“I never had a birthday party as a child.”

I think that it is hard to believe that any small child never had his or her birthday celebrated with candles, songs, friends and cake. In most cultures (if not all?) all children have  parties to celebrate the fact that  they are loved and prized.  Some of my own birthday parties stand out as somehow more remembered  than others. A lot had to do with  the fact that I was remembered as someone special to my family and friends.  Much of the talk at those  parties,   centered around our birth day itself, with Mom telling  about her experiences  on that day.   I also love pictures of those childhood  parties–showing candles being blown out and the receiving gifts from family and friends.

I want to quote  from our manual Depressed Anonymous (pages 90)  which relates how  not receiving love and acceptance for who we are has for some  led to those sad feelings  of anger, and rejection when mention of children celebrating their own birthdays is   illustated.

“Many times persons depressed find that the more they get in touch with their  feelings, painful as they might be, the more they  need to remain with the feelings and feel them. This is the beginning of getting free from their tyranny. We have to get in touch with our feelings of anger, sadness, and the fact of our denial that we have even experienced  the fierce feelings of rejection so early in life. There may be some covered-over rage resulting from these  unpleasant childhood experiences. It’s amazing to hear people say that as children they never had a birthday party. We  know that  sadness, guilt, shame and a few other losses coming at one time in our life, can slowly push us over the line as we find ourselves overwhelmed with stress and feelings of defeat. It’s this subtle feeling of being out of control that brings   a  deepening sadness  we feel totally    immobilized.

…(Many)  times when we describe what we feel we begin to release in ourselves the feeling  “stuck ” that keeps us  in a mood of hopelessness.”

I can understand what a party which celebrates the fact that we are special and loved by others can do to our self-esteem.   It just might cause us to prize ourselves  and then to share who we are with others.  I’m not saying that to have or not have a birthday party as we grow up makes all the difference in our lives. It’s just  that it may  give us the message that we are loved just as we are. To be prized and made to feel special can  add a wonderful dimension to young lives.

The date of your birthday and how it is remembered is   more than just another day on the calendar. It’s your day! You can ask your self  “how was my last birthday”  and how will it  be different this year? Will my birthday be a day where I will reflect on all those persons in my life who I feel prized me for who I am? And are  there certain persons who you will always feel a gratitude for their presence and love  for you in good times and bad? Write down in your journal who these people are and what they mean to you today.

 

LIFE CAN BE GOOD FOR A CHANGE. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP!

” 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, such as 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(502.569.1989).   The 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 tenses 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 getting some motivation back.  I have learned how to handle anxiety by taking deep breaths while 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 life one day at a time, and to look toward the future, but not live there.  It will take 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

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SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition). (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 148-149.  # 29 of Personal Stories

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.

BILL W. & DOROTHY ROWE & MARGIE W.

Three persons who made a big difference in my life and how they each  helped me deal with my own melancholia (depression).

First of all there is Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his own witness, presented to us the spiritual program of recovery that we know as the Twelve Steps. Not only have they given me personally  a daily step by step program of recovery to follow but helped me fashion a program of recovery for persons depressed using the same spiritual program of recovery. Bill W., makes available through the Steps to any and all who seek a way out of their attachments to whatever is slowly  destroying their lives.

And then there is Dr. Dorothy Rowe, PH.D., a psychologist who has written many great books on depression and how to live one’s life. In 1985, a member of our newly formed Depressed Anonymous group gave me a copy of her book Depression: The way out of your prison. (1983, 1996) Second Edition. Routledge, London and New York. It was this book that opened my eyes and my mind to beliefs about depression that has accompanied me through my encounters with persons with depression in my own clinical practice, as well as  in the formation of  all the Depressed Anonymous  groups  focused and centered on the Twelve Steps. Not only have she and Bill W., been my mentors in this life long effort of mine, but both have given me keys that not only have released me from my own prison of depression, but persons everywhere have their lives back, plus a belief in a Higher Power,  thanks to these two pioneers.

Then there is Margie W., a charter member of Depressed Anonymous (whose account  appears in Depressed Anonymous in the Personal Stories section of our book). She states  “I can’t really remember for sure how I became involved in Depressed Anonymous. I believe a co-worker told me about a professor at the University of Evansville who had students who were helping people in the psychology field and wanted to know if I would be a volunteer to help start this new self help group. And it was free! What did I have to lose? I had seen Doctors, took their prescribed drugs and still ended up on the same old merry-go-round of ups and downs  and “hangovers” from the drugs. I joined a small group at first. We talked, set weekly goals, took short walks, visited with friends or enjoyed a cup of coffee to relax. We had to do something for ourselves. I had to learn to be good to myself, instead of nurturing  everyone else. I found a good doctor who gave me a lot of good advice about “pampering ” myself more. It hadn’t been easy.  I’ve read self help books, positive thinking books and worked hard on my way of thinking for years. I’m a natural born worrier, so things always seemed worse than they really were.  “(I) feel like I have something to offer the group. Hope is the word. I finally got above the edge of the rut that I could barely peer over for years. I know others  can do it too. Don’t give up. It’s a lot of hard work, but it can be done. I know. I was there.” Depressed Anonymous, (2011)  Third Edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville Kentucky.

TODAY IS ALL I HAVE.

AFFIRMATION

I can live each moment as it comes. I can live only in today. Today is all I have.

“Try to work out which is your habitual response to change which you see as dangerous, so that as you dare to explore you don’t suddenly find yourself running away to the safety of old ways, or resisting the new ideas with old prejudices.( 3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I find that when I am depressed I find all the comfort in the predictable and the familiar.  Right now, I am in battle for my life and I am going to stay and work things out. My feelings are agitated and make me feel very uncomfortable, but I know that it is only by feeling them and accepting them (not run away) that I will, and can in time, begin to taste the freedom of a new me beginning to be born.  I believe that by desiring change, this desire will produce a greater motivation in my self to think and feel differently.

This is an important concept when I am depressed. I desire the safety of the familiar and the predictable.

MEDITATION

God, help me to live in the peace and the serenity  of the present moment. And let us be aware of the moment when we begin to depress ourselves.  Alert us to the moment that we can CHOOSE to turn our minds to something more constructive.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days(c). (March 17).

DEPENDING ON OTHERS APPROVAL?

AFFIRMATION

I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way I feel and that I have the options to feel content and even smile today if I desire. I will act like I want to smile even though I don’t feel like smiling.

“If you have made yourself a martyr to your unappreciative  family, remember the principle of partial reinforcement and apply it to your family.  If you are always at their beck and call trying to meet their every demand, they will not appreciate you, but once they find that they cannot rely on you to meet their needs, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (7)

REFLECTION

I    know that so  often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need to remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for myself—not for everyone else.  I think that this reflection points out  the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to meetings, actively getting involved with my own  recovery and putting the recovery over anything or  anyone else.  If I am going to begin to be  a pleasant person, I will want  to learn how to be pleasant to myself.

Now is the time and this is the program where I start to detach from other people’s opinion’s of myself and start to reflect on my own opinion  When I am depressed, I know that I have not been able to forgive anyone, much less forgive myself. I feel totally cheerless. I meet my own demands and continue to work the  Steps so as to get in touch with what I need to do to reinforce those positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new me today. We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon  God. We trust, infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the  extent that we do as we think God would have us do, and so humbly rely on  God, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” Bill W.

MEDITATION

When we gradually work our way to the real self we get closer to God who made us.

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SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville, KY 40217.