How to Beat the Holiday Blues

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This is the interview with Dr. Ken Unger, about depression and anxiety, especially around the holidays, on Monday Night Radio. Monday Night Radio is an online (Internet-based) talk radio show where different experts are interviewed, and people around the world can listen via the Internet, and call in to talk with the expert, and ask them questions.

The Internet Patrol’s Anne P. Mitchell, Esq., is the host of Monday Night Radio.

This Monday Night Radio show with Dr. Unger was first aired on 12/6/10. In addition to reading the interview below, you can listen to the recorded show via iTunes – where you can also subscribe to the podcast of all of the recorded shows. Here is the iTunes link: http://www.MondayNightRadio.com/ref/MNR-iTunes.


Links to the guest’s website and book, if any, are at the end of the interview.

Anne: It’s time for Monday Night Radio. Monday night is your night to talk with the experts. Call us now to get into the queue at 866-Monday6. That’s 866-Monday6. Call us now, or e-mail your questions and comments to comments@mondaynightradio.com. Tweet them to us @mondayradio. Now, here’s your host, Anne P. Mitchell, esquire.

Alright, we are going to go to a testimonial now. We are still trying to get Dr. Unger on the line.

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Testimonial: Hi, my name is Ellen Wood. I just want to tell everyone that Anne Mitchell is fabulous. She is a great interviewer. I teach people how to grow younger and I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with her. She was so upbeat and she asked good questions. If you have a chance to listen to only one show, make it Anne’s.

Anne: That was Ellen Wood. She teaches people how to grow younger. You can listen to her Monday Night Radio show by going to our Monday Night Radio archive. Those are at mondaynightradio.com. You can just click on the interview archive section. You can also read previous interviews. We have them in transcript form. That also is interview archive section. You can also listen on iTunes. So, for those of you who aren’t aware, you can go to iTunes and you can look up Monday Night Radio. You can get all of our previous shows in a podcast format. You can download them to your iPod. You can download them to your computer. You can pretty much download them to anything that will play that format. That was a very interesting show that we had with Ellen that day. Let’s see, what we have here tonight. Oh, yes we have another testimonial. Let’s hear what this person has to say.

Testimonial #2: Hi this is Reverend Andrea Raynor, author of “The Voice that Calls you Home”. I just wanted to say that I am a huge fan of Monday Night Radio. What a wonderful experience for listeners to be able to tune in from their computers or from Skype or their handheld devices and to participate in discussions led by a very, very able hostess Anne. Thank you for the opportunity. I will be tuning in to other shows from now on. Again, I’m a big fan of Monday Night Radio. Thanks.

 

Anne: That was the Reverend Andrea Raynor. She joined us last month. She was one of the Chaplains at Ground Zero at 9/11. If you want to talk about a tough job, having to help the families who had lost their loved ones in 9/11 and who had every reason to lose every bit of faith, and yet she did it with such grace and such care and loving. It was just amazing to even talk to her.

I have been told that Dr. Unger has just joined us. I am so very pleased with that, because I have to tell you that I am just about talked out. So, let me tell you about Dr. Unger. Dr. Ken Unger, his credentials include more than 35 years of counseling and spiritual healing. He is the author of “The Ultimate Breakthrough”. He has degrees in counseling and psychotherapy. He has served as the Dean of Counseling at a major bible college and has counseled the inner city youths and worked in psychiatric hospitals, prisons, churches and colleges, as well as serving as pastor at three different facilities over the course of 23 years. He is extremely qualified to talk with us about dealing with holiday depression and seasonal affective disorder and those sorts of things and how to help even yourself or those around you without medication. It’s really no wonder that he has earned the nickname of “The Soul Doctor”. Let’s bring him on. Good evening, Dr. Unger, are you there?

Dr. Unger: I am here. My apologies. I got waylaid. I am so sorry I am late.

Anne: You know, you are here, and that is the important thing. We hope that it was not a bad waylaying.

Dr. Unger: No, no. Everything is fine.

Anne: Well, I hope you won’t mind if we jump right in. We have lots and lots of questions. Some of them are from our staff and me. Some of them are from people who have e-mailed them in.

Dr. Unger: Great.

Anne: First do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself? You probably heard my intro, but if there is anything you would like to add to that?

