#METOO. Shouting out our anger and rage

THIS SOUNDS RIGHT

Dorothy Smith has shown how women are forced into a secondhand understanding of the world. Women are trained to invalidate their own experiences, understanding, and feelings and to look to men to tell them how to view themselves. Ideas, concepts, images, and vocabularies that women use to think about their experiences have been formulated from the male point of view by universities, churches, and other social institutions.

In Women and Madness Phyllis Chesler  describes  women’s experiences as psychiatric patients. Very few of the women she interviewed appears to have a mental disturbance. Most were unhappy and responding to the oppression in their lives. Seeking help, Chelser  pointed out, is not valued in our society, and women seemed to be punished “for their own good” by the institution for exhibiting such weakness.

Jean Baker Miller looked at the relations between dominant and subordinate groups. She isolated certain characteristics of subordinate groups as typical of any irrationally unequal power  relations based on ascribed status such  as race religion or sex. Those in  a relationship of subordination need to survive, above anything else. Direct response to destructive treatment must be avoided, as it may be met with rejection, punishment, or even death. Women who step out of line Miller noted, can suffer a combination of social ostracism, economic hardship, and psychological isolation. They may even be diagnosed as having a personality disorder if they do not conform to the male-defined norm for a woman.

If conflict cannot be expressed openly, it is turned inward and the ground is fertile for depression. Once depression is identified, the victim is blamed for her illness, and she accepts this responsibility until she is helped to examine her own self-defeating patterns, to see how she allows  herself to be victimized.”

SOURCE:  Melva Steen, Ph.D, RN. Historical Perspectives on Women and mental illness and preventing of depression in women using a feminist perspective. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 12:359-374, 1991.

Appeared in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET in the Spring  edition  (v.5, #3: 8-9).1994. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The following is an excerpt from the Basic Text for the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous world wide.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition , 2011,2008, 1998. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 82.

“Maybe I need to make amends to my children for  making a clean house the number one priority the number one priority and never allowing them to give expression to their feelings. Or maybe I was the good daughter or son who never told anyone how I really felt because I was afraid of how my parents would react. Now we might be dredging up all the old feelings of anger and resentment that we have submerged under a mask of  kindness ands sweetness over the years. We need to voice our anger for having to act like someone we aren’t. I can think of many women who in therapy begin to get in touch with the times when as little girls, they were conditioned to think that good little girls didn’t get angry, and so they stuffed and sat upon all these powerful and unpleasant emotions. Feelings that are not expressed can accumulate in our bodies and can’t get out until we share them and express them. These stuffed feelings get lodged in our bodies and immobilize us until we feel completely wrung out!

Some have heard all their lives that you shouldn’t get angry as mother won’t love you anymore. This makes it quite difficult suddenly to shout out our rage and anger at a world that has made women in general feel less than second-class citizens. ”

 

Choices: To be or not to be!

For many, just knowing that they might have a choice and be able to choose to feel differently can be a startling revelation.  I can choose to be happy or I can choose to stay miserable.  ” Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) DAP. Louisville.

The following is a story of how one person, deeply depressed told her story of how by letting go she was able to hang on.  And she not only  was able to hang on but she was able to help others and hang on  and live life to the full.

” I started sleeping more, stayed in bed mostly and let the house and the children go.  I felt empty inside. No one or anything could help me. If I hadn’t thought that suicide was the cardinal sin, I would be dead today. So one night I lay on the floor crying and praying from my heart. In the past when I prayed I wanted God to do all the work, while deep down I  didn’t want to let go of my miserable, yet safe way of life. And as long as I wouldn’t  really let go, God seemed to have no answers for me. This time though, I was at his mercy. Life for me could no longer go on this way. I prayed the most releasing prayer. I offered up my entire self to him. Nothing magical happened after this except the sudden urge to call my Church for Christian counseling. They referred me to this very affordable, warm, lady counselor, who I had seen in the past. She suggested that I start attending Depressed Anonymous,  a Twelve Step meeting. This was a great effort for me. I was SCARED AND SKEPTICAL  Since that first night I’ve been attending weekly Depressed Anonymous meetings and reading Depressed Anonymous literature. I also attend drug free therapy, attend church and church activities and continue to pray and walk regularly.  I know that my life is being richly blessed. I am also using the Depressed Anonymous literature and  listening to the people in the  Depressed Anonymous  meetings where I have received valuable tools which I put to daily use.   The moment that I read that I had a choice to stay in depression, I immediately knew that I could make the choice to get out of my depression.”

