So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous?

 

What is the power of Depressed Anonymous? Well, first let me say that when I started attending  Depressed Anonymous meetings, I went for a couple of months and then stopped. I stopped going because my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around to talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment facility where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there and one of the members of the Depressed Anonymous group where I attend answered my phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me that for some reason, it was important for me to be at the meeting. I attended the next Depressed Anonymous meeting. After the meeting was over, I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.

So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous? For me, it’s just like attending the first meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found that the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go where there were other depressed persons just like. They could relate to and understand what I was going through. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy. I was accepted.”

A member of Depressed Anonymous tells his story in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 133.

For more publications on Depression and recovery, please click onto THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE at VISIT THE STORE.

The International Depressed Anonymous Online SKYPE Meeting.

Please  take notice that the International Depressed Anonymous Online SKYPE meeting  is now open for group members.  Newcomers are especially welcome.

The way to attend this meeting, which is online every Sunday at 14.30 CET (Central European Time). People can check on the Internet what the time  would be for their own time zone.  The meeting uses the same format as at a regular Depressed Anonymous meeting. The meeting is in English.

Here is  the address that will take you immediately to the DA meeting.

 https://join.skype.com/l8Xf0uW4hYUW

From victim of depression to survivor to a life with hope. This is my story.

I remember well how a person’s personal narrative  describes their experiences with depression.  I hear it almost daily; read about it almost daily; and respond to it almost daily. As a victim, survivor of depression,  I have gradually morphed into a communicator of hope for the depressed,  family members and friends.   Because  they believe in heir own  narrative of hoplessness and helplessness and all the while  discounting  the fact  that things will ever be alright.   I can tell people all day long that it is “gonna be alright”  and the response usually  is,”great, but when?” Let me tell my story.

Since 1985, as a person depressed myself, and using tools that I learned along the way  to becoming   a survivor,  I gradually learned of a plan. It was a simple plan. It was based on 12 simple spiritual principles.  By spiritual, I  mean   simple spiritual principles,  that there is a God that loves me. I call this my Higher Power,  that deep inner  loving force which gives us the power to respond, especially in our deep personal crises,  giving us  strength, making it possible to use our mind and heart to trust in its power.   Our trust and our own surrender to its will for us,  that divine guide, will lead us out of the darkness.  After a time, I was more and more intent on listening to  the voice in my head that said, “you are going to make it!” Not the voice that said, I was hopeless and worthless.

I have dedicated much of my life,  always with  hope  that you and I and all the depressed,  can survive the isolation, self-hatred and helplessness  that we have built   and creating  the  prison of depression  which afforded us no escape. We really believed that we had been served a lifetime sentence of being in an emotional and mental lockdown .  Gradually , our own thinking and deepening moods of hopelessness and helplessness  became life threatening.

Once free of the depression shackles I began to share with the depressed my plan! Actually, I had nothing to do with formulating this plan of recovery and survival.

The  plan was developed by two guys, one a stockbroker and the other an MD. Both came from being victims of alcoholism to being survivors. They lived out their recovery  plan  by sharing the route, their own experiences with each other and those others who were gathering around the message of hope  and that  power that led them.   This plan is spelled out in  what is now called the 12 Steps  of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Their plan worked for the alcoholic in the late 1930’s and it continues to work its power in the 21st century.

We have applied the Steps  and have found the  plan works equally well for the depressed. As we well  know, many, have faced life with despair and  without hope–they had no plan. For some, suicide was the only way out of this endless agony.

So, let’s consider what each one of us can do.   Look at what each of us can do who are depressed or who have been depressed.  For myself, I have shared   my story of being  victim, a survivor. As a victim, I had no knowledge of what was wrong with me, no way of knowing what to do to get out of the mental mess I was in and so I did only what I knew–to run away from it. Like Forrest Gump, I began to walk, and walk some more, every day,  each day. Finally my mind cleared, and I sought help. I knew that since the Steps worked for the hopeless alcoholic they had to work for someone  like me,  who was  filled with shame and guilt and despair. This is when I found that working the Steps, one after another would produce not only sobriety but an enduring  hope, one day at a time. And the way to get this hope and to strengthen its power in our lives  was to gather others around us who feel the same as I did.  We were no longer alone in our struggle. Others spoke the same language as did  myself. They got it!