Dr. Unger: Well, probably one thing I would like your listeners to know is that I would like to make available to them a free article, actually a chapter from my book that was an addendum to my book, “The Ultimate Breakthrough: Spiritual Therapy for Emotional Pain”. So many people would talk to me about anxiety and depression that I did write an addendum for it called, “Peace without Prozac”. If any of your listeners would visit my website and click on the red link at the top of the site and just send their e-mail address, I will send them a copy of that addendum to my book called, “Peace without Prozac”. It’s seven simple steps that people can do to enable them to find peace and not need drugs in order to do that.

Anne: Dr. Unger, what is your website?

Dr. Unger: The website is transformationincorporated.com. People can also go to souldr.com.

Anne: We will of course include that in our archives and the article about you and the audio. So, there will be many ways that people will be able to find both of those websites and your very generous offer of the free chapter. Dr. Unger, I am wondering if to start you could help people to understand the difference between what is depression, particularly around the holidays and as it affects the holiday season. There’s seasonal affective disorder. What distinguishes those sorts of situations from someone just being really sad? You could certainly be very sad about something that occurs around the holidays or something that occurs in your life. At what point is it not just sort of a discreet sad episode, but actual depression.

Dr. Unger: Well, that is an excellent question. What I tell people is it is the difference between waking up and saying, “Good morning, God,” and waking up and saying, “Good God, Morning.” It’s when…

Anne: That’s a great line.

Dr. Unger: It’s when you dread the morning. I have been there. I’ve been to a place in my past where I would literally sleep 18 hours a day. I was on prescription drugs at the time. It was awful. It was like a living hell. What I want people to know is that you don’t have to be in that living hell. You don’t have to be in the place where you just hate getting up in the morning. You mentioned seasonal affective disorder. I grew up in Cleveland and spent most of my life there. It is the second grayest city in America.

Anne: What is the first?

Dr. Unger: I think Seattle. There’s just a ton of clouds and gray days. It affects you chemically because you don’t get the vitamin D that you need. It affects your mood. Now I live in southern California. We used to have as many 300 gray days in Cleveland every year. Now, we have 300 sunny days here in southern California where I live. It just affects your day so much. But, you can affect seasonal affective disorder by adding something as simple as vitamin D supplements into your diet so that you are getting the recharge that you need from the sun. You can also do other things. One of the major things that I recommend in my “Peace without Prozac” addendum is that people would just take a walk. I say go take a hike. What I mean by that is if people would just walk for 30 minutes, even if it really cold and you don’t want to do that outside, go to a mall. Just walk through the mall for 30 minutes. Find a place where you are getting some exercise. The way I stumbled onto this is that Henry David Thoreau once said that he never had a problem that didn’t go away after a long walk. So, I started doing that myself. I learned that just the simple act of taking a walk; to be honest I can’t explain why. I think some of it is chemical, because your endorphins kick in. But, there is something more to it. There is something spiritual and cognitive and intellectual that happens. You can’t come back from a long walk without seeing life a little bit better. So, that is one of the key things that I recommend for people to do. The holidays are full of those times when…I can remember times when literally when I was married I would pick a fight with my wife because I dreaded going to Thanksgiving. It would prolong the time to get to Thanksgiving. You get there and there are family members you don’t really want to see. There are people you really don’t want to be around. That’s not true for everybody, but for a lot of us there are people that we are related to, and you can’t pick your relatives, that we just don’t being around. You are with them during the holidays. That is one of the problems. There’s the gift giving. There are so many facets to especially what is very poignant for people is the loneliness they feel. They maybe were married and they aren’t. Or, they always wanted to be married and they haven’t been. Or, they were in a relationship and that went sour. They are lonely, and their children neglect them and don’t bother to call. There are so many factors like that where people just feel like this season that should be so full of joy and happiness is instead a very lonely, empty and busy place. It’s busy in all the wrong ways.

Anne: There’s nothing so poignant as the kind of loneliness you experience when you are surrounded by happy people.

