Was finding this phone number a coincidence?

 

Helen shares her story about finding help–when she needed it most.

”   I finally knew after two year or more of sleepless nights that someone had to help me.   I found a card saying Depressed  Center, in the back  of the phone book. It has a phone number and that was all. I talked to a man on the other end of the phone.  I said to myself this man is too  busy to talk with me, but anyway I made the first appointment myself. I made myself go. I thank God I did. I thank God that I went for help. It was a whole new beginning for me. I wanted to get well so badly. I think people do have to want to change. I went in with an attitude that I have to get well. I had heard things about counselors that scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in. I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thoughts. I began to feel better and I continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous  some weeks later.”

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If you are curious about how the mutual aid group changed Helen’s life you’ll need to read her full account in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,  pages 169-172.

She also has something powerful to say about pleasing people and how  she needed to get her priorities straight and begin taking care of herself.

Sources:   Seeing is believing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017). Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

 I’ll do it when I feel better.(2018) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY

One picture is worth a thousand words!

 

The reason I started a Depressed Anonymous meeting in 1985 is because I knew that getting a meeting organized would be a help to those suffering from depression. I also know  just like in any other 12 step fellowship group,   power is in the group. Whatever the serious nature of the problem we face, a group of people who are on the same page, mentally, spiritually and physically, provides  a healing atmosphere   for the participant.

Since I was also a member of another 12 step fellowship, I instinctively knew that getting the depressed out of their isolation and into relationships with people like themselves would be therapeutic. We all had the same story to tell. It was not only a story of  our struggles with our own depression but it  was a story that brought   a fresh  new hope for ourselves and  for all those with whom we shared out lives.

I mentioned the song sung by Ane Brun, the Norwegian singer,  in a recent blog(10/13) and now today I would like to give you the lyrics to the song. I dedicate it to those   who bring to life something new. We bring a new life not just for ourselves but for others like ourselves. In this case, here is the last stanza of her powerful message.

“It all starts somewhere

It all starts with one

Everything comes from something

It all starts with one

Starts with one.”

Copyright(c) Ane  Brun

(You can hear her whole song on YouTube.)

I have found this song’s  lyrics so powerful that I was motivated to  share a small part of this song with each of you.  As you and I know, ideas and movements have to start somewhere with somebody. They don’t just happen. Movements, great ideas, they   always “start with one, and then two and then three and more. ”  Truly a song about the power of ONE.  We all know about the power of social media and how experiences of others  become viral so that  millions of people may see the same picture and get the same message. As the saying goes, “one  picture is worth a thousand words.”

I remember well the reaction that I got when I asked my Dean of the Psychology Department if I could start a group for persons depressed. I felt that we had possibly found a way out of depression, using the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and modeling this program of recovery for persons  depressed, The Dean’s response  was doubtful. He gave me  the  “go ahead”  but remarked that  “since the depressed normally can’t get themselves out of bed because of their depression, don’t be disappointed if they don’t show up for this project.” I’m glad that we went ahead. We  had a very successful outcome where most of the depressed in our program  felt their depressed mood lighten. What happened after that is history. In May of 1985, with the help of members from our initial group, Depressed Anonymous was started. It is now is spreading around the world. Our literature is now in English, Farsi language, Russian, and presently being translated into Spanish (2019) and Dutch. The Internet has brought our message of hope  into lives and  homes around the globe.   Our message  of hope is just a click away.

Remember, it all starts with one, and two, three and more….

Hugh

“It all starts with one.”

A popular singer from Norway (Ane Brun)  penned the lyrics of a song which I found to be a powerful testament to the “power of one.” If you type in the words “It all starts with one ” at You Tube you can hear the song and read the lyrics as well.

Over these many years with our fellowship Depressed Anonymous I have found that the song “It all starts with one ” to be a powerful reminder of the power individuals have when they have a passion for service. I am referring to those persons who start Depressed Anonymous meetings in their communities.  They are the living proof  that it only takes one person to share their passion and set up a meeting for those “still suffering” from depression.  Most DA group  founders who  have started groups I know personally . Some are still at it after a decade or so of service.

Yes, it’s true. “It all starts with one” . Are you that one?  Let us know  at Depressed Anonymous if you are interested in helping others like yourself who are depressed. Depressed persons are looking to you for help.

Contact us here at info@depressedanonymous or email us   at depanon@netpenny.net.

Hugh

My moods began to spiral upwards once I regained control of my life!

