MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION!

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering? What motivates me to continue to try and help others? What has made the change in my life where now I want to share what I know and what I feel.  Basically, I know that the program of recovery works. I no longer feel powerless over  my depression. In DA group meetings members speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time looking back over our shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears is going to overtake me.  I now have attained small amounts  of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that at times overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the first step “we admitted we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” It is a paradox that it is in the admission of our lives being out of control that we began to take control of our lives.”

It was an interesting fact that in the very beginning of my recovery   that I received a very important message… that if I was to get well I had to motivate myself to do something. I had to get in motion. That sounds simple enough doesn’t  it?  I must stop the isolating of myself and get to work on ways that would gradually lead myself  out of despair and hopelessness, and deadly inactivity.

The first thing that I began to do each and everyday was to start walking.  I just knew  that the inner war that  was waged with every step that I took was the message that “walking would not do me any good”  would almost  completely scuttle my best intentions to complete my walks.  The odd thing about it was that, almost without fail, if I could just continue on and walk at least for 15 minutes  and ignore the messages “that I was too tired to walk this morning”    my body began to get into  a  rhythm. I would feel content  to finish my walks. And ironically, there is not a day that goes by,  when I start my walk that I don’t feel the lethergy and resistance to continue my walking.  Then as always, after about 10-15 minutes into my walking, I feel  a rush, an energy spurt, to continue walking. Other walkers have told me that they have the same experience. It must have something to do with the human body,  with all its members working together and harmonically working in sync with each other.

I just add the above note to let others know that your body will repel the healthy attempt to move out of its   isolation. It’s the force of one’s motivation powered by action that will in time help us all do one of the more beneficial exercises that our body can undertake, namely to walk.

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(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 42.

Staying on the balance beam.

One of the more difficult exercises in gymnastic sports is the balance beam. Now, that is only my opinion. And when the gymnast performs a somersault   on this narrow beam and manages to keep their balance,   this is really a feat to behold.

When I was depressed I felt like  the gymnast who missed their somersault and came tumbling off the beam. And it hurt–big time. In fact,  it hurt for many months later. For some depressed, the hurt  lasts a lifetime.

The point I want to make is that we have to make choices. We want to make a decision that can make us feel differently and better — not  worse.  We want to get back on the beam, make a decision to  change how we do things.  We will correct what got us where we are now and go forward with new strategies for  living a life with hope and faith in a power greater than ourselves. Our new habits of thinking and feeling positive will definitely change our behaviors.   We can  continue to be on the beam.

“One makes a choice when making a decision. One of the hard things in a depressed person’s life is making a decision. The indecision is what really gets to a person continually  to  remain off balance. Usually this indecision is the result of an emotinmal war going on inside, and both sides war over who will have their way.  The more depressed we become, the less able are we able to muster up the necessary energy to make a decision that will benefit us. I believe that this moral type of inventory is not going to be detrimental to our recovery because it is all about our recvovery. We are not intending for it to make us feel ashamed, but to help us see that if we want to feel better, then we have to start to make some changes, which  are gradual at first.  Changing old habits and ways  of thinking will with time and work make our personal world a better place to live.  Just as the Third Step states that we made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God, we can believe that our recovery is about decision and choices. We have to decide a hundred times daily that we are going to turn our wills over to care of the God of our understanding. In time we will feel secure enough to put our depression behind us.  In other words, our depression  will no longer serve a purpose in our life.”

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Pg.73.

(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville,Ky.

GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY…

 

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.

 

Every 12 Step program of Recovery begin their meetings with this powerful   prayer. Most of us say it a couple times a day.

Think about printing the prayer out  and experience  the power that comes from its guidance,   each and every day!

 

 

I was on the verge of sanity!

Yes, on the verge of sanity is the way I look at it. My life up to a certain point was not really insane –it just felt like it. You might recognize the feeling. You keep doing the same insane  things  over and over again  and expecting different results.   How is it that  you and I are so good at this, that is, allowing our mind to chase us around in circles never finding a way out .

If you have been in a 12 step program for any length of time,  you can see some of what I mean.  Just by reading and looking closely at each of the spiritual principles of the  12 Steps you gradually become  conscious of the dysfunctional way  that  you are living out your life.

