Got too much on your plate?

 

Yes, I have too much on my plate. So, now what can I do to make my plate lighter? How can I slow down, smell the roses and deal with  all those pressures coming at me at the same time?  Even before I get out of bed   I get depressed just thinking of all the things which are facing me today.  I just want to take the bed covers, pull them over my head  and say goodbye to it all. I keep telling myself “I don’t want to do this anymore.  My life is  a metaphor for a roller coaster. I just wanna get off!”

Ok, my life is out of control. My life is unmanageable.  I feel like the clown in the circus,  who has  dinner plates all spinning around at the same time  – all zipping around at top speed and not a one crashing to the floor. Amazing!  Today we call this multitasking. Yes, I  multitask  and it’s killing me! But I want to know how to keep life simple? How to  gain control of what is on my plate and how to rid myself of those things which I can live without.

In Higher Thoughts for Down Days, I read how ” I can learn to keep my life simple. I plan to do that by first of all admitting that I am powerless over my depression and that my life is unmanageable. I also believe that I can get out of this mess by focusing on respected and workable solutions rather than keeping focused on my ever present difficulties.

The word simple comes from the Latin word “simplex”  meaning one fold. Also, it means to just have one part. I think to keep it simple means to be single-minded and keep the focus on the solution and practice that particular solution in all my daily affairs.”

Here at our site (depressedanon.com) we have listed a number of tools which each of us can use for our own personal recovery.  (See Tools for Recovery at Site Menu). I guarantee that if you begin to use these recovery tools, on a daily basis,  you will begin to   free yourself from being overwhelmed and your life  will no longer feel out of control and unmanageable.  Each of the tools  describe a particular action to take which can give you more control over your life.  You will in time be able to  take issues off your plate, which  once immobilized you,   providing  you  with a sense of hope.

I recommend that you take one of the listed tools, read up on how to  put its action into your daily   life. Take one at a time and get good at doing it on a daily basis. This will form a habit and habits determine what  course our behaviors will take.  Please write to me and let me know how you are doing with this exercise of hopefulness.

I will leave you today with this riddle:

QUESTION

How do you eat an elephant?

ANSWER

One bite at a time!

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SOURCES:   Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. June 26. pg. 128.

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

Copyright(c)   I’ll do it when I feel better! 2nd edition. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE at  Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information available. Ordering online is available.

I have been crippled by saddening myself!

I know that I am going to be alright as long as I let God direct my thoughts today.

“When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that at first, when I was depressed, I wondered  how this could apply to me. Then I realized that for so long I tried to live in the solitude and isolation of the comfort of my depression, where everything stood still. The way I lived my life was left unchallenged.  I now realize that at the center of every one’s life must be the spiritual life of each of us and it is the amount of care and time that we give to this center that determines the amount of hope and change that  we bring to our lives.

The more I plan to work my program, I admit that truly my life has been unmanageable since I have been hampered by my saddening myself, I can truly move forward and plan more pleasant and  fun activities into my life.

MEDITATION

We ask you God, the center of our life, to continue to provide for us the necessary courage to know you on a  more personal level so that we might have the daily courage to put our life and plan into your hands. (Personal comments).

SOURCE:  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.  Page 122.

VISIT THE STORE and learn more about Higher Thoughts for Down Days, now in a Kindle edition.

The human experience of depression.

“It is my belief that the experience  that we call human depression, can very much be like the early designation of alcoholism as partly an allergy as well as being a mental obsession. And depression is very much like alcoholism, in that it very much causes the sufferer much the same symptoms, namely, feelings of being isolated, lonely, angry and  in a   deep dark pit, hopeless and helpless. Also, the depressed who decides to become more isolated and alone likewise digs a hole just a little more deeply. The fellowship of the program is combined with a belief that a power greater than oneself is ultimately what is going to save the person depressed from killing themselves  or floundering in a morass of self-will, resentments and self-pity. Many depressed basically are afraid of people and so tend not to trust others. They also hold a negative view of themselves and think themselves unacceptable to others and to themselves. (P.3)