 

Is it that simple?   Gaining control  of my life  didn’t happen overnight. I did  know that most people’s depression usually lifted after a year’s time. Mine did.  The catch is,  that for me,  it took some work and patience. No magic wand waving over my head and no silver bullet automatically killing the demon of despair that continued to beat me down. But what  gradually happened was  that my mood  came back providing me with hope and a plan for my recovery.  I began to feel some control over how I was feeling and the new mood of cheer gave me the courage to keep on doing what I was doing. In my case, my mood began to be lightened the more I continued my daily walking.

Just my determination to take of myself physically paid huge benefits. For once, in many months I felt some control over my mood and the direction where my life was heading.  I was beginning to be in control instead of my life being out of control and unmanageable.

I remember in Graduate school I gave persons depressed a questionnaire  determining  how  much control they felt they had over their lives. Interestingly, the person who felt they had less control over their lives, or none at all, these  more depressed  persons felt less in control over their environment and the way  the direction of their life was taking.

Those who were less depressed answered that they were begin to feel more in control of their lives. These persons  were experiencing more hope and   the direction of their lives was providing purpose and meaning.

What to do?

First of all, get a plan that will work for you. My plan was this Step by Step program of recovery we call Depressed Anonymous. The best part of the plan is to find friends who, just like ourselves, are working the same plan.  This fellowship, this non judgmental approach and support of the group provides us with our marching orders.  When members of the fellowship share their story–we hear our own story. We know that just by admitting that we need help  it is at this initial starting point, where we begin to spiral upwards instead of continuing   the spiral downward.

If you  want to take control of your life and your mood, it would do you well to join us and  discover how others gained control  over their lives just as it is possible for yourself.

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

“My life is out of control!”

 

“I have come to the Step program because my life is out of control. Whatever I do or think or say seems to make no difference on the way that I feel right now. I feel out of control, and some other force is in charge of my life. I know also that this force, this power other than myself, this sadness has me captive and somehow I have felt unable to do much about it.”

Until today!

In our Home Study program of recovery,  we use the Depressed Anonymous Workbook in conjunction with the  Depressed Anonymous Manual,   together  let them lead us, Step by Step   out of our depression.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook facilitates a new self awareness  by questions which we need to answer.  Each Step is provides  further meaningful thoughts from the “Big Book” of Depressed Anonymous. By reading certain noted paragraphs, as indicated in our Workbook, (Page #), we move through all the questions with that  greater  self-awareness of how depression controls every day of our lives. Actually, the Workbook, by its questions and my responses, continues to open up for me  where my life can be lived with hope once again.

Example: Workbook question #1.9 “What areas of one’s life appear to be more out of control now that you are aware of how depression can isolate a person. What areas  of one’s life appears more manageable now that you are aware of how you can change things around —  choosing to feel differently?” Workbook, Page 9.

“It is in the admission that we are out of control that a remedy can be applied to our battle with depression. It is a paradox for our understanding of depression to learn that only  when we give up control, do we gain control over what we want to be, think or do. If there is anything that creates a sense of hopelessness, it’s when we  fee that we don’t have any control over our lives. When we are depressed, we feel  dependent on all the forces that act on us and our environment. We feel that we are like the victims of the interminable feeling that we call depression. Depression can be like a hell or bottomless pit from which we feel we can never escape. It’s like being in an  eighty foot hole with an eight foot ladder.” Depressed Anonymous Manual.  Page 28.

______________________

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

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky

Many Depressed Anonymous meetings  use the Home Study as a meeting Step Study group

For more literature about Depression and the Twelve Steps click onto the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore.

Please don’t tell me to “snap out of it.”

The Mental Health Award winner Dorothy Rowe  Ph.D.,   tells us

” that  the best way depressed people can help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one   another. ”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Some folks think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. Wrong. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they had any control over it.  My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most support are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to snap out of it!

I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try and help them. Look for a Depressed Anonymous  Group in your community.

MEDITATION

God, grant us the serenity to accept  the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things  we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS?   Please write out your comments  here if you like.

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down days. 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 201.

Faith appears to be good for one’s health.

Joyce  was a client of mine a few years back. She was in her early sixties and just recuperating from   a successful  open heart surgery. She also was very  depressed.  That’s where I come in. I was asked by my clinical supervisor  if I would spend some time with her and see  how I might be of help to her.  I agreed to do what I could do.

In the midst of counseling and listening to Joyce’s  story, I discovered her  strong faith,  which included her personal faith in God which gave her the belief that she was going to get through whatever  that had her  in lockdown.

She wasn’t aware of our Depressed Anonymous group and so I shared my story with her and the fact that I too  was once depressed. I told her how I became a  believer in the spirituality of the Twelve Steps and how my belief in God  delivered me from my symptoms of depression. Now don’t get me wrong -my own story is that it took me over a year to finally  get free of this noose around my neck.  Also, because of my faith in a program and the  recovered  people who lived it out in their daily lives,  I started on the road to recovery.

