“I realized that I was addicted to the self.”

” As a person that has suffered depression since childhood, I can say that until you start to open up, share your hurts and feelings, listen to the members of the group, watch them as they grow from the support of the group, you will not be able to get out of the prison of your depression. I have been going to Depressed Anonymous for four years and only until recently have I realized that I was addicted to the self.  Only then did I start to take a good look at myself and start to ask God for his help and truly mean it. I am learning to trust in God  and do His will and not mine. I feel better about myself. I can tell you it is a lot easier to be depressed than it is to work on yourself and admit to yourself that there is a problem. It is God’s will for us to live each day to the fullest because of our time on earth is limited. Live each day, not yesterday or tomorrow. Share with the group and your friends and you will be surprised who will be glad to listen  if you would give them a chance. Accept the fact that all of us at Depressed Anonymous are here to listen to you and not make judgments  on you or give advice. Even if you don’t want to share, come to the meetings because you can always get something out of them. Eventually, you will want to share and the group will listen.

In conclusion, trust in your Higher Power – God as you understand God. Support groups are the  way out of our addictions. We may have given  up on God, but God hasn’t  given up on us. Start your day out by asking God: God I pray for the knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out. ”

-Starr writing about her experience with depression and the healing support that she receives in the Depressed Anonymous 12 Step mutual aid group.

Read Starr’s whole story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Personal Stories section/Pages 129-130 ).

Admit, believe, decide.

These three words appear in the first three Steps of Depressed Anonymous.  These are the words that make us well. These are the words that start us on our journey to a life lived without fear. These are the words that will thrust us into a life filled with hope and meaningfulness. Of the 12 Steps of recovery, these are the first steps that one takes when they want to find peace and hope.

I remember so vividly when I took my first step over the threshold of despair  and isolation into the bright light of awareness and hope at my first 12 step group meeting. Just by walking through the door I admitted that I needed help. My life had spiraled out of control. It was on that day, at that meeting of the fellowship, that others heard my story, that I started to believe that  I could be restored to a purposeful life lived with hope and peace. It was on that day, at that meeting, that I made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understood God.

And here I am  today, 33 years later, not only with a life filled with a purpose designed to help others depressed but by doing so, have kept myself free from isolation and self-pity.

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

6 ways to help you through depression.

1) Don’t bottle things up: if you’ve recently had some bad news, or a  major upset in your life, try to tell people close to you about it and how it feels.  It helps re-live the painful experience several times, to have a good cry, and talk things through. This is part of the mind’s natural healing mechanism.

2)  Do something: get out of doors for some exercise, if even for only a long walk. This will enable you to keep physically fit, and you may sleep better…This will help you take your mind off those painful feelings which only make you  more depressed when allowed to sweep over you.

3) Eat a good balanced diet: even though you may not feel like eating. Fresh fruits and vegetables are especially recommended. People with severe depression can lose weight and run low in vitamins, which only makes matters worse.

4) Resist the temptation to drown your sorrows. Alcohol, actually depresses mood, so while it may give you immediate relief, this is very temporary and you may end up more depressed that ever.

5) Don’t get into a state of not sleeping. Listening to the radio or watching TV (it’s on all night now!) while you’re resting your body will still help, even if you are not actually asleep, and you may find that you drop off because you’re no longer worrying about not doing so!

6) Remind yourself that you are suffering from depression –something which many other people have gone through — and that you will eventually come out of it, as they did, even though it does not feel like it at the time. Depression can even be a useful experience, in that some people emerge stronger and better able to cope than before.  Situations and relationships may be seen more clearly, and you may now have the strength and the  wisdom to make important decisions and changes in your life which you were unable to do before.”

Source:  Depression: P.9. Pamphlet published as a service to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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I find these 6 ways as very helpful for anyone making a choice to change their behavior, the way they  feel and the way they think. With a fellowship of like minded persons, such as Depressed Anonymous,  there is a greater capacity to make better choices as well as to learn ways to gradually move out of the bondage of depression.

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

  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Step 5 of Depressed Anonymous

“I haven’t done anything wrong, so why do I have to admit anything? And anyway, what does this have to do with my depression?”

In the Depressed Anonymous Workbook these questions there are provided answers for those who are struggling to free themselves from depression. In fact, the more we work through each of the questions posed in the Workbook, we can also go to the Depressed Anonymous Manual, 3rd edition., and find six pages  (pgs. 59-64) of thoughts from members of the fellowship on Step 5.  We discover that the Depressed Anonymous Manual is written by people like you and me. We have been where you are and we came to believe after admitting that we were powerless over our depression and that life was unmanageable we had to make a decision.

In Step 3 we made a decision –that is what life is all about –namely, making decisions. Our decisions are the product of the meaning that we give to those persons, events and circumstances that fill our lives every day.  We make the decisions based on those meanings that we give to those situations and experiences. We are making a decision to day to share part of our dark side with another human being.

