“I want to be alive and alert to all that happens to me today and to think positively about the things I can change and what needs to be changed in my life.”
“We numb ourselves from ever having to take personal responsibility for having to change the way we live our life or construct the way we look at the world. We can’t stand to experience any feeling except sadness. Our addiction to sadness is a big problem but it is also a big comfort.”
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I am gradually taking the time and making the effort to dismantle my depression. I know that, in time and with effort, I will win over this sadness and this desire for isolation and aloneness. I am seeing that I need time to play, time to share, and a time to risk myself in the group. I also find that the more I believe that I can change my mood to a more pleasant one, the more pleasant I am becoming.
An addiction is something that I cannot not do without. That is why my depression is such an addiction. I cannot live my life without the comfort of knowing that I can always drift off and live in the womb of my sadness and isolation. I must come alive when I have to face my pain and walk through the fear of my withdrawal from sadness.”
We know now that we can let go of that which is keeping us isolated from others who seem happy and content working their program. God, give us the courage to always stay connected with our friends in the program. (Personal comments).
SOURCES: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. June 6.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
When I was a child I was afraid of going down into our home’s basement. It was dark and gloomy. My older brother convinced me that a frightening ghost was prepared to jump on me and eat me if I ever ventured downstairs. Even when the single light that shone during the day couldn’t free me from my dreaded fear of the unknown.
As I grew older and outgrew my fears about ghosts and such I still was plagued with fears about things which popped up unexpectedly in my life. The way I handled these fears was to think of all the possible ways that I would be eaten (metaphorically speaking ) if the dark moods which were created inside of me continued. It appeared that the more I was feeling these unpleasant feelings swirling around in my mind, the more fearsome they did become. It was no longer the ghost in the basement that terrified me but it was my own fears of being reduced to nothingness that sent me spiraling downward into the great dark abyss. In a certain manner of speaking, when I had a situation that caused my whole person to grieve something as much as a part of ourselves , loss of a love, a loved one’s death, loss of freedom through an addiction, again I was being thrust into the dark basement of my childhood, with those old horrific feelings suddenly rekindled and as real a threat as the imagined ferocious basement ghost of my childhood.
Feelings are like that. They seem to just come out of the blue. In reality they come out of our past and those awful fears are being reignited by some of the same situations that caused us such panic in the earliest years of our lives. These fears continue to scare us and shut us down, feeling-wise, as long as we make no efforts to identify them and see how they are connected between then and now. Our body sensors are always alert to danger and so somehow a present danger or unpleasant feeling appears as fresh and new, when in reality it has its origin in a fearful childhood experience.
“By our continual shutting ourselves up in the little world of our own mind, we gradually sink more and more into despair and feel that no one can understand how we think and feel. The biggest freedom that we can gain from confessing to someone else is that we no longer have to have it all together and be perfect. We can then begin to admit we are petty, selfish and self-centered. We can then admit that we want to have restored a sense of peace by getting free from all worry and fear from the past and by turning these feelings over to the Higher Power. We can discover that forgiving ourselves and being forgiven by God are one and the same thing. The group will see to it that the more you admit your own fears about yourself and the future the less terror the present will hold for you.”
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I am going to take a fearless and moral inventory of myself today and list on paper my strengths as well as my weaknesses, that is those characteristics in my life that might keep me fearful and depressed,
“Step Four and Five really have to be faced head-on if our depression is to go away. Steps Four and Five are all about cleaning house. We must square off with ourselves and begin the rooting out process that will in time, free us from our sadness and our identity as a depressed person. So often a person depressed is afraid, panic stricken really, in facing some issues that were never their fault in the first place.”
I see so many people are liberated from their depression the moment they begin to look themselves in the eye and reflect on their character defects. These persons are the ones who are not afraid to make a list of all the persons they have hurt by their isolating depression and by the thought that they are unacceptable to others and to themselves. By working Step Five which states that “we admitted to God, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” I am assured by another person’s acceptance of me that I will get through this time of pain and hurt.
Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous had a spiritual awakening on night as he truly was at the lowest point in his life and begged God to help him. God’s love lit up the room for Bill and he was never the same after that. He was a changed man. I need to make restitution to my family, my friends, my spouse and to whomever for my withdrawing from life and hiding from my responsibilities. This is the work that is needed if I am to get free of the shackles of sadness.
God, shine the light of your wisdom into our hearts so that you might help us find the way out of our depression and get on with living our lives the way you would have us live them. Our fears and anxieties are definitely not the way you would want us to live. You have shown us the way out of our misery by bringing us close to those who once were depressed, but now in recovery, are doing better.”
SOURCES: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for all members of 12 Step fellowships. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 224/ November 10th.
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Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
“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.
I will not be afraid of the shadows in my life and my personality, but I will face them and look at them and find serenity.
“They knew what to do about those black abysses that yawned to swallow me when I felt depressed or nervous. There was a concrete program, designed to secure the greatest possible inner security for us long time escapists. The feeling of impending disaster that had haunted me for years began to dissolve as I put into practice more and more of the Twelve Steps. It worked. ” (1)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I am now having more periods of serenity and quiet as I begin to work the Steps of my program and trust more in my Higher Power. I know that my God is there right now waiting to help me through this time of sadness and disease. I believe that my help is coming from a power greater than myself. I know that it is never to my advantage to run away from my problems or hide from the fact that I need to construct a new way to look at myself.
When you are depressed you are not even aware of the fact that you are unconsciously making an effort to escape from your sadness as this running away that we do is so subtle and so chronic. Now that I know that I am responsible for setting myself free from my depression the more I am going to face my fear, anxiety and loneliness. I no longer intend to escape my responsibility for myself, my serenity and happiness. Only I can make myself happy.
Our fears began to dissolve once we begin the process of believing in this power greater than ourselves. We no longer put our trust in the sadness that appeared to us to be like a God in that it was all powerful and all important. It ruled every moment of the day. It also comforted us with its predictability. We are, today, choosing a God who loves us and will lead us into the promised land of hope and security.
SOURCE: HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE. JULY 14.