In primitive human kind there was a system in one’s physical makeup that helped a primitive relative of ours flee or fight when danger approached.  In those days the person faced with a mortal danger got the adrenaline flowing that enabled the pursued to evade his/her captor. It also gave the pursued victim  the energy  to fight and overcome the adversary. In today’s world the days of being pursued by some ferocious tiger or beast is not our problem. But we are still pursued and the fear of the consequences of being caught by whatever is pursuing us  shoots the chemicals  into  our blood stream just as it did in our ancestors – with one major difference — our fears, anxieties, continual worries keep pumping those juices through our system until we are too tired to flee or even to fight. However it happens, the result is that our bodies suffer the damage of the stress of continual unpleasant emotions and feelings coursing through our veins.  We are at war with ourselves and depression is the last wall of defense in which the body says I need to take a rest from all this stress and so I surrender. I am closing down. I don’t want to fight any longer. And when one begins to feel a little better and the energy of one’s spirit starts to flow back into us again and we start  to feel renewed and it is here that our old ghost of fear starts to feel renewed and it is here that our old ghost of fear starts speaking to us saying “Hey, don’t trust this feeling of beginning to feel better. Stay with what you have — at least it’s predictable. At least you know what you have. Don’t try to change anything as you might get something far worse than what you have now.”  (P.5).

SOURCE:   Depressed Once -Not Twice: The  autobiography of a spiritual journey out of depression.  (2000) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Pages 3, 5).

Comment:  In this important work, the founder of Depressed Anonymous the author shows us that even in the midst of the pain, isolation and a mental paralysis of will, the 12 Steps provide a plan,, a program of recovery. The author shows how by using the Steps himself in overcoming his own experience of depression that these same Steps  can now be used by those “still suffering from depression.

Does mid-life = half-life?

I accepted that God, as the God of my understanding is loving and forgiving. The 12 Step group and our God is the pillar of our strength and healing. The #2 STATEMENT OF BELIEF  of Depressed Anonymous.

In  depression the first thing that we must do is to take charge of our lives and incorporate a planned pleasant activity in our daily lives.  If  I don’t, I will continue to linger on alone and live a half-life. Nothing beyond my reach can absorb my pain of isolation and feeling worthless. This is especially true for many of us in mid-life where the dreams we once thought possible  remain stillborn. We seem to have lost the time to do something positive with our lives. We feel stuck. I want to get involved with  a  fellowship of persons who are learning new ways of living with a sense of purpose. We want to live our lives  with hope.  Step  Two of Depressed Anonymous states that “we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. We will “let go and let God.”

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Comment: I am thinking this  morning and attempting to clarify some of my thinking about having a purpose for my life. I remember that it was at the  mid-life point of my life (45 years) where my life  gradually screeched to a   halt.  That is when my life, plummeted down to the   half-life point. My life’s meaning, instead of providing hope and purpose drew my resources down until the only purpose that I could envision was to try and get out of bed in the morning.  My concentration was focused–but only on my pain. Another way of looking at it is using  the   metaphor of looking at the gas gauge on your car’s dash and seeing that it reads empty.

When I discovered a group of people, just like myself, in the 12 Step recovery program  did my life began to happen. My experience with depression and living daily  the recovery process has provided me with a wealth of purposeful living and meaning. My half-life became a very full  life. Everyday I am blessed to be able to communicate with person depressed, be it locally or from the far corners of  the world. Whether it is with emails, SKYPE or to meet  face to face with fellow members sharing their  experiences and who are  desiring a  way out of their depression.

I know from personal experience that mid-life or really any part of one’s life  there may be a need for a reexamination of what our life is about and possibly for it to take a more purposeful direction. And no matter where our life stands today we are always poised on making it purposeful and filled with meaning. A full life is one filled with hope, service to others while embedded in a fellowship of persons like ourselves. For myself today, I know it is my fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous.

Take the plunge if you like and find out how you too can have a life filled with purpose, service to others like yourself, and part of a dynamic Depressed Anonymous 12 Step group.

SOURCES:  (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

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

 

PAYING IT FORWARD

The motion picture (1999) , PAYING IT FORWARD is about the recipient  of a good deed who pays it forward to some other than the original benefactor. Our very own program of recovery, Depressed Anonymous makes  the same commitment to those who are depressed. I have found it to be a truth that the more I offer others what I have experienced in my own recovery the more I strengthen my serenity and peace.

