I no longer have to endure like a passive victim.

Victim or survivor? Which shall it be? How can I be a survivor when I can hardly motivate myself to do anything, just anything positive  to kick start my recovery. What is the first thing that has to happen for me to get on the road to recovery.

For my own life, the motivator was to face the fact that something  physical was happening to me as I was finding myself  in a continual funk. Since we are of one piece, the fatigue that came from just the simple process of thinking began to affect my whole body. I found that my thinking became obsessive and compulsively totally centered on my life’s  losses plus the shame and guilt that accompanied  them. I felt like the guy who is walking around with the sign on his back saying “kick me.” In my mind there was no way out.  I was in lockdown. I was down on my luck and flat on my back.

It was then that I knew I had to make a decision–get up and move or stay down and die. I got back up on my feet and decided to move.  I really had not a clue where I was headed but I knew that doing nothing was not the answer. It was then that I went to a Twelve Step meeting, developed by persons like me, depressed and flat on their backs. But there was  a major difference between them and myself. These folks had a solution. They explained how their own way out was to get connected with those like themselves (depressed), flee their isolation and start using a plan that promised hope and freedom from the prison bars of their own depression.

These folks wrote a book, it is called Depressed Anonymous and presents us with a plan that works.  The plan is filled with hope. And if there is no Depressed Anonymous  in your community you can use the Home Study Kit for your personal guide.   

You will discover that your recovery commitment to yourself has placed you on the recovery road. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous as outlined in our program will bring you to a new place, an horizon where your life appears filled with the light of hope. You will become a survivor. If you want to learn more about who we are and what we can achieve as part of the fellowship,  you will find the tools that will bring a change about in your own life which will bring you in contact with others like ourselves but also will bring hope and serenity. For information that will inspire you and guide you for what works for us, and for you, is to go to  our Homepage at depressedanon.com  where you will find a list of articles and info, plus books written by those of us who have been depressed, but now live to help others like ourselves. We’ve been there –done that. Now we live one day at a time with hope and freedom.

Resource

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

My problem is that I always want to please others.

“A member of our Depressed Anonymous group said that her father was very authoritarian  and strict. She said that she was always trying to please him and do the best she could with everything he wanted. She said that she could never do things well enough to please him. Even today, she still tries to please others, but because of her perfectionistic nature finds herself always inadequate and never satisfied with her self. This produces a feeling of loss as she feels guilty over losing control over those situations in which she wants to excel. She also feels resentments towards other people as they never seem  to notice all her outstanding qualities.”

Pleasing others goes nowhere for many of us, usually the results that we hoped for don’t happen. We think that if we please others they will automatically like us more.  One result of  trying to please others is   how we lose something of ourselves in the process. The result here is that we just want to kick ourselves  because the person we want to please could care less how we feel. In other words we gradually begin to feel belittled. We don’t measure up to  what we had hoped others would think of us.

  What  results are  resentments. We resent others because  they aren’t able to see the great person we think we are. Again, the cycle gets repeated, please others, and nothing positive happens  as to  how others see us.

We feel we are not perfect enough, good enough or unable to measure up to others expectations of us. Which may not be true at all. So, in time, we might be fortunate enough to see the connection between trying to please Daddy and never quite gaining the affection and support from him that she had desired. What we learn in childhood gets amplified many times over as we carry these perfectionistic feelings into our adult life.

In the final analysis, we find ourselves feeling dependent on others for our self worth and value. Our value is only proportionate to the amount  of acceptance that we receive from someone else.

For more insights into how “pleasing others” may continue to plague us into our adult lives and  spiral us down into those dark moods we call depression,  it is in looking at ourselves from various vantage points that we will learn how to prize ourselves as well as learn the many different ways that we can feel empowered instead of weak and worthless.

The way out of these feelings which  imprison us  can all be dealt with in the context of learning and living out the   spiritual principles of the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous. Also the Depressed Anonymous meetings, regularly attended,  will  give you the positive  feelings that will gradually help you to learn how to please yourself, instead of trying to please others.

Resource

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY. Pages 92-93.

 ps

Physical activity/Exercise

“One of the cardinal features of depression is inevitable fatigue. I’m always wondering, when people say to severely depressed patients, “You need exercise.” Well, yeah, it’s hard enough to exercise when your not depressed, right.” Charles Nemerdoff M.D. quoted in an interview in Psychiatric Times, April 30, 2018.