The insanity begins  to show itself for what it is –it is as it were exposed  by the voices of the other members of the group.  These men and women   who have by now  are discovering the core issues of their own insane ways of thinking and behaviors.   As it states so pointedly in Step Two of the recovery program that we  “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

The members of the Depressed Anonymous group meetings have gradually  painted a portrait of what insanity looks like.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s when a  member of the group, in detail fashion, shares with us how growing up he was told over and over again how “He would never amount to anything.” And guess  what?  He believed it! This prediction was fulfilled   for everything that  he put his hand to in life.

How about this one handed  out to me by my teacher when I was in the third grade, namely  “you will never be smart like your brother or your uncle ( a bible expert).”

She was right. I began to live with the shame of being inferior, the prediction of this authority figure  gradually working its way into my subconscious from that moment on. I still remember feeling the flesh of my face turning red hot just thinking about that moment so many years back. Sharing this  with the group and a therapist finally removed the scourge that it became in my life. I must have unconsciously worked against this false belief because later I earned a Master’s Degree and later  a Doctoral degree.

Julia  calls Depressed Anonymous a miracle.  So far, she tells us that

“so far  the most grabbing element of Depressed Anonymous has been the parts of the book where the author  refers to the depressed person as a saddict, that is, a person attached or addicted even to sad and hopeless thoughts. Boy, did I ever see myself in these sections. Since then, I have learned to control my thought process. Now, very seldom do sad thoughts creep in. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say  the first time I saw the description of a saddict,  a light went on in my head.  The actual miracle took place at that moment. And the beauty of the whole thing is that thinking positive thoughts becomes easier and easier, automatic, then ecstatic at times.

But it is not all that easy. I followed the Steps also. I work at them often. For just as sure as your mind is on the automatic positive gear, it can easily slip back to negativism without the proper maintenance , which includes weekly( not just regular)  attendance at meetings, and the knowledge and practice of the Twelve Steps as well as for those that need it, medication plus therapy as recommended by your doctor. ” (C) Julia, Depressed Anonymous Personal Stories

Good luck! And if just one other person reaches the point where I am,then there is a hope that life can be different for you as well.”

Note: When I became aware of how to live on the verge of sanity and then start living a live of serenity I began sharing with others about the miracle of Depressed Anonymous.  Now that I am feeling sane I just hope that you put this plan. that works, into your daily life.

Submitted by Julia, a member of Depressed Anonymous,  writing her Personal Story in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY Page 122.

For more stories please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at our website www. depressedanon.com.  You can order online.

 

The impatient patient

 

It was not too long ago when I was an impatient patient. Have you ever been an impatient patient? If you have ever been admitted to the hospital for any length of time, as was I, then you know a little of what I am talking about. This was a few years back when I underwent open heart surgery. It was quite an experience to say the least. I got excellent care. The   staff said I was a very good patient.  Not much I could do to be an annoying patient. I had wires, tubes, and everything else hooked up to my anatomy. I felt that I must have looked like one of those huge electrical grids that we see alongside the road, all with a large chain link fence circling  them.

Because my numbers weren’t right (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level,  etc.)  the doctor told me that I would have to remain in the hospital another day. I had already spent three weeks, watching an  outside world,  all beginning to look like ne big beautiful garden.  Everything was coming alive.   I was coming alive too, but not fast enough. I did thank God that I was even alive: thanks to a great team of doctors and staff.

But gradually and with a new intensity, I had this strong desire to  to free myself from  whatever kept me from getting free. I know what it was: it was the numbers. Always the numbers. So, the day came, finally, and the doctor tells me that if the numbers were right I could go home. Home! That word spoken by the one who had the power to free me. Yes, I could  go home– tomorrow! (That was like the big sign behind the bartender  which read in big red letters “Free Beer tomorrow!” Tomorrow comes and yes, Free beer tomorrow!). I knew from past experience, that that  “tomorrow”  always came with a conditional “maybe”  tomorrow.

That was it. . . I was suffering from what I felt was a terminal case of “cabin fever.”   “Cabin fever”  can only be cured by  getting out of the cabin. We all know that. So, I asked the doctor how I could go home today (the day was Friday) as there was no use staying the weekend waiting for my numbers to come down. The doctor told me, because I had to have a certain medicine over the next 48 hours to keep my numbers at the right place, I must  give myself some  prescribed shots , and then come back the following Monday for a check on my numbers. Other than that, I was good to be released.

The nurse came in and with a few practice shots– on an orange no less, and then  I was good to go! Halleluja! By this time, most of my tubes and  wires had gradually been removed, one after another.  Another patient told me that this was a good sign when they started removing wires from one’s torso. My mind went to another possible reason, but I won’t go there now.

