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).

 

Empowerment comes from being informed

 

Empowerment comes  from being informed and making choices that help us change our lives for the better.  When I came to a Depressed Anonymous meeting I am making a first major step- namely, that I admit my presence at the group meeting that my life is out of control.  My compulsion to depress myself is at the root of my inability to take on the challenge of living life with risk and enthusiasm. But how can I possibly say that I want to depress myself? We are not blaming ourselves  here but are taking responsibility for our own feelings, behavior and thinking. Now that I am conscious of some negative patterns of my own behavior I can get on with learning new strategies for my own healing. With the heartfelt prayer of a monk, I now understand it is by sharing the story of my life – and with the conviction that someone is there to listen, that this can in time help me make it out of my prison of fear and sadness.

I can be empowered by taking the bull by the horn and choosing each new day, one day at a time and start to feel different. I now have the support of the group – support from people who have walked where I am walking.

I am investing in myself. I am making my recovery my highest priority. I may have been on all the antidepressant medications -I  may have seen all the best counselors, psychiatrists and doctors but now finally I am going to a room full of depressed people –  people who understand me and what I am going through!

These people I discover are investing in themselves. What will I find there? I will find some of the most caring people on the face of the earth. Some of the group will have been coming for months, and they say that they are having more good days than bad and it’s getting better. The more meetings they attend the better they feel and the more support they receive. They are feeling empowered. It’s the miracle of the group. Instead of living with a compulsion to repeat old negative and life negating thoughts and feelings we now have a compulsion to live with hope plus a desire for a brand new way of living — and not just the way that  we  once talked to ourselves.

We are going to get a new life. And here is how.

I now feel that that I am getting better learning how not to repeat my old way of thinking, feeling and believing and isolating myself when I fear –whatever. I now know that with work and patience I will get better. For most of us, it has taken us a few years to get here (depressed) so why not take the plunge today and work toward getting better–one day at a time – one meeting at a time —  and using the “tools” of the program.

It has only been when I began to examine the way I talked to myself (negatively) and how I gradually isolated myself from a life lived in serenity and hope,  that I realized I could change this pattern of diminishing myself . Others were doing it and so why couldn’t I? And so can you!

Hugh

SOURCE: (c)I’ll do it when I feel better.(2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

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

                     PLEASE VISIT THE STORE FOR MORE USEFUL AND INFORMATION.

Seeking Guidance

Bill W., tells us how to solve personal problems, in his own words.

“Man is supposed to think, and act. He wasn’t made in God’s image to be an automaton.

My own formula along this line runs as follows: First, think through every situation pro and con, praying meanwhile that I be not influenced by ego considerations. Affirm that I would like to do God’s will.

Then, having turned the problem over in this fashion and getting no conclusive or compelling answer, I wait for further guidance, which may come into the mind directly or through other people or through circumstances.

If I feel I can’t wait, and still get no definite direction, I repeat the first  measure several times, try to pick  out the best courser, and then proceed to act. I know if I am wrong, the heavens won’t fall. A lesson will be learned in any case.”

As Bill Sees It. page 55.

What do you think?

How to live outside the box? The depression box!

If you really want to begin to “live outside the box“, a description of what the box feels like and looks like might be helpful to you.  First of all, a box has an identifiable shape. It is a box mainly because it contains something–whatever that might be. And when we speak of the subject of depression, we talk about depression having us boxed in. The box as it is used here, in this context is a metaphor for feeling enclosed and which there is no exit. It is like being trapped or like in a prison.

Now, in order to live outside the box we want to live creatively, which means  that we are having to learn  how to live outside the box. Now, if you  find  this hard to believe -stick with me now  as I will explain what I mean.

