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 can visualize myself happy and serene.

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR YOU  TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I will trust myself to try thoughts other than  the ones that make me feel sad, small and guilty. I will imagine myself happy and serene.

“Any system approaching perfect self-control is also approaching perfect self frustration. The desire for perfect control of the environment and of myself, is based on a profound mistrust of the controller. Because you couldn’t trust yourself to become, to allow   yourself to grow as a plant grows. Rather you have to make yourself, like you make a box. In regarding yourself as a manufactured box, rather than a growing plant you see yourself as an object, not as a living being…” (3) Dorothy Rowe.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know now that I need to let go and to let God guide my life as I attempt to live today. Just one day at a time. I pray now that God, or my Higher Power, will not let me get down on myself. Instead the Higher Power will help me become conscious of the fact that the Twelve Steps are truly  my steps out of the cell of the prison of my depression.

Each and every living human organism on this earth has five major characteristics that link all life together. Each  life organism has an autonomy, a competency, an interconnectedness to others, a self-directedness and an ability to duplicate itself.

MEDITATION

We want to control our lives and we are discovering that the best way to guide our lives is to live in the principle  of this Higher  Consciousness or, the God of our understanding.”

SOURCES:  Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for  members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Page 59. March 22.

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. 2nd Edition (2018) Hugh Smith, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“I have to put my oars in the water if I want to get to my destination.”

MY AFFIRMATION

“The idea that we have to be responsible  for ourselves and that the ways of the world are neither good nor just is too terrifying for you to contemplate. You cannot tolerate such uncertainty. You do not trust yourself, so how can you take responsibility for yourself?”

CLARIFICATION  OF THOUGHT

I don’t like facing the fact that ultimately I am the one responsible for myself, no one else.It  appears to me that  I have to take care of myself, depend on my Higher Power for direction, and go from there. My Higher Power isn’t going to do it all. I know that I have to do all that I can to restore my life and my feelings. God is the rudder to my boat and I have to put my oars in the water if I am to get moving in the right direction.

I am attempting, day by day, to tolerate the unpredictableness  of my life and gradually learn new ways to cope with uncertainty. While I am depressing myself, I want everything to be perfect and under my control. I know now that I will be happier when I learn how to tolerate a pleasant mood without telling myself that it won’t last.

MEDITATION

We believe that the closer that we come to God, as we understand God, the closer our God draws to us. We believe that whatever we want changed in our life this can be best be accomplished by approaching the God of our Understanding and letting this Power greater  than  ourselves steer us across the stormy sea.

(Your own personal thoughts)

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SOURCE: Copyright (c)  Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of the 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymlus Publications. Louisville. Page 57. March 19.

NOTE:   This book and others can help you find the serenity and hope that you are looking for in your life today. You can order on line here at our website. Click onto VISIT THE STORE.

Let’s get real. The “snap out of it” advice doesn’t get it!

Let’s get real!  How often do we hear people who’ve   never been depressed  tell people depressed to just “snap out” of their depression? Answer? Too many times.

In our Manual,   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition  we read  “I don’t believe you can snap out of your depression, or suddenly   and dramatically get your life turned around by going to one Depressed Anonymous meeting, or reading the  12 steps  five times an hour. It just doesn’t happen that way, especially if you have lived with  your depression for any length of time. Even though we  emphasize  that  depression is not a disease, we do want you to know that depression over a long period of time can cause physical problems and upset the metabolism of the human organism. More and more, doctors see how  positive feelings, attitudes and emotions can help cancer patients maintain a remission and stay free of a recurring cancer condition. Unpleasant emotions such as fear, anger, resentment, tension and depression all work against recovery.

