My feelings are becoming unfrozen.

AFFIRMATION

“I pray that God will give me the courage to live today with hope – hope that God’s leading will take me past the dead end of despair.

If we want to live life fully we must have freedom, love and hope. Life must be an uncertain business. This is what makes it worthwhile.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  know how the feelings of depression, and the deadness and greyness of my sadness keep me holed up in the narrow confines of my dark past. Today my  feelings are gradually becoming unfrozen as I attempt new things, new connections with other persons. These cause me to reconsider that a life lived in unpredictableness is a risky but nevertheless a healthy way to live my life.

Since I hold on to the  belief that since bad things happened to me in the past, bad things will happen to me in the future.  I need to live each new day with the belief that I can change the way I think, feel and act.   I know now that I am not mentally ill nor am I losing my mind when I am depressed.  I want to live just for today to try to learn how to face the uncertainties of today.  Life is unpredictable . To have any certainty that it will  be other  than that  is clearly an illusion, and for sure one is being set up for many a disappointment.

MEDITATION

We see that it is only in risking., that is, getting a different map, a map that shows a number of different routes instead of the one that leads us down the road to narrow isolation and despair. I ask the God of my understanding to lead me according to it’s guidance. Hopefully the road that leads to hope and serenity.

RESOURCES

(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations  for members of  12  Step fellowship  groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications . Louisville. KY. (January 5th).

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

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(20ll). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Check out VISIT THE STORE for more material that can be ordered online.

Keeping the dance going: A metaphor.

When I was depressed (for over a year) I got hooked up with a dance partner who  continually  stepped on my feet.  I knew that stopping the dance was  my only way out.  I imagined  if I could learn a little more about the dance and  the proper step sequence things would turn out better for me.

The more I tried to think things out, try different step sequences the worse things got. It’s like walking up a flight of stairs and  carefully watching   each foot as it lifts to go from  one level to the  next. It’s a strange feeling as our mind and body become frozen from  what is normally an automatic sequence.  We don’t even think about the fact that our feet are taking the steps up one at a time.

From my own experience with this circular dance I learned that the more I  thought about why I was doing what I was doing the more my partner (my physical  body) came to a standstill.  My mind went round and round over a  sequence,  which I was hoping would free me. Instead, the dance stopped. I left the dance floor (my world) and retreated into my own little life surroundings,  going over and over again , completely obsessed with trying to figure out  a dance sequence, with a  result,  like the  wrestler’s “body slam” which  flattened and pinned me to the floor.  No matter how hard I tried to figure out what went wrong, the more this circular dance tightened it’s grip on my thinking, my body and everything else that had made me  an active part of my world, friends and future. I am all alone.

In the Depressed Anonymous Publication,  I’ll do it when I feel better, we read

“We all know that any addictive /compulsive type of behavior gradually removes you from the regular activities of persons around you, including family, friends and coworkers, until you are established in the narrow confines of pain and isolation. We are always going to be just a little more isolated  the more we try to think our addiction through in the circle of our own thoughts. ”

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better., 2nd edition. Hugh M. Smith (2018)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 61.

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

Walk day by day In the path of spiritual progress–If you persist remarkable things will happen.

“Being depressed means feeling disconnected, isolated and separated. Truly, depression or melancholia is the illness of our modern society. Our desire to isolate ourselves  from everyone and everything when we are depressing ourselves, isolates us from ourselves as well.

To recognize how it feels to be depressed, more people will be able to tolerate  and unfetter themselves from their own depression.  Lives will be saved as well.

People describe their experience of depression as being in some kind of prison. One man said that he was in a pit where the walls were of soft clay. One woman said  that she was in a brick maze where there was no exit and the walls were closing in on her. “I’m in an infinite desert” said one man, “the bars are thick and a lone scrawny tree.” “I’m in a cage” said one woman, “the bars are thick and black and there is no door.”  In side this prison the person has intense feelings of self-hatred..

Frequently, depressed persons imagine that they are going crazy, are crazy, or being afflicted with some mental illness.