My faith told me if I would follow some of the simple steps outlined in this recovery program I would get better. My faith got me off of my seat,  out of bed and out my door to begin walking.  I believed  walking might be the key that unlocked my prison of depression. I read  that some Doctors in England were writing out   prescriptions for exercise for their depressed patients. I figured that it worked for them and so why wouldn’t exercise work for me.  After a year of walking everyday I finally walked out of the mental fog, lost the jitters and became free of depression. My faith in a Higher Power and my getting my body moving on a daily basis produced the healing effect that I had hoped for.

Back to Joyce. She and I had ten sessions together and I suggested to her that she start to think about the things that she did before her depression. What provided the satisfaction  and those pleasant events previously in her life. She talked about how she at one time was a cartoonist as well as a lover of writing poetry. So, that is what I suggested — that she involve herself with these pleasant activities again.  She said that she believed that she could do it–even though her mind and body rebelled at moving out of her comfort zone of doing absolutely nothing. The main defense for doing nothing is the oft repeated mantra from all of us when  we are depressed which  is “I’ll do it when I feel better.”

With each new session she would share with me a cartoon or a poem which she had created the previous  week. As she continued doing what she liked, I  noticed more energy in her voice as she shared her feelings about her new  creations.  All the while, she was compliant with her own physical recovery from heart surgery. Her pleasant moods  gave her a feeling of being in control of her life and her future.  She came to believe that a power greater than herself would restore not only her sanity but her health as well. Her faith was renewed in the God of her understanding while restoring  her belief that her  health was going to get better. Not only did  she have a plan to follow but she made the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps her way out of depression. She continues to follow this map to this very day.

The following quote is from a work  titled,  The Secret Strength of Depression written by Frederic Flach, M.D., K.H.S.

Faith appears to be good for one’s overall health. Cardiovascular illnesses are more frequently seen in depressed individuals, in patients with coronary ischemia, depression worsens the outcome, possibly due to alterations in platelet function and changes in autonomic tone. Depression is also associated with a higher mortality rate following acute myocardial infarction; for those patients who survive, the recovery process is often a more complicated  one. Studies suggest that the recovery rate from medical and surgical procedures, from the repair of hip  fractures to coronary bypass surgery, is faster among believers. Moreover, patients undergoing such treatment appear less likely to have serious complications or die.” Page 239.

SOURCES:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. Ky.

Copyright(c)  I’ll do it when I feel better. 2nd  Edition 1986,  2013.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Copyright)(c)  Believing is seeing:15 Ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

I have a plan that is simple with startling results.

 

Years ago I needed help and I was offered a number of plans/solutions  which promised me relief for my particular problem.  The plans offered me didn’t seem to work.  In my desperation I thought I would try a 12 Step program of recovery. The plan was very simple. Not hard to understand. I tried it. I went to my first meeting and was given hope. All the folks there at the meeting were using the same plan. They talked about how this plan changed their lives. That got my attention. It got my attention because their story was my story. The group provide me with the plan’s  list of areas in my life that I needed to look at.  The plan, as I mentioned before was simple. Not complicated at all.

Have you ever in your life had to put something together  and the thing that you put together came with a plan.  It was  a blueprint like thing that showed you what  the end product would look like. when all the proper instructions were carried out.  At this first meeting I made a commitment to follow this plan for 24 hours.  Only 24 hours. Hey, not a big deal. I could handle that. So, I took the plan home and started to read the instructions, chapter and verse.  It was a simple plan.

Now I had this plan. It was a plan for everyday of my life. I thought wow! is this good or what. That is exactly what I needed. I remember saying to myself, “I hope it works.” It works.  Over 30 years later I am using the same plan. It never gets old and stale.

Early on I got some tools to go with the instructions on how to use the plan. The first tool showed me how to admit what was fouled up in my life and to also admit how things were terribly out of hand.  In our plan there were all sorts of other tools that I needed to use if I was to get back on my  feet. I have to confess some of these tools were not easy to use exactly. I mean there were parts  of the plan that I needed to look at more closely than I ever had before. This plan came with a great instruction book that I and others call the Big Book. It spells  out not only how to use the tools but what happens when we actively embrace them and put them to use in our daily life.

So, now besides the plan, we have the tools to go along with the instructions. So my life began to change. I began to find serenity in my life and I began to realize that there were things that I need to change in my life and then there were things I knew I couldn’t change. You know, like things that happened to me in then past. The instructions showed me a great way to take care of those issues that up to a time haunted me. I now really feel at home in my own skin now.