Dr. Unger: That is true. That is true. You hear the songs about what a wonderful time of year it is and all of this stuff. I know some people who just won’t even listen to Christmas music because it so bothers them. It’s so painful for them to hear it. It’s a season that ought to be wonderful and maybe we have wonderful memories and those memories are gone and we feel like we have no hope of life ever being good again, which is never true for anyone, but it is easy to get to that place. What I do if I am working with an individual client and doing individual therapy is I want them to come to me when they are really feeling terrible, when they are really feeling awful, because the work that I do is what I call step therapy, spiritual therapy for emotional pain. I wrote my book, “The Ultimate Breakthrough” so that people wouldn’t have to come to me. They could actually take a book, work it as a workbook, and they could experience healing. So, the down place where people go to, whether it is sadness as you mentioned or loneliness or depression or anxiety, by the way anxiety is what really leads to depression, but when people get into that dark place where they just can’t see up. They have to look up to see the curb they are so far down, when they get to that place, that is when I want to find them and have them come to me. Or, in this case, if they can’t come to me for therapy, or they can’t come to one of my retreats or seminars, they can get a copy of this book and start using this book as a workbook. It took me 10 years to write the book because I wanted to create a book that healed. I wanted a book that people could actually…a lot of people talk about healing, but it really isn’t healing that they are talking about. They are talking about cognitive therapy or changing your diet or various other things. The reality is when we have an emotional problem, we have an emotional need. Most people I know have analyzed their problem to death. They have gone into the paralysis of analysis. They’ve talked it to death. They’ve thought about it every which way they can. The truth is that we forget 90 percent of what has happened to us. So, what we can do with our mind can only solve 10 percent of our problem, but all of the emotions that we have ever had in our life are stored within us. If you can tap into the emotional pain at a deep and profound level with a proper guidance, that pain can be healed. What I tell people is when you heal the pain you don’t need the aspirin anymore, whatever the aspirin is.

Anne: That is a wonderful segue into the issue and question of medication, because I know that you are a great proponent of not using medication whenever possible. So, can you talk a little bit about that? Actually let me lead in by saying there was just a study released I believe it was in fact in the December issue of “The Archives of General Psychology” which says that antidepressant prescription rates have skyrocketed while at the same time fewer and fewer Americans have sought psychotherapy for their depression. So, more people are getting medicated, but fewer people are actually going for clinical health. The author of this study said, “This is an encouraging trend.” I am just kind of flabbergasted.

Dr. Unger: It’s just the opposite. We in America alone spend 200 million dollars every day on antidepressants.

Anne: Say that again. Every day?

Dr. Unger: Everyday on antidepressants we spend 200 million dollars.

Anne: How is that even possible?

Dr. Unger: Isn’t that incredible? It’s a multi-multi billion dollar industry. The psychiatrists get their money; they get the fee just for you coming in for 15 minutes to get a new prescription. So, the whole chemical model of treating what is wrong with us is a model that is failing us miserably. It leads to…There’s over 100 medical problems that can develop from using antidepressants, not the least of which is death. Most people find that when they get into antidepressants that it will destroy their libido, that affects their marriage and their relationships and their capacity to experience love. So there are so many complications from antidepressants. One of the things that I talk about in my book is that the word psychology means knowledge of the soul. Psyche means the soul. The word psychiatry means treatment of the soul. What I would say is the reason people aren’t going to psychologists and psychiatrists is because they don’t treat the soul. They treat the mind and the body. Again, the problem is much deeper than that in the psyche of people. Some psychiatrist many years ago in “Newsweek” magazine made this very shocking and significant statement. He said, “Psychiatry without God is malpractice.” What he meant by that is that it is not that you have to be religious, but we are created as spiritual beings and spiritual creatures. If we have a problem it will affect us spiritually as well as intellectually and physically. If you go to a doctor and all they can give you is something for your head or something for your body, we know instinctively. When I talk to people about my work their heads start nodding. They know instinctively that when you have an emotional problem you need an emotional solution. I did one of my healing seminars in a prison a few years ago in Ohio. My seminars take usually 48 hours. In fact we tell people you can change your life in a weekend. Well, they only gave me 8 hours. So, I had to move quickly. So, the firs thing I did was I asked the inmates that were there, “How many of you are here because of mishandled emotions?” Every hand shot up. Every hand shot up. They knew that the reason they were having problems was rooted in their emotions and how they handled their rage or their depression or their anger or their frustration, their impatience. Again, psychology and psychiatry doesn’t treat the emotions, which is a key component of the soul. The soul is comprised of the intellect, the emotions, and the will. You can give people anger management classes all day, and they are still going to be angry, which is why people say if anybody is ever abusive there is no hope; they will always be abusive. That’s not true. What’s true is that the things that we do for people when they are in that state aren’t working. They aren’t working because the problem is rooted in the emotions. The method that I use, which in “The Ultimate Breakthrough” I explain the methodology. It’s very simple. You read through it and you get to the two chapters on practical methods and techniques. People think this can’t work. It’s too simple. But, it really does work; it is basically getting in touch with the emotion. Somehow every emotion we have ever had is stored within us. If a person can get deeply in touch with their current pain, somehow there is a leap of the synapse; I don’t really understand it at all. I just know that it works. They begin to connect with the previously pain they have long forgotten. When that pain is healed then most of the other things that were wrong with their life start changing. Nothing changes unless we change. The most profound changes we can make are spiritual and emotional, not intellectual, not physical, not chemical and medical. The chemical problems people have in their chemistry make up are a result not a cause. They are a result usually of stinking thinking.