One of the beautiful things about a Depressed Anonymous  group is that everyone has the same symptoms, feels the same pain and is relieved that they are not the only ones in the world with this experience. They don’t have to go it alone. They also don’t hear people saying: “Snap out of it,”

The following provides a guide for those of you who are attempting to see whether you are depressed or not. If you  feel that you have a good number of these situations going on in your life at the same time and for a number of weeks, your melancholia  might be indicating that you need to get in touch with persons like yourself by the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous.

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

Do I have some or all of the symptoms of depression?

+Wanting to isolate and be alone.

+Changes in appetite.

+Shifts in sleeping patterns (too much/not enough sleep).

+Waking up early in the morning.

+Fatigability or lack of energy.

+Agitation or increased activity.

+Loss of interest in daily activities and/or decreased sex drive.

+Feeling of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt or self-reproach and possible thoughts  about killing myself.

+Weeping/Not being able to cry.

+Lapses of memory.

+Hard time making decisions.

Fear of losing one’s mind.

+Reluctance to take risks.

+Difficulty in smiling or laughing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All the   symptoms   listed above don’t necessarily  include all symptoms, but enough of them, together,  point to a serious response needed  from an  individual to seek  help. also believe that my own serenity is constantly being assaulted during the day by all sorts of problems and situations that cry out for my immediate care and attention. 

The Fourth  of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous, tell us how we will be able to “comprehend the word   Serenity and we will know peace of mind.”

Agitation, anxiety and jitteriness were all part of my life as I muddled my way through -day after day, one foot in front of the other. Serenity was not a part of my life.

As with my attachment to negative behavior, serenity and peace were the  furthest thing from my mind.  The new beliefs and thoughts which I had expressed at Depressed Anonymous meetings started to help me change the ay I thought about myself, my world and my future.

I believe that it takes time, work and prayer, and sometimes with medication to achieve the peace and serenity that we are talking about here.

Peace of mind is the result of:

A clear conscience

Living in the present

Gratitude everyday

Belief that the God of my understanding will get me through the problems of my life

Forgiveness of myself and amends to all persons I have harmed

Hope

Doing God’s will. Neither grasping  but letting go

 

As Bill W.,  co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us in the AA Big BOOK,

“Both you and the new man must walk day by day, in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist –remarkable things will  happen. 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. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world no matter what your present circumstances.”

 

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

RESOURCES FOR HELP.

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 166-167.

Copyright(c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002) Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 9-10.

Copyright(c) Alcoholics Anonymous. Page 100.

 

I am going to make a list of my strengths today!

I am going to make  a list of my strengths today.

Practicing these principles keeps us in tune on a daily basis with the God as we understand God, and  helps us keep our hope strong enough so that we can move away from our compulsion to sad ourselves.”

Depressed Anonymous

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

These principles refer to the Twelve Steps and the fellowship of our group which helps us keep the focus on ourselves and our daily need to improve ourselves. My hope gets stronger when I find myself being less compulsive about the affairs of my life and more conscious of how I need to believe that God is going to help me walk out of my prison of depression.

Our lives revolve around  principles – some good and some not so good. One of the principals formerly  guiding my life was that  I was only a passive victim of my depression. My belief was that there was nothing that I could do in my power to change my life. A new and exciting principle is replacing the old and that principle is that I am choosing to feel better. I am now going to be an active participant in my own program of recovery using the Twelve Steps. I am finding my strength grows as I believe in my own  resources and talents.

 

MEDITATION

God, you are the creator of all spiritual principles that promote healing, sanity and serenity. Please let us place these  principles of healing and hope  first in our lives today. (Personal comments)

RESOURCES

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step Fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.

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

NOTE: These excellent publications and more can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com.

A Spanish edition  Depressivos Anonimos is now available for ordering online.

When will I feel better?

Often I ask myself about the length of the depression experience and what makes it end.  One author quotes  someone who  asks “When will I feel better?”   I asked myself the very same question, with never getting a  satisfactory answer.  That is, until I read Jonathon Rottenberg’s book The Depths. His work, is my “go to ” guy when I want to learn more about moods and how they affect our daily lives.