I have spent  the last three  decades of my life, sharing   my story, attempting to  to give hope to those still suffering. That is my mission. I believe that is why God provided Bill W., and Dr. Bob with that spiritual  awakening,  lighting  up their own path in recovery.   They made it possible for all of us who wanted this light, this plan, and then to take this light and help others find what we have found.

I follow a roadmap-a plan developed by two guys who saw no way out except by helping other men and women who were looking for someone to give them hope and a path out of their addiction to alcohol.  They both knew, as do we  in the program, that to live out the plan in our daily lives it is essential that we carry our message of hope to others. That is the message of the plan. Give it away. Don’t put your treasure under a basket. Let the light shine. I really think that Bill W., and Dr. Bob were the two angels god sent to give all of us, those of their own time, for us today and for the future, a reason to stay alive. They had a simple plan. They each told their story to the alcoholic of how life was before and then how life was being lived  now-with sobriety and hope.  They shared how their life was before their recovery and then shared how their life was  now.  They didn’t preach. They had their story. And they told hurting  men and women that they could be free.

I too have my story, I have a message of hope, and like the 12 Steps of AA, on which Depressed Anonymous is modeled, it is slowly beginning  to reach  people who  can now hope.   Depression is in epidemic  proportions  effecting every nationality and region of the earth. Later this month a Depressed Anonymous group from Russia is sponsoring a Webinar  about depression and mutual support.

I have  a story to tell. A story that  provides  hope and a way to live, every day of our lives. And this is my story.

This is my passion. With gratitude!

————

Thank you for reading this story of hope and healing. Please share with that person who needs hope–included with  a plan that works!

Hugh

 

I CAN’T MAKE A DECISON!

AFFIRMATION

I make a decision today to read one of the newsletters listed at the Newsletter Archives on this website (www.depressedanon.com.) or the BLOGS from the past week.

“Psychiatrists regard a person’s statement, ‘I can’t make a decision’ as a symptom of an illness, when really it is a reasonable effective defense…if you are trying to shut out all the matters which you find uncontrollable, threatening and confusing, you cannot give those matters the careful scrutiny they need if you are to make a decision about them. They create such turmoil in our mind that you decided that it is best to not decide. You can say ‘I am depressed. I cannot make my decision.’ Spending the day with the blanket over your head is as much a result of a decision as is going out and facing the world.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Most times when I am depressed, I don’t want to think about  changing anything. Everything is hopeless and  useless anyway so why try and  use all that mental  energy to sort it all out. This is the type of thinking that continues the fuzziness and the confusion. It is a refuge from having to do something. about where I am today.

But when  I decide that I’ve had enough, I get my dander up and declare to myself, and really to the world around me, that I am going to play my cards differently. This is a good place to begin working on the Fourth Step, that “I will make a fearless and  moral inventory of myself.”

Meditation

God help us change what needs to be changed today and let us know what it is and what is OK with us as well. Help us sort out the fog and fuzziness of our mind so that your guidance will create in us a desire to help ourselves.”

SOURCES:             Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. February 7th.

Depressed Anonymous , 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

  I’ll do it when I feel better. (2018) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

 

Today is your day !

 

If you are depressed, this is your day. Yesterday is gone forever, except in our memories. Tomorrow is not here yet, except in our imagination. This is all we got. This 24 hour period of time is  my time.   This is the space in which we will be living for the next 24 hours. For some of us, it won’t pass fast enough.  But  think about it: we’ve told ourselves thousands of time that we will not face who we are and what we want today but only when we feel like it. I will do it when I feel like it. Sound familiar?

The physical and mental pain of our sadness won’t allow us to think about anything BUT  my pain.  I feel like I am in a prison and no matter what keys I am supposed to have to get out, nothing will work.   I won’t accept that I have options for my release. Once depressed –always depressed, that’s my mantra.

Today is your day. This is the day you are going to make a break ! This is your day to do something different.  Namely, to listen for that other voice inside your head. You are going to hear that there is another way out. The lockdown is over.  You don’t have to live this way. Isolated. Imprisoned and without hope.

In “I’ll do it when I feel better is written for all of us who are waiting. Waiting. Waiting for what, I ask? Yes, I know what you are waiting for–you are waiting for   the depression to just  disappear. Poof! And it’s gone. But you and I know better than that. We have been depressed for so long we can’t accept that we can do anything about our life sentence  of misery.   I have personally been at this struggle for so long that I know something very important about leaving behind the misery of our lives.  The fact is that when we begin to take charge of our thoughts, feelings and lives, good things will begin to happen today. How? Talk to a person who has been there and is now recovered-living that life of hope. Read   the hopeful material from folks who have successfully found that  making today decision day  is today.

