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.

MY LIFE WAS A SINKHOLE!

MY LIFE WAS A SINKHOLE!

If you know anything about a sinkhole you  know one thing–you know that everything is gobbled up which sits on the sinkhole spot.  I mean, houses, cars, buildings, streets, etc.  And if you throw anything else down the hole it too gets gobbled up.   Just recently, at the Corvette car museum in Bowling Green,  Kentucky, a number of their vintage  cars ended up at the bottom of a sinkhole–ironically,  it  occurred in their showroom.  There was no way anyone was going to drive these vintage cars out of there.

In our Big Book, Depressed Anonymous as quoted in our recent publication  ” I’ll do it when I feel better,” it states that

The overeater, gambler, smoker, sexual addict are all driven by their compulsions. The emptiness of our lives is like a hole  that  continuously  needs to be filled with some compulsive and addictive behavior.  By letting go of our excessive tightfisted hold on our life, which paradoxically it causes us to lose hold; we start to face reality for the first time without the crippling crutch of our compulsion. We let go of our compulsion to repeat –the ritual of addictions.

…Gradually over time, and due to being able to say no to the impulse to smoke, or sad oneself, you feel stronger and so the pained  withdrawal becomes less intense.  The same applies to the addiction of  depression in that at first it’s difficult to stop completely the compulsive repeating of sad thoughts, but with time and working our Twelve Steps, and by our active involvement with DA we have the strength to say no to these sad thoughts and begin to choose hope and serenity.”

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I use the analogy of a sinkhole because it truly expresses what happened when I was depressing myself. I couldn’t stop these incessant flow of thoughts that continued to gobble up my serenity,my peace and/or the desire to do anything positive for myself.  All I could do was to sit in a room, look at the four walls and reflect on how hopeless I felt. As my pain intensified ( like a total body toothache) I found myself getting  more isolated from life: meaning  family, spouse, friends, groups, you name it.

How did I get out of the sinkhole? The first thing I had to admit was that I was IN A SINKHOLE. If this is where you find yourself today, you might want to go back to the Menu of this Website and read all the stuff there that tells about the” what” of Depressed Anonymous. And if you want to begin your own personal home study program for a further clarification of thought, you can get the Depressed Anonymous Manual and the Depressed  Anonymous Workbook.  I believe you’ll be happy you did. You’ll get some answers. It happens to be written by folks like you and me. That’s the good part.

Source: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER, (2013) Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville, Ky  40217.(p.60).

I CAN ONLY CHANGE MYSELF.

  Higher Thoughts for Down Days(c) (February 27)

AFFIRMATION

I am gaining, day by day, a new and hopeful attitude about my life and my relationship with others.

“Strangely, I feel as if I have been incredibly lucky. Logically, I don’t believe in luck. I believe that people make their own lives what they are, but still I feel so lucky to have been involved in a group which gave me  the opportunity, and incentive, to start to make changes in my life.  To understand why I am sometimes so angry, (See DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK / Anger workshop. Checklist for Hidden Anger) why I have been so self-critical and self-destructing.  Understanding why you feel as you do open the gates for the even harder struggle of changing what you do.” (7)

REFLECTION

Making changes is part of making a life.  If I choose to stay mired in the deep pit of depression, I can choose that.  I have this as an option.  But, if I want to choose  and risk changing myself, I have the option of working to construct a different way of looking at my world.  Just by changing my attitude about my life and the direction where I want it to go, I can make the hard changes. I want to change my attitude. I will now want to listen to those who have been in recovery for months or years and listen to their hopeful attitudes and how they are felling better now that they are living one day at a time, and no longer fearful that their old nemesis, the sadness, will sneak up and change everything back to the way it was.

I can only change myself. I will always try and keep the focus on how I need to change, not how others around me need to change. (For more accounts of how persons changed their lives in   Depressed Anonymous (Personal stories) , third edition, 2011. DAP. )_

MEDITATION

God, we are always heartened and healed by the group. Please guide us and let us be  led to that healing community of those persons who are struggling to find the security that you promise to those who do your will.” “Fear not, for I am always with you.”

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Lately, I have been reflecting on how each of us is embedded in a unique culture which not only influences our decision making but also personal mores, attitudes about life, ourselves and each other. In the near future I will spend some time here at this BLOG  and share how culture has a dramatic influence  on how we live out our lives  My thoughts will go in the direction of trying to answer the question: Does our culture, way of life, that is our society, promote  a depressive lifestyle, thinking and behavior. I hope that you will follow me here as we  together reflect on this critical question. Join me as we continue this clarification of thought process here at our Depressed Anonymous website.

Please check out Depressed Anonymous Publications @ Visit the store

“DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS HAS BEEN THE ULTIMATE KEY….”

Depressed Anonymous has been the ultimate key to a largely successful life for me. Prior to entering the program, I had  no money, no driver’s license, and had dropped  out of college due to poor grades and a nervous breakdown for which I was hospitalized. I had not then worked Step One because I wasn’t aware that I was powerless over depression, that my life was as disorganized as the mess in my closet.

