Three of the world’s worst excuses!

We have our identity in the process of depressing.  We are afraid that if we stop, we won’t know how to be, won’t know who to be, won’t know what life will expect.

It’s safer and more comfortable to continue with the depressing than to risk freedom

Is this depressing?

Can I realize I do this (reject well-being) without being depressed about it?

It’s depressing to realize that I’ve spent my whole life depressing myself.

The most important part is that I’ve thought it was external. Now I’m getting the sense that it is something I’ve learned to do and now to do to myself.

To say this is depressing information is like saying that you are on a sinking ship and you have just discovered a lifeboat.

You can stand there and be upset that this ship is sinking or you can take the lifeboat.

We’re talking about being compassionate with yourself because everything else springs from that.

It is not selfish to love yourself.

If you can’t find compassion  for yourself, you’ll never find it for anyone else. You won’t know how. You will never be truly generous to anyone else. You won’t know how. You will never be truly generous to anyone while depriving yourself.

The reason we don’t tell anyone they should do this is that a person won’t do this until they are ready.

Most people never will in their life.

All we’re saying is that when you’re ready here’s the way you can do it. This definitely is  not another stick to beat yourself.

When you’ve suffered enough, you’ll remember that you know how to do it. It  doesn’t really matter what you have thought, believed, felt or done before.

This is a new day.

“But I’ve always done it this way.”  “But I’ve always been  this way.”  “This is just the way I am.”

These are three of the world’s worst excuses.

It’s OK to change.

It’s OK to try something new.

It’s OK to try something radically new…There isn’t really anything new because if you try it and don’t like it, you can always return to how you were doing it before. No problem. No shoulds. Trying anything once or twice doesn’t mean you have ever to do it again if you don’t want to.

And not taking a risk because you are  afraid is a grave disservice to yourself.  Fear is not the problem. You can have your fear and allow it to stop you or you can have your fear and risk anyway. Either way, the fear is there. The choice is yours.”

Sources:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2001)  DAP. Louisville. Pgs.45-46.

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

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

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

A Zen byte

“It is possible to live life fully throughout life, and if that is accomplished, death need not be feared. An ancient anecdote of Zen literature is most illustrative here. A novice asked a Zen master, “What is death?” To this, the master responded, “I do not know.” “But you are a Zen master.”  To this, the master responded, “Yes, but I am not a dead Zen master.”

Source: Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer, Kenneth R. Pelletier.

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So many times I hear people talking about how our modern world is basically absorbed in a “culture of death.” Sadly, so many persons, are occupied, almost phobic about growing older, looking older and being older. More thought is given to death than to life. So much time is spent on looking at the ” what if’s”, than seeing the “what is.”. We all are not automatons, going about life in a daze   We all  have the ability to look inside, take a deep breath and begin to take  responsibility  for our lives. Even though we might feel helpless and hopeless it doesn’t mean that we are. How often have I heard that language creates our reality and the language that we use in our self-talk, creates an illusion that there is no hope. And my self-talk tells me that all I have is today–yesterday is gone forever –tomorrow is not here yet, and so all I have is this 24 hour period of time. Do I make an investment in my today, so that what I do today, pays off in serenity and happiness for the 24 hours to come or do I stay frozen in my fears and isolation.

Frankly, what has worked for me and still works for me is to stay in today and say daily the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference…just for today!

I CAN FEEL A CHANGE INSIDE OF ME…

AFFIRMATION

“I am going to handle what has taken a lifetime to develop one day at a time.

“When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God.  Our ideas did not work. But the  God idea did.” (1)

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I always doubted the power of God until I started to see and read about other people working their Twelve Step program and getting on to meetings. I also believe that there is surely hope for me as I hear about other depressed persons who are in the fellowship with each other and have a genuine desire to stop  sadding  themselves.  This is all that is needed, a desire to stop sadding  oneself.  I can feel a change inside of me as I begin to rely more on this God who loves me and cares  how I feel. This program of hope works if you work the program.

This is the word that gives hope.  It is a simple reliance, day  by day, hour by  hour, that I will find the serenity, the simplicity of a life lived without the anxiety, hollowness, jitteriness of my depression. It is in  my admission of such that begins me on the road to recovery and hope.

MEDITATION

We trust in our God. We rely on you as we turn as often as we can to be present in your  Presence.  We want to pray unceasingly and learn from you  how to love ourselves.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship  groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 150. July 27.

TO FAIL TO PLAN IS TO PLAN TO FAIL. THINK OUTSIDE OF YOUR BOX!

THINK OUTSIDE YOUR BOX!

