Increase activity-decrease depression. Set goals for your recovery and you will reap its rewards.

One of the greatest lessons  I learned was about setting goals. When I would isolate and withdraw from life, friends and family,  is when my depression began to deepen and worsen.

If you stop taking care of yourself and retreat from living,  you will find yourself  boxed in and all alone. I remember well when I would withdraw  trying  to figure out what I could do  to relieve my   deep sadness. Usually my thinking took the easy way out.   I would  tell  myself that I would do it when I felt better. ( “I’ll do it when I felt better.”)

This excuse was a way out for me, because I would never have to do anything because I would never feel better. It was only when bad went to worse  that I began  to realize that the only way out was up. Instead of spiraling down I needed to spiral up.

When I set a goal  to find  help, I started to work on my recovery using the tools of Depressed Anonymous. That is, I would use the Depressed  Anonymous Workbook, and answer one or two  questions every day—one week I could only answer three of the questions a day. I took it one step at a time.    Some days, I just felt like hanging it up. A  mantra that I kept repeating to myself was that nothing was happening.  I was still depressed. No change.

An amazing thing happened. Even though my goals were small to start with, I  did believe that   this activity was gradually  bringing me closer to who I really  am and who I wanted to be. Nothing  happened overnight.  It was a day by day struggle. But as I moved through  this workbook, I discovered that there were some other exercises that  I could accomplish. I looked at the Depressed Anonymous website, and found ten or more ways to get involved with my own recovery. The one that appealed to me was the one tool called exercise.  I thought, that is definitely one that I don’t have the energy for.  Then  I rethought my decision . I had heard that when you are depressed,  set a small goal in which you find a bit more  challenging, like walking and do that every day. So I forced myself to walk, just as I was forcing myself to read Depressed Anonymous literature I now was setting aside time to walk every morning.   It was like I was in a  high hurdles race, moving over obstacles placed there by my mind and moving  over them one at a time.

I learned that there is physical  activity  as well as mental activity.   By committing myself to these small steps, one at a time, I gradually found myself a bit more hopeful.   I was gradually reaping the rewards of moving on and through my depression resistance  — no longer staying  parked in neutral.

I was  getting my life in gear.  Eventually I  started to attend Depressed Anonymous meetings and  set the goal of going to meetings every week.   Gradually I was aware of something positive shifting in my life–I was actually beginning to look forward to continuing  my activities and began participating in life once again. My mind fog had finally melted away.

The lesson here for me and it will be the same for you is to start with small goals, add a goal as you move along,  and you will find that you now have developed a workable  program of recovery that can get you through every day of your life. Oh, sure there will be other obstacles and hurdles to overcome in your life,  but my point is that you will have what you need to stay on your feet and move forward in hope because you got skin in the game.

Depressed Anonymous Member

SOURCES:  I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky.

                              Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky

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I have found a new life and a new freedom. Will you join with me?

AFFIRMATION

My freedom today is growing inside of me as I hope for new life, new friends and new opportunities for serenity and peace.

“We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, ever dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this Step Five, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.  Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our creator. We may have had certain  spiritual experiences. The feeling that the drink (insert depression) problem has disappeared will often come back strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” AA Big Book.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

“…When I am in the early days of my recovery, it is so natural for me to begin thinking how bad things will be today, or when will I actually begin to feel better? I don’t believe that these good feelings will last. I set myself up for sadness. This  type of thinking is similar  to the alcoholic who think they  can take one drink but continue to drink til they are drunk.    For us to think that we can start to bash ourselves with sad thoughts without getting drunk with the numbing effects of sadness is sorely mistaken. This is called  denial.

I believe with all my power that even though I walk through the valley of darkness that my God will always be there  with me. I believe also that my sadness will not last forever, but that today is all  I have and I have hope for my day, today. I know that the more I turn to my Higher Power, the more  my Higher Power turns to me.

MEDITATION

God, please don’t let us get attached to anything that isn’t of your making. Our thoughts that we will never feel better are really thoughts  that aren’t   based on fact as most people admit, since they have both good days and bad days in  the future. God, help us to have a good day, today!  Help us to be free today!”

Copyright(c)  Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. (Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY. Pgs 133-134.)

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“Today, I will begin to dig myself out of the deep hole that is depression.”

 

 

On this New Year’s Day, I find that my work for my life today, and only today, is to reflect on a time in my life that I have experienced a feeling of happiness and contentment. If I can remember a pleasant situation form the past, I will construct a happy situation and imagine it occurring right now.

In getting my priorities straight, my feelings of depression lessened.

Clarification of Thought

In my relationship to God, I am beginning to realize that it isn’t so much that I believe  that I’ll ever feel better, but that I just can’t know for sureMy first priority is to admit that I have a problem and that with God’s help  I can get through my depression.

As soon as I give up my victim stance and begin to take responsibility for my feelings and my life, I can start to work as if my recovery is really up to me and that I will, in time, succeed in getting out of this deep hole that I call depression. My priority is to begin each day with the conviction that the Twelve Steps will be an aid in getting out of my depression.

MEDITATION

God, we seek your guidance and your strength for our lives. Whatever we have lost or feel we have lost, please heal the holes in our souls and fill them with your love and peace. In our quiet time today, show us what part of us needs to be healed.” See Steps 1, 2, 3.

SOURCE:   Copyright(c)  Smith, Hugh. Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships.  Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville, KY. Page 1.

I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I believe that by working the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous, the more my Higher Power can release in me the serenity that I seek.  While not giving up hope – I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”  The FOURTEENTH WAY out of the prison of depression.

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

 

“As long as I have a belief that somehow, someway, I will begin to feel differently and I can believe that Depressed Anonymous was developed to bring the ‘sufferer’s  of depression together. By this gathering of like-minded folks, it resulted in individuals being empowered to find a support which slowly leads them out of the hole.  I have always believed in the power and the uinfluence of the group — either serving as a power for good or a power designed for destructive ends. But as for our group Depressed Anonynmous, I know that it truly builds, enhances and strengthens anyone who gets involved with it on a regular and consistent basis.  Those who do interact with our fellowship eventually come out of the pit of their depression and start feeling hopeful about their lives.  They are feeling hope instead of despair. This is actually happening all the time as those involved in the fellowship begin to see personal changes occurring in their lives.”   Pages 65-66.