Did I create my own prison of depression?

You know,  that’s a  great question for us who have been , or who are presently depressed.  My own reflections about my own experience with depression wasn’t a question that I  asked myself. Actually, that came later in my recovery.  I  really didn’t care who or what  created it – all I knew was I had to get rid of it.  In fact, the experience was much like Noah’s  in the belly of the whale.  I was just walking along one day minding my own business, and suddenly bam! physically feeling swallowed  up by some  invisible  creature who  was devouring me. And that was that. From that  moment on, the feeling continued to overwhelm  me for the next year and half.

Because I had no label to pin on this “whatever it was,”  and I thought nothing important to talk to  anyone  about, but only that the  feeling of helplessness had me locked down.  Oh, I still went to work, trudged through Graduate studies and continued my relationship with others, never revealing my interior mysterious  sense of isolation and despair.

My only distraction was to get up early every morning( biggest challenge of the day) and walk for miles, round and round,  thankful I was still able to function.

Long story short, during this period,  I gradually felt   small lift’s in my spirit but they never lasted. So I continued walking until I managed to walk out of the fog. I was feeling hopeful again,  able to face life with hope. Finally feeling fully freed from the  hopelessness that had isolated me from my world, disconnecting  me from everything, everybody, even myself. That was then.

Now reaching back into the past, looking at my life before ”  whatever it was” that had me,  I began  discovering that I’d unconsciously constructed my own prison and confinement. My ruminating on fearful scenarios of losing my job, not able to handle     negative life issues and constant  frightful thinking plus the  continuous feeling deep painful moods, all grinding my body, mind and spirit into the ground. The feeling, best described this  is  like  someone scraping  their  fingernails on  a blackboard all day  without end.  If you are old enough to remember this particular feeling, (or even a blackboard)  then you know it was that painful knife-like  feeling thrust through your stomach that echoed throughout your whole body. Well, that was the way I felt all the time, particularly in the morning each day.  I wanted never to get up. Here is where motivation  follows action . Move the body and the mind will follow.

When I speak of the pain that threw me to the ground and ended the familiar  life that I knew,  the members of the Depressed Anonymous group know exactly what I am talking about. Depression is physically  painful.  Usually when I tell someone I was depressed, they normally  don’t understand, unless of course, they have been depressed themselves.

In my case, I unconsciously  caused and created  my depression, and allowed the symptoms to grind me down until I took steps to feel differently.  The steps that I took   was to attend the “miracle of the Depressed Anonymous group ” where  I could share my own experiences, strength and hope, make the 12 Steps a daily part of my life, and to share this message of hope with all who feel the same way as I did.

Believing in a Higher Power greater than myself  continues to keep me sane and living one day at a time. It works. It can work for you as well.

For more information contact us @

Depanon@netpenny.net and read  what we are about @ depressedanon.com.

Resources:

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publicatiuons. Louisville, KY 40241.

Home Study Program of Recovery  (See DA literature here at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore).

 

Live for today–yesterday is gone forever and tomorrow isn’t here yet.

AFFIRMATION

I am going to begin a program today that includes daily exercise, proper nutrition and the right amount of sleep.

“When we are under stress, our auto-immune system, which fights off all the noxious agents which makes us ill, ceases to operate efficiently. This is why people who are depressed get so many bouts of colds, flu and worse.  What makes any illness   worse is that, because you don’t value yourself, you don’t look after yourself properly and you don’t seek the help that you need.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I want to believe that the more I take care of myself, the less likely I am going to be a victim of my own negative stress. I do want to take good care of myself and be healthy. So often in the past, I would worry, be tense, and continually fret about what happened yesterday. I would try to live in tomorrow with all  its own trials and tribulations as well. I never had much luck just trying to live in the present moment. If I want to start feeling better, then I have to live in today.

There is good stress and bad stress. Good stress challenges us to live each day with enthusiasm and hope as we go about our daily routine. Bad stress is  that which causes us to worry, be concerned about things that we have no control over and generally causes us to feel tired. By following our Twelve Step program of recovery, we discover that our life can have hope and purpose.

MEDITATION

We believe that the God of our understanding make it possible for us to gradually eradicate our need to worry and distress ourselves. I am like an  addict who continually needs to medicate those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness by saddening myself when things look bleak and out of control. With the help of my Higher Power, I believe that I can begin to feel better as I take the proper means to take care of my physical health.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships. (1998) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.KY. August 8th.

