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.

 

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.

“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.

Please don’t tell me to “snap out of it.”

The Mental Health Award winner Dorothy Rowe  Ph.D.,   tells us

” that  the best way depressed people can help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one   another. ”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Some folks think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. Wrong. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they had any control over it.  My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most support are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to snap out of it!

I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try and help them. Look for a Depressed Anonymous  Group in your community.

MEDITATION

God, grant us the serenity to accept  the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things  we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS?   Please write out your comments  here if you like.

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down days. 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 201.

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.

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.

 

Drinking Depression: One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression.

 

DRINKING DEPRESSION:  One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression and the parallels between the two. 

By Steve P.

“I have had experiences with alcohol abuse since childhood. I have also struggled since childhood with depression. I quickly learned to rely on both.

I call  this paper “drinking depression” because that’s exactly what I did when I no longer had the alcohol. The following thoughts will express my feelings and the parallels that I have seen between these two addictions.

RELIANCE

There was always an excuse to drink, mostly I was upset with something –I should say angry, for it was anger at the root of my depression that I was trying to suppress in medicating myself with alcohol. Later, I learned to do the same thing with my depression except to be in a depressive state high.  I didn’t even have to leave the house and after awhile I didn’t want to break the cycle of reliance that dependency had begun. Where I was absorbing alcohol into my blood stream  I was now   injecting the depression into my soul and absorbing it like a sponge

FAMILIARITY AND COMFORT

As a recovering alcoholic, I can look back on my drinking and see where I took comfort in being drunk because   eventually   the numbness became the only way I could feel better.  When I was drunk I could retreat into myself and not have to deal with everyday life.

The same escape tool was used in the form of depression. I could ball up like a wooly worm and the outside world was not going to hurt me. However, the more I wallowed in the darkness of my depression the deeper I got stuck  in the mud of despair and hopelessness.

DESPERATION

In order to deal with alcoholism and depression I had to hit rock bottom. I had reached a point in both that I had to call out for help or drown in my addiction.  I called on my Higher Power to help  deliver me from alcohol and he led me to a counselor  to  also help me with my depression. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit I am harnessing my talents now and I am seeing incredible results. My recovery has not been overnight but it is a day by day and step by step recovery process.

THE PHYSICAL

After some time had passed,  the drinking affects the physical body breaking it down. Once I saw a film in which the brain of an alcoholic was compared to the brain of a heroin addict and they were very similar. The depression I  experienced also had physical implications. For over twenty years the way my body would respond from too much emotional stress was to pass out. Instead of blacking out from alcohol I was using depression to numb myself and my brain.

THE SPIRITUAL

When I was drinking I felt alienation and guilt. I felt professing Christians did not drink. The more I drank the more guilty I became. I felt  much more distant from God the more I drank and spiraled further down into a cycle of despair.

In my depression,  I felt God had no time for  me and that I was unworthy of his love. Again,  it was a carousal filled with guilt and anger going round and round so that I couldn’t get off the merry-go-round.

SELF-ESTEEM

When I was drinking,  I was sure that no one cared or could understand what I was going through, so I had many pity parties and I was the guest of honor. Why should I care if no one else cared? This was my way of thinking.

From painful experiences in my childhood I felt  I was of no worth and just taking up space. It has taken therapy and the support of family and friends to finally look in the mirror and begin to like what I saw.

HOPE

I have been sober over two years although I often have the desire to drink I daily call  on my Higher Power to help me and march on one day at a time experiencing serenity and a release from my need to take that first drink.

I have been in therapy for almost a year off and on, although in order to recover one has to stay with it. I have to take my emotional and spiritual healing, like my drinking —one day at a time knowing   I can make it.  It is only by opening the door of the past that   the light of the present can get rid of the darkness  today,  providing  hope for the future.

It is my hope and prayer that this has helped you,  in some small way.  It has helped me by writing about my experiences. May God put walls of protection around you so that the way ahead for you may be crystal clear so that today may be your first step towards recovery.”

God bless.

Steve P.

+This article first appeared in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET, Spring 1994.

 

 

“… taking personal responsibility for having to change the way we live our life.”

 

“I want to be alive and alert to all that happens to me today and to think positively about the things I can change and  what needs to be changed in my life.”

“We numb ourselves from ever having to take personal responsibility for having to change the way we live our life or construct the way we look at the world. We can’t stand to experience  any feeling except   sadness.  Our addiction to sadness is a big problem but it is also a big comfort.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am gradually taking the time and making the effort to dismantle my depression. I know that, in time and with effort, I will win over this sadness and this desire for isolation  and aloneness. I am seeing that I need time to play, time to share, and a time to  risk myself in the group. I also find that the more I believe that I can change my mood to a more pleasant one, the more pleasant I am becoming.

An addiction is something that I cannot not do without.  That is why my depression is such an addiction. I cannot live my life without the comfort of knowing that I can always drift off and live in the womb of my sadness and isolation. I must come alive when I have to face my pain and walk through the fear of my withdrawal from sadness.”

MEDITATION

We know now that we can let go of that which is keeping us isolated from others who seem happy and content working their program. God, give us the courage to always stay connected with our friends in the program. (Personal comments).

SOURCES: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  June 6.

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

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.