When I read this comment by Dr. Nemerdoff  I tended to agree. When  I reflected upon my own experience with depression and the “inevitable fatigue” being  a big part of my own symptoms of depression, I felt I had to take action. I began taking action as soon as I realized that if I didn’t force myself to get out of bed and get to work, I would lose my job.

Granted, I didn’t intend to run a marathon, or start a daily jog around my neighborhood. The first thing that I had to do was not argue with myself, to get out of bed and do something. I did not want to get out of bed. I felt I was paralyzed and unable to motivate myself for such a monumental decision.

But force myself I did. I quit the head dialogue at each move of my body as it rolled slowly out of the sack. The body said “no;” the mind  said “yes you are!” And it was here that I learnt   a great lesson and that was to “MOVE THE BODY AND THE MIND WILL FOLLOW,.”

I  always encouraged my clients (as a therapist) to do some physical activity–baby steps if you will. But let the body take the lead of the mind and move. Move a little bit. Then move  a little bit more. When I started to walk on a  daily basis, I gradually was glad that I was out walking. It took a struggle to move out of bed but in time it became easier. And so to this day, I am still walking, at least 30 minutes a day. And everything has improved in my life physically and mentally.

Yes, fatigue is a big part of depression I agree. But now, even doctors in the UK are prescribing physical activity for their patients to get involved with. They get a script from their doctor to get out and exercise. Yes, it’s difficult–yes, it’s  hard to get ourselves motivated, but yes, it’s a good way to regain some hope in your life as you gradually lose  those stressful feelings set up in your body over time.

Go slow—but GO!!!

Hugh

I place myself in a straightjacket…

AFFIRMATION

 I will make an effort to hold at a minimum my expectations of other people, places  and things.

The standard which your conscience demands is perfection. You who believe that you are irredeemably imperfect will accept less that perfection. Only perfection, you think,   will overcome your sense of badness.  Your disgust with yourself is mirrored in your disgust with the world. The world, you believe, ought to be perfect.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

  In my efforts to make a moral and fearless inventory of my life, I find that somewhere along in my development, for me to please those significant others in my life, I had to accomplish things perfectly. My C’s in school always had to be an A.   D’s always were not  enough. I was taught to believe that that if I was a good person, then I would always be a happy person. It seems the harder I try, the worse my life goes.

Dorothy Rowe in Breaking the Bonds says  that “fearing imperfection, you become angry.” It is in these unrealistic goals that I set for myself that makes my life so rigid and demanding. I place myself in a straightjacket when I demand perfection of myself.”

Once I surrender my need to achieve perfection and just work toward progress, the happier I truly become. To admit that I am imperfect frees me to  be less stressed and more secure with just the way I am.

MEDITATION

   In our fellowship with our Higher Power, we know that we are always accepted the way   we are. We believed that when it is said that God is perfect, and we must be perfect like Him, that what is meant is our heart should be full of mercy and kindness. God is merciful and kind to us. We should strive to love ourselves as we are loved.

RESOURCES
(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. August 9. Page 131.

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

I can manage whatever comes to me in these next 24 hours!

As  our Depressed Anonymous mutual-aid group began to grow, I felt that something was missing. We already had our Big Book,  Depressed Anonymous and the accompanying  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.  We needed something practical for our groups, giving them a   unique boost for each day of the year. This boost would be short reflections, namely a Higher Thought, giving each of us, an affirmation that when applied  to our  own struggle with depression, would counteract the negative thinking and behaviors   ruling  our life.  The beauty of this very unique daily book of meditations and reflections,  centers  our efforts  to overcoming depression,  using the 12  spiritual principles of the 12 Steps.

What matters most for those of us in the fellowship and newcomers to the program of recovery is to have a meditation book that deals with depression and the spiritual pathways that lead away and out of depression.  The 213 pages,  along with reflections for everyday of the year, help keep the focus on ourselves, on what depression feels and looks like with multiple   solution focused possibilities of recovery.

At the end of every   Higher Thought   reflection we have a powerful short meditation keeping us centered on the  belief that  a power greater than ourselves will restore and help us reconnect with life,  plus presenting us with hope and a belief that life will get better.

We are happy to be able to have such a book in our hands which talks to us where  we live and is dedicated to march us toward the finish line of sanity and serenity.

Here is a sample  quote from  Higher Thoughts for down days for July 28th.

