Dep-Anon Family Support Group

 

Dep-Anon Family Group

When family members of a depressed loved  one were asked to prioritize, describe, and list which feelings they experienced most often and most intensely, the following are those which they documented:

  1. Feeling overwhelmed and burdened by a family member’s depression. 2) Feeling restricted around the depressed, feeling of something similar to the expression of “walking on eggshells.” 3) Feelings of helplessness 4) Anxiety about the situation and not knowing what to do about the feelings they were experiencing 5) Feeling emotionally drained 6)Feeling inadequate faced with a love one’s immobility and lack of motivation 7) Feeling anger and frustration at the depressed 8) Being an enabler 9) Feeling that one was living an unproductive life as one was stymied by the depressed   unproductive depression 10)  Having feelings of irrationality and impatience 11)  Feeling inadequate 12) Unhappy 13) Feeling betrayed in retirement by spouse’s late-life depression 14) Indecisive 15) Lack of confidence in oneself.

With the publishing and production of the 3rd edition of Depressed Anonymous the loved ones of the depressed will  not only  have a book written by the depressed, a fount of valuable information about the way the depressed live out their lives, but now with the DEP-ANON FAMILY GROUP GUIDE will have their own guide  with its suggested ways on how to relate to the  depressed family   members or friend. This DEP-ANON guide will, chapter by chapter outline a process whereby family members can understand depression and the various ways to cope with those who suffer from it.

DEP-ANON is also about how family members and friends of the depressed can find help and support. I believe now is a good time in the history of our Twelve Step fellowship to spend time refining and detailing strategies for helping family members and friends of the depressed.  In fact, the name chosen for this companion to Depressed Anonymous is DEP-ANON.  The  name and philosophy is much like AL-ANON, the support group for family and friends of the alcoholic.

DEP-ANON places its focus on creating a relationship with the depressed that is not only supportive, but also  creates an environment where the whole family can find healing. Also, we want to spend some time speaking about how we can help our depressed family member find the necessary support so that any future relapse can be prevented. There are a number of routes that can be taken to ensure that this happens and we will discuss them in the following pages . We hope that what you read here will not only be a help to you, but will help your  loved one recover and stay out of the prison of depression.”

SOURCE:   Copyright(c) Dep-Anon Family Group Manual. Pages 1-3

NOTE: .Comments about the  DEP-ANON recovery program will continue in  future blogs  at depressedanon.com.

 

Depressed Anonymous Family Group (Dep-Anon)

Step Two of Depressed Anonymous

“Came to believe that a Power Greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

“Jane was given an ultimatum to get help by her daughter, who saw the Depressed Anonymous group as a last chance for her mother, who was suicidal and despondent over the death of her husband a few months earlier. Jane  didn’t want to come to the meeting-she came only to please her daughter.”

To give an ultimatum has a familiar ring to those of us who have been physically exhausted as we have tried to get our Depressed Significant Other up and moving.-but to no avail. Ultimatum’s hardly ever work when we are concerned. We have learned the hard way, that by trying to force our DSO into help many times backfires as rescuing someone who doesn’t want to change –continues to frustrate our efforts at helping. So we have finally learned that the real source of getting others well is to first get ourselves refurbished and filled with faith in our self. That is what Step Two is all about.

We have now made a personal commitment to our own healing by sharing with those in the  Dep-Anon family group  our feelings of aloneness, inadequacies and the direction that our lives should take. So often it is our anger that keeps breaking through the surface of our lives. We are angry at our DSO. We are angry at ourselves for putting up with all the things the DSO keeps pulling on each of us. By our frustration and irritability which actually mirrors the DSO –we fill our minds with greater feelings of guilt and shame.”  Dep-Anon Family Group, 37.


FAQ

QUESTION

What exactly is Dep-Anon?  Is it like Al-anon? A 12 Step approach for family members?

ANSWER

DEP-Anon is a support group for family and friends of the depressed. This program is very much like Al-Anon where family members gather to help each other learn how to detach and cope with an alcoholic loved one.  In the same way, Dep-Anon is an effort of family and friends to gather together and learn how to live and cope with their Depressed Significant Other (DSO).

At a planning meeting for Dep-Anon family members were asked to list all the feelings that they experience while living with a depressed loved one. From the discussion we were surprised to learn some amazing facts. 1) That the feelings family members were experiencing were very similar to those which their depressed loved ones were experiencing, and 2) these feelings were also having an equally destructive effect in the lives of their family members.