And finally, a word from Bill W., the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous who tells us, “When we look back, we realize that the things  which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.”

SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Personal Stories section.

NOTE: Fore more information on a broad variety of subjects dealing with depression and the Twelve Steps click onto the VISIT THE STORE.

 

 

 

Let’s get this straight…

Let’s get this straight about  depression: it is a very serious illness and needs to be taken seriously as a potential life threatening illness. We already know about the rising number of suicides in the country, especially those from the ages of 18-35. Our mission is to let people  know that we are here (Depressed Anonymous) and we have a program that works.

What’s my point? My point is simple: know that depression is a life threatening illness and that society needs to get with it and learn how to reach those who feel hopeless and want to kill themselves. Because of those who come to our meetings and share how they have tried to kill themselves in the past but now have found hope in the fellowship of DA because of the acceptance of group members. They know they are not alone and can share their pain with members of the fellowship and gradually discover hope.

Rheatha  describes her situation of being overwhelmed and suicidal with her personal story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Pages 124-125.  Rheatha,  by making the 12 Steps a daily part of her life,  she found her life to be a gift  and not a burden.

Overcome our need to be compulsive about everything…

Affirmation

I will be fearless as I take my personal inventory and uncover those thoughts that I sad myself with on an ongoing basis.

“The most common symptoms of emotional insecurity are worry, anger, self-pity, and depression. These stem from causes which sometimes seem to be within us, and at other times to come from without. To take inventory in this respect we ought to consider carefully all personal relationships which bring continuous or recurring trouble.”

Clarification of thought

I am seeing how my attitudes of worry, anger, self-pity and depression can keep me imprisoned. Working with my program has been and is part and parcel of my every waking minute.  The Steps that I put so much faith in are the road signs that keep me on this shining path which I call God’s will for me. I am reminded of not sticking my nose always into other people’s business so that my serenity is lost.

I am mindful that this program is mine for the used.  I believe that this program deals with the way we respond to our attachments and compulsions.  The Second  and the Third Step help me realize that there is a God larger than me. Once I am in his will, I can move on and be changed for the better. It is a simple reality to realize that to work on my program is to let God work through me.

Depression sometimes is a symptom of something inside me that I have lost. It is a sadness over something gone out of my life.  This loss could be the reality of never being good enough, never doing enough or being les than perfect. The symptoms disappear when I can learn to live with the belief that I will find hope and begin to feel better.

Meditation

God will help us today to overcome our need to be compulsive about everything negative that we say to ourselves. God will help us say Stop to all those compulsive and self-defeating thoughts.”

Sources:

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 168.

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

             Hope to hope. Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2000) Louisville.

” We are what we repeatedly do. ” Aristotle

“It is our own real, lived experience which leads us into the prison of depression. It is not a gene, or own hormones, or our dysfunctional and illogical thinking, our lack of faith, or our complexes and inadequacies which have brought depression  upon us, it is what happened to us  and, most importantly, what we have made of what has happened to us: it is the conclusions  we draw from our experiences.

That sort  of conclusions which lead us, finally, into the prison of depression was not drawn illogically or fantastically, or crazily, but were the correct conclusions to draw,  given the information we had at the time.