I surely know collapse and despair because of my sadness and depression that follows me like a dark black cloud wherever I go. My depression doesn’t have to last forever and, in fact, it is irrational to think that it does.  I believe more  than ever in this caring and loving Higher Power who is always waiting for us to seek its presence. Without a doubt, most days I have the belief that my Higher Power is gradually going to see me through my depair and frustration. I know that my faith in a power greater than myself is going to restore to me a serenity and joy that I have never experienced much in my own life.

My faith is going to ensure that my life will be better today than it was yesterday. I am positive about the new consciousness of my Higher Power working  good things out in my life. I have opened the door. I welcome Him into my life.

RESOURCE

(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts  and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. 

Visit the Store for more  info  about this book. One can order it online.

 

 

Root canals and depression: what they have in common.

When I gradually found myself in a mental and physical lockdown, due to a battle with depression, I did what most of us with the symptoms of depression do, I began to isolate. If not physically, at least in my mind.

For those of us who have experienced a root canal, you know what I am speaking of when it comes to suffering pain. Maybe today, the root canal of yesterday is not as bad today because of  advancement in this dental procedure.  But with my own depression I felt a terrible pain and total physical exhaustion.  I just wanted to be left alone. I needed to try and figure out what began as a worry turned into being a  continued ruminating about my own mental abilities.  Because I couldn’t just ask my dentist to drill down and remove the cause of my pain, I chose to hobble away quietly and  begin  to medicate it with sleep and avoidance of everything that I had held dear in my life. I was not dealing with a decaying tooth but with a powerful  mental anguish, sapping me of any positive solution to a life gone sour.

And just as a dental procedure provides a solution  for my tooth, so is there a solution for  finding healing and help for my depression.  I believe that for most people who suffer from depression there is  hope. There is a healing that is available. For many persons their depression lifts of it ‘s own. It’s been said that 85%   of us who have had only one episode of depression in our lives that  this will be the only one we will expereince. 

Many seek out medication, some  therapists, some psychologists, and  most a combination of these resources.  But for those who also seek out understanding and who can  find a friend to talk with, these are the ones that gradually find hope and a solution for their misery.

In my own life, I found a group of men and women (  Depressed Anonymous) , of all ages who come together and speak about their isolation   and helplessness and find others   in the same boat  as themselves. It became clear that this is a positive experience and a resource that gradually gave me an anchor to help me survive the storm.  No longer did I feel that the waves of sadness and feeling hopeless would drown me.  It also provided me with a group of people, coming together as a group,  continuing  to provide me with  tools to leave my self constructed prison of depression. Now I am free of living always inside my mind and beating myself up with guilt and shame.

Take charge of your life, piece by piece. Take one small goal at a time. Get busy. Walk everyday. Go to gym. Find that friend to talk with-especially good if they belong to a Depressed Anonymous group and they use a plan  that provides a pathway to hope and help.  Get  a DA Workbook and DA Manual (3rd edition) and follow it’s plan, one day at a time. Learn about the 12 spiritual principles/Steps  of Depressed Anonymous and apply them to your own life.  If you do these simple steps, you will find that just as going to a dentist for help with  your teeth, so will getting involved with people like ourselves provide healing and  focus on taking good care of ourself and our  life without the debilitating pain of depression. That is a Promise!

+++++++++++++++++++++++RESOURCES++++++++++

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

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

 at a time. Get into a Depressed Anonymous group,

THE DRUNKEN MONKEY

One of the problems from my past was my need to worry about things. I worried about everything. Depression in particular incited me to worry about the past, the future and the now. I couldn’t escape the hold that it had on me.

All I needed to get the ball rolling was an event from my past for which I felt responsible  and which   I felt I had not sufficiently worried about.  Not only did this thinking of this  problem cause me a lot of pain, it also stimulated in me a low mood, pushing me deeper into that  dark well of hopelessness. 

 “Somehow when I spend time worrying about whether or not I am loved or whether this or that awful thing will befall me, I spiral down into our familiar state of hopelessness and anxiety. Worry helps to keep me isolated from others as I need to know whether this or that calamity might happen to me.  My guilt about what I have done in the past or perceived to have done, is incessantly forcing me to examine in detail my every fault and mistake.” Higher Thoughts for Down Days. July 20.

With worry, we tend to think that we can fix whatever we are worried about. But then when we begin ruminating about the matter at hand, we give more power to  the cycling mind to go deeper into the quicksand of hopelessness and despair. Now our low mood begins to take its toll and   sadness begins to  deepen till  our body is physically weakened and our mind   gradually exhausts itself.

