The “noise” of my depression decreases…

I accept and believe that however hopeless everything appears right now, I will make a decision to recover from my depression. I am not helpless. I will make a choice to get better.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT.

The “noise” of my depression decreases the more I am able to share my feelings of anxiety, hurt and helplessness with others. I am not going too far to say  that “all my sadness is gone,”  but I am saying it seems to help to talk  about my fears and anxieties. I can do this sharing within a  Depressed Anonymous group, by journaling or talking with my sponsor. I am noticing that my life improves in relationships,  the more that I force myself to get connected with others who are suffering from depression just as I am.

I accept myself now that I feel that I am depressed.  I now have a definite way out of my sadness. I don’t have to be this way all my life, I tell myself. I believe that I can accept  the fact of the way that I feel and that I can choose to feel something other than the misery of my sadness. I am no longer going to run and hide whenever something or someone appears on the horizon of my life that I don’t like. I accept the fact that  I am going to choose to feel better today.     I am going to spiral up instead of down.

Meditation

God, you created us with strengths and a predisposition of sorts that set us up to be a depressed person. We can’t  choose the family we are born into, but we can choose to find out how to get in touch with those persons who seek health,  our  12  Step family of Depressed Anonymous.

Personal comments

Source:   Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. Kentucky .  Page 228.

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

Please VISIT THE BOOKSTORE here for more helpful literature on ways to use the 12 Steps to overcome depression. Orders online are possible.

Does being hopeful mean taking risks?

 

“Hope can exist only in a state of uncertainty.

That certainty means total certainty That security means to be without hope.

The prison of depression is built with the bricks of total certainty.

 

Certainty. Security. No hope.

To hope means to run the risk of disappointment.

Avoid   disappointment.  Stay depressed.

To be insecure means to not be in control.

Stay in control. Be depressed.

To be uncertain means to be unsure of the future.

Predict the future with certainty. Stay depressed.

Hope can only exist where there is uncertainty. Absolute certainty means complete hopelessness. If we want to live fully we must have freedom, hope and love.  So life must be an uncertain business. That is what makes it worthwhile.”

Source: Depression: The way out of your depression. D. Rowe. 1996. (2nd Ed.)

Hope is to seek things and  have the expectation that what we desire will come true. In the matter of depression, Dr. Rowe warns us that when we predict that we will ways be the way we are is to predict a life of uncertainty but one that is without hope. In the reality of the way we construct our world we begin to live with some uncertainty  and with the uncertainty we are going to little bit by little  bit accept some pain, hurt and disappointment in our lives. This is not bad but it is not always pleasant. When we are depressed it is not so important always as to how we got to be depressed but what is important, is how we see our depression.  Do we believe, like Dorothy Rowe, that we will always see ourselves as bad, worthless, unacceptable to ourselves and to others, when we are depressed. If this is the way that we want to look at ourselves then we are sure to believe that we will never change. We hold these beliefs about ourselves as immutable truths –absolute and ever binding. This is the thing about depression – we believe that it will always be this way–namely being possessed by this hollow feeling and deadly emptiness which we carry around in our bodies, day after day, year after years.

Our identity as persons depressed is to believe that we are always going to be the way we are now and be depressed forever. We know that it won’t always have to be this way. Our identity is that of a free agent who has the option to choose misery for the rest of their lives or to choose hope and so live with some uncertainty that may bring us to a life filled with hope.  The more we allow the feelings of pain and the unpleasantness of our feelings to surface the more we will live in uncertainty and hope. To live with uncertainty is to live with some hope that our tomorrow will be different than our today. We hope for things not yet seen. We hope for things to be different. This is the identity of a person  who is working the 12 Steps of Depressed  Anonymous. This person is the one who withholds judgment about whether this first Anonymous meeting is going to do any good for them. This is where they learn how to cope. They hear other members of the group tell them that they have to keep coming back to  the meetings if they are to get help and find release from their feelings of despair.”

Source: How to hope and let it blossom. Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  (1999). Louisville. Ky.

For more helpful literature on depression and 12 Step spirituality please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. Online purchases are possible.

Hibernation works for bears!

