People have the seeds of their own recovery within themselves.”

 

” Having spent time researching causes of, and vulnerability to depression, I know that I was a prime candidate for the disorder.  The person typically diagnosed as depressed is likely to be a married woman who is also  a mother, and beset with practical problems.: Children, interpersonal relationships, and spouse concerns. What I learned from my own depression and recovery and try to practice when working with clients, is that people have the seeds of their own revival within them. I want to ask the right questions so that people can hear what they say, recognize what changes they want to make, and how they can choose to make them. Specific time limits are met, and I prefer to focus initially on people making changes in their behavior, rather than mood. I explain that although  the depressed mood colors the whole world, it  has not been shown to be causally related to improvement, whereas behavior has.

When clients know that there are specific and tangible things they can do, they begin to experience an immediate upswing.  A specific time limit is often motivating.  People begin to see themselves making positive changes in their behavior,  and can begin to change attitudes about themselves.  They begin to see themselves controlling aspects  of their environment, and as this happens, helplessness and hopelessness begin to dissipate and self- esteem level rises proportionally. People see themselves to be improving as a result of their own efforts. Nothing can  be more rewarding to a depressed person.”

Sources:  Wounded Healers. V. Rippere. Pages 86-87.

The Antidepressant Tablet  Vol. 2:3  Spring 1991.

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

“I am not broken.”

 

More than 30 years ago  I felt that I was a broken human being. We all have heard the old saying that  “what  doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” Looking back over the time I spent dealing with the darkness within,  I now can see my recovery time  did  make me stronger. That recovery forced me to use tools that I had never realized existed and fit for what I needed to raise myself up. These tools   gave me strength for  survival. The  saying was true: move the body and the mind will follow. Instead of my mind and life spiraling further down into the pit of hopelessness I began  spiraling upward with hope.    In the beginning of my descent into nothingness I  believed  that  the inner war that was  going on in my body  was going  to kill me. I did believe that I was coming apart, unglued and a danger to myself.  I was like a nomad in a  wasteland where all the guideposts for directions  had disappeared.  My life had lost all meaning. My mind resisted thinking about hope and the  future.  I felt that I was in a state of limbo–no moving forward–only backward and down. My personal pain and anxiety kept me tied down in my own desperation.

Many have found my own  story to be  a positive  statement  in which almost on a daily basis I am able to share some of my thoughts about this journey which I am on and which you too  can be on. Our own story of recovery is really a tool that others can put to use for their own lives,

My depression experience has  provided me with a life purpose and given me meaning which I never dreamt would be my own recovery gift  for others “still suffering” to use for their own recovery;  the repair of their own personal brokenness. My own life and the Twelve Steps has provided a key which helped me unlock the prison of my depression.  The Steps provide ample guidance and direction for those of us who continue the spiral upward, living out in our own lives the hope and   purpose which have been promised to those of us who desire a life after depression.

Hugh

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

You can read the author’s story  in the Depressed Anonymous book, plus 30 more personal  accounts of those  who have also  used the recovery tools for their own freedom from depression.

Click on to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more literature which deals effectively with depression and recovery. Orders can be made online.

 

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

When I run from my fearful feelings I know they have already caught me in their web!

A Higher Thought for Today

” I am going to feel my emotions today and refuse to run when I begin to feel sad and uncomfortable.

Accepting a depression is the opposite of being victimized by it, since it is a choice not to run in panic, not to be frightened into virtual paralysis.  Think of it this way: When we are truly afraid, we can in no way be said to accept our fear; the minute we do, the fright eases. So with depression. When we accept it, the terror lessens.

I used to stuff my feelings when I ran into a situation that frightened me. I also would refuse to experience any emotion that would cause me to feel uncomfortable. I am finding that the more I express myself and share with others the feelings of sadness which seemed to have plagued me since birth, the more I feel cheered and hopeful.  The opposite of fear is faith.  In this program of recovery I need to keep in touch with my Higher Power and keep a daily dialogue going with this Power so that I will continue to grow in hope and health.  Fear keeps depression alive and growing. My faith allows me to risk a life without sadness  even though my inclination is to seek the comfort of the unchanging sadness.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. (1999) 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.

