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

My anti-depression tool kit: An arsenal of weapons to defeat depression.

The following is a personal story of how a member of Depressed Anonymous  used her anti-depression Tool Kit to disarm and dismantle symptoms of  depression in her daily life.

I am no longer alone

” I am writing this information with the hope  that it will help anyone who is suffering from depression that is brought on by stress, anxiety, loneliness, physical or mental emotions, death or insecurity.

I am a thirty-four year old single female, who has been suffering from depression for a long time. Most of my depression was brought on by feelings of insecurity, such as not being able to express my inner feelings, being controlled by a dominating parent, loneliness, stress, workaholic, anxiety attacks (related to work and everyday pressures of living), too much sleep, nervousness, lack of motivation, being tired all the time, sadness, weight gain, digestive problems, a feeling of being trapped, self-consciousness, not trusting myself, dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life, withdrawal from family, or loss of interest in meeting with the opposite sex.

It seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual have provided  me with the tools to live without being depressed. Most important  of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power) will give me strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps, has taught me that I am not alone. And that I am not the only one who is suffering from depression. It has taught me to believe more in my Higher Power and to let it handle my depression.

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support on how to cope with depression.   By letting my Higher Power help me, I am beginning to feel free from depression. I am not so nervous and tensed up. My Christian inner faith is getting stronger. I am not so stressed out and I am beginning to get confidence  within  myself . I still have problems with sleep patterns and I am getting some motivation back.   I have learned how to handle anxiety by taking deep breaths when I am nervous or troubled. This was suggested by my therapist. I am also learning how to stand up for myself.

All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, to live one day at a time, and to look forward to the future, but not live there. It will take me a long time to deal with depression, but I am glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

-Anonymous.

SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (Louisville, KY, 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Pages 148-149.

Please go to MENU and click onto TOOLS* FOR RECOVERY.    There you will discover those tools which can be used to dismantle those painful areas of your life which in the past have imprisoned you.

  • RECOVERY TOOLS: Exercise; Meditation; The Serenity Prayer; Cutting off negative thinking-The Law of the Threes; Being in Nature; Journaling; Managing stress; Music; Nutrition; Positive self-talk; Sleep; Social engagement; Stay in the Present.

Read more stories of persons who have dismantled their own depression. Check out the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and order online.

Got too much on your plate?

 

Yes, I have too much on my plate. So, now what can I do to make my plate lighter? How can I slow down, smell the roses and deal with  all those pressures coming at me at the same time?  Even before I get out of bed   I get depressed just thinking of all the things which are facing me today.  I just want to take the bed covers, pull them over my head  and say goodbye to it all. I keep telling myself “I don’t want to do this anymore.  My life is  a metaphor for a roller coaster. I just wanna get off!”

Ok, my life is out of control. My life is unmanageable.  I feel like the clown in the circus,  who has  dinner plates all spinning around at the same time  – all zipping around at top speed and not a one crashing to the floor. Amazing!  Today we call this multitasking. Yes, I  multitask  and it’s killing me! But I want to know how to keep life simple? How to  gain control of what is on my plate and how to rid myself of those things which I can live without.

In Higher Thoughts for Down Days, I read how ” I can learn to keep my life simple. I plan to do that by first of all admitting that I am powerless over my depression and that my life is unmanageable. I also believe that I can get out of this mess by focusing on respected and workable solutions rather than keeping focused on my ever present difficulties.

The word simple comes from the Latin word “simplex”  meaning one fold. Also, it means to just have one part. I think to keep it simple means to be single-minded and keep the focus on the solution and practice that particular solution in all my daily affairs.”

Here at our site (depressedanon.com) we have listed a number of tools which each of us can use for our own personal recovery.  (See Tools for Recovery at Site Menu). I guarantee that if you begin to use these recovery tools, on a daily basis,  you will begin to   free yourself from being overwhelmed and your life  will no longer feel out of control and unmanageable.  Each of the tools  describe a particular action to take which can give you more control over your life.  You will in time be able to  take issues off your plate, which  once immobilized you,   providing  you  with a sense of hope.