Just briefly, my own experience with depression can be used as an example. First of all, when I was depressed I thought that I was losing my mind. The box that I put myself in was getting more restricting by the day and making my life hell. I could see no way out. I was trapped. What could I do I asked myself?  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t just will these feelings and scary  thoughts away–like taking a broom and brushing them out of my life. No matter which way I turned I hit a wall. With no answers forthcoming on how to keep my head above water, my body slowly  was being sucked down into  the quicksand of despair. The thought came to me, much like that small glimmer, a tiny light so far away, but nevertheless  a light. It was  like the lighthouse which with its  intense brightness warns seafarers that rocks were nearby and to be watchful before approaching. My mind began to race here and there for a way out of the box and then it hit me —   get moving. Move the body. Get busy.  The key out of this prison was already in my hand. And now, those of us here in the Depressed program of recovery,who have been putting “out of the box” ideas to work in our daily lives, we want to share what has worked for us and we know, if you actually use them for your own recovery, they are  bound to  ultimately free you. That is the promise I share with you today.

The following activities,  listed below  are some of  the tools that will get you “out of the box” when you get serious about using them.

I think taking a close and personal look at the following tools will not only help you get  “out of the box” but can be tools that you will be able to utilize, day after day as you continue your recovery.

  1. Exercise is a great tool if you happen to be depressed.
  2.  Getting out into nature will also help put your mind on beauty and your surroundings.
  3. Overcoming fear is also a great place to learn how to get out of the box. Learn about “first fear” and “second fear.” Fear doe seem to be at the center of our life when depressed.
  4. Recite the “SERENITY PRAYER” as often as you need it.
  5. The present. Staying in the now.
  6. Making use of the God box. This is an exercise, a simple one at that, which helps us learn the discipline of “letting go.”
  7. Feelings need to be examined and expressed. We will look at why expressing feeling is  so important,  instead of having them bottled up and causing all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
  8. Disable negative thinking: learn how to short circuit negative thoughts when they pop into our minds.
  9.  Reading Depressed Anonymous literature and all material on the subject of depression.
  10. Learn how we all have choices. We make those decisions that bring us closer to freedom–not those that continue to imprison and box us.
  11. Journaling is a great tool for writing down what has been our experience for the day.  It helps to clarify our thinking and puts things into perspective.

NOTE

In the next post, I will begin placing attention on each of the eleven ideas listed above.  Gradually we can take time to evaluate  our response to each individually and make our own notes as how to use these recommended ideas  for our own recovery.

Hugh

PRIZING YOURSELF

 

One of the activities that you might think about is something that you found fun or pleasurable before your present depression.  You might  give this activity some thought and then  write down this activity with any other fun things that comes to your attention. After a while, I think you will find that there are many  things that you could do when you are feeling especially low. At a time when I was especially feeling a total lack of energy I would go and lie down –why fight the fatigue?  But then I learned that if I would reject the thought of lying down  and instead interest my attention in an activity such as typing on my computer that I found my energy coming back.  The thought that I was too tired to do anything disappeared in a short while.  Weird, but it works!

Also, as for planning pleasurable  activities, you might want to start listening to the way you talk to yourself. Try to speak words to yourself as if you were talking to a guest in your home. Talk out loud if you wish – hear yourself say kind things to yourself. For once, say something good about yourself instead of listening to all those old negative tapes that always made you feel you’d be better off dead. Or else be someone else. You get the idea.

When  you start listing your strengths  as part of your Fourth Step Inventory, list all  the good things  that you like about yourself. (See the Depressed Anonymous Workbook). With every negative statement about yourself don’t allow yourself another statement about yourself until you are able to replace it with three positive statements. I mean. let’s be fair and balance this thing out.  I know that you might feel a bit uncomfortable about prizing yourself, but give it a try anyway.  One of the best ways to make sure you will have a pleasurable activity today is to plan for it the day before and then placing it on your calendar for the next day.  Don’t say you will do it “when I feel  better,” as you and I both know, we don’t usually do anything, no matter what we tell ourselves. I think we have all heard the saying “have a nice day unless you have made other plans.”  A lot depends on our attitude. If this isn’t enough, just know that Abraham Lincoln said that we are all about as happy as we make up  our minds to be. What do you think?

SOURCE: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.   Pages 43-45.