THE HIDDEN ANGER SURVEY.

                                                         SWALLOWING MY ANGER

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               (Articles on how anger can  affect our lives on a daily basis.)

An excerpt from  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (Fourth Step.   Question # 4.41.) Page 33.

“Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does get expressed, but in  inppropriate  ways. Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old fashioned wood burning stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke is up the flue and out the chimney; If the normal avenue is blocked, the smoke  will leak out the stove in unintended ways…around the door, through the grate, etc., choking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the above ceases to function. Likewise, the normal human expression of anger is gross physical movement and /or loud vocalization: watch a red-faced hungry infant sometime. We learn to be “be nice,” which means(among other things) hiding  “bad” feelings. By adulthood, even verbal expression is stifled, and to protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed “bad” feelings,  we go to the next step  and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even  when we are.  Such self-deception is seldom completely successful and the blocked anger “leaks out” in   inappropriate ways…”

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

 

TOMORROW’S   BLOG (2/21) is about discovering  how we hide our anger from ourselves.  TAKING  THE HIDDEN ANGER SURVEY.

 

 

 

 

 

Have you swallowed any anger lately?

Anger is a much talked about subject these days. People are anger at this politician or that politician, They are angry at how they are mistreated on their job. Or they are angry at the government  for whatever reason. They are angry at their spouse, or ( choose one) who have done them wrong. Yes, I am angry and  I don’t like it. I don’t like it most times, but sometimes I think, wow, that felt good getting it out of my system. It’s  better than punching a hole in the wall  again, or picking up a gun and shooting someone. I believe that so many of us are angry. We are angry and we think that giving someone the “what for” is going to change them.  But then we see that our anger is pouring gasoline on a fire.

Let’s take a look at the Depressed Anonymous book, which says a lot about anger and what our own anger says about ourselves. Is there a solution here. Yes.

” Many times we hear how depression is anger turned inward. This is one way to explain it. Depression is also a way to keep from assuming our rightful place in the world and society. You must tell others that your very fear of the future and of others is the  very thing that builds  your  prison.  You need to surrender the fears and hurts in your life. You need to give them up to the Higher Power or to God as you understand God. It is with this in mind that you begin to gain more insights and honesty in your life. Others in the DA group will also help you see that you can blame the other people in your life for your problems all you want, but it is only when you no longer see yourself as victim that you can stand up and say that you no longer choose to stay depressed. “I am going to enjoy life and hope for good things to begin to happen to me”, you can say.  I  think sometimes we can say we liked being called a “depressive” as it made us feel as though we couldn’t help being the way we were and, of course, we know this isn’t true. Once we admit our victim stance and no longer consider ourselves as permanent sufferers of depression, then this honesty, can release a new sense of identity for  ourselves. The support of the group will allow me to say that I don’t have to be what I was anymore. I don’t need it.

The fifth immutable belief that builds hopelessness in us is the belief that it is wrong to get angry. We have learned from childhood that not only do little girls not show anger, but little boys likewise were made to believe that any type of outward expressions of one’s unpleasant feelings was not permissible. We believed  that we had no right to be angry. To be always smiling and happy means you are good; to  experience and express the emotion of anger is a sign that you are out of control, and being out of control is bad. But if anything can  cause us to  be depressed it is a lifetime of swallowing our anger. This might have its roots in our childhood when we were abused, physically, emotionally or even sexually by a parent, relative or guardian. The mere thought of this might throw us into a deep sense of personal worthlessness  and rage —  until we were able to get in touch with it. Sometimes this rage is so powerful that we have to numb ourselves  so as not to feel the power   of it and so be afraid that it will  destroy our very selves.”—–More about ANGER  in tomorrows BLOG.

RESOURCES:

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY (See Step Five chapter in DA book, Pages 59-64). ).

(C) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002 Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY   (Step Four Pages 22-47 contains some excellent ideas on anger which can help us look at our anger and deal with it.)

+Both of these excellent books can be ordered online (depressedanom.com)  at   the DAP Bookstore.

How long will my depression last? What can I do to fix it?

