I am part of something bigger than myself.

By being in a recovery group I am able to beat loneliness.

In the group, I established myself and I got some positive feedback from others who watched me grow and who have seen the genuine change I have made  personally. I am gradually throwing off my personal war  with sadness. The real support comes when I begin to learn that members of the group have the same problems that I have. This helps me trust  others with the story of my life. These people are the ones who want to hear my story of how depression almost cost me my  life. Now, my life is freeing me from my need to sad myself.

I feel more able to attach myself to the group now that I know that they are struggling with the same depression that I struggle with. I no longer have to fight this battle on my own.

MEDITATION

God you are our rock and our refuge, on you I place all my trust. We know and believe easier now than before, that God has something good in store for us today.”

 

Source:

(C) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of  12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 69. April 26.

MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION!

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering? What motivates me to continue to try and help others? What has made the change in my life where now I want to share what I know and what I feel.  Basically, I know that the program of recovery works. I no longer feel powerless over  my depression. In DA group meetings members speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time looking back over our shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears is going to overtake me.  I now have attained small amounts  of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that at times overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the first step “we admitted we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” It is a paradox that it is in the admission of our lives being out of control that we began to take control of our lives.”

It was an interesting fact that in the very beginning of my recovery   that I received a very important message… that if I was to get well I had to motivate myself to do something. I had to get in motion. That sounds simple enough doesn’t  it?  I must stop the isolating of myself and get to work on ways that would gradually lead myself  out of despair and hopelessness, and deadly inactivity.

The first thing that I began to do each and everyday was to start walking.  I just knew  that the inner war that  was waged with every step that I took was the message that “walking would not do me any good”  would almost  completely scuttle my best intentions to complete my walks.  The odd thing about it was that, almost without fail, if I could just continue on and walk at least for 15 minutes  and ignore the messages “that I was too tired to walk this morning”    my body began to get into  a  rhythm. I would feel content  to finish my walks. And ironically, there is not a day that goes by,  when I start my walk that I don’t feel the lethergy and resistance to continue my walking.  Then as always, after about 10-15 minutes into my walking, I feel  a rush, an energy spurt, to continue walking. Other walkers have told me that they have the same experience. It must have something to do with the human body,  with all its members working together and harmonically working in sync with each other.

I just add the above note to let others know that your body will repel the healthy attempt to move out of its   isolation. It’s the force of one’s motivation powered by action that will in time help us all do one of the more beneficial exercises that our body can undertake, namely to walk.

——————————————

(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 42.

Staying on the balance beam.

One of the more difficult exercises in gymnastic sports is the balance beam. Now, that is only my opinion. And when the gymnast performs a somersault   on this narrow beam and manages to keep their balance,   this is really a feat to behold.

When I was depressed I felt like  the gymnast who missed their somersault and came tumbling off the beam. And it hurt–big time. In fact,  it hurt for many months later. For some depressed, the hurt  lasts a lifetime.

The point I want to make is that we have to make choices. We want to make a decision that can make us feel differently and better — not  worse.  We want to get back on the beam, make a decision to  change how we do things.  We will correct what got us where we are now and go forward with new strategies for  living a life with hope and faith in a power greater than ourselves. Our new habits of thinking and feeling positive will definitely change our behaviors.   We can  continue to be on the beam.

“One makes a choice when making a decision. One of the hard things in a depressed person’s life is making a decision. The indecision is what really gets to a person continually  to  remain off balance. Usually this indecision is the result of an emotinmal war going on inside, and both sides war over who will have their way.  The more depressed we become, the less able are we able to muster up the necessary energy to make a decision that will benefit us. I believe that this moral type of inventory is not going to be detrimental to our recovery because it is all about our recvovery. We are not intending for it to make us feel ashamed, but to help us see that if we want to feel better, then we have to start to make some changes, which  are gradual at first.  Changing old habits and ways  of thinking will with time and work make our personal world a better place to live.  Just as the Third Step states that we made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God, we can believe that our recovery is about decision and choices. We have to decide a hundred times daily that we are going to turn our wills over to care of the God of our understanding. In time we will feel secure enough to put our depression behind us.  In other words, our depression  will no longer serve a purpose in our life.”