I recommend that you take one of the listed tools, read up on how to  put its action into your daily   life. Take one at a time and get good at doing it on a daily basis. This will form a habit and habits determine what  course our behaviors will take.  Please write to me and let me know how you are doing with this exercise of hopefulness.

I will leave you today with this riddle:

QUESTION

How do you eat an elephant?

ANSWER

One bite at a time!

==================================

SOURCES:   Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. June 26. pg. 128.

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

Copyright(c)   I’ll do it when I feel better! 2nd edition. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE at  Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information available. Ordering online is available.

I want to believe.

 

AFFIRMATION

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

“Through this 12 step program   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 Twelve Step program for healing and a gradual abstinence from hiding the pressure that builds from inside and pushes me to want to withdraw. I am more sure today than I was yesterday the more I work my Twelve Step program,

I know that like the others who work their program, I will begin to feel better. I also believe that the more I begin to take charge of some area of my life, like exercising, getting a hobby and moving about, the speedier will be my recovery.

From childhood, I had a sparse 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 and a new beginning, if you will. Granted my yesterdays are always there ;  my today is what really counts like 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 operative word of our lives and efforts. We know that you are here- closer to us than the light that is in  our lives. We again trust you to help us to live unpredictable lives with your hope and trust in us now. (Your own personal comments).

SOIRCE:  Copyright (c)  Higher Thoughts  for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. April, 30. Pages87-88

I am beginning to feel a change stirring in my relationships with others because I am changing. It’s all positive!

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR YOUR DAY TODAY

AFFIRMATION

“The journey out of the prison is not just a matter of changing yourself, for in changing yourself, you change your relationship with other people.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

 As I look around me I begin to see others like myself talking the language of hope and experiencing the sometimes occasional lightening of  their mood. I know that it is in the wealth of individual interactions among members of the group that I am beginning to withdraw from my need to sad myself. I am seeing that any change in myself has a direct bearing on others and the relationship that we have with each other.

I came  to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity, and in fact, it already has. My addiction to my sadness has come more to be my habitual response to the stressful, day in and out thoughts that say that I am worthless. I am now changing these negative thoughts remembered from childhood into a new personal language that speaks to me and about me in positive ways.

I know that when I am depressed I don’t want to be around people because I felt so tired and sad. But now, the more I attempt to make new relationships and get  involved with other people, the more I desire to grow and become what I want to be. Progress is our aim and we tend to grow in little spurts, day by day.”

MEDITATION

God, we pray that our relationship with you will grow stronger day by day. (Personal thoughts)

——————————————————————————————————–

SOURCES:  Copyright  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 75.

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

 

Your emotional wellness starts today!

                                                                              A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I am going to treat myself with  the same respect  that I afford others.

“The pain that other people inflict on us can be very great, but the pain that we inflict on ourselves can be even greater. While many of the people who get depressed, despite the temptaition, do not kill themselves, and many inflict on themselves the long, drawn out pain of taking pride in keeping yourself to yourself.” D.Rowe.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

When I continue to isolate myself and keep to myself, I am continuing to serve myself nothing but a life of emptiness. I am living a life that is so predicatable that it is like being frozen in time and left there all alone.

No person is an island. The more that the  belief that I am no good, bad, worthless, unacceptable to myself and others, grows in my consciousness. the more that belief crowds out the hope that possibly there is a way out of this awful isolation –  this self imposed hell.

Keeping to ourselves perseveres the predictableness of our small universe. It is steady, never changes and it is a prison. Isolation, aloneness and being unsupported is what my depression is all about. Now my new words are fellowship, togetherness, support.

I can move out to those like myself who are in the pain and the throes of depressison. I can learn how I can work my step program and assume a new relationship in my expanded world.  I need not  worry about the depression coming back. I just try and live one day at a time. Survive the now and I will survive the tomorrow.

MINDFUL of THE HIGHER POWER

God, you have created a universe full of cousins, namely the beetles, lots of them,  butterflies, snails, fish and all sorts of lions, tigers and bears. We are not alone now and intend no longer to keep ourselves to ourselves. We want to get connected again. We never really were connected to anyone, or anything. It was all too frightening. But, we know, we believe, we feel your presence hovering over our hearts and we feel strong and willing to risk ourselves with others. (Personal comments)

SOURCES:   Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Dperessed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  April 12

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

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

I’m depressed. How can a group of other depressed persons help me?

