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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