A secure base providing recovery: Depressed Anonymous.

 

One of the areas of my life, when I was depressed, was to begin looking for that personal and secure base    providing me with  hope  and resources for a complete recovery.  My first attempt at finding this refuge and secure base was preceded by a search for answers. Why was mind  always distracted? Why couldn’t I remember anything? I would read a paragraph and within no time I couldn’t remember a word of what I had just read. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and just wanted to sleep. Coming home after working all day I would hit  the sack. My mind was like in a dense fog.  I felt like I was driving a car at night with my headlights on off. I was lucky just to be able to get to work. For me it was do or die. No job -no  Master’s degree. My job paid for my education. It was that simple.

What can I do? What is wrong with me? I have never in my life felt so filled with anxiousness. Constant jitters.  I even began feeling tremors in my hands. That is when I got worried.  I didn’t have a doctor to consult. Since I lived back in the “stone age” there was no Internet. So, here is what I did. I forced myself out of bed every morning and I started to walk. I went to a mall located where I lived  and walked. I mean I walked miles around that store. Early morning walkers, like myself, were allowed to walk before the store opened. I  can relate to Forrest Gump in the movies. It was boring but I did manage to do it for over a year.  And then it  happened.

A feeling of lightness came over me. Wow! I almost wanted to shout with joy.  That horrible jitteriness stopped for a moment. I felt a cheerfulness that I thought would never come back. My mind was clear. Momentarily I began  reflecting  that something good had just happened.  And then the words, flashing across my mental screen, began spelling out  the words, It won’t last!”

And just as quick as the words flashed in my mind, with it’s lifting mood, it too disappeared.  I retuned downcast to my walking. And then slowly everything started to feel different for me. My mind cleared, my mood spiraled upwards and I began to feel like my old self–now, a renewed guy with a deep gratitude that all my walking paid off. I gradually began to see everything coming back into place.  Whatever it was (it was only later that I could put  a label on my experience and call it what it was, depression.)

Eventually, I designed a pilot project at my university using the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to determine if those depressed persons gathered in the  program would respond to the power of the Steps.   The Steps continue to help the alcoholic to recover from alcoholism.   Now we learned  that the 12 Step discussion groups, would also help others  make  progress, like our depressed participants in the study,  as their moods lightened over the 10 week pilot discussion period.  Today, the group that we call Depressed Anonymous is spreading worldwide and its Big Book (Depressed Anonymous)  is now translated into Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Farsi and English.

If you are looking for a secure base, that is a group, where everyone speaks your language of depression, and where you can be accepted and introduced to  a program of recovery that promises healing  and a brand new start in life.

 

RESOURCES

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

You can check out our literature at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com.  You may also order books online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depressed or unhappy?

 

Depressed Anonymous bases its healing and recovery on the  premise that once depressed persons admit they are out of control, even to the extent of attempting suicide, they come to believe that a power greater than themselves can restore them to sanity, while at the same time, making a decision to turn their minds and wills over  to the care of God, as they understand God,

The God, as we under stand God, is what appeals to more and  more persons as we admit our helplessness over our compulsive, depressive thoughts, actions, or behaviors. We feel we have lost all control over everything including our thinking. The depressed person is aware that their unpleasant thinking is a cyclical and spiraling process where there is never a respite.  This obsession,   driven by one’s one feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness is the fuel that that continues our own isolation.  This experience is not so much a psychopathology as it is a  way for the human spirit to comfort itself. The depression  is more of a disease of isolation and being disconnected than  a biological disorder.

The Twelve Step program helps people to become God conscious. It is in working the  program while making no excuses for the spiritual nature of our recovery. We can begin to attribute our new found sense of hope and peace to the Higher Power. For the active member of Depressed Anonymous, there begins to glimmer in the distance the bright light of hope.

