THE DEPRESSION AND SELF-ESTEEM INVENTORY(c)

 

The following is an inventory designed to enable you to evaluate your present level of depression as well as your level of self-esteem. The painful  experiences of depression has a profound and devastating effect on your  self-esteem and self-concept. If you have a few moments, please take some time out to find  out how you stand in these areas. And remember, this is only an inventory – how you score may be due more to your mood today and what you had for dinner more than anything else. No paper and pencil test is that all knowing. We are merely providing this tool to allow you to evaluate where you may stand in your own feelings of yourself.

While some people seem to have been born with a melancholy temperament and have therefore attained the state of depression quite naturally — others have been awakened to bad feelings only after  experiencing certain life events. Loss of a loved one, a prized possession, one’s health or job, for instance, will often result in depression and low self-esteem and how we feel about ourselves. Still others may need to study the following principles of thinking and  behaving to reach their desired levels of lost self-esteem and despair.

Although the following suggestions will not necessarily result in a full blown “clinical” depression ( that is, a depression observed in a counselling session or with a physician), they can be of great help to you if you have a desire to commit yourself to continue to make yourself feel bad. These principles are widely promulgated and are guaraneteed to lower or destroy your self esteem in short order.

Circle the answers below that best describe your own thinking, feelings and behavior. And in order to get yourself undepressed it would be smart to do just the opposite of each of the items listed below. The more we do the opposite the better you are going to feel.

  1. Avoid vacations or other pleasurable acitivities plus staying away from things your apt to look forward to.
  2. Work should be approached in one of two ways: Work without ceasing or never work at all. Draw the shades and stay in bed.
  3. Seek not to find a sense of meaning or purpose in your life.
  4. Cultivate negative thinking.
  5. Indulge on a regular basis, in self-blame, guilt and remorse.
  6. Pity yourself. Do it convincingly and for sustained periods of time.
  7. Pity others in the same way.
  8. Hinge your happiness on the achievement of a major life goal and watch it turn to ashes in your mouth.
  9. Do not make effective  use of leisure time by planning too many activities, none at all, are only those you consider a worthless waste of time.
  10. Practice ongoing self physical and emotional abuse and dehumanization techniques.  Beat your self up with punishing shame and guilty mind talk .
  11. Attempt to do the impossible, striving always to meet expectations and standards you cannot possibly meet.
  12. Habitually subordinate your own needs and wants to the needs and wants of others.
  13. Always believe that yo must repay every good thing that happens to you because you are uniquivically unworthy.
  14. Vizualize a supreme being who is meddling, controlling and heavy handed rather than one who is sustaining, guiding and encouraging.
  15. Never infringe upon understanding persons by asking them to sit and listen to your story.
  16. Avoid cultivating any sort of intellectual or creative potential you may have.
  17. Live vicariously through others, never attempt to create a life of your own.
  18. Refuse to accept any notion that there may be meaning and purpose in your life whether you see it or not.
  19. Squarely face the fact that in whatever pain and misery you may have experienced and or experiencing now, there is no purpose  or meaning whatever .
  20. Take hold of the conviction that others opinions of you have far greater validity and significance than any opinions you may have of yourself.
  21. Believe it is more important to have someone else approve of you than any opinions you may have of yourself.
  22. Accpt and practice the widespread belief that the proper response to your failures, mistakes and hurtful behavior is self-condemnation, guilt and remorse.
  23. Remain convinced that you have something to prove to someome, whether you can identify that “someone” or not.  Accept that there are things abut yourself which you will constantly need to erxplain or defend.
  24. Realize that it is selfish, egotistical and unacceptable to treat yourself kindly and lovingly.
  25. Accept as immutable truth that you are by nature a miserable and unclean wretch, deserving only condemnation, guilt and punishment.
  26. Refuse to see yourself as worthy and acceptable on the basis of your failures, mistake and shortcomings.
  27. Make it a practice to defer to others  because of their education, wealth, power or position.
  28. Believe that you deserve and (accept with passivity) all insults, put downs, destructive   criticism and other abuse from others.
  29. Accept the proposition that your personal worth and importance depend on what you have and what you achieve, rather what you are.
  30. Get comfortable with the belief that acting bad makes you a bad person.
  31. Try always to coerce others into making decisions for you in the vain hope of avoiding responsibilities for their consequneces.
  32. Learn to identify with your actions, realizing that what you are is wholly determined by what you do,
  33. Adopt the popular belief that you could be  better if you only tried harder.
  34. Embrace the maxim that you always have compete freedom of will and choice.

