We have learned as it says in Appendix B of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, how “Many times the desire to help the depressed pushes the helper deeper into the isolation of the depressed – mirroring the reality of the depressed person.”
“One thing I’ve learned is that of all the horrendous problems we face in the world, what strikes me as the root cause of them all, and it is a myth: “I don’t have any power.” Mark DuBois.
Sometimes in our efforts to help the family member or friend we often forget that it is our recovery that needs to be first considered. We need a fresh approach and we need a plan. We can now admit that we became angry because of depressed friend didn’t recovery according to our schedule of events for their lives, We might have berated our family member that all they had to do was pick themselves up by their bootstraps and all would be well. Now that our eyes have been opened and our minds have been enlightened we realize that we are learning new ways to take care of ourselves.”
Dep-Anon Family Group. Pg.19.
It is true that what a loved one needs who is depressed is not a lot of lecturing on why he or she needs to get out of bed and to take care of themselves. They also don’t need pity.
I like to go to the family and friend guide for those who have a depressed loved one in their lives. This group, the Dep-Anon family group has some valuable thoughts on how to deal or not deal with the depressed person. In fact they wrote the program of recovery for those on the other side of the fence–namely the family member or friends of the depressed.
Let’s take a look at some of their thoughts on this subject, namely, how to help the depressed in the best possible way.
It is beginning to dawn on us that just as there are sure things the depressed needs to get them back on track –so now our focus continues to be inside our selves, We begin to admit that my own need to control my depressed friend or family member provides me with a sense of power and purpose for my life. The more I was willing to give and pity them –the more they were willing to be passive and receive.
We are learning that our individual strength, our sanity if you will, comes from our active participation in Dep-Anon where we are no longer alone but instead find ourselves in touch with the healing of those much like ourselves. Instead of casting any blame at them we now are in the active process of discovering areas in our lives that need work.
One of the issues that I might want to focus is that of self-pity. I need to quit feeling sorry for myself because all that I have tried in getting my family member back on their feet has seemingly been a failure. At first we might have been encouraged by the fact that this or that new drug was supposed to do the trick —the miracle pill–that was supposed to remove all the darkness and provide the light for that loved one. And when that didn’t happen we began to feel a panicky feeling –we began to feel helpless and disappointed because then it came back on us again to make them well –to do something-anything. Also, I felt angry at times when things didn’t go good for my loved one. I wanted so bad for them to begin the way that they once were. The way they are now is hard to accept. At times I am even angry at God for allowing all this sadness to be such a big part of our life. I find that any family group is a good place to share all those hurts with my newfound fellowship group.
The courage to share with others that we didn’t have all the answers as to how and when a family member is to recover. We now admit that no matter how much we cajole, criticize and scold there still is no change.
AS Bill W., says “The problem of resolving fear has two aspects. We shall have to try for all the freedom from fear that is possible for us to attain. Then we shall need to find both the courage and the grace to deal constructively with whatever fear remains.” (ASBI,P. 61).
Finally, the words of Bill W., ring in our ears and hearts where he writes in the AA Big Book, “We need not apologize to anyone for depending upon our creator. We have good reason to disbelieve those who think spirituality is the way of weakness. For us, it is the way of strength. In a letter Bill states that “we lose the fear of making decisions, great and small, as we realize that should our choice prove wrong we can, if we will, learn from the experience. Should our decision be the right one, we can thank God for giving us the courage and the grace that caused us so to act..
The verdict of the ages is that men of faith selfdom lack courage, They trust their God. So we never apologize for our belief in God. Instead we try to let him demonstrate, through us, what he can do.”
SOURCE: Dep-Anon Family Group Manual: A 12 Step Support Group for Families and Friends of the Depressed. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.