It is the above information provided by family members that helped us decide  that we needed to do something for these family members who were in need of help and who were hurting. When one member of a family is hurting the whole family hurts.   We are hoping that this brief informational  encounter today with our Dep-Anon program of recovery will help family members know there is a support group for them just as with Al-Anon.

In the days to come we hope to  be sharing more information on Dep-Anon at this site: depressedanon.com .

We hope to hear your comments about this effort and welcome all your thoughts here at this site or email us at  depanon@netpenny.net.

Thank you.

Attitude is everything

 

I saw Jerry six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but  did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then as  I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t  you scared? Did you lose consciousness? ” I asked.

Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great! They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes I read, ‘He’s a dead man.’ “I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctor and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breathe and yelled, ‘bullets!’ Over their laughter, ‘I told them I am  choosing to live.’ Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude , after all, is everything.

Personal note:

You have two choices now:

  1. Delete this from your mail box (brain).

2.  Choose to live

+Hope you will choose choice #2.

(This item has been picked up from the internet and forwarded around the system many, many, many times.)

I have been crippled by saddening myself!

I know that I am going to be alright as long as I let God direct my thoughts today.

“When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that at first, when I was depressed, I wondered  how this could apply to me. Then I realized that for so long I tried to live in the solitude and isolation of the comfort of my depression, where everything stood still. The way I lived my life was left unchallenged.  I now realize that at the center of every one’s life must be the spiritual life of each of us and it is the amount of care and time that we give to this center that determines the amount of hope and change that  we bring to our lives.

The more I plan to work my program, I admit that truly my life has been unmanageable since I have been hampered by my saddening myself, I can truly move forward and plan more pleasant and  fun activities into my life.

MEDITATION

We ask you God, the center of our life, to continue to provide for us the necessary courage to know you on a  more personal level so that we might have the daily courage to put our life and plan into your hands. (Personal comments).

SOURCE:  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.  Page 122.

VISIT THE STORE and learn more about Higher Thoughts for Down Days, now in a Kindle edition.

No magic cure. No magic wand. Helen tells us how recovery works!

 

Helen, member of Depressed Anonymous  tells it like it is in her Personal Story.

“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 that other  This person is different altogether. I like this person very much. I am thankful to the group. They are just wonderful. They are my family. They are my Depressed Anonymous family. I also have my church family. It is a wonderful feeling to know that there is a Higher Power  that can help you through these things. At  first, I thought, “I doubt that very much ” when everyone was talking about the Higher Power and  having peace in my life.  It happened to me. Every few days, the world dumps down on you and beats you down. That’s just life. I always think to myself that there is that extra strength that I didn’t have before. I feel that everything is going to be OK with me. I have that peace now myself.

It can’t happen overnight. I know what the people who come to Depressed Anonymous for the first time feel. When you go through the long weeks and days and give it all you got, it will happen to you just as it happened to me. There is no magic cure. Thee is no magic pill. It is a long process. It will happen and does happen. It is so much better than staying in their dark hole and not getting anything out of life. No longer could I blame this one or that other one for causing me pain. I know that it was me that was beating me up. I was unequipped to handle the problems of my life without the Higher Power, without the tools and material to build the better life.”

PS  Helen, tells us that she had to get her priorities straight which she did. She is now undepressed because she DID get her priorities straight.

SOURCE: Pages 147-148. Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Personal Stories section #28/31

#METOO. Shouting out our anger and rage

THIS SOUNDS RIGHT

Dorothy Smith has shown how women are forced into a secondhand understanding of the world. Women are trained to invalidate their own experiences, understanding, and feelings and to look to men to tell them how to view themselves. Ideas, concepts, images, and vocabularies that women use to think about their experiences have been formulated from the male point of view by universities, churches, and other social institutions.

In Women and Madness Phyllis Chesler  describes  women’s experiences as psychiatric patients. Very few of the women she interviewed appears to have a mental disturbance. Most were unhappy and responding to the oppression in their lives. Seeking help, Chelser  pointed out, is not valued in our society, and women seemed to be punished “for their own good” by the institution for exhibiting such weakness.

Jean Baker Miller looked at the relations between dominant and subordinate groups. She isolated certain characteristics of subordinate groups as typical of any irrationally unequal power  relations based on ascribed status such  as race religion or sex. Those in  a relationship of subordination need to survive, above anything else. Direct response to destructive treatment must be avoided, as it may be met with rejection, punishment, or even death. Women who step out of line Miller noted, can suffer a combination of social ostracism, economic hardship, and psychological isolation. They may even be diagnosed as having a personality disorder if they do not conform to the male-defined norm for a woman.