 

That very same question is one which I also found myself asking. How long will this pain last? The good news here is that for the 85% of people who become depressed, their  sad mood usually has been noted to leave for different periods of time. Some say that normally mild and moderate depressions last for about a year or so.  That was pretty much my situation.  It was only after  a year and a few months  that the fog of my depression lifted. Some researchers claim that on average  almost 80% to 90 % of  persons depressed find the depression gone during this time frame. Some say that depression symptoms are self- limiting.  All I know is that I could not fix whatever had taken over my life. But I did know this. I couldn’t continue to stay isolated. Withdrawing from everyone made it so much worse. Instead of a place of safety, it became my depression.

In the Depressed Anonymous book we read how the author shares “that our withdrawal from others has given excessive power to those already entrenched feelings of worthlessness and sadness. It seems that our inactivity and social isolation just help build higher and stronger walls to our prison. This is why we need to hear stories like Bob who was one of the  original members of Depressed Anonymous who felt that the Depressed Anonymous meeting was one  of the few places where he could be himself. He was with people who understood him and they didn’t consider him crazy or reinforce his own feelings that he might be losing his mind. ”

I believe that Bob, who couldn’t fix himself, discovered that it was only when he broke out of  The Closed system  of Depression with its syndrome of symptoms,    no longer withdrawing from  friends and family. Instead, Bob began attending  Depressed Anonymous meetings where he began to feel accepted and no longer alone.

Bob learned as we all have, that once we tend to the various symptoms of depression, working their own synergy in creating this syndrome,  trapping us in a downward  spiraling vortex  of  hopelessness and despair.  It is at this point in our recovery where we take these five symptoms one by one and start to work out a positive recovery strategy for developing  our thinking,  our feelings, our behaviors and motivating ourselves to use our  tools for recovery and putting each of them into practice. Accomplishing this goal, we can find a refreshed spirit, a healthy body and a mind sharpened by being part of the DA community. We are no longer alone now. By being active  participants in our own recovery ,   we gradually find that our lives have  become happier and that we now have a renewed and purpose for our lives.

NOTE: The various symptoms which create the closed system   include our cognition, feelings, behavior, motivation and what makes up our physiological self. Each of the five symptoms can be negative or they can be positive.  The secret is to gradually break into any of these symptoms and by doing so, you will find positive alternative ways to  think, instead of being possessed with those continued negative thoughts and ruminations. You will find ways to change negative self talk which is always self critical and start learning how to think ways to love and prize oneself.

RESOURCES

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

(C)  The Closed System of Depression. Depressed Anonymous (1987)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(C) Tools of Recovery. Go to depressedanon.com Home Page and click onto Tools For Recoverry

 

Giving up old ways of thinking and acting.

“For the depressed person, giving up old ways of thinking and acting is much like giving up any other addiction. At first letting go of the behavior  makes us feel uncomfortable. The old behavior wants to cling on to our spirit like swamp mud hangs on to knee-high boots.  Before your participation in Depressed Anonymous you would go home from work, get by yourself and ruminate on how bad you felt.  The new behavior will help you think differently about yourself. You will find that the Higher Power, or the God of your understanding is not the same God that you might have met when you were  young.  When you were a child, you came to believe that first, God was watching you, ready to punish you if you were not perfect. You will begin to develop an adult new way of being related to God, as you understand God to  be. With time, persistence and patience, you will gradually trust your life to this Higher Power. ”

RESOURCE: (C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

 

When Bill W., (co-founder of AA) had his spiritual awakening in the hospital room  he tells us that “the room lit up with a great white light. It seemed to me, in the mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man. I lay on the bed, but now for the first time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was  a  wonderful feeling of Presence, and I thought to myself, “So this is the God of the Preachers.!”

RESOURCE:

(As Bill Sees it. Pg.2 )

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).

 

Bill W., co-founder of AA meets Father Ed who made a pilgrimage to talk with Bill.

 

He’s originally became interested in AA., Father Ed said, through  studying the Twelve Steps in which he found parallels in the Exercises of St. Ignatius, the spiritual discipline of his Jesuit Order, and when Bill confessed he’s not known this, he appeared  utterly delighted. Then the curious little man went on and on, and as he did, Bill could feel his body relaxing, his spirit  rising, gradually he realized that this little man sitting across from him was radiating a kind  of grace that was filling the room with a strange, indefinable sense of presence. Primarily, Fr. Ed wanted to talk about the paradox of AA, the “regeneration, ” he called it, the strength arising out of total  defeat and weakness, the loss of one’s old life as a condition for achieving  a new one. and Bill  nodded, and agreed with everything he said, and soon found…but Bill never really had any words for what he found that night.

