Did I create my own prison of depression?

You know,  that’s a  great question for us who have been , or who are presently depressed.  My own reflections about my own experience with depression wasn’t a question that I  asked myself. Actually, that came later in my recovery.  I  really didn’t care who or what  created it – all I knew was I had to get rid of it.  In fact, the experience was much like Noah’s  in the belly of the whale.  I was just walking along one day minding my own business, and suddenly bam! physically feeling swallowed  up by some  invisible  creature who  was devouring me. And that was that. From that  moment on, the feeling continued to overwhelm  me for the next year and half.

Because I had no label to pin on this “whatever it was,”  and I thought nothing important to talk to  anyone  about, but only that the  feeling of helplessness had me locked down.  Oh, I still went to work, trudged through Graduate studies and continued my relationship with others, never revealing my interior mysterious  sense of isolation and despair.

My only distraction was to get up early every morning( biggest challenge of the day) and walk for miles, round and round,  thankful I was still able to function.

Long story short, during this period,  I gradually felt   small lift’s in my spirit but they never lasted. So I continued walking until I managed to walk out of the fog. I was feeling hopeful again,  able to face life with hope. Finally feeling fully freed from the  hopelessness that had isolated me from my world, disconnecting  me from everything, everybody, even myself. That was then.

Now reaching back into the past, looking at my life before ”  whatever it was” that had me,  I began  discovering that I’d unconsciously constructed my own prison and confinement. My ruminating on fearful scenarios of losing my job, not able to handle     negative life issues and constant  frightful thinking plus the  continuous feeling deep painful moods, all grinding my body, mind and spirit into the ground. The feeling, best described this  is  like  someone scraping  their  fingernails on  a blackboard all day  without end.  If you are old enough to remember this particular feeling, (or even a blackboard)  then you know it was that painful knife-like  feeling thrust through your stomach that echoed throughout your whole body. Well, that was the way I felt all the time, particularly in the morning each day.  I wanted never to get up. Here is where motivation  follows action . Move the body and the mind will follow.

When I speak of the pain that threw me to the ground and ended the familiar  life that I knew,  the members of the Depressed Anonymous group know exactly what I am talking about. Depression is physically  painful.  Usually when I tell someone I was depressed, they normally  don’t understand, unless of course, they have been depressed themselves.

In my case, I unconsciously  caused and created  my depression, and allowed the symptoms to grind me down until I took steps to feel differently.  The steps that I took   was to attend the “miracle of the Depressed Anonymous group ” where  I could share my own experiences, strength and hope, make the 12 Steps a daily part of my life, and to share this message of hope with all who feel the same way as I did.

Believing in a Higher Power greater than myself  continues to keep me sane and living one day at a time. It works. It can work for you as well.

For more information contact us @

Depanon@netpenny.net and read  what we are about @ depressedanon.com.

Resources:

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publicatiuons. Louisville, KY 40241.

Home Study Program of Recovery  (See DA literature here at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore).

 

“We believe that no one can love us…”

We come to believe that if we do consider ourselves bad and worthless, we just know that no one can really love us or accept us. We just know the more we look at ourselves and our few remaining relationships, that we really aren’t accepted – people just put up with us.

“…There is  one great advantage about seeing yourself as helpless and in the power of others. You don’t have to be responsible for yourself. Other people make all the decisions and when things turn out badly you can blame other people. And things always turn out badly. You know this. That’s why you always expect the worst.” Dorothy Rowe.

Responsibility is the name of the game in recovery and it is here that we need to focus our attention.  As we get into discussion with other people who are depressed, much like ourselves, we see that they talk abut feeling better while at the same time acting on their own behalf. These people who are doing better are also talking about taking charge of their lives and doing things for themselves. In fact, at Depressed Anonymous meetings, the recovery people often delight at how assertive they are becoming now that they have gained a sense of mastery over their lives. They are also committed to their own recovery. People who want to change begin to swallow their pride and ask for help.  They get in touch with their feelings and feel!  This is truth and this is getting in touch with one’s best self. ”

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SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 91.

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.

What is Dep-Anon Family Group?

DEP-ANON FAMILY GROUP

Support Group for family and friends of the depressed.

Scores of books have been written on the subject of depression. If you are like most of us, we have all run after and read the latest work on depression looking for clues to see just what is wrong with our loved ones and what it is that they face and struggle with.
DEP-ANON is a support group for family and friends of the depressed. This program is very much like AL-ANON where family members gather to help each other learn how to detach and cope with alcoholism. In the same way DEP-ANON is an effort of family and friends to gather together and learn how to live with and cope with their depressed loved one.
At a planning session for DEP-ANON, family members were asked to list all the feelings that they experience while living with a depressed loved one. From the discussion we were surprised to find out some amazing facts. 1) That the feelings family members were experiencing were very similar to those which their depressed loved ones were experiencing, and 2) these feelings were also having an equally destructive effect in the lives of family members. DEP-ANON FAMILY GROUP (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville, KY.USA.
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More on this important subject tomorrow. Please let us know if this topic is of interest to you. We might be able to help you set up a Family Group in your locale or just use the material for your own guidance.

“WE HAVE LESS CONCERN ABOUT SELF AND GAIN INTEREST IN OTHERS.” PROMISE # 7 of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

PROMISE # 7 OF  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

“As we start our program of recovery we notice that there are persons in the group who are less well off than are we.”

Newcomers also remind us of ourselves when we stepped into the group for the first time.  They struggle to keep back tears and hurt as they speak, possibly for the first time, trusting that they are with people who have been where they are.   This is what provides the beginning of hope and healing.  People in the group speak their language of hope and possibility. They hear how recovery is possible. They want those tools to use in their own recovery.

…  We need to air our hurts, our shame, and let others hear our story. (3)

I personally believe that once I have made the first step, and admitted my powerlessness, I set in motion a force, a loving force of the creator in my personal life. In time I am filled with energy and find that this power can change me and restore my life with purpose and meaning. It can prepare me to meet those who are willing to risk leaving the prison of their depression. By my own interest in getting in touch with the Higher Power and getting its direction to “do the next right thing” I find that my own life is gradually becoming more filled with purpose and energy.”

SOURCE:  I’LL  DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Pages 43-44.

“I AM GOING TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF!”

A quote from PERSONAL STORIES in the 3rd edition of the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS book. Page 148.

” I had to get my priorities straight. I put a lot of importance on things that were not important, or what somebody else might say about me.  I was afraid to change. I was afraid that I would change into a person that would be selfish and uncaring, but it didn’t happen that way. I just found a different way to go about it. In getting my priorities straight, I discovered that if a person doesn’t accept me the way I am,  then that doesn’t matter. I am going to do the best that I can. If someone else can’t handle that, I am awfully sorry about that, but it has to be. I want everyone to approve of me, but I am just not going to do that. I am not going to please everyone. I have got to take care of myself. I was so busy trying to please everyone else that I wasn’t taking care of my own needs. At the time I was doing it, I didn’t realize that I was doing it. Now I won’t deliberately hurt anyone else, but I am going to take care of myself.”   –Helen

NOTE:  The PERSONAL STORIES  include accounts from those persons who  found themselves  while being active participants in the fellowship of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS. Their accounts of struggle and hope provide the necessary motivation for those still struggling with depression and shows how one can leave their own prison of depression. The DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS program of recovery provides not only a guide for productive and active living–it provides the tools on how to get to where you want to go.