In Alcoholics Anonymous it describes the way to make a good 5th Step:

” We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this Step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye.  We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.  Our fear fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our creator. We may have had certain beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience…”

Telling someone else seems to be the key to our freedom: When we decided who is to hear our story, we waste no time. We have a written inventory and we are prepared for a long talk. We explain to our partner what we are about and why we have to do it.” (This is why it is so important to write down in a  separate notebook the answers to all the questions in the Workbook which now bring us to the point of sharing our answers with a person we can trust, such as a clergy person or our sponsor. ED).

Steps 1 and 5 are the two Steps where the word “admitted” is used.  When we hear the word “wrongs” such as in this Step 5 – we may induce in ourselves a feeling of guilt. This is NOT the intention of Step 5 at all.

To be depressed is not to be wrong. We are not accusing ourselves of being bad. We are only pointing out the ways that I need to act, think and behave as a non-depressed person.”

SOURCES:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 49-50.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 59-64.

Overcome our need to be compulsive about everything…

Affirmation

I will be fearless as I take my personal inventory and uncover those thoughts that I sad myself with on an ongoing basis.

“The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression. These stem from causes which sometimes seem to be within us, and at other times to come from without. To take inventory in this respect we ought to consider carefully all personal relationships which bring continuous or recurring trouble.”

Clarification of thought

I am seeing how my attitudes of worry, anger, self-pity and depression can keep me imprisoned. Working with my program has been and is part and parcel of my every waking minute.  The Steps that I put so much faith in are the road signs that keep me on this shining path which I call God’s will for me. I am reminded of not sticking my nose always into other people’s business so that my serenity is lost.

I am mindful that this program is mine for the used.  I believe that this program deals with the way we respond to our attachments and compulsions.  The Second  and the Third Step help me realize that there is a God larger than me. Once I am in his will, I can move on and be changed for the better. It is a simple reality to realize that to work on my program is to let God work through me.

Depression sometimes is a symptom of something inside me that I have lost. It is a sadness over something gone out of my life.  This loss could be the reality of never being good enough, never doing enough or being les than perfect. The symptoms disappear when I can learn to live with the belief that I will find hope and begin to feel better.

Meditation

God will help us today to overcome our need to be compulsive about everything negative that we say to ourselves. God will help us say Stop to all those compulsive and self-defeating 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 168.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

             Hope to hope. Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2000) Louisville.

The Vital Spiritual Experience

The Twelve Steps are the essential beliefs and at the very core of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous recovery program, modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous which originally developed to help men and women to deal with their addiction to alcohol, one day at a time.  The Twelve Steps have been found to be a potent means of recovery for those who desire to free themselves from their compulsions. The Twelve Steps are basically a program of letting go of our compulsions and handing our will to the  care of God, as we understand God.  Essentially our program is a step-by-step way to change not only our addiction but also our way of lifeChange happens when we choose to change.  The fellowship of the group and our desiring to make change in our life is what provides our life-giving spiritual experience. Many people get organized religion and spirituality mixed up and Depressed Anonymous achieves strength from a spirituality without set creed, dogma or doctrine.  All the program asks of a person who come to the meetings is only to have a sincere desire to stop the compulsion of sadding themselves… “Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 94.

REVISED POST

HAVING A NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE

THE NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE

I was in the middle of working my way out of the fog of my melancholia(depression) when suddenly I felt a lift in my spirit. It felt so strange, this feeling of deliverance. It was the way I was before my disabling sadness imprisoned me. I was always a cheerful and upbeat sort of guy and in the blink of an eye,  I was thinking the pain was over. Not so quick I thought–“this won’t last”. Right on. It didn’t. So, I continued my 5 mile walk through the mall and wondered about this near-life experience that I just had.  It was back to that deadly hollow feeling in my gut  with thoughts that traveled through my brain like cold molasses.

Because I didn’t have a clue what was happening to me physically, mentally and even spiritually, I knew something, whatever that something was had almost completely disabled  me. It was torture to even force myself out of bed. I resented folks who were laughing and having a good time. And this intolerable hollow feeling inside of me continued eating away at me until I thought I would die. I knew I had to keep my job and keep on keeping on. My face became a mask. Inside I was dying. On the outside my persona continued as the nice guy, the upbeat and positive guy. My face turned me into a liar.

Gradually though, my very brief brush with a light feeling, a near-life feeling, became a life once known as a very welcome old friend. The hollowness disappeared. My inside feelings were the same that was on my face.

People talk about having a near- death experience. You know, the light at the end of the tunnel –being in another dimension and then suddenly coming back to the fact that you are not dead–and that you are alive. Most times this experience–this out of body experience makes you appreciate the time that you do have left to live and love others. You now have a full life.

Basically, this is what happened to me when I was so depressed I thought I was losing my mind, everything. I was living life but not on all six cylinders. Now, after coming out of my prison of depression and using the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps  for my own recovery my life is no longer just a near-life experience-it is a full  life filled with fellowship friends  and  hope.

Are  you wishing for a full life, filled with hope and serenity?  You can have it. As it says in the PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, #7 “We now have less concern about self and gain interest in others.”

Read about the full life that is available for you @  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3RD EDITION (2013) .DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY.