Some depressions are followed by thriving. We honor the strength of those who achieve recovery. It is possible!

 

“One obstacle to a more affirmative national conversation is that depression has lacked a unifying public symbol  that could   bring it  out  of the  dark, and Livestrong(c) bracelets did for cancer or the rainbow flag did for LGBT. When most people think of depression, their first associations are to unfortunate images, such as a dark cloud, the color black, or a noose. One reason why depression stigma lives is that depression has a serious bumper stick problem.

But this is essentially an issue of failed marketing and messaging. It should be possible to develop a unifying symbol, and it is presented in a compelling way, many might rally. Conservatively, thirteen million US adults are currently in an episode of depression, more than twice that number have had depression in the past. When we add  caregivers , millions more are indirectly affected by the quality and the quantity  of our national dialogue about  depression.  Have no illusions.  Even with a strong  public education  campaign, stereotypes that have been decades in the making will  resist change.  Still with  so much to gain, it is high  time that we  try.

But in my view, finding more humane ways to discuss the predicament  of depressed people is not just good marketing, it’s also good science. The mood science perspective tells us that depression, deep or shallow, is a natural product of the mood system. However a person gets there, facing deep depression is a supremely difficult trial. Rather than weakness or defectiveness, we should acknowledge that getting through depression requires considerable strength. Rather than assuming permanent debility, we should recognize that some depressions are followed by thriving. Writing these words fourteen years after my episode, I recognize that I am not broken. Getting beyond the disease model will require us to honor the strengths of formerly depressed people, to see their potential for rebirth after depression and the ways that, once reborn, they can help others build enduring recoveries from depression. It is possible.” Copyright(c) Rottenberg,  Jonathon. The Evolutionary Origins of  the  Depression Epidemic. (2014) Basic Books.  New York,  Pages  198-200.

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Hugh’s comments

This work of Jonathon Rottenberg is one that everyone need to read. Not only does  it provide us with a insight into “mood science”  it also is a positive statement on the depressed person’s strengths.  And then it promotes the fact that once a depressed person recovers they will go on and help others rebuild their lives.

If you are fortunate to be a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship you will  understand this statement completely: helping others rebuld their lives completely. In fact this is where our Twelve Step program challenges the person recovered “having  had a spiritual awakening as the 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, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.  (Personal Stories).

Our Big Book has more than 30 personal stories of how  these stories of the recovered members of Depressed Anonymous  have had their lives rebuilt and now are thriving and strengthened and reaching out to others depressed. It is possible.

“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.

 

“There will be no mountain I cannot climb.”

Ralph’s story continued…

“I have come a long way since that first day  I walked through those doors (Depressed Anonymous Fellowship) and into all of your open arms.  It was good to know that other people had the same feelings that I had experienced. I had feelings  of loneliness and despair, and felt that  there was no way  out of the living hell that was going through me inside. At that time, it was like my heart and my soul had been ripped out of my body.

I felt that my own mind was my worst enemy and its mission was to destroy me. I had many sleepless nights and my mind was forever racing with negative thoughts of gloom and doom. I did not think that I would ever function like a normal being again. I felt my negative thoughts would win the battle and that I would forever be condemned to the eternal hell.

The Depressed Anonymous Group has proven me all wrong( thank God). The group has been my guardian angel who was speaking to me all the time. I learned that there was hope for me after all. There is a new rebirth in me spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I believe now that I can go on with my life  without all the fears that I bottled up inside of me. As long as I have faith in my Higher Power and the Depressed Anonymous Group, there will be no mountain that I cannot climb. I am forever grateful.”

Ralph

Read more of Ralph’s story in   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. Pages 117-118.

Making “gratitude my attitude” helps keep Robin out of depression.

 

A personal story/ testimony from Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition by Robin.