When I sat at home depressing myself weekend after weekend and making myself feel worse by isolating myself from my environment, I decided to make a change. I decided to move off of square one and do something — plan an activity. Plan an activity for those two days ahead ( the weekend) when I could already pretty much predict my activities for that time period. I just knew I would end up staring at the wall or counting the holes in the ceiling tile above my head. So what could I do? I did remember that someone at a Depressed Anonymous meeting told us what she did to overcome this deadening and unhealthy isolation. On Friday evening (hey today is Friday –wow! What coincidence) she started to fill in the hourly time slots for Saturday with an activity or activities that she committed herself to for that day. For example, on the 7AM hourly slot she wrote in that she would have her coffee and read a portion of her DA Literature–Higher Thoughts for Down days was a good place to start (as it offers a daily meditation for each day of the year). At 8AM she commits to taking a walk outside for 1/2 hour. At 8:30 AM she commits to go to the grocery shopping an then  to the mall to window shop and then sit and enjoy of coffee at the food court.  At 11AM she will come home and call a member of her depression mutual aid group  or a friend. By this time it’s 12 Noon, and she and her significant other will share a lunch together, and If one lives alone then a meal will be prepared at this time.

I think you see the importance of planning something for every hour increment during your day. By the time Saturday evening approaches you will have done a great number of activities, fulfilled your scheduled activities for that day and  you will feel that you were too busy to spend time isolating and  thinking  negative and unproductive  thoughts.

Plan the next day as well as  for Sunday. Do the same planning procedure for each hour of Sunday and commit yourself to the plan. STICK TO THE PLAN! How about writing in going to a movie, even if you go by yourself. But go! Maybe visit a friend in the Nursing home –or a resident whom the staff  knows  could use a friendly visitor for what may be a very lonesome day.

Don’t allow yourself to say “We’ll not this weekend but maybe next weekend I’ll try this planning thing.” Nope, that won’t get it. It’s a trap. You and I know we have to MAKE A DECISION. With pencil in hand (tonight) we have to sit down and write down  an hourly plan for our weekend.

Have a great and productive weekend! I know you can if you plan it!

I WAS ALWAYS THE ONE WHO HELPED OTHERS. NOW I WAS TOLD I NEEDED HELP!

“My life is joyful. The blackness –  the despair – withdrawing more and more into myself – the hopelessness – there was NO joy and I could no longer pretend. My husband said, “You need to get some help.”  I knew that he was right but I was always the one who helped others.  Our newspaper carried a listing of all the support groups in the community and I found the notice for a 12 Step Depressed Anonymous group.  I had never heard of it before but I knew it fit.  The group was just forming and was there when I needed it. I had knowledge of 12 Step programs and actually believed that I lived that life. Today I know that I had a head-knowledge but today I live the 12 – Step life…”   Lois, in her Personal Story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.  (2011) Pages 110-111. (More from Lois tomorrow)

STOP SIGNS AND SUNSPOTS

My name is Linda and the first time I read Depressed Anonymous,   I did not like it and got angry. The first part of the book about turning over our minds and life to a Higher Power sounded good.  I was ready to do that. ” Hey, here it is God! You take it! No more depression.”  But then came the part about a moral inventory, shortcomings, and the big one is that I depress myself.

“What’s he talking about?” I said to myself as I read the book. I had tried to un-depress myself many times. I put the book down, and went to work . But as I was walking around at work that night feeling very depressed, bits  and pieces of the book kept popping into my head and I started to think of the  word “stop” just like the book suggested to do.  “I depressed myself, I can un-depress myself” I said to myself.

Look for “SUNSPOTS”, memories from the past that were happy times and ones which bring back happy feelings from years gone by. I tried, but none came to mind. But I did find that just  by thinking about the book and what it  said made  me feel a little bit better.  Then a piece of a song popped into my mind: “Seek you first the Kingdom  of God and His righteousness , and all the others will be added to you.” “Hey! A SUNSPOT!” I said to myself.

Then I felt a warm glow and then I did feel better –I did it!  I made myself feel better. I can un-depress myself! I had mixed feelings. I wanted to feel better, but admitting I depressed myself was not an easy thing to do.  I went back and reread the book, but now with an open mind. I have started to follow the Twelve Steps and with the help of the Higher Power, I can have a brighter future.  I am making and putting in my memory a lot of SUNSPOTS for those times when I am feeling depressed and which I can choose to draw upon when I feel that I need  them.

I put up a “stop” sign and bring out a SUNSPOT to carry me though.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 114. Personal Stories section.

THE FEELINGS OF USELESSNESS AND SELF-PITY DISAPPEAR. THIS IS A PROMISE OF DA.

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering?  What motivates me to continue to try and help others?  What has made the change in my life where now I  want to share what I know and how I feel? Basically, I know that the program  of recovery works. I no longer feel powerless over my depression.  In Depressed Anonymous  group meetings members speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time to  look back over our shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears are going to overtake me. I now have attained small amounts of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that at times overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the First Step “we admitted we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” It is a paradox that it is in the admission that our lives are out of control that we begin to take control of our lives.”

Source: I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications.(2013) Louisville. Pages 42-43. Promise # 6.The feelings of uselessness and self-pity disappear.

THE SIMPLE ABC’s of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS: THE 12 STEP PROGRAM OF RECOVERY

Yes, learn your ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous and you are on your way to discovering how to live with freedom and with purpose. I learned my ABC’s back in 1982 in another  12 step fellowship. It did take me a little while to get used to them but in due time everything all came together. Once  I got serious about learning my ABC’s things started to happen. I not only found the key that opened a new world of serenity and a fellowship to me,  I also have a daily plan for my life that gives me purpose and serenity to this very day. Just as day follows night I am helping others learn their ABC’s.