Home. And all it took was just to give myself two shots a day. No problem.  My numbers finally returned to where numbers need to be for a good recovery and so it all worked out. Thanks to the medical team, first of all, that gave me my life back!

Fast forward to today,  as I look back over  life before my experience with depression.  The sadness, the lethargy, my whole body seemed to want to go into hibernation. Sleep. And more sleep.  And when I could hardly get myself out of bed  in the morning. reality hit me in the face. I had something that I didn’t have a name for. I was immobilized. So, I started walking. Walking. Walking. I knew that I was continually feeling very sad. Sometimes like weeping.

My life before was a life of “hurry” for this and a “hurry ” for that.  I couldn’t stuff enough  of life into my daily schedule.  And then my discovery that I had clogged arteries and need open heart surgery as soon as could be scheduled. But what about my planned vacation, my clients, my books I was working on ?  I couldn’t just sit by and let things slide.

OK. I said. Obviously I was in denial. We are talking about saving my life here and I was worrying about nothing really.  That was  before my numbers helped me face the truth about myself.  The talk with the heart surgeon definitely grabbed my attention. I got it! I needed open heart surgery!  No denial now.

I got it that my life, the “hurry” and the “impatience”  that  had produced the stress, a diet filled with all sorts of food that was bad for me as well as a life without exercise.  I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t slow down.  I was always in a rush–a hurry to get to the next important   thing, a meeting or whatever pushed me into serious health problems.

Today is different. Once back in recovery, both from a physical standpoint as well as from a mental health standpoint, I have learned how to relax, how to spend  time alone  with my God as well as to set small goals which are attainable and healthy for each new day. My prayer time and my meditating on the spiritual principles of the 12 steps,  plus taking time out for my Depressed Anonymous meetings on a regular basis. I also have a regular sponsor who helps me over the times when I am in a “hurry” and shoving too much activity into a life filled with activity. I have the tools to slow down and live. These are  a musty now in my daily life!

My new self with an awareness of staying out  of the “hurry” has helped my being patient with whatever negative situations  life throws at me. I think before I act. I think before I make decisions and do not rush into anything without first “looking both ways” (as I learned in Kindergarten) many  years ago.

And BTW  my numbers are great: 120-130  over 80. Heart rate 70’s.

Check out the TOOLS for Recovery here at this website  www. depressedanon.com

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

 

 

I refuse to be a victim.

 

” It has been my experience that those who come to at least six Depressed Anonymous meetings in a  row or more  can discover how their lives take on a new hope with a spiritual outlook they never imagined possible. So, if you find yourself depressed and want to do something about it–make a decision today to feel better and attend a meeting near you. If a group is not available -read the DA literature.

So many times I have found persons who tell me that they didn’t really know that they had a choice. Namely, they hadn’t heard that there was a way to get yourself out of depression  with work, time and a step by step program. They hadn’t heard someone say that now you have a choice to get out of your depression.  We see this happen all the time at the Depressed Anonymous meetings.

The First Step of Depressed A nonymous says that” we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” We know and believe that we are no longer victims.

“Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression  I don’t do myself any good blaming myself with those daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. I now am conscious of a new path out of my misery.”

SOURCE: (C) BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION (2015)   Hugh Smith  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.

Share your story-save your life!

“It is my belief, after participating in hundreds of DA meetings over these past 25 years that the compulsion to repeat these self-destructive thoughts and images can be broken by attendance at our group meetings. It is at the meetings where these unpleasant feelings, swallowed these many years, can eventually be brought safely out into the light and accepted by the fellowship. No one puts me down for saying I am depressed. We never hear a “snap out of it” at our meetings. If we could just “snap out of it”  then there would not be a need for our group meetings.”

So, the logjam of all these unpleasant feelings, all balled up into one, gradually get untangled. The group fellowship accepts us for what and who we are.  Gradually, as we are able to tell our story  – tell who we are and trust ourselves and our story with this DA group – we begin to feel again.  We free ourselves of the deadness, which has not only isolated us but has kept us disconnected from family, friends and those who love us. As the Yiddish saying states “share your story – save your life.”  I have witnessed this miracle many, many times at our face  to face Depressed Anonymous meetings. Now that  I am learning how to choose a different way of thinking and feeling which  results  in breaking up the cycle of my addictive thinking and behaving.  I now lead a normal life where my depression addiction experiences,  are helping others get connected to those of us who are now living in hope,  one day at a time.”

SOURCES:  (C) I’ll do it when I feel better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.  Pages 54-55.

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

NOTE:   Examine  helpful  literature for depression  at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.  Online ordering is  available.

A way out of depression. Where to start?

 AFFIRMATION

I can be that person who is going to have hope and serenity now that I can hear how the program works for them.

“Now that I look back and see the way I was and see how I am now, I can’t believe that I ever knew the other person. This person is different altogether. I like this person now very much.” Helen

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

When I am depressed, I think that I can’t do any good.  Now I listen to people like Helen and I can see that her being an active member of the Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous has freed her to be a different person. She didn’t find herself through any esoteric means. Slowly she found  her way out of her saddening  herself through a belief in her God, a belief in the group, and by working the Twelve Steps. When we admit we have a problem, we know we can get some help. We then ask  God and God shows us the way out. With God all things are possible. Helen is living proof that a person’s feeling alone and desperate won’t last once they see that it’s pretty much up to themselves to begin the move to want to change.

One of the beliefs that I seem to consider absolute is that I will never be able to change my life and the way I feel. I know now that I can feel differently, that with time and  work, this will be a real possibility.

NOTE We can read Helen’s riveting story,  how her own 12 Step program of recovery brought sanity and hope into her personal life. Please  see  the Depressed Anonymous  personal  stories section of the book and read   her personal  story of faith and hope plus many others.

MEDITATION

God, continue to help people like Helen carry the message to others so that there might be a hope for those who fear there is no hope for them. Let us understand that from our daily thoughts in this book that we can receive the courage to see that we will get better.

SOURCES:  (C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship  groups. (1999, 2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Page   70.

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

The mind set in “park.”

Is our mind’s gearshift mostly set in “park”? Is our mind  set in “loaf”  with no destination in sight?

When my mind finally stopped racing and my foot got off the accelerator, I ended up in “park.”  It was at that time that I felt helpless and without a map to help  find my way out of that deep hole that I had dug for myself. All I could do was to surf the web.  And that was pretty much where I spent my time. Nowhere to go but everywhere.   No destination in particular that was driving my interest.

I would sit, and sit some more. My mind was like a “drunken monkey.”  I knew that I had to move.  I had to find a way to help myself or have someone help me.  And then I read from my HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS   the following words:

” I hate to think it, much less to say it, but I need to make a radical change in the way I lead my life. I have come to the point in my life where I might need to  make a big decision as to whether I stay where I am (in park) or move to something else…and  I will be better for the change. I need to take the Fourth Step Inventory. I need to make a fearless  and moral inventory. I know that the more I escape into  the seclusion of my inner world and focus on me, how bad I think I am,  the more sad I become.

I am discovering  how I can now feel better and that my program is a spiritual one. My recovery continues to grow the more I take stock of my strengths and I see the world as a place of healing instead of a place of fear.”

It’s time to put your life in drive.  Know  life is just   ahead. The Depressed Anonymous meeting is about to start!  Please come in and join us.

 

SOURCE:  (c)  Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

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

NOTE: To order online,  click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and find material that can be of help to you.

I am beginning to taste what a new life can be like. Hope is close at hand. I want my wings!

 AFFIRMATION

I  deserve to be free of my sadness.

“Now that small  voice, that little part of you that wants to have light and some hope, is getting up the courage to seek more for itself.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I can no longer turn back and live in my old self. I am like the butterfly gradually becoming winged and ready to fly as soon as it throws off its old body, the body of the caterpillar. My metamorphosis is in process and nothing is going to turn me back to the  way my life had been. I want  now for my life  to continue to get better as I notice   the more I work on myself and trust in my Higher Power, the more I am ready to live with courage and hope. I am beginning to like the taste of living life and look forward to each new day as it comes. I want my wings!

Courage is to have heart and to believe that all things can work out if I just put my belief into gear and work as if it depended on myself and pray as if it all depended on God.

MEDITATION

God, we hear you speaking to us to grow and to trust. We all count the ways that you have cleared the obstacles from our path so that our down days are less than before and we have now more good days than before.

(Write your personal comments here).

SOURCES: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. April 2. Page 55.

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

(c) Believing is Seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

*****

For more  information about depression and the twelve spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. Please know that one can order online.  Our ebooks  are also available.

Notice

Depresivos Anonimos is soon ready for publication.  Those who wish to have our Big Book in Spanish will be able to order this new version.