                  EXPLANATION OF THE INVETORY

All the items contained in the inventory are very negative and that is the issue at stake here, namely when we are depressed we can’t find anything positive to say about ourselves, our future  or our present life. But our attitudes have more to do than how we talk to ourselves. It  has more with the way we have perceived ourselves in relation to the world outside ourselves. it also many times has much to do with the way we related in childhood to those adults who were responsible for our safety, love and nurturance.

PRACTICE THE OPPOSITE

In order for you to gradually begin the process of un-depressing  yourself it is best that you start right now—today. Whatever items on the inventory that you circled you can start chipping away at your negative lifestyle and do the opposite of the behaviors of those circled items.    For example, if you circled item #21 you would want to  start approving of yourself in small ways instead of always depending on others approval. This is the way to greater self-esteem and the way out of the prison of depression –namely, turning the negative behavior into something positive and life giving. If you have a sponsor it would do well for you to go through each of the list on the inventory and work to  commit yourself to positive behaviors for the items selected. Good luck! And God speed!

 

Inventory by Bob P.(c)Depressed Anonymous Publications

 

Drinking Depression: One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression.

 

DRINKING DEPRESSION:  One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression and the parallels between the two. 

By Steve P.

“I have had experiences with alcohol abuse since childhood. I have also struggled since childhood with depression. I quickly learned to rely on both.

I call  this paper “drinking depression” because that’s exactly what I did when I no longer had the alcohol. The following thoughts will express my feelings and the parallels that I have seen between these two addictions.

RELIANCE

There was always an excuse to drink, mostly I was upset with something –I should say angry, for it was anger at the root of my depression that I was trying to suppress in medicating myself with alcohol. Later, I learned to do the same thing with my depression except to be in a depressive state high.  I didn’t even have to leave the house and after awhile I didn’t want to break the cycle of reliance that dependency had begun. Where I was absorbing alcohol into my blood stream  I was now   injecting the depression into my soul and absorbing it like a sponge

FAMILIARITY AND COMFORT

As a recovering alcoholic, I can look back on my drinking and see where I took comfort in being drunk because   eventually   the numbness became the only way I could feel better.  When I was drunk I could retreat into myself and not have to deal with everyday life.

The same escape tool was used in the form of depression. I could ball up like a wooly worm and the outside world was not going to hurt me. However, the more I wallowed in the darkness of my depression the deeper I got stuck  in the mud of despair and hopelessness.

DESPERATION

In order to deal with alcoholism and depression I had to hit rock bottom. I had reached a point in both that I had to call out for help or drown in my addiction.  I called on my Higher Power to help  deliver me from alcohol and he led me to a counselor  to  also help me with my depression. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit I am harnessing my talents now and I am seeing incredible results. My recovery has not been overnight but it is a day by day and step by step recovery process.

THE PHYSICAL

After some time had passed,  the drinking affects the physical body breaking it down. Once I saw a film in which the brain of an alcoholic was compared to the brain of a heroin addict and they were very similar. The depression I  experienced also had physical implications. For over twenty years the way my body would respond from too much emotional stress was to pass out. Instead of blacking out from alcohol I was using depression to numb myself and my brain.

THE SPIRITUAL

When I was drinking I felt alienation and guilt. I felt professing Christians did not drink. The more I drank the more guilty I became. I felt  much more distant from God the more I drank and spiraled further down into a cycle of despair.

In my depression,  I felt God had no time for  me and that I was unworthy of his love. Again,  it was a carousal filled with guilt and anger going round and round so that I couldn’t get off the merry-go-round.