If conflict cannot be expressed openly, it is turned inward and the ground is fertile for depression. Once depression is identified, the victim is blamed for her illness, and she accepts this responsibility until she is helped to examine her own self-defeating patterns, to see how she allows  herself to be victimized.”

SOURCE:  Melva Steen, Ph.D, RN. Historical Perspectives on Women and mental illness and preventing of depression in women using a feminist perspective. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 12:359-374, 1991.

Appeared in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET in the Spring  edition  (v.5, #3: 8-9).1994. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The following is an excerpt from the Basic Text for the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous world wide.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition , 2011,2008, 1998. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 82.

“Maybe I need to make amends to my children for  making a clean house the number one priority the number one priority and never allowing them to give expression to their feelings. Or maybe I was the good daughter or son who never told anyone how I really felt because I was afraid of how my parents would react. Now we might be dredging up all the old feelings of anger and resentment that we have submerged under a mask of  kindness ands sweetness over the years. We need to voice our anger for having to act like someone we aren’t. I can think of many women who in therapy begin to get in touch with the times when as little girls, they were conditioned to think that good little girls didn’t get angry, and so they stuffed and sat upon all these powerful and unpleasant emotions. Feelings that are not expressed can accumulate in our bodies and can’t get out until we share them and express them. These stuffed feelings get lodged in our bodies and immobilize us until we feel completely wrung out!

Some have heard all their lives that you shouldn’t get angry as mother won’t love you anymore. This makes it quite difficult suddenly to shout out our rage and anger at a world that has made women in general feel less than second-class citizens. ”

 

The protective wall of the community.

 

I do believe the term “protective wall of the community ” is surely an apt and meaningful description  of those who are messengers of hope in the 12 step Program of Depressed Anonymous. The program and suggested principles of Depressed Anonymous serve as  a protection against the frailty  of us all producing  in each  of us a solidarity with other’s sense of futility and isolation.  We then  become  a wall against which our addiction(s) attempt to overcome and divide us. It is on the ramparts of struggle that we gain access to hope again. We, the group, now serve as a protection against despair. We know now, thanks to our active participation in our 12 Step program, that we no longer stand alone, isolated and vulnerable. We now stand together with those “others” who  are aware and conscious that some Power greater than themselves is to restore us all to sanity today.

Only by gaining an insight into my addiction to sadness and misery that I can be free from  this need to numb myself from the feelings of hurt and despair.

In recent   retreats many of the participants gathered there were in agreement that they could do something about their depression. In fact, one of the participants said that she was surprised and pleased that she could in fact take  responsibility fir her self and begin to work herself out of depression.

This was a revelation for her  that she could be an active participant in her own recovery process.

I think that too often people depressed mistakenly think that they had nothing to do with  their depression – and if they had nothng to do with it, then they think that they have no power to undo it. And like other problems in life, we have to consider our habitual attachment to those thoughts, behaviors and actions which continue  to keep us isolated  with the comfort of not making a decision on our behalf to escape the prison of our depression. We are NOT helpless.

Now that I am willing to assume responsibility for my depression I have begun to take a closer look at my life and the way in which I was living it. It now has become clear that I have to make some changes in the way I think, feel and behave.

I had to become conscious  that with the help of God, as I understand God and my recovery group called Depressed Anonymous, that I could in time free myself from my depression.

So often we want someone to take away our pain, our hurt and our grieving with out any effort on our part. Of course –life doesn’t work that way.  For more information about our program of recovery click onto the Depressed Anonymous menu and discover how you to can find hope .

Hugh

“Change we must; we cannot stand still.”

Bill W., co- founder of Alcoholics Anonymous  got it right when he wrote these words. He said we have to grow or else deteriorate. This is true of all life, including  plant, animal and humanity.  We cannot stop growing and if we do, we wither and die. Our daily life must be  guided by those certain constructive  activities where  our ongoing development is enhanced and strengthened.

In our program of recovery (I am speaking of Depressed Anonymous) our growth is measured by the amount of serenity and hope  that fills our daily life. These two qualities are like taking those essential vitamins keeping us healthy and in touch with the power greater than ourselves that provides for personal guidance and direction.