 

Good question. Let me tell you this. The people best able to tell you about leaving the prison of depression are people like us who are or were depressed at one time, or even many times before.  In fact,  some of us in our fellowship tried to end our lives because of the pain of depression.  We do have a solution to the problem. We speak the language of depression, which means our  isolation, our continued and oppressing negative thinking and our constant thoughts on  how bad life is for us. But the good point here is, because we are feeling better,  we share our hope and new found recovery with all those who will listen.

We are not the people  with the silver bullet or the magic wand that  mysteriously and magically takes away the pain that we feel 24/7.  But in our group meetings and by reading literature written by people like ourselves–done that, and been  there   —   we begin to have hope that  maybe something good can happen for me too. Now if you want to believe what I just told you, then please read on.

It’s said that it takes one to know one. And if you are depressed and you want to feel at home with people like yourself, then you need to look into our fellowship Depressed  Anonymous.  Click onto a search engine  like Google and go to our website Depressed Anonymous and discover for yourself who we are and what we do. You can even subscribe (free) to our Newsletter. (See Newsletter Archives at the site menu). You might also want to scroll down the Blogs written by those of us  who are getting  the  message out that  there  is  hope for those of  you want to try our way.

And for those of you who do not have  a meeting in their own community, we have a HOME STUDY PROGRAM  in which you can learn all about our program of recovery at your own leisure and find how there is a real hope that you can feel better like the rest of us in the program of Depressed  Anonymous.

Please take a look at VISIT OUR DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS  PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE and discover the helpful literature that will inspire you and provide you with the tools to overcome your own depression.

I saw the light! The light of hope. The light on the path to freedom and sanity!

AFFIRMATION

Spring can only start in my mind and, today, the first day of Spring, I want to be a beautiful flower. I will visualize myself growing tall and bright and filled with God’s most beautiful colors.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

“One of the reasons I am depressed is because I have made this an absolute belief of mine, namely the  belief  ‘Only bad things happened to me in the past and only bad things will happen to me in the future.’ (3) Dorothy Rowe, Ph.D

Now that I am working on myself and admitting that I have to do some housekeeping on myself. I am beginning  to hope and see a light at the end of the tunnel. I also believe that I will begin to feel better, the more I go to my DA meetings and listen to how other people are working the Twelve Step Program.

The future is where I live right now. The future now is the yesterday’s  tomorrow. I am making my future now.

I no longer believe that only bad things will happen to me in the future, because now I hear how people who once were ready to give up on life speak of how they have found hope in the fellowship of Depressed  Anonymous  and are getting, better one day at a time.

MEDITATION

God , please help us live up to our belie that each day we will get better as we live only in today and not in the fears and anxious moment of a tomorrow that may never come.”

(Your personal comments, please)

“MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES. (Step four of Depressed Anonymous).

Step four is a critical step if we want to begin the journey toward wholeness, peace and having good feelings about ourselves again. But if we want to stay in the pit of sadness then the belief that we are worthless and not quite  good enough will definitely limit our awareness of what we can become and what we can do for ourselves.   I believe a lot of our difficulties have their roots in our need to be perfect and to do things the way others expect. It’s as if we have to take care of their needs before our own. ”

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. Page 54.

This work, the flagship  manual of our fellowship group, can be ordered online at depressedanon.com at VISIT THE STORE the Depressed Anonymous  Publications Bookstore.

_________________________________________

NOTE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and daily meditations for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. March 21, pages 58-59.

To Order online, Higher Thoughts for Down Days (either in KINDLE edition or paper book edition) at our Bookstore —VISIT THE STORE–at (Depressed Anonymous Publications at depressedanon.com. Discover other great literature about depression and the 12 Steps.

“I can make the hard changes.”

Your HIGHER THOUGHT  for today

Affirmation

I am gaining, day by day, a new and hopeful attitude about my life and my relationship with others.

“Strangely, I feel as if I’ve been incredibly lucky. Logically, I don’t believe in  luck. I believe the people make their own lives when they are what they  are, but still I feel so lucky to have been involved in a group which gave me the opportunity, and incentive, to start to make changes in my life: to understand why I am sometimes so angry, why I have been so  self-critical and self-destructing. Understanding why you feel as you do opens the gates for the even harder struggle of changing what you do.”

