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 am learning how to reinforce my own worth!

AFFIRMATION

I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way I feel and I have the option to feel content and even smile today if I so desire. I will act like I want.  I will  smile even though I don’t feel like smiling.

If you have made yourself a martyr to your unappreciative family, remember the principle of partial reinforcement and apply it to your family. If you are always at their beck and call trying to meet their every demand, they will not appreciate you, but once they find that they cannot rely on you to meet ther demands, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (7)

RELECTION/CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that so often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for me not for  everyone else. I think that this reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery and putting this recovery over anything or anyone else. If I am going to begin to be a pleasant person, I will want to learn how to be pleasant to myself.

Now is the time and this is the program where I want to detach from other people’s opinions of myself and start to reflect on my own opinions about myself.  When I am depressed, I know that I haven’t been able to get angry, nor able to forgive anyone, much less to forgive myself. I feel totally cheerless. I meet my own demands and continue to work the Steps so as to get in  touch with what I need to do  to reinforce positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new day today.

“We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust God rather than on our finite selves, just to the extent that we do as we think God would have us do., and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (As Bill sees it, p.265).

MEDIATION

When we gradually work our way to our real self we get closer to the God who made us.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of the 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 14, 15.

 

We learn to be “nice.”

” Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does not get expressed, but in inappropriate ways. Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old fashioned wood burning stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke is up the flue and out of the chimney; if the normal avenue is blocked, the smoke will leak out the stove in unintended ways…around the door, through the grate, etc., choking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the stove ceases to function. Likewise, the normal human expression of anger is gross physical movement and /or loud vocalization; watch a red-faced hungry infant sometime. We learn to “be nice,” which  means  (among other things) hiding “bad” feelings. By adulthood, even verbal expression is curtailed, since a civilized person is expected to be “civil.” Thus, expression is stifled, and to protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed “bad” feelings, we go to the next step and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even when we are.  Such deception is seldom completely successful and the blocked anger “leaks out” in inappropriate ways…”

Source: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 33.

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Some of my own feelings about anger have to do when anger is stifled or swallowed. I do know that a result of stifling my anger is the build up of resentments. If we want to really deal with our anger then we must be willing to express our feelings,  even though they might make us feel very uncomfortable. All I am saying is that  NOT to express feelings and stifle them will create more emotional pain and more damage for our lives. So, to my mind, the best way to get the anger out is to get oneself to a Depressed Anonymous meeting where we can get the help we need  and share those feelings that cause us so much grief.

You can let your thoughts come into your mind, just don’t invite them to stay for tea.

The Promises of Depressed Anonymous: Promise #10 of 15.

Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.

Losses may produce a variety of very intense and painful feelings. Fear can cripple the best of us. Why fear people and economic insecurity? In Steps 4,5,6,7,8,9 we have examined our lives piece by piece, ending up with a good conscience, while feeling neither guilt or shame for things of the past. We have thrown off the shackles of the past.

Bill, in his personal testimony in the DA book relates that you don’t get better overnight, but you do get better. “I was down in the muck  as far as I could go.  I had to go and open  the door for the first time  because there was no other place to go. I had already used up all the hiding places in my life. I still have many problems like anyone else, but when I need sleep very badly, I turn the problem over to the Higher Power and go to sleep. I can always pick  life up in the morning. Somehow it all gets done. Every few days the world dumps on you and beats you down. That’s just life..” (Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.)

I believe this man definitely “got it.” when he began attending the  group, spending some quiet time every day and learn that people like himself were able together to form a new environment, a surrogate  family if you will, where there exists healing and hope.

Granted the group cannot find you a job or take away fear of people, but it can provide you with a map where you can discover a way out of the prison of one’s depression. How can you learn that?

Kim, a member of DA in her personal story says that “the moment I read that I had a choice to stay in depression I undoubtedly knew that I could make the choice to get out of my depression. Bingo! It wasn’t an illness. This did not have control over me. And another tool I use frequently through the DA manual is  that “thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce moods and moods produce behavior.” (Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.)

In the tradition of one major religion, there exist the three poisons, greed, anger and delusion. And as the saying goes “You can let your thoughts come into your mind, just don’t invite them to stay for tea.”

And as it says in the Bible; “Fear not, for I am with you. Let not your heart be troubled.”

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If you have ever experienced the pain and hurt of depression you know what the thoughts expressed here are all about.