By recognizing how it feels to be depressed, more people will have the help and guidance that will get them through their depression. Lives  will be saved as well. Besides reading the Twelve Steps at each meeting, the group learns on a firsthand basis about the “miracle of the group.” It is in the sharing and getting connected with the other members of the group where one’s recovery begins.

RESOURCES:

(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 162-163.

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

Please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information on Depression, spirituality and recovery.

I’m on a personal journey of transformation! Today!

I can do almost anything to feel better and more alive.  All I need to do is believe that I can do it. I want to believe.

“Through the Twelve Step program of recovery, I have been on a journey of transformation from the familiar life of drudgery, gloom and desperation,  to discovering a new freedom and a new happiness – something I didn’t know existed.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

This is the real world, the 12 Step program for healing and  gradual abstinence from hiding the pressure that builds from inside and pushes me to want to withdraw and isolate myself.  I am more sure today than  I was yesterday.  The more I work my 12 Step program I  feel better. I also believe that the more I begin  to take charge of  areas of my life, like exercising,  getting a  hobby,  and moving about, the speedier will  be my recovery.

From childhood, I had a scarce amount of love and nurturing. I know that I can find the freedom to live and feel differently than I did  in the past. Today presents me with a clean slate –a new beginning, if you will.  Granted my yesterdays are always there, but my today is what really counts. This is the exciting part of living with hope. Life is a challenge and I need to forgive myself for all my yesterdays and live right now as if it is the first day of my life.

MEDITATION

God, make peace and serenity the by-word of our lives and efforts this day. We know that you are here – closer to us than the light in our eyes. We again trust you so that we can  live this unpredictable life with hope and trust in you. (Personal comments).

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for all members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

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.”

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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.

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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 .

 

 

Did I build my own prison of depression?

How could that possibly be? Build my own prison of depression?  Impossible. Wait. There might be a possibility if I go back to my childhood and think about some of the things that happened to me growing up.

The following are some of the examples that others (my clients)  might have experienced   unconsciously or consciously influencing their thinking, feelings and behaviors in their later teens and adult life.

EXAMPLES

*My  parents fought all the time and made me scared. (They added   a few   bricks to the structure of your prison).  I would go in my room and hide in the closet.  ( The foundation for our prison is being built).

*Because my Dad was a town drunk he would show up at my school and make a fool of himself…I felt shame and anger at these   times . (Put a few more bricks on that foundation.).

* I was bullied at school and I just wanted to die. I felt worthless. I felt no one liked me… (Bullies added more bricks   to my  prison. The walls are getting higher and higher).

*I was told that I was not allowed to get angry. I was not allowed to cry. I was not allowed to tell my parents how much I hated their drinking.  No expression  of feelings were allowed in my family.  I wasn’t able to trust anyone with my feelings.

*Another message that I always got was  “You’ll never amount to anything,” or “you’ll never be like your older brother.”  (An especially large row of bricks is laid here  when a Third grade teacher tells you this in front  of the whole class and your face  always turns crimson when you think about this shaming event).

*I was given the message that the world beyond  my family was dangerous and threatening. ”

*It was at this  point that my teenage years were spent behind the walls of a nearly finished prison. I was locked down and there was no way out of my prison. No one gave me a key.

*All these  building blocks that produced a prison  for myself all came with  early life relationships.  The messages that I got growing up gradually and effectively locked me down. I was   growing up with out hope. All the messages were  like  building blocks  which further imprisoned me.

Now that I am an adult, I have  begun to take  bricks away, one by one and the structure  is being dismantled,  one brick  at a time. And how did this happen?

It all happened when I became sick and tired of being sick and tired.   I needed help. I needed someone, something, other than the alcohol and opioids that I was abusing  to turn my life around.

Yes, I built my prison and I was not even aware that  each block carried to my structure was imprisoning  me. So many of my toxic relationships, growing up,   all came with another brick to put into my prison.