SELF-ESTEEM

When I was drinking,  I was sure that no one cared or could understand what I was going through, so I had many pity parties and I was the guest of honor. Why should I care if no one else cared? This was my way of thinking.

From painful experiences in my childhood I felt  I was of no worth and just taking up space. It has taken therapy and the support of family and friends to finally look in the mirror and begin to like what I saw.

HOPE

I have been sober over two years although I often have the desire to drink I daily call  on my Higher Power to help me and march on one day at a time experiencing serenity and a release from my need to take that first drink.

I have been in therapy for almost a year off and on, although in order to recover one has to stay with it. I have to take my emotional and spiritual healing, like my drinking —one day at a time knowing   I can make it.  It is only by opening the door of the past that   the light of the present can get rid of the darkness  today,  providing  hope for the future.

It is my hope and prayer that this has helped you,  in some small way.  It has helped me by writing about my experiences. May God put walls of protection around you so that the way ahead for you may be crystal clear so that today may be your first step towards recovery.”

God bless.

Steve P.

+This article first appeared in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET, Spring 1994.

 

 

Before attending my mutual aid support group, Depressed Anonymous, I felt that I had nothing to live for.

 

Tommie tells us in Depressed Anonymous(c) 3rd edition,  how she honestly thought  “she had nothing to live for.  As a mother of five beautiful sons, a wife,and  a mother to be of quads, I wasn’t sure that I was a  member of the human race. I couldn’t eat, sleep, and cried for no reason. I wanted to be alone. It even got to the point that I didn’t know who I was. I was a physical body without a life.”

I’ve been going to Depressed Anonymous now for about five months. The program and my new found friends have been a  miracle of God. So many people have a big misconception about our meetings. They think we all sit around, tell our stories and cry on each other’s shoulders. Well there is a news flash for them – we learn that each and every one of us has experienced some degree of depression in our lives. We find out how to laugh, to comfort each other and  sincerely understand what each one is going through because we all have been here one time or the other. I  also learn that there is always  hope. Since coming to Depressed Anonymous, I have learned to grieve for my lost children and how to live with my depression. I still have good and bad days. …My life is not perfect, but now with the love of my God, my family, my friends and my husband, life is now worth living. But, the most important thing is that there is life after depression.”

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 132-133. Personal Stories section of the book.

Please VISIT THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE for more information about Depressed Anonymous and how to order books online.

“We can’t blame it on our genes, hormones or a chemical imbalance.”

AFFIRMATION

I am taking full responsibility for myself and I am making a commitment to my own health and healing.

“Now that we have learned that we have to take care of ourselves and our recovery that we begin to look at the way we think and feel.  Even though we don’t want to blame ourselves for having been depressed most of our lives, we know now that we are responsible for finding a way out of this depression. We can’t blame it on our genes, hormones or a chemical imbalance.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am aware for the first time since I have been working my program that my thinking is cyclical in that my negative thoughts constantly keep going around and around in circles. I have found that I need to stop the negative self-destructive thinking that has dogged me most of my life. I am able to break the cycle of hurt and my own self-inflicted pain and come to my senses. I do have some good things going for me and I plan to use these good character traits as building blocks for a future filled with hope.

I am learning to take good care of myself. I am more interested in my own self-care than  I am of what others around me want or need.  I am not being selfish as much as I am being concerned about my own growth and development. In the Third Step we declare that  “we made a decision to turn  our wills and our minds over to the care  of God as we understand God.  To be in the care of someone means that they are concerned about us and are burdened with a concern for us.

MEDITATION

“Restore our fortunes, O God, like the torrents in the southern desert that those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, they shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves. ” Psalm  126.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowships. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“Our whole outlook and attitude upon Life changes.” Promise # 8 of Depressed Anonymous.

