Admitting that we are in pain is the start of freedom!

  THE PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS.

PROMISE #1. We believe that once we have diligently and with rigorous personal honesty managed to complete the first nine steps of our program – good things can begin to happen in our life. It is after we have made amends to those whom we had harmed, swept the porch in front of our own house, and go to step ten and complete the remainder of the steps, we will be amazed at the peace that is become a part of our life.

The pain that we experience now – and working our program step-by-step is indeed slight – compared to the pain that may continue if we don’t bite the bullet and look at the issues that have trapped us these many years.

Working the 12 steps is like the person who heads toward  the light at the end of the tunnel. The closer one gets to the light – the more one discovers a way out. The light in this case is symbolized by the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. The expression of light, health and recovery of its members helps each of us to stay focused on recovery. Work is to be done if we are to find not only the light  – but a life free from the symptoms of depression.

Change is painful.  The first step is for the beginning of the end of our pain.  By admitting that we are in pain is that which paradoxically begins a release of our pain. This is the paradox of letting go and holding on as we learn from step three. What we hold onto holds on to us. What we seek – seeks us.

It is difficult for any of us to admit that our lives are out of control.

People sometimes speak of their depression as a comfort. I can identify with that, because if they were to change for anything else, they might end up with something far worse than what they have now. They feel that they might end up the hole in the doughnut. This pain of depression begins to dissolve as a result of doing something we’ve never done before – or rather doing something about our lives that we have not done before. It happens to be true that the more we get in touch with and remove our resentments, fear, guilt, and self-pity from our lives, the lighter we feel emotionally. The less need we have   to rely on defense mechanisms which shielded our fragile egos from pain,  hurt or remorse, the freer we become.

I do believe that the pain of our depression originates from inside ourselves. We construct present-day reality based on past life experiences. The past is a predictor of the future.  As it says in Depressed Anonymous, many of us held the absolute belief that “since bad things have happened to us in the past, bad things will happen to us in the future. In other words – we have made up her mind – nothing will ever change. And of course this belief is what promotes and keeps our depression  alive.”

The opposite of depression is spontaneity and vitality. When we are depressed we move about as in a fog.  we are stuck.  Since we desire everything to remain the same, that is, predictable, we in no way believe that life can be different. If we intend to stay suck, we make the decision, choose to stay in the rut of being  lifeless, hapless and helpless.

As we change old beliefs into new ones we believe that things can change as things begin to change.  We will begin to experience light, hope  and joy.   ”

In every   Depressed Anonymous story (See Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition) one’s personal story of recovery  illustrates how pain has been the admission price for the beginning  of a new life without depression and isolation.

.”The God that we know speaks to us through members of the Depressed Anonymous group. The Higher Power will put a new sense of purpose into  your life once you know how to turn  to it and surrender your pain. The Depressed Anonymous group will lead you safely and gently. The miracle is in the group.”

“The starting point is the admission that so far everything we have tried has not worked…”  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. DAP. Louisville. DA/P.39.

“… Life doesn’t have to be lived alone in agony or misery.” DA/.41.

 

Personal empowerment step by step

It is with a personal sense of awe that I see the empowerment  that comes to those persons working the 12 Step program of Depressed Anonymous. The empowerment comes to those who  are conscious of the various ways they will have to change if their lives are to grow and  change.  This is of course not without its risks.

One of the major obstacles that we have to face when we are depressed is to be willing to change the way that we think about ourselves, our world, and our future. We have to dwell on and experience our pleasant as well as the unpleasant feelings in the present. We have to be willing to  face the discomfort of living life with a sense of unpredictability. This is not an easy task.  It is a task that can be achieved with time, patience and work.

Empowerment comes from being informed and making choices that help us change our lives for the better. When I come to a Depresseed Anonymous meeting I am making the first major step –namely, admitting  by my presence at the group meeting that my life is out of control. My compulsion to depress myself is  at the root of my inability to take the challenge of living life with  risk, hope and  enthusiasm. But how can I say that I want to depress myself?   We are NOT BLAMING ourselves but are taking resposnsibility  for our own feelings, behavior and thinking. Now that I am conscious of some negative patterns of my own thinking and behavior,  I can get on  with learning new strategies for my own healing. With the heartfelt prayer of a monk, I now understand that it is by sharing the story of my life –and with the conviction that someone is there to listen to me, that this can in  time  deliver me out of my prison of fear and sadness.

I can be empowered by taking the bull by the horn and choosing each new day, one day at a time, where I can  start   feeling  different.  I now have the support of the group –support from people who have walked where I am walking.

I am investing in myself. I am  making my recovery my highest priority.  I may have been on all the antidepressant medications and  I may have seen all the best counselors and psychiatrists and doctors, but now I am coming to a group of depressed persons, men and women–people who will understand me, not judge me,  but will support me. I investing in myself and my future. What will I find there? I will find some of the most caring people on  the face of the earth. Some of the group members will have been coming for months, and week after week,  know that they are gradually feeling different and having more good days than bad.  And it’s getting better for them.  The more meetings they attend the better they feel and the more support they receive from the fellowship.  They are feeling empowered. It’s the miracle of the group. Instead of living with a compulsion to repeat old negative and life negating thinking, we now have a compulsion to live with hope. We  now  have  a desire for a brand new way of thinking. We want to change the way we live — not just the way that we talk to ourselves.

We  are seeking out a new way to live.