Let’s be honest. I once faced the same feeling of being hopeless  and  despair. I never thought that I was able to dig out of the hole that I had been living in.  My continuous negative and hopeless  thinking   eroded  all  the  motivational   energy that I might  have had to  try something that might work for me.

This is your day! You still have hours left in this day to make a decision to start   the  life that you have been wishing for.  Throw the sheets off–get off the couch-call a friend–check out this website depressedanon.com discovering how to get motivated for something that will work for you.   Why? Here you will   find the written accounts of folks, just like you  and me,  who have begin to live one day at a time. They are  making the most of each day.  Many of us begin each 24 hours by saying this prayer, the  moment upon awakening:

God grant me the  serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s similar  to putting your toe in the water. Too cold? Too hot? No, just right. Why? Because there is hope here. There are folks here who are available for you to talk with.  There is an International  online SKYPE group that meets every Sunday. People who need to talk with others about their own  recovery using the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous.. People who are in recovery. These are those who  are spending today reaching out to others for assistance. They  find kindred spirits everywhere.

You can read hopeful stories  of people like yourself in Depressed Anonymous who have made a decision to live each day with hope.  For example, the following is  Gloria’s story of how her “today”  was on June 6, 1985. (First meeting of Depressed Anonymous was  founded  at this time).

“There are four of us who were together first on June 6th, 1985. We have become very good friends. I still remember what the counselor from the very first meeting told us. “I’ve seen people come and go. Some helped, some for just one meeting, some wanting a magic  wand waved.  It has helped me over the rough spots, and gave me courage to go on as a widow. I have found a peace in life, a special joy in knowing and loving people. In helping others, I have helped myself. I know my background in life has made me depressed at times. My Mother was abusive and I realized later in life that it was an emotional illness. I forgave her.

I will continue t attend Depressed Anonymous. Every time  is different and who knows what mystery each group holds? One never knows who needs me, who needs a smile or a hug or  who needs to feel that they are not alone, or who needs to know that there is a God who loves all. ”

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Annonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. (Personal Stories section. Page 141/In helping others I helped my self).

“On awakening, let us think about the 24 hours ahead. We ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity and from dishonest or self-seeking motives. Free us of these, we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be on a higher plane when our thinking begins to be cleared of wrong motives. If we have to determine which  course to take, we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision. Then  we relax, and take it easy, and we are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for awhile.

We usually conclude our meditation with a prayer that we are shown all through the day what our next step will be, asking especially for freedom from damaging self-will.”  Bill W.

TODAY IS YOUR DAY! WHAT CAN YOU MAKE OF IT?

For more information please contact: depanon@netpenny.net.

  www. depessedanon.com for BLOGS and information about depression and recovery tools.

Visit the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information  on how to order books online

SOURCES:   (Copyright) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(Copyright) I’ll do it when I feel  better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 101. Louisville. KY.  (Quote from  As Bill Sees it. The AA Way of Life… selected writings of A.A.’s co-Founder. AA World Services Inc., New York. 1967. Page 243.)

Change always involves uncertainty.

“…Terrible though the prison of depression is, it seems to be a refuge from still greater horrors. You are afraid that you could plunge further into bottomless depths of complete destruction, madness and death…”

“Dangers, perhaps even great dangers, threaten you if you leave your prison of depression for the ordinary world. There you might have to change, and change is always involves uncertainty. The good thing about being depressed is that you can make every day the same. You can be sure of what is going to happen. You can ward off all those people and events that expect a response from you. Your prison life has a regular routine, and like any long term prisoner, you grow accustomed to the prison’s security and predictability. The prison of depression may not be  comfortable, but at least it is safe.”

Note: The two books referenced below will present to you the  many ways to overcome depression.

Depression: The Way out of your prison. Dorothy Rowe. 1983. Routledge and Kegan Paul. London. Page 127.

  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky

VISIT THE STORE AT THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE FOR BOOKS DEALING DEPRESSION AND SPIRITUALITY.

International Online Depressed Anonymous SKYPE meeting on Sunday.