I would call the sadness  that  has  been with us for as long as we can remember,  a learned way to respond to certain negative stimuli. What you will be doing when you come to a Depressed Anonymous meetings is to get involved in your own healing. You will find other men and women who are struggling with the same pain as you are. You will discover that the first step in coming to grips with depression that won’t  quit is for you to surrender it,  quit fighting it.  Let the God, as you understand God  take over your life and help let it restore you to sanity, peace and understanding of the way in which you can find the path  out of your depression and pain. Depressed Anonymous works if you begin the work of the spiritual program that we’re going to outline in this book.  Depression is a moral problem and as such there needs to be a moral solution,  one part of which is to admit that we are responsible for ourselves and that we can’t blame it on genes, psychological predispositions or one’s spouse or some other situation.  We are going to take charge. We choose to un-depress ourselves. Today! One day at a time!

…But let me warn you — it isn’t easy to do something different from what you have been doing  most of your life. This is especially true when it comes to the way we see ourselves, our world and others. There are no magic pills and no easy answers to bring us immediately out of this inner pain and anguish. It does take time and work.

If you really want to leave behind your painful sadness, the daily tears, and the feelings of worthlessness, then begin now to admit the unmanageable mess of your depression. You have had it with feeling out of control!

That’s the way it is with depression – over the years you get comfortable with feeling miserable, which doesn’t mean you like it, but that you’re just too afraid to risk doing something different. When you want to change and leave your depression behind, the choice that you want to make is immediately dashed to the ground because you  feel there is no hope for you. “I can’t pull myself up by my bootstraps and start to feel better,” you tell yourself. Most the time, we tell ourselves that we will do it when we feel better. (See reference to” I’ll do it when I feel better”   below). Folks, let me tell you something – you will never feel better until  you begin to physically get moving! We all know that we feel better only when we get into gear and get busy – distracting ourselves  from those ever present miserable  thoughts which whisper how bad we are and how hopeless life seems to be.”

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SOURCES: (c)Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pgs. 31-32.

(c) I’ll will do it when I feel better. (2015) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.

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

VISIT THE STORE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON DEPRESSION AND THE HEALING POWER OF THE 12 STEPS.

ALSO LEARN HOW TO USE THE HOME STUDY KIT FOR YOUR  PERSONAL RECOVERY PLAN OF ACTION!

…change always involves uncertainty.

 

   Dorothy Rowe wrote:

“Dangers, perhaps even greater dangers, threaten you if you if you leave your prison of depression for the ordinary world. There you might have to change, and change always involves uncertainty. The good thing about being depressed is that you can make every day be the same. You can be sure of what is going to happen. You can ward off all those people and events that expect a response from  you. Your prison life has a regular routine, and like any long term prisoner, you grow accustomed to the jail security and predictability. The prison of depression may not be comfortable, but at least it is safe.”

In Depressed Anonymous we read that:

“We believe that to be conscious is to have been able first of all to listen to someone or something that expresses God’s desire to free us from our misery as soon as we are willing to turn  our minds and our wills over to it. Somewhere along the way, we were convinced that the only safe way to make this life bearable and predictable was to continually sadden ourselves, withdraw into our little shell  (prison) and make sure that our own small world was completely under our control. It was a perfect little world, this world of ours. It was dark, gloomy and painful, but at least we knew what we had. It is this predictableness that makes life inescapably hell for all of us, even though we’d rather have this than the total surprise of living.”

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COMMENT:  One of the things about this life is that it is hard to predict. We call this the  surprise of living. And for us to really get into living we have to face the fact that it is unpredictable. We must give up trying to control other people in our lives.

I have found that the spirit of mutuality which permeates all mutual aid groups, such as our own Depressed Anonymous fellowship, promotes that feeling of security which enables us to live with all sorts of unpredictability. We look forward to living our life,  with whatever comes. “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Step Two of Depressed Anonymous.

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SOURCES: #11.19  in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 84.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 97. Step Eleven.

NOTE: These two books, The Depressed Anonymous Workbook and Depressed  Anonymous,3rd edition, can be purchased together as the HOME STUDY KIT. Please VISIT THE STORE on how to order.

THE SIMPLE ABC’s of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS: THE 12 STEP PROGRAM OF RECOVERY

Yes, learn your ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous and you are on your way to discovering how to live with freedom and with purpose. I learned my ABC’s back in 1982 in another  12 step fellowship. It did take me a little while to get used to them but in due time everything all came together. Once  I got serious about learning my ABC’s things started to happen. I not only found the key that opened a new world of serenity and a fellowship to me,  I also have a daily plan for my life that gives me purpose and serenity to this very day. Just as day follows night I am helping others learn their ABC’s.

First of all, you might be wondering what are the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous? And how can I learn them? Well, let me tell you about them.

Simply put, the ABC’s stand for three realities which anyone can learn. The first reality is to 1) admit that I have a problem. That is fairly easy to understand. Having a problem is what usually brings a person into our 12 Step fellowship in the first place.  We know something is happening and we know we can’t go on feeling as bad as we do. “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” There you got it.  You just learned a bit about the A of the ABC’s — to admit. OK, I know that to admit something is out of kilter in our lives is not easy but to also know that the pain  is so great we have to take the bull by the horn and find help. We also know how scary life becomes when we feel we have no control over the way we feel and think. I know. When I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning and had this awful feeling of hollowness in my body which was unbearable I knew then that something serious, possibly deadly serious was going on. Yes,deadly serious.

It was then that I  believed that I had to take action. I had to seek help and find out what was causing my life to take a nose dive or extreme proportions.  For me to feel that I had no control over the way I felt and even to the point that I  could not get myself out of bed in the morning with will power alone, it was then that I knew what I had was serious.  I ” came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” I didn’t know what this Power was that was going to restore me but I had to find out. I sought help and finally got the help I needed. I moved the body and my mind followed. I was forcing myself out of bed a morning and started walking. For awhile I felt I was an incarnation of the movie hero, Forrest Gump. But over time I found the key to my recovery and learned how to use the C of my ABC’s. I learned how to commit myself to this Power that was greater than myself. Actually, it was my decision to commit myself to going to as many 12 Step meetings as  I possibly could. It was there that I learned to live my life. I now had a plan. I had a purpose and I made sure I was about doing the next right thing for my recovery. It has been 30 years since that day when I had to admit that I had  serious problem on my hands. I am still doing my ABC’s every day and helping others learn their ABC’s of recovery. I know the program of recovery takes time and work–but it is worth a life. Your life!

If you want to learn the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous, it would do you well to get  to a meeting or get the  BIg  Book, DEPRESED ANONYMOUS, 3rd Edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  ( By the way, this book was written by a group of depressed persons who learned their ABC.s and wanted to show others a plan that worked for them.  They found HOPE. Their Personal Stories are in the book).

I WILL TRUST MYSELF…

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I will trust myself to risk getting better by way of the Twelve Step program.  The first step is to admit that I will beat my depression in a group rather than trying to do it all by myself.

“Many  of us can’t allow ourselves to trust anyone. We are so distrustful of ourselves that we can’t trust ourselves to feel.  The painful and terrible hollowness of depression is such that we cannot allow it to be felt…When we hear other members share their stories of hurt and isolation we become more at ease within ourselves and we gradually allow/trust ourselves to touch the nerves of the past pain and hurts. ”   (9)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

One of the better ways I have found to get out of the prison of my depression is to trust my story with someone who has experienced  the pain and the hurt.  To know that I am not alone in my misery is quite a relief.  To know that there is someone out there who understands where I am coming from does much for raising self-esteem. I know that it is only when I begin, today, to start taking care of myself that my life will improve and so will my thoughts.  I also believe that there is no problem too great to be lessened.

I know that wanting control, wanting things my way, has made my life unmanageable!  I want to trust my Higher Power and give my program and my friends who are in  it my  very best. I trust that I can be as honest with them as I am with my Higher Power.

MEDITATION

God, we  turn our will and our lives over to you and we know things are getting better because of that surrender.