Anne: You are listening to Monday Night Radio. Our guest is Dr. Ken Unger, “The Soul Doctor”. You can call in if you have questions or comments at 866-Monday6. That’s 866-Monday6. You can e-mail us at comments@mondaynightradio.com. You can send us a message by AIM, AOL instant messenger, @mondaynightradio, by Facebook @mondaynightradio, or by Twitter @mondayradio. Dr. Unger, you are talking about not using medication and really digging in and finding the feelings. Very interestingly, there was another study that came out just this week, so this seems like this is the week for studies that are right in your sweet spot. This is one; I don’t know if you read about it, it came out of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada. What they say, and I think you are going to like this, is, “Being mindful of life events that make you happy or sad may be just as effective as taking medication to prevent depression.” By undergoing what they are calling mindfulness based cognitive therapy, which sounds a whole lot to me like what you are talking about, people can learn how to meditate and learn how to pay attention to their emotional triggers. The researcher there says that when you do that you gain better control over cognitive emotions that can trigger a relapse into depression without you even being aware of it. So, first of all I would like to have you comment, because that does sound to me like what you are talking about. Also, how can you have a relapse into depression, but not be aware of it? This is obviously not your statement, but if you have some insight into that.

Dr. Unger: Well, on your first point, I totally agree. I do something with people that I call rethreading your head. What I mean by that is it is a simple process of training yourself to think differently so that if you find your mind filled with anxiety. One of the quotes I love comes from Mark Twain. He said, “My life is a long series of problems most of which never happened.” Isn’t that great?

Anne: Yes it is.

Dr. Unger: When you think about it 95 percent of the things we are afraid of never happen, but it’s the fear. It’s the stinking thinking. It’s the catastrophizing. It’s letting your mind go to those places where you create this scenario of terrible things and terrible realities. So, if you can realize, and I’ll tell you something, walking immediately starts to diffuse that. But the things that don’t get diffused, when you begin to become conscious of things that you want to change about your life, what I encourage people to do to rethread your head or change the stinking thinking is to take first cognitive. What they are saying is you become aware. You get in touch with the kind of thought process that is going on. Let’s say you are just absolutely convinced maybe that a certain person really doesn’t like you. Somebody at work or your boss or something, so you just live in that place of thinking that there is nothing that I can do to please this person. It’s hopeless. I know I am going to lose my job. I know they hate me. You start going down that path. It just gets worse.

Anne: It’s such a self fulfilling prophecy then.

