Setting a force in motion.

 

“I personally believe that once I have made the first step, and admitted my powerlessness, I set in motion a force – the loving force of the creator in my personal life. In time I am filled with energy and find that this power can change me – restore my life with purpose and meaning. It can prepare me to meet those  who are ready to risk leaving behind the prison of their depression. By my own interest in getting in touch with the Higher Power and getting its direction to “do the next right thing” I find that my own life is gradually more filled with  purpose and energy.

There is a saying that to gain energy you must give energy. I have found this to be true for my own life.

What appears to deplete our energy is when our thoughts implode and collide with each other as they are kept focused on the problem. Actually, a person who is depressed is much like a community which is divided and at war with itself.

If you nurture yourself, you will find that just as in the natural world, the growth will be good and  the growth will be gradual. There are no quick fixes in life –only slow solutions.

We have a competency, an identity, an autonomy and an interrelatedness to everything alive around us. We are truly a part of every living community on the planet and in the entire universe. We are all one – and the more we see ourselves as part and parcel of this universe, we discover that we are a part of creating a wonderful garden of diversity and plurality where everyone feels a part.

We realize again that by my willingness to live in the will of God that I can live in the peace of my own consciousness of being one with all. What I mean by this is that God acts in and through us the more we let go and let God.

We believe that as we can become aware that God dwells in each of us and demonstrates its power in us the more we remain   open to God’s personal presence.

We humans are so grounded in the material and the spatial that it is veritably impossible to be conscious of a Higher Power in and around us. We are so mired in the muck. We can begin to believe that we can tap into this consciousness and let it unfold its plan, its purpose and plot for our life. It will not plan something small and insignificant but will, by small steps, lead us, cause to unfold in our lives that which it has for us to accomplish while we are here on this earth. And I believe the spiritual nature and the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous is what God uses to get us aware and conscious of its love and presence.”

SOURCE:  Copyright(c) The Promises of  Depressed  Anonymous (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 15-17.

A depressed person needs a supportive presence–not a sermon or critical lecture.

 

We have learned as it says in Appendix B of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, how “Many times the desire  to help the depressed pushes the helper deeper into the isolation of the depressed  – mirroring the reality of the depressed person.”

“One thing I’ve learned is that of all the horrendous problems we face in the world, what strikes me as the root cause of them all, and it is  a myth: “I don’t have any power.” Mark DuBois.

Sometimes in our efforts to help the family member or friend we often forget that it is our recovery that needs to be first considered. We need a fresh approach and we need a plan.  We can now admit that we became angry because of depressed friend didn’t recovery according to our schedule of events for their lives, We might  have berated our family member that all they had to do was pick themselves up by their bootstraps and all would be well. Now that our  eyes have been opened and our minds have been enlightened we realize that we are learning new ways to take care of ourselves.”

Dep-Anon Family Group. Pg.19.

It is true that what a loved one needs who is depressed is not a lot of lecturing on why he or she needs to get out of bed and to take care of themselves.  They also don’t need  pity.

I like to go to the family and friend guide for those who have a depressed loved one in their lives. This group, the Dep-Anon family group has some valuable thoughts on how to deal or not deal with the depressed person. In fact they wrote the program of recovery for those on the other side of the fence–namely the family member or friends of the depressed.

Let’s take a look at some of their thoughts on this subject, namely, how to help the depressed in the best possible way.

It is beginning to dawn on us that just as there are sure things the depressed needs to get them back on track  –so now our focus continues to be inside our selves, We begin to  admit that my own  need to control my depressed friend or family member provides me with a  sense of power and purpose for my life. The more I was willing to give and pity them –the more they were willing to be passive and receive.

We are learning that our individual strength, our sanity if you will, comes from our active participation in Dep-Anon where we are no longer alone but instead find ourselves in touch with the healing of those much like ourselves. Instead of casting any blame at them we now are in the active process of discovering  areas  in our lives that need work.

One of the issues that I might want to focus is that of self-pity. I need to quit feeling sorry for myself because all that I have tried in getting my family member back on their feet has seemingly been a failure.  At first we might have been encouraged by the fact that this or that new drug was supposed to do the trick —the miracle pill–that was supposed to remove all the darkness and provide the light for that loved one. And when that didn’t happen we began to feel a panicky feeling –we began to feel helpless and disappointed because then it came back on us again to make them well –to do something-anything. Also, I felt angry at times when things didn’t go good for my loved one. I  wanted so bad for them to begin the way that they once were. The way they are now is hard to accept. At times I am even angry at God for allowing all this sadness to be such a big part of our life. I find that any family group is a good place to share all those hurts with my newfound  fellowship group.

