In the mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous, we make it OK to say “I think I am depressed.”
In Believing is seeing, an effort is made to help persons depressed as well as the friends and families of the depressed to know that there is a group that is there for them. In fact, once people come to the group and experience a meeting focused on the power of the Steps working in the lives of the fellowship, they soon come to believe and know the group members are speaking their language. It’s much like going to a foreign country and finding someone who can speak your language.
“Thank goodness, people can now go and find help –namely, the Depressed Anonymous group. Persons need to be educated about depression and that one is not losing their minds when the symptoms of depression begin to take over their lives. Their own depression experience and the symptoms that comprise it may enable them to seek help faster. They may be relieved to know what it is that is happening to them. I believe that a doctor or nurse practitioner would be more than happy to help de-stigmatize such a common and universal problem as depression or as some have called it in an earlier time, melancholia. In time and with our own advocacy as a mutual aid fellowship we will help make it OK to say “I am depressed.” We hope by that fact to help de-stigmatize this common and natural response to loss. Remember, to admit you’re depressed is the first step in recovery and the first step in getting yourself undepressed.”
Copyright (c)Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 17-18.
“How many times have we heard persons say that ‘my depression is such a comfort to me.’ Many depressed people say that this feeling of worthlessness and hollowness is all they have ever known. In fact, they add, ‘since all I’ve ever known I’m too scared to feel something different.’ It appears that their whole identity is based on how they feel, and so they feel they are bad.” (9)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I know that I can recover and feel good about myself. Each new day I can choose to think differently about myself. I believe that, with time and while working my Twelve Step program, I can feel better. I will make a list of how I want to feel and then start to experience these brand new feelings of mine. My spiritual program of letting God run my life is beginning to payoff as I can feel a change in myself occurring.
I am taking out one of the main bars of my prison cell. I am no longer considering myself as someone who is bad, worthless, unacceptable to myself and to others. I am finding myself acceptable to me.
Our feelings of hollowness are greatly diminished after and during a meeting where we hear the hopeful stories of those members of the group who are feeling better because of the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery.
-Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. page 112.
I can change the way I think about myself –just for this day.
“The Twelve Steps spirituality works well for those who have been depressed most of their lives because it asks them to admit that they are powerless over their depression and that their lives have become unmanageable. With this admission that their lives are out of control they now can begin to rebuild their lives as they begin to work each of the Twelve Steps.”
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I admit that since I have begun working the Twelve Steps –starting with Step One— that “We admitted we were powerless over depression –that our lives had become unmanageable” that I have begin to feel differently about myself. I have discovered in my group and by reading Depressed Anonymous that I can no longer be alone in my depression. I feel lifted out of my sadness whenever I hear others talk about their depression and the hope that they have now because of their belief that they are getting better. To admit that we are depressed is over half the battle.
I admit that I am out of control. I also admit it’s alright to admit the fact that I am powerless because now my Higher Power can start to work in me and free from those things that imprison me in depression.
We know that our choice is to get better. We also know that now that we admit are not God that our Higher Power can begin its hopeful work in us. With God all things are possible!
Copyright (c) HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for !2 Step Fellowship Groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications Louisville. Page 104.
To admit that there is a problem is the first step which can move us into recovery. The First Step of the Twelve Steps begins with the word WE. This is a WE program–a program about us as a group of hurting people. Since we have tried to tackle our problems alone and in the confines of our own mind we soon discovered that for most of us this was not enough. We still were saddled with a life destroying and unmanageable situation. There must be a solution we thought. Yes, there is a solution. For many of us who have traveled this path of recovery, living out the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps and being part of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we have found peace and a new way of living,
NORTH CAROLINA DA
NORTH CAROLINA USA SETS UP 2 DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS GROUPS
Elizabeth City, NC now has a group every Thursday @ 6-7PM Location: Serenity House, 300 Pearl St.
Edenton, NC has a group every Sunday @ 6-7PM Location: Vidant Chowan Hospital ( in Chowan Room)
CONTACT: Debra’s email @ email@example.com
If you need further instructions on how to reach either of these sites please contact Debra above. Congratulations and what a great help these two groups will serve for those still suffering from depression!.
“Now that small voice, that little part of you that wants to have light and some hope is getting up the courage to ask for more of itself.” (8)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I can no longer turn back and live in my old self. I am like the butterfly gradually becoming winged and ready to fly as soon as it throws off its old body. — an earth clinger — the body of the caterpillar. My metamorphosis is in process and nothing is going to turn me back to the way my life had been. I want now for my life to continue to get better as I notice that the more I work on myself and trust in my Higher Power, the more I am ready to live my life with courage and hope. I am beginning to like the taste of living life and look forward to each new day as it comes.
Courage is to have heart and to believe that all things can work out if I just put my belief into gear and work as if it all depended on myself and pray as if it all depended on God.
MEDITATION God, we hear you speaking to us to grow and to trust. We will count the ways that you have cleared the obstacles from our path so that our down days are less than before and we have more good days than before.”
SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Louisville, Kentucky. Ps.67-68.
Do you believe that you can fly –will fly —-want to fly? Is there that small voice inside of you that keeps telling you that you don’t have to stay an earth clinger, no, you can be a butterfly. Take a chance! Try and fly. Listen to that small voice inside of you who wants something more! Trust all those other people who no longer just crawl along but are now flying hopefuls. Now, I am not talking fairy tale nonsense. I’m talking the way it could be. But there are certain things that you must do. One, admit that you are powerless and that your life is unmanageable. Then commit yourself to a power greater than yourself who will give you the wings to fly. And then getting a flight plan from this Higher Power(Butterfly) -or God as you understand God –you begin your flying. Simple, eh? Thanks to my Higher Power– the great Butterfly in the sky — you throw off the old body –and join the many who are flying today. Hugh
I choose to live in my skin and feel my feelings today.
