“WHEN YOU’RE DEPRESSED, ALL YOU’RE INTERESTED IN IS SURVIVAL.”

How true. I will always remember how I felt when I found myself unable to get up in  the morning. I knew something was different and something was very wrong. I was scared.  I did the only thing that I knew what to do–I got into “fight” mode and forced my unresponsive  body to get into motion. For some strange reason  I found myself in  “survival mode.” I just knew that whatever had me pinned to the floor and motionless I had to do the next right thing. The next right thing was to get out of bed and start walking. I did just that. And from that “survival mode” experience I learned a very important lesson: motivation follows action. In a way I had a faint bit of trust that what I was about to do, would be a factor in my survival;.

As it says in the book I’ll do it when I feel better, that “Trust, always has been a critical element in one’s search for finding one’s true and best self. And with trust comes hope. Hope is the thread which weaves its way throughout the spiritual program of the Twelve Steps.”

    LOST SELVES

Depression is about lost selves – and the struggle to regain the self. We are in a perpetual lock down! it is indeed a battle with one’s will to survive –that is why Dorothy Rowe calls depression a prison. We build the walls as a defense to keep us safe until we can combat our demons and find which way out is the best.

Over time you and I both have discovered  a truth: trust is never an easy proposition. Trust comes with a belief that all things will work out. But another problem is that so much of our lives negative and harmful life experiences have ben carried through life and so conditioned us to predict that no matter what we say or do we will always be living in the prison of despair.”

And finally I discovered the more I walked, the more bricks that had me imprisoned in despair and fear, I was able to remove.

It was then that I had the energy to pick up my Twelve Step “tool box”  from the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, and to this day continue my life of serenity and hope. Now, learning to be in a “trust mode” has given me freedom to live each new day with hope.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETETR.(2015) DAP. LOUISVILLE.  PAGES 75, 76-77.

I CAN FEEL A CHANGE INSIDE OF ME…

AFFIRMATION

“I am going to handle what has taken a lifetime to develop one day at a time.

“When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God.  Our ideas did not work. But the  God idea did.” (1)

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I always doubted the power of God until I started to see and read about other people working their Twelve Step program and getting on to meetings. I also believe that there is surely hope for me as I hear about other depressed persons who are in the fellowship with each other and have a genuine desire to stop  sadding  themselves.  This is all that is needed, a desire to stop sadding  oneself.  I can feel a change inside of me as I begin to rely more on this God who loves me and cares  how I feel. This program of hope works if you work the program.

This is the word that gives hope.  It is a simple reliance, day  by day, hour by  hour, that I will find the serenity, the simplicity of a life lived without the anxiety, hollowness, jitteriness of my depression. It is in  my admission of such that begins me on the road to recovery and hope.

MEDITATION

We trust in our God. We rely on you as we turn as often as we can to be present in your  Presence.  We want to pray unceasingly and learn from you  how to love ourselves.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship  groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 150. July 27.

SINGLE HOUSEHOLDS IN AMERICA INCREASED 10% BETWEEN 1970 AND 2012. (us census)

I sometimes believe that the rise in single person households in the USA might either be the cause of a rise in Depression or at least show a correlation between these two  variables. I  believe that our modern culture helps produce the human monad or let’s say, a human nomad rootless and alone. As the reality of a person isolated and alone can many times enkindle  a personal sadness and atrophied social skills, we might be able to deduce from this that an  individual could be setting themselves up for episodes of depression. Our modern mass culture, dedicated as it is to being a consumer of things and stuff (cf. George Carlin), and being part of a homogenized society with its focus on appearance, affluence and acceptance (cf. Mary Pifer’s work REVIVING OPHELIA: Teenage girls and depression), we find  the  isolated monad, in a society dominated by the pursuit of wealth, ( most of society struggling to make ends meet, working part time and low wage jobs) so why wouldn’t a person find themselves depressed.

I also think that most of us desire a life with meaning. A life that has purpose bigger than ourselves. But the more walls we butt our heads against, trying to find meaningful work, or any work and just wages, the deeper the pit of our frustration grows

Today in this age of an ever changing technology,  more of us might find ourselves  like the wandering nomad in a desert, no longer provided with guideposts directing us on a way out of our isolation and alienation from ourselves and our society. There is always another NEW and IMPROVED gizmo, for consumers to salivate over, marketed 24/7 on all our electronic devices.  And, not surprisingly, the message is to always have the right appearance so to  fit into all the right social groups; accepted by the all the right cliques  of people;  to live in the right affluent neighborhood (usually always more than our income allows).