 

One of the situations that develop for those of us who are depressed is to isolate. To hole up. To hibernate.  This of course works for bears –but just makes things worse for those of us who are depressed. Isolation from life causes a fracture–a disconnectedness from others and our daily activities. We find that we are gradually slowing down–withdrawing from others and choosing to be alone rather than being connected. Our minds  go round and round choosing to do nothing,  circling around like a dog chasing its tail,  rather than finding solutions. Basically, isolation is our solution.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

A mantra that needs repeating in our minds is to tell ourselves that we need to move our bodies if the mind is to break free from the chains of immobility. Move the body and the  mind will follow.  Once we have committed ourselves to   get physically moving the more the mind will challenge our isolation and inactivity. At first we will have that ongoing debate inside ourselves telling ourselves “I’ll do it when I  feel better.” I know,  I’ve been there.

I am going to keep myself physically fit.

“Keeping physically fit! It is a must for us, who are and who have been depressed.  Walking not only restores harmony to the body, it likewise restores my self-esteem and self-confidence.”

Try walking. It costs nothing. No gym fees or dues.  Walking can make a difference for those of us who find ourselves with our thoughts of suicide, despair and hopelessness. In the very act of walking, I move outside  the narrow and limited circle of my life and move into relationships with other people, places, and situations. Walking releases mood elevating chemicals in my blood  and like others, may cause me to feel a slight elevation of mood. Walking also helps distract me from the ever present round of negative thinking that continues to oppress me.

With time and perseverance, I discover that exercise not only reduces physical tension in my life, but it also makes it possible for me to feel better about myself.

For me to feel good about myself, I have to first want to like myself. I want to attempt to live just for today and not be concerned about what if this , or what if that happens. I am deciding today, that for me to feel better, I must get active and exercise.

God will help us and motivate us to get out into the world of fresh air and the diverse beauty of creation so that we may enjoy God’s goodness manifest itself all around us.

***

Please click onto the TOOLS FOR RECOVERY menu here at the website.  See items EXERCISE and BEING in NATURE.

SOURCE: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days” 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky. Pages 222-223. November 8.

  I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous  Publications.  Louisville.

The only person I can control is myself.

 

 

The only person I can control is myself. I will keep the focus of my recovery on myself.

AFFIRMATION

“Admitting our helplessness, we can abandon our desperate attempts to control everybody and everything and simply ‘go with the flow,’ taking life as it comes. Many people emerging from depression or from a major trauma, do this when they  decide to take one day at a time.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am more convinced than ever that one of the best ways to get out of my depression is to live one day at a time. and to spend that day thinking thoughts that reflect hope rather than thoughts that spiral us deeper into sadness and despair.  I am much more in need of admitting that I am depressed instead of denying to myself and to others that everything is all right when it isn’t.

My recovery is a step-by-step process and I try to live one day at a time. My best recovery occurs when I am conscious how my depressed thinking distorts the way I look at the way I live out my life and I have to make the effort to think differently.

MEDITATION

We thank God for our lives and the opportunity that we have to come into conscious contact with this Higher Power who is now providing us with his love and his hope.

Source: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.  October 30.

What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?

 

“What is the power of Depressed Anonymous? Well, let me first say that when I started attending Depressed Anonymous meetings, I went for a couple of months and then stopped. I stopped going because my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment facility where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there and one of the members of the Depressed Anonymous group where I attended answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me that for some reason, it was important for me to be at the meeting.  I attended  the next Depressed Anonymous meeting. After the meeting I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.

So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous? For me, it’s just like attending that first meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go where there were other depressed people just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going through. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy. I was accepted.”

–Ray

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky .

Was finding this phone number a coincidence?

 

Helen shares her story about finding help–when she needed it most.

”   I finally knew after two year or more of sleepless nights that someone had to help me.   I found a card saying Depressed  Center, in the back  of the phone book. It has a phone number and that was all. I talked to a man on the other end of the phone.  I said to myself this man is too  busy to talk with me, but anyway I made the first appointment myself. I made myself go. I thank God I did. I thank God that I went for help. It was a whole new beginning for me. I wanted to get well so badly. I think people do have to want to change. I went in with an attitude that I have to get well. I had heard things about counselors that scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in. I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thoughts. I began to feel better and I continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous  some weeks later.”

