“… taking personal responsibility for having to change the way we live our life.”

 

“I want to be alive and alert to all that happens to me today and to think positively about the things I can change and  what needs to be changed in my life.”

“We numb ourselves from ever having to take personal responsibility for having to change the way we live our life or construct the way we look at the world. We can’t stand to experience  any feeling except   sadness.  Our addiction to sadness is a big problem but it is also a big comfort.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am gradually taking the time and making the effort to dismantle my depression. I know that, in time and with effort, I will win over this sadness and this desire for isolation  and aloneness. I am seeing that I need time to play, time to share, and a time to  risk myself in the group. I also find that the more I believe that I can change my mood to a more pleasant one, the more pleasant I am becoming.

An addiction is something that I cannot not do without.  That is why my depression is such an addiction. I cannot live my life without the comfort of knowing that I can always drift off and live in the womb of my sadness and isolation. I must come alive when I have to face my pain and walk through the fear of my withdrawal from sadness.”

MEDITATION

We know now that we can let go of that which is keeping us isolated from others who seem happy and content working their program. God, give us the courage to always stay connected with our friends in the program. (Personal comments).

SOURCES: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  June 6.

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

What does God have to do with my depression?

 

I have heard this same question many times over the years. It is a very good question I might add. In fact, when I was going through my own valley of despair,  God wasn’t on my radar.  All I did know was that I was feeling  hopeless. I was at the bottom of a deep dark pit. Isolated and scared.

Fear was at the center of my thoughts, 24/7. I thought that I was losing my mind.   I wasn’t able to formulate anything that made any sense. It was beyond my state of mind to envision the light of a possible escape from the prison,   taking away all hope  of ever recapturing the person that I once was. Basically I lost all hope  as my helplessness swallowed up everything that I felt was me.

Still unknowing the reason for my complete emotional and physical collapse I begged God, the God of my understanding to do something–anything,  that would free me from the day in and day out grip  of this unseen demon.  Because of what I felt was happening to me, like feeling I was in the power of this demon who was cutting off any bit of strength that I had left. I also knew that Alcoholics Anonymous was built upon spiritual principles which Bill W., and Dr. Bob called the Twelve Steps of recovery. In fact, they wrote that it is our belief in a Power greater than ourselves that would restore us to sanity. And this belief is my belief.

So, to many of us, we had a hard time to see how God could do anything about our depression.  Some of us really didn’t believe in God or if we did we weren’t so sure if possibly God was just a figment of our imagination. But after we admitted that we needed help for this sadness, which was taking us, like a circling watery whirlpool deeper into the depths of blackness and despair to our utter destruction.

The God of my understanding took me seriously when I asked for help and I admitted I couldn’t do what I need to do  alone without some godly help. So for me, my belief in this Power greater than myself  began to free me from my depression experience. And yes, this belief brought God into my life in a very powerful and healing way. In fact, Bill W., who was an agnostic (didn’t know if there was a God or not) had a spiritual  awakening in his hospital room where he said that he met the God of the preachers. And it was this singular spiritual event that gave him an infusion of hope and  power to let the God of his understanding lead him on that daily path of sobriety and recovery. For the millions who use these spiritual principles of recovery in their daily lives, they each and every one find a new beginning and a sane and sober way to live out their lives. And in turn,  as a result of their recovery, they turn and help others, who like themselves, had chosen  to do it ” their way.” As most of us are so painfully aware, our way was  to  keep on digging a deeper hole. And so, the first spiritual principle, namely Step One tells us that “We admitted that we were powerless over depression , and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Now it is at this next Step that God enters the picture. Actually, we call God, this Power, who is greater than ourselves, who we let come into our life, where “we made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

And whatever notions you may have about God, you can be assured that there is something that happens to people when they start the journey of working the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous. It is here that we learn how God has everything to do with our battling  depression in our life. If you read any of the more that 30 stories of people who worked the 12 Steps (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition) and who testify to the truth that God does respond to their plea for help.  God   helps turn our life around and brings us a peace that a clear conscience and a faith in something bigger and more powerful can make happen in anyone’s life who believe.

A sociologist by the name of David Karp interviewed 50 people who indicated that they had received a diagnosis of being depressed from a physician. And by spending time with these many people of all ages and professions he learned about their beliefs about their own depression experiences. and which he wrote about in his book Speaking of Sadness. It is a very interesting and captivating account of how persons respond to the pain and despair that comes with being depressed. But the thing that amazed me the most is what he said about  spirituality as playing an important  role in the coping and living with depression of those whom he interviewed.

“At the same time that my conceptual consciousness was being raised about the connection between depression and spirituality, I would leave  many of my interviews awed by the courage and grace with which certain people faced unimaginable pain and loss. I was especially impressed with those  who spoke of their depression as a gift from which they had learned valuable lessons. While I would not relate  emotionally or intellectually with visions of incarnation or explanations of depression as central to a god given life mission. I left many interviews with a sense that spirituality engaged individuals were in touch with something important.  The issue was not a matter of evaluating the truth of their particular  brand of spirituality. What I felt was a measure of envy of those who displayed an acceptance that seemed to me incongruous with accounts of exceptional pain. These people possessed  or knew something that I didn’t.”  David A. Karp. 1996. Speaking of sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the meanings of Illness.  Oxford University Press. Oxford. Pgs 190-191.

