The prescription for sanity in one’s life.

This idea of choosing sanity  is   what we desire.  Who would ever choose insanity? But, believe it or not,  people choose insanity all the time. You  remember the saying, “doing the same thing over and over again is insanity.” If you are honest with yourself, I think you might   remember a time when you yourself  kept doing something that was assuredly insane. Today, if you   can honestly say that  you  always choose sanity,  then my response to you  is that   is a good thing.  I am happy for you.

In our 12 Step program of recovery we  learn about the   2nd Step, “Came to believe that a power greater than myself can restore  me to sanity.” Now for most of us, like it says in the 12 &12 and 12 Traditions, written by Bill W., co-founder of AA,  sanity “means soundness of mind.”  Now here is the point, when I was in the throes of depression, I was scared and I really did think that I was losing my mind. I could not concentrate. My feelings and emotions were flowing through me like a river overflowing its banks. My thoughts always circled back on themselves, making a tight grip-like  on every thought that flowed from   my mind. I was in a circular round dance – without a partner.  I would   try to think my way  out of my depression. What was happening to me I thought? The more I thought,  the more I got tangled up in my own mental fog.  After the mental wrestling which  went on in my mind, hour after hour and day after day, I begin to wonder if there was any  way out of this  labyrinth. The paths led to places which indicated that there was no exit. I began to believe   there was no way out and so my daily recourse/solution was to sleep. Sleep was the only thing that would deaden the assault on my mind.

Many times my own mind goes back to the time when as a therapist I tried to help others break down their life choices into  small pieces. When I was depressed,  all I could think of was a wall, a huge wall that would show up,  every time I wanted to go  and try to figure out a solution for my problem. And it was here that I would continue the insane banging my head against a wall that would not let me gain entrance. But when I began to break the  symptoms of my depression into smaller parts and take a closer look at where the solutions might lie.  I discovered a way out of my own prison by  this method and   it  gradually provided  hope for me. I  discovered that what I needed  to do was to utilize some of these ” tools ” as a way out of the prison of depression and gave me a gradual  exit out of my prison. Instead of going over and over in my mind on how bad or worthless I was, I began to cut off these self-bashing thoughts with hopeful designs on making a new me. No more was I engaged in that insane circular thinking that provided no solutions, but instead, always sent me right back to square one from where I started. Insanity! It was like a dog chasing its tail.  Doing the  same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sorry, it doesn’t happen that way when we are with a group of people at a Depressed Anonymous meeting.  We all have experienced the type of thinking that puts us deeper in the lowest mood possible. It is the group experience and the spiritual principles of the Steps that help us to spiral upwards into wholeness and sanity.

One of the great lessons that I have learned over the years is listening to those persons who share their stories of hope. They tell the stories of their own recovery sharing with us how they used all the “tools” at their disposal for their own recovery

.(See Tools of Recovery at our website Menu where you will find a list of many of the effective tools for extricating oneself from depression. You will be able to use  ” sane” tools as a means of rejecting the insanity of our own lives and making sense out of how to live a life without depression. A life with hope. It happens.)

Also read the many stories in our Depressed Anonymous “Big Book”   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY). Personal testimonies section.

More information at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

Order are accepted online.

 

 

 

“…spiritually engaged individuals (depressed)were in touch with something important…” David Karp

As a professor of Sociology at Boston University, David Karp  describes in his book SPEAKING OF SADNESS his spending  time interviewing 50 men and women about their own personal depression experiences. The following are some of his thoughts about  those persons whom he interviewed and who saw a connection between spirituality and depression.

I too found that  this connection  also  provided  me  with  a solid and healing plan for leaving my own depression.

I found a spirituality that produced my own personal transformation  by using the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous. These steps are based on the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps and take the depressed person through a process of incremental  healing actions  which gradually can loosen the bonds of their sadness.

Here are some of the findings  Karp shares with the reader of  his own feelings about  those who spoke about the power of  a spirituality   which provided them hope during their depression experience.