Depressed? Feeling all alone? Want support?

Want support? That’s what we all want for our lives, especially  when we are depressed. This is certainly  a fact as  we sink deeper into the quagmire of a melancholy mood. Without support from others when we  feel depressed —  even  hopeless — is   a critical time for  us.  It’s a do or die moment. It’s time to make a decision.  What do we want?

I think that for most of us who are or were depressed to have someone understand what we are living through–but let’s be frank–unless you yourself  have experienced the deadening feeling of depression it is quite a leap for others to try and understand our experience if they have never been there themselves. And really this is the reason we have a support group for those of us who can come together and get support. We are not alone. We have walked the walk where we were all alone and in  a continued isolation from family, friends and our world.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

In a social diagnosis made by C. Lasch,  (La cultura del narcissimo (Andres Bello, Barcelona. 1999). “who typified  our contemporary culture as a culture of narcissism – a culture in which every person relies on himself alone and is horrified by old age and radically  marginalizes the elderly.” (Dolentium Hominum. Church and Health in the world. xix. 2004.)

Social support for   those of us who are or have been depressed has  saved many of us from those deeper and life threatening  forms of addiction, such as alcoholism, gambling,  pornography, hoarding.  We  have become a materialistic  throw away society,  craving more things to consume and  more things  filling  up the hole of our emptiness.

While having already personally experienced the power of the 12 spiritual principles  of the 12 steps, plus a powerful social support  of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, I know of the power of being with others who just like myself, who find unconditional acceptance from the group. I also continue to learn about and use the many tools that keep me from relapsing back into depression . In Depressed Anonymous we all speak the same language of hope and recovery.

Dr. Aquilino Polaino-Lorento, a psychopathologist,   in his  article Is depression solely a matter of medical intervention?  tells us   “the absence of social support  is not  a cause of depression but is its consequence….less social support meaning a greater expression of symptoms.”

Here are more of his thoughts on social support and how that can be a predictor in a depressed persons’ response to therapy. He shares the following;  Depressive illness in elderly patients is higher the lower the level of the social support they receive.The speed of the response to therapy correlates in both sexes with  the social support they received.  The higher the level  of social support the more rapid the response.

Social support for many who are depressed is just not there. Period. It is a sad fact that there is even a stigma placed on persons depressed.  A depressed person has need of other depressed persons who can give them hope that their experience doesn’t have to go on.  The  social support of a mutual aid group can give exactly this–support and hope. As  persons depressed have a tendency to isolate themselves — and  the less social support they receive the deeper the spiral into darkness.

So what we have here is that more persons in our modern societies are isolated and remote from others.  We have become nomads looking for more things, more experiences that deepen a focus  on oneself, pushes  us away from the community however large or small, and contributes to an attitude of “it’s all about me.”

So is all we are left with is a society filled with isolated narcissists? No, that doesn’t have to be at all.  But if we want help for those of us who are depressed, we learn that the greatest help can be not to judge, not to tell them how to live, but instead,  listen and be present to them as friend.

In our Dep-Anon Family Group Manual we have a section titled

    WHAT TO SAY TO SOMEONE WHO IS DEPRESSED.

“It is more tempting, when you find out someone is depressed to immediately fix the problem. However, until the depressed  persons has given you the permission to be their therapist (as a friend or a professional) , the following responses are more likely to help.

The things that didn’t make me feel worse are the words which 1) acknowledge my depression for  what it is (“No, its just a phase.”) 2) give me permission to feel depressed ( “But why should  you be sad?) .

Here is a list  of things that might be said to a depressed friend or family member. “

“I love you.”

“I care.”

“You are not alone in this.”

“I’m not going to leave you or abandon you.”

“Do you want a hug.”

“It will pass, we can ride it out together.”

“When all this is over, I’ll still be here (if you mean it) and so will you.”

“You are important to me.”

“We are not primarily on earth to see through someone –but to see one another through.”

“I am sorry that you’re in so much pain. I am not going to leave you.  I am going to take care of myself so that you don’t need to worry that your pain might hurt me.”

“I listen  to you talk about it, and I can’t imagine what it’s like for you. I just can’t imagine how hard it must be?”

“I can’t fully understand  what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.”