The courage to share with others that we didn’t have all the answers as to how and when a family member is to recover. We now admit that no matter how much we cajole, criticize and scold there still is no change.

AS Bill W., says “The  problem of resolving fear has two aspects. We shall have to try for all the freedom from fear that is possible for  us to attain. Then we shall need to find both the courage and the grace to deal constructively with whatever fear remains.” (ASBI,P. 61).

Finally, the words of Bill W., ring in our ears and hearts where he writes in the AA  Big Book, “We need not apologize to anyone for depending upon our creator. We have good reason to disbelieve those who think spirituality is the way of weakness. For us, it is the way of strength. In a letter Bill states that “we lose the fear of making decisions, great and small, as we realize that should our choice prove wrong we can, if we will, learn from the experience. Should our decision be the right one, we can thank God for giving us the courage and the grace that caused us so to act..

The verdict of the ages is that men of faith selfdom lack courage, They trust their God. So we never apologize for our belief in God. Instead we try to let him demonstrate, through us, what he can do.”

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SOURCEDep-Anon Family Group Manual: A 12 Step Support Group for Families and Friends of the Depressed.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Most days we just want to go to our room, lie down and sleep.

 

“… listen to that small  voice,  folks – this is the voice that has been trying to be heard for years, only other negative voices and our own old negative mental tapes have had  more training in getting their message across. Now that small voice, that little part of you that wants to have light and some hope is getting up the  courage to ask more for itself. It tries to get stronger as  it attempts to outshine those other parts of ourselves; those parts that have been telling us how trapped we are in our feelings of worthlessness. How often do people say that part of them  wants to do this and yet another part of them wants to do that. I believe that is the best expression of the conflict that goes on in many of us when we are depressed. Usually the part that is hurting and sad speaks the loudest and so often gets the  most attention  – but why not? It’s hurting. When that part of us gets hurt , it wants to withdraw–to hide and cry. It’s like a small child who wants to run away from all the anguish and disappointment. But inside of us when the  parts are struggling with each other, it’s like two teams pulling in a tug of war, and that takes energy to keep alive. We get worn out as we continually ruminate about how sad we are feeling and how hopeless everything looks.  Most days we just  want to go to our room, lie down and sleep. Have you noticed that the more depressed you become, the more sleep you need or don’t need? There is that constant jittery feeling that won’t go away and whichever reminds us of the hollowness of our lives. The life we live is as bitter as ashes in our mouths.”

COMMENT: How often have I heard that small voice amplified by the many hopeful voices at our Depressed Anonymous meetings. In our literature you can read  and reflect  upon those  voices of hope as they express the new life that they are now  living because of their working the Steps–doing positive things for themselves and learning new ways to dig themselves  out of the pit of depression.

The experience of depression and ruminating about how awful our lives are, presents us with   a one way street.  It’s said that “whatever won’t kill you, will make you stronger.”  I get that.  I found that my year long struggle with depression, and my ultimate  recovery from its deadly grip, definitely made me stronger.  Now I have chosen multiple ways to live my life. I walk more, my exercise is steady – not just now and them. I read all the 12 Step  literature that I can. Go to meetings. I write a BLOG for this website and visit with the many persons who come here and seek our help. I also have a sponsor who walks with me in my recovery life. Tis is a strength that provides me hope for the journey. I am busy doing those things which now has become a passion for my life–helping all those who are still “suffering  from depression.”

As in the past, there was only one road to take. On that road all I could hear was the voice of despair and hopelessness ringing in my head. Now I have a myriad of roads that I can take, all of which continue to lead me to serenity and hope.

VISIT THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE Where you too can find the roads which will lead you to hope and serenity. Also, there you will meet the many fellow travelers  who, like yourself, are making the journey.

 

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SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Page 33.

The 12 Steps are my North Star.

 

   “Depressed Anonymous means hope -as long as you want to get out of the pit of depression just start to believe that little voice which says “Yes,  I am hopeful. I will feel better too.”  The other members of Depressed Anonymous give me hope. Others have made it  out of the deep lonely pit of depression and so can I.  I choose to be happy even if I don’t feel happy right away. I am going to risk feeling different from this wretched sadness that I feel all the time.   I have nothing to lose – except my fear of the future.