Dr. Unger: Exactly. Exactly, because the law of attraction is that good or bad we draw to ourselves what we believe. So, when your thoughts start going there and you start to buy it. If you buy it you own it. So, pretty soon (you said that so well) it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. So, what I encourage people to do is when you catch yourself doing that, take that thought that you are having, that recurring catastrophizing thought and replace it with something else. All of nature are pores of vacuum so it’s not enough to stop thinking that way. You have to replace the negative with something positive. So, I would encourage people to take out of my tradition, which is a Christian tradition, I will take a bible verse that helps me. So, if I am dealing with anxiety for instance, there is one passage of scripture that I love because it deals with the very core of anxiety. It is a passage that says, “In nothing be anxious, but everything through prayer and supplication let your request be made known to God.” That simple passage first tells you what not to do. Don’t be anxious. Anxiety will never help. It will only hurt. Anxiety is never your friend. Then instead of just saying don’t be anxious, it gives you something positive to do. Let your request be made known to God. The passage ends by saying then start thinking about good things whatever is positive, whatever is beautiful, whatever is wonderful in your life. Think about these things. It ends with an incredible promise. It says, “The peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind,” if you do that. The peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind. A person dealing with depression that is exactly what they need. They need to guard their mind that is going there, and their heart which fuels all of these things into their mind. The heart is the subconscious. It is what I call the basement of the soul. It is that deep reservoir within us through which all of these negative things that pollute our lives and destroy our lives come. Out of the heart, out of that deep place in our subconscious. So I encourage people to rethread their head. If they don’t believe in the bible, that’s fine. You can still find a positive meditation. You can begin to say today is going to be a wonderful day. My boss loves me and I love my boss. One of my favorite scriptures is “Love never fails.” It’s one of the shortest scriptures in the bible. Love never fails. Even if your boss hates you, if you can learn to love your boss and repay evil with kindness and become competent and find ways to do for your boss what you wish your boss would do for you the situation can change. It can turn around. That’s true in any relationship in our lives. Relationships face it; relationships are where most of our problems come from. I think Sartre was right when he said, “Hell is other people.”

Anne: Dr. Unger, we have Jeff calling from Boulder who would like to talk with you. Jeff, you are on the line Dr. Ken Unger, “The Soul Doctor”.

Caller #1: Hi, Ken.

Dr. Unger: Hi, Jeff.

Caller #1: So, I’ve had an interesting couple of experiences with holiday depression. One includes my roommate of a couple of years ago calling me on Christmas Eve and saying his dad had committed suicide as well as entering a conversation with a cook I work with who said her son had committed suicide around this time a couple of years ago. I was wondering. I guess at the moment I was at a loss for words as you could probably guess. For future reference I suppose, and I hope I never have to reference this information in the future, what are some ways that I can react/comfort. How do I respond to those situations I guess?

Dr. Unger: Well let me tell you. How did you respond?

Caller #1: I was just…My roommate who called me on Christmas Eve, I simply said I’m terribly sorry for your loss. I was at a loss for words for the most part. I did what I could as far as condolences go. I just have this feeling that nothing could have really helped out at that moment.

Dr. Unger: I love how you said that, Jeff. You were at a loss for words. In fact, that is a good thing. A lot of times when people call us with grief we think we have to say something. The reality is the less you say the better. The best thing you can do if somebody is grieving in any situation is listen. The best thing that person can do is talk. If you can get them to tell you their feelings about that person who committed suicide that will help them more than anything else. I learned that many years ago. The grief is like a big hole. The way to fill the hole back up again is to talk about the thing that you lost whether it is a relationship or a cherished possession or a friendship or a mate or a lot of money. The best thing you can help a person do when they are experiencing any loss is to get them to talk about that loss. So, if you can say, “Gosh that must have been awful. Tell me how you are feeling right now. Tell me what you are thinking. Tell me what your father meant to you. Tell me what your sister meant to you. Tell me what your wife meant to you. I’d love to hear that. You have my ears.” God gave us one mouth and two ears. Most of us act as if he gave us two mouths and no ears if I dare say that. The best thing you can do for a person is listen. So, when you feel like you don’t know what to say, that is a great thing. I would encourage you in the future if you ever come into a situation like that to just draw the person out and get them to talk about their loss. Does that make sense, Jeff?

Caller #1: Yeah, it really does. I do appreciate it, because it seems like no words could possibly help in that situation, you know?

Dr. Unger: They really can’t. Usually with a suicide, a person will also feel blamed. Whether they have any blame or not, they are going to feel like, “Oh I should have known. What if I had done this? What if I had done that? What if I had gone to visit my father? What if I had called? I didn’t even call, because I was too busy with myself.” You can even say, “Tell me how you are feeling. Tell me what is going on in your mind. Tell me what you are thinking about right now.” If they say that, let them say it. Let them say it. Then, I would say something to them like this. I would say something like, “Do you know most people when they lose someone in that way it is so terrible because it is almost impossible not to blame yourself in someway. You know you are not to blame right?”

Caller #1: He did put a small amount of blame from what I learned afterwards yeah. It is a very important point that I need to keep in mind. Thank you, or at least understand.