I can still hope…

AFFIRMATION

I am finding a way out of my sadness and just for today, I will remain hopeful!

“…We have come a long way on our journey,  for the road to coping and recovery is widening and has its obstacles, but we have all fared well, we have braved the storms and found a hope that extends beyond tomorrow.”

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Even though the journey out of this darkness might be longer  than I am wanting to admit, I can still hope that the end will be in sight at some time. There is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. With time and with work, I will get better. I have already admitted, time after time, that I need help in learning how to free myself from my need to sad  myself, day after day.   This compulsion of mine has been with me for many years, but I have hope that it will not be long until my good days begin to outnumber my bad days with depression. I have the faith of a beginner, a novice if you will, in the ways of recovery. I can’t find a way out of this depression without hope. I know that there is going to have to be a change in the way I view life if I am to get better. I am going to take responsibility for my life and begin to change!

Troubles in one’s life may cause our persistence and endurance to grow and is the reason our faith is strengthened.

MEDITATION

God, help us realize that we are part of your plan and that we have a purpose here on this earth; if for no other reason than to let others like us know that we have a place where hope starts, namely, in you.

______________________________________________________________________

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

1440

1440 is the number of minutes allotted to us everyday. Every 24 hour period, one day’s worth, we are given 1440 minutes to use however we like. We can divide up the minutes so that we can work so many minutes, feed ourselves. go to a movie, exercise  or do whatever we like to do. It doesn’t seem like 1440 minutes is a lot of time but by the time we reach the age of 65 we will have been allotted 34,164, 000 minutes to do with as we choose.  That’s a lot of time to do some good.

Let’s go back to what we have today. For myself, I only have 120 minutes left in my day. And as I write this BLOG to you I realize that I am very grateful for the minutes left for me this 24 hour period. Many minutes today were spent celebrating the Birthdays of my 6 year old Grandchild and my 11 year old Grandchild. It seemed only yesterday when Leah was born. And now she is 11 years young. And Eli is six. What a age of wonderment and joy.His minutes seemed to last for ages as he expectantly waited for this, his special day, enjoying his special minutes with family and Grandparents.

I hope that your minutes found you hopeful  today. I know from my own experience that when I started on  my road to recovery my minutes always dragged on and on and seemed like hours. I felt this time warp most severely when I was in my deepest depression… the pain was forever. Everyday I had to remove the pain and I accomplished  this by sleeping. It was only when I awoke that the minutes made every one of my efforts feel  like I was in slow motion or swimming in a large vat of molasses. My  mind, my body, myself was slowly drowning and I watched myself, like a curious bystander,  powerless to give me any help.

Now with thirty years of 15 million plus recovery  minutes under my belt, living 1440 minutes a day, I am grateful that I can keep my focus on those “still suffering from depression”, and let them know that they  too have today, still have time to do what they need to do and to live with hope.

.  _____________________________________________________________

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011).  DAP. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE YOUR LIFE PARKED IN NEUTRAL!

I just returned from a combined (Edenton and Elizabeth City, North Carolina) Depressed Anonymous fellowship  workshop which I was asked to give. It was an all day workshop, with morning open to the public and then the  afternoon sessions committed to the two groups speaking to each other about their own personal experiences with the Twelve Steps and how their lives have changed since being part of these two groups.

These groups both were formed right before Christmas 2014. Both groups now have a strong presence in their communities because those in recovery now want  to “carry this message to those  who are still suffering from depression.” This is the bottom line for all of us who have found hope and healing in practicing and putting the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps  into our daily lives. Hope is what we are sharing. You don’t have your life parked in neutral.