First of all, you might be wondering what are the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous? And how can I learn them? Well, let me tell you about them.

Simply put, the ABC’s stand for three realities which anyone can learn. The first reality is to 1) admit that I have a problem. That is fairly easy to understand. Having a problem is what usually brings a person into our 12 Step fellowship in the first place.  We know something is happening and we know we can’t go on feeling as bad as we do. “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” There you got it.  You just learned a bit about the A of the ABC’s — to admit. OK, I know that to admit something is out of kilter in our lives is not easy but to also know that the pain  is so great we have to take the bull by the horn and find help. We also know how scary life becomes when we feel we have no control over the way we feel and think. I know. When I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning and had this awful feeling of hollowness in my body which was unbearable I knew then that something serious, possibly deadly serious was going on. Yes,deadly serious.

It was then that I  believed that I had to take action. I had to seek help and find out what was causing my life to take a nose dive or extreme proportions.  For me to feel that I had no control over the way I felt and even to the point that I  could not get myself out of bed in the morning with will power alone, it was then that I knew what I had was serious.  I ” came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” I didn’t know what this Power was that was going to restore me but I had to find out. I sought help and finally got the help I needed. I moved the body and my mind followed. I was forcing myself out of bed a morning and started walking. For awhile I felt I was an incarnation of the movie hero, Forrest Gump. But over time I found the key to my recovery and learned how to use the C of my ABC’s. I learned how to commit myself to this Power that was greater than myself. Actually, it was my decision to commit myself to going to as many 12 Step meetings as  I possibly could. It was there that I learned to live my life. I now had a plan. I had a purpose and I made sure I was about doing the next right thing for my recovery. It has been 30 years since that day when I had to admit that I had  serious problem on my hands. I am still doing my ABC’s every day and helping others learn their ABC’s of recovery. I know the program of recovery takes time and work–but it is worth a life. Your life!

If you want to learn the ABC’s of Depressed Anonymous, it would do you well to get  to a meeting or get the  BIg  Book, DEPRESED ANONYMOUS, 3rd Edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  ( By the way, this book was written by a group of depressed persons who learned their ABC.s and wanted to show others a plan that worked for them.  They found HOPE. Their Personal Stories are in the book).

I WILL TRUST MYSELF…

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I will trust myself to risk getting better by way of the Twelve Step program.  The first step is to admit that I will beat my depression in a group rather than trying to do it all by myself.

“Many  of us can’t allow ourselves to trust anyone. We are so distrustful of ourselves that we can’t trust ourselves to feel.  The painful and terrible hollowness of depression is such that we cannot allow it to be felt…When we hear other members share their stories of hurt and isolation we become more at ease within ourselves and we gradually allow/trust ourselves to touch the nerves of the past pain and hurts. ”   (9)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

One of the better ways I have found to get out of the prison of my depression is to trust my story with someone who has experienced  the pain and the hurt.  To know that I am not alone in my misery is quite a relief.  To know that there is someone out there who understands where I am coming from does much for raising self-esteem. I know that it is only when I begin, today, to start taking care of myself that my life will improve and so will my thoughts.  I also believe that there is no problem too great to be lessened.

I know that wanting control, wanting things my way, has made my life unmanageable!  I want to trust my Higher Power and give my program and my friends who are in  it my  very best. I trust that I can be as honest with them as I am with my Higher Power.

MEDITATION

God, we  turn our will and our lives over to you and we know things are getting better because of that surrender.

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SOURCE:, Higher thoughts  for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. (1993, 1999) Louisville. June 1.  Depressed Anonymous Publications.

I CAN CHANGE THE WAY I FEEL

“We  do know that depression, like any other long standing emotion, can and does cause a physiological change in the body. Many scientists also know that positive emotions over time can produce a change in the immunological makeup of our human body and so protect it from illness.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Depression can be eliminated from my life after I take a closer look at my lifestyle. If I want to conquer depression, I have to take a closer look at the way I think, behave and live out my life.  Of course, to have a belief in some power greater than myself produces the hopeful vision that, in time, I can begin the healing process. My brokenness and fear of risking change is at the core of my depression.  I know that once I begin to get moving in a positive physical and mental way, the healthier I can become.

Someone once said that an emotion is energy in motion. A good description I would say.  My ability to maintain an emotional balance depends heavily on my belief that I can change the way I feel. I know with the help of my conscious contact with my Higher Power that I can find the peace that I am searching for.

MEDITATION

We know that good things start to happen when we give up our will to the one who wills nothing but our personal good.  The power which is greater than the power  of our depression is desirous of eradicating its dominion of our lives.  Let go now your fear to let go and let God.

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Source: Copyright(c)Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 106.  Higher Thought for May 25.

Source: Depressed Anonymous (3rd Edition) 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky.