief for many people.

You know that as part of the illness, your mood will change up and down, and that you will have good days and not-so-good days. You try to understand the fluctuations and patterns you experience. Some days you will wake up feeling relatively okay, and other days, you will feel absolutely down. That is the time to remind yourself even more that the down times are part of the picture and that this moment will eventually pass. This is not easy to do. When you manage your depression well, you follow the Basics of Mental Health each day. This will help you stay well mentally and physically. Managing your depression means you keep up with personal self-care and follow the treatment plan set up by your providers. You sleep 7 to 8 hours every night, eat a balanced diet of healthy food three times a day, limit caffeine and tobacco intake, and do not use alcohol or street drugs. It means that you take all your medications as prescribed, even if you are feeling better. It includes getting some form of exercise each day, depending on your physical limits. Another essential piece of managing your depression well is to avoid isolation. You do this by keeping up with your family and friends and other social contacts, even when you don't really feel like it. If you have not heard from someone in a while, you pick up the phone and call the person. Sometimes other people do not know what to say to you when you feel very depressed, so they may not call for fear of feeling awkward or uncomfortable. At those times, it is important for you to initiate the contact, to keep up those friendships that will sustain you. Of course, to test this hypothesis we have to ensure that the psychic had no way of knowing information about the deceased prior to the reading. History reveals that a number of psychics have perpetrated hoaxes. In some instances, readings have been given for a confederate that was known to the psychic. In others, the psychic's assistants mingle with individuals, gather pertinent information prior to the reading, and then relay that information covertly to the psychic.