INTERNATIONAL ONLINE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS SKYPE MEETING ON SUNDAYS OF THE MONTH.

For information about the Online Group, please use the following information below  if you would like to join  this  Depressed Anonymous Online Group.

The emailaccount address that you will contact is depanon@Hotmail.com. You can send a request to be connected to the group on SKYPE and a member of DA will send you time of meeting.   You will need to get the exact time (with appropriate time zone).

If you are experiencing difficulty gaining access to the group please email us here at depanon@netpenny.net.

I hope that you will be able to be an active participant in this mutual support group.

Hugh

 

 

What I have to fear most is being completely isolated by my fear.

 

I am willing to allow God as I understand God to demonstrate his will for me today.  “We never apologize for God. Instead we can let God demonstrate through us  what he can do. We ask him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what he could have us be. At once we commence to outgrow fear.” Bill W.

If I have been sad most of my life, I surely understand what fear is. Fear is at the core of my depression so that “Other people are such that I must fear, hare and envy them.”  Dr. Dorothy Rowe.

Isolated by my fear pushes me to risk choosing life or living with hope and serenity or life imprisonment  behind the bars of my own insecurity  and self- created isolation.  And after I admit  to another human being the low opinion that I have of myself or had of myself, my recovery begins. I slowly reveal who I am to others in my group.

Apologize means to  make amends. To make amends means to change.  I need to forgive myself, first of all, for not being the perfect person I thought that I needed to be.

Higher Power I place my trust in  you! We haven’t been able to trust much in the past but now, thanks to each other’s encouragement we will begin to trust that you will  protect and help us through those times we fear most. ”

Question: Has your fear kept you from living life?  Has your fear kept you from being and achieving  things that would have brought you personal joy and happiness?

_________________________________

Source: Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and Meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 20. February 1.

 

Negative thinking can keep me depressed.

 

When I am depressed. I do not think clearly. I feel like I’m worthless and that no one really likes me. I feel like there is nothing that I can do.

I keep telling myself these negative thoughts:

I’m helpless.

I have no control.

I can’t get going and I have no motivation energy.

Things are always bad and they won’t get better.

This kind of negative or distorted thinking includes more than self-criticism. It is a negative view of the world and the future as well as a negative view of the self. This way of thinking is a well established habit. The more self-critical and helpless I feel the more miserable I am. The more miserable I am, the more depressed I feel. How can I stop this cycle? If I could keep the negative thought from crowding my mind I might be able to remember  my  good qualities. For example, I know that  I am helpful, generous, flexible, and have a warm smile. I am truthful, caring,  considerate of others,  responsible. and thoughtful .

We want to foucs today on the connection bretween what I think and the way it makes me feel. The task will be to practice changing what I think in order to feel better. (See the Depressed Anonymous Publication : I’ll do it when I feel better (2016). Louisville. KY.

What I think determines what I feel. Thoughts produce feelings, feelings cause moods and moods cause  behaviors.

It is sometimes hard to recognize the connection between what I think and how I feel. So, it may   help to think about simple examples.

EXAMPLE:

If I showed a spider to five people, one might scream, one might back away, one might  poke it to get it to spin a web, one might put it by the fish pond so its web would catch mosquitoes, one might get a magnifying glass to look at the exquisite markings on its back. All of the responses, though different,   resulted from what the person Thought  about spiders.

The one who screamed THOUGHT spider bites were fatal.

The one who backed away  THOUGHT “Be careful!”.  He was mistrustful of what kind it was.

The one who poked it was curious. His THOUGHT was “what will it do!?”

The person who put it by the pond THOUGHT it was a useful insect.

The person who got the magnifying glass THOUGHT it was beautiful.

In each of these cases, the person could probably say th e spider caused  the response when, in fact, what they THOUGHT about spiders determined how they responded and how they felt.

Similarly, what I think about myself, and how I believe I should behave,  determines what I do and how I feel.

One of the goals of this session today and tomorrow  is to stop the negative, self-defacing thoughts and beliefs that may result in symptoms of depression and replace them with useful, positive, constructive thinking.

One of the  first steps is to become aware of all the different kinds of self-critical thoughts that cause trouble. Following are some examples of situations and reactions.

EXAMPLES:

Situation: I didn’t get Sue’s invitation to the party

Negative thoughts: No one likes me.

