Triggers

One of the many issues a person depressed faces is  a “fear that you might get depressed again.”   We all know that once is enough! This fear is  real and stirs up  a myriad  of scary emotions.  

It’s these low moods,  which we all experience,  having  within them the power to propel us down into something more dangerous and potentially life-threatening.  There is no other way to describe it but as being hurled down into a death spiral with no  hope of coming back in one piece. 

But wait! It doesn’t have to work this way.  I have begun to recognize, now that I am in recovery, and proactive about my own recovery, to judge what is a trigger for good or a trigger for a potential crash. These triggers  shadow us wherever we go. 

Maybe it’s  our memories of the past, our loss of a beloved relationship, to name just one, that trigger such powerful and painful emotions in ourselves.    

In my early recovery from depression, I began  developing a recovery plan–a plan that would continue to be my  loyal  companion, day after day.   This  plan, provides me with a way to protect  myself and   prepare myself for what crazy idea or situations crosses  my path or  presents itself to my imagination. Just as in all other 12 Step programs of recovery, we all have a workable prevention plan that can  safeguard  us from a relapse.

I formulated a  depression relapse prevention plan while I was going through the Steps–one at a time–and putting together a basic defense against whatever came against me. For any of us who suffer from this addiction, or this attachment to that which gradually takes over our lives, is  a big part of my self-care program.  This recovery and prevention plan has indeed served me well over these past 30 years. Yes, I still can be almost flattened emotionally at times by the hopelessness of a single moment and injects a helpless and  painful memory from my past life. Ruminating about this one isolated moment, just an electrical spark in my brain, starts a conflagration, consuming all the peace and hope and  initiating a spiraling down into deeper isolation, all the while gradually   prohibiting decision-making, physical movement and any sense of spontaneity  and joy. I am now on lockdown. My personal executive powers are reduced to  minimum. This is so powerful that I cannot get out of bed.  

As mentioned earlier,  this toolbox, with it’s tools for recovery are available to all of us–all we have to do is acknowledge that they are there. They are the means given to us to construct our own depression relapse prevention plan  which can help us be prepared whenever we are faced with a potentially serious threat to our serenity and hopefulness.

Once you know the triggers, and once you begin to feel the low mood creeping into your mind and heart, you know that it can’t overcome you and force you  into the dark anguish of isolation and solitariness.

At our Website you will find a menu item  where the  Tools of Recovery are listed. Metaphorically it’s like having a smoke detector in your mind–you will be able to challenge and overcome  any negative thinking (trigger) that wants to hurt you.

 

I will not be locked in my depression forever.

When I was depressed a few years back, I believed  I  couldn’t  escape this  self-imposed lockdown. It was like looking down a stretch of highway  with no  end in sight. The mystery  of the whole thing  was   trying to figure out how I got in this fix in the first place?

That’s the problem with depression. Where does it come from and how to get rid of it? Like getting rid of a cold or the flu.  We all know how   this ordeal begins: slowly and with that intense grip  that sticks to us like swamp mud.  And then comes the backing away from family, friends and those with whom  we are closest.  Our enclosure is much like the prison  cell, excepting that we have the key that could free us. Only I have the power to free myself.

So now, today, I can share how in my own time in lockdown I found the way out.  At first I really didn’t know what I had, just that something had me. I had had this experience before  when I was addicted to a substance that I felt I could not live without. But for thirty years of days sober and serene, my recovery  was accomplished by living a program that not only promised hope and peace, but a program that actually delivered on that promise.

I want to share that book with you, just as Dr. Bob and Bill W., shared their recovery experience with others like themselves and now   thousands of  grateful recovered addicts.

In 1998 the thoughts and miracles of others who were depressed,  who use the 12 Steps have their own book, describing in detail, Step by Step, how they unlocked their own personal  prison. Actually, it is a book  that has HOPE written all over it. It provides a way out for all of us who thought that there was no way out–and that suicide was our only escape. We all know how depression and its  debilitating  isolation  completely immobilizes and deadens us to all hope and meaning. 

To set a goal for our own recovery is possible now with Depressed Anonymous. We know. We’ve been there.  Depression doesn’t have to last forever. Now this is not some “pie in the sky” stuff.   Read the stories of those who did find hope and recovery,  and see how they put their trust in that power greater than themselves. They made a decision to give it their all, finding a meaning for their lives. and a reason to live.

We all were able to  gradually  free ourselves  from the fog, the isolation, and begin to find a continual hope  with the support of our Depressed Anonymous Fellowship.

If you want to find out about this hope-filled message  for yourself or  for a friend/ family member, please check it out here online or at your favorite bookstore. You can also order online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore here at this website depressedanon.com.   If you are depressed today, this book can be what you have been looking for.

As a child did you get a message that if you were good and did everything that you were supposed to do that you would end up happy and everything would go your way? Write out your response.

If you were using the material from the Home Study Program of Recovery you would be continuing the process of answering questions that pertains to your own experiences with depression.

This  is the first of a total of 25 questions dealing with your  own  life situations and your depression. These Q&A items all contain reflections from the Depressed Manual  where you can refer for a deeper meaning of question #1 and an expansion of the item’s message. 

Each of the 12 Steps are constructed in the same way in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Each Step has questions and asks for the participant’s responses. These responses are normally written out in another tablet for ongoing review.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, for the Step Five section lists the Step: “Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” This is followed by a short paragraph which states a problem that many of us struggle with in our daily lives.

“So many times it is our perfectionism that makes life so difficult and we never seem able to meet the challenge of our own unrealistic goals and ambitions. We never can do it well enough.”  Following this paragraph is a parentheses with a page  number  (68) pointing to a paragraph  in the Manual which speaks to a   depressed person who is  dealing with perfectionism.

Here is the reference about perfectionism  from the Depressed Anonymous Manual on page 68.

“So many times, it is our perfectionism that makes life so difficult and we never seem able to meet the challenge of our own unrealistic goals and ambitions. We never can do it quite well enough. We need to be able to trust that we can make mistakes. In my past, it was not permissible to do that. It is this continual search for ways to be perfect that drives us back to sadness and the misery of our addiction to sadness. We believe that we will never have a respite from the pain of our lonliness, and that the hell of our existence can only be relieved by numbing our sensitive feelings.

We do this by withdrawing from others. We often need to admit to God and others that we love to play the martyr role and have others tell us what a “saint” we are for all the awful things that we have to put up with for so many years. This is what we want to hear. At least someone knows the hell we’ve been through. As a martyr we are wanting to be rewarded for our goodness. Once we gve up this idea we know not only in our head but also in our heart, that this totally accepting Higher Power to whom we surrender, is always ready to accept us as we are – not as we think we should be.” Depressed Anonymous Manual. (68)

If you would want to learn more about how to obtain   the HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY kit, please click onto the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSORE AT THIS SITE. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ORDER THESE TWO PUBLICATIONS TOGETHER ONLINE

PEACE OF MIND?

I am committed  to replacing every negative thought about myself with a positive and recreating thought.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I always wondered how can I possibly bring peace to others when I feel so low and down in the mouth? It is my wish to help others who are still suffering and living without the  hope for ever feeling better. It is by doing what I have to do everyday plus living today for all it’s worth, that I will be able to stay in the now and try to change my moods as they start their usual spiraling downward  I believe that ‘Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of the Steps we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs. Thus, I can help others.

Happiness is a side product of my letting go of  myself and thinking of some larger effort or goal in my life. It is in setting a goal to work on myself just for today so that I can get in contact with my Higher Power, or the God of my understanding.

We ask God to point out to us where our areas of self-will lie so that we can start to work on these areas. They can and do block us from using all of our talents in the furthering  of our goal to reach out to those others still suffering from depression.

 

Today is my day to live out what I believe and to continue to  use my daily Higher Thoughts for Down Days to not only recreate hope in myself but in the lives of others.
(C) Higher Thoughts for down days

“Humbly asked God to remove my shortcomings.” Step Seven of Depressed Anonymous

In our program of recovery, looking at our lives and making an inventory of our good points and our shortcomings is a process of staying healthy, mentally, physically, emotionally  and spiritually. 

One of my shortcomings is putting things off that needed to be dealt with at  a time a correction needed to be made. It’s like the sailor who realizes the direction he is taking now, will put him off course unless he makes a navigational correction.  The ramifications of waiting for a better time, a more convenient time, all can end up with disastrous consequences. Let me explain what I mean.

Years ago, I had my first experience with depression. It was a most painful experience.  You all know what I am speaking about.  I didn’t understand what  was happening to me as my mind turned to cotton, energy level  was zero  and  I was unable to get out of bed.  I didn’t have a clue what I had. I couldn’t even give it a label. In this situation there was no blinking light telling me of an impending problem. There was no warning. 

My point here, briefly, is that if I had taken care of some of my personal problems, shortcomings, some from my childhood and some from my earlier adult days,  I might have prevented my life from going off the tracks.

 Not too long ago my car engine light started blinking. My engine was out of oil.  I called for help. The main motivation for my seeking help is noticing  the red light on my instrument panel blinking on and off.    If  I didn’t add oil NOW I will  have a cracked engine block. I turned off the road, bought a few quarts of oil.  I  added oil,  contacted a mechanic and got the car in the shop.  That took care of the problem-at least for now.  Now I check the oil level in my engine every time I fill up with gas.