I remember Bill very well from the time he came into our group for the first time. And  with time passing I saw him change right before my eyes and live out what he shares with us in his personal story in Depressed Anonymous. I do know that it is just in the sharing of who we are that life can begin for us once again. It truly is like a rebirth. I also know how our feelings produce our moods and the moods produce our behavior. My behavior shifted dramatically from the extrovert that I normally was to the reclusive and isolated person trying to figure out the “why” of my depression. It was only until I got moving did my  feelings begin to change and I became more positive in my thinking so that gradually I began to climb out of the deadness of my  inactive behavior. “If you want something that you never had before,  you must do something that you never did before.”  Doing that something will be the thing that will change your life!

SOURCES:    I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014). DAP. Louisville.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  DAP. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression (2015) DAP. Louisville.

MYTH #1: DEPRESSION FLOATS IN LIKE A DARK CLOUD OVER WHICH WE HAVE NO CONTROL!

An excerpt from Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition)

“The depression is so  bad at times that we feel no one would ever understand how we feel unless of course they have been there.  We just have about given up on God, church, family and friends as allies on our behalf.  We  feel resentments and anger toward people for not feeling more sympathetic toward our never ending sadness.  We feel that people aren’t kind and don’t treat us with the same respect that they do other people such as a diabetic, insomniac or arthritic person. Most people don’t want anything to do with us because they get tired of our moaning, groaning and pessimistic way of looking at life.  Why shouldn’t they? Life is tough  enough without having to be subjected to another’s gloom and doom. But this is the place where we recognize the difference between ourselves and others, and of course we think our lot is always the worst of all. The self-pity never brings us into any personal sense of peace, but has just the opposite effect in that it helps perpetuate the myth that depression floats in like a dark cloud over which we have no control. We need to tell our spouse, family and friends that we want to start again and begin to take charge of our lives and start to chip away at our sadness. We won’t blame our need to sadden ourselves on what my wife/husband did or did not do for us, or what a friend said or didn’t say. We finally have to take the bull by the horns much like the recovering alcoholic overeater, gambler or smoker, and admit that it is “I”  that has the problem, and that it no longer does any good to blame others for my problem. Once I admit that I am addicted to depressing myself, then I can begin to walk through the door of the prison that binds me. I must realize the fact that  my depression  will only get worse unless I put a stop to all the ill-thinking, feeling and acting out behavior that keeps me perpetually locked into my sadness.”

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SOURCE: DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS (3rd edition). 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 86.

SPEED BUMPS

What is a speed bump?  A speed bump  is simply a slight rise in the pavement to alert car drivers to slow down. Most of the speed bumps can be found  in residential areas/ neighborhood streets.  In some areas they are marked with yellow stripes .Depending on the necessity for motorists to drastically cut their speed, these bumps  are built with more height and force the motorist to come to almost a stop  to prevent  damage being done  to one’s vehicle.

I find the speed bump to be a metaphor for my own experience with  symptoms of depression. I do know that as my symptoms grew more in kind and strength I gradually reduced my activities.  My mind  was filled with obstacles which grew larger and more formidable as time went on. I found myself sitting alone and stalled. I found my personal speedometer registering 10mph instead of the normal 50mph.  The more I perceived  the speed bump ahead, rising out of the ground like a brick wall, I knew that I couldn’t  go any further. I was like the sail boater on the lookout for any breeze to get me moving again.

No matter how hard I tried to get over the bump,  I kept telling myself it was a  hopeless task. There was no way to get over  it.  I felt helpless. I kept telling myself that I might as well just stay where I was and so I shut off the engine. It was like I was terrified with fright. I thought of a thousand options but none of them appeared manageable.  I just believed my situation  was useless.

Well, this metaphor doesn’t end there because I am no longer helpless. In my real world I thought, I’ve got a serious problem here ( symptoms of depression: fatigue, anger, feeling worthless ) all of which I have to deal with. So, I admitted that I was powerless over my depression and that my life was unmanageable. (Step One of Depressed Anonymous). And then “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves  could restore us to sanity.” (Step Two of Depressed Anonymous) Then I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of the God as I understand God. (Step Three of Depressed Anonymous).

If your speed bump keeps you from moving in life know that many of us have been there like you. There is a solution, and    just begin to believe that you are NOT l alone. It really helps to know that you  can join our fellowship and find hope. Been there, done that!