If, when you were a child, all the adults whom you loved and trusted were telling you that you were bad and that if you  didn’t mend your ways terrible things would happen to you, you wisely and correctly drew the conclusions that you were bad and had to work hard to be good. If, when you were a child, all the people you loved and trusted left you or disappointed or betrayed you, you wisely drew the conclusion that you must be wary of other people and that you should never love anyone completely ever again.  You were not to know that if we grow up believing  that we are intrinsically bad, and that other people are dangerous, we shall become increasingly isolated, the joy will disappear  from our life, and that we shall fall into despair….” SOURCE: Dorothy Rowe. The Depression Handbook. Collins. London.

————————–

I believe that in my own case what Dr. Rowe points out is so true. Our childhood experiences are so important because they set us up for how we think about ourselves as we mature. I remember vividly when I was in the 3rd grade, a teacher shamed me in  front of the whole class because I couldn’t get something right. She told me that I  would never  be like my brother whom was brilliant or my uncle who was also brilliant. For many years after when I thought about that moment in the 3rd grade I could still feel my face getting hot with shame. The worst part is that what she said that day I believed. As I grew into middle age it became important to me that what she said had no bearing on me really, as I was not my brother or my uncle. And that that was OK.

Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection.

“…Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection, not only between people, and between mind and heart, but between one’s self image and public mask, writes Parker J. Palmer in  Let you life speak.

“Then”, he continues, “there were the visitors who began by saying “I know exactly how you feel…”  Whatever comfort or counsel these people may have intended to speak, I heard nothing beyond their opening words, because I know they were peddling a falsehood: no one can fully experience another personal mystery.  Paradoxically, it was my friends emphatic attempt to identify with me that made me feel even more isolated, because it was  over identification.  Disconnection may be hell, but it is better than false connections.

Having not only been “comforted” by friends but having tried to comfort others in the same way, I think I understand what the syndrome is about: avoidance and denial.  One of the hardest things we must do sometimes is to be present to another’s pain without trying to fix it, to simply stand respectfully at the ends of  the person’s mystery.  Standing there, we feel useless and powerless, which  is exactly how a depressed person feels – and our unconscious need as Job comforters is to reassure ourselves that we are not like the sad soul before us.”——————————————————-

Comment.  It is extremely important for others to understand that not only is the person depressed feeling useless and powerless, so to is the person who is in the company of the person depressed. It is not hard to understand that this is exactly what happens with all of us when we cannot “‘fix” someone who we know needs help.  Our statements of the false disconnection type, do not build bridges between peoples, but widens the gap between them and us. I know and believe that it is the person who is present to us, as Parker points out, that is standing by, on the outskirts of an understanding  of our pain, and who  continues  to be there without a ” toolkit” to “fix” us.

STEPPING UP TO HOPE

In Depressed Anonymous I have heard members of the group say what works for them is not to fight depression but instead do the dead man’s float — just let go and feel the sadness –don’t run away from it with lots of activity and doing — this can lead to mania — instead, admit our sadness, our despondency and face the feeling.
Don’t fight it and push it down but DISCUSS it –talk about it and see it for what it is. Since depression is a dependency issue it is only when we begin to surrender to the Higher Power or God as we understand him that we make it possible to recover from this experience. We choose to live, feel and think differently.
THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET
——————————————————–
This approach to depression really works, as the many testimonies in our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition illustrate. Yes, we know that running away from any difficulty or problem just digs the hole of our sadness deeper. Once we give up our shame or guilt for being depressed–basically our feelings powerless and being isolated –and start to share our story with others, we find our sense of mastery begins to return as our feelings of uselessness begin to evaporate. How often do members of the group, after coming to the group for some weeks, begin to look different–that is, they seem calmer and their faces become softer. The hardness disappears.
Hugh

STOP SIGNS AND SUNSPOTS

My name is Linda and the first time I read Depressed Anonymous,   I did not like it and got angry. The first part of the book about turning over our minds and life to a Higher Power sounded good.  I was ready to do that. ” Hey, here it is God! You take it! No more depression.”  But then came the part about a moral inventory, shortcomings, and the big one is that I depress myself.

