DEPRESSION: Only the concern of the lone sufferer or is it a harbinger of a societal (community) problem?

Remember the canary in the coal mine? The canary, carried by miners into the mine was the first one to smell potential disaster, alerting miners to get out of that mine. Today, with so much emphasis on medical treatments, David Karp, a sociologist, in “Speaking of Sadness” comments in his chapter Sociology, Spirituality and Suffering that “once individuals realize that medical treatment is unlikely to fix their problems, their thinking moves away from the medical language of cure toward the spiritual language of transformation.” He also tells us that “…(T)he Iroquois Indians, for example, believed that when any single person suffered, it reflected the suffering of nature, of the whole world, in fact.” The reality is that all life is interconnected with other living organisms. We see this illustrated best when a culture becomes narcissistic and centered primarily on the individual. Karp maintains that “the social disconnection generated by an ethic of individualism is an important element in the proliferation of affective disorders in America.”
While I believe that medications can alleviate the pain of some of those who are depressed and seek clinical help, the meds in themselves cannot remove whatever caused the pain, or the initial hurt. But the depression itself will allow us to take a deeper look at how we live out our lives. And for this reason that is why I am an advocate for mutual-aid groups where persons can come together, form community/fellowships and follow a procedure for healing ourselves while assisting in the healing of other members of the community.
The first step of Depressed Anonymous states that “We admitted…” and in Steps three, eight, ten, eleven, twelve again the word “we” is used. If anyone wants to find a community and a spiritual antidote to individualism, the 12 step fellowships provide a solution focused recovery program. I am an advocate for 12 step programs based on helping each other out of isolation into a fellowship of hope and healing. No longer is it just about me, me alone, but about something bigger than just me .It is a “we” program.
We are all connected!

I MADE A DECISION-

Back in the last century I made a decision that continues to direct my life today and everyday. That decision was that I needed help. I needed to know how to free myself from an addiction to a substance that was gradually killing me. The only place that I knew that might offer me some help would be a local AA group. Frightfully, but expectantly, I walked through the door of my first 12 step meeting. The power that was greater than me–was the group of men and women who were meeting to talk about a solution–namely, to their addiction to alcohol. I felt at home. Well, not totally at home–but I did find acceptance for me and my particular addiction. They presented me with a toolbox–not material tools–but spiritual tools that I use to keep myself free of my desire and craving for alcohol. We call them the 12 steps.
That was in 1982, December 7th. And then three years later I became depressed and I applied the steps to my depression experience, which likewise was killing me. I got out my tool box and began applying the same tools as I had applied to my other addiction and found I again had a solution to my twisted and distorted thinking. It was only after I admitted that I had a problem, and my life was unmanageable, did I find a way out. My Higher Power leads the way, day after day, month after month and year after year. If you want to learn more about how YOU can make a decision, find the tools and keep your attention focused on the solution oriented 12 steps, then you let us know. We want to share with you our story and how it was before in our life and how it is now.
Looking to find that toolbox? We can help. Don’t give up. Look us up and give us a call.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BE HAPPY?

Sigmund Freud was once asked what people needed to be happy? The questioner no doubt expected a long, complicated answer reflecting Freud’s years of deep reflection on the matter. His simple response, however, was “arbeiten und lieben,” –work and love. Happy people feel connected to others at work and through their intimate relationships. When those connections are threatened, diminished, or broken, people suffer. Today, millions of Americans are suffering from what my colleague Charles Derber calls “double trouble.” Those in double trouble have neither meaningful work nor sustaining intimate ties. The withering of community life in both domains fosters a rootless and social disintegration that unquestionably contributes to the growth of emotional disorders.” Speaking of Sadness. David Karp. Page 178.

Reflection
I believe that in the midst of the pain of depression I just wanted to pull the plug on life. I wanted to be alone. I just wanted people to keep their distance. I was not happy. I was unhappy at a job I began to hate. I do remember how hard it was even to lift up the phone to talk to a family member, an old friend or whoever intruded into my isolation. Truly I was suffering from “double trouble.”
But as the pain deepened I began to look for solutions–where was the key to unlock my depression. I found it in a fellowship, a 12 Step Recovery group. I was able to form intimate relations, work a program which was solution focused and then gradually get back into the light, into meaningful relationships. I also recovered the energy I needed to find a career that today (30 years later) still gives me joy and sustains my hope.