Okay, surely she is not the only person who has had this happen.

Got up this morning and it was just another day. Not great, not terrible. Just another ordinary day. Went into the closet and found something comfortable to wear for her Monday office workday. Have a lot to get done and today is set aside for those chores.

And then it began. Her thoughts started careening down the street. What street? Melancholy Parkway that is always just slightly to the left of her conscious brain. The street that she can choose to take – or she can avoid like the pit of hell itself. She has no idea why she decided to blow past that caution light at Decision Street and turn left onto Melancholy. She knows better than to start barreling down that dilapidated road she has careened down before…way too many times.

If she continues driving that direction, the view out her window is an avenue lined on each side with trees dying of broken dreams, rusted-out cars from wrecked plans, and department stores of hurtful memories with depressed and anxious people walking thru the doors. Not a very uplifting way to begin the day, and stupid to keep going.

Sound all too familiar? Probably. Everyone has that same street, or a variation of it, in The-Thoughts-Of-My-Brain-City. And sooner or later every one of us chooses to turn down that pitiful street and slow our vehicle to a crawl, as we ponder the dismal view. It’s like a loose tooth that you can’t leave alone, and you just keeping pushing at it with your tongue. You know it’s going to hurt like crazy, but somehow, you just keep wiggling it anyway.

Why not put on the mental brake and turn around?  Why not deliberately head back to the intersection and turn down a happier lane? A street with possibilities, and plans for the future?

 Why not indeed? Good question.

Childhood training has a lot to do with it. Childhood is a training ground for adulthood, plain and simple. And if a child is reared in an environment surrounded by depressed people, then that child is acclimated to depression. He is set up to feel that depressed thinking is a normal way to react to situations. 

Unconscious training to be depressed sticks with you. Very similar to learning to drive. As an adult, you learned to drive a long time ago. Now as an adult, a lot of driving is simply autopilot-time for you. Blinkers, braking, turning. Same with your thinking, most of it is autopilot-time. And unless you put a lot of deliberate work into changing those trained thinking patterns, you are prone to driving the same old street that can lead to depression.

Relearn how to drive that vehicle of yours. Recognize bad streets and avoid them. Control the steering wheel. And apply those brakes liberally. There are a lot of roads in your city. Choose carefully.

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