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

If you are curious about how the mutual aid group changed Helen’s life you’ll need to read her full account in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,  pages 169-172.

She also has something powerful to say about pleasing people and how  she needed to get her priorities straight and begin taking care of herself.

Sources:   Seeing is believing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017). Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

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

Thanks to Depressed Anonymous, I am a healer instead of being a victim.

 

“These Twelve Steps work for those who work the program and who try to live one day at a time.  Many times  we have been so scared of being rejected once more and that we have withdrawn deeper into the anguish of our shame and hurt.  We need to air our hurts, our shame, and let others hear our story. There is something healing about hearing ourselves speak to others about our  own journey in life an the many emotional potholes that we have fallen into from time to time. We have felt that our lives were jinxed! But now we can begin  to feel hopeful when other members of the group shake their heads in knowing approval of what we are saying when  we tell our story. Most have been where we are now. And the more we make an effort  to come  to  meetings regularly,  the more  we will find members of the group telling us how they  see a change in the way we talk, act and look.   We will accept the group’s comments as being true and honestly expressed. These people speak our  language  and they  al l   have been where we  are now.  You  gradually begin to see yourself as healer instead of victim the  more  you  work  this program and  get  excited  about  the  possibility  of  helping  others. When you start reaching out to others in the group, it is  at  that  point  that  you  are  carrying the  message of  hope  to  others.  You have  a future with  Depressed Anonymous.”

COPYRIGHT (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 105.

Please don’t tell me to “snap out of it.”

The Mental Health Award winner Dorothy Rowe  Ph.D.,   tells us

” that  the best way depressed people can help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one   another. ”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Some folks think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. Wrong. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they had any control over it.  My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most support are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to snap out of it!

I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try and help them. Look for a Depressed Anonymous  Group in your community.

MEDITATION

God, grant us the serenity to accept  the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things  we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS?   Please write out your comments  here if you like.

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down days. 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 201.

Faith appears to be good for one’s health.

Joyce  was a client of mine a few years back. She was in her early sixties and just recuperating from   a successful  open heart surgery. She also was very  depressed.  That’s where I come in. I was asked by my clinical supervisor  if I would spend some time with her and see  how I might be of help to her.  I agreed to do what I could do.

In the midst of counseling and listening to Joyce’s  story, I discovered her  strong faith,  which included her personal faith in God which gave her the belief that she was going to get through whatever  that had her  in lockdown.

She wasn’t aware of our Depressed Anonymous group and so I shared my story with her and the fact that I too  was once depressed. I told her how I became a  believer in the spirituality of the Twelve Steps and how my belief in God  delivered me from my symptoms of depression. Now don’t get me wrong -my own story is that it took me over a year to finally  get free of this noose around my neck.  Also, because of my faith in a program and the  recovered  people who lived it out in their daily lives,  I started on the road to recovery.

My faith told me if I would follow some of the simple steps outlined in this recovery program I would get better. My faith got me off of my seat,  out of bed and out my door to begin walking.  I believed  walking might be the key that unlocked my prison of depression. I read  that some Doctors in England were writing out   prescriptions for exercise for their depressed patients. I figured that it worked for them and so why wouldn’t exercise work for me.  After a year of walking everyday I finally walked out of the mental fog, lost the jitters and became free of depression. My faith in a Higher Power and my getting my body moving on a daily basis produced the healing effect that I had hoped for.

Back to Joyce. She and I had ten sessions together and I suggested to her that she start to think about the things that she did before her depression. What provided the satisfaction  and those pleasant events previously in her life. She talked about how she at one time was a cartoonist as well as a lover of writing poetry. So, that is what I suggested — that she involve herself with these pleasant activities again.  She said that she believed that she could do it–even though her mind and body rebelled at moving out of her comfort zone of doing absolutely nothing. The main defense for doing nothing is the oft repeated mantra from all of us when  we are depressed which  is “I’ll do it when I feel better.”

With each new session she would share with me a cartoon or a poem which she had created the previous  week. As she continued doing what she liked, I  noticed more energy in her voice as she shared her feelings about her new  creations.  All the while, she was compliant with her own physical recovery from heart surgery. Her pleasant moods  gave her a feeling of being in control of her life and her future.  She came to believe that a power greater than herself would restore not only her sanity but her health as well. Her faith was renewed in the God of her understanding while restoring  her belief that her  health was going to get better. Not only did  she have a plan to follow but she made the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps her way out of depression. She continues to follow this map to this very day.

The following quote is from a work  titled,  The Secret Strength of Depression written by Frederic Flach, M.D., K.H.S.

Faith appears to be good for one’s overall health. Cardiovascular illnesses are more frequently seen in depressed individuals, in patients with coronary ischemia, depression worsens the outcome, possibly due to alterations in platelet function and changes in autonomic tone. Depression is also associated with a higher mortality rate following acute myocardial infarction; for those patients who survive, the recovery process is often a more complicated  one. Studies suggest that the recovery rate from medical and surgical procedures, from the repair of hip  fractures to coronary bypass surgery, is faster among believers. Moreover, patients undergoing such treatment appear less likely to have serious complications or die.” Page 239.

SOURCES:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. Ky.

Copyright(c)  I’ll do it when I feel better. 2nd  Edition 1986,  2013.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Copyright)(c)  Believing is seeing:15 Ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

I have a plan that is simple with startling results.

 

Years ago I needed help and I was offered a number of plans/solutions  which promised me relief for my particular problem.  The plans offered me didn’t seem to work.  In my desperation I thought I would try a 12 Step program of recovery. The plan was very simple. Not hard to understand. I tried it. I went to my first meeting and was given hope. All the folks there at the meeting were using the same plan. They talked about how this plan changed their lives. That got my attention. It got my attention because their story was my story. The group provide me with the plan’s  list of areas in my life that I needed to look at.  The plan, as I mentioned before was simple. Not complicated at all.

Have you ever in your life had to put something together  and the thing that you put together came with a plan.  It was  a blueprint like thing that showed you what  the end product would look like. when all the proper instructions were carried out.  At this first meeting I made a commitment to follow this plan for 24 hours.  Only 24 hours. Hey, not a big deal. I could handle that. So, I took the plan home and started to read the instructions, chapter and verse.  It was a simple plan.

Now I had this plan. It was a plan for everyday of my life. I thought wow! is this good or what. That is exactly what I needed. I remember saying to myself, “I hope it works.” It works.  Over 30 years later I am using the same plan. It never gets old and stale.

Early on I got some tools to go with the instructions on how to use the plan. The first tool showed me how to admit what was fouled up in my life and to also admit how things were terribly out of hand.  In our plan there were all sorts of other tools that I needed to use if I was to get back on my  feet. I have to confess some of these tools were not easy to use exactly. I mean there were parts  of the plan that I needed to look at more closely than I ever had before. This plan came with a great instruction book that I and others call the Big Book. It spells  out not only how to use the tools but what happens when we actively embrace them and put them to use in our daily life.

So, now besides the plan, we have the tools to go along with the instructions. So my life began to change. I began to find serenity in my life and I began to realize that there were things that I need to change in my life and then there were things I knew I couldn’t change. You know, like things that happened to me in then past. The instructions showed me a great way to take care of those issues that up to a time haunted me. I now really feel at home in my own skin now.

Startling results? Well, for sure. And part of the reason for these startling results is besides having a plan–having new tools to use-I was plopped right in the middle of a group of men and women that were using the same plan as I was. Like, we are all on the same page, literally. I was in a fellowship of folks who were telling each other their stories about how the instructions and tools brought them some really fantastic experiences  changes in their lives.  The first time I set foot in this group, I was  promised that certain things were going to happen to me. You know what? They were right.  They said that once  I had the instructions under my belt, I would want to go and tell others my story.  I would want to go and let those still suffering from whatever addiction  was killing them, that they could live with the hope that their lives  would change, as did mine.    By following our plan, using our tools of recovery, and being a part of our fellowship (a 12 Step group) you “will be amazed before you are halfway through ” ( the instructions.) Again, that’s a Promise!

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

Contact: depanon@netpenny.net for more info.