Taking the wall down, brick by brick we have to have a plan. We have to find ways to remove the bricks and free ourselves from those deadly feelings  of personal worthlessness and feelings that we  are unacceptable  to ourselves and to others. I know now that   I was not to blame for being in a prison and that  I had no idea that all those messages given to me when I was growing up,  influencing my life so directly,  they all were only  other people’s opinions of me. These opinions determined my future. They were responsible for building  my prison. No child or young person wants to live their life in a prison–especially which is not of their own making.  The tragic point here is that their imprisonment is not their fault.  For some youngsters and even older adults the tragedy is that they believed what was told them so that their pain is so great they take their own life.  They wanted  to be free, be  happy and have people around them who love them  and support them in every way possible. The real problem is that none of us  had  a choice when we got our parents,  teachers and relatives.

I think Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous says it best when  gives us hope when he   wrote the following:

“We must never be blinded by the futile philosophy that we are just the hapless victim of our inheritance, of our life experiences, and of our surroundings –  that these are the forces that make our decisions for us. This is not the road to freedom. We have to believe that we can really choose.”  (c) As Bill Sees it. A.A. World Services. NY. 1967.

Now the plan that is working for many of us  is  to discover   that when we live out the solution in our lives,  that we focus on the solutions for removing those bricks from   the walls of our depression, that  it wasn’t our doing that the prison was built.  We didn’t choose to have the wall built. Who chooses to live in a prison  anyway? We didn’t know when we were young that these messages were never true but we believed them.   We do not take the blame today for our depression and feeling worthless and unacceptable. We know that blaming others doesn’t do us any good either.

What works for us is a well thought out plan of recovery.   We can begin to learn how to   prize  ourselves and  realize and celebrate who we really are and  the person whom we desire to become. The 12 Steps will get you there!  You will have the tools to rebuild and you will see results. That is a Promise. (See page 109 in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition where it lays out the PROMISES of the Steps  for those who choose to use them).

By using the spiritual principles of the  12 Steps we have begun to choose to dismantle all those negative and hurtful messages from others  that were never true in the first place.

If you want to write your own story as how the 12 Steps helped you remove the blocks from your own prison, please let us know by writing to depanon@netpenny.net., as we would love to hear from you.

Also, please read the   personal stories of those who have chosen to  free themselves from the prison of their own depression in our Big Book:

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

Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at our website www.depressedanon.com. Online purchases of our literature is  available.

Why can’t I think my way out of depression?

 

Good question. You know, I tried to do just that. First, I asked why?  Then I moved on to what is going on here in my body?  I just knew, mistakenly, that all I had to do was just say a prayer (even though that is always a good idea) or change channels of thought in my mind. Click!  I was back where I wanted to be.  Back into life again.

I knew that life had changed drastically for me in the last few months. I had gotten myself on a path that led deeper and deeper into a very low mood, one that quite frankly worried me.  I didn’t feel sick or like I had the flu. I just started to feel irritable and moody. It was like I was emotionally sliding down a slippery slope and there was no way to stop the downward motion. I was in a free fall. That is what really got my attention. That is when it was time for me to yell help!

That is time for me to just sit and think and try and figure out this mysterious circumstance in which I found myself.  It was as I was trying to watch a video of myself  these last few months and to sort  out what had caused this gradual deepening spiral  which ground my life to a halt. I ran out of physical and emotion gas.  All my best thinking couldn’t get me to budge. I was down and out. Even my mind couldn’t  do anything for me –it was busy conjuring up all sorts of awful and frightful symptoms that convinced me that I was losing my mind. My concentration was zilch! I felt more than worthless. My mind and my body became enemies. My bed and sleep became my  best friends. And then, the moment came.  It was like a far- away voice that whispered to my psyche  “do something. Do anything! Move it! I did what the voice suggested. I moved my body. I began to walk and walk some more and I began to feel like I was starting to spiral upwards.