” I was leaving many of my interviews awed by the courage and grace with which certain people faced unimaginable   pain and loss. I was especially impressed with those who spoke of their depression as a gift from which they had learned valuable lessons. While I could not relate emotionally or intellectually with visions of reincarnation or explanations of depression as central to a God -given  life mission. I left many interviews with a sense that spiritually engaged individuals were in touch with something importantThe issue was not a matter of evaluating the truth of their particular brand of a spirituality. What I felt was a measure of envy of those who displayed an acceptance that seemed to me incongruence with accounts of exceptional pain.  The people possessed or knew something that I didn’t.”

SPEAKING OF SADNESS by David Karp. (1996), Oxford University Press, Inc. pg. 191..”

And K. Duff shares with us that

“…illness is an opportunity for enlightenment, that, seen the right way, we do not cure illnesses –instead, they have the potential to cure us. This happens when we realize that illness is “not so much a state of being as a process of transformation.”  In K. Duff, The Alchemy of illness(New York):Simon and Shuster, (1993). pg. 191.

In  our  Step Manual , Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,( 2011)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville., a work which includes many stories shared by those who use the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps for their own recovery and transformation.  Also, this book is written by those who were depressed and graciously share their stories on how Depressed Anonymous transformed their lives.

Like Karp states in the  section quoted above how I too see my depression as a gift, as for the last 30 or more years my life mission has been to bring hope to those still suffering from depression. Almost every day I speak, write to someone , or continue to get the message out with  our DA publications how  I have been and continue to be transformed  by putting  to use in my own life  the spiritual principles of these Steps. For this  reason we continue to   establish   mutual aid groups for persons depressed.

In some of our next  blogs I will continue this most important discussion about depression and its connection to the power spirituality.

VISIT THE STORE for more information about our DA literature.

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.

THE TOOLBOX OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

The toolbox of Depressed Anonymous

I think all of us have a toolbox in our lives that we use from time to time. For some of us, our toolbox provides us with a living. The same is true for my own toolbox. I received my toolbox back in 1982 when I joined a 12 step fellowship group of recovery.. The tools that I received at that time I still use. In fact I have added other tools as well. The tools I need the most I use every day. Have you a toolbox? And if your answer is yes, what do you have in your tool box?

In our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS Big Book, one of our fellowship writes the following account of her use of the toolbox of DA. She states that “it seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous literature and manual have all provided me with the tools to live without being depressed. Most important of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power) will give me strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support on how to cope with depression.

All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so…”Depressed Anonymous. Page 148, Personal story #29.

WAITING IN TRUTH IMPLIES TRUST

Waiting in truth implies trust –a trust in a promise. In the last number of weeks we have been talking about the PROMISES of Depressed Anonymous and how with time, patience, work and trust we can gradually free ourselves from the ravages and pain of depression. Truly it does take one to know one when we are speaking of depression and how that painful and isolating experience is such a debilitating experience. When I was depressed more than a few years ago, I trusted that the Promises of the 12 Steps of AA and now Depressed Anonymous would help me too. It took time and work–something that had its root in my childhood was not going to be healed in a matter of days or weeks. With a firm trust in those people who, in the context of a group fellowship, said it was because of using the 12 steps that gave them hope and discovered a new way of living.

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.

A PRESCIPTION FOR PUTTING SANITY IN ONE’S LIFE!

prescription for sanity in one’s life!

Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.” This is Step Two of Depressed Anonymous and it provides a program  for those of us who  want a step by step approach to putting light, hope  and sanity in our lives.

If you feel you are losing your sanity, then this is a program for you.  DEPRESED ANONYMOUS  WORKS FOR ME!

IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE — AND HELP ONE ANOTHER!

AFFIRMATION

I WANT TO CARRY THE MESSAGE OF HOPE TO THOSE OTHERS WHO ARE DEPRESSED.

“I  (Dr. Dorothy Rowe) said what I so often said, that the best way depressed people can  help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one another.”

REFLECTION

They also think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they have any control over it.  My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most supportive are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to “snap out of it!”

I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try and help them.

MEDITATION

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. (Personal comments).

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days:  365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville, Ky.  Page 201.