To really believe, possibly for the first time in my life that I can free myself from the prison of depression and begin to feel better. I know that I need to be proactive in my efforts at self-recovery. But what causes our outlook and attitude to change?
I have begun to believe that hope and healing is possible. Once we have gone through some painful inner changes, such as dealing with our character defects and our isolating tendencies we see there is a way out. We have to have a positive attitude that will move and motivate us to want to go and get to the next step. Watching someone actually take these steps week after week and watch that feeling of wellness rise up in them can provide a belief that with work and time, their lives do improve. Soon we see that a sense of purpose begins to manifest itself the more time and work we put into our personal recovery.
A door opens every slightly, and there appears a way out! I do know that when hope and faith in recovery rises, my symptoms of depression go down.

From: I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 46.

ISOLATION FROM WORLD AND OTHERS KEEPS ME DEPRESSED

HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS

AFFIRMATION
I have a desire to get connected with everything around me today!

“Until we have actually been depressed we do not realize that there is a great difference between being depressed and being unhappy. When we are unhappy, no matter what terrible things have happened to us, we still feel in contact with the rest of the world. When other people offer comfort and love we can feel it warm and support us… When we are depressed we feel cut off from the rest of the world.” (7)

REFLECTION

I admit to taking full responsibility for my detachment from my world and also from my very self. It seems that by numbing my grief over those matters lost in my past life, this has caused myself to be depressed. By burying what need to be faced and mourned, I am making a stand to face the depression that I have created over the years. I am going to care for myself and make the effort to hope that this twenty-four period that I call TODAY is one of rebirth and movement toward others.
Many times I wish I was merely unhappy rather than depressed. I can handle being unhappy, depression is a different story./ I am not about to give up on myself as I step out of depression and begin to take responsibility for my recovery TODAY. Because I have “made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understand God” my life is already starting to show the signs of a positive nature.

MEDITATION

My God has given me hope that my depressed days are going to be less and less: I believe that. My faith in God has given me hope.
————-
Source: (c)Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 2014). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Page 210.

WE HAVE ENTERED THE WORLD OF THE SPIRIT

We have entered the world of the spirit

From the AA Big book

“…We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past (Steps 4 & 5) . We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for a lifetime (Step 12) . Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code…Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee? Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are the thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.

THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK Step 10 Question for personal reflection #10. 12. Page 76.

I WANT TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS ABOUT SOME DOMINANT FEELINGS THAT I AM EXPERIENCING.

I WANT TO SHARE SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT SOME DOMINANT FEELINGS THAT I AM EXPERIENCING TODAY.

OCTOBER 18 Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications (2014) pages 207-208.
AFFIRMATION
Today, I want to write down the dominant feelings and share some thoughts about them with some friend.
“…Whenever we bring something clearly into consciousness and then put it outside ourselves in words or in something we make, we take control of it and thus reduce its power.” (7)

REFLECTION
I am finding that letting out feelings and ideas into the open after having stuffed them for a time is like steam being released from a boiler. The more I release my sadness and my feelings of helplessness and despair, the more I am able to feel a bit lighter in mood. When I see in front of me, on black and white, what I have been thinking, I am able to debate the material that has had me crippled for so long. I am able to rattle the skeleton’s cage and not run away.
When I give away my power I give away a part of myself. And to give away part of myself is to lose hope about my life and my purpose e in life. Purpose, self and power all go together. I have, within my grasp, the power to work myself out of my helplessness the more I put my power to work.

MEDITATION
God, grant me the power to take hold of the power that comes from you and put it to use in controlling the fear that pushes me deep into my sadness. I now have the hope that God is going to deliver me my power, that I am taking hold of it and using it to hope.
PERSONAL COMMENTS.

TO SHARE YOUR STORY IS TO SAVE YOUR LIFE (Yiddish proverb)

“It seems to me that the more we share our story with other members of the Depressed Anonymous group, the more we can hear for the first time our own unique story. It is amazing how, when we speak to others about ourselves and our addictions,  we begin to loosen up and release in ourselves a new sense of ourselves — a freedom  to express our true selves.  It is at these times when we discuss our addiction at the Depressed Anonymous meetings that we get first-hand information and feedback on how others are walking free of their sadness and hollowness.”

Source: Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 79.

PS.     Also, in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, on page 68 and at # 8.36 we discover how our depression may have kept us disconnected from others.

“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.