“Through the Depressed Anonymous program, which utilizes the Twelve Steps, I have been on a  journey of transformation from the familiar life of drudgery and gloom and desperation to discovering a new freedom and a new happiness – something I didn’t know existed. My entire perspective is changing.  Other people who I once thought were   judgmental  are now considered as all being a child of God–all created equal. What a peace provocative tool this is. Really! It helps me lift those negative attitudes and replaces them with affirmations. This is certainly the most  valuable technique offered in Depressed Anonymous to acquire an optimistic attitude towards life itself, or simply “making gratitude my attitude.” So many of us were only familiar with the sham and the drudgery of life, but even with all the sham and drudgery in the word,  it is still a beautiful place to live.  We learn to change not the world, but how we view the world and all its intricacies.”

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

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It is truly a remarkable fact, that  by going to one meeting you may hear someone  share  their own personal story and you think they are talking about you. It is amazing how this works, but not really.  What happens  is that all of us who come to the Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first  time, find that members of this mutual aid group speak the same language … hope and support. It does take one to know one, which is true. I guess the point here is that if we all feel pretty much the same thing when we are depressed, even though my depression experience is unique to me and how it effects my life, that this awareness is a great thing as it helps to produce those many strategies for recovery which can be applied across the board for most of  us in the group. The Twelve Steps are  strategies that in time and  work can   give us a  fresh and healing perspective for  our individual lives.  To read more about the recovery experience   of  others who have used tjourney of transformation

he Twelve StepsVISIT THE STORE and continue to find other literature which can   provide you with hope  plus  a way out of your depression.

Hugh

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The latest offer by the PUBLISHER is the KINDLE edition of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily Thoughts and Meditations for Twelve Step individuals. Take a Higher  Thought with you were ever you go!

Share your story and save your life.

Last night at a Depressed Anonymous meeting, a member shared how she felt that our members do a great service to those still depressed by sharing their story of recovery from depression. It was then  pointed out that Ralph, a member of Depressed Anonymous for 23 years now, had his own story of recovery published in the first edition of Depressed Anonymous(1998). The title of his story appeared under the title Depressed Anonymous is Ralph’s Guardian Angel. The story is a real tribute to that person’s faith  who  to this day continues to use  the Twelve Steps as a way to  stay out of depression. His story and  the many others in the Depressed Anonymous book, now in its  3rd edition, continue to inspire us and give us hope. We too  can have the same experience as Ralph. In fact, it was suggested at the meeting last night  that Ralph write and give an account for how his life has been  since the time that he penned that account (1992) of his own personal recovery from depression.

In Ralph’s personal account t of his recovery experience he tells us ” that the group has been my guardian angel who was speaking to me all the time. I learned that there was hope for me after all.  There is a new rebirth in me spiritually, emotionally and physically. I believe that I can go on with my life without all the fears that I bottled up inside  me.  As long as I have faith in my Higher Power and the Depressed Anonymous group, there will be no mountain that I cannot climb. I am forever grateful.”

(Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Personal Stories section. Story #7 on pages 117-118.)

I might add that Ralph has been the staying force  in our community for facilitating a  Depressed Anonymous meeting, ensuring that the group has a place to meet,  and just keeping the door open for anyone who wants to find hope and fellowship which is the kind of hope that Ralph found when he entered that door of the fellowship for the first time. (I remember well. I was there./ Editor)

I can tell you that it is in the telling of the story that gives us hope–always. That is why at our Twelve Step meetings we have speakers who share their story of recovery for those not acquainted with the hope, healing and serenity that our recovery  journey provides, one  day at a time. Also, by having so many personal stories in our manual we know how important it is to show that what we believe  actually works. The  ” proof is in the pudding” as the old saying goes. At the beginning of every meeting, the  leader for that meeting shares with the group the way their life was before they found and put the power of the Twelve Steps into their lives, and now, how their life is today.

The more we come together and share our stories, that is our struggles with depression, the more we find the solutions just as did Ralph who found the Depressed Anonymous fellowship to serve as his guardian angel. And from the meeting last night I see that Ralph’s guardian angel is still very much on the job. I am grateful.

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

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