If you need a friend…” (And mean it).

Here we are. There is hope and there is social support available.

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For more information please read and learn about the HOME STUDY KIT which one can use as an individual with their therapist, family member  or a friend.

The two works which comprise the Home Study Kit are:

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.

and

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. These two works comprise the Home Study Kit.

Depressedanon.com (here at this site) has a daily blog from which information and inspiration can be experienced.

VISIT THE STORE for other   available literature. Remember, our literature is written by those of us who were depressed.

 

 

youI lov

I said to myself, “if I ignore it maybe it(depression)will go away.”

“There was a time when we ignored trouble, hoping it would go away. Or, in fear and in depression, we ran from it, but found it was still with us. Often, full of unreason, bitterness, and blame, we fought back. These mistaken attitudes, powered by alcohol, guaranteed our destruction, unless they were altered.

Then came AA (and DA. OA, NA,  Al-Anon etc). Here we learned that trouble was really a fact of life for everybody – a fact that had to be understood and dealt with. Surprisingly, we found that our troubles could, under God’s grace, be converted into unimagined blessings.

“Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself: trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended. This was the A.A. story, and we became a part of it.  Such demonstrations became our stock in trade for the next sufferer.”

COMMENT: It was with my own experience with depression that I tried to deny that it was anything that could keep me from a life lived with hope and joy. I thought that if I just ignored it, like Bill W., stated so well above, it would just evaporate like the morning midst. Of course this just didn’t happen.

As I commented on this denial factor which is a big part of all addictions, I also came to believe that,  “well, what I am going through will surely pass. It isn’t so bad, really. I can put up with a little discomfort.”  Sorry. It didn’t work that way. And as I pointed out in   I’ll Do It when I feel Better  I said  ” we also learn that our depression is a defense and predictable and for some, depression is even come to be a comfort and as has been said before, at least one knows what they have with depression. And to change and risk removing this numbness is better not to be undertaken  because it’s better to know what one has than to risk getting something worse. Much like the example cited before of the debate within ourselves to go to the dentist for the toothache or just tough  it out and hope for the best.  We call this denial.” Page 17.

To examine more literature about depression and using the Twelve Steps in your personal recovery , please taker a look  at VISIT THE STORE here at our website.

______________________________________

SOURCES:

1) As Bill sees it. Page 110.

2)  I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014)  Depressed  Anonymous Publications.                                  Louisville.

3) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

SNAP OUT OF IT!

How often have you ever found yourself saying this, SNAP OUT OF IT!  to your loved one who is depressed?  Doesn’t work. Do you know why?

It doesn’t work because of the many symptoms that make up the painful experience of depression. Fatigue is a big part of depression. The emotional war going on inside of a depressed person depletes the vital energy from a person and as everything seems hopeless the body gets the message not to even try.  The depressed finally learns that motivation follows action. To get better, the depressed has to find a reason to get help. The understanding family is the best motivation.

Family members discover they  experience many of the same feelings as the depressed!  If you checked off more than  five of the items below , you might consider the DEP-ANON FAMILY GROUP.

When family members were asked to prioritize, describe and list which feelings they experienced most often and most intensely, the following are those which they documented, from most intense to less intense.

1) Feeling overwhelmed and burdened by a family member’s depression.2) Feeling restricted around the depressed, feelings of something similar to the expression of walking on egg shells.3) Feelings of helplessness. 4) Anxiety about the situation and not knowing what to do about the feelings they were experiencing. 5) Feeling emotionally drained. 6) Feeling inadequate, faced with a loved one’s immobility and lack of motivation.7) Feeling anger and frustration at the depressed. 8) Being an enabler. 9) Feeling that one was living an unproductive life as one was stymied by the  depressed   unproductive depression. 10) Having feelings of irritability and impatience.11) Feeling inadequate. 12) Unhappy. 13) Feeling betrayed in retirement by spouse’s late life depression. 14) Indecisive and lacking confidence in themselves.

ARE YOU SURPRISED TO LEARN THAT THE DEPRESSED EXPERIENCE THE SAME EMOTIONS?  YOU HAVE MORE IN COMMON THAT YOU THOUGHT!

SOURCE: (COPYRIGHT)  DEP-ANON FAMILY GROUP MANUAL: The 12 step support group for family and friends of the depressed.  DEPRESSED  ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY.