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.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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.

Withdrawal from friends is the first clue…

  Withdrawing from friends  and other social contacts is the first clue that you’re slipping back into the isolation and pain of depression.   Move toward a friend, get a sponsor, and go to a 12 step meeting. Ask your higher power for that knowledge that can guide you onto the appropriate path. 

There are two times that we need to go to a 12 step meeting. 1) One, when we don’t want to go to a meeting and 2) secondly when we do want to go to a meeting.  From my personal experiences I can share with you that is when I go to my meeting that I’m able to come away from it with something positive to think about. I can honestly say that I feel better after a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I know in my heart that when I just want to sit at home by myself, isolating and ruminating within my head about all the horrible things that have happened to me, or are about to happen to me, that is when I depressed myself even more. Get connected!

CHOICE,  NOT CHANCE  DETERMINES DESTINY!

It’s our addictive thinking, our compulsive way of processing negative information, which describes how we habitually store the negative but continue to dump the positive information which 24/7 continually flows into our brain. These negative thoughts of feeling  persist  in  keeping us falling back into the old habit of staying isolated and avoiding others. We might fool  ourselves and say that people have nothing to offer me and that is why I distance myself from everyone.  Part of my nature when  depressed is to avoid and distance myself from whatever I feel is threatening me, like a child afraid of the dark.

I can only do what God wants me to do and I discover what this is by spending time alone with my God and meditation. Whatever we do, we need to know that our isolation and our withdrawing from friends and family, is an environment where depression grows strong.  Depression dies in the light of discussion.

Dorothy Rowe in  her award-winning book Depression: the way out of your prison, has an excellent section on isolation and depression. Let me quote it for you and then you can the draw your own conclusions

” Thus none of us can escape needing other people so that we can exist and not fear annihilation. But you who get depressed have decided to express your need for other people in ways which make it hard for you to live.

    Take the first form of existence – wanting to be part of a group and fearing isolation. If you see yourself as basically a good person and therefore with  something to offer other people, you have no fear of joining groups, of being part of the family, as much as you suffer loss, you know you’re able to find new friends and to help other people. But if you see yourself as basically a bad person, then the threat of expulsion from your group is expected and feared. Since  you do not value yourself, you cannot see people as wanting you to join them, either as a friend our helper. If disaster wrenched you away from your family you cannot see yourself surviving, and so no matter how much you come to hate your family you cannot let them go. They are your reference point of existence, and you fear that if you lose them, you will disappear…

     Seeing yourself as basically good reduces the need for other people’s approval. If you see yourself as basically good, you can set up a select group of people whose approval you desire and can be indifferent to the opinion of the multitude. But if you see yourself as basically bad then you need everybody’s approval…”   Dorothy Rowe. Depression: the way out of your prison. 1983. Harper Collins, London, UK. Page 111.

Source:  Copyright ( c)  Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2002) D AP. Louisville. Kentucky. 40216. Pages 47-50.

Friends are wonderful people

Dorothy Rowe in her book  Depression: The way out of  your prison tells us that friends are wonderful people.

“I always regret that I do not devote more time to my friends –write them longer letters more frequently, visit them more often, invite them here more often  — but in  my mental map of my world my friends stand like giant statues of themselves.  My friends are the people with whom I have a continuous conversation.  There may be long gaps between exchanges, since many of them live in Australia or America, but the conversation is never interrupted or concluded.

To turn an acquaintance into a friend you have to give that person time and attention. If you have no friends it is because  you are so wrapped up in yourself that you do not give other people your time and attention. One part of not giving time and attention  to other people is fearing that if you do they will reject you.  The other part is feeling that other people are boring and you have better things to do than talk to them.  But if you want to find your way out of the prison of  depression, you need friends.  ”  Pages 201-202.

Sheldon Kopp said, “Who can love me if no one knows me.”

____________________________________________

Really to have friends and to connect authentically with others is to tell our story. To do so initiates a contact with another at a  deeper and visceral level. This is the “miracle of the Depressed Anonymous group.” And when we are depressed doesn’t it make sense that we find it less difficult to share with someone like ourselves than to that person who is clueless about what it feels like to be depressed.  When we  share our stories, we find our stories mirror groups of people who, because of their own sadness and feeling worthless–in other words, being vulnerable,  will be the cement that binds us together as  friends. We are no longer alone and adrift in this sea of humanity. And as persons get to know me they will in turn be able to love me and know me as a friend. It is a fact  that our friendships grow and blossom the longer we stay involved  with the  fellowship.

Want to have a friend?  —  then be a friend.

For more information read how friends are made in   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2002) Depresed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Hugh