What I have to fear most is being completely isolated by my fear.

 

I am willing to allow God as I understand God to demonstrate his will for me today.  “We never apologize for God. Instead we can let God demonstrate through us  what he can do. We ask him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what he could have us be. At once we commence to outgrow fear.” Bill W.

If I have been sad most of my life, I surely understand what fear is. Fear is at the core of my depression so that “Other people are such that I must fear, hare and envy them.”  Dr. Dorothy Rowe.

Isolated by my fear pushes me to risk choosing life or living with hope and serenity or life imprisonment  behind the bars of my own insecurity  and self- created isolation.  And after I admit  to another human being the low opinion that I have of myself or had of myself, my recovery begins. I slowly reveal who I am to others in my group.

Apologize means to  make amends. To make amends means to change.  I need to forgive myself, first of all, for not being the perfect person I thought that I needed to be.

Higher Power I place my trust in  you! We haven’t been able to trust much in the past but now, thanks to each other’s encouragement we will begin to trust that you will  protect and help us through those times we fear most. ”

Question: Has your fear kept you from living life?  Has your fear kept you from being and achieving  things that would have brought you personal joy and happiness?

_________________________________

Source: Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and Meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 20. February 1.

 

Negative thinking can keep me depressed.

 

When I am depressed. I do not think clearly. I feel like I’m worthless and that no one really likes me. I feel like there is nothing that I can do.

I keep telling myself these negative thoughts:

I’m helpless.

I have no control.

I can’t get going and I have no motivation energy.

Things are always bad and they won’t get better.

This kind of negative or distorted thinking includes more than self-criticism. It is a negative view of the world and the future as well as a negative view of the self. This way of thinking is a well established habit. The more self-critical and helpless I feel the more miserable I am. The more miserable I am, the more depressed I feel. How can I stop this cycle? If I could keep the negative thought from crowding my mind I might be able to remember  my  good qualities. For example, I know that  I am helpful, generous, flexible, and have a warm smile. I am truthful, caring,  considerate of others,  responsible. and thoughtful .

We want to foucs today on the connection bretween what I think and the way it makes me feel. The task will be to practice changing what I think in order to feel better. (See the Depressed Anonymous Publication : I’ll do it when I feel better (2016). Louisville. KY.

What I think determines what I feel. Thoughts produce feelings, feelings cause moods and moods cause  behaviors.

It is sometimes hard to recognize the connection between what I think and how I feel. So, it may   help to think about simple examples.

EXAMPLE:

If I showed a spider to five people, one might scream, one might back away, one might  poke it to get it to spin a web, one might put it by the fish pond so its web would catch mosquitoes, one might get a magnifying glass to look at the exquisite markings on its back. All of the responses, though different,   resulted from what the person Thought  about spiders.

The one who screamed THOUGHT spider bites were fatal.

The one who backed away  THOUGHT “Be careful!”.  He was mistrustful of what kind it was.

The one who poked it was curious. His THOUGHT was “what will it do!?”

The person who put it by the pond THOUGHT it was a useful insect.

The person who got the magnifying glass THOUGHT it was beautiful.

In each of these cases, the person could probably say th e spider caused  the response when, in fact, what they THOUGHT about spiders determined how they responded and how they felt.

Similarly, what I think about myself, and how I believe I should behave,  determines what I do and how I feel.

One of the goals of this session today and tomorrow  is to stop the negative, self-defacing thoughts and beliefs that may result in symptoms of depression and replace them with useful, positive, constructive thinking.

One of the  first steps is to become aware of all the different kinds of self-critical thoughts that cause trouble. Following are some examples of situations and reactions.

EXAMPLES:

Situation: I didn’t get Sue’s invitation to the party

Negative thoughts: No one likes me.

Feelings and reactions: Rejection and depression. I won’t talk to her tomorrow.

EXERCISE # 1

In the following situations, look at the possible negative thoughts that might explain the person’s feelings and actions.

A man’s neighbor came over to ask if he could borrow a shovel. The man took him to the garage to get the shovel. The garage was cluttered with junk and tools. After some digging around he finally found the shovel to loan to his friend. His negative thought might be:                            (circle one of the below).

  1. How embarrassing to have my neighbor see this messy garage.
  2. I should keep this place clean all the time.
  3. It’s terrible to be  so unorganized                                                                                                                    The man had “rules” that he thought he should follow. It wasn’t right to not always live up to his own values.  Therefore, he was embarrassed by the clu tter in his garage. He was sure the neighbor would think less of him. When in fact the neighbor was thinking “Gee, this guy must be OK, his garage looks just  like mine.”

Tomorrow we will continue our discussion on our important topic of how I think determines how I feel and respond to life situations and environments.

SOURCES:  I’ll do it when I feel better(2016) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

Quotations from A  University of Oregon  Doctoral Dissertation:A Depression Workbook.

Depressed Anonymous offers a Home Study as an alternative path for recovery:

An alternative path:  The Depressed Anonymous  Home Study Program of Recovery has been offered for those who cannot find a   Depressed Anonymous group in their area. One of the drawbacks to finding a Depressed Anonymous meeting in one’s  community is the nature of the problem in that depression  has our life shut down.  Depression is such that it isolates and  immobilizes. We don’t want to move out of our comfort zone. We’ll take care of our problem when we feel better. But we never feel better and so stay in our isolation. It is only when we feel we have to get help that we move toward a solution for our depression or whatever it is we have.

Depression is not a substance addiction problem, even  though we modeled our program on the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. Like so many problems  facing our modern society,  many people have  put the  power of these principles to work  in their own lives, be that of overeating, opioids addiction and a plethora of compulsive behaviors, phobias and  so on.

Depressed Anonymous  formed as a mutual aid group where others,  like ourselves,  have come together, utilizing the 12 Steps of recovery  and have found a way out of their depression.

When people ask us for a group in their area  more times than not we suggest they use the tools that we offer at our site and come together and form their own group.  But for those who cannot do this, for all sorts of reasons,  find  themselves without the help that they are looking for.

This is where the Depressed  Anonymous Home Study comes in to help. With this program, a person can use the Depressed Anonymous Manual and Workbook. They also can be provided with a sponsor to work their program online. The program is conducted via emails between the Home Study participant and the sponsor.  The  12 Steps are examined and applied to one’s own experience with depression by answering the questions provided  by Home Study. From having a positive experience with the Home Study Program of Recovery some of the participants have begun a Depressed Anonymous program in their own community. Before the Home Study Program of Recovery  there were no DA groups in their home community. After the Home Study Program was used , and a thorough study of the Steps was accomplished , a group was set in motion. Sometimes a therapist was obtained who helped the participant work the Steps. Sometimes a member of another 12 Step fellowship  could help  share  how their own involvement with the Steps  provided them a release from their addiction.

To learn more about the Home Study Program we have given you some resources   at our website www.depressedanon.com for your examination

Kim shares her own experiences with the Home Study Program in Volume #1 Fall  Issue of the DA Newsletter.  She tells us about the “before” of working the Steps and the “after” of completing the Home Study an how it freed her from the captivity of depression and isolation. Please read it–be inspired as was I.   Her story is to be found at the NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES on the Home Page Menu list.

Also, a full explanation of the HSP and what it is about,  is explained at the Depressed Anonymous Home Page Menu-See HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

Depressed Anonymous groups also use the HOME STUDY as the basis for the STEP STUDY home group.re are different and creative ways to use this tool for recovery from depression. Also remember that there is available a sponsor to help the participant work through each of the Steps.

NOTE: I f you desire to start a group in your community is  also advisable to have worked all the steps yourself. We  can then share that we have worked through all the Steps and that we have a Sponsor.

A member of a newly formed  Depressed Anonymous group in an international community is now started with the Home Study and will be the first member of the group to go through all the Steps with a Sponsor. Congratulations to her and her group. It is a positive that the questions contained in the Workbook have a unique relationship to one’s own life as the steps are applied to one’s own life situations.

 

You can contact us at depanon@netpenny.net. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 strategies for coping with anxiety and pain.

  1. Remember that although your feelings are very frightening, they are not dangerous or harmful. They are uncomfortable but not life threatening.
  2. Understand that what you are experiencing is just an exaggeration of your normal bodily reaction to stress.
  3. Do not fight your feelings or try to wish them away. The more you are willing to face them, the less intense they will be.
  4. Do not add to your panic by thinking about what might happen if you find yourself asking ‘What if’? Tell yourself. “So what!”
  5. Stay in the present. Notice what is really happening to you as opposed to what you think might happen.
  6. Label your fear level from zero to ten and watch it go up and down. Notice that it does not stay at  a very high level for more than a few seconds.
  7.  When you find yourself thinking about the fear,  change your “what  if” thinking. Focus  on and carry out a simple and manageable task such as counting backwards from 100 by 3’s or snapping a rubber  band on your wrist.
  8. Notice that when you stop adding frightening thoughts to your fear, it begins to face.
  9. When the fear  comes, expect and accept it. Wait and give it time to pass without running away from it.
  10.   Be proud of yourself for your progress thus far, and think about how good you will feel when you succeed this    time.   (NMH Association. Understanding Panic Disorder.)

