Was finding this phone number a coincidence?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life can be good for a change.

 

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 giving 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 trouble with sleep pattern 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 also am learning how to stand up for myself.

All these tools have helped me and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, to live life one day at a time, and to look toward 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

Anonymous, is  one of the many persons who share their  personal story of recovery  in  the group’s  manual, Depressed Anonymous.

For more of her story and many others please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications at www.depressedanon.com.

 

One picture is worth a thousand words!

 

The reason I started a Depressed Anonymous meeting in 1985 is because I knew that getting a meeting organized would be a help to those suffering from depression. I also know  just like in any other 12 step fellowship group,   power is in the group. Whatever the serious nature of the problem we face, a group of people who are on the same page, mentally, spiritually and physically, provides  a healing atmosphere   for the participant.

Since I was also a member of another 12 step fellowship, I instinctively knew that getting the depressed out of their isolation and into relationships with people like themselves would be therapeutic. We all had the same story to tell. It was not only a story of  our struggles with our own depression but it  was a story that brought   a fresh  new hope for ourselves and  for all those with whom we shared out lives.

I mentioned the song sung by Ane Brun, the Norwegian singer,  in a recent blog(10/13) and now today I would like to give you the lyrics to the song. I dedicate it to those   who bring to life something new. We bring a new life not just for ourselves but for others like ourselves. In this case, here is the last stanza of her powerful message.

“It all starts somewhere

It all starts with one

Everything comes from something

It all starts with one

Starts with one.”

Copyright(c) Ane  Brun

(You can hear her whole song on YouTube.)

I have found this song’s  lyrics so powerful that I was motivated to  share a small part of this song with each of you.  As you and I know, ideas and movements have to start somewhere with somebody. They don’t just happen. Movements, great ideas, they   always “start with one, and then two and then three and more. ”  Truly a song about the power of ONE.  We all know about the power of social media and how experiences of others  become viral so that  millions of people may see the same picture and get the same message. As the saying goes, “one  picture is worth a thousand words.”

I remember well the reaction that I got when I asked my Dean of the Psychology Department if I could start a group for persons depressed. I felt that we had possibly found a way out of depression, using the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and modeling this program of recovery for persons  depressed, The Dean’s response  was doubtful. He gave me  the  “go ahead”  but remarked that  “since the depressed normally can’t get themselves out of bed because of their depression, don’t be disappointed if they don’t show up for this project.” I’m glad that we went ahead. We  had a very successful outcome where most of the depressed in our program  felt their depressed mood lighten. What happened after that is history. In May of 1985, with the help of members from our initial group, Depressed Anonymous was started. It is now is spreading around the world. Our literature is now in English, Farsi language, Russian, and presently being translated into Spanish (2019) and Dutch. The Internet has brought our message of hope  into lives and  homes around the globe.   Our message  of hope is just a click away.

Remember, it all starts with one, and two, three and more….

Hugh

“My life is out of control!”

 

“I have come to the Step program because my life is out of control. Whatever I do or think or say seems to make no difference on the way that I feel right now. I feel out of control, and some other force is in charge of my life. I know also that this force, this power other than myself, this sadness has me captive and somehow I have felt unable to do much about it.”

Until today!

In our Home Study program of recovery,  we use the Depressed Anonymous Workbook in conjunction with the  Depressed Anonymous Manual,   together  let them lead us, Step by Step   out of our depression.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook facilitates a new self awareness  by questions which we need to answer.  Each Step is provides  further meaningful thoughts from the “Big Book” of Depressed Anonymous. By reading certain noted paragraphs, as indicated in our Workbook, (Page #), we move through all the questions with that  greater  self-awareness of how depression controls every day of our lives. Actually, the Workbook, by its questions and my responses, continues to open up for me  where my life can be lived with hope once again.

Example: Workbook question #1.9 “What areas of one’s life appear to be more out of control now that you are aware of how depression can isolate a person. What areas  of one’s life appears more manageable now that you are aware of how you can change things around —  choosing to feel differently?” Workbook, Page 9.

“It is in the admission that we are out of control that a remedy can be applied to our battle with depression. It is a paradox for our understanding of depression to learn that only  when we give up control, do we gain control over what we want to be, think or do. If there is anything that creates a sense of hopelessness, it’s when we  fee that we don’t have any control over our lives. When we are depressed, we feel  dependent on all the forces that act on us and our environment. We feel that we are like the victims of the interminable feeling that we call depression. Depression can be like a hell or bottomless pit from which we feel we can never escape. It’s like being in an  eighty foot hole with an eight foot ladder.” Depressed Anonymous Manual.  Page 28.

______________________

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky

Many Depressed Anonymous meetings  use the Home Study as a meeting Step Study group

For more literature about Depression and the Twelve Steps click onto the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore.

Faith appears to be good for one’s health.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have a plan that is simple with startling results.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: depanon@netpenny.net for more info.

If there is one thing that you crave when you are depressed it is certainty.

AFFIRMATION

I am willing to live in the imperfect moment and focus on the now, not yesterday’s now or tomorrow’s now.

