“I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

“I believe that by working the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous, the more my Higher Power can release in me the serenity that I seek. While not giving up hope — I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Fourteenth Statement of Belief.

This is the 14th of 15 Statements of Belief as laid out in our recent work , BELIEVING IS SEEING. 15 Ways to leave the prison of depression (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.   KY

As long as I have the belief that somehow, sometime, I will begin to feel differently and by not giving up on that hope, I can begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

The reason Depressed Anonymous  was started in the first place is to bring  those suffering from depression together  so that an individual could be empowered to find the support that would lead each of them, with each other out of the pit of depression.

This 14th Statement of Belief produces a peace and serenity which assures me that together with the fellowship I will win and have victory over my depression. I am no longer alone!

The Higher Power, or God as we understand him, is at the core of our gaining success over our depression. It  is precisely here at this juncture that my belief is to carry the day. Carpe diem! Seize the moment.

I do have to go to meetings, read from the Big Book of Depressed Anonymous , talk to other members in the fellowship and set a time for daily prayer and meditation in my life . I also have to exercise and eat right. I have to remember that motivation follows action. Move the body and the mind will follow.

I have always believed in the power and influence of groups–either serving as a power for good or a power for destructive ends. But as for our group that we call Depressed Anonymous I see that it  builds up and enhances anyone who  gets involved with it.  Those who interact with the fellowship eventually come out of the pit of their depression and start  feeling  different. This is actually happening all of the time with those who work and live out the Steps in their daily life. (Read their personal stories in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville.)

I remember when I first proposed back in 1984 to a psychologist friend, and Dean of the University Psychology Department,  that we ought to   get depressed people together with each other. I was given a look that I was completely out of  my mind  to suggest that depressed people could even get motivated enough to roll out of bed in the morning, much less try and go to a meeting with other sad and depressed people.  With the Dean’s reluctant blessing we set up a pilot program for the depressed at the university. Because of the success of the people involved,  it became our impetus to  form the first Depressed Anonymous group which now has roots and groups around the world.

But just as many of us who were depressed got there by trying to juggle too many situations and circumstances that happened to be personally overwhelming I have found that  by listening to  the  stories of others in the group and sharing my own story my life has hope and meaning.

If you know that you will really find hope and a possible way out of depression by going to a Depressed Anonymous meeting,   there is nothing to stop you but your own fear of the uncertain.

My Higher Power has with time, work and using the “tools” of our recovery program,  released me from my depression. That recovery has continued now in my life for over 30 years.  Now I am trying to carry this message of hope to those who are still hurting. You don’t have to hurt any longer. If you are looking for help you   may find it with us.  We hope you join us!

Hugh

 

“I gave up my negative thoughts one at a time.”

“It has been a year now since I gave up on those negative thoughts that I had over my lifetime.  I gave them up one at a time. It wasn’t like I dumped them all at once. It was like the people needed to show me a new life  and that I can be happy again. In the beginning, I thought the old familiar tapes that begun playing again . The old tapes saying that I was “stupid” began to play. But then I would attend Depressed Anonymous  meetings every week  and I would   go and find that I could use things that other people said at the meetings which would help me. That it was one place where you could go and be fully accepted for whatever you had to say, and someone else there said that they knew exactly what I was feeling.”

“For the depressed person, giving up old ways of thinking and acting is much like giving up any other addiction. At first letting go of the old behavior makes us feel uncomfortable. The old behavior wants to cling to our spirit like swamp mud hangs on to knee-high boots. ”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.  (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.(Personal Stories).

VISIT THE STORE for more literature pertaining to the Steps of DA and depression.

“I just wanted to be left alone.”

“I had good friends at work – I am well educated – two degrees behind my name.  I wasn’t fulfilled. My world was falling apart. I left counseling after things went  better.  I had a major loss about two and a half years ago. I lost a job and then another job. I purchased a home. I lost my job and I lost my girl. Bills were too much.  I wanted to be left alone. The burden was too unreal.  Stress and anxiety were beating up on me. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. I just wanted to be left alone to be isolated and bored.  It was tough. I was nasty and mean.”

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Comment

How many of us have felt the way Bill felt? I bet most of us have felt this way. I have. But when you read the next part of Bill’s story tomorrow,  you’ll find out what he had to do to feel differently. And as you might suspect–he did find a way to feel better.

I remember  how it was when I was depressed. Getting out of bed was the biggest accomplishment of my day.  I had to force myself — I couldn’t afford to lose my job.

In time I discovered a way out. My recovery took time, work and support. I had the full support of my fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous. And now, 30 years later I still have the fellowship and all the necessary supports that I need to stay out of the prison of depression. If you are looking for an “easier and more comfortable way”  out of the quicksand of your depression–I hope you can find it. Most of us know it is not that easy. It’s a total body pain. It is analogous to having a tooth ache all over. A pain that won’t let up. For some, it turns into a life-threatening situation and ultimately the taking of one’s own life.

If there is  anything that I am most grateful for today it is the fact that I have found a powerful  program  with its 12 Steps and spiritual principles of complete recovery.  Our program comes with a complete set of “tools” provided for each and every one’s use. I have found, as does Bill now, that these “tools” are at my disposal every day of my life. By trying to live each day at a time, I have found my life is lived in the now. My life no longer is lived in the yesterdays or the future tomorrows.

NOTE

Put some sanity in your living today and read Bill’s whole account in DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (See Personal Stories).

I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I believe that by working the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous, the more my Higher Power can release in me the serenity that I seek.  While not giving up hope – I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”  The FOURTEENTH WAY out of the prison of depression.

The following is an excerpt from Believing is  seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

“As long as I have a belief that somehow, someway, I will begin to feel differently and I can believe that Depressed Anonymous was developed to bring the ‘sufferer’s  of depression together. By this gathering of like-minded folks, it resulted in individuals being empowered to find a support which slowly leads them out of the hole.  I have always believed in the power and the uinfluence of the group — either serving as a power for good or a power designed for destructive ends. But as for our group Depressed Anonynmous, I know that it truly builds, enhances and strengthens anyone who gets involved with it on a regular and consistent basis.  Those who do interact with our fellowship eventually come out of the pit of their depression and start feeling hopeful about their lives.  They are feeling hope instead of despair. This is actually happening all the time as those involved in the fellowship begin to see personal changes occurring in their lives.”   Pages 65-66.

Mastery is what we regain

KEEP PHYSICALLY FIT!  IT IS A MUST FOR US WHO ARE AND WHO HAVE BEEEN DEPRESSED. MY WALKING NOT ONLY RESTORES HARMONY TO THE BODY BUT IT RESTORES MY SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-CONFIDENCE.

THE SIXTH WAY TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION: AN EXCERPT

“One of the major areas to remember when someone says that they are depressed is to recommend that they get some physical exercise. So many times when we find that we are depressed, feel listless and lacking energy we tend to recoil from any activity that attempts to force us out of our isolation and inactivity.  At one time in our lives, any task or type of activity, even the smallest might have been cause for happiness and a continual life of productivity. When we are depressed , we just want to lie down and sleep. We feel that we have no mastery over our life, thoughts and future. What  we forget is that this is the nature of depression. We believe that there is no use in getting active because we just can’t get the energy to  attempt anything that requires  positive response. No use to get active –I won’t like what I am going to do anyway.  When we are depressed we know that our body’s  metabolism slows down and we lose interest in almost all those hobbies and activities previous to our depression,  which brought us happiness.

Mastery is what we regain when we force ourselves to get out of bed, get going and start an exercise program on a regular basis.” (Our lives might depend on it).

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SOURCE: Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 33-36.

I accepted that God, as the God of my understanding…

The Second way out of the prison of our depression states that “I accepted that God, the God of my understanding is loving and forgiving. The 12 Step group and our God is the pillar  of our strength and healing.

LIVING A HALF-LIFE

In depression the first thing that we must do is to take charge of our lives and incorporate a planned pleasant activity in our lives. If I don’t, I will continue to linger on  alone and live a half-life. Nothing beyond my reach can absorb my pain of isolation and feeling worthless.

This is especially true for many of us in mid-life where the dreams we once thought possible  remains stillborn. We seem to have  lost the time to do something positive with our lives. We feel stuck. I want to get involved with a fellowship of persons who  are learning new ways of living with a sense of purpose. We want to live our lives with hope. Step  Two of Depressed Anonymous states that “we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”  We will “let go and let God.” P.11.

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Check the menu here  at our site and discover if there is a Depressed Anonymous group in your community.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“..we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.”

Promise #4: We comprehend the word serenity and we know peace of mind.

Agitation, anxiety and jitteriness were all part of my life as I muddled through day after day, one foot in front of the other.  Serenity was definitely not a part of my life.

As with any attachment to a negative behavior, serenity and peace was the farthest thing from my life. The new beliefs and thoughts which I heard expressed at Depressed Anonymous meetings started to help me change the way I thought about myself, my world and my future.

I believe that it takes work, time and prayer and quiet periods of meditation to achieve the peace and serenity that we are talking about here.

  PEACE OF MIND IS THE RESULT OF:

  1. A clear conscience
  2. Living in the present
  3. Gratitude everyday
  4. Belief that the God of my understanding will get me through the problems of my life
  5. Forgiveness of myself and amends to all person I have harmed
  6. Doing God’s will means letting go

I am firmly convinced that in order to continue any semblance of peace and serenity I will have to structure a daily quiet period into my life. This is an essential part of the prescription for getting well and staying well. Also, I believe that when I am quiet, God can give to me all that is mine to have. My will and my life  have to be attuned to God’s presence and love.  We will know that in order for God to make itself present to us and demonstrate its love we have to sit still, be quiet and listen with purity of heart. This is an essential part of the formula where we will find our sobriety and serenity.

It is my belief that God does speak to those who remain quiet and have a design to listen. Peace is defined as “an undisturbed state of mind, absence of mental conflict.”   Serenity is defined as “a quality or state of being serene; calmness, tranquility.”