That brings me to my taking stock, an inventory as the Steps suggest that we do. . I began to look at the emotional life that I was leading, filled with shame  and a hopelessness and dread that would not go away. I needed  to get off the road  and call for help. I knew that if I didn’t get help my life was going to continue to spiral downward–into what darkness and depths I was afraid to imagine. I was isolated and helpless.

Later I founded a group called Depressed Anonymous .  It is a beacon of hope  for   me and  an  oasis of hope. It continually  gives me a workable plan for survival. No longer did I stay a victim, but by my  using the 12 Steps I discovered that my depression didn’t just come out of the blue but instead that my own shortcomings  and denial of the seriousness of my problems  were the problems.

 

Even though we have used a metaphor here, running out of oil and depression, there is so much truth that we can take from this comparison.

I now have a solution for these shorrtcomings that used to keep me off the recovery path. Now I have the guidance and the hope of the Steps.  I have been shown how taking charge of my life, being responsible for the way I feel and behave at the same time  staying connected with members of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship.  God has answerd my prayers. Members of the  group have supported  me on the right course.  And by my daily reading of Depressed Anonymous literature and the meetings I attend weekly,  I have a present life filled with hope…and peace.

If there is a flashing light in your life, know that there are persons out there who will get you back on the road. That is a Promise.

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

Ruminating about ruminating is like a dog chasing its tail.

How can I “fix” my incessant need to ruminate? How can I   get out of this vicious cycle and put my mind on a  different track. This is a small matter when you are changing the track on you CD player. You just click onto the next track and start playing. Not so easy with the human mind and the compulsive nature of ruminating.

Clinicians now have certain practical remedies for their patients who ruminate obsessively  about a life situation. Their mind gets stuck on a single thought, idea or even a past life event. They go round and round without ever reaching a conclusion pro or con about the situation that they are cycling about. It’s much like the  definition of “worry” which compares it to sitting in a  rockling chair –you’re moving but you aren’t going anywhere.

Many times feeling guilty and ruminating round and round  about one’s guilty action, thought or behavior  has the same effect without ever resolving it in one way or the other. Just thinking about a problem without  taking action on changing it, goes nowhere.  The one thing that ruminating can do is to gradually help dig your depression hole deeper.

In my own case, this whole process of ruminating on a particular life issue, gradually spiraled me downward into a hole where I was unable to dig myself out.  I was in this hole for more than a year and it was only until I made a decision to motivate myself  into action did I begin  to see daylight. From that one experience of meeting depression face to face did I learn a great lesson, namely that if I wanted to quit chasing  my thoughts which led me to nowhere, then I must stop the chasing. Simple. Stop the chase. 

Well, I might have learned that to begin to replace the chase with hopeful thoughts, hopeful people and people who knew a great way to leave the chase. The whole idea was to chase after ways  to break up the chain of despairing thoughts and my own inaction.  First of all, I had to protect myself from being vulnerable to every catastrophic thought that flew  randomly  into my head, I had to move out of my isolation and get with a support group who all, as one were spiraling upward and on past their hole digging and into the light of day.

If you stay alone, you will feel alone. And if you feel alone you will hop into that old familiar rocking chair and continue to rock  yourself into nowhere. I know. Been there. Done that!

Chase with hope. Chase and start to spiral upwards  thinking hopeful outcomes for your own life. Listen to the members of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship and learn new ways, new ideas, and have the new found beliefs that make your life filled with possibilities you never dreamed of.

And when my feelings turn downward, that is my clue,  for me to call a friend in the Fellowship, get back to my daily routine of exercise and prayerful meditation, and most importantly get to a meeting.  In this crazy depressed world of ours, here is a place where sanity, serenity and hope can be found. Trust me.

___________________

Read the book that is  giving hope to those who reach out for that one of a kind book Depressed Anonymous that will not only inspire you but provide you with a daily plan on ways to make your life so much better. And if you need a hopeful thought   on a daily basis  read   (c) Higher Thoughts for Down  Days.  Both  are available online.

I want to change!

AFFIRMATION

“When I keep my focus on the solution and not on the problem, my attitude seems to lighten up! “Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.”

This expression is one of the many Promises made to those of us who want to follow and live out the 12 Steps of Recovery in our daily lives. By doing so we are able to change the  way we think, feel and act everyday of our lives. How is this possible you might ask? Well, for starters, you are given a dynamic action plan for  your guide all the time, 24/7. That in itself is something that I had been looking for when I found myself locked down, in a corner, emotionally,  spiritually  and  psychologically.  I was in a hole and I knew I had to stop digging.

