Wednesday, 5 September 2012

How I overcame depression - in a nutshell! ~ {Dr Leaf explains how I did this!}

Me and Dr Caroline Leaf

A few weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending a morning where Dr Caroline Leaf was the speaker.
Dr. Caroline Leaf received her training in Communication Pathology (BSC Logopaedics) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Dr Leaf also holds a Masters degree and Phd in Communication Pathology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Since 1981, Dr. Caroline Leaf has researched the human brain with particular emphasis on unlocking its vast, untapped potential. She as specifically focused on the cognitive neuroscientific aspects of TBI/CHI (Traumatic brain injury/Closed head Injury) and the science of thought as it relates to thinking, learning and renewing the mind, gifting and potential. http://drleaf.com/about.php 

 I have been following Dr Leaf on Twitter and reading her blogs for 2 years now and find her research fascinating. I particularly love that she shows how science has now caught up with what the Word of God has said all along.

After I overcame depression, it was always on my heart to share my story of how I overcame, in the hope that others may find inspiration for themselves to do the same. But I am acutely aware that no two stories of how we fall into depression and how we overcome it are the same. There are so many factors that can lead you into depression: chemical imbalance, poor eating habits, stress, poor health, incorrect thoughts etc. To overcome depression, there is no formula - everyone's journey out is different. I struggled to articulate what I exactly did to overcome depression, as my memory of the time is pretty hazy, as can be common with depression.

In a nutshell, I looked at all 3 areas of my life - body (exercise, eating habits), soul (thoughts, emotions, intellect, mind) and spirit (worship, faith, conscience, intuition).
This is how I overcame depression:

What I found really interesting while listening to Dr Leaf, was that I was now finally understood how I overcame depression. I was rewiring my brain all those years ago, and I didn't know it! This was a huge factor in overcoming my depression. Every time I chose to stop (or take captive) the lies  in my thoughts, I was rewiring my brain. Every time I had a new understanding or revelation of His grace towards me, I was rewiring my brain. Every time I chose to trust that He loved me unconditionally, I was rewiring my brain. Every time I chose to worship Him despite how I felt at the time, I was rewiring my brain.

Dr Leaf said in a study done by atheist scientists, it was concluded that the more you worship and pray, the more it increases your brain. Research has also found that patients who believed in a loving and benevolent God were able to increase their immune system dramatically. Those patients that had a relationship with Jesus had better health. She also said the quality of your cells are determined by the quality of your thought life. 75% of illnesses come through our thought life. 

The good news is, God designed the human brain that whatever you have wired in can be wired out. This is called neuro-plasticity. Dr Leaf said we can be our own neurosurgeon! I love that Dr Leaf explained that humans are actually wired for love, and we learn fear. Humans are born with an optimism bias and it is our natural inclination to recognise and reach for the future. We naturally see the bright side of things. Negative thinking is a learned behaviour. What was also interesting is that negative thought patterns go right down to our DNA and can be passed down to future generations. These negative thought patterns lay dormant inside us until they are woken up, or we kill the thought! That explains how we see our children think like us and how we at times think the same as our parents. 

If you get an opportunity, go and hear Dr Leaf speak. If that is not possible, google her you tube videos. She is very practical and clear in her teaching and I'm sure like me, you will have lots of "aha" and "wow" moments as you hear her explain the brain and your thought life. I am currently reading through her book, "Who Switched Off My Brain? I find this stuff fascinating!

It was nice to finally get an explanation of how I overcame depression - by rewiring my brain.


Still taking lessons from the King,



23 comments:

  1. Excellent post! May I share it on Scarlet Rope? I'm on my way and am re-wiring my brain. I know that I too will overcome. Pxo

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  2. yes... absolutely fascinating! mind blowing! life changing :) xx

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  3. Fascinating, Jo! Even the intricate dealings of our brains and how they respond have everything to do with the One Who created them and our relationship with Him!

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    1. It really is fascinating Michelle. I love how we are designed to respond to Him in everything!

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  4. Awesome post! I have seen you mention Dr Leaf, but not gone to visit. What great clarification of the areas of need and the power to overcome. When I broke my leg, the dr told me that he would be without a job if the body didn't have the ability to heal itself...I love that the same holds true for our thought life. AND am living testimony of that! Praise God for the TRUTH that sets us free, right sister? :) :) :)

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  5. Lol Jo! Are you sure we were not in the same room a few weeks ago?:) You wrote down everything she said when I heard her speak and did a great job of it too! It was such an eye opener for me - the science of changing our thoughts and how it affects our health etc - and how science is just catching up to the word of God!