Rottenberg, whom I have just finished reading gives us some pertinent information on the subject.  He tells us that ” Martin Keller and his colleagues followed a cohort of 431 patients diagnosed with depression – many of them so debilitated that they had been hospitalized over a five year period. Two months into the observation, nearly one in three had recovered from the episode. By six months, over half the patients had recovered ….

Likewise, data from samples that are more representative of the average depressed person  in the community, suggest that depression will last a year or less 90% of the time.”

The author,Jonathon Rottenberg, in his insightful and helpful account,  Out of the Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic,  tells us that the experts have referred to depression as a self-limiting condition, a problem that ends in by itself.

“…But as depression grinds on, vague bromides don’t work so well. For someone at the end of her rope, whose patience is measured in days or hours, it’s the pace of improvement that is critical. Someone who  has already the best years of life torn up by depression wants to know, “When will I be better?” Hearing that most people recover eventually, even if it’s true, is not good enough.” We all want to know what can make this recovery possible? With my own personal battle with depression and a feeling that I might never escape that tight hold that it had on my thinking and feelings, I   wanted to know how long this journey in “death valley  was to continue. As I never got an answer to my question,I continued the trek through the fog.  It was  about a year and half later that I began to have a rise in my mood. I felt just a tad of cheer and hope as I continued my long walks in the mall where I spent all of my daily mornings before work.  Even though I never had a  clue as to when I would feel better, I kept  waiting for the moment when the gut wrenching  pain would be over. When the mood changed for me, from sad to hopeful, my life and moods began to spiral upwards instead of following  their usual negative trajectory downwards.

I do know this, that I  have lived my life without depression for at least three decades now. I attribute the fact of my recovery to a continued use of a resource, the Depressed Anonymous meeting, plus putting  the Twelve Principles of the 12 Steps in action in my everyday life.

Back to the question: “When will I feel better?” When will anybody feel better? I can’t answer that. I wish that I could. I did not know that 90% of persons depressed, do get better in time.  That is good news. That is something to share with depressed persons, and sometimes various treatments do  help in ending the torment of the depression experience. Even though the experts tell us that  the depression experience is self-limiting, this in a small way can provide some hope for the  one who has suffered  depression all of their life.

Jonathon’s,The Depths, is a work that  has a permanent  place in my reference  library.

RESOURCES:

Jonathon Rottenberg. The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic. Basic  Books.  A Member of the Perseus  Books Group. New York.  NY.

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

 

I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it!

REFLECTION

I know that I have to continue to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an ongoing and daily basis. My letting go and let God take over my life doesn’t mean that I’ll just sit back and let God do all the work. No, it means that I will work on myself and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently if I make the effort to choose to become conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during my day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I  am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced with positive and constructive thoughts.

So often, when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even counscious as to how I would always select the negative attribute about myself to reflect upon, instead of   thinking  positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and my relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to  feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way I feel.

BECOMING MINDFUL

God, let me just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness that you desire to bestow on us. We pray that our awareness of your love for us will free us from our sadness.

Resources:

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville, KY  December 14th.

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

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Put a HIGHER THOUGHT in your life every day. A spiritual vitamin will increase your spiritual metabolism so that you  begin to replace negative thinking with thoughts of hope and serenity.

You may order online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com

With the compulsion to sad ourselves…

In our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous the statement is made:

” With our compulsion to sad ourselves, much like the alcoholic’s urge to medicate his or herself with alcohol, we need daily to turn our will over to God and ask for the  Higher Power’s (God) guidance, eventually it is the conscious contact with the loving God that sets us free from the need to sad ourselves.”

11.1 Question: How do you see your depression as a compulsion? What are the triggers that cause you to spiral downward back into the dark pit of depression?

When you think of depression do you  think of it like one big thing or do you see it for the many parts that make up a depression experience, namely, the way that we think, behave or feel. In other words, when we make it to be a thing, that is when we reify it – it holds power over us – like it came out of the blue – we talk about depression in medical terms such as I just had a bout of depression -like it came from outside of us like an infectious germ or virus. In reality, our depression is made up of many parts, such as particular depressiogenic ways of thinking, behaving and feeling.