ALAN WATTS SAID, “THERE IS NEVER ANYTHING BUT THE PRESENT, AND IF ONE CANNOT LIVE THERE, ONE CANNOT LIVE ANYWHERE.” (3)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
To live in the present is difficult because usually when I am depressed I live in the faults, losses, guilt, and shame world of the past. The horrible past with all its hurts, imperfections and sins make it impossible but for me to live in yesterday.
I am gradually learning how to live, one day at a time. I am also picking up on how to see the red flags that pop up in my mind whenever I have a thought, or an action that indicates a need to sad myself. I have to admit defeat over what happened yesterday, accept myself for today and just thank God that I am alive and that I can choose to feel differently right now.
I accept the present as my only dwelling place . I find that the more I am in touch with my present feelings, the more I can grow into a healthier human being.
God you told us that we had enough troubles today and that we didn’t need to live in tomorrow. Our depression will be diminished the more we take charge of our lives today, utilizing your guidance that we receive in quietly listening to your voice.
SOURCE: Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups.
HOPE IS CONTAGIOUS!
A great benefit of belonging to a fellowship is the power of hope. “If he or she can do it, then so can I.” This is a common belief for those who begin reading a book called Depressed Anonymous. This book, by the way, is written by folks who have felt hopeless and helpless. The many accounts and personal stories in the book fill one with hope and courage. The pages of this book help serve as a manual for those of us who want to embark on this personal journey of hope and recovery from depression. Now this book and all of the other books published by DAP are specifically geared to those of us who want to leave the prison of depression and are written by persons who were depressed — and who got better. What is better than to hear that the program works. Hearing how other people use the Twelve Steps and have them always available, is much like tools in your toolbox. The tools are there to help build a structure for one’s own life making it an adventure of hope–not a prison from which we felt we could not escape.
In Depression: The way out of your depression. Dr. Dorothy Rowe.1996 (2nd Ed)., tell us that “Hope can exist only in a state of uncertainty. That certainty means total certainty. That security means to be without hope. The prison of depression is built with the bricks of total certainty.
Certainty. Security. No hope.
To hope means to run the risk of disappointment.
To be insecure means not to be in control.
Stay in control. Be depressed.
To be uncertain means to be unsure of the future.
Predict the future with certainty. Stay depressed.
Hope can only exist where there is uncertainty. Absolute certainty means complete hopelessness. If you want to live fully we must have freedom, love and hope. So life must be an uncertain business. That is what makes it worthwhile.”
So, when we gradually believe that in each life some rain must fall, and pain can come, we begin to live life with hope. That’s the way it is. We can gradually believe, like thousands of other pilgrims on this path of recovery, that having a spiritual program such as the Steps, hope is possible, hope is doable and our lives can take on new meaning and have purpose.
” Yes, life is unpredictable. Every living organism operates with a certain amount of unpredictability and uncertainty. The uncertainty of life creates in us a desire for predictability. If we did not believe in the possibility of change, we would all be hopelessly lost and forever bored. Hope would be lost. Potential for a better life would never exist. When there is hope change is possible,. The experience of depression is much the same. Depression is so predictable and unchanging that we lose hope for the pain of our isolation ever coming to an end.”. (Source; Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.,)
When I finally knew that I had a serious problem facing me (sadness. ) I eventually became proactive in doing something about it. I used my experience with the 12 steps and I gradually was able to find hope and recovery. I also found a lot of other things, such as people who were willing to live with hope and taking one day at a time. If they could make it thru one 24 hour period, and face whatever life threw at them — then chalk up that day as a good day.
David Karp, in his work Speaking of sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness (1996) confesses that in the middle of interviewing persons for this work states, “I was initially puzzled by the number of respondents who spontaneously spoke about the role of spirituality in their lives. During the early stages of the data collection, however spirituality meant no more or less to me than any of the large number of issues that were coming out of the interviews. At a certain point, though, enough people spoke about spirituality that I began routinely to ask everyone about it. Certainly there were many who had little to say, and some who claimed no interest in spirituality, but the question often elicited an outpouring of talk. After 25 or so interviews, it seemed that my anticipated chapter on coping and adapting would have to pay at least some attention to the role of spirituality.” (p.190).
Karp was deeply impressed by what he calls the “courage and grace” how some of his interviewees faced their own pain of depression. He says he “left many interviews with a sense that spiritually engaged individuals were in touch with something important. ” He concludes by saying “These people possessed or knew something that I didn’t.” (pp. 190 -191).
I think most of you who are reading my posts know that I too am an advocate of the power of spirituality in the recovery process for persons depressed. In the American culture and most probably in most Western cultures, where one’s lack of meaningful work and diminishing intimate relationships, or “double trouble” as a colleague of Karp, Charles Derber points out, promotes a community of strangers, alone, isolated and disconnected. He describes depression as the disease of disconnection. Freud when asked what makes for human happiness he replied ” arbeiten und leben”. (work and love).
All the above is put before you, the reader, to continue to present to you how important my own recovery from depression continues to this day because of my own spirituality dependent on my Higher Power, or the God of my understanding. In BELIEVING IS SEEING:15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION (2014) I share how I believe that I am not alone, as I have other fellow travelers who will lead me around the ditches and the potholes of that old depressive life style that once ruled my thoughts and actions. Now I am on a personal mission of growth and recovery.” (p.13).
I still have my potholes, ditches and rough seas to maneuver around,. Thanks to a Power greater than myself— I pray and continue rowing to shore, and this Power as I understand it, has been getting me to that safe harbor of serenity and safety.