Many professional colleagues have asked Dr Ridgeway and myself where the inspiration came from to write “Think about your thinking: To stop depression.”

Ostensibly, our thinking has always been the same; our book arose through necessity. The type of book we wanted for our clients was not available to purchase anywhere, and the most sensible solution at the time was to write it ourselves.

In short, our book takes a view that the brain is an incredible organic information-processing machine. Used in some ways it can achieve fantastic results. Used in other ways it can produce intense pain and suffering. Before, I tell you more about our book, I want to put its development into context by letting you know the position that I came from.

Just over 12 years ago, I had no significant relationships, no future, no money, and I had spent the previous ten years floating from one depressive episode to another. Not a day seemed to pass when I didn’t think about taking my own life. Feeling inadequate was my existence. I couldn’t obtain or keep hold of a career-based job. To make matters worse, my job at that time involved delivering Pizzas, much of the time to successful people that I had gone to Grammar School with. Around this time I started going to the library to pretend to myself that I had some kind of purpose in my life. I started reading books on psychology. Over time, I realised that I was living my life like an automaton. I thought I had free will, but in reality I began to discover my belief that I was in charge of my life was no more than an illusion.

Ten years, two degrees, and a doctorate later I realised that the reasons for the pain and despair I had experienced all those years ago were really quite simple. I discovered that the people who had shown me the ropes of life (my mother and father) did not show me how to use my mind, how to react to my feelings, or how to develop self-belief. I’m not blaming them, or looking to make excuses for my life before - All that I’m saying is that quite simply didn’t have enough knowledge of how to manage their own lives in order to help me to develop mine. What they knew, and what they taught me, was how to live life on an automatic level.

Living life at automatically, without sufficient conscious awareness, at best, can result in poor personal-development and at worst can be dangerous. It is not unlike being the captain of a boat in the middle of a stormy sea, deciding to let go of the wheel and just hoping to end up at the required destination. Not unlike a boat in the sea, we are all surrounded by a sea of others, each individual that we come into contact with having a subtle influence on us. If we do not choose our destination in life, our path will be influenced by the others around us. If we are lucky we may end up going where we want to go, however, we may also find at times that we have been moving round and round in circles, continually visiting places that we have been to before. If the latter applies to you it may well be the case, that like I used to do, you have been living your life on automatic.

The way to avoid these endless cycles is to become consciously aware of your thinking and to start thinking about your thinking. (c) 2009 Dr James Manning

Author's Bio: 

ClinPsyD, Managing Director of the West Suffolk CBT Service Ltd - Authors CV can be downloaded in full from