“So it is if we are to make changes in our lives we must be courageous.  Such courage can be found relatively easily in two kinds of situations. When we are certain that the new situation in which we shall find ourselves will bring us every advantage and happiness; when we are certain that the situation we are leaving is totally and absolutely bad.

Thus if the new situation promises perfection, or if the old situation is totally imperfect, we have certainty, and if there is one thing you crave when you are depressed, it is certainty. ” Dorothy Rowe.  Breaking the Bonds.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

My thinking always had been very black and white when I was depressing myself. I know that if I want to continue to live in uncertainty, in time, my depression will also be left behind me in the darkness of yesterday, as I live in the light of today.

The only certainty that I have today is that I want to free myself from the attachment that I have to sadness.  I must be willing to risk giving up the certainty that my life will always remain the same. I know that it is only by living with some uncertainty, that my life can be lived with any hope.

MEDITATION

Today, we pray for the courage to remove as much fear from our lives as possible. We pray that God will let us live with the conviction that our  lives can be one without fear of people, places, or situations. We believe that once we begin to live without the every present need for certainty in our lives that our fears can be diminished.

(Personal comments: See  March 12, 2015 in the Archives of the Blogs.)

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and  meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. KY.  September 1.

 

Looking fear in the face!

AFFIRMATION

I am no longer alone in my suffering depression. I believe that by getting more active in my recovery that my life will begin to brighten up.

“We of AA and Depressed Anonymous find that our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening.” Bill W.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know after becoming actively involved with the 12 step program, that one of the best ways to overcome the handicap  of depression is to start by working on my faith – a faith that I will and can get better. I know that it is mainly staring my sadness in the face that I will be clear of it. I also know that my depression which has been part of my life for so long can be dismantled if I so choose. Surprised? So often  I hear others stories say that they have been depressed all their lives–until- let me repeat – until they hear others stories as to how with work, time and belief in a power greater than themselves that they did and are feeling better now. I need to trust that once I have made my conscious decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand him, that my life will indeed begin to change.

We know that fear is truly a poison in some ways and in others it is a gift. We need to fear only that which will keep us locked in the prison of depression. Sometimes our fears are of what tomorrow might bring or it might be the fears of the past. One of the better antidotes to fear is trying to live, just for today, Today is all I have.,

MEDITATION

God, we believe that there is no greater power than you . We have already admitted that our depression has made us feel hopeless. Now we are ready to let you get to work on our lives,  take over and lead us where we know we will be   in a safe healing place.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. Pages 95-96.

How can I change if I am depressed?

Has depression distorted us from the truths of life, namely that life is to be lived with hope and serenity.  Nursing along a good habit can in time  wean us from old and debilitating habits of thought and behavior. We want to daily fill our day with the gratitude that we are in deed getting better and that the trust that we have is indeed placed in our Higher Power.

In order for us to change and In order for us to escape depression, we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. This process for change is of the nature of a spiral  instead of a straight line. In other words, now that we are willing to risk feeling differently, we have been gearing up to improve our situation. In other words, we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.

1. Awareness stage: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way we do. Something has to give.

2. Motivating stage: I am going to prepare myself for needed changes in my thinking, acting and feeling.

3. Doing stage: I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changes that have to be  made by me if I am going to feel better and differently.

4. Maintaining stage: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working the 12 Step program of recovery.

 

I believe that it is when we begin to understand the process of the 12 steps begin the important process of enlarging our awareness of our own depression experience and slowly learn how to apply them  to our daily lives. This awareness will place us directly in a recovery program, using the formula for success in overcoming depression.

We highly recommend that anyone who wants to escape depression   begin to study our program of recovery as outlined in our Manual DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS and begin to question oneself as to how, when  and what began the spiraling downward into despair  of our own depression. Our Workbook, is the greatest tool in unearthing  the ways   that put us in the place that we are today.  We  do this by gradually working our way out of this maze of problems and situations that   shackled and immobilized us day after day.

The more attention that we give to how we got where we are today, the more we will be motivated to continue our quest to use the tools provided by Depressed Anonymous. Once we get busy with the work of understanding how depression works, the more we will find ourselves  motivated to get free of our life of hopelessness.

 

 

 

SOURCE:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2001, 2017) . DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. Louisville. PAGE 41.

Depression is so unpredictable and unchanging

Life is unpredictable. Every living organism operates with a certain amount of unpredictability and uncertainty. The uncertainty of life creates in us a desire for predictability. If we did not believe in the possibility of change, we would all be hopelessly lost and forever  bored. Hope would be lost.  Potential far a better life would never exist. When there is hope, change is possible. The experience of depression is much the same. Depression is so predictable and unchanging that we lose hope for the pain of our isolation ever coming to an end.”

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

This introduction introduces the journey of the author and founder of Depressed Anonymous. He based this important program of recovery on the 12 steps of AA.  In the introduction, there is a short autobiography of the founders’ life during his depression experience and the how life   was after his complete recovery.

Quoted from Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 19-23.