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.