I am not about to give up on myself.

“Until we  have actually been depressed, we do not realize that there is a great difference between being depressed and being unhappy. When we are unhappy, no matter what horrific things have happened to us, we still feel in contact with the rest of the world. When other people offer comfort and love we can feel it’s warmth  and support us. When we are depressed we feel cut off from the rest of the world.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

 I admit to taking full responsibility for my detachment from my world and also from my very self. It seems that by numbing my grief over those matters lost in my past life, this has caused myself to be depressed. By burying what needed to be faced and mourned, I am making a stand to face the depression that I have created over the years. I am going to care for myself and make the effort to hope that this twenty-four hour period  I call today, is one of rebirth and movement toward others.

  Many times I wish I was merely unhappy rather than depressed.  I can handle being unhappy, depression is a different story. I am not about to give up on myself as I step out of depression and begin to take responsibility for my recovery today. Because I have ‘made a decision to turn my will  and my life over to the care of God as I understand him’ my life is already starting to show the signs of a positive nature.”

MEDITATION

The God of our understanding is truly alive in our lives and we feel that we are still in the early days of our studies, as we attend the school of the Spirit of God, as we search God’s will for our lives. God has given me hope that my depressed days are going to be less and less. God has given us hope.

Copyright(c)  Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.  (October 21).

A Power greater than myself.

ANXIETY

(Aware)I find comfort in my anxiety in that I am too afraid to do anything in my own behalf. I am conscious that my anxiety  about yesterday with its pain, hurt and repressed anger consumes my life today,  while the anxiety and “what ifs” of tomorrow with its’  anxiety and fears about what might happen, continue to  overwhelm me.  I am also conscious that my beginning to loosen my “death grip” of living in my own will and now  letting God move in my life that my anxiety may possibly lessen.

(Motivating) I am reading the Steps everyday and beginning to see that there is hope for me if I can live in the present and jump  out of yesterday and stay out of tomorrow.  The more I learn how my fears, anxieties are keeping me holed up in my enlarged ego the less possible is it for me to let  the Higher Power direct my course. I am developing my faith and learning to let go today.

(Doing) I have already admitted I’m depressed and that my life is out of control because of it. Secondly, I came to believe that there is a power greater than myself that is going to  restore me to sanity.  I have followed Step Three as suggested and have turned my life  and my will over to the care of God as I understand him. I have also learned not to run from my fear but stay and feel it. What I resist persists and gets stronger.

Maintaining. My depression and its anxiety lessens the more that I speak at DA meetings and share with   members of the group what my fears are. My progress is one day at a time. I am going to  make a daily inventory and continually ask God to remove all my shortcoming.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 43/Step Four.

Me: I don’t like the way that I talk to myself. Recovery person: Then change it!

Made a searching and   fearless moral inventory of ourselves . (Step Four).  When I speak of the 4th Step of Depressed Anonymous this means that we are now ready to make a moral and fearless inventory of our lives. It also means that we are ready for action and choose to change the way we live out our daily life. Fearless means brave and courageous.

By now, most of us are aware that because of our depression our lives are unmanageable and out of control.  They are  out of control to such an extent that we may have even thought about ending our lives.

We have admitted that there is a power out there that is greater than ourselves. We are willing to turn our minds and our wills over to the care of God as we understand God.

If we just take a little time and look at the way we talk to ourselves we may discover the reason for our depression. So often we turn  and run when the old feelings of sadness appear in front of us. What we want to try and do now is to look the beast in the face and deal with it.  Accept it. Don’t run from it.  

Just let’s say that you always took path A home from work everyday. You passed the same old signs, the same old building, the same old malls  -you feel you could almost drive home with your eyes closed. This is of course boring and also deadening to our thinking processes as we do everything out of habit. The saying is true that we are creatures of habit. But let’s say that there is a detour along our old familiar path – we become disoriented – we become confused -we say to ourselves -where am I? Now where do I go? Good questions.

Since we may presently be depressed and   in that dark deep pit of depression we may decide that we don’t have anything to gain by reading on at this point in our discussion. But I know and you know that you want out of the darkness. Many depressions lift by themselves but many don’t. Because of the way we were brought up as children many of the negative ways we think about ourselves have been with us since childhood. Old ideas about ourselves die hard and so do old impressions from the early days of our lives.

Our personal attachment to feeling isolated, alone and worthless is like a road from which can’t exist. Our attachment to our sadness is a comfort in a strange sort of way – almost like a person who is addicted or attached to a chemical, behavior, way of thinking or even to a person.

But as we have figured out,  even though my path home is very predictable it is  still a path that is   making my ability to keep a focus on my hopeful outcome almost impossible.