I had an “aha” moment at this time. Thinking wasn’t the way out–it was moving the body that was the clincher. It was the exercise of every nerve and limb in my body that got me back on track. I  began to believe  that I couldn’t think my way out of my isolation any more than I could fly. My mind had me go around in circles always ending up at the same desolate place.

I will cut to the chase now and share how my life came back together. It’s when I began to hook  up  with a bunch of people like myself. I had heard that they were freeing themselves from depression by coming together and sharing their feelings, hope and strategies for getting back on track with their lives.  The people in the group made me feel welcome right away. I knew I was home and that they had a message that gave me hope. It was that belief in myself that helped me choose the way out of my depression. It was the tools they provided me that helped me find a way to live free and without depression. It was like a miracle really.

This group is Depressed Anonymous. There is no charge and it is organized around people like myself who were depressed and who found recovery, unity and the opportunity to help others just like themselves. And just as our body and spirit got strengthened, so did our thinking.

 

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY  40241

 

 

My moods began to spiral upwards once I regained control of my life!

 

Is it that simple?   Gaining control  of my life  didn’t happen overnight. I did  know that most people’s depression usually lifted after a year’s time. Mine did.  The catch is,  that for me,  it took some work and patience. No magic wand waving over my head and no silver bullet automatically killing the demon of despair that continued to beat me down. But what  gradually happened was  that my mood  came back providing me with hope and a plan for my recovery.  I began to feel some control over how I was feeling and the new mood of cheer gave me the courage to keep on doing what I was doing. In my case, my mood began to be lightened the more I continued my daily walking.

Just my determination to take of myself physically paid huge benefits. For once, in many months I felt some control over my mood and the direction where my life was heading.  I was beginning to be in control instead of my life being out of control and unmanageable.

I remember in Graduate school I gave persons depressed a questionnaire  determining  how  much control they felt they had over their lives. Interestingly, the person who felt they had less control over their lives, or none at all, these  more depressed  persons felt less in control over their environment and the way  the direction of their life was taking.

Those who were less depressed answered that they were begin to feel more in control of their lives. These persons  were experiencing more hope and   the direction of their lives was providing purpose and meaning.

What to do?

First of all, get a plan that will work for you. My plan was this Step by Step program of recovery we call Depressed Anonymous. The best part of the plan is to find friends who, just like ourselves, are working the same plan.  This fellowship, this non judgmental approach and support of the group provides us with our marching orders.  When members of the fellowship share their story–we hear our own story. We know that just by admitting that we need help  it is at this initial starting point, where we begin to spiral upwards instead of continuing   the spiral downward.

If you  want to take control of your life and your mood, it would do you well to join us and  discover how others gained control  over their lives just as it is possible for yourself.

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

I kissed a chunk of my life away…

My Mother had died in 1983 and I fell into a severe depression. I felt overwhelmed and suicidal.

I never actually attempted suicide because the alcohol came into my life. It dulled my senses and made me oblivious. Alcohol also at the same time gave me this feeling of empowerment and happiness, but at the same time. – resentment because I knew what was  bothering  me  and didn’t quite  want  to  address the  issue.

It wasn’t until 1993 that I joined Alcoholics Anonymous and got into therapy, which has been amazingly helpful. I’m growing and dealing with the death of my mother and with alcohol. My hobbies, like gardening and my writing give me great  joy and are therapeutic. I’ve been working  The  Twelve  Steps with  an open mind  that every  day things will  get   better. If problem does occur, the Higher Power will give me the answer and the strength to deal with it and not to run away or shut it away like before.

Depression is something that’s so overwhelming. For me, it’s like crawling from beneath the earth and facing the light with fear that no ne would understand how I truly feel. When in depression, isolation would follow as my only friend, but actually,  it was  my own worst  enemy. I  should have been opening up to someone. Instead, I shut myself  off from the world.

Through therapy, a belief in myself, and encouragement, facing each day doesn’t seem difficult.