Finally, when the bubble of our chase leads to a loss of self, and our bubble of isolation bursts, we either admit we are on the wrong path or we continue to deepen the pit of our own isolation and sadness.  To this end, speaking for myself, we begin the search for the real deal, where people are really themselves, warts and all. We want to  become part of that society (fellowship) larger than ourselves, where we now have a purpose motivated life. We now are neither monad or nomad but part of a group of men and women who live a life filled with hope and serenity. The chase has ended. What do you think?

Hugh

RAY’S TESTIMONY ABOUT 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 or talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except to 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 the 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.”

SOURCE:Ray, in his personal testimony on pages 133-134 in  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

TO FAIL TO PLAN IS TO PLAN TO FAIL. THINK OUTSIDE OF YOUR BOX!

THINK OUTSIDE YOUR BOX!

When I sat at home depressing myself weekend after weekend and making myself feel worse by isolating myself from my environment, I decided to make a change. I decided to move off of square one and do something — plan an activity. Plan an activity for those two days ahead ( the weekend) when I could already pretty much predict my activities for that time period. I just knew I would end up staring at the wall or counting the holes in the ceiling tile above my head. So what could I do? I did remember that someone at a Depressed Anonymous meeting told us what she did to overcome this deadening and unhealthy isolation. On Friday evening (hey today is Friday –wow! What coincidence) she started to fill in the hourly time slots for Saturday with an activity or activities that she committed herself to for that day. For example, on the 7AM hourly slot she wrote in that she would have her coffee and read a portion of her DA Literature–Higher Thoughts for Down days was a good place to start (as it offers a daily meditation for each day of the year). At 8AM she commits to taking a walk outside for 1/2 hour. At 8:30 AM she commits to go to the grocery shopping an then  to the mall to window shop and then sit and enjoy of coffee at the food court.  At 11AM she will come home and call a member of her depression mutual aid group  or a friend. By this time it’s 12 Noon, and she and her significant other will share a lunch together, and If one lives alone then a meal will be prepared at this time.

I think you see the importance of planning something for every hour increment during your day. By the time Saturday evening approaches you will have done a great number of activities, fulfilled your scheduled activities for that day and  you will feel that you were too busy to spend time isolating and  thinking  negative and unproductive  thoughts.

Plan the next day as well as  for Sunday. Do the same planning procedure for each hour of Sunday and commit yourself to the plan. STICK TO THE PLAN! How about writing in going to a movie, even if you go by yourself. But go! Maybe visit a friend in the Nursing home –or a resident whom the staff  knows  could use a friendly visitor for what may be a very lonesome day.

Don’t allow yourself to say “We’ll not this weekend but maybe next weekend I’ll try this planning thing.” Nope, that won’t get it. It’s a trap. You and I know we have to MAKE A DECISION. With pencil in hand (tonight) we have to sit down and write down  an hourly plan for our weekend.

Have a great and productive weekend! I know you can if you plan it!

IF MY LIFE IS JOYFUL, THEN WHY DO I CONTINUE TO GO TO DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MEETINGS?

Today, as promised yesterday (7/22) in our BLOG, we shared how Lois declared that she  “no longer experiences those black, bleak, hopeless periods”. She says that “her life is joyful.”

If her life is so joyful  Lois needs to explain why she continues to go to Depressed Anonymous meetings five years later. The Twelfth Step of this program: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”  ” I am so grateful to Depressed Anonymous that I want it to be there for those who are still suffering.”

See pages 110-111 for a full account of Lois’ testimony in THE PERSONAL STORIES section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Also read the remaining thirty stories of the other members of Depressed Anonymous who found serenity and joy using the Twelve Step program of recovery.

Like Lois, there are many of us who today continue to carry the message of hope to those still suffering from depression. Like myself, they all want to share with others that there is hope — there is a day coming that a light may shine and give them a way out of the darkness of their depression. This website and BLOG is just one way that I am taking the message of HOPE to others. Just yesterday a Depressed Anonymous group leader tells of how she is sharing her story OF HOPE to a man who intends to take his life, Another man in the group who worked his way out of despair using the Twelve Steps of recovery is also sharing his own story of despair and hopelessness with the man. That is what Lois is doing–bringing hope to others even though her whole life took a dramatic change.  Even though she is no longer imprisoned in depression she still sees it her mission to continue telling people her story. I told my story tonight at one of our local Depressed Anonymous meetings. At each meeting that I attend,  gradually, as Lois puts it, I  unscramble a part of the mess that brought me to my knees in the first place.