Working the 4th  Step is like coming home a different route. It is a path that is filled with signposts that point us in a different direction from where we are used to going.  And for many of us this is the first time that we are really intent upon taking  a hard look at who we are. This taking inventory of  ourselves has much to do with our loving ourselves and making ourselves open to a new path and feeling different.

To actually get started on working a good Fourth Step we need first of all to sit down, get a pencil or pen and begin to ask ourselves some questions. As soon as the answers come we then write these down and begin our inventory. It’s always best to look at ourselves through the black and white characters that translate our thoughts and feelings down on paper. Remember the inventory is about strengths as well a our character defects. Character defects are ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that keep us isolated and in pain.  

NOTE:  The inventory is not to make us feel bad but to help us understand what is keeping us in the pit of sadness.

For more information on how to discover insights of  our depression  and how we got to where we are today, namely depressed, THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK will be your tool for coming home a new way. 

To order this Workbook click onto VISIT THE STORE at homepage menu depressedanon.com and this will take you to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.  All Depressed Anonymous literature can be ordered online.

     Copyright(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) . Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.     

Discover how our anxiety creates a “first fear” and “second fear.”

Depression usually carries with it a large dose of anxiousness. I don’t know how anxiety affects others, I do know this, it’s usually a large part of one’s depression experience.

My strategy was to run away from it and not face or accept it for what it is: that is moving my body, walking away and changing the mental channels in my mind. While this is going on in my head I would let   the “first fear” overcome me with the “second fear.” What happens at this point is best illustrated with a personal example.

A few years back, I was in the dentist’s chair needing  some teeth  to have fillings. The Doc gave me a few shots of   novacane,   lowered the lights and left the room indicating he would return in a few minutes.

As the novacane began to take its numbing effect I noticed that I couldn’t feel my tongue. That is when the “first fear” reared its ugly head. I immediately started thinking  I could swallow my tongue and choke to death.  The more I imagined that horrible scenario and continuing listening into ” my own thinking the “second fear” smashed into my mind, like a bull in the proverbial  china shop. 

Immediately, my  mind began to speed up with more disastrous thoughts, my palms becoming sweaty, my heart rate accelerating. I panicked and was ready to yell for the Doc to  rescue me before I actually did swallow my tongue, which I could no longer feel.

 In the midst of this chaos and anxiety, I suddenly remembered what a Dr. Claire Weekes, taught us to do at this most  anxious  time. (Hope and Help for  your nerves.) She wrote that what was happening to me is what happens to all of us, when the “first fear” is “listened into” and the avalanche of the spiraling downward fearful  thinking  paralyzes us. We run away from the anxiety and put mental energy into fighting the fear. She tells us to “float” past the disturbing thoughts, refuse to listen into  fear causing even more fear, the “second fear.”

At this point in the midst of my panic I started to talking  to myself and telling myself that what was happening was   uncomfortable, but NOT life threatening. I kept repeating this mantra with its calming words till  slowly my heart rate began to slow, my  palms no longer were sweating and by continuing to repeat the words, “it’s uncomfortable, but not life threatening.” my whole body returned to a calm and relaxed state. I had almost scared myself to death.

The Doc comes back, turns the lights up and asks me cheerfully “how are things  going?” Sheepishly, I answered clumsily with my thick tongue “just fine.” If he only knew.

 After   putting into play the  steps of faceing, accepting, floating and letting time pass, you will with practice find a helpful way to regain your composure. For me, repeating my own mantra, and turning on my own accepting and not fighting my physical symptoms of panic, I was able to calm myself with a reassurance that all would be well. 

Dr. Claire Weekes, MD. Hope and Help for your Nerves: End Anxiety Now. 1969. Berkley. Imprint of Penguin Random House. NY.NY.

For more information about depression and anxiety please read the following:

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

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

If you want to get somewhere, you have to know how to get there.

That seemed to be my problem  years back when I knew I needed to  get somewhere,  do something about how awful I felt, and move on with my life. There was a problem. I didn’t know where that “somewhere” was.

How many times have I heard people tell me the same story of knowing they were needing  to do something — but what? They knew people took pills, some went to  psychiatrists, counselors and  many went to see their spiritual guides.  Some, in despair, drove their cars into  bridge abutments. 

I for one, was  that lost nomad in the desert, feeling a need to get somewhere.  I had not an inkling of how to get there. And in today’s world, this  potentially life-threatening  and painful  experience is  of tsunami proportions. Many persons don’t know that there is  a ” way to get there.”

“Somebody, anybody,  show me a way out!” All of us  want out of this pain. We  have found every path leading to a dead end.  The sad spiral downward into dark and desperate moods doesn’t let up.