But with OUR new way of living and thinking,  we are going to stay in the NOW. We know tomorrow produces anxiety and fear. Yesterday is there with all the old hurts and anger.  All I have is the now!  If I live in the now, I can begin to stay out of yesterday with all its old wounds and hurts   and resist living in tomorrow  with its unknown problems. Negative thoughts about our past or those tomorrow can numb our feelings so that we don’t have to feel the pain of whatever it is that isolates us from the world around us. We also admit, like any one person addicted to a person, place, thing, chemical or drug, that our lives are out of control. We have to admit that by depressing ourselves, we have chosen saddening ourselves as our drug of choice. We medicate ourselves with sadness any time we might have to change the way we live our lives. Sometimes, our depression over sadness arises out of guilt as we continue to turn our personal  mistakes into giant catastrophes -this continues to make us feel as if we are nothing and valueless. This all adds to our frustration and the feeling of our being out of control. We know that if we just give up our struggles against depression and admit our powerlessness over it we can begin to surrender to our Higher Power and practice letting go of it.  I can decide that I want to feel good again. I can decide that I want to feel happy and put this constant sadness and hollowness behind me once and for all. I know that no longer will I  have to retreat or flee from these sad feelings and escape with sleep, over activity or drugs. I know that whenever my sadness seems unending, I then just admit that I am not helpless and that I can do something about it because I have the tools (see Tools of Recovery at Menu)  and I can learn the skills that I didn’t know were available to me before. Now I am deciding to think, act and behave differently much to my personal credit and new found trust in the Higher Power.  I am a sailor who sees the land, knows the right direction and does the rowing to get where I want to get. The Twelve Steps are my compass…”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. Pages. 34-35.

Women aware of their abilities and rights as human beings

“In our depression groups you can come and begin to get out some of those feelings accumulated over the years which have taken their toll on our lives by making us feel helpless and alone. Many women in our culture seemed to have imbibed a helpless feeling with their mother’s milk. As women become aware of their abilities and rights as human beings, they begin to experience the freedom that comes from being themselves and throwing aside rules and roles fashioned  by men and male mindsRecovery is being able to trust ourselves in exploring ways to feel emotions.

In most cultures, when males begin to depress themselves, they “numb out” and stuff their feelings of shame, hurt, or anger. Males are conditioned to not express in any intimate fashion these unpleasant feelings. One of the positive aspects of our support group is that men can come to our fellowship, share their tears, and know that this is acceptable behavior for any member of the group. What most males really want to do but don’t know how,  is to be intimate with others, sharing those deep feelings. From just an anecdotal account, normally at most Depressed Anonymous meetings there are as many men in attendance as there are women, even though the statistics tell us that women are more depressed than men. I too  believe that accounting is based on cultural conditioning as well. Women have learned how to talk about feelings more than men. Depressed Anonymous is an excellent group for men to not only learn new skills in intimacy, but helps them outgrow old patterns of negative thinking and behavior.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville. Ky.  P. 82-83.

 

Britain’s MD’s prescription for depression? Exercise.

Patients in Britain are receiving  “prescriptions” for exercise.

“A  “prescriptionfor exercise typically provides the patient with twenty – four weeks of treatment. An exercise professional assesses the patient’s fitness and develops an appropriate “activity plan,” with the patient then given discounted or free access to the collaborativeing YMCA or gym. Patients work out on exercise machines, swim. and take various exercises classes. In addition , many exercise referral schemes provide access to “green gyms.” The outdoor programs may involve group walks, outdoor stretching classes, and volunteer environmental work (managing local woodlands, improving footpaths, creating community gardens, etc). Throughout the six months of treatment, the exercise professional monitors the patient’s health and progress.

As might be expected, patients have found exercise on-prescription- treatment to be quite helpful. They told the Mental Health Foundation that exercise allowed them to “take control of their recovery” and stop thinking of themselves as “victims” of a disease. Their confidence and self esteem increased, they felt calmer and more energetic. Treatment was now focused on their ” health,” rather than on their ” illness.”

“The fathers of medicine wouldn’t be surprised about what we are doing, ” McCulloch  said.  They would say, “Hasn’t science gone any further? Diet and exercise? This is what is new? If they could travel in a time machine, they would think we were mad, because people have been saying these things for thousands of years..”

SOURCES:   Whitaker R.  (2010, 2015) Anatomy of An Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.. New York. Crown. pg.347.

Smith H. (2017) Believing is Seeing: 15 Ways to Leave the Prison of Depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  (Ch.6: Keep physically  fit.)

Smith, H. (2018) I’ll Do It When I Feel Better. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

” I have found that the Depressed Anonymous fellowship is a good place to share my story!”

 

AFFIRMATION

I am involved in something bigger than myself and this is providing me with a sense of mission for all those persons who  are suffering from sadness.

 

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that there are many like me out there in this ever changing world. My message of hope is always available to those who will listen  to my message. I know that there is hope because I have more hope when I realize that there is something that I can do in order to help myself. I know that by experiencing my God in such  a special and life giving way, my life  will straighten out in time and with the help of God.