 

 

 

Gathering evidence that I am doing better

I need to gather evidence that I am doing better, rather than focusing on all the ways I am feeling worse.

Negative voice: I am doing worse and I do everything wrong.

Positive response: No, I’m doing better little by little and here is some evidence:

+Set your goals really small

+People often give up hope feeling too overwhelmed.

+Each week identify what would be the tiniest-absolutely smallest piece of evidence that you are doing better.

The smallest tiniest piece of evidence that I am doing  better is:

+ I stopped my negative tape in my head once.

+That I read and completed a small section of the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, answering four questions.

+ That I was able to go out and walk though I didn’t want to this week.

+Called a friend in the recovery program.

+Began to read the first couple of paragraphs from our Big Book Depressed  Anonymous and made a commitment to read a few paragraphs   each day.

Please add a few more of your own small pieces of positive changes that you made happen this past week.

Just by reading this BLOG you are taking a tiny step in your recovery.

 

Change the view of yourself. Reframe!

 

 

 

It is not the facts about myself that results in higher self-esteem – it’s how I view the facts (how I hink abut them).

Some of the very most accomplished people still have low or poor self esteem.

 

For example

Some pople view Bob Dylan as the grreatest, most talented folk singer of the day, others hear his voice and songs and  think he is unbearable.

Some people love  to hang out at (put your own favorite restaurant here) and others wouldn’t  put a foot in the place.

It isn’t whether we are good or bad, talented or untalented, attractive or unattractive.

Self-worth comes from the view we have of ourselves.

+When I am depressed I have a negative, punishing, self critical view of myself. It’s as if I have on dark glasses and I see everything about myself as ‘dark’ and negative.  But when I am less depressed I see myself much clearer.

I’m not as crititical and judgemental about myself. It’s as if I have on clear, clean glasses.

REFRAMING

Reframing is simply selecting another way of looking at something. It’s a little different from self-defense but  similar.

The following a examples  of how to reframe my negative view of myself to something positive..

1. Stubborn                       can be                                                       determined.

2. Emotional                        can be                                                       passionate, caring.

3. Loner                                   can be                                                        Independent

4. Inconsiderate                may instead be                                       purposeful.

5. In decisive                       could be  considered                             careful.

6. Hyper                                   Is                                                                     energetic.

7. Unpredictable               may be                                                              accommodating

8.. Pushy                                can also be                                                 forceful.

9. Dependent                      may be                                                           cooperative

10. Critical                             my be                                                            discriminating

EXERCISE

  1. Cover the right column. In the left  column CIRCLE all of the negative view words that you apply to yourself. Do that.
  2. Now remove the cover and CIRCLE all of the corresponding words in the right column which are positive non-judgmental views of the same behavior and qualities.
  3. To get used to thinking about yourself in positive terms, read the circled words in the right column out loud and say “I am……” before each of these characteristics.

Part II:

The following is a partial list of additional positive personality characteristics. Circle the ones that apply to you. At the bottom are some blank lines. Add some other good qualities that you can add to the list.

Thoughtful

Courteous

Polite

Helper

Persistent

Forceful

Emotional Diligent

Friendly

Determined

Cheerful

Truthful Adaptable

Gentle

Sensitive

Courageous

Enthusiastic

Hard working

Creative

Compassionate

_________________

_________________

_________________

If you circled less than five of these qualities, select someone from your support group, family member and ask them to help you find others in the  list that apply to you.

III. Pick three positive qualities from the previous lists and write examples of when you showed the quality:

I am _________________________________________________________________________and I showed that when I____________________________________________________________________________.

I am also _____________________________________________________________________and I know that when I ______________________________________________________________________________.

In addition, I am ___________________________________________________ and I showed that when I____________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________..

Source: Doctoral dissertation from Oregon Univ.

NOTE: Tomorrow, more thoughts on  building self-esteem.

 

Increase activity-decrease depression. Set goals for your recovery and you will reap its rewards.

One of the greatest lessons  I learned was about setting goals. When I would isolate and withdraw from life, friends and family,  is when my depression began to deepen and worsen.