“THE MOST COMMON FORM OF DESPAIR IS NOT BEING WHO YOU ARE! ”  —  Soren Kierkegaard

”  Depressed Anonymous is a spiritual  program where you will find people like yourself, honestly, openly and willingly dealing  with their character defects (staying isolated) and gradually admitting that they have to change their lives and lifestyle, if they are going to be a whole and honest human being.  The decision is yours. You make the choice!  The Twelve Steps and your own personal story can now be shared with others and can help them in their own life’s journey. Give the hope that you have now with those who have lost hope. Build it  (mutual aid) and they will come! ”

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 108-109.

I witnessed the “miracle  of the group” again this past Saturday in Edenton, North Carolina when the participants of both fellowship groups came together and shared their stories of how they moved into drive and  out of neutral. I thank  all you beautiful people in North Carolina as you continue to work your program of recovery! You are becoming who you really are and whom God means for you to be!

SPOON FEEEDING IS NO USE TO YOU. YOU HAVE TO FEED YOURSELF.

Dorothy Rowe sums it up splendidly in her work, The Way out of your prison, where she states how we have to learn to take care of ourselves. It takes time and work. And  this applies to learning ways to work our selves out of the pit, the prison of depression. She  promotes the solution that joining a self-help group like Depressed Anonymous is a way to do this. This of course entails work and a persistence in keeping one’s hand to the plow and focused on our own recovery.

She states that   ” …joining a self-help group will be one of the most valuable things you can do. You will meet a group of people who knows what it is to be depressed. You don’t have to explain it to them, or apologize, or pretend that you are happy when you are not.  In a self-help group, you give and receive friendship, and in sharing the responsibility for the group, you build  up your confidence and self-respect.

….you can get help, provided you are prepared to go out and find it and to work with what you are offered.

 Spoon feeding is no use to you. You have to feed yourself.”

Comment:  To work on any aspect of one’s own life it does take work as Dr. Rowe suggests. In our own recovery program of Depressed Anonymous we are provided a “toolbox”  where we can step by step learn and use the various tools of the fellowship to overcome our isolation and pain.  All this can be accomplished in the context of the group as well as in the literature provided by the group. By our working the Twelve Step program of recovery, designed specifically for those of us depressed, we can and do leave the prison of our depression. One can read the many personal stories of those who have used the Steps and are free of the bondage of sadness in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.

A MOST EFFECTIVE STRATEGY

AFFIRMATION

I will be a better person today than the person I was yesterday.

“The first step to change is to see  it is as possible in our scheme of things. The next step is to accept and cope with the anger and frustration that change bring ..coping with anxiety involves accepting it into awareness and permitting its full expression.  This may not lead to a comfortable stare in the short run, but in the long turn it is a most effective strategy.(6)

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I believe that all growth is gradual and that each day I have only twenty-four hours in which to live out my life.  In these twenty four hours I can get a lot  accomplished in my efforts to surrender my need to be dependent upon my depression. My depression will no longer be an excuse that keeps me from starting my recovery program.

I know from personal experience that my life is very different from the way that it was before I turned my life over to my Higher Power. (Step 2 of Depressed Anonymous)  Now I can live with the belief that this power is going to walk with me. I can now be assured that life is going to get better for me. It is better already.  Since this program of Depressed Anonymous is spiritual, I know that my healing of my depression is accomplished by my desire to let God, as I understand him, direct my life. (Step 3 of Depressed Anonymous).

The program  of the Twelve Steps has no pat answers  and it will not allow you to be comfortable where you are–in fact it will cause you to want to move out of the prison of your depression and into the light of daily efforts to change.

MEDITATION

God, we are aware that this day and this day alone we are going to trust in you and we will commit  ourselves to you so  that we might commit ourselves to a positive change in our attitudes.

SOURCE: Copyright: HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS. Depressed Anonymous Publications  Louisville  Page 90. May 3rd.