The quality or state of being serene all takes time, work and discipline. I believe that  the big book of AA says it best: ” When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts   of remarkable things followed.  We had a new employer; being all powerful he provided what we needed, if we kept close to him and performed his work well.

Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in plans, our little designs  and ourselves.  More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or hereafter.. We’re reborn.” ( Page 63, AA).

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SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 36-38. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous.

 

…change always involves uncertainty.

 

   Dorothy Rowe wrote:

“Dangers, perhaps even greater dangers, threaten you if you if you leave your prison of depression for the ordinary world. There you might have to change, and change always involves uncertainty. The good thing about being depressed is that you can make every day be the same. You can be sure of what is going to happen. You can ward off all those people and events that expect a response from  you. Your prison life has a regular routine, and like any long term prisoner, you grow accustomed to the jail security and predictability. The prison of depression may not be comfortable, but at least it is safe.”

In Depressed Anonymous we read that:

“We believe that to be conscious is to have been able first of all to listen to someone or something that expresses God’s desire to free us from our misery as soon as we are willing to turn  our minds and our wills over to it. Somewhere along the way, we were convinced that the only safe way to make this life bearable and predictable was to continually sadden ourselves, withdraw into our little shell  (prison) and make sure that our own small world was completely under our control. It was a perfect little world, this world of ours. It was dark, gloomy and painful, but at least we knew what we had. It is this predictableness that makes life inescapably hell for all of us, even though we’d rather have this than the total surprise of living.”

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COMMENT:  One of the things about this life is that it is hard to predict. We call this the  surprise of living. And for us to really get into living we have to face the fact that it is unpredictable. We must give up trying to control other people in our lives.

I have found that the spirit of mutuality which permeates all mutual aid groups, such as our own Depressed Anonymous fellowship, promotes that feeling of security which enables us to live with all sorts of unpredictability. We look forward to living our life,  with whatever comes. “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Step Two of Depressed Anonymous.

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SOURCES: #11.19  in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 84.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 97. Step Eleven.

NOTE: These two books, The Depressed Anonymous Workbook and Depressed  Anonymous,3rd edition, can be purchased together as the HOME STUDY KIT. Please VISIT THE STORE on how to order.

I am choosing to live now-today!

AFFIRMATION

I am choosing to ask the God of my understanding to help me be open to all the persons like myself who are getting free of their hopelessness.

“Being constantly on guard against the future is exhausting, but it does have the advantage of directing your attention away from the present. Since the past and the future are ideas in our minds we can insist that the past and the future are exactly as we see them.  The trouble with the present is that it has the habit of suggesting that my ideas may not be entirely right.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

To live now takes more courage, on some days more than on others.  What I need to do is to attempt to live right now. The living in the present will make it possible for me to gradually learn some new truths about life and myself.  This opening myself up to the present moment will give me the opportunity to hear how I can live with hope and serenity.

No longer do I have to choose to live in the encapsulated  and isolated prison of my own fears and prejudice about the past and the future.  The past is always full of hurt and unexpected anger. The future never seems to be without its colossal fears and “what if’s.” Now is the time to accept the fact that I want to change the way I think, act and believe. Right now I am wanting a change and am willing to face the challenges that making changes bring. To do this is called living.

The Third Step tells me that I have made a decision to turn my mind and my will over to the care of God as I understand him. This is the freedom that I am looking for. This is the source of my strength today, namely, these healing Twelve Steps. Granted that I have to clean house and admit that I have unknowingly constructed my own depression  (See Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition)

MEDITATION

I will make a decision. This is the first step in getting free. I make a decision to choose freedom  over the security of isolation and a life that is lived in the past.

SOURCE:  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of  12 Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. January 7. Pages 4-5.

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

 

” For the first time in 14 years I have hope…”

”  I had always known that  I was hard on myself. I reamed myself every time something bad happened. “Why can’t I find someone to love me?” “Why isn’t God looking after me?”   But for some reason, when I realized that I was doing this to myself, it made me realize that maybe all that I  would have to do is to stop doing it.   All of a sudden it made sense.

If I tell myself negative thoughts, I feel negative. If I tell myself nothing, I feel nothing.  So if I tell myself positive thoughts, eventually I’ll have to feel positive.

Of course I’m still testing it out, but I feel better and for the first time in 14  years I have hope, It’s not that hard to find something positive about myself or my life now. So I remind  myself of something positive every day and that’s what I am going to do until I don’t have to remind myself anymore because I’ll know.”

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To read more by this member of Depressed Anonymous see #9, A VICTIM IN MY OWN MIND in the Personal Stories contained in Depressed Anonymous, pages 120-121.

Also, it’s good to remember as pointed out in the 1st Statement of Belief in Believing is Seeing,  that “I accept and believe that however  hopeless everything appears right now, I will make a decision to recover from depression.  I am not helpless.  I will make a choice  to get better.”

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

 (c)Believing is seeing: 15  ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications.

Louisville.

Information for additional literature on Depression and the 12 Steps of recovery is available at   VISIT THE STORE. (See Menu)