When I shared with a local Depressed Anonymous group how my own recovery from depression has been a gift from my Higher Power — members of the fellowship just about fell off their seats. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? A gift? Well, yes, it certainly has turned out to be that way.  Ever since the first group was founded in 1985 I have been sharing with those others still suffering from depression.  I share that  by practicing the Steps in my own life I have found serenity and hope. I am no longer  alone. I have the tools to stay in recovery and to be  in contact with others just like myself  who are making or have made their way out of the prison of their own depression. It is by paying it forward to others which  has made it possible for me to keep focused on my own recovery and to practice what I preach.

Paradoxically it has been my own brokenness, anxiety and fear, which  led me to a power greater than myself.  I think that God, our Higher Power, inspires us to go and set free, the key, to help others know and believe that there is a way out of their depression. And when the depressed “get it” they too want to  begin to pay It forward to others who still suffer. So, pass it on. It is possibly one of the best gifts you can give to another!

The Twelfth Step of Depressed Anonymous states that: “Having had a spiritual experience as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

Source: Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd Edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Pages 104-109.

CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOLOGIST: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND DEPRESSION

David Karp, in his work Speaking of sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness (1996)  confesses that in the middle of interviewing persons for this work  states, “I was initially puzzled by the number of respondents who spontaneously  spoke about the role of spirituality in their lives.  During the early stages of the data collection, however spirituality meant no more  or less to me than any of the large number of issues that were coming out of the interviews. At a certain point, though, enough people spoke about spirituality that I began routinely to ask everyone about it. Certainly there were many who had little to say, and some who claimed no interest in spirituality, but the question often elicited an outpouring of talk.  After 25 or so interviews, it seemed that my anticipated chapter on coping and adapting would have to pay at least some attention to the role of spirituality.” (p.190).

Karp was deeply impressed by what he calls the “courage and grace”  how some of his interviewees faced their own pain of depression. He says  he “left many interviews with a sense that spiritually engaged individuals were in touch with something important. ”  He concludes by saying  “These people possessed or knew something that I didn’t.” (pp. 190 -191).

I think most of you who are reading my posts know that I too am an advocate  of the  power of  spirituality in the recovery process for persons depressed. In the American culture and most probably in most Western cultures, where one’s lack of meaningful work and diminishing intimate relationships, or “double trouble” as a colleague of Karp,  Charles Derber points out, promotes a community of strangers, alone, isolated and disconnected.  He describes depression as the disease of disconnection.  Freud when asked what makes for human happiness he replied ” arbeiten  und  leben”. (work and love).

All the above is put before you, the reader, to continue to present to you how important  my own recovery from depression  continues  to this day because of my own spirituality dependent on my Higher Power, or the God of my understanding. In BELIEVING IS SEEING:15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION (2014) I share how I believe that I am not alone, as I have other fellow travelers who will lead me around the ditches and the potholes of that old depressive life style that once ruled my thoughts and actions. Now I am on a personal mission of growth and recovery.” (p.13).

I still have my potholes, ditches and rough seas to maneuver around,. Thanks to a Power greater than myself— I pray and continue rowing to shore, and this Power as I understand it, has been getting me to that safe harbor of serenity and safety.

WHAT DO I BELIEVE ABOUT MYSELF?

Yes, what we believe about ourselves can and does make all the difference in the world. Yesterday we were sharing how certain people, places, situations and things have had power over our lives. Even those earlier and long forgotten relationships with significant others are still kicking around in our psyche’s.
As we continue to work through these relationships and attitudes about ourselves (less than) the following quote from our Depressed Anonymous Workbook says it best:
” We have given ourselves over to the belief that this growing feeling of helplessness is what must govern our lives, moods and behavior. We have given it license to run roughshod over every part of our life and over our relationships. Most people can’t see inside us and discover the pain that makes up every waking moment. For the most part we are able to hide how miserable we feel.” Depressed Anonymous Workbook, Step 2/ Page 12.
What power have you given over to others that you are willing to reclaim? And speaking of power–what Power greater than yourself are you able to turn to when you feel hopeless and helpless? And this power, has it been able to help you feel more in control of your life? Just some things to ponder today.