Sharing your story is to save your life!


Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has at least one book inside of them that needs to be written.  In her award winning book, Depression: The way out of your prison, Dr. Dorothy Rowe tells us how getting our story told can be  life- changing, and for some life-saving. Below are  her thoughts on the importance of sharing one’s story with that person who is willing to listen.

Help comes in two ways -from yourself and from other people. But help cannot come from other people unless you are prepared to find it and accept it. You have to find the people to confide in and you have to overcome your habit of keeping things to yourself. Perhaps you are ready to confide in someone, but there is no one available. Your family will not listen, and your doctor prefers to write you a prescription rather than give you his listening attention.

So you need to find someone who will listen. Someone outside the family and, possibly, outside work, is usually best—someone who has no vested interest in keeping you as you are or who has no reason to feel guilty about what you might disclose. It need not necessarily be just one person. On your journey out of your prison of depression you will meet many different gurus, people who throw light on your darkness. A nurse might listen to your fears about your health and the drugs you take, and may find the words to calm your fears. A friend may share with you the burden of family responsibilities. A pastor  or priest might listen and acknowledge your religious doubts and fears and impart the courage and trust which enables you to deal with these. Of course, not everyone you hope to confide in will respond in a  helpful way. ..”

And then Rowe continues to say that “you might like to consult a professional listener of some sort. You may find someone in the Health Service, or you might go to a private therapist. Talking to people who have been depressed and are now coping is tremendously helpful.”   Pages 199-200.  (Copyright)  Depression:The Way out of your prison.  (1996) Routledge. 2nd ed. London.

Our Twelve Step program  tries to ensure that everyone who attends our program of recovery and who shares their story will be given a sponsor, a listener if you will, who too has experienced the pain and anxiety of depression. They are sponsors because they too have been able to share their stories. They know that  powerful freedom that comes when someone really listens to us and our story. People  often say to me “Doesn’t listening to all these depressed people get you depressed? ” And I can honestly say that it does not  get me depressed.  In fact, I know that by listening to someone else’s story, I  find many areas which are  similar to my own. Besides the fact that I myself experienced the chaos and pain of depression,  I know how difficult  it is to come out and share one’s own struggle. But it can be done!

If you are looking for someone or others to listen to your story with compassion and without a judgmental attitude, our group Depressed Anonymous is the right place to come. We are all storytellers. We all have been heard. We all continue to tell our story. Not only the personal account of our  own depression but also the story of how we have recovered from depression. In our program there is always the “before ” and “after” story that we share.  The ” after’  story of all of us is that important account of what we did to recover, how we did it  and with whom we did it,  made all the difference in the world. Out of the darkness into the light.

You  can read the stories in Depressed Anonymous, which contain heart warming  stories of how persons young and old, have come to our fellowship, shared their story and   who now listen to  those new members who share their own story. They want to share that hope, so that others depressed may know that there is a way out and a life to be lived without depression. They are no longer alone!

It takes trust to share our story. Finding the right person or the right group of persons is what we are looking for. There are persons waiting to hear your story. There are    those persons  who have recovered from depression and who are now sponsoring other people and forming other groups. If there is no group in your area, know that we have a long distance group learning program, called the Home Study Recovery program.  This program can be done at home and all it requires is the willingness  to work the Steps with a sponsor through emails.  All one needs is   the Depressed Anonymous manual and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. There are no fees or dues for this Home Study Program.   As in all our groups, sponsors can accompany new members as long as they like. In time, attending the DA groups our new member can choose their own sponsor.

Please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at this site and examine the material that is used for this program.  Again, in the event that you would yourself want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in your locality, these two books are our main resources used in all groups, here   in the USA and internationally. If the purchase of the books is a hardship, contact the DA Publisher and they will make it possible for you to receive the books regardless of payment.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Email address is Depanon

“To live is to participate.”