During my first night in the hospital, a member informed me of a support group known as Depressed Anonymous. I decided to give it a try.  By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous, and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the Twelfth Step (see site Menu for 12 steps), but had also given me a key, a key which would open many doors for me. Walking through these doors was like admitting defeat. I was playing first base in a ball game in which I would eventually win. If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher  Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me. With the help and the positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me. With the love, support, and true fellowship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license, which had been another step toward independence for me. Within a year, I earned my license when two members of the group took me in for my road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst  was finally over.”   Lena.

To read the full inspiring account of Lena’s recovery go to Personal Stories in Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION, Depressed  Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY, P.113. If you do not have a Depressed Anonymous group in your area, you can begin your own personal  recovery program by clicking onto Visit The Store here at this site and  order your own HOME STUDY PROGRAM. This program includes a Step by step Workbook and Manual You definitely will be glad that you did.

The great benefit of making use of our literature here at Depressed Anonymous is that ALL our material is written by those of us who actually have been depressed –been there & done that –and now offer you  a tool box filled with our own treasured ways to leave the prison of depression. You can browse through all our literature and find the help and hope you are looking for. You can always give us a call   (VoiceMail 502.569.1989) and get some real life help that you may be seeking.

“WE NEVER APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE FOR DEPENDING UPON OUR CREATOR.”

In an effort to promote a spiritual sixth sense in ourselves as is discussed in Alcoholics Anonymous, we find that what is applicable to one addiction is also applicable to all  addictions. One enlarges their  personal  belief that there is a Force in our universe  which is bigger than ourselves. And as Step Three states in Depressed Anonymous , “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God to be.”

“As God’s people we stand on our feet; we don’t crawl  before anyone.” AA Big Book (p.83).

”  We never apologize to anyone for depending upon our creator. We can laugh at those who think spirituality the  way of weakness.  Paradoxically, it is the way of strength. The verdict of the ages is that faith means courage. All men of faith have courage.  They trust their God. We never apologize for God. Instead we let Him demonstrate, though us, what He can do.  We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us to be.  At once, we commence  to outgrow fear.”

AA  Big  Book, page 68.

“Joel Goldsmith a spiritual writer contends that the more we gain  this consciousness of God’s presence you have the whole secret of success in every walk of life.” He continues to remind us that  “there is an invisible bond between all of us. We are not on earth to get from one another, but to share those spiritual treasures which are of God.  Our interest in each other is, in truth purely spiritual. Our purpose in life is the unfolding of the spirit within..” (Goldsmith, Joel. The Infinite Way. Pages 145-146).

DEVELOPING THE VITAL SIXTH SENSE

“Much  has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has knowledge and power. If we have carefully followed directions, we have begun to sense the flow of His Spirit into us. To some extent we have became God-conscious. We have begun to develop this vital sixth sense. But we must go further and that means more action.”  AA Big Book (p.85).

“…We now believe that we can tap into this God consciousness and let it unfold its plan, its purpose and mission for our life. It will not plan something small and insignificant but will, by small steps, lead us, cause to unfold in our lives what it has for us to accomplish”  I’ll do it when I feel Better. (p.45).

If we stick to the spiritual plan that God gradually reveals to us in the quiet moments of our reflection and meditation we can grab hold of the power of the Twelve Steps –integrating each one of the Steps into our consciousness –and moving out of the dark into the light. To accomplish this saving process of recovery we recommend the HOME STUDY PROGRAM and/or a Depressed Anonymous in one’s own community.

WE ALL HAVE COME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION: IS THERE HELP FOR ME TO RELIEVE THE PAIN OF MY________?(Please, add your own).

For myself, I have found a way out of my pain. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, it’s not complicated. I found a program that is neither hit nor miss.  It is what you choose to make it. It is a steady ascent, if you will, into a life of sanity.The program of recovery lets you start at A and go all the way to  Z. It persistently confronts you with yourself, your own pain and a way to  relieve yourself of that pain–one day at a time. One step at a time. No need to rush. No need to hurry. We are now operating in God’s time.  The Twelve Steps of recovery, based on Spiritual principles, is a map that can lead you out of the wilderness  of doubt, anxiety and fear. I know. Been there. Done that. And, almost immediately following the admission that I need help in the 1st Step, we read in the  2nd Step of Depressed Anonymous, that we “came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could  restore us to sanity.”  As it say in the AA Big Book, God either is, or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?”  This Power is the God of your understanding. That isn’t complicated is it?

In the latest publication of Depressed Anonymous we read in  Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression which  states in the 5th Statement of Belief that we want to “Remember that an oak tree was once an acorn –recovery begins by taking one step at a time and accepting responsibility for moving from depression into peace and serenity.”

For a personal home study program to compliment your group work you can use the Depressed Anonymous Workbook and the Depressed Anonymous Manual. You’ll be glad that you did!