Dr. Unger: That is the cruel thing about suicide. The people who loved you and the people you loved are going to say, “Oh what did I do wrong? What didn’t I do? How could I have helped? Why was I so selfish?” All of these things, and some people will carry that the rest of their life because they will never find anybody who will give them their two ears long enough.

Caller #1: Right.

Dr. Unger: For them to get out whatever is inside of them that is rattling around that place in the heart, in the subconscious, in the basement of the soul where all of those terrible thoughts are there and weighing them down and burdening them. Somehow the magic of talking, of getting the person to talk, I will tell you something, I am best in working in therapy when I am doing cognitive therapy with people, I am best when I am asking questions, and I am worst when I am giving answers. One of the things I say about psychology or psychiatry is that you are only as good as your last question.

Anne: Jeff, I am wondering are either of these people that you are likely to see again, or around the holidays each year?

Caller #1: Yes, tomorrow I will see the woman whose mom committed suicide. She is a chef at the school I work at.

Anne: Are you wondering? Do you bring it up because it is a horrible anniversary? Do you pretend nothing happened?

Caller #1: We’ve kind of talked about it, but I don’t want to come off…The perfect words to fit in this scenario just seem to slip away into my mind. It’s one of those things where I really appreciate this advice, because if it comes up again I’ll just tell her if you need any ears, I’ve got two of them.

Anne: Dr. Unger, what I am wondering is if this is a situation where someone in Jeff’s situation should take the bull by the horns and go up to this woman and say, “I know this must be a really tough time of year for you. I just want you to know that I am here to listen if you need to talk.”

Dr. Unger: That is exactly what I was thinking. That is a wonderful thing that he could do depending on the quality of the relationship that he has with her. Again, you don’t want to do it in such a time where maybe there are other people around. She might tear up and feel awkward and feel bad. But, if you could call her aside and say, “Look I know this is a time when you are probably thinking about your son.” Let her say, “Yeah it is really hard.” Say, “You know what; I would love to take you out for some coffee. Could we do that? Could I take you to get some coffee or some hot chocolate? I’d love to just be here for you.”

Anne: Are you there?

Caller #1: Yeah. I appreciate it. We have kind of talked about it. She brought it up willfully. I had no idea of the incident. She seemed pretty forthcoming about letting me know that this had happened. It also kind of seemed like a person she can talk to in the workplace. I really do appreciate that. I will definitely let her know. She seemed kind of bummed about it. Isn’t that a silly thing to say in this instance? But, even after a few years she is still pretty bummed about it.

Dr. Unger: Of course. She will be for the rest of her life. Let me ask you this, Jeff, do you believe in prayer yourself?

Caller #1: I do.

Dr. Unger: Don’t underestimate its power. Quantum physics is now authenticating the power of prayer. You can literally pray for comfort to come to her and for her thoughts and her heart and mind to be protected and for the right opportunity to talk with her and to cheer her up and to lift her spirits. Maybe you might even want to consider doing something like buying a card and saying, “I’m thinking of you at this time of year, and I just want you to know that I appreciate you.” How many times in your life do you ever get a card like that?

Caller #1: That’s a good point.

Dr. Unger: It’s so simple. The simple things that we can do to show that we care are so powerful and so profound and so simple and so rare. So, look for random acts of kindness too. She is fortunate to have a friend like you, Jeff.

Caller #1: Thank you.

Dr. Unger: She really is. She really is.

Anne: Thank you, Jeff, for the call. Thank you so much.

Caller #1: Well thank you for answering my question.

Anne: That was some very valuable advice that you had for Jeff. Thank you, Dr. Unger. We have a few more minutes. I would like to just hold you over a little bit if you don’t mind.

Dr. Unger: Absolutely. I owe you.

Anne: Well I don’t look at it that way, but we have another caller on hold. Before we go to this caller, I wanted to ask you a little bit about seasonal affective disorder and how that might look like holiday depression, but it is really kind of different. Isn’t it? It is really something that is truly triggered in the person itself by the changing of the seasons.