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Pg.73.

(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville,Ky.

I was on the verge of sanity!

Yes, on the verge of sanity is the way I look at it. My life up to a certain point was not really insane –it just felt like it. You might recognize the feeling. You keep doing the same insane  things  over and over again  and expecting different results.   How is it that  you and I are so good at this, that is, allowing our mind to chase us around in circles never finding a way out .

If you have been in a 12 step program for any length of time,  you can see some of what I mean.  Just by reading and looking closely at each of the spiritual principles of the  12 Steps you gradually become  conscious of the dysfunctional way  that  you are living out your life.

The insanity begins  to show itself for what it is –it is as it were exposed  by the voices of the other members of the group.  These men and women   who have by now  are discovering the core issues of their own insane ways of thinking and behaviors.   As it states so pointedly in Step Two of the recovery program that we  “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

The members of the Depressed Anonymous group meetings have gradually  painted a portrait of what insanity looks like.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s when a  member of the group, in detail fashion, shares with us how growing up he was told over and over again how “He would never amount to anything.” And guess  what?  He believed it! This prediction was fulfilled   for everything that  he put his hand to in life.

How about this one handed  out to me by my teacher when I was in the third grade, namely  “you will never be smart like your brother or your uncle ( a bible expert).”

She was right. I began to live with the shame of being inferior, the prediction of this authority figure  gradually working its way into my subconscious from that moment on. I still remember feeling the flesh of my face turning red hot just thinking about that moment so many years back. Sharing this  with the group and a therapist finally removed the scourge that it became in my life. I must have unconsciously worked against this false belief because later I earned a Master’s Degree and later  a Doctoral degree.

Julia  calls Depressed Anonymous a miracle.  So far, she tells us that

“so far  the most grabbing element of Depressed Anonymous has been the parts of the book where the author  refers to the depressed person as a saddict, that is, a person attached or addicted even to sad and hopeless thoughts. Boy, did I ever see myself in these sections. Since then, I have learned to control my thought process. Now, very seldom do sad thoughts creep in. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say  the first time I saw the description of a saddict,  a light went on in my head.  The actual miracle took place at that moment. And the beauty of the whole thing is that thinking positive thoughts becomes easier and easier, automatic, then ecstatic at times.

But it is not all that easy. I followed the Steps also. I work at them often. For just as sure as your mind is on the automatic positive gear, it can easily slip back to negativism without the proper maintenance , which includes weekly( not just regular)  attendance at meetings, and the knowledge and practice of the Twelve Steps as well as for those that need it, medication plus therapy as recommended by your doctor. ” (C) Julia, Depressed Anonymous Personal Stories

Good luck! And if just one other person reaches the point where I am,then there is a hope that life can be different for you as well.”

Note: When I became aware of how to live on the verge of sanity and then start living a live of serenity I began sharing with others about the miracle of Depressed Anonymous.  Now that I am feeling sane I just hope that you put this plan. that works, into your daily life.

Submitted by Julia, a member of Depressed Anonymous,  writing her Personal Story in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY Page 122.

For more stories please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at our website www. depressedanon.com.  You can order online.

 

The impatient patient

 

It was not too long ago when I was an impatient patient. Have you ever been an impatient patient? If you have ever been admitted to the hospital for any length of time, as was I, then you know a little of what I am talking about. This was a few years back when I underwent open heart surgery. It was quite an experience to say the least. I got excellent care. The   staff said I was a very good patient.  Not much I could do to be an annoying patient. I had wires, tubes, and everything else hooked up to my anatomy. I felt that I must have looked like one of those huge electrical grids that we see alongside the road, all with a large chain link fence circling  them.

Because my numbers weren’t right (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level,  etc.)  the doctor told me that I would have to remain in the hospital another day. I had already spent three weeks, watching an  outside world,  all beginning to look like ne big beautiful garden.  Everything was coming alive.   I was coming alive too, but not fast enough. I did thank God that I was even alive: thanks to a great team of doctors and staff.