If you stop taking care of yourself and retreat from living,  you will find yourself  boxed in and all alone. I remember well when I would withdraw  trying  to figure out what I could do  to relieve my   deep sadness. Usually my thinking took the easy way out.   I would  tell  myself that I would do it when I felt better. ( “I’ll do it when I felt better.”)

This excuse was a way out for me, because I would never have to do anything because I would never feel better. It was only when bad went to worse  that I began  to realize that the only way out was up. Instead of spiraling down I needed to spiral up.

When I set a goal  to find  help, I started to work on my recovery using the tools of Depressed Anonymous. That is, I would use the Depressed  Anonymous Workbook, and answer one or two  questions every day—one week I could only answer three of the questions a day. I took it one step at a time.    Some days, I just felt like hanging it up. A  mantra that I kept repeating to myself was that nothing was happening.  I was still depressed. No change.

An amazing thing happened. Even though my goals were small to start with, I  did believe that   this activity was gradually  bringing me closer to who I really  am and who I wanted to be. Nothing  happened overnight.  It was a day by day struggle. But as I moved through  this workbook, I discovered that there were some other exercises that  I could accomplish. I looked at the Depressed Anonymous website, and found ten or more ways to get involved with my own recovery. The one that appealed to me was the one tool called exercise.  I thought, that is definitely one that I don’t have the energy for.  Then  I rethought my decision . I had heard that when you are depressed,  set a small goal in which you find a bit more  challenging, like walking and do that every day. So I forced myself to walk, just as I was forcing myself to read Depressed Anonymous literature I now was setting aside time to walk every morning.   It was like I was in a  high hurdles race, moving over obstacles placed there by my mind and moving  over them one at a time.

I learned that there is physical  activity  as well as mental activity.   By committing myself to these small steps, one at a time, I gradually found myself a bit more hopeful.   I was gradually reaping the rewards of moving on and through my depression resistance  — no longer staying  parked in neutral.

I was  getting my life in gear.  Eventually I  started to attend Depressed Anonymous meetings and  set the goal of going to meetings every week.   Gradually I was aware of something positive shifting in my life–I was actually beginning to look forward to continuing  my activities and began participating in life once again. My mind fog had finally melted away.

The lesson here for me and it will be the same for you is to start with small goals, add a goal as you move along,  and you will find that you now have developed a workable  program of recovery that can get you through every day of your life. Oh, sure there will be other obstacles and hurdles to overcome in your life,  but my point is that you will have what you need to stay on your feet and move forward in hope because you got skin in the game.

Depressed Anonymous Member

SOURCES:  I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky.

                              Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky

VISIT THE STORE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

I refuse to beat myself up today.

AFFIRMATION

I REFUSE TO BEAT MYSELF UP TODAY.

“Basically, I am questioning whether in the experience of depression there is an order of events similar to  the order in a physical illness. For instance, the presence of a measles virus is followed by a symptom of chills, fever, and red macules. In a depression, it is said that there  is a metabolic change  which is followed by the symptoms of a despairing  in mood, guilt, loss of confidence, loss of sexual drive and other symptoms. Could not there be another order of events such as a person sees himself and his worlds in such a way that he finds himself unable to escape from his isolation which itself intensifies his fear? The fear and the isolation, if prolonged, produce metabolic changes, which can, to some extent, be mitigated by physical means.”

REFLECTION

Any feeling that I  experience over any length of  time is bound to have some physiological effect upon my body. This holds true whether the feeling or emotion is a pleasant or unpleasant one. Fear and anxiety, guilt and worry are all bound to complicate the way the mind processes attitudes in the inner intricate mechanisms of the human brain  or animal brain. To lose anything that I have taken into myself and made it something precious to myself will be sorely missed when it is lost.  And so any fear of the future can in time make me feel desolate, despondent, and despairing. What mitigates these fears is the distraction of myself from  the all-encompassing feeling of despair,  by believing that with time and work, and with a desire to feel, I can choose to feel better.

I think that as I gradually pull away from my addiction to sadness I begin to feel a shift in the way I perceive the world that I live in. As I begin to live with more hope, my perception is not so colored  by my repetitive negative thoughts that I formerly bashed myself with , but now I have substituted them with new and life-giving positive thoughts.

MEDITATION

“God, and I make a majority” is a saying  that has meaning  for many of us.    We know that as we yield our desires, whether it is to get a loved one back or to escape some future tragedy, the Higher Power will, in its own way and in its own time, allow us to get through whatever we need to get through.”

For more information on dealing with depression with  the spiritual principles of recovery click onto VISIT THE STORE(  The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore) and order online.

SOURCES:  Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pgs. 12-13.