Making changes is part of making a life.  If I choose to stay mired in the deep pit of depression, I can choose that. I have that as an option. But, if I want to choose and risk changing  myself, I have the option of working to construct a different way of looking at my world. Just by changing my attitude about my life in the direction where I want it to go, I can make the hard changes. I want to change my attitude. I will now want  to listen to those who have been in recovery for months and/or years and listen to their hopeful attitude and how they are feeling better now that they are living one day at a time. They are no longer fearful that the old nemesis, the sadness, will sneak up and change everything back to the way it was.

I can only change myself. I will always try and keep the focus on how I need to change, not how others around me  need to change.

Meditation

God, we are always heartened  and  healed by the group. Please guide us and let us be led  to that healing community of persons who are  struggling to find the serenity that you promised to those who do you will. “Fear not, for I am always with you.”

SOURCE:   Copyright(c)  Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 43. (2/27/18.)

In order to get started on your own recovery, at your pace, and in the amount of time that you feel you need, we offer a HOME STUDY KIT. Please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore menu for information on ordering these materials of recovery.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” Michael John Bobak

 

How many times have we said “I’ll do it when I feel better(2016). ”  We all know that any new endeavor or activity in our behalf would definitely put us outside our “comfort zone.”  Any movement toward  walking out of our isolation is still too much of a risk. Depressed people do not want to take risks, especially as it involves change of    one’s lifestyle or behaviors.  We feel most comfortable staying parked in neutral! It’s better to know what we have than to  not know and get something for worse. We now know that to make progress in our lives and to live without depression we have to move courageously out of our comfort zone.

The following statement, How Depressed Anonymous Works,  is read at every Depressed Anonymous meeting and we quote it in full.

“You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are in a journey of hope and who mutually care about 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.

By our own involvement in the group we are feeling that there is hope – there is a chance for me too -I can get better. But we are not the people with the magic pills and the easy formulas for success.  We believe that to get out of the prison  of depression takes time and work.

We have all been  wounded in different degrees by the experience of depression.  We also know that there is a method to regain control over our lives that is practical and workable. It is successful for all those who want to change their lives. Some of us believed that there was no hope and that suicide was the only way out.

In this natural world one of the first laws is that all growth is gradual -that belief is the bottom line for all of us who are depressed and who want to get better. The  more  we attend meetings the more we will learn and see the various ways to escape from depression. We also learn how important it is  to not give up on ourselves.” (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Page 182. Appendix A.)

 JIM MOVES OUT  OF THE COMFORT ZONE

“…The group members all expressed to Jim ( a new member to  DA) how they each had made a  mental decision to turn their lives and their depression over to the Higher Power because they had no place to go but up. It was this  to the Higher Power or God as we understood God that was the beginning of the overcoming of some people’s addiction to the comfort of their depression. They are now ready and willing to live with some hope. In time Jim got in touch with his anger and shared it with people who accepted it, and so was able gradually to move out of the shell that kept him from the hope that life would ever be different for him. The depressed person just believed and takes on faith that he/she will always be depressed and sad. Now that negative belief of being depressed forever has  to be reframed and we have to tell ourselves that if we have a positive faith our life will be better and we will begin to see changes. Many times we get what we choose when it comes to our personal feelings.”

Depressed Anonymous. Pages 57-58.

In the Chapter Eleven we read more about  the COMFORT ZONE

” Every so often we come into contact with a person, place or circumstance that causes some uncomfortableness and we start to withdraw into the comfort of our depression. It is here that we have dumped our trust  of the Higher Power and choose the comfort of our sadness  instead.” DA. Page 112.

“…For us who find sadness our second nature we at times continue to revert to the comfort of old familiar negative thinking and are in actuality returning to self destructive activity. Sadness is overcome by hope.” DA. Page 124.

For the 31 Personal Stories of those persons who no long find depression a comfort and have since left the prison of their own depression, please click onto our Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and read for yourself the amazing stories of these 31 people in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. Personal Stories, pages 128-176.

For those who would like to order any of our publications, you now can order online.