“My depression was my constant companion. There was no change. It was like a shadow that went anywhere and everywhere I went.  It was then that  I decided that I’d rather have security and hope as my daily companions. I’ve decided that I can choose between being depressed and being serene. Misery is an option. I know that since I have been in denial about my depression continually weighing me down for years, I am making a decision that  I believe my faith in my abilities can cause me to feel differently about myself. My new life is trying to live without depression. The more I succumb to wanting to isolate myself and hunker down with my depression, the sicker I get.  I know that I will find a new beginning by ridding myself of any fear that is oppressing me now, today. The only thing that can make me insecure is to slip back into that awful feeling of sadness and with the  belief that I will never feel better. Now I also  feel secure  being back in contact with God, as I understand God, my Higher Power. My new faith in my Higher Power makes me fearless.”

A solution for me is to be part of a fellowship of men and women who are looking to have that same    hope as did  I   more than 30 years ago. The solution came to me in  a prepackaged format, Depressed Anonymous, a book which outlined how to live this new life, while simultaneously putting me on a  path of hope.    Not only have I stayed on this path these many years but I have given to others how they can have the same experiences as I have.

I continue to share my gift with you, which  is the “gift of my depression experience. Without this experience,  my life would never have turned into the powerful reality  that it is today.  In fact, I am doing right now what I have been doing most of my adult life–sharing with  hurting depressed people how there is hope and serenity.

The biggest gift is to know there are many Depressed Anonymous groups around the world who are willing to share with  you their own stories of  being set free from the chains of depression.  We are a community of hope. Will you join us?

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

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

___________________________________

+ Please go to Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore to discover helpful and inspirational books which may be ordered online.

I will go to any lengths to learn the various ways…

“Remember it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over depression.”

I will go to any length to learn the various  ways to escape from my addiction to sadness.”

Reflection

I believe that I am well equipped to do all in my power to free myself from sadness. In fact, I know that  the more I begin to really feel and not run away from my sadness or my anxiety, that my self-esteem begins to rise and I begin to feel better and more hopeful.  I am noticing that the more faithfully that  I follow my program, the more my days are getting better and filled with hope.  My bad days are diminishing. I am having more good days than bad days. I am doing all in my power, today,  to take all the avenues open to me for my own recovery. (See Tools for Recovery/Main Menu))

My victory over depression is not an end in itself. I am beginning to believe that I am no longer a slave of this interminable feeling of hopelessness. The more I feel I have mastery over the feelings of hopelessness the more I have hope.

MEDITATION

God of our understanding help us to discover all the ways that we can be a suitable instrument for helping our fellow sufferers of depression begin to feel better.

COPYRIGHT  (C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. July 6th.

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

I can get out of this mess!

AFFIRMATION

I am not going to let my mind drift out of where I want it to go.

 

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know from the way that I live out my life, the way I think, act, and believe, my life is far from simple. I have created this monster called depression because of my fears, anger and general feelings of disgust  about myself. I do know that it is by admitting that my life has been very complicated, my thinking centered on my unworthiness, that I became depressed.  I want to learn how to keep my life simple. I plan to do that by, first of all, admitting that I am powerless over my depression and that my life is unmanageable. I also believe that I can get out of this mess by focusing on respected and workable solutions  rather than keeping focused on my ever present difficulties.”

COPYRIGHT (C)  Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for member of 12 Step fellowship groups. Louisville, KY. June 26th. Page128.

“I have learned and I have grown.”

 

“As I began working on the abuse issues in therapy, the pieces of my life began to fall together in a way they never could have before, as I had never  dealt   with this catastrophic event. In the book, Depressed? Here is a way out! the author talks about how people find their time of depression to be one of the great gifts in their life. The first time I read this, I thought it was the craziest thing I had ever heard. Yet during this time of depression, I have learned and I have grown. I have come to understand myself and my God in a way I never could before.

It has been many years now. Life is starting to come together for me again, one day at a time by the grace of God and the fellowship of this program. From the very first time I walked through the doors of Depressed Anonymous I knew that I was in the right place. Having been an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous for so many years, I was already a firm believer in the Twelve Steps. I attended meetings, I worked the Steps with my sponsor. I used the Depressed Anonymous phone list and talked to people about my pain and my day to day problems. I read the book and followed the suggestions in it.

With God, through Depressed Anonymous, this program and the fellowship literally carried me through the darkest time of my life and God did not let me die. I have truly experienced the ‘miracle of the group.’  I have heard it said that sometimes God’s greatest miracles are unanswered prayers. I  believe it.  After all, I am one.”

Anonymous

Copyright(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 119-120.