Helen shares her story about finding help–when she needed it most.
” I finally knew after two year or more of sleepless nights that someone had to help me. I found a card saying Depressed Center, in the back of the phone book. It has a phone number and that was all. I talked to a man on the other end of the phone. I said to myself this man is too busy to talk with me, but anyway I made the first appointment myself. I made myself go. I thank God I did. I thank God that I went for help. It was a whole new beginning for me. I wanted to get well so badly. I think people do have to want to change. I went in with an attitude that I have to get well. I had heard things about counselors that scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in. I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thoughts. I began to feel better and I continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous some weeks later.”
If you are curious about how the mutual aid group changed Helen’s life you’ll need to read her full account in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, pages 169-172.
She also has something powerful to say about pleasing people and how she needed to get her priorities straight and begin taking care of herself.
Sources: Seeing is believing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017). Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.
I’ll do it when I feel better.(2018) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY
“Today is all that we have. Don’t let dwelling on yesterday’s hurts and fears or about tomorrow, rob you of peace today. Contrary to what you might have thought — you are responsible for how you think and feel..”
Many of us in the program, no matter what our compulsion happens to be, prefer living in the past and/ or the next day. We have a difficult time living through each day–it’s too risky to have to feel the pain of the moment. But we know that the pain of the present needs to be felt if we are to reduce the lifelong misery which is ours unless we face the enemy and deal with it. It is a promise of the program that we hand over and let God deal with us in God’s time and in God’s own way. We know that God, with our assistance and work, our life can be straightened out. Like the old Russian saying. “Pray, but keep rowing to shore”
Now that we have learnt how to take care of ourselves and our recovery, we now believe that we are responsible for finding our way out of depression. We can blame our sadness on our genes, hormones or a chemical imbalance. All this finger pointing can’t prevent us from having to take full responsibility for finding and using that map which points the way out of the darkness of depression. Since we have been involved in the 12 Step program of recovery we continue to learn the “how” of working our way out of sadness in the context of the fellowship of the group.
The best way to live today is to be fully conscious of the present moment and create that strong desire to be part of it. Let’s not live in yesterday –the rent can kill you.
How often do I spend time in tomorrow and so miss the joy of today? I think one of the more serious occupations (aren’t they all serious?) of the depressed is just to sit and think, and think some more about how bad life is and what awful people they are. The self-bashing makes one’s ability to change even more difficult, as continued depressive ruminations promote a great sense of unworthiness and confusion. We feel that we have no control over what happens in our life. Actually we are not so sure that we should care. Everything seems hopeless. Living in yesterday is to pay some high price rent –and when you’re done paying the rent, you still have nothing to show for it.
I have to live in the here and now –I can’t run and hide in the unknown of tomorrow or disappear into the gloomy fog of yesterday.”
Where do you plan to live today?
Sources: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 37-39.
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
“It is possible to live life fully throughout life, and if that is accomplished, death need not be feared. An ancient anecdote of Zen literature is most illustrative here. A novice asked a Zen master, “What is death?” To this, the master responded, “I do not know.” “But you are a Zen master.” To this, the master responded, “Yes, but I am not a dead Zen master.”
Source: Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer, Kenneth R. Pelletier.
So many times I hear people talking about how our modern world is basically absorbed in a “culture of death.” Sadly, so many persons, are occupied, almost phobic about growing older, looking older and being older. More thought is given to death than to life. So much time is spent on looking at the ” what if’s”, than seeing the “what is.”. We all are not automatons, going about life in a daze We all have the ability to look inside, take a deep breath and begin to take responsibility for our lives. Even though we might feel helpless and hopeless it doesn’t mean that we are. How often have I heard that language creates our reality and the language that we use in our self-talk, creates an illusion that there is no hope. And my self-talk tells me that all I have is today–yesterday is gone forever –tomorrow is not here yet, and so all I have is this 24 hour period of time. Do I make an investment in my today, so that what I do today, pays off in serenity and happiness for the 24 hours to come or do I stay frozen in my fears and isolation.
Frankly, what has worked for me and still works for me is to stay in today and say daily the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference…just for today!
I can live each moment as it comes. I can live only in today. Today is all I have.
“Try to work out which is your habitual response to change which you see as dangerous, so that as you dare to explore you don’t suddenly find yourself running away to the safety of old ways, or resisting the new ideas with old prejudices.( 3)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I find that when I am depressed I find all the comfort in the predictable and the familiar. Right now, I am in battle for my life and I am going to stay and work things out. My feelings are agitated and make me feel very uncomfortable, but I know that it is only by feeling them and accepting them (not run away) that I will, and can in time, begin to taste the freedom of a new me beginning to be born. I believe that by desiring change, this desire will produce a greater motivation in my self to think and feel differently.
This is an important concept when I am depressed. I desire the safety of the familiar and the predictable.
God, help me to live in the peace and the serenity of the present moment. And let us be aware of the moment when we begin to depress ourselves. Alert us to the moment that we can CHOOSE to turn our minds to something more constructive.
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days(c). (March 17).