The spiritual principles of the 12 steps keep us on the march,   in  sync with   the promises as provided us by the co-founders of AA in the Big Book. Every day is a challenge and an opportunity to change into that person,  who piece by piece has begun  dismantling all that is negative in one’s life and replacing that with positive strengths and attitudes.  That means that we cannot stand still  forever and remain frozen in a constant battle with our inner demons –always coming out the loser with no real change in the way we live out our lives.

The real change begins the moment that we surrender our will and our   lives to that Power greater than ourselves. Every day we use the spiritual principles of our program   to chart our course, much like the North Star which provides the reference point for the  lost mariner.

Going to meetings, talking with our sponsor and reading the literature of our 12 Step Fellowship  pretty much insure that  our lives will continue to change in many positive ways.  It has to be said that just as a caterpillar  changes into  a butterfly, so too we begin a transformation that can  last a lifetime.  That’s a promise!

 

“Help is on the way!”

 

Learning some creative ways   to deal with depression, based on one’s  own personal experiences utilizing the   power of the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous.  Our program is modeled after  the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Many times a person depressed will look for help from our website,  hoping that we have something that will give them relief and present for them  a positive solution.  We  do our best to help them with our solution focused approach to overcoming depression. Most are thankful to know that we are here and have developed various avenues for one’s own  recovery from depression.

To understand who we are and what we do, we always advise that the seeker read each   of the items listed on our website menu. We also  point them to past issues of our published  Newsletters in the Newsletter Archives.

Our readers are treated to timely posts at our website  center (www.depressedanon.cm) which include those topics which are most helpful to a person depressed as well as for one’s family members and friends.

Recently, we initiated an ongoing program of recovery for those persons who would like to start their own Depressed Anonymous group This program is one in which our DA members (SPONSORS) work collaboratively with those who choose this HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY.  The program enables the person desirous of learning more about depression and their own unique experiences,  to  communicate with their sponsor  by email. The participant   answers  questions from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook and reading  from the Basic text of Depressed Anonymous.    Each of the Twelve Steps is    reflected upon as it relates  to one’s life past and present. The participant’s responses are then emailed to the sponsor and a return mail by the sponsor  answers   those questions which the participant may have during the  course study of  their ongoing Home Study  Program. The best part of the Home Study is that you can go at your own pace and  get feedback from someone who has lived the program in their daily life!

If you choose to start a group that is entirely up to you and there is no obligation to initiate a group in your locality.

So there you have it. You may discover  things about yourself that you never know existed. And  whatever questions you might have about the origins of your own experience may come to light during this program. The best answers are there in your own life experiences and your taking the time to reflect upon them by using the DA WORKBOOK and the DA BASIC TEXT.

A participant will need the two books  mentioned above for the program of Home Study and these are used in the group program.  You can purchase both books as a unit   from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore as well as purchase the books as eBooks from the Depressed Anonymous  Publications Bookstore onsite at www.depressedanon.com.

If for whatever reason you are financially  unable to purchase these  books, please send me  an email (depanon@netpenny.net)   and we will contact you privately about the matter.  Our main concern is to get these positive materials in the hands of those who want a way out of the prison of depression.

For an explanation of the HOMNE STUDY PROGRAM in more detail please click onto the Website Menu and click onto the drop down menu labeled HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

 

 

THE DEPRESSION AND SELF-ESTEEM INVENTORY(c)

 

The following is an inventory designed to enable you to evaluate your present level of depression as well as your level of self-esteem. The painful  experiences of depression has a profound and devastating effect on your  self-esteem and self-concept. If you have a few moments, please take some time out to find  out how you stand in these areas. And remember, this is only an inventory – how you score may be due more to your mood today and what you had for dinner more than anything else. No paper and pencil test is that all knowing. We are merely providing this tool to allow you to evaluate where you may stand in your own feelings of yourself.

While some people seem to have been born with a melancholy temperament and have therefore attained the state of depression quite naturally — others have been awakened to bad feelings only after  experiencing certain life events. Loss of a loved one, a prized possession, one’s health or job, for instance, will often result in depression and low self-esteem and how we feel about ourselves. Still others may need to study the following principles of thinking and  behaving to reach their desired levels of lost self-esteem and despair.

Although the following suggestions will not necessarily result in a full blown “clinical” depression ( that is, a depression observed in a counselling session or with a physician), they can be of great help to you if you have a desire to commit yourself to continue to make yourself feel bad. These principles are widely promulgated and are guaraneteed to lower or destroy your self esteem in short order.

Circle the answers below that best describe your own thinking, feelings and behavior. And in order to get yourself undepressed it would be smart to do just the opposite of each of the items listed below. The more we do the opposite the better you are going to feel.

  1. Avoid vacations or other pleasurable acitivities plus staying away from things your apt to look forward to.
  2. Work should be approached in one of two ways: Work without ceasing or never work at all. Draw the shades and stay in bed.
  3. Seek not to find a sense of meaning or purpose in your life.
  4. Cultivate negative thinking.
  5. Indulge on a regular basis, in self-blame, guilt and remorse.
  6. Pity yourself. Do it convincingly and for sustained periods of time.
  7. Pity others in the same way.
  8. Hinge your happiness on the achievement of a major life goal and watch it turn to ashes in your mouth.
  9. Do not make effective  use of leisure time by planning too many activities, none at all, are only those you consider a worthless waste of time.
  10. Practice ongoing self physical and emotional abuse and dehumanization techniques.  Beat your self up with punishing shame and guilty mind talk .
  11. Attempt to do the impossible, striving always to meet expectations and standards you cannot possibly meet.
  12. Habitually subordinate your own needs and wants to the needs and wants of others.
  13. Always believe that yo must repay every good thing that happens to you because you are uniquivically unworthy.
  14. Vizualize a supreme being who is meddling, controlling and heavy handed rather than one who is sustaining, guiding and encouraging.
  15. Never infringe upon understanding persons by asking them to sit and listen to your story.
  16. Avoid cultivating any sort of intellectual or creative potential you may have.
  17. Live vicariously through others, never attempt to create a life of your own.
  18. Refuse to accept any notion that there may be meaning and purpose in your life whether you see it or not.
  19. Squarely face the fact that in whatever pain and misery you may have experienced and or experiencing now, there is no purpose  or meaning whatever .
  20. Take hold of the conviction that others opinions of you have far greater validity and significance than any opinions you may have of yourself.
  21. Believe it is more important to have someone else approve of you than any opinions you may have of yourself.
  22. Accpt and practice the widespread belief that the proper response to your failures, mistakes and hurtful behavior is self-condemnation, guilt and remorse.
  23. Remain convinced that you have something to prove to someome, whether you can identify that “someone” or not.  Accept that there are things abut yourself which you will constantly need to erxplain or defend.
  24. Realize that it is selfish, egotistical and unacceptable to treat yourself kindly and lovingly.
  25. Accept as immutable truth that you are by nature a miserable and unclean wretch, deserving only condemnation, guilt and punishment.
  26. Refuse to see yourself as worthy and acceptable on the basis of your failures, mistake and shortcomings.
  27. Make it a practice to defer to others  because of their education, wealth, power or position.
  28. Believe that you deserve and (accept with passivity) all insults, put downs, destructive   criticism and other abuse from others.
  29. Accept the proposition that your personal worth and importance depend on what you have and what you achieve, rather what you are.
  30. Get comfortable with the belief that acting bad makes you a bad person.
  31. Try always to coerce others into making decisions for you in the vain hope of avoiding responsibilities for their consequneces.
  32. Learn to identify with your actions, realizing that what you are is wholly determined by what you do,
  33. Adopt the popular belief that you could be  better if you only tried harder.
  34. Embrace the maxim that you always have compete freedom of will and choice.

                  EXPLANATION OF THE INVETORY

All the items contained in the inventory are very negative and that is the issue at stake here, namely when we are depressed we can’t find anything positive to say about ourselves, our future  or our present life. But our attitudes have more to do than how we talk to ourselves. It  has more with the way we have perceived ourselves in relation to the world outside ourselves. it also many times has much to do with the way we related in childhood to those adults who were responsible for our safety, love and nurturance.

PRACTICE THE OPPOSITE

In order for you to gradually begin the process of un-depressing  yourself it is best that you start right now—today. Whatever items on the inventory that you circled you can start chipping away at your negative lifestyle and do the opposite of the behaviors of those circled items.    For example, if you circled item #21 you would want to  start approving of yourself in small ways instead of always depending on others approval. This is the way to greater self-esteem and the way out of the prison of depression –namely, turning the negative behavior into something positive and life giving. If you have a sponsor it would do well for you to go through each of the list on the inventory and work to  commit yourself to positive behaviors for the items selected. Good luck! And God speed!

 

Inventory by Bob P.(c)Depressed Anonymous Publications