Dr. Unger: It really is different. I remember there was a lag time between when I decided to move to California and when I got here of about 18 months. I was so eager to move to California. I realized that I had wanted to live California ever since I was 12 when I first visited California. Here I was 49, and I was finally getting to do that, but it took a year and a half to sell houses and boats and things I needed to do and make the transition. The last two winters that I spend in Cleveland I would literally hurt when I would go outside because the cold seemed so much more powerful than it had ever been before. My bones would hurt in the cold. I felt myself wanting to go down into that dark place depression. I lived in a place where it was like the buckle on the Snow Belt. 500 feet up there road there might be six inches of snow and we would 18 inches where I lived and I am talking about in two hours it would fall like that. We had the snow and the slush and the wind and the cold and the gray and I just spent my last winter before that in California and the winter before that I spent in Miami. So, I was spoiled. I just couldn’t handle this cold and gray stuff anymore. So, I had to make myself go out and take walks in the snow and in the cold and bundle up. The walks helped a great deal. When it was absolutely too cold or I was just too bummed out to go walk outside I would go to a mall and I would walk around that mall in the inside of a shopping mall. It really was amazing how that simple act would help. Another thing that helps and this is from the addendum called, “Peace without Prozac” in my book, “The Ultimate Breakthrough” is journaling. Journaling for me is like writing a letter to God. You can journal even if you don’t believe in God. Getting things out of your head onto a piece of paper, sometimes I call that like the paper psychiatrist. It is amazing. It is amazing how it helps to get things out of your head and onto a piece of paper. Another simple thing people can do is just express gratitude every single day. If you start each day thinking about five things that you are thankful for, it will change the tenor of your whole day.

Anne: That really is part of the answer which is you can control your own outlook and your own attitude and your view of the day as it unfolds. We are listening to Dr. Ken Unger. He is “The Soul Doctor” here on Monday Night Radio. You can give us a call at 866-Monday6. You can e-mail comments to comments@mondaynightradio.com. Just before we go to this caller, I promise this is the last study from which I am going to quote. Like I said, this was a really interesting week in terms of a lot being in the news that was relevant. There was a study published in the journal called “Nature Neuroscience” it is about seasonal affective disorder and biological clocks. This study found, what they did was they followed baby mice and some of them were raised in the natural light and some of them they created a sort of an artificial winter light and some of them an artificial summer cycle. Their premise was that time of year when you are born can affect your biological clock and therefore could trigger seasonal affective disorder. What they found was that indeed for example the mice that were born under winter conditions had a slowing of their activity regardless of what season they were then placed in. They were just more affected by that then the baby mice that were born during what was considered to be summer time. I think that is really interesting research, because there are so many of these conditions if you will such as seasonal affective disorder that people sort of think of as kooky and sort of out there and having no basis in science. I think it is interesting that science is showing that yes the very seasons, starting with the season in which you are born really can have an affect on your very psyche and your state of being. Let’s go to this caller. We have Jessica on the line. Hi, Jessica.

Caller #2: Hi, how are you?

Anne: I am well, thank you. How are you?

Caller #2: I am good.

Anne: Do you have a question for Dr. Unger?

Caller #2: I do. I have a situation several years ago where I was having increasing mood swings and highs and lows. So, my doctor ended up referring me out to a psychiatrist where much to my surprise they told me that I was bipolar and they put me on a slew of really heavy medication that just really had me reeling and nauseous and so sick. It wasn’t until probably a year later thankfully I was actually having just a yearly visit with my gynecologist and I found out that it was actually PMDD that I had. My gynecologist said that PMDD is very, very frequently misdiagnosed as bipolar unfortunately. Obviously PMDD doesn’t require a huge slew of heavy gun narcotics. She took me off of everything and gave me other ways to manage around it. It’s been great ever since. So, I am just wondering in your experience how many times have you seen things such as medical conditions actually misdiagnosed as these kinds of things? Do you incorporate medical diagnostic testing in with your patients before going to psychological conditions?