“What’s he talking about?” I said to myself as I read the book. I had tried to un-depress myself many times. I put the book down, and went to work . But as I was walking around at work that night feeling very depressed, bits  and pieces of the book kept popping into my head and I started to think of the  word “stop” just like the book suggested to do.  “I depressed myself, I can un-depress myself” I said to myself.

Look for “SUNSPOTS”, memories from the past that were happy times and ones which bring back happy feelings from years gone by. I tried, but none came to mind. But I did find that just  by thinking about the book and what it  said made  me feel a little bit better.  Then a piece of a song popped into my mind: “Seek you first the Kingdom  of God and His righteousness , and all the others will be added to you.” “Hey! A SUNSPOT!” I said to myself.

Then I felt a warm glow and then I did feel better –I did it!  I made myself feel better. I can un-depress myself! I had mixed feelings. I wanted to feel better, but admitting I depressed myself was not an easy thing to do.  I went back and reread the book, but now with an open mind. I have started to follow the Twelve Steps and with the help of the Higher Power, I can have a brighter future.  I am making and putting in my memory a lot of SUNSPOTS for those times when I am feeling depressed and which I can choose to draw upon when I feel that I need  them.

I put up a “stop” sign and bring out a SUNSPOT to carry me though.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 114. Personal Stories section.

THE FEELINGS OF USELESSNESS AND SELF-PITY DISAPPEAR. THIS IS A PROMISE OF DA.

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering?  What motivates me to continue to try and help others?  What has made the change in my life where now I  want to share what I know and how I feel? Basically, I know that the program  of recovery works. I no longer feel powerless over my depression.  In Depressed Anonymous  group meetings members speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time to  look back over our shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears are going to overtake me. I now have attained small amounts of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that at times overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the First Step “we admitted we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” It is a paradox that it is in the admission that our lives are out of control that we begin to take control of our lives.”

Source: I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications.(2013) Louisville. Pages 42-43. Promise # 6.The feelings of uselessness and self-pity disappear.

MYTH #1: DEPRESSION FLOATS IN LIKE A DARK CLOUD OVER WHICH WE HAVE NO CONTROL!

An excerpt from Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition)

“The depression is so  bad at times that we feel no one would ever understand how we feel unless of course they have been there.  We just have about given up on God, church, family and friends as allies on our behalf.  We  feel resentments and anger toward people for not feeling more sympathetic toward our never ending sadness.  We feel that people aren’t kind and don’t treat us with the same respect that they do other people such as a diabetic, insomniac or arthritic person. Most people don’t want anything to do with us because they get tired of our moaning, groaning and pessimistic way of looking at life.  Why shouldn’t they? Life is tough  enough without having to be subjected to another’s gloom and doom. But this is the place where we recognize the difference between ourselves and others, and of course we think our lot is always the worst of all. The self-pity never brings us into any personal sense of peace, but has just the opposite effect in that it helps perpetuate the myth that depression floats in like a dark cloud over which we have no control. We need to tell our spouse, family and friends that we want to start again and begin to take charge of our lives and start to chip away at our sadness. We won’t blame our need to sadden ourselves on what my wife/husband did or did not do for us, or what a friend said or didn’t say. We finally have to take the bull by the horns much like the recovering alcoholic overeater, gambler or smoker, and admit that it is “I”  that has the problem, and that it no longer does any good to blame others for my problem. Once I admit that I am addicted to depressing myself, then I can begin to walk through the door of the prison that binds me. I must realize the fact that  my depression  will only get worse unless I put a stop to all the ill-thinking, feeling and acting out behavior that keeps me perpetually locked into my sadness.”

—————————————————————–

SOURCE: DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS (3rd edition). 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 86.