Our relationship with others will improve. Now isn’t that a good thing?

 

Why shouldn’t our relationships with other people improve?  After we have begun to put into place our daily program of recovery, through prayer and meditation we now are expectant and hopeful. We reflect upon each step, and we complete a piece of the structure that in time will be the new me. I think that one of the more critical areas to mend in our lives is the thinking part of ourselves. So, from the start we need to promote to those persons depressed to get involved in as much physical activity as possible, for example, walk, express personal feelings to others, go to meetings, talk with each other on the phone with supportive people. In other words, get connected as much as possible. Most importantly we discover at our group meetings that there are many persons, much like ourselves and at the same level of recovery. We know we are not alone.

”’Once the newcomers hear the before and after of our lives it will make it easier for them to believe us when they experience our own enthusiasm and cheerfulness. ”

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

Copyright (c)   I’ll do  it when I feel better. (2017)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisvile. KY .

The joys of approval seeking.

The following post was  written by Bob P.

“I have observed that many depressives, including me, are given to approval seeking, some more than others. It seems fair to call it a kind of emotional dependency. Little children are completely dependent on their parents or whoever is taking care of them. They have no choice and are helpless. They  better have their parents approval or else.

Some of the children carry this kind of dependency right on into  adulthood, even to their graves unless they do the hard work of unlearning it. They have become so unsure of themselves, their opinions, and thoughts and skills, that they feel an imperative urge to get someone’s approval   that they are doing the right thing and that they are still ok.

When we, the former children, reach physical maturity, we find that people soon resent those who become dependent on them. They often become contemptuous of them -leaners, clinging vines, etc.  We literally drive them away from us with our constant demand for reassurance, hanging onto them, and begging them to throw us a few crumbs of approval now and then. We become fearful of asserting ourselves at all for fear of retaliating  such as outright ridicule, not being given a seat around the campfire, the doghouse, prolonged silent treatment, or stopping cooking, etc.  How can we avoid this treatment? Please them  more, of course?  Hardly. That brings only more contempt.

What will become of us?  We will spend our lives doing what others want us to do. Not what we want to do. If it gets bad enough, we will have feelings of total worthlessness and  self-loathing. Some will reach the point where they would rather die than to continue lving with that yoke around their neck.

You can free yourself from this fetter, but it’s really tough depending how badly you are addicted. It will take determination and sustained effort. It’s worth it to finally breath the air of freedom. And, you gave it to yourself. Start with a proven self help progam like Depressed Anonymous.

I include some words by Lao Tzu, 500 BC, who wrote the Tao Te Ching.

“Care about people’s approval

and you will be their slave.

Must you value what others value

and avoid what they avoid?

How ridiculous!

When you are content to be simply yourself

and don’t compare or compete

everybody will respect you.”

NOTE:

Bob P., Evansville, Indiana,  is  a  founding  member of  Depressed Anonymous and  one whose  friendship and thinking  I  cherish.  (Hugh S).

This article first appeared in the Spring 1995 issue of The Antidepressant Tablet, (Vol 6. No. 3)

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.

 

Depressed Anonymous had been the ultimate key to a successful life.

Depressed Anonymous had been the ultimate key to a largely successful life for me. Prior to entering the program, I had no money, no driver’s license, and had dropped out of college  due to poor grades and a personal breakdown for which I was hospitalized. I had not then worked Step One because I wasn’t aware that I was powerless over my depression, that my life was disorganized as the mess in my closet.

During the first night in the hospital,  a member informed me of a support group known as Depressed Anonymous. I decided to give it a try. By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the  Twelfth Step, (Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all our affairs) but has also given me a key which would open many doors for me. Walking through these doors was like admitting defeat. I was playing first base in a  ball game in which I would eventually win. If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me. With the help and positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me.  With the love, support, and true friendship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license, which had been another step toward my independence  for me. Within a year, I earned my license when two members of the group took me in for a road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst was finally over.”

Lena, in  PERSONAL STORIES (#2): “We never talked about our feelings. ” Pages 112-113.

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

PROMISE # 5 of Depressed Anonymous: “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we see how our experience can benefit others.”

Some of us have attempted suicide. A few of us more than a few times.  We had despaired of ever finding peace or hope.  We believed that we had no future and that our yesterdays were as hopeless as our today’s. It was hard to attend our  first Depressed Anonymous meeting.  We felt horribly alone. We just know that no one in the group has been through what we had been through. But as we listened and watched the older members of the group speak we saw ourselves in their stories.

Personally, I believe that whatever you give out to others is the amount that comes back to you. Our experience can usually help someone else.  As the experience of depression is so isolating, so predictable in its misery  that it is bound to have made such impression upon us that it changed out life and the way we think about our life. And then when our life is changed for the better —thanks to the fellowship of DA, this precious gift  of hope needs to be with those still suffering. Ironically, it appears that the farther we have gone down in mood and up again in our recovery the more powerful can this experience be.

The new members of the our fellowship see the “after” of our lives lived in recovery and so they themselves get involved in our fellowship. The fact that we have recovered so completely is in itself a message of tremendous hope for those who are newcomers to the group. Isn’t it amazing that those who can do the most for those still suffering are those who have worked themselves out of the pit of isolation and begin sharing their story of hope and personal empowerment.”

SOURCE: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 39-40.