Dr. Unger: I think medical conditions are very often misdiagnosed. It’s not really much of a science. It’s almost a guessing game in a lot of cases. I do not use medicine or recommend it other than there is a chapter in the back of my book, there are natural things that people can take that will increase their mood or help them with depression without them needing to take artificially created drugs. I am a great believer in alternative and natural medicine for almost anything including physical ailments. I recommend again in my book “The Ultimate Breakthrough” there is a whole chapter on things that people can take instead of taking drugs. I think that there is a legitimate role for drugs in the practice of medicine and treating psychological disorders. My contention is that drugs should be used to stabilize a person so that you can get to the bottom of what caused the problem in the first place. Drugs don’t heal anything ever in my knowledge. I don’t know of any drug that has ever cured or healed anything. It treats symptoms. The symptoms are there for a reason. I believe that a psychiatrist or a psychologist that is using drugs ought to be looking for the deeper solution instead of merely treating the symptoms. Too often they will prescribe the drug as a solution when it is really only a partial solution to perhaps bring a person’s body chemistry into order so that they can actually get resolution. In the work that I do I would prefer that a person, I find that the drugs actually block their capacity to feel negative emotion so that it is harder for me to bring healing to them. So, I like to help a person get off of drugs as soon as possible. Then, if the negative feelings come, I can work with that. I want to get a person when they are depressed or when they are sad or when they are lonely or when they are angry. I want to get them into those feelings, not airlift them out of the feelings so that we can get to the bottom of it and get resolution. The work that I do which is explained on my website transformationincorporated.com is called step therapy, spiritual therapy for emotional pain. It’s really almost everything you need to know in order to heal your pain is in my book “The Ultimate Breakthrough” which is available on my website souldr.com or transportationincorporated.com or amazon.com or bookstores. You can order it in bookstores. Again the reason I wrote the book was so that anybody can afford 20 bucks to buy a book. If 20 bucks is all it takes to get to the bottom of your problem, and if people will use the book as I recommend which is only doing a chapter a week, doing all of the journaling, doing the meditation exercises, the other exercises that are there then they will experience the spirit coming in and beginning to show them the roots of their pain. When the pain is healed you don’t need the aspirin. In your case, you were experiencing tremendous mood swings. I am glad you finally found a gynecologist who understood that and was able to get you off of those drugs.

Caller #2: Me too. I do have one other really quick question if we have time.

Anne: Very quickly, yes.

Caller #2: I was recently watching a wonderful movie where they were talking exactly about using alternative supplements for things like depression. They were talking about how they’ve taken patients off of lithium and put them on really massive doses of like vitamin B and C, and I think you even mentioned D. Are those what you are touching on when you said that you believe alternative ways of healing?

Dr. Unger: Yeah. When we are talking about psychological things, like I said there is a whole chapter in my book “The Ultimate Breakthrough” on various things that you can use for different things that you are dealing with. There are also alternative medicine websites that you can go to and find alternative ways to treat almost every disease that you can imagine. For instance a lot of people deal with acid reflux disease. Doctors will write you a prescription that you can take for the rest of your life and it will cost you a minimum of 30 dollars a month for the rest of your life or you just start drinking some natural apple cider vinegar and in a couple of weeks it will be gone completely.

Anne: Wow.

Dr. Unger: I’m sorry to say, but medicine is designed not to heal the patient. It is designed to get the patient dependent on more medicine.

Anne: Alright. Well thank you very much for your call, Jessica. Dr. Unger, we are just about out of time, but I would ask you if you would give out your website one more time. I know it is souldr.com, but the other website.

Dr. Unger: Yeah, the other one is transformationincorporated.com. That has to be spelled out. The search engines pick that up a little better than souldr.com, but the search engines notice transformationincorporated.com much quicker. So, that is the best way to find me. There is a lot of information there on the healing work that I do with individuals, on retreats and seminars, a free easy newsletter. It will let them know when I am going to be doing retreats or seminars that may be in their area. Or even if they want to sponsor a seminar or retreat in their area. They can contact me through the website and get information about the books. I’ve got CDs, DVDs, and various other eBooks on the site all designed to help people heal and grow spiritually, heal their pain and grow spiritually.

Anne: That’s just very, very useful and awesome. We are just very grateful that you were able to make it. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Dr. Unger: Thank you. It’s my pleasure. Again, my apologies that I was late tonight.

Anne: We are just grateful that you were here. That was Dr. Ken Unger. He is “The Soul Doctor”. You can get his book “The Ultimate Breakthrough” through his website. You can also get it through Amazon.com and there will be links to both of his websites. In fact, I think we have one up right now. Certainly they will be up in the interview archive. Join us next week when Dr. Joseph Williams talks about the baggage you pack in your luggage, how what and how you pack, what it says about you. Join us next week. In the mean time, have a great week.

Dr. Unger’s website.

Dr. Unger’s book, “The Ultimate Breakthrough”.

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