I WAS ALWAYS THE ONE WHO HELPED OTHERS. NOW I WAS TOLD I NEEDED HELP!

“My life is joyful. The blackness –  the despair – withdrawing more and more into myself – the hopelessness – there was NO joy and I could no longer pretend. My husband said, “You need to get some help.”  I knew that he was right but I was always the one who helped others.  Our newspaper carried a listing of all the support groups in the community and I found the notice for a 12 Step Depressed Anonymous group.  I had never heard of it before but I knew it fit.  The group was just forming and was there when I needed it. I had knowledge of 12 Step programs and actually believed that I lived that life. Today I know that I had a head-knowledge but today I live the 12 – Step life…”   Lois, in her Personal Story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.  (2011) Pages 110-111. (More from Lois tomorrow)

PRIZING YOURSELF

 

One of the activities that you might think about is something that you found fun or pleasurable before your present depression.  You might  give this activity some thought and then  write down this activity with any other fun things that comes to your attention. After a while, I think you will find that there are many  things that you could do when you are feeling especially low. At a time when I was especially feeling a total lack of energy I would go and lie down –why fight the fatigue?  But then I learned that if I would reject the thought of lying down  and instead interest my attention in an activity such as typing on my computer that I found my energy coming back.  The thought that I was too tired to do anything disappeared in a short while.  Weird, but it works!

Also, as for planning pleasurable  activities, you might want to start listening to the way you talk to yourself. Try to speak words to yourself as if you were talking to a guest in your home. Talk out loud if you wish – hear yourself say kind things to yourself. For once, say something good about yourself instead of listening to all those old negative tapes that always made you feel you’d be better off dead. Or else be someone else. You get the idea.

When  you start listing your strengths  as part of your Fourth Step Inventory, list all  the good things  that you like about yourself. (See the Depressed Anonymous Workbook). With every negative statement about yourself don’t allow yourself another statement about yourself until you are able to replace it with three positive statements. I mean. let’s be fair and balance this thing out.  I know that you might feel a bit uncomfortable about prizing yourself, but give it a try anyway.  One of the best ways to make sure you will have a pleasurable activity today is to plan for it the day before and then placing it on your calendar for the next day.  Don’t say you will do it “when I feel  better,” as you and I both know, we don’t usually do anything, no matter what we tell ourselves. I think we have all heard the saying “have a nice day unless you have made other plans.”  A lot depends on our attitude. If this isn’t enough, just know that Abraham Lincoln said that we are all about as happy as we make up  our minds to be. What do you think?

SOURCE: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.   Pages 43-45.

STOP SIGNS AND SUNSPOTS

My name is Linda and the first time I read Depressed Anonymous,   I did not like it and got angry. The first part of the book about turning over our minds and life to a Higher Power sounded good.  I was ready to do that. ” Hey, here it is God! You take it! No more depression.”  But then came the part about a moral inventory, shortcomings, and the big one is that I depress myself.

“What’s he talking about?” I said to myself as I read the book. I had tried to un-depress myself many times. I put the book down, and went to work . But as I was walking around at work that night feeling very depressed, bits  and pieces of the book kept popping into my head and I started to think of the  word “stop” just like the book suggested to do.  “I depressed myself, I can un-depress myself” I said to myself.

Look for “SUNSPOTS”, memories from the past that were happy times and ones which bring back happy feelings from years gone by. I tried, but none came to mind. But I did find that just  by thinking about the book and what it  said made  me feel a little bit better.  Then a piece of a song popped into my mind: “Seek you first the Kingdom  of God and His righteousness , and all the others will be added to you.” “Hey! A SUNSPOT!” I said to myself.

Then I felt a warm glow and then I did feel better –I did it!  I made myself feel better. I can un-depress myself! I had mixed feelings. I wanted to feel better, but admitting I depressed myself was not an easy thing to do.  I went back and reread the book, but now with an open mind. I have started to follow the Twelve Steps and with the help of the Higher Power, I can have a brighter future.  I am making and putting in my memory a lot of SUNSPOTS for those times when I am feeling depressed and which I can choose to draw upon when I feel that I need  them.

I put up a “stop” sign and bring out a SUNSPOT to carry me though.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 114. Personal Stories section.