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    1. Not the same room but heard the same message by the sounds of it! Love bow science is finally catching up.

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  6. Thank You For This.
    I have been struggling lately...and this was helpful :)

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    1. Sorry to hear you are struggling Mel. But I am glad you found this helpful xo

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  7. Your second point about loving yourself (imperfections and all) is really interesting. Self Hatred is a deep hole.

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    1. It was a big one for me and a 'game changer' when I finally embraced myself imperfections and all. When I learned to see myself as He saw me I began to love myself.

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  8. I have been on a journey with God since Colour this year about flourishing and there were things I knew I had to address in light of that which seemed like giants to me that had been there for years and I didn't think I could do it. Then a few weeks ago Dr Leaf came to sisterhood and I had a lightbulb moment that it was time to regrow my brain in a healthy way, and address body soul and spirit together. It was just choices and thoughts and it clicked listening to her. The result is that the struggle i've had with food since I was 14 is gone, it's not that i'm having willpower and sticking to a diet or anything, I don't even want the stuff when its in front me, my brain has changed!!!! I plan to blog about it soon when I get more than 5 minutes with my laptop, and the only reason I even knew how she was before I went that day was because i've seen you talk about her :-)

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    1. Wow! Carolyn - that is so incredible!!!! Thank you for sharing this. xo

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  9. Thanks so much for sharing this. This is a journey I must begin, too! :)

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  10. I've been also struggling lately. Truly, this is an inspiration. Thank you.

    I also have Dr Caroline's book. I've been following her posts & watching her videos ever since I first saw her on TV in Joyce Meyer's Enjoying Everyday Life show.

    May God continue to give us wisdom and guide our paths.

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  11. Awesome to to read this!
    Rom 12:2 No mind change, no life change!
    I'm going to start 'Dr. Leaf 21 Day Brain Detox Program' -- the very first practical 'how to' I've come across for renewing your mind.....

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  12. Wow, thanks for posting this it has Really Blessed me! I just looked Caroline up on google, then I saw you blog about Depression and it caught my eye! Im 22 and have struggled with it for a while and You just Gave me so much hope! I now have Hope and know that im not crazy and that it can be fixed by my thinking and with a healthy lifestyle! Thanks so much for posting this! Im inspired now to start my own blog to Encourage others Once I get healed! Thank you Jesus! :)

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  13. Thanks so much for your website, I found it while searching for info on Caroline's teaching. I have much to say about my own journey. I believe God will lead me in the coming weeks as I continue to deal with spiritual/emotional hurts and wrong thinking.I dont want to overload with info, but I've found Andrew Womack's free teaching very useful. Eg. http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1077 I found his teaching more helpful than what I've heard in church for years. (I'm still not ready to face "church", after a 10 year stint in a semi-cult) Another ministry which has helped me is Touching Hearts http://www.touchinghearts.co.za They have a ministry team in Brisbane. I hope to one day blog more about my own journey :)

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  14. Jo, thank you for sharing your life as 'thoughts'. Have heard Dr.Leaf and she's incredible.
    i've struggled loving myself and tried many things, in spite of being a Christian for many years.
    Today i hv decided to accept myself just the way i am....warts and all....and i'm ready to travel on the road to detoxify myself.....bless you

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  15. Just realizing that I am going to have to do some real work as far as thoughts go. However , I don't entirely agree that we fear just because we learn fear. We don't have to be taught to fear. It comes rather naturally. We can experience fear in normal human ways related to living in a fallen world; when in the power of an abusive and out of control person and we are small. Or in the middle of a car accident. When a terrorist attack punctures the veil of safety we imagined we were in. We can be taught fear by a parent who is very fearful and anxious. The enemy can instill fear (hence his favorite question " what if this happens.......or how do you know ........". But sin brings fear when our consciences tell us we are on the wrong side of right; we know we are in a danger zone we ought not to be in. Anyone whose ever made a series of wrong or foolish choices and suddenly found themselves in the midst of a spiritual train wreck can attest to feeling no small amount of anxiety and foreboding. And anyone in the bible who encountered God usually was terrified speechless and expected to die. Faith in Christ and obedience are the surest antidotes to any fear we feel but merely mistakenly learning to fear is not the main cause of fear in my opinion.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my lessons!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Love,
Jo Princess Warrior xo