“Our Depressed Anonymous program of recovery is one of hope and peace.  The more active I become in my efforts to think and act positive the more confident and free I become.” The TWELFTH WAY to leave the prion of depression. An excerpt from Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“It is recommended that if you want to be helped by our program of recovery it is best to go to at least six meetings before you make any long term commitment to whether or not the group is for you. Just  as it has taken time to get ourselves depressed, in some cases it may be a lifetime…There is a Swahili saying that states
to live is to participate.” How true this is especially if you happen to be depressed. One of the things we want to do when depressed is hide and isolate ourselves. We don’t want anyone to bother us. We want to be left alone….You will  start feeling different about yourself the more meetings you attend. In time you will be taking the focus off yourself as you listen how others are showing improvement of mood and behavior and you will discover that they are much like yourself. You are not alone. You begin to hope again.”


Give yourself the opportunity to attend a meeting and hear how others, much like ourselves, are feeling better. Gradually, for those who keep coming back to the meetings, week after week, will begin the journey out of the prison of depression . Wouldn’t you like to try it?

Dr. Dorothy Rowe, Ph.D: Helping us learn how to help ourselves.

Dr. Dorothy Rowe and I first met through a friend back in 1984 when I first became interested in setting up  a program for persons depressed. We didn’t actually have a face to face meeting at that time but a member of our newly  formed Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group, gave me Dorothy’s award winning work, titled Depression: The Way out of your prison.  I had already established elements of Aaron Beck’s thoughts on Cognition (Cognitive Therapy) into our mutual aid group’s structure and was quite familiar with  his point that it is not the event that causes the problem but how one’s perceives that event.  For a simple  example,  if a family is off for the day to enjoy a picnic at the park and it rains and their picnic is canceled, there are feelings of disappointment. And if a farmer is looking for rain for his drought stricken crop, he is heartened by the fact that the rain will enable his crops to live.  The same rain event is seen differently by different folks, dependent on how the even impacts their lives.

Dorothy Rowe and her beliefs, plus her hands on experiences as a therapist, came to me in this one book (followed later by her many works on the subject of depression). It was like the saying, “When  the student is ready the teacher appears.” Truly, a serendipitous happening!   It was this work of hers — the event — which powered my thoughts about how we humans construct the world of our individual personal experiences of depression. I also got  a  clearer and deeper insight into   how  “language creates reality.” Also, from Dorothy, I learned that it is how we talk to ourselves (our language and its meaning)  that provides us some insights into our emotional and thinking lives. From this I concluded  how  my  thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce moods and my mood produce behaviors.

In the Foreword (c) to  our work, Depressed Anonymous (1998, 2008, 2011) Dorothy Rowe tells us how she discovered a truth  about how persons deal most effectively with their depression experiences. Basically, it’s in the sharing of their story with someone  who cares and will lend a loving listening ear. Let’s look at what she has to say:

“When I first began reaching depression, back in 1968, the only treatments that depressed people got from psychiatrists were pills, ECT and psychosurgery, where incisions were made in the frontal lobes of their brain. My research required that I should talk to depressed patients, and lo and behold, many of these patients got better. This was  not because I had some magic cure, but because for the first time, the people were able to tell their story to someone who was concerned and interested. (My italics) By telling their story, they found that their lives gained in significance, and by explaining the whys and hows  to someone who was not always sure that she understood , they worked out better choices for themselves, and went on with their lives.”

So, in the Foreward (c) to our work Depressed? Here is a way out! which was published in 1991 by Fount paperbacks, a division of Harper Collins Publishing Group, Ltd., located in London, UK., Dorothy points out how those of us who “by engaging the depressed in dialogue, and getting depressed people to do what they least want to do: to come out of their isolation, to share their experiences  with others, and to become concerned  with and involved in the lives of other people.”

SEE:   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Final note. It was  with Dr. Rowe’s and Bill W’s ., great influence on my thinking that helped make Depressed Anonymous what it is today. Thank you Dorothy.

In 1995 Dorothy came to the US and presented the major address at the 10th Anniversary celebration of Depressed Anonymous.