“Help is on the way!”

 

Learning some creative ways   to deal with depression, based on one’s  own personal experiences utilizing the   power of the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous.  Our program is modeled after  the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Many times a person depressed will look for help from our website,  hoping that we have something that will give them relief and present for them  a positive solution.  We  do our best to help them with our solution focused approach to overcoming depression. Most are thankful to know that we are here and have developed various avenues for one’s own  recovery from depression.

To understand who we are and what we do, we always advise that the seeker read each   of the items listed on our website menu. We also  point them to past issues of our published  Newsletters in the Newsletter Archives.

Our readers are treated to timely posts at our website  center (www.depressedanon.cm) which include those topics which are most helpful to a person depressed as well as for one’s family members and friends.

Recently, we initiated an ongoing program of recovery for those persons who would like to start their own Depressed Anonymous group This program is one in which our DA members (SPONSORS) work collaboratively with those who choose this HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY.  The program enables the person desirous of learning more about depression and their own unique experiences,  to  communicate with their sponsor  by email. The participant   answers  questions from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook and reading  from the Basic text of Depressed Anonymous.    Each of the Twelve Steps is    reflected upon as it relates  to one’s life past and present. The participant’s responses are then emailed to the sponsor and a return mail by the sponsor  answers   those questions which the participant may have during the  course study of  their ongoing Home Study  Program. The best part of the Home Study is that you can go at your own pace and  get feedback from someone who has lived the program in their daily life!

If you choose to start a group that is entirely up to you and there is no obligation to initiate a group in your locality.

So there you have it. You may discover  things about yourself that you never know existed. And  whatever questions you might have about the origins of your own experience may come to light during this program. The best answers are there in your own life experiences and your taking the time to reflect upon them by using the DA WORKBOOK and the DA BASIC TEXT.

A participant will need the two books  mentioned above for the program of Home Study and these are used in the group program.  You can purchase both books as a unit   from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore as well as purchase the books as eBooks from the Depressed Anonymous  Publications Bookstore onsite at www.depressedanon.com.

If for whatever reason you are financially  unable to purchase these  books, please send me  an email (depanon@netpenny.net)   and we will contact you privately about the matter.  Our main concern is to get these positive materials in the hands of those who want a way out of the prison of depression.

For an explanation of the HOMNE STUDY PROGRAM in more detail please click onto the Website Menu and click onto the drop down menu labeled HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

Shame, Shame, Shame

On deciding what “go to guy” to help me, when setting up the 12 Step Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group, I went to Aaron Beck’s book, Cognitive Therapy of Depression.  It was there that I found out the why’s and how’s we shame ourselves.  Many times we feel shame to tell another that we are depressed.  I have felt this myself. So, when it came time to form a group for the depressed, it was there that at many of the group sessions the fact of shame came up in the fellowship. I saw that what  was   needed was a therapeutic way to deal with the fact of how to overcome the “shaming” of ourselves.

Beck advises the following to a person saddled with shame:

The patient can be told that if he adopts an “antishame”  philosophy, a great deal of pain and discomfort can be avoided. When, for example, the patient makes a mistake that he believes is shameful, he can turn this experience into an antishame exercise by openly acknowledging it instead of hiding it. If he pursues this open policy long enough, his proneness to experience counterproductive shame will diminish. Moreover, he will be less inhibited and more flexible and spontaneous in his range of responses..

One way a therapist can help a patient to resolve feelings of shame over being depressed is illustrated in the following excerpt.

Patient: If the people at work found out I was depressed they would think badly of me.

Therapist: Over 10% of the population is depressed at one time or another. Why is this shameful?

Patient: Other people think people who become depressed are inferior.

Therapist: You are confusing a psychological condition with a social problem. This is a version of blaming the victim. Even if they did think badly of  you –either out of their own ignorance or adolescent way of rating people –you do not have to accept their evaluation. You feel ashamed only if you apply their value system to yourself, that is, if you really believe it is shameful.

Beck then goes on to say that “Other standard procedures, such as having patients list  advantages and disadvantages of expressing shame, can be used to deal with this response.”

—————————————–

Sources: (c) Aaron Beck . Cognitive Therapy of Depression (1979). The Guilford Press, NY. Page 179.

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

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

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

Late UN-breaking news!

Wow!  How about that? Late UN-breaking news? Everywhere you go–it’s late breaking news. Come on folks.

I would be satisfied with more late UN-breaking news myself.  Put a trailer at the bottom of the screen and just let the late breaking news pass us by–like a watching the #17 bus head down the street. Well, anyway, I have some late UN-breaking news for you. As you can tell from the title of my BLOG, what I share here is pretty much your regular UN-breaking news. You know, like hey, if you are depressed have you ever considered doing this or trying that or whatever for your melancholia. By the way, that is what they used to call it–melancholia.   That is about as UN-breaking  as you can get. If you feel depressed,  paralyzed by fear, fatigue and purposeless in your life it might be the news for you to know there is hope. Maybe you know or don’t know that many times people who come into  counseling  for their symptoms of depression want relief–and they want it now. Not tomorrow–not next week–they want it now. Yes, that is what they want. So did I when my life was falling   apart. I couldn’t even put a label on what was happening  inside of me. I felt helpless. Hopeless. But the REAL BREAKING NEWS is that we have discovered, like millions before us, that once I began to believe in a Power greater than myself, my life gradually began to change. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t have the magic potion or the magic wand to all of a sudden remove   feelings of pain, anxiety, fear and lack of a desire to want to live. Let me share with you what we do have to offer.  We have a suggested solution. (This is really old news.)

In the coming days  I would like to share with you   my thoughts -solutions- about depression and its relationship to spirituality. What this means is  there a Power greater than yourself that you believe in?

Stay tuned for more UN-breaking news to come. I think what we have to offer will provide you with HOPE!