But gradually and with a new intensity, I had this strong desire to  to free myself from  whatever kept me from getting free. I know what it was: it was the numbers. Always the numbers. So, the day came, finally, and the doctor tells me that if the numbers were right I could go home. Home! That word spoken by the one who had the power to free me. Yes, I could  go home– tomorrow! (That was like the big sign behind the bartender  which read in big red letters “Free Beer tomorrow!” Tomorrow comes and yes, Free beer tomorrow!). I knew from past experience, that that  “tomorrow”  always came with a conditional “maybe”  tomorrow.

That was it. . . I was suffering from what I felt was a terminal case of “cabin fever.”   “Cabin fever”  can only be cured by  getting out of the cabin. We all know that. So, I asked the doctor how I could go home today (the day was Friday) as there was no use staying the weekend waiting for my numbers to come down. The doctor told me, because I had to have a certain medicine over the next 48 hours to keep my numbers at the right place, I must  give myself some  prescribed shots , and then come back the following Monday for a check on my numbers. Other than that, I was good to be released.

The nurse came in and with a few practice shots– on an orange no less, and then  I was good to go! Halleluja! By this time, most of my tubes and  wires had gradually been removed, one after another.  Another patient told me that this was a good sign when they started removing wires from one’s torso. My mind went to another possible reason, but I won’t go there now.

Home. And all it took was just to give myself two shots a day. No problem.  My numbers finally returned to where numbers need to be for a good recovery and so it all worked out. Thanks to the medical team, first of all, that gave me my life back!

Fast forward to today,  as I look back over  life before my experience with depression.  The sadness, the lethargy, my whole body seemed to want to go into hibernation. Sleep. And more sleep.  And when I could hardly get myself out of bed  in the morning. reality hit me in the face. I had something that I didn’t have a name for. I was immobilized. So, I started walking. Walking. Walking. I knew that I was continually feeling very sad. Sometimes like weeping.

My life before was a life of “hurry” for this and a “hurry ” for that.  I couldn’t stuff enough  of life into my daily schedule.  And then my discovery that I had clogged arteries and need open heart surgery as soon as could be scheduled. But what about my planned vacation, my clients, my books I was working on ?  I couldn’t just sit by and let things slide.

OK. I said. Obviously I was in denial. We are talking about saving my life here and I was worrying about nothing really.  That was  before my numbers helped me face the truth about myself.  The talk with the heart surgeon definitely grabbed my attention. I got it! I needed open heart surgery!  No denial now.

I got it that my life, the “hurry” and the “impatience”  that  had produced the stress, a diet filled with all sorts of food that was bad for me as well as a life without exercise.  I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t slow down.  I was always in a rush–a hurry to get to the next important   thing, a meeting or whatever pushed me into serious health problems.

Today is different. Once back in recovery, both from a physical standpoint as well as from a mental health standpoint, I have learned how to relax, how to spend  time alone  with my God as well as to set small goals which are attainable and healthy for each new day. My prayer time and my meditating on the spiritual principles of the 12 steps,  plus taking time out for my Depressed Anonymous meetings on a regular basis. I also have a regular sponsor who helps me over the times when I am in a “hurry” and shoving too much activity into a life filled with activity. I have the tools to slow down and live. These are  a musty now in my daily life!

My new self with an awareness of staying out  of the “hurry” has helped my being patient with whatever negative situations  life throws at me. I think before I act. I think before I make decisions and do not rush into anything without first “looking both ways” (as I learned in Kindergarten) many  years ago.

And BTW  my numbers are great: 120-130  over 80. Heart rate 70’s.

Check out the TOOLS for Recovery here at this website  www. depressedanon.com

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

 

 

A way out of depression. Where to start?

 AFFIRMATION

I can be that person who is going to have hope and serenity now that I can hear how the program works for them.

“Now that I look back and see the way I was and see how I am now, I can’t believe that I ever knew the other person. This person is different altogether. I like this person now very much.” Helen

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

When I am depressed, I think that I can’t do any good.  Now I listen to people like Helen and I can see that her being an active member of the Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous has freed her to be a different person. She didn’t find herself through any esoteric means. Slowly she found  her way out of her saddening  herself through a belief in her God, a belief in the group, and by working the Twelve Steps. When we admit we have a problem, we know we can get some help. We then ask  God and God shows us the way out. With God all things are possible. Helen is living proof that a person’s feeling alone and desperate won’t last once they see that it’s pretty much up to themselves to begin the move to want to change.