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

Our hunches are more right than wrong.

 

We think about the 24 hours ahead when we wake up, and attempt to live the day in honesty and peace. We ask God to  ward off thoughts of self-seeking, dishonesty and false motives.  As Alcoholics  Anonymous says,  with the indecision about something, we then ask God for inspiration and we let go of struggling for an answer. Alcoholics Anonymous says that you will be surprised at how the right answers will come after we have practiced this way of living. It also comes to pass that our hunches are more right than wrong. We also pause throughout the day when we are fearful, puzzled or anxious. We pray  to the Higher Power for which direction to take. I like this suggestion the best when Alcoholics Anonymous says : We constantly remind ourselves that we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “‘Thy will be dome,’ ”  We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.  By coming to the meetings and admitting our addictions, we finally get in touch with those emotions that have all but shut down from an early time in our lives, when to feel hurt too much.  We now have  the chance  to let these feelings get displayed and expressed in the supportive and trusting environment of our newly chosen  family of the Depressed Anonymous group.”

SOURCE:   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.  Page 101/Step 11.

NOTE: Even though most of us who join the Depressed Anonymous group, do not suffer from alcohol addiction,  Depressed Anonymous is  modeled after the 12  spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. We have based our  program of recovery on  the 12 steps of recovery and using them on a daily basis. The 12 Steps are now universally used as the basis for a myriad of recovery tools  for those who are trying to free themselves from addictive behaviors and attachments.

 

VISIT THE STORE at the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS  BOOKSTORE. at www.depressedanon.com. One can order online.

“They said that I was ‘damaged beyond recovery.'”

Kim, The author of this comment, speaks  about those  therapists who said  that she was ‘damaged beyond recovery.’ Even though   experiencing  a myriad  of therapeutic interventions, various psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists, her depression just kept on coming. There seemed to be no escape.  Included with all these were a number of popular every 12 Step groups from  which she sought help.

In the following paragraphs,  with excerpts from  the  Depressed Anonymous Newsletter Volume .#1, Fall Issue, 2017,  she shares   her own  experiences . (See Newsletter Archives for full account). She shares with us her  life  Before and her  life After   participating in the Depressed Anonymous HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY.

What my  life was before Depressed Anonymous

While all my program friends had gotten full recovery, the Promises of Recovery had not materialized for me. I would stay depressed forever. This destroyed me. I quit the program and started to take antidepressants, but even that didn’t work: The depressions got  more intense and more frequent. I didn’t want to live anymore. One day I found the Depressed Anonymous site on the Internet, but there was no meeting in Europe.  There was a book though. So I made a deal with God; I could go through the Twelve Steps one last time. And after that I could jump  in front of a train. It was now or never. So I bought the book, and the workbook, and I asked Hugh to become my email  sponsor. That was three years ago.

What my life is like now.

I never expected this, but I have been free from depression for a whole year now.  The next depression will kill me, so it is very importantr to stay out of it. Every Sunday I sit behind my computer and answer questions from   the Workbook. I send them to my email sponsor, who reads them, gives me feedback and stimulates me to keep going.  I discover important things about myself…

In  Depressed Anonymous, I discovered my conclusion was wrong. I do belong to the  group. Indeed, I have always been part of the group. People with odd parents are part of society as well and so are depressed people and people that did rally stupid things. There is nothing to hide. I am human, no more, no less…

I made a deal with my Higher Power, one more time I would take the Steps. I am so happy that I did.

Submitted by Kim, a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship.

PS.  Kim has started an online Depressed  Anonymous for SKYPE users at Depanon@hotmail.com.  She is also translating Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition into her home  language.

+++++++++++++++++

Kim has  just completed (1/30/2019)  her work on the HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY,  with the assistance of her email Sponsor.    By her  continued commitment and  study of the Depressed Anonymous (Big Book) with the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, she not only knows herself at a deeper level but also lives out the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps with hope and vigor. One day at a time.

If you would you like to work the Twelve  Steps of Depressed Anonymous, using the Home Study Program of Recovery  and to find  how to have  an email Sponsor, as did Kim,  please write to me, Hugh  at depanon@netpenny.net., and discover how you too can work the Twelve Steps , with a program designed for you — plus  the unique  goals you have chosen for your own recovery from depression.

Make a commitment today, stick to a plan of action, and  grow through  each of the STEPS with your own email sponsor –at your own speed –especially when there are no Depressed Anonymous groups in your locale. See the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore to find out more  about the HOME STUDY  KIT.