This website presents an alternative approach to emotional issues. Instead of thinking about them as disorders caused by biological or cognitive defects it suggests that they are a loss of perspective. Thus:
- Depression is a loss of perspective on the past. Depressed people feel they have suffered a loss and can't let go of it. Severe depression occurs when the loss dominates their everyday life so much that it distorts their moods and disrupts their functioning.
- Anxiety is a loss of perspective on the future. Anxious people feel incompetent to cope with the challenges of life. They doubt their ability to function in society, to manage healthy relationships and to get through the complexities and uncertainties of everyday life. In more severe cases their self-doubt begins to feel as if the future threatens their identity.
- Chronic stress is a loss of perspective on the present. Adults who are chronically stressed struggle with life transitions like moving out of your parent's home, getting a job, getting married, starting a family and retirement. When these and many other transitions disrupt focus on your goals the present seems to be alien. You are unsure how to fit into the new environment. In more serious cases confusion becomes disorienting.
- Feelings of depression, anxiety and stress are not symptoms of disorders. They are a part of everyone's life. They convey messages much like a security system has alarms that warn of potential problems. The task when thinking developmentally is to attend to the messages contained in troubling feelings.
- We participate in the development of our emotional issues, especially when we neglect the messages our feelings convey but also when we deny or neglect troubling feelings. This doesn't mean it is our fault that we are depressed. anxious or stressed, only that once we recognize how we participate in the development of our issues we can do something to find relief.
- We lose perspective when we don't own our troubling feelings but we can restore perspective by thinking developmentally about our experiences with losses, challenges and life transitions.
- Restoring perspective is the central task of recovery. It is a process of learning perspective building perspective building skills like those discussed in this workbook