Working my Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous and reading Higher Thoughts for Down Days gives me reassurance that we are not alone. I now appreciate what I do have when I work through the program.

Through prayer and appreciation, I realize that there’s more to life than alcohol and that I kissed a chunk of my life away because of it.

Now I’m gaining much more through life than ever before. Being sober, I see my life as a gift and not as a heavy burden.” Rheatha

Click on to Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more literature dealing with depression and the Twelve Step Program of Recovery.

Depressed Anonymous,3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. (Personal Stories). Pages 110-152.

Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications

“I am not broken.”

 

More than 30 years ago  I felt that I was a broken human being. We all have heard the old saying that  “what  doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” Looking back over the time I spent dealing with the darkness within,  I now can see my recovery time  did  make me stronger. That recovery forced me to use tools that I had never realized existed and fit for what I needed to raise myself up. These tools   gave me strength for  survival. The  saying was true: move the body and the mind will follow. Instead of my mind and life spiraling further down into the pit of hopelessness I began  spiraling upward with hope.    In the beginning of my descent into nothingness I  believed  that  the inner war that was  going on in my body  was going  to kill me. I did believe that I was coming apart, unglued and a danger to myself.  I was like a nomad in a  wasteland where all the guideposts for directions  had disappeared.  My life had lost all meaning. My mind resisted thinking about hope and the  future.  I felt that I was in a state of limbo–no moving forward–only backward and down. My personal pain and anxiety kept me tied down in my own desperation.

Many have found my own  story to be  a positive  statement  in which almost on a daily basis I am able to share some of my thoughts about this journey which I am on and which you too  can be on. Our own story of recovery is really a tool that others can put to use for their own lives,

My depression experience has  provided me with a life purpose and given me meaning which I never dreamt would be my own recovery gift  for others “still suffering” to use for their own recovery;  the repair of their own personal brokenness. My own life and the Twelve Steps has provided a key which helped me unlock the prison of my depression.  The Steps provide ample guidance and direction for those of us who continue the spiral upward, living out in our own lives the hope and   purpose which have been promised to those of us who desire a life after depression.

Hugh

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

You can read the author’s story  in the Depressed Anonymous book, plus 30 more personal  accounts of those  who have also  used the recovery tools for their own freedom from depression.

Click on to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more literature which deals effectively with depression and recovery. Orders can be made online.

 

The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk got it right!!

 

“It’s an addiction if you find yourself continually bashing yourself for past mistakes and /or failures.  It is this constant rumination that puts us in the negative spiral which leads to more isolation, withdrawal and psychic pain. The familiar feeling of sadness and the continual inner hollowness that make our life so miserable becomes our security.”

But, where do we go from here?  I myself  got caught up in the spiraling downward descent into the darkness and hell of depression. I felt  trapped and helpless.

My spiraling upward came when I felt the hope in the  stories of those like myself, who no longer felt hopeless and helpless.  I became proactive in my own recovery and survival. Some had already attempted to commit suicide.  Once I discovered others just like myself, I was  fascinated by the fact that others were really telling my story as well. There were differences in some of the details, but basically  their stories rang true with my own. It was from that moment on that I was hooked.

Was the group my own Higher Power? Who was the God  that was greater than myself?   How did I contact this Power?  It was listening to others that I came to believe that there is someone, somebody that I could believe in, to free  me  from my prison of  depression.

It was just like the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina who believed that humans could fly.  They had their ups and downs, (no pun intended) but their faith in what they were doing got them in the air and off the ground.

The way to get up and get moving toward recovery is to get moving and start working the Steps, one by one.  You too will begin to live in hope one day at a time.   You will now have a flight plan that will take you where you want to go.

Hugh

The second Step of the Twelve Steps  promotes the belief  that we “came to believe that a  Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed. ,Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY. Page 40.

For more information on the Steps and Depression click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for your own flight plan!  It’s a journey you will never regret.