The more I use the Twelve Step program of recovery, the more I am able to take care of myself and keep the focus of my growth on myself. I am no longer blaming someone else for my depression. Nobody has the power to depress me. I might get a feeling of sadness when around certain people but they don’t depress me. It’s the way I look at the world, people or situations that I depress myself. I am confiding my thoughts about my recovery to those new friends that I am making in the program.

MEDITATION

God makes himself available to anyone who make themselves available to God. So God, we believe  you are right here with us in our deepest moments of despair. We will see the light with your help. (Personal comments).

SOURCES:  Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and  meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Hugh Smith  (1999, 2018) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY . Page 120.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition  (1998, 2011, 2014  )Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

The “before” and “after” stories of those who freed themselves from the tyranny of depression.

I just want to write a few thoughts this morning about the “before” and “after” experiences of group members  battles  with depression.  Before there was a Depressed Anonymous group for me to attend, where I could address my problems, I joined another 12 step program of recovery. It was at this meeting that I heard and saw people who shared their stories how it was “before”  they got into recovery and  the  “after”  now that they are living the recovery program.

The difference was like night and day. I could listen all day to a lecture on depression, alcoholism, overeating or any other addiction  and not be as moved as I am when I hear the actual person telling  their story of how life is  now by  actively participating in their own recovery. To hear the changes that have taken place in those many people whose lives had spiraled down into the darkness of isolation and hopelessness is a phenomenal  experience in itself.

Most of the books which serve as the basic text of 12 step groups such as Depressed Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, to name a few, all include many “before” and “after” stories of those who have suffered the loss of their self only to find that with the help of the spiritual principles of the Steps were they able eventually to share how  their lives had changed dramatically.   Their stories are simple, direct and filled with powerful accounts of  human beings who once were lost in the chaos of addiction,  but now have been freed,  living with hope and serenity.

Depressed Anonymous’ basic text  has its own “before” and  “after ” stories as well. All the stories, the “before” and “after” accounts,   give credit to the program of recovery which  has changed the thinking and lives of thousands of persons throughout the world.  I see  these stories manifesting  the miracle of the Higher Power, at work in those persons who made a decision to choose to walk that different pathway out of their addictions.  They then  tell those others “still suffering from depression” about the power  they have received.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.” Step Twelve of Depressed Anonymous.”

Sources:

Depressed Anonymous, recommends its basic text, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition for the many inspiring accounts of those persons who came to a meeting, like myself, heard what others had experienced and decided that to see how it worked for them.

Also another excellent publication with many “before” and “after”  stories is A MEDLEY OF DEPRSSION STORIES, by the founder of two Depressed Anonymous groups in North Carolina, Debra Sanford.  Her work is available at Amazon.com.

Depressed Anonymous Publications also has books available at depressedanon.com. VISIT THE STORE

12 self-help ways to get undepressed

 

 

+ Attribute the depression to a cause, e.g., loss of a loved one, loss of a childhood, loss of a pet, loss of a job.

+Attempt to rectify the problems considered responsible for evoking the feelings of depression.

+Finding moral and social support (Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group).

+Engaging in diverting and distracting recreations.

+ Keeping busy and working.

+ Focusing one’s attention elsewhere than on the depressing problems or depressed feelings.

+Restructuring one’s  thinking so as to minimize the significance of the depressing events.

+Engaging in in self-care and self maintenance activities.

+Venting one’s feelings.

+Taking prescribed medication as long as you and your doctor agree that the medication is working on your behalf.

+Finding compensations and boosting feelings of self esteem or self sufficiency through useful purposeful activity.

+Taking comfort in one’s religion.

SOURCE: Wounded Healers.  V. Rippere & W. Ruth.  John  WIley and Sons, Ltd, 1985. pgs. 86-87. (Reprinted and published in the ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET.)

I need a sponsor to help me follow the “plan” of hope.

 

You may  choose someone to help you stick to this plan. This person is called a sponsor and should be someone who has experienced depression themselves. You can also exchange phone numbers with other members of the Depressed Anonymous group. As life gets better for you and the emotional pain gets less and less and you are no longer experiencing isolation and pain,  you can use your past experiences in helping the new members of the Depressed Anonymous group see that there is a way out of their prison of depression. The way out of the prison of depression is by connecting with the fellowship and experiencing a “vital spiritual experience.”

A newly developed approach to working the Steps and becoming familiar with the “plan”  is to learn more about  THE HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY,  at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Book store (VISIT THE STORE).

SOURCE: (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.  Hugh Smith (2017. Depressed Anonymous Publications.) Louisville. KY. Page 75.