 

 

 

Looking fear in the face!

AFFIRMATION

I am no longer alone in my suffering depression. I believe that by getting more active in my recovery that my life will begin to brighten up.

“We of AA and Depressed Anonymous find that our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening.” Bill W.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know after becoming actively involved with the 12 step program, that one of the best ways to overcome the handicap  of depression is to start by working on my faith – a faith that I will and can get better. I know that it is mainly staring my sadness in the face that I will be clear of it. I also know that my depression which has been part of my life for so long can be dismantled if I so choose. Surprised? So often  I hear others stories say that they have been depressed all their lives–until- let me repeat – until they hear others stories as to how with work, time and belief in a power greater than themselves that they did and are feeling better now. I need to trust that once I have made my conscious decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand him, that my life will indeed begin to change.

We know that fear is truly a poison in some ways and in others it is a gift. We need to fear only that which will keep us locked in the prison of depression. Sometimes our fears are of what tomorrow might bring or it might be the fears of the past. One of the better antidotes to fear is trying to live, just for today, Today is all I have.,

MEDITATION

God, we believe that there is no greater power than you . We have already admitted that our depression has made us feel hopeless. Now we are ready to let you get to work on our lives,  take over and lead us where we know we will be   in a safe healing place.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. Pages 95-96.

Before attending my mutual aid support group, Depressed Anonymous, I felt that I had nothing to live for.

 

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.

I want to believe.

 

AFFIRMATION

I can do most anything to feel better and more alive. All I need to do is believe that I can do it. I want to believe.

“Through this 12 step program   I have been on a journey of transformation from the familiar life of drudgery, gloom and desperation,  to discovering a new freedom and a new happiness –something I didn’t know existed.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

This is the real  world-the Twelve Step program for healing and a gradual abstinence from hiding the pressure that builds from inside and pushes me to want to withdraw. I am more sure today than I was yesterday the more I work my Twelve Step program,

I know that like the others who work their program, I will begin to feel better. I also believe that the more I begin to take charge of some area of my life, like exercising, getting a hobby and moving about, the speedier will be my recovery.

From childhood, I had a sparse amount of love and nurturing. I know that I can find the freedom to live and feel differently than I did in the past. Today presents me with a clean slate and a new beginning, if you will. Granted my yesterdays are always there ;  my today is what really counts like the exciting part of living with hope. Life is a challenge and I need to forgive myself for all my yesterdays and live right now as if it is the first day of my life.

MEDITATION

God, make peace and serenity the operative word of our lives and efforts. We know that you are here- closer to us than the light that is in  our lives. We again trust you to help us to live unpredictable lives with your hope and trust in us now. (Your own personal comments).

SOIRCE:  Copyright (c)  Higher Thoughts  for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. April, 30. Pages87-88

Giving yourself a mental make-over.

      HOW TO VIZUALIZE YOURSELF

“One way to increase your potential for serenity is to form a strong mental picture of yourself with it. For just one day, eliminate guilt, anger, and meanness from your mind.  Practice visualizing yourself as calm, purposeful, and strong. First thing in the morning, take a moment to form a mental picture of yourself smiling, happy and ready to meet the day with serenity. Throughout the day, whenever you think about it, picture yourself as deeply relaxed and peaceful.

Now, listen!  It doesn’t matter if that is the way that you really feel. Without even realizing it, we tend to become just what we picture ourselves to be. After a few days of steady practice, you will feel peace taking hold in your life. So, now is the time to use your self-discipline to form a positive image of yourself.

To help you form a strong and serene picture of yourself in your mind’s eye, you might try  using the following affirmations.

+My goal is serenity. I see myself as  really strong, centered, and calm, with the help of a serene mind, I can face the day. I have what it takes to be happy.

+Today, I will feel the presence of peace  in my life. I feel alive, filled with positive energy, happy to face the challenge of the day. Peace is positive, active, creative, and today I feel peace all around me.

+I see myself as strong, controlled and serene. (I am a child in the safety of my Higher Power). And with God’s help, I will not be frightened or alone. I am strong, Thank you  God, for my strength.”

Keep saying these affirmations to yourself. Believe their positive messages. Keep practicing them, and in time they will embed themselves in your unconscious mind, where they will be accepted as fact.

Replacing old negative and hurtful thoughts with positive and healing affirmations is one of the first steps in the process of transforming chaos and pain into serenity and strength.”

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Source:  Strong Choices, Weak Choices, Gayle Rosellini  and Mark Verden.  A Harper/Hazeldon Book, Harper and Row Publishers ,San Francisco 1988, pp. 63-64.

Source:  Believing is seeing: 15 Ways to leave the prison of depression.  Hugh Smith.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. ( 2016).

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Click onto Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore here at depressedanon.com.

I am able to beat loneliness by repeatedly being with other people in recovery or by doing the Home Study* program with my sponsor.

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR YOUR DAY

AFFIRMATION

“I’m sure many sufferer’s could find a lot of comfort and support by coming into a group as I’ve done, to help beat the terrible loneliness which is felt by many and who find lasting friendship with lovely people.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

In the group, I established myself and got some positive feednback from others who watched me grow and have seen the genuine changes I make personally. I am gradually throwing off my personal way with sadness. The real support comes when I begin to learn that members of the group have the same problem that I have. That helps me trust others with the story of my life. These people are the ones who want to hear my story of how depression cost me my life.  Now, my life is freeing me from my need to sad myself.

I feel more able to attach myself to the group now that I know that they are struggling with the same depression that I struggle with. I no longer have to fight this battle on my own.

MEDITATION AND BEING MINDFUL OF A HIGHER POWER

God, you are our rock and our refuge, on you I place my trust. We know and  believe, easier now than before, that God has something good in store for me today. (Personal comment).

SOURCE:  Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  April 26. Pages 84-85.

*HOME STUDY PROGRAM, is an individual approach to a STEP study  program when no  Depressed Anonymous group program is available in one’s community. The participant is helped in working the steps by utilizing the help of a sponsor. The sponsor leads the individual through all the steps using the Depressed Anonymous Manual, 3rd edition as well as coordinating this work with the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. By means of emails the sponsor and participant communicate with each other on  a regular basis.

For more information in how to set up this HOME STUDY program please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. Or contact us at depanon@netpenny.net for how you can be part of this individualized study.

The Home Study material  can be ordered online.

 

Valuing yourself is risky business

MY PERSONAL  AFFFIRMATION FOR TODAY

I choose again to read my 12 Step Manual (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition) on a daily basis and from it find the courage to make decisions that promote my well being and my joy.

“There  are two problems about deciding things for myself. First, it means that you can’t blame anyone else when things turn out badly. (But you can take credit when things turn out well). Second, other people can get very angry with you for not doing what they want. Valuing your self is a risky business. What risk is preferable?  The risk of making your own decisions or the risk of not valuing yourself? ”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I  see myself as part of the solution to recovering from my attachment to sadness. I was a sadness addict. Now I am attached to the joy of risking myself so that I can live. That is what I value most now — the desire to live with uncertainty  and be unafraid.

I blame when I no longer want to look inside of myself. I feel that when I admit my former need to sad myself, I no longer blame anyone, but instead, I am putting my energies into sharing how I feel with others.

MEDITATION

God, we trust in you. We commit ourselves to you. We know that you are ready to act in our behalf the more we commit ourselves to you and your will. Give us the courage to keep in contact with you daily. Our time with you is our daily bread. (Personal comments)

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

I can free my self from my sadness and my desire to sad myself!

AFFIRMATION

I know that just by being alive, I am gaining new insights into how to live and this, in itself, is continually giving me more and more energy to exist as my Higher Power would have me live..

“So we have to begin by asking, “Do we have the right to exist?”  If we exist, we have the right to exist. We do not have to ask anyone’s permission to exist.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Like it says in the famous Desiderata, I have every right to be in this universe. I have a right to be here. I need not shrink or fear anything or anyone. The times that I have felt so guilty for being alive, I now know it is my sense of not being worthwhile or acceptable to myself or others that keep me down.

I no longer need other people’s approval,  just my own. Everyday as I keep my mind and heart focused on the solutions, the problems seem less oppressive and frightening. Today, when I want to hide, avoid others, or just climb into the security of the comfort of my depression, I cease to exist. I know that I am breaking free form my sadness by working the 12 Steps and listening to the voice inside of me that promotes my self-respect.

I now have permission to give myself a real  boost by discovering that I can free myself from my sadness and my desire to sadden myself.

I give myself permission to risk living life to the fullest.

MEDITATION
God, we learn from our friends in the group that we were somehow, somewhere in our development led to believe that life is terrible and death is worse. This kept us from your joy and sense that we were really someone. Now our feelings are shared and we are feeling better already. (Personal comments).

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COPYRIGHT(c)  Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for member so 12 Step  fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. April 23. Page 82.

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I am beginning to feel a change stirring in my relationships with others because I am changing. It’s all positive!

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR YOUR DAY TODAY

AFFIRMATION

“The journey out of the prison is not just a matter of changing yourself, for in changing yourself, you change your relationship with other people.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

 As I look around me I begin to see others like myself talking the language of hope and experiencing the sometimes occasional lightening of  their mood. I know that it is in the wealth of individual interactions among members of the group that I am beginning to withdraw from my need to sad myself. I am seeing that any change in myself has a direct bearing on others and the relationship that we have with each other.

I came  to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity, and in fact, it already has. My addiction to my sadness has come more to be my habitual response to the stressful, day in and out thoughts that say that I am worthless. I am now changing these negative thoughts remembered from childhood into a new personal language that speaks to me and about me in positive ways.

I know that when I am depressed I don’t want to be around people because I felt so tired and sad. But now, the more I attempt to make new relationships and get  involved with other people, the more I desire to grow and become what I want to be. Progress is our aim and we tend to grow in little spurts, day by day.”

MEDITATION

God, we pray that our relationship with you will grow stronger day by day. (Personal thoughts)

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SOURCES:  Copyright  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 75.

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