Yesterday I received an email from someone from the other side of the world. He was wanting to know how to  reach an all-knowing  guru at the top of the mountain who would teach him a way out. The  main thing is that he knew he wanted to get somewhere. He read on the Internet  that Depressed Anonymous, a group of people were actively  discovering  “how to get there.”  They had a plan.  Not that the group had actually arrived at the top of the mountain, a heightened Nirvana, but  realized that there was hope here. It wasn’t a   sure-fire plan that always worked for all seekers, but  we knew that if you wanted to get there, it was available  to anyone who wanted to work its power in their own life. 

Our friend from the other side of the world  had read on the Internet (www.depressedanon.com) how men and women, young and old, had ended up together on this journey,  each one of the fellow travelers  becoming like a  road sign, with neon lights flashing out in great large letters, “we know how to get there. We’ll show you the way!” 

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

Orders for this Book (used by members around the world) can be made online. You can get there from here or whereever. Visit the Store.

Is depression contagious?

This week we are going to take the reader, you, back to some previous issues from our Depressed Anonymous  blog.

This article, Is depression contagious, was first published on December 3rd, 2018. (You can scroll back through the Blogs and find it at this date.)

I am asked this same question many times and many times the questioner is surprised when I say that, yes, depression can be contagious.  If you are asking the same question,   discovering that you are   feeling helpless as you try  to pull a friend or family member out of the quicksand of depression without  success. Nothing that you try works!

When all your best efforts and   desire to be  free   from the dark valley of hopelessness fail, you gradually begin to pull away from the relationship. Now,  feeling   sucked into the whirlpool of  the melancholia yourself , you begin to withdraw and head for the higher ground of safety.

So, please look at the article (12/3/18) and see if there is something there which may be of help to you on how to be present to someone  depressed–without yourself getting depressed.   There ARE ways to help.

 

The paradox of our time…

The more we are able to communicate with each other, it seems the more isolated we have become from each other. The number of people depressed is of epidemic proportions. How can this be, we ask. There are many of us who are connected via the Internet, email, and online  social media groups, with all the other sophisticated forms of communication.

This brings me to the point of this essay, that if the world needs anything, it needs a world  where people can get connected, network, form real communities, where people know us and truly care about us. We all want a real live community of face to face community where we can share, we can cry and we can laugh and where we can actually touch one another.  Even though these modern ways of communicating are tremendous helps in moving past our isolation and into the real world they cannot end there.

A prisoner once mentioned in group how he considered depression not as a chemical imbalance but more of a living balance

“Our willingness to hand over to  other  people and organizations the responsibility which is ours (just as the color of our eyes is ours) stems from our  inchoate desire to sink into the mindless bliss of  being totally cared for, totally supported, our original wanting and getting everything.  We do not want to accept that just as our eyes are organized to see only part of the spectrum of light and no others, so our  sense of time is ordered to perceive time only as progressing never as standing still or going backwards. No matter how great our longing, we cannot return to the womb of the Garden of Eden. ” Wanting Everything. Dorothy Rowe. (1994) Harper Collins, London.

One of the major dilemma’s most of us face when depressed is the immobilizing isolation that is ours while being intellectually  aware  that we need to move our bodies and get out of bed and face our world.  

In Chapter Six of I’ll do it when I feel better,  the author describes how the addictive nature of the depression experience keeps us spiraled down into that chasm of negativity and hopelessness.  Basically we begin to think there is no way out.

    “It’s our addictive thinking, our compulsive way of processing negative information, which means that we habitually  store the negative and   dump the positive influx of information and that gets us  wanting to fall back into the old habit of staying isolated and avoiding others. We might fool ourselves and say that people have nothing to offer me so that I distance myself from everyone. Part of my nature when  depressed is to avoid and distance myself from whatever I feel is threatening, like a child afraid of the dark.” (Believing is seeing. Hugh Smith. (2018) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Pg. 23.)

At one time in my life I  was a part of this epidemic of depression. In order to counteract my isolation and   continuing a free fall into hopelessness, I moved my body, got out of bed and started walking–day after day.  My daily morning mantra was “I am going to beat this thing!” Was it a cake walk–no way! But if I was to survive from whatever had me by the throat I had no choice. That was yesterday – this is today. Today is all that I have and I intend to help others move their bodies, go to a meeting, learn about the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps and get busy putting them into practice in their everyday lives.

For more information about this program of recovery and the tools that are available for you, and your own recovery  click onto our website www.depressedanon.com. You will find a wealth of information  about depression and the choices that you will have  to choose a life lived with hope and  peace. That is a promise.

RESOURCES

(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. Smith, H. (2016) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(c) Seeing is believing. Smith. H. (2018) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

Changing negative addictive habits is possible. It’s called biting the bullet!