Feelings and reactions: Rejection and depression. I won’t talk to her tomorrow.

EXERCISE # 1

In the following situations, look at the possible negative thoughts that might explain the person’s feelings and actions.

A man’s neighbor came over to ask if he could borrow a shovel. The man took him to the garage to get the shovel. The garage was cluttered with junk and tools. After some digging around he finally found the shovel to loan to his friend. His negative thought might be:                            (circle one of the below).

  1. How embarrassing to have my neighbor see this messy garage.
  2. I should keep this place clean all the time.
  3. It’s terrible to be  so unorganized                                                                                                                    The man had “rules” that he thought he should follow. It wasn’t right to not always live up to his own values.  Therefore, he was embarrassed by the clu tter in his garage. He was sure the neighbor would think less of him. When in fact the neighbor was thinking “Gee, this guy must be OK, his garage looks just  like mine.”

Tomorrow we will continue our discussion on our important topic of how I think determines how I feel and respond to life situations and environments.

SOURCES:  I’ll do it when I feel better(2016) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

Quotations from A  University of Oregon  Doctoral Dissertation:A Depression Workbook.

Depressed Anonymous offers a Home Study as an alternative path for recovery:

An alternative path:  The Depressed Anonymous  Home Study Program of Recovery has been offered for those who cannot find a   Depressed Anonymous group in their area. One of the drawbacks to finding a Depressed Anonymous meeting in one’s  community is the nature of the problem in that depression  has our life shut down.  Depression is such that it isolates and  immobilizes. We don’t want to move out of our comfort zone. We’ll take care of our problem when we feel better. But we never feel better and so stay in our isolation. It is only when we feel we have to get help that we move toward a solution for our depression or whatever it is we have.

Depression is not a substance addiction problem, even  though we modeled our program on the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. Like so many problems  facing our modern society,  many people have  put the  power of these principles to work  in their own lives, be that of overeating, opioids addiction and a plethora of compulsive behaviors, phobias and  so on.

Depressed Anonymous  formed as a mutual aid group where others,  like ourselves,  have come together, utilizing the 12 Steps of recovery  and have found a way out of their depression.

When people ask us for a group in their area  more times than not we suggest they use the tools that we offer at our site and come together and form their own group.  But for those who cannot do this, for all sorts of reasons,  find  themselves without the help that they are looking for.

This is where the Depressed  Anonymous Home Study comes in to help. With this program, a person can use the Depressed Anonymous Manual and Workbook. They also can be provided with a sponsor to work their program online. The program is conducted via emails between the Home Study participant and the sponsor.  The  12 Steps are examined and applied to one’s own experience with depression by answering the questions provided  by Home Study. From having a positive experience with the Home Study Program of Recovery some of the participants have begun a Depressed Anonymous program in their own community. Before the Home Study Program of Recovery  there were no DA groups in their home community. After the Home Study Program was used , and a thorough study of the Steps was accomplished , a group was set in motion. Sometimes a therapist was obtained who helped the participant work the Steps. Sometimes a member of another 12 Step fellowship  could help  share  how their own involvement with the Steps  provided them a release from their addiction.

To learn more about the Home Study Program we have given you some resources   at our website www.depressedanon.com for your examination

Kim shares her own experiences with the Home Study Program in Volume #1 Fall  Issue of the DA Newsletter.  She tells us about the “before” of working the Steps and the “after” of completing the Home Study an how it freed her from the captivity of depression and isolation. Please read it–be inspired as was I.   Her story is to be found at the NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES on the Home Page Menu list.

Also, a full explanation of the HSP and what it is about,  is explained at the Depressed Anonymous Home Page Menu-See HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

Depressed Anonymous groups also use the HOME STUDY as the basis for the STEP STUDY home group.re are different and creative ways to use this tool for recovery from depression. Also remember that there is available a sponsor to help the participant work through each of the Steps.

NOTE: I f you desire to start a group in your community is  also advisable to have worked all the steps yourself. We  can then share that we have worked through all the Steps and that we have a Sponsor.

A member of a newly formed  Depressed Anonymous group in an international community is now started with the Home Study and will be the first member of the group to go through all the Steps with a Sponsor. Congratulations to her and her group. It is a positive that the questions contained in the Workbook have a unique relationship to one’s own life as the steps are applied to one’s own life situations.

 

You can contact us at depanon@netpenny.net. Thank you!