Startling results? Well, for sure. And part of the reason for these startling results is besides having a plan–having new tools to use-I was plopped right in the middle of a group of men and women that were using the same plan as I was. Like, we are all on the same page, literally. I was in a fellowship of folks who were telling each other their stories about how the instructions and tools brought them some really fantastic experiences  changes in their lives.  The first time I set foot in this group, I was  promised that certain things were going to happen to me. You know what? They were right.  They said that once  I had the instructions under my belt, I would want to go and tell others my story.  I would want to go and let those still suffering from whatever addiction  was killing them, that they could live with the hope that their lives  would change, as did mine.    By following our plan, using our tools of recovery, and being a part of our fellowship (a 12 Step group) you “will be amazed before you are halfway through ” ( the instructions.) Again, that’s a Promise!

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Contact: depanon@netpenny.net for more info.

God doesn’t act like gangbusters.

“In Depressed Anonymous, we are exposed constantly to the tough message that we have to give up our self-pity  and sadness if we want to be happy. We have to think in terms of what is possible with God in our lives. Sometimes people come to Depressed Anonymous and don’t want to talk about  God and the Twelve Steps, and can’t understand what this has to do with how bad they feel. If after a number of meetings they still don’t want to work the Twelve Steps, we recommend other groups to them. Depressed Anonymous is a spiritual program and it is allowing the Higher Power into our lives that eventually delivers us from the habit of feeling sad and depressed. We in Depressed Anonymous are committed to working  the Twelve Steps and listening to each other share how God, as we understand God, has worked in our lives….

Jim, a member of Depressed Anonymous admitted that he had seriously thought of taking his own life as he had lost all hope of removing this sadness which, like a cancer, was taking his life by inches. It was only when he had nothing to lose that he made a decision to turn his mind and his will over to the care of God as he understood God. It was at this point that that the God of his understanding or the Higher Power was allowed to work in Jim’s life. God doesn’t act like  gangbusters and force its way into our lives -God has to be invited. Once again there is an invitation from us and we admit our dependence  on God instead of on our own addiction. It is then that our feelings begin to come alive and the flow of God’s love makes its way into our lives. We begin to to find that we are feeling better and that something good as we trust, possibly for the first time,  this God who will give us our heart’s desire. “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things that we can and the wisdom to know the difference. ” Trust God to be God, and let this power help you, as it has helped millions of other men an women before you.”

COPYRIGHT(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed. Depressed Anonymous Publications Louisville, KY.

 

The 12 Steps are my North Star.

 

   “Depressed Anonymous means hope -as long as you want to get out of the pit of depression just start to believe that little voice which says “Yes,  I am hopeful. I will feel better too.”  The other members of Depressed Anonymous give me hope. Others have made it  out of the deep lonely pit of depression and so can I.  I choose to be happy even if I don’t feel happy right away. I am going to risk feeling different from this wretched sadness that I feel all the time.   I have nothing to lose – except my fear of the future.

But with OUR new way of living and thinking,  we are going to stay in the NOW. We know tomorrow produces anxiety and fear. Yesterday is there with all the old hurts and anger.  All I have is the now!  If I live in the now, I can begin to stay out of yesterday with all its old wounds and hurts   and resist living in tomorrow  with its unknown problems. Negative thoughts about our past or those tomorrow can numb our feelings so that we don’t have to feel the pain of whatever it is that isolates us from the world around us. We also admit, like any one person addicted to a person, place, thing, chemical or drug, that our lives are out of control. We have to admit that by depressing ourselves, we have chosen saddening ourselves as our drug of choice. We medicate ourselves with sadness any time we might have to change the way we live our lives. Sometimes, our depression over sadness arises out of guilt as we continue to turn our personal  mistakes into giant catastrophes -this continues to make us feel as if we are nothing and valueless. This all adds to our frustration and the feeling of our being out of control. We know that if we just give up our struggles against depression and admit our powerlessness over it we can begin to surrender to our Higher Power and practice letting go of it.  I can decide that I want to feel good again. I can decide that I want to feel happy and put this constant sadness and hollowness behind me once and for all. I know that no longer will I  have to retreat or flee from these sad feelings and escape with sleep, over activity or drugs. I know that whenever my sadness seems unending, I then just admit that I am not helpless and that I can do something about it because I have the tools (see Tools of Recovery at Menu)  and I can learn the skills that I didn’t know were available to me before. Now I am deciding to think, act and behave differently much to my personal credit and new found trust in the Higher Power.  I am a sailor who sees the land, knows the right direction and does the rowing to get where I want to get. The Twelve Steps are my compass…”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. Pages. 34-35.