11.1. Write the way that you perceive your depression? Can you distinguish the various parts ( thinking; feeling; behaving;  physiological; motivational; spiritual ) that go to form what we call the depression experience?  Which of the above parts continue to cause you the most anxiety/fear?

Which of the following Illustrations can you best relate to.

11.2. A need to be perfect!

11.3. A need to be successful!

11.4. A need to please others always!

11.5. A need to never get angry!

11.6. A need to have someone in my life before I feel I am somebody!

11.7. Please write down how one or more of the above items keeps you down, despairing and hopeless? Also, write about where these attitudes come from?

Please respond to the statement:

I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it. It is truly living in the will and mind of God that will help us, one day at a time to stop being so compulsive in our rigid and automated thinking about people and things so that we do not let our dated emotions and thoughts predict what the outcome of our perceptions ought to be.”

The Home Study Program is an excellent tool for self reflection and a meaningful way to discover what needs to be changed in our lives.  The Question  and answers provided by the participant provides freedom from the issues (dated emotions) that continue to cripple us.

RESOURCES

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

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. pp79-80.

These and other helpful publications  can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications  Bookstore at our website www.depressedanon.com.

If God is for us who can be against us?

 

Is this not a strange way to open up our blog today? Depends. It centers around what our topic might be. Today our topic is centered on spirituality and depression.  As a member of a 12 Step fellowship, Depressed Anonymous,  we talk and reflect  upon the fact that  we believe in a Power greater than ourselves.  We also commit ourselves to the belief in Step two  that “a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” Following this  we reflect on Step Three which states  that we “Made a decision  to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God to be.”

It was here at this point that Bill W., and Dr. Bob made a very important decision in how God would be presented  to the alcoholic, who  for many different reasons would reject the idea that the God of their understanding had their best interests at heart.  Their idea of what the “preachers” had to say about God was not what they were looking for. In fact, there were the “preachers” in New York’s Bowery, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s who set up store-front churches where the practicing  alcoholics come, get off the street, get a free meal, and hear a Christian message about salvation, redemption and  freedom from drink. But it appeared that some of the preachers emphasized hellfire  and fear instead of giving the alcoholic a way out that included a plan – a simple process of surrender and how “to turn over our will  and life over to  God as we understood God to be.”

I believe with  poet Robert Frost, who wrote that memorable poem, The road less traveled, where he was faced with a fork in the road, one road  went one way and one the other.  The one he eventually took was “the road less traveled.”

This poem speaks to me when I think of Bill W., the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his personal experience with the God as he understood God, provided him with a way to understand God, not just a Christian God, a Buddhist God, a Muslim God, but a God as we understand God.  It was only when he had his own epiphany with God, did it prepare him to share this understanding with other alcoholics so  all could choose the God of their own understanding–not just the God of the Christian “preachers.”

This was the freedom that the early A.A., pioneers brought into the discussion where anyone could believe whatever they wanted about a Higher Power. In today’s modern world, you can find AA, NA, DA, Al-Anon in almost every nation on the planet.  If he had not traveled down a road that only God knew where it led, would we have the Twelve Steps be open to all, regardless of their own spiritual beliefs or religious dogmas.

The following is an autobiographical  account of Bill W.,s  own encounter with God.

“My depression deepened unbearably, and  it seemed to me as though I was at the very bottom of the pit. For the moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once, I found myself crying out,  “If there is God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!

Suddenly the room lit up with a great light. It seemed to me, in my mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me  that I was a free  man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was a wonderful presence, and I thought to myself, so this is the God  of the preachers!” A.A. Comes of Age. p.63.

And finally, there was another road that Bill W., and others traveled and that was how one alcoholic talking with another alcoholic, sharing their story, would make all  the difference in the world.  It’s a simple story, one recovering alcoholic being open, honest and willing  to share their own painful story with another alcoholic, one person at a time. One day at a time.

I am one of those persons with whom a recovered  alcoholic shared his story. Today, I am celebrating  my 32nd year recovery birthday. I am a friend of Bill W.

Hugh