One of the beliefs that I seem to consider absolute is that I will never be able to change my life and the way I feel. I know now that I can feel differently, that with time and  work, this will be a real possibility.

NOTE We can read Helen’s riveting story,  how her own 12 Step program of recovery brought sanity and hope into her personal life. Please  see  the Depressed Anonymous  personal  stories section of the book and read   her personal  story of faith and hope plus many others.

MEDITATION

God, continue to help people like Helen carry the message to others so that there might be a hope for those who fear there is no hope for them. Let us understand that from our daily thoughts in this book that we can receive the courage to see that we will get better.

SOURCES:  (C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship  groups. (1999, 2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Page   70.

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

The mind set in “park.”

Is our mind’s gearshift mostly set in “park”? Is our mind  set in “loaf”  with no destination in sight?

When my mind finally stopped racing and my foot got off the accelerator, I ended up in “park.”  It was at that time that I felt helpless and without a map to help  find my way out of that deep hole that I had dug for myself. All I could do was to surf the web.  And that was pretty much where I spent my time. Nowhere to go but everywhere.   No destination in particular that was driving my interest.

I would sit, and sit some more. My mind was like a “drunken monkey.”  I knew that I had to move.  I had to find a way to help myself or have someone help me.  And then I read from my HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS   the following words:

” I hate to think it, much less to say it, but I need to make a radical change in the way I lead my life. I have come to the point in my life where I might need to  make a big decision as to whether I stay where I am (in park) or move to something else…and  I will be better for the change. I need to take the Fourth Step Inventory. I need to make a fearless  and moral inventory. I know that the more I escape into  the seclusion of my inner world and focus on me, how bad I think I am,  the more sad I become.

I am discovering  how I can now feel better and that my program is a spiritual one. My recovery continues to grow the more I take stock of my strengths and I see the world as a place of healing instead of a place of fear.”

It’s time to put your life in drive.  Know  life is just   ahead. The Depressed Anonymous meeting is about to start!  Please come in and join us.

 

SOURCE:  (c)  Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

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

NOTE: To order online,  click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and find material that can be of help to you.

I believe that my life is going to get better! Hope is a hard habit to break!

 

How often have I heard these powerful words at one of our group Depressed Anonymous meetings. In fact, it is  oftener  than one would think, seeing where most of the group members have been before opening the door  into our fellowship.

Not only have we heard powerful stories of recovery but we also witness them with  own eyes. By coming to meetings week after week, we  begin to see the truth of the Promises as laid out for each of us who take that first step into recovery.  In Higher Thoughts for Down Days I read that I am going to be secure in my belief that my life is going to get better.

Today is the day. Doing your best, living each day to the fullest is the art of living. Yesterday is gone forever, and we don’t know whether we will be here tomorrow. If we do a good job of living today, and if tomorrow does comes for us, then the chances are we will do a good job when it arrives – so why worry about it?

This makes sense to me. What about you?  I know that the more I share myself with others, be that with my DA sponsor or with other members of our fellowship, that my life is beginning to change for the better. Also, the more I share with others the more spontaneous I become, and there are now some bright periods  of my life beginning to appear in my life.

I believe that by living in the present reduces my trust in the past fears of yesterday or the anxious moments I thought I needed for tomorrow.

Knowing that others, who are just like me, can make it through   the day with a greater amount of serenity and peace  as they try to live in today-just for the next 24 hours.

We all believe that the more we turn our minds and wills toward God, the more God will turn his love and will for us in unmistaken ways  and with our belief that God is truly with us.

AS Brad Cohen tells us in that great Hallmark Movie, FRONT OF THE CLASS, “Hope is hard to break.”

Hopeful people gather together on  every continent on this planet. Their hope stems from a strong belief  that with God’s help and support from their fellow members of DA (Or any other 12 Step mutual aid group) they become energized by people feeling better and coming more energized about trying to live their life with purpose and meaning.

Every Depressed Anonymous meeting starts with a statement on How Depressed Anonymous Works:

” You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are on a journey of hope and who mutually care for each other. You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a black hole and tired of living. ”

In the Big Book of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,  you can read story after story of those persons who have  escaped from the prison of their isolation. These stories tell each of us that there is hope and you can have it too. If it has taken  you a lifetime to find a healing way out of your depression, you then can   appreciate those others who have made it-all now living with hope and trust.

