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
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.
Bill’s personal story of recovery.
“Before Depressed Anonymous, I was paralyzed. I couldn’t even interview for a job. I had no confidence. I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. I would just mope around and never really get moving. I would pick fights with my mother. I didn’t know what to do with my anger and frustration. I didn’t know where to place my misguided fears.
But then I found a place. The depressed anonymous group. We were a small group at first. In this group, we all had a story, and we had to let it out. I thought that no one could be in as bad shape as I was in. I thought everyone was perfectly happy. We started the Depressed Anonymous group about a year ago. We took one step at a time.
Being depressed is like being in a deep dark hole with no one to turn to. Your friends don’t understand you. People around you don’t understand your mood changes. I was so lonely that I didn’t know what to do about myself. I just didn’t give a damn. Now my self-esteem is up. I finally believed in myself. Depressed Anonymous had given me all that back. My attitude is positive. Right now, I feel as if I’m in recovery. I still go to the group because without the group, I get argumentative, and with the group, I keep on an even keel.”
A personal story of recovery from a member of a Depressed Anonymous group.
Copyright(c) DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pg.151.
I am going to choose to do one thing today that I can find pleasant. I will keep a list of things that I do for myself that I can always have at hand something that I like to do.
“You can’t please everybody. I wasn’t taking care of myself, so that I contributed to my depression but I will live the best I know how. But I will never deliberately hurt anyone else but I am going to take care of me too.”
CLARIFICATION OF MY THOUGHT/ A REFLECTION
I am discovering over time that I was the one responsible for my sadness. I have come to accept the reality and the truth that I am the one who is causing the depression and that I need to learn the different ways to get out of the depression. In the past, I had always been willing to crawl along in life but now I am learning how to stand up for myself and begin to recover my true self and be my best self now that I have all the tools. The tools that I am now using, the Twelve Steps, are freeing me up for a life with hope instead of despair and dread.
In the past, my life was filled with hurt and pain. In fact, the hurt goes back so far that I can’t even remember why I hurt so much. All I know now is that I want to choose to feel good. Just like Bill W., a co-founder of A.A., I do have the belief that someday my days of fear, anxiety and dread will be a thing of the past.
MY MEDITATION FOR TODAY
God of hope and serenity, let us just live in your peace today. We want to absorb each and all your messages of hope for our soul and spirit. We are waiting on you. We are listening to your voice so that we might learn the best way to take godly care of ourselves.”
SOURCE: Copyright(c) HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
A KINDLE EDITION OF HIGHER THOUGHTS IS AVAILABLE.
Please VISIT THE STORE for all available literature.
I start my day with reflections from Higher Thoughts for Down Days, providing me with a spiritual and meaningful kick start for the hours to follow. This work, contains a daily Higher Thought affirmation, a meaningful reflection, and closes with an appropriate short meditation.
Some Depressed Anonymous groups use this daily Higher Thought for their group meeting discussion topic. In my effort to produce a meaningful daily reflection book for persons depressed, especially those of us who work a Twelve Step recovery program, I found this daily approach to be most therapeutic for those of us who are or were depressed and isolated.
Now those of us who like the electronic handheld Kindle ereader, Depressed Anonymous Publications has made available a new KINDLE version of Higher Thoughts for Down Days. Not only are you able to put the meditation for that day on your screen, you are able to scroll through and find that particular thought which has meaning for you today.
Higher Thoughts for Down Days starts your day off with a hopeful boost, be it by way of a hard copy of Higher Thoughts or a KINDLE version.
To learn more about publications produced by DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS, please VISIT THE STORE at this site. It’s in your hands!
I will use a notebook to chart my course, list how ech day goes, so that I can repeat the feelings or thoughts that have allowed me to feel I am becoming responsible for my activities.
“…there is one great advantage about seeing yourself as helpless and in the power of others. You don’t have to be responsible for yourself. Other people make all the decisions and when things turn out badly you can blame other people. And things always turn out badly. You know this. That’s why you always expect the worst.”
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
Truly, I know this is where the great scrutiny lies, being responsible for myself. If all I did was sit around and say poor me, and woe is me, I am not only making life tough on myself but I am also making life miserable for those around me. This is why I, as a writer and therapist, and one who has been depressed, knows that it is only when I get moving, even though I felt like death, that I began to feel better. No one will make me feel better. I will now make myself feel better. I want to enjoy this world. I am tired of the pain of feeling worthless. I don’t want to blame anyone for my problems because no one is making me live in the problem. I will live in the solution from now on. The solution for me is working my Twelve Step program of recovery.
Blame helps me to never have to look inside myself and ask myself how much of my present state of depression is due to the way I have learned to think about myself and my life? I am not in the blame game and so now I am willing to face the enemy and start the changing process.
Faith can move mountains. Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. I believe this. Personal comment?
SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Thought for February 6th. Pages 28-29.
Today, as promised yesterday (7/22) in our BLOG, we shared how Lois declared that she “no longer experiences those black, bleak, hopeless periods”. She says that “her life is joyful.”
If her life is so joyful Lois needs to explain why she continues to go to Depressed Anonymous meetings five years later. The Twelfth Step of this program: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.” ” I am so grateful to Depressed Anonymous that I want it to be there for those who are still suffering.”
See pages 110-111 for a full account of Lois’ testimony in THE PERSONAL STORIES section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
Also read the remaining thirty stories of the other members of Depressed Anonymous who found serenity and joy using the Twelve Step program of recovery.
Like Lois, there are many of us who today continue to carry the message of hope to those still suffering from depression. Like myself, they all want to share with others that there is hope — there is a day coming that a light may shine and give them a way out of the darkness of their depression. This website and BLOG is just one way that I am taking the message of HOPE to others. Just yesterday a Depressed Anonymous group leader tells of how she is sharing her story OF HOPE to a man who intends to take his life, Another man in the group who worked his way out of despair using the Twelve Steps of recovery is also sharing his own story of despair and hopelessness with the man. That is what Lois is doing–bringing hope to others even though her whole life took a dramatic change. Even though she is no longer imprisoned in depression she still sees it her mission to continue telling people her story. I told my story tonight at one of our local Depressed Anonymous meetings. At each meeting that I attend, gradually, as Lois puts it, I unscramble a part of the mess that brought me to my knees in the first place.