Sharing your story is to save your life!

 

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has at least one book inside of them that needs to be written.  In her award winning book, Depression: The way out of your prison, Dr. Dorothy Rowe tells us how getting our story told can be  life- changing, and for some life-saving. Below are  her thoughts on the importance of sharing one’s story with that person who is willing to listen.

Help comes in two ways -from yourself and from other people. But help cannot come from other people unless you are prepared to find it and accept it. You have to find the people to confide in and you have to overcome your habit of keeping things to yourself. Perhaps you are ready to confide in someone, but there is no one available. Your family will not listen, and your doctor prefers to write you a prescription rather than give you his listening attention.

So you need to find someone who will listen. Someone outside the family and, possibly, outside work, is usually best—someone who has no vested interest in keeping you as you are or who has no reason to feel guilty about what you might disclose. It need not necessarily be just one person. On your journey out of your prison of depression you will meet many different gurus, people who throw light on your darkness. A nurse might listen to your fears about your health and the drugs you take, and may find the words to calm your fears. A friend may share with you the burden of family responsibilities. A pastor  or priest might listen and acknowledge your religious doubts and fears and impart the courage and trust which enables you to deal with these. Of course, not everyone you hope to confide in will respond in a  helpful way. ..”

And then Rowe continues to say that “you might like to consult a professional listener of some sort. You may find someone in the Health Service, or you might go to a private therapist. Talking to people who have been depressed and are now coping is tremendously helpful.”   Pages 199-200.  (Copyright)  Depression:The Way out of your prison.  (1996) Routledge. 2nd ed. London.

Our Twelve Step program  tries to ensure that everyone who attends our program of recovery and who shares their story will be given a sponsor, a listener if you will, who too has experienced the pain and anxiety of depression. They are sponsors because they too have been able to share their stories. They know that  powerful freedom that comes when someone really listens to us and our story. People  often say to me “Doesn’t listening to all these depressed people get you depressed? ” And I can honestly say that it does not  get me depressed.  In fact, I know that by listening to someone else’s story, I  find many areas which are  similar to my own. Besides the fact that I myself experienced the chaos and pain of depression,  I know how difficult  it is to come out and share one’s own struggle. But it can be done!

If you are looking for someone or others to listen to your story with compassion and without a judgmental attitude, our group Depressed Anonymous is the right place to come. We are all storytellers. We all have been heard. We all continue to tell our story. Not only the personal account of our  own depression but also the story of how we have recovered from depression. In our program there is always the “before ” and “after” story that we share.  The ” after’  story of all of us is that important account of what we did to recover, how we did it  and with whom we did it,  made all the difference in the world. Out of the darkness into the light.

You  can read the stories in Depressed Anonymous, which contain heart warming  stories of how persons young and old, have come to our fellowship, shared their story and   who now listen to  those new members who share their own story. They want to share that hope, so that others depressed may know that there is a way out and a life to be lived without depression. They are no longer alone!

It takes trust to share our story. Finding the right person or the right group of persons is what we are looking for. There are persons waiting to hear your story. There are    those persons  who have recovered from depression and who are now sponsoring other people and forming other groups. If there is no group in your area, know that we have a long distance group learning program, called the Home Study Recovery program.  This program can be done at home and all it requires is the willingness  to work the Steps with a sponsor through emails.  All one needs is   the Depressed Anonymous manual and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. There are no fees or dues for this Home Study Program.   As in all our groups, sponsors can accompany new members as long as they like. In time, attending the DA groups our new member can choose their own sponsor.

Please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at this site and examine the material that is used for this program.  Again, in the event that you would yourself want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in your locality, these two books are our main resources used in all groups, here   in the USA and internationally. If the purchase of the books is a hardship, contact the DA Publisher and they will make it possible for you to receive the books regardless of payment.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Email address is Depanon @Netpenny.net.

Before attending my mutual aid support group, Depressed Anonymous, I felt that I had nothing to live for.

 

Tommie tells us in Depressed Anonymous(c) 3rd edition,  how she honestly thought  “she had nothing to live for.  As a mother of five beautiful sons, a wife,and  a mother to be of quads, I wasn’t sure that I was a  member of the human race. I couldn’t eat, sleep, and cried for no reason. I wanted to be alone. It even got to the point that I didn’t know who I was. I was a physical body without a life.”

I’ve been going to Depressed Anonymous now for about five months. The program and my new found friends have been a  miracle of God. So many people have a big misconception about our meetings. They think we all sit around, tell our stories and cry on each other’s shoulders. Well there is a news flash for them – we learn that each and every one of us has experienced some degree of depression in our lives. We find out how to laugh, to comfort each other and  sincerely understand what each one is going through because we all have been here one time or the other. I  also learn that there is always  hope. Since coming to Depressed Anonymous, I have learned to grieve for my lost children and how to live with my depression. I still have good and bad days. …My life is not perfect, but now with the love of my God, my family, my friends and my husband, life is now worth living. But, the most important thing is that there is life after depression.”

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 132-133. Personal Stories section of the book.

Please VISIT THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE for more information about Depressed Anonymous and how to order books online.

I believed depressed people could help depressed people!