WHAT DO I BELIEVE ABOUT MYSELF?

Yes, what we believe about ourselves can and does make all the difference in the world. Yesterday we were sharing how certain people, places, situations and things have had power over our lives. Even those earlier and long forgotten relationships with significant others are still kicking around in our psyche’s.
As we continue to work through these relationships and attitudes about ourselves (less than) the following quote from our Depressed Anonymous Workbook says it best:
” We have given ourselves over to the belief that this growing feeling of helplessness is what must govern our lives, moods and behavior. We have given it license to run roughshod over every part of our life and over our relationships. Most people can’t see inside us and discover the pain that makes up every waking moment. For the most part we are able to hide how miserable we feel.” Depressed Anonymous Workbook, Step 2/ Page 12.
What power have you given over to others that you are willing to reclaim? And speaking of power–what Power greater than yourself are you able to turn to when you feel hopeless and helpless? And this power, has it been able to help you feel more in control of your life? Just some things to ponder today.

BUILDING A FUTURE ONE DAY AT A TIME!

“We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our life was unmanageable.”

Granted this is not the most happiest of thoughts to read as we get going this day.  But you know what?  It’s at this point in your life that something, some attitude change is going to give you courage to take back control over your life. Years ago when I was doing a project for my degree work I discovered, (like I didn’t know it by my own life experiences) that when a person feels they have control over their life and life’s circumstances that their symptoms of depression start to disappear. So, is this a fact or is it something somebody just told me, without any foundation in fact. The truth of the matter is, that when I felt most helpless and hopeless and my life was falling apart, I had no control. It was literally the feeling of sliding  down that slippery slope. I actually felt at that moment like my life was truly spinning out of control. I can even remember the place, the time of day when it happened. That was in 1985. I was completely powerless. Helpless. All alone in my pit of isolation. Alone with my secret. I looked the same. No one knew the disabling effect this paralyzing  had in my life. But  I knew. That  was the important issue here. I knew. I felt the total pain of the isolation.

And now these many years latter, I still  use the Steps for CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT.  Back to Step One where we say we “admitted…” In our Workbook it states that  “But what good is it to admit that our depression has made us feel powerless? I already know what you might say?  That is why I have spent thousands of dollars on hospitals, doctors, counselors and drugs!” But really for a person to admit that they are powerless is what gives us new power –paradoxically. It’s like in the letting go of a death grip on our continued sadness that makes the sadness  gradually wither and die.. But somehow  – again I don’t know how it all works  –when I say I am depressed, deflated, and down and have the 12 Steps and the fellowship at my side there is a small ray of lite starting to shine in my mind and heart. It’s like saying I’ve had it this way all my life —depressed and isolated- now  I’ll try it your way.”

Here is the next question that can help clarify some of your thinking today.

One of the major ways people help build the walls of depression is to believe the following statement: “Since bad things happened to me in  the past, bad thing are bound to happen to me in the future. ” Today, reflect, be aware of your own feelings, write  down on paper your response, then get motivated to do something now, today. Do something which will  motivate you to move and perform an activity that you can achieve just today. You are building a future one day at a time.  Keep it simple!

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT AND HOW TO GET STARTED!

We all enjoy taking part in quizzes and surveys. At least I do. It’s pretty much a challenge to see how much we know or don’t know.  By doing the quiz we possibly learn just a little bit more about whatever the subject may be, even though we might not answer all the  questions correctly. In a certain fashion we have clarified a bit of  our thinking about a certain subject.

Clarification of thought is a most difficult process when It comes to a mind swallowed up by depression, is  confused, darkened with fog and just extremely exhausted. Many of us wanted to think our way out of depression, as if our will power could push open that prison door which continued to keep us locked up. Will power is useless initially. What we do need is a fairly straight forward and simple approach to getting at the genesis  of our sadness. Along the way of the clarification process we  find out and discover more of who we are, how we got to be where we are and what to do now that we know what we got and how we got here. For one, I don’t believe that that paralyzing feeling of melancholia just drops out of the sky and hits me on the head and knocks me down. So, I start with where I believe it all gets started.  The pain  is inside of me so I have to start there!

After getting some physical stamina back into my life I began to ask myself some questions–each as it pertains to the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous.  I used a process which I called the clarification of thought process. How I was thinking about myself and speaking  to myself needed to be examined to see how much of my thinking got me to where I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.

Today, if you would like to join with me, I will, pose a few questions about your own experience with depression and then you can evaluate how that affects your life today.

1.  When you feel depressed what do you say to yourself?

2. What action or behavior do you do when you feel this way?

3. Does it promote more isolation or being more connected?

We are using the Depressed Anonymous Workbook to help us work through the questions that will help us all clarify our thinking and thus gradually free us from the mystery of what keeps us in bondage. Continue your program of recovery using the Clarification of thought process and you will find a key that will present to you the ” courage to change what you can.”