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SOURCE:, Higher thoughts  for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. (1993, 1999) Louisville. June 1.  Depressed Anonymous Publications.

I CAN CHANGE THE WAY I FEEL

“We  do know that depression, like any other long standing emotion, can and does cause a physiological change in the body. Many scientists also know that positive emotions over time can produce a change in the immunological makeup of our human body and so protect it from illness.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Depression can be eliminated from my life after I take a closer look at my lifestyle. If I want to conquer depression, I have to take a closer look at the way I think, behave and live out my life.  Of course, to have a belief in some power greater than myself produces the hopeful vision that, in time, I can begin the healing process. My brokenness and fear of risking change is at the core of my depression.  I know that once I begin to get moving in a positive physical and mental way, the healthier I can become.

Someone once said that an emotion is energy in motion. A good description I would say.  My ability to maintain an emotional balance depends heavily on my belief that I can change the way I feel. I know with the help of my conscious contact with my Higher Power that I can find the peace that I am searching for.

MEDITATION

We know that good things start to happen when we give up our will to the one who wills nothing but our personal good.  The power which is greater than the power  of our depression is desirous of eradicating its dominion of our lives.  Let go now your fear to let go and let God.

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Source: Copyright(c)Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 106.  Higher Thought for May 25.

Source: Depressed Anonymous (3rd Edition) 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky.

I will change the way I think about myself –just for this day!

AFFIRMATION

I can change  the way I think about myself –just for this day.

“The Twelve Steps spirituality works well for those who have been depressed most of their lives because it asks them to admit that they are powerless over their depression and that their lives have become unmanageable.  With this admission that their lives are out of control they now can begin to rebuild their lives as they begin to work each of the Twelve Steps.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I admit that since I have begun working the Twelve Steps –starting with Step One— that “We admitted we were powerless over depression –that our lives had become unmanageable” that I have begin to feel differently about myself. I have discovered  in my group and by reading Depressed Anonymous that I can no longer be alone in my depression.  I feel lifted out of my sadness whenever I hear others talk about their depression and the hope that they have  now because of their belief that they  are getting better.  To admit that we are depressed is over half the  battle.

I admit that I am out of control. I also admit it’s alright to admit the fact that I am powerless because now my Higher Power can start to work in me and free  from those  things that imprison me in depression.

MEDITAITION

We know that  our choice is to get better.  We also know that  now that we admit are not God that our Higher Power can begin its hopeful work in us. With God all things are possible!

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Copyright (c) HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR  DOWN DAYS: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for !2 Step Fellowship Groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications  Louisville. Page 104.

Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups.

May 15

  AFFIRMATION

I will forgive myself for my past faults, mistakes and live just for today and try not to be afraid.

“Even without using not forgiving as a way of controlling people, taking other people’s thoughtless slights and bad temper personally and vowing never to forgive them soon leads to loneliness….If you see forgiving as something you ought not do, then when you do something wrong, you must not forgive yourself.” (7)

CLARIFICATION IOF THOUGHT

Today, I am becoming more aware of how I cannot control life because life is so broad and expansive.  The area that I do control is quite small when compared to all areas of my life. To live means to let life happen and life is spontaneous. The more we try to control our relationships, our friends and what happens  to us we short circuit any serendipitous intervention into our life today by our Higher Power.

The best place for me to experience  life and the stories of others like myself is at Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings, Al-Anon meetings, Dep-Anon Family  Group  meetings, Depressed Anonymous meetings and the many other Twelve Step program meetings.

One of those absolute truths that live in every cell of our bodies when  we are depressed is that I can never forgive myself – nor anyone else for that matter. It is this absolute truth that we hold about ourselves that continually imprisons us in our depression.

MEDITATION

Just for today, we are going to really attempt to forgive ourselves for what happened to us yesterday and act as if today, the first day and only day of our lives, that I will be a new me. We are beginning life all over today. God, let your peace fill us now, and forever.”

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky  Page 99.