SOURCES

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville. Ky. (Personal stories section).

(C)I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. (1998) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

Healthy Adulthood? What is it?

 

Saint-Exupery, in The Little Prince   said  “that to be a  man, a woman, an adult, is to accept responsibility. And during those years that are bracketed by the dawning of conscience and end of adolescence (seven to ten) we must be slowly expanding the dominion of what we can be responsible for – becoming our own grownup.”

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

A Higher Thought for Today/ March 19.

AFFIRMATION

Remove the letters “d”, “e”, and “I” from the word depression and I have “press on’!

“The  idea that we have to be responsible for ourselves and that the ways of the world are neither  good  nor just,  is too terrifying  for you to contemplate. You cannot tolerate such uncertainty. You do not trust yourself, so how can you take responsibility for your self? ” Bill W.

CLARIFICATION OF  THOUGHT

I don’t like facing the fact that ultimately I am the one responsible  for myself, no one else. It appears to me that I have to take care of myself, depend on my Higher Power for direction, and go from there.  My Higher Power isn’t going to do it all. I know that I have to do all that I can to restore my life and my feelings.   God is the rudder to my boat and I have to put my oars into the water if I am to get moving  in the right direction.

I am attempting, day by day, to tolerate the  unpredictableness   of my life and gradually learn new ways to cope with uncertainty. While I am depressing myself, I want everything to be perfect and under my control. I know now that I will be happier when I learn how to tolerate a pleasant mood without telling myself that it will not last!

MEDITATION

We believe that the closer that we come to God, as we understand God, as we understand Him, the closer our God draws to us. We believe that whatever we want changed in our life, this can best be accomplished by approaching the God of our understanding and letting the  power  greater than ourselves steer us across the stormy sea.”

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for Members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. (1997) Pages 47-48.  Louisville. Ky.

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

RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONNECTIONS
We have to acknowledge that I am the one who is having the harsh and negative thoughts about myself, and that I alone must take responsibility for the feelings that I have about myself. I can’t continue to blame others for my depression and still think that I will feel better. Dorothy Rowe says that instead of blaming someone else or making someone else the scapegoat of our problems,  we need to put aside blame and guilt and think in terns of responsibilities and connections.  What she means here is that when she has dealt with depressed persons, they seem as though they are carrying the weight of the world and feel responsible for everyone and everything except themselves. She says that when it comes to themselves they se themselves as totally powerless. We need to look at what is happening in the here and   now and take responsibility for our lives, without living in the fear of tomorrow and the hurt of yesterday, Humbly ask God to help  you live in the now, even if that means living with the temporary horrible pain of depression.”

Source: Depressed Anonymous   3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. pp. 73-74.

NOTE: Click onto  www. depressedanon.com where you can order ONLINE informative and helpful 12 Step literature.  At the Home Page Menu please click onto  VISIT THE STORE,  and go to THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE.

To contact us please  use this email   depanon@netpenny.net .

 

 

Today’s Hope: Depressed Anonymous

  1. Today  I can experience hope. I will believe I can live this day with pleasant, thoughts. I will do one activity that will give me hope and light for today.
  2. Today I will “not” dwell on the past and the losses that have occurred up until those times and space.
  3. Today I will  “do” whatever I can put movement into my life. Any  small effort will help lessen the feelings of the stagnant sadness of depression.
  4. Today I will look forward to seeing a rose, the sunshine, a precious person – be it a baby laughing, a child at play, an elderly person on a park bench, and let myself believe that we are “all” of infinite value and vey loved.
  5. Today I will embrace myself in some small way and this may be going to lunch with a friend over coffee, or ice cream or a good brisk walk to the park or around the mall, or just a smile into my mirror and back at me. I will believe that I am worthwhile and worth the effort to recover today.
  6. Today I will believe I can live this entire day “hopeful” and that I can return to the above activities anytime and as many times as I need to just for today.

 

Mary- A Member of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship

SOURCE:   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. (Personal Stories #21.)