I now feel that I am getting better in learning how NOT to repeat my old way of thinking and bashing myself mentally with bad feelings. I am learning how dangerous it is for me to isolate and separate myself from others.    I now know that healing all takes time and with work and patience I will get better.  For most of us, it has taken a few years to get here (depressed) so why not take  time today — focusing  one day at a timeempowering ourselves, and finding the hope and serenity that others like me are living out today in   own lives. Will you join us?

SOURCES:   Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

THE  HOME STUDY KIT, A COMBINATION OF BOTH DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, PLUS THE DEPRESSED ANONMYMOUS WORKBOOK CAN BE PURCHASED TOGETHER. PLEASE CLICK ONTO VISIT THE STORE AND ORDER ONLINE.

Depression is different from normal sadness.

Depression cannot be reduced to a single factor. It is the result of the coinciding of different factors. Biological, historical, environmental and psychological factors play a certain role in the beginning and its evolution.

Many people never reach a state of clinical depression .  Such depression, with the feeling of paralysis that it involves, is different from normal sadness. People with clinical depression, in general, demonstrate physical and psychic alterations; people who are  not depressed manifest certain mental signs of sadness.

In addition, people often confuse depression with unhappiness. often one can hear the phrase “I feel depressed’, even though the person concerned only wants to say that he or she is not happy. Until, one has really experienced depression one cannot realize the enormous, difference that exists between being depressed and being unhappy. When we are unhappy, despite the scale of the tragedy that has afflicted us, we remain in contact with reality. When other people offer us consolation and love we can still feel gratitude for their warmth and support. But when we are depressed we feel like people who are excluded from the rest of the world. The comfort and love offered by other people do not penetrate our barrier and we feel neither consoled or loved. To experience real depression means to feel entrapped in pitch or suffocated by some dense, heavy material or buried alive in a dark tunnel. The depressed person   is interested in nothing and nobody, and does not feel any hope.”

SOURCE: Jose Saraiva Martins

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Comment: If you are  a depressed person and are reading this you know the guy who is writing the above material  knows what he is talking about. But, if you are  a person who has been unhappy but never depressed, it is  impossible for you to even begin to fathom what he is talking about.  ” Yes”, you might say, “but I don’t see any plaster casts, no sign of physical brokenness and the guy or gal is always happy. You know, the life of the party.”

There is a night and day difference between being depressed and being unhappy. I know,  as I have been depressed. I also  have been very unhappy as well. Being depressed is  a life threatening illness and for many the trajectory can lead to suicide  preceded by thinking that is hopeless and suicidal.

The person who has experienced depression themselves and who seeks  help to climb out of the dark pit now has friends in the  Depressed Anonymous fellowship of the 12 steps.  The new person coming into our group soon learns that the members know about the depression experience. Some have talked about trying to commit  suicide.

My point is that  persons depressed live in a world that they cannot touch, a world which they are viewing from the insides of an  enclosed soundproof glass room. They are completely isolated and adrift —  floating alone in a river of turbulence and dangerous currents. And when the time comes to flee this pain and isolation they run to the people who say they know what depression is. They also have a “toolkit” which they continue to use in their daily lives which helps them to forever stay out of that glass enclosed room.  I am one  of those persons who never  returned to that past time in my life when I felt totally alone, without friends, purpose or meaning in my life. I owe my life to Depressed Anonymous and its powerful focus on hope instead of hopelessness.

Hugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SINGLE HOUSEHOLDS IN AMERICA INCREASED 10% BETWEEN 1970 AND 2012. (us census)

I sometimes believe that the rise in single person households in the USA might either be the cause of a rise in Depression or at least show a correlation between these two  variables. I  believe that our modern culture helps produce the human monad or let’s say, a human nomad rootless and alone. As the reality of a person isolated and alone can many times enkindle  a personal sadness and atrophied social skills, we might be able to deduce from this that an  individual could be setting themselves up for episodes of depression. Our modern mass culture, dedicated as it is to being a consumer of things and stuff (cf. George Carlin), and being part of a homogenized society with its focus on appearance, affluence and acceptance (cf. Mary Pifer’s work REVIVING OPHELIA: Teenage girls and depression), we find  the  isolated monad, in a society dominated by the pursuit of wealth, ( most of society struggling to make ends meet, working part time and low wage jobs) so why wouldn’t a person find themselves depressed.

I also think that most of us desire a life with meaning. A life that has purpose bigger than ourselves. But the more walls we butt our heads against, trying to find meaningful work, or any work and just wages, the deeper the pit of our frustration grows

Today in this age of an ever changing technology,  more of us might find ourselves  like the wandering nomad in a desert, no longer provided with guideposts directing us on a way out of our isolation and alienation from ourselves and our society. There is always another NEW and IMPROVED gizmo, for consumers to salivate over, marketed 24/7 on all our electronic devices.  And, not surprisingly, the message is to always have the right appearance so to  fit into all the right social groups; accepted by the all the right cliques  of people;  to live in the right affluent neighborhood (usually always more than our income allows).

Finally, when the bubble of our chase leads to a loss of self, and our bubble of isolation bursts, we either admit we are on the wrong path or we continue to deepen the pit of our own isolation and sadness.  To this end, speaking for myself, we begin the search for the real deal, where people are really themselves, warts and all. We want to  become part of that society (fellowship) larger than ourselves, where we now have a purpose motivated life. We now are neither monad or nomad but part of a group of men and women who live a life filled with hope and serenity. The chase has ended. What do you think?

Hugh