“…(As) a matter of  fact, it was the  Word of God they were talking about through most of the night. In time Bill told him that he no longer understood  God, that he had lost what once he understood so clearly. And Father Ed told him that he would never understand, that our idea of God would always be lacking, “for to understand  is to be equal to God.” But he added, our concept could grow, could deepen, and he spoke of the responsibility referred to in the “Eleventh Step> ” To improve our conscious contact.”

“…Bill told Father Ed about  his anger, his impatience, his mounting dissatisfaction. But nothing discouraged  Fr.  Ed. He quoted Matthew, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst.” The saints he said, were always distinguished by their yearning, their restlessness, their thirst.

When Bill asked if there was never to be any satisfaction, the old man snapped back. “Never. Never any.” There was only a kind of divine dissatisfaction that would keep him going, reaching out always.

Bill had made a decision, Father Ed reminded him, to turn his life and his will over to the care of God, and having done this, he was not to sit in judgment on how he or the world was proceeding. He had only to keep the channels open  — and be grateful, of course, it was not up to him to decide how fast or how slowly AA developed. He had only to accept.”

RESOURCE:

Robert Thomsen. Bill W. Harper and Row. Publishers. NY. 1975. Pages 307-309.

(See a picture of Father Ed in the pages of this book.)

Now that I have admitted to myself and to others that my life is out of control…

 

I’ve admitted that my life is unmanageable because of my depression. My fears and anxiety have taken over my life.  The  admitting for me was the hard part.    I then  made  a decision to walk through the door that led me into my first 12 step meeting. I had to surrender  and  I told myself “OK. Here goes nothing.” Actually, to my surprise, my life has never been the same since then.

I discovered that the reason  I have been depressed so long is not as important as the fact that I admitted that I was depressed.

Once I feel safe to say that I am depressed or  that  I have been depressed most of my life, this is the beginning of freedom for me. The depression mutual – aid groups  are making it Ok to say ” I am depressed.”  Most people now recognize that depression is a way that we have constructed  our world in which we can survive. To admit that we are depressed  is really half the battle. Once I began to take charge  of my life and choose to recover from this emotional sadness, I am able to get my life back.

This is the first step toward recovering from my attachment to sadness: namely, admitting through no fault of my own that I have spent many a year of my life avoiding life. I have closeted myself up in the cocoon of isolation. Now I know that I have work to do and, like others before me, I am finding  a brand new life opening up for me day after day.

MEDITATION

We now know that God knows all about us and our situation. We cannot hide from God as did Adam in the garden of Eden. Adam’s nakedness became his shame before God. Being vulnerable is to be naked  to the threatening gaze of strangers. By sharing the shame of ourselves with others like  our self  we will gradually  and in time, deliver ourselves from the threatening situation. Our dependence on our Higher Power or God as we understand God will get us through today. God can do the same for you!

RESOURCE

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. KY. February 4th, Page 22. (Your personal comments welcome.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am coming to believe that “what goes around comes around.”

I am coming to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. I look forward to my meetings because it is there that I am accepted and I feel worthwhile.

“Seeing yourself as basically good reduces the need for other people’s approval… but if you see yourself bad then you need everybody’s approval.”

REFLECTION

So often I think of myself as mentally deficient because of the way my sadness keeps me from having a sense of mastery over my life. and withdrawing  into my own little world of ruminating about how bad and worthless I am.

Now, thanks to the Twelve Steps, I am seeing that I am not alone in my sadness. I can, in time and with work, get out of this thing that I myself unknowingly have created over time. The more I “carry the message” of hope and how the Twelve Step program works for me the more I am feeling better  about myself. By helping others I help myself.

I think I would  be less than honest if I said I didn’t need other  person’s approval of me. The problem is in never wanting to hurt other people’s feelings. I’m afraid that I might not have said things just the  way the other party liked to hear them.  I sometimes feel guilty because I  have to disagree with a friend and then beat myself up over it for days later.  Is something wrong with this picture?  I now know that I need my approval of myself first of all.  That is most important and above other’s approval of me.

MEDITATION

It is one of the immutable truths of the universe that the more we give out in love and hope, the more that love and hope come back to us. What we give can come back to us. If we begin to see how we fooled others into seeing ourselves as less than worthy to be alive, then we give the message to others “kick me.”  What goes around comes around.!

RESOURCES:

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship  groups. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. February 2nd. Page s 20-21. (Please add your own personal comment).

“You can learn a new way of escaping sadness.”

In an earlier edition of our Antidepressant Tablet Newsletter  there was a piece about depression being a comfort to some depressed persons. When talking about getting in touch with our feelings and regaining our equilibrium, this is what might be said:

How many times have we heard this from those who are depressed.  Our future blogs will talk about the “comfort” of depression.

Many  depressed people say that this feeling of worthlessness and hollowness is all that they have ever known. In fact,  they tell us that “since it is all that I have ever known, I’m too scared to feel something different.” In other words, their feelings of sadness is like a lifelong friend, accompanying ever step of the way and so to change now is asking the impossible. Their whole identity has been centered on how bad they always feel. Even though they are sick and tired of being sick and tired, they cling onto their  familiar and secure sadness. This is all they know and can’t trust themselves to surrender this debilitating sadness and attempt to feel something different. It is a risk to try and feel cheerful. Being sad all the time is predictable – at least they know what they have. Getting oneself undepressed is almost too frightening for them to think about, much less spending a lot of time  trying to figure out how to escape it.

How can I help myself out of this pit if I believe that what I have is better than what I might get. I recommend  first of all that a person  believing their life is unmanageable and out  of control because of their depression, begin to search out alternate ways to  get one’s life back on track.  We understand how  your compulsion to depress yourself might make you feel secure but it does make for a life lived in misery and fear. You want to admit that you no longer want to live this way. You have to say that you are now wiling to listen to other people and find out how they are able to risk feeling something other than sadness. You know that  the only thing to lose by your   desire to quit saddening yourself, is the fear of the unknown.  If you have felt this sadness, all or most of your life, you without doubt can learn a new way to escape the personal sadness and constant fatigue  which  has   disconnected you from yourself, family and friends.

We  have a lesson plan, and escape route if you will. It is right in front of us.  In plain sight. We call it the 12 principles of Depressed Anonymous. Believing is seeing.

Hugh

Can depression be a defense?

“Shutting out all uncertainties, disturbance and uncomfortable threats is the essence of the defense of depression. You cut yourself off, you throw up a wall, surround yourself with a barrier and you are, you hope, safe and certain. Of course the prison  walls are not impenetrable, some things do break through to disturb you and there are things inside yourself which you cannot shut out, and they will plague you, just as the continuing isolation will bring increasing pain. But the defense of depression will shut out the great uncertainties, and, though you feel miserable, you feel secure…

Inside the safety of depression you can refuse to confront all the situations that you find difficult. You can  avoid seeing people, going to places, as a symptom of an illness, when really it is a reasonably effective defense.

If you are trying to shut out all those matters which you find uncontrollable, threatening and confusing, you cannot give those matters the careful scrutiny they need if you are to make a decision about them. They create such turmoil in your mind that you decide that it is best not to decide. You can say, ‘I am depressed. I cannot make any decisions.’

By deciding not to decide we can feel that everything that is bothersome will vanish and everything else will remain the same. But, of course, things do not disappear just because we ignore them, and nothing does remain the same. Everything is changing all the time, and we are always part of that change…

Decisions are much easier to make when you know what the consequences will be. The consequences of spending the day in bed with the blankets over your head are fairly easy to predict – you’ll miss a day’s work, your home won’t be cleaned, your family will complain, there be nothing in the fridge for you to eat, and so on -while the consequences of going out and facing the world are much harder to predict.”

COMMENT: I think that most of us, having been depressed at one time or other, have experienced our depression as a defense. I have used it as a defense to keep family and friends away  when I was depressed.  I also found it a  helpful  defense to prevent me from taking a positive action in  my own recovery.

The harder friends and family tried to unlock my prison –(I had  the key) the more difficult was it for them to enter.

What has been your experience with depression? Did you see it as a defense?

 

 

Dorothy Rowe. The Depression Handbook (1991) Collins. London. England. Excerpts from Pages 108-109.

Published also in 1991 as Breaking the Bonds, Fontana, London. England.