William James the author of the classic work, Principles of Psychology shares with us “that  changing habits requires conscious attention, deliberate choices and recurring behavior. “

In The Depressed Anonymous Workbook we find that the same process of change  is submitted to us for changing negative habits. It takes work, time and attention. Conscious attention. Deliberate choosing is a critical part of  changing our addictive behaviors.  Ruminating on negative  self bashing thoughts,  circling  around  and around in our head, must  be interrupted and stopped.  Knowing the difficulty that this poses for any of us who are depressed, we chose a workable plan developed by individuals who were  living out their lives with active life threatening addictions.   Since their attention was drawn repeatedly to their insane thinking and behaviors, they  decided that they must  do something that was sane and had the power to stop the hemorrhaging. Some call it “biting the bullet.”

Many times, when we are depressing ourselves with our negative behaviors, our thinking and spiraling  downward  negative moods, we tell ourselves that if I just  act like they are not there, they’ll go away. We hoped.

But that is not the way it works. In my own life I tried that route.  My motivation was gone. My body lost its power to make any  positive moves toward facing what it was that was slowly imprisoning me. 

In our Workbook, we are faced with the question/statement   stating that “Even though  I may be faced with difficult tasks, it is better to try  to face them than trying to avoid them. Avoiding a task does not give me any opportunities for success or joy, but trying does. Things worth having are worth the effort. I might not be able to do everything, but I can do something.

In order for us to escape depression we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. The process for change is of the nature of a spiral instead of a straight line. Now that we are willing to risk feeling differently we have been gearing up to improve our situation, one step at a time.  In other words, we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.

1.Awareness Stage: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way we do. Something has to give.

2. Motivating Stage: I am going to prepare myself for a needed changes in my thinking, acting and feeling.

3. Doing Stage: I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changes that have to be made by me if I am to feel differently.

4. Maintaining Stage: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working of the Twelve Step program of recovery.

As an example of how to use this four stage recovery format, as presented by the Question and Answer format of the Workbook, one is able to have it serve as an powerful antidote to the progression of one’s depression and isolation.

Let’s say that your dependency needs are keeping you bound up in unhealthy dependent relationships. The real you is now merged into whoever and whatever your dependent need happens to be at the moment. You have lost your self!

Each of the 12 Steps take the participant through the Workbook one Step at a time. The power of each Step will provide a roadmap, with your own depression experience and personal and unique input giving   courage for you to live out your responses in a positive and thoughtful  manner.  You can do it! You will be happy that you did!

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.

You are able to order this Workbook online from the website www.depressedanon.com. Go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information on Depression and 12 Step books.

HOPE

“Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn’t lock itself into darkness, that doesn’t dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is  able to see a tomorrow. Hope is the door that opens the future. Hope is a humble, hidden seed of life that, with time, will develop into a large tree –A tiny flicker of light that feeds on hope is enough to shatter the shield of darkness. A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be “you.” And then there will be another “you” and another “you” and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?”  No. Hope begins with one “you.” When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution.”  FRANCIS

COMMENT/ Hugh S.

There is so much power and wisdom in this short  quote from Pope Francis. I was struck the first time I  moved through  line after line of this powerful tribute  to hope. The analogy of hope to a large tree, a hidden  seed, a flicker of light, a door that opens to the future, all symbols of possibility and of  growth.

I believe that each one, like the desert nomad,   starts out seeking hope as  individuals, alone, seeking  a way out of the  desolation that   dries up a thirst for a living water — these were   the pills, the next  therapy, those spiraling negative thoughts, all  mirages, dark phantoms.  Hope was evasive.

Today, my solution for creating  hope as one person is to  continue  sharing how  the ” shield of darkness” was pierced by that “flicker of light,”  the light manifesting  in  a hope, a belief,  like a seed giving me an individual  growth spurt,  empowered me  to go through that door that “opens to a future.”

Hope is “enough to exist in a single individual” and for hope to exist in “you,” and then in another “you” and this turns out into an “us.” 

Francis asks “does hope begin when we have an “us.?”  No. Hope begins with  one “you.”  When there is an “us” there begins a revolution.”

Like all of us who now have hope,  thanks to  the   spiritual principles of the 12 Steps  plus “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. Step Twelve of Depressed Anonymous.

The revolution started when this “you” (Bill. W) and then another “you “(Dr. Bob)” –shared their recovery with another –they became an “us” and  provided hope to the hopeless and the helpless.

Depressed Anonymous is another “us” who this very day is  providing  a door   opening  to a future, that tiny flicker of light that  shatters  the shield of darkness, and that  humble and hidden seed, that with time will develop into a large tree.” This tree represents all those groups (“us” ) branches if you will, that support so many of the alone and solitary people, who are seeking hope, serenity and communityCopyright@www.depressedanon.com.

For more information on how YOU can find hope and join our revolution, please go  to www.depressedamnon.com.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.     This work can be ordered online.

  

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