I have always believed in the power and the  influence of the group -either serving as a power for good or a power designed for destructive ends. But as for our group Depressed Anonymous, I believe  that it truly builds, enhances and strengthens any one who gets involved with  it on a regular and consistent basis. Those who do interact with our fellowship,  gradually come out of the pit of their depression and start feeling hopeful about their lives. They know  that  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.

I remember when I first proposed my idea, in 1985,   to the Dean of the Psychology Department at the University where I was earning my Master’s degree, that we ought to try and get depressed people together. I mentioned that Alcoholics Anonymous,  with a few fellow alcoholics, got its beginning  with a peer to peer approach. It takes one to know one, so to speak!  The professor looked at me like I was completely  out of my mind – that  I would suggest that depressed people could even muster up the necessary energy  to  even climb out of bed in the morning,  much less get themselves to a meeting with other depressed individuals like themselves. The idea seemed doomed to failure.

With a begrudging approval from the Dean, we got our peer to peer depression group off the ground. It was a success. Just as one alcoholic helping another alcoholic, so it  was true with the depressed person.  This peer to peer model of recovery worked. In a few months, following the groups formation, we opened our fellowship to the public . On May 30th, 1985,  our brand new mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous was launched. It is still being launched today, globally.

If you believe  you can find hope, plus have a ticket out of depression by going to Depressed Anonymous meetings, then there will be nothing stopping you. I have found that my Higher Power has released me.  I am carrying a hope to those hurting from a life of isolation and feeling alone. We have a message of hope for them.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Believing is seeing:15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 64-67. (The 14th Way out of the prison of depression).

For more information about  the lives of  those  individuals who believed in the group power, please read about them in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. There is a special section in  the book where  thirty members of DA share their personal stories of healing and hope.

For more information about who we are  and what we are about, please VISIT THE STORE. Thank you.

 

“…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.

I refuse to run from what I feel.

AFFIRMATION

I will be in touch with my feelings throughout the day. I refuse to run from what I feel.

“The ability to experience one’s  feelings without resisting or running from them, determines  to a large degree whether a person is healthy are not.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I’m going to make a real effort today to do what I  see works for depressed persons like myself. They all say that the longer they are in the program (Depressed Anonymous) , the more feelings they are able to express and the  less the unpleasant feelings of fear dominates their life. I am finding that by  writing my feelings down, the less frightening they seem to be to me. I am now able to deal head on with my feelings.

My addiction was a way of walling off my pain. In time, I became addicted  to the pain and in doing so, I lost myself in the process. I find this experience to be a freeing  one.

My addiction was a way of walling off pain.  Now the pain is more important than what I am running away from.

What I experience in my life determines to a large extent what I predict life to become. My past experiences are predictors of a life not as yet lived. I am wanting to experience the fact that my good days are more frequent now and my bad days occurring not as often.

MEDITATION

God, the more I give up my need to be depressed the more I’m finding that I’m becoming more assertive and truly present to others in my life. I want you to help me feel my feelings and express them today. [ADD YOUR OWN PERSONAL THOUGHTS HERE]

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SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowships. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

THE RISKS OF FAITH ( Part 2)

Yesterday we talked about the various parts that make up one’s progress on the path to recovery. Now we will continue to see how the path of hope is formed.

1. The first item is choices and we discussed how our path is first formed with the choices that we make.

2.  Next come acceptance. Acceptance for how  we are and what we are, accepting our own ideas, values, feelings and emotions but even more important is accepting the  fact that these changes  can and will be made by ourselves and other people can’t do  that for us.  They can only add or detract from those changes. By accepting our choices and taking responsibility for those choices for our journey on the path of hope has begun.

3. The third item is trust. Trust in ourselves to make the right choices. Trust in ourselves to overcome any obstacle we face no matter how difficult it is. Also, trusting another person, especially when that person loves, cares or just  believes in us.   Trust is so important, as it tells us we are not alone and we can accept and trust in another to lead us down our chosen path as well as trusting in our self.

4. The last item is faith.  Faith in ourselves that things will be solved even when no answer or solution is in sight or seems impossible. Faith in others helps us when we need help and that they will be there for us.  Faith in God or our Higher Power and that thru him our anguish, our sorrow, our pain will be lifted. Faith in our path of hope.”

The path of hope for depression sufferers is not easy to build or to find sometimes.  That’s why I think it is so important to take your medications  if medications  are prescribed, see your Doctor, counselor or therapist and go to a Depressed Anonymous meeting as often as you are able. Remember –when all seems to be lost there is always hope.”

Source: Copyright(c) How to hope and let it blossom. 1999. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky 40217. Pages 12-13.

And more from How to Hope — “As I attend more meetings I sense growing within me a personal competency to meet head-on the challenges of what were formerly fearful feelings of just existing  –just going through  the motions of life.  Now I attempt not to run when I feel so miserable but instead I stand and feel what  I am feeling. It seems the more I gain a sense of personal competency about how to love life, the more I am able to be willing to express my feelings whenever I feel them, This seems to be the secret of my gaining more hope on an ongoing and daily basis  — namely,  that the more I am able to feel less insecurity in having to have everything nailed down in my life and a willingness to express my feelings whenever I need to express them and with whomever I choose to share them with.” Page 5.

This is empowerment!