A solution that I have found helpful when worry gets the best of me is to initiate the LAW OF THE THREES. Basically what this amounts to is that when the worry and rumination begins its circling  we imagine a Stop sign to halt the incessant negative thinking, and replace them with three thoughts which are upbeat and  positive.   Of course there is no magic in all of this, but just plain old persistence and  keeping focused on the solution.  I have also learned that when a negative thought pops into our minds, we usually have only about 3 seconds to dismiss it for what it is.  We must take charge and immediately replace it with three positive thoughts which build us up and are not allowed to start  spiraling us downward. 

The best thing is to prepare ourselves for those times when thinking gets “stinking” and irrational. Most of these thoughts turn out to be catastrophic with dire predictions about our future. Practice  of the Rule  of  theThrees Law can  be the tool that will eventually free us from being dominated by thinking which is irrational and despairing.  Even though the low mood begins to deepen into a state of depression, believe that you can stop the cycling with a STOP command and start thinking of positive thoughts, one after another.

Another solution which I have found to work is to tell yourself that your worry time  is for only 20 minutes a day. You will also set that  time at any point of the day that you choose. That’s all the worry time you will allow to take up your time. So worry all that you want.  Twenty minutes. That’s all.

Be sure that you will have an activity to put your mind and energy toward when the 20 minutes is up. It is at this point that the mind will have to be reined in, because it has been conditioned to act like a “drunken monkey” and jumps from one thing to another.

These are just suggestions and I hope that you give them a try and see if they can work for you. They work for me. Takes practice  and perseverance but it’s a tool that can work and can bring  peace and serenity to your   mind. Tell that monkey to take a leap!

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

Please visit the store for more information on publications which are available. Ordering online is available. 

Triggers

One of the many issues a person depressed faces is  a “fear that you might get depressed again.”   We all know that once is enough! This fear is  real and stirs up  a myriad  of scary emotions.  

It’s these low moods,  which we all experience,  having  within them the power to propel us down into something more dangerous and potentially life-threatening.  There is no other way to describe it but as being hurled down into a death spiral with no  hope of coming back in one piece. 

But wait! It doesn’t have to work this way.  I have begun to recognize, now that I am in recovery, and proactive about my own recovery, to judge what is a trigger for good or a trigger for a potential crash. These triggers  shadow us wherever we go. 

Maybe it’s  our memories of the past, our loss of a beloved relationship, to name just one, that trigger such powerful and painful emotions in ourselves.    

In my early recovery from depression, I began  developing a recovery plan–a plan that would continue to be my  loyal  companion, day after day.   This  plan, provides me with a way to protect  myself and   prepare myself for what crazy idea or situations crosses  my path or  presents itself to my imagination. Just as in all other 12 Step programs of recovery, we all have a workable prevention plan that can  safeguard  us from a relapse.

I formulated a  depression relapse prevention plan while I was going through the Steps–one at a time–and putting together a basic defense against whatever came against me. For any of us who suffer from this addiction, or this attachment to that which gradually takes over our lives, is  a big part of my self-care program.  This recovery and prevention plan has indeed served me well over these past 30 years. Yes, I still can be almost flattened emotionally at times by the hopelessness of a single moment and injects a helpless and  painful memory from my past life. Ruminating about this one isolated moment, just an electrical spark in my brain, starts a conflagration, consuming all the peace and hope and  initiating a spiraling down into deeper isolation, all the while gradually   prohibiting decision-making, physical movement and any sense of spontaneity  and joy. I am now on lockdown. My personal executive powers are reduced to  minimum. This is so powerful that I cannot get out of bed.  

As mentioned earlier,  this toolbox, with it’s tools for recovery are available to all of us–all we have to do is acknowledge that they are there. They are the means given to us to construct our own depression relapse prevention plan  which can help us be prepared whenever we are faced with a potentially serious threat to our serenity and hopefulness.

Once you know the triggers, and once you begin to feel the low mood creeping into your mind and heart, you know that it can’t overcome you and force you  into the dark anguish of isolation and solitariness.

At our Website you will find a menu item  where the  Tools of Recovery are listed. Metaphorically it’s like having a smoke detector in your mind–you will be able to challenge and overcome  any negative thinking (trigger) that wants to hurt you.

 

I will not be locked in my depression forever.

When I was depressed a few years back, I believed  I  couldn’t  escape this  self-imposed lockdown. It was like looking down a stretch of highway  with no  end in sight. The mystery  of the whole thing  was   trying to figure out how I got in this fix in the first place?

That’s the problem with depression. Where does it come from and how to get rid of it? Like getting rid of a cold or the flu.  We all know how   this ordeal begins: slowly and with that intense grip  that sticks to us like swamp mud.  And then comes the backing away from family, friends and those with whom  we are closest.  Our enclosure is much like the prison  cell, excepting that we have the key that could free us. Only I have the power to free myself.

So now, today, I can share how in my own time in lockdown I found the way out.  At first I really didn’t know what I had, just that something had me. I had had this experience before  when I was addicted to a substance that I felt I could not live without. But for thirty years of days sober and serene, my recovery  was accomplished by living a program that not only promised hope and peace, but a program that actually delivered on that promise.

I want to share that book with you, just as Dr. Bob and Bill W., shared their recovery experience with others like themselves and now   thousands of  grateful recovered addicts.

In 1998 the thoughts and miracles of others who were depressed,  who use the 12 Steps have their own book, describing in detail, Step by Step, how they unlocked their own personal  prison. Actually, it is a book  that has HOPE written all over it. It provides a way out for all of us who thought that there was no way out–and that suicide was our only escape. We all know how depression and its  debilitating  isolation  completely immobilizes and deadens us to all hope and meaning. 

To set a goal for our own recovery is possible now with Depressed Anonymous. We know. We’ve been there.  Depression doesn’t have to last forever. Now this is not some “pie in the sky” stuff.   Read the stories of those who did find hope and recovery,  and see how they put their trust in that power greater than themselves. They made a decision to give it their all, finding a meaning for their lives. and a reason to live.

We all were able to  gradually  free ourselves  from the fog, the isolation, and begin to find a continual hope  with the support of our Depressed Anonymous Fellowship.

If you want to find out about this hope-filled message  for yourself or  for a friend/ family member, please check it out here online or at your favorite bookstore. You can also order online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore here at this website depressedanon.com.   If you are depressed today, this book can be what you have been looking for.

As a child did you get a message that if you were good and did everything that you were supposed to do that you would end up happy and everything would go your way? Write out your response.

If you were using the material from the Home Study Program of Recovery you would be continuing the process of answering questions that pertains to your own experiences with depression.

This  is the first of a total of 25 questions dealing with your  own  life situations and your depression. These Q&A items all contain reflections from the Depressed Manual  where you can refer for a deeper meaning of question #1 and an expansion of the item’s message. 

Each of the 12 Steps are constructed in the same way in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Each Step has questions and asks for the participant’s responses. These responses are normally written out in another tablet for ongoing review.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, for the Step Five section lists the Step: “Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” This is followed by a short paragraph which states a problem that many of us struggle with in our daily lives.

“So many times it is our perfectionism that makes life so difficult and we never seem able to meet the challenge of our own unrealistic goals and ambitions. We never can do it well enough.”  Following this paragraph is a parentheses with a page  number  (68) pointing to a paragraph  in the Manual which speaks to a   depressed person who is  dealing with perfectionism.

Here is the reference about perfectionism  from the Depressed Anonymous Manual on page 68.

“So many times, it is our perfectionism that makes life so difficult and we never seem able to meet the challenge of our own unrealistic goals and ambitions. We never can do it quite well enough. We need to be able to trust that we can make mistakes. In my past, it was not permissible to do that. It is this continual search for ways to be perfect that drives us back to sadness and the misery of our addiction to sadness. We believe that we will never have a respite from the pain of our lonliness, and that the hell of our existence can only be relieved by numbing our sensitive feelings.

We do this by withdrawing from others. We often need to admit to God and others that we love to play the martyr role and have others tell us what a “saint” we are for all the awful things that we have to put up with for so many years. This is what we want to hear. At least someone knows the hell we’ve been through. As a martyr we are wanting to be rewarded for our goodness. Once we gve up this idea we know not only in our head but also in our heart, that this totally accepting Higher Power to whom we surrender, is always ready to accept us as we are – not as we think we should be.” Depressed Anonymous Manual. (68)

If you would want to learn more about how to obtain   the HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY kit, please click onto the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSORE AT THIS SITE. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO ORDER THESE TWO PUBLICATIONS TOGETHER ONLINE