Withdrawal from friends is the first clue…

  Withdrawing from friends  and other social contacts is the first clue that you’re slipping back into the isolation and pain of depression.   Move toward a friend, get a sponsor, and go to a 12 step meeting. Ask your higher power for that knowledge that can guide you onto the appropriate path. 

There are two times that we need to go to a 12 step meeting. 1) One, when we don’t want to go to a meeting and 2) secondly when we do want to go to a meeting.  From my personal experiences I can share with you that is when I go to my meeting that I’m able to come away from it with something positive to think about. I can honestly say that I feel better after a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I know in my heart that when I just want to sit at home by myself, isolating and ruminating within my head about all the horrible things that have happened to me, or are about to happen to me, that is when I depressed myself even more. Get connected!

CHOICE,  NOT CHANCE  DETERMINES DESTINY!

It’s our addictive thinking, our compulsive way of processing negative information, which describes how we habitually store the negative but continue to dump the positive information which 24/7 continually flows into our brain. These negative thoughts of feeling  persist  in  keeping us falling back into the old habit of staying isolated and avoiding others. We might fool  ourselves and say that people have nothing to offer me and that is why I distance myself from everyone.  Part of my nature when  depressed is to avoid and distance myself from whatever I feel is threatening me, like a child afraid of the dark.

I can only do what God wants me to do and I discover what this is by spending time alone with my God and meditation. Whatever we do, we need to know that our isolation and our withdrawing from friends and family, is an environment where depression grows strong.  Depression dies in the light of discussion.

Dorothy Rowe in  her award-winning book Depression: the way out of your prison, has an excellent section on isolation and depression. Let me quote it for you and then you can the draw your own conclusions

” Thus none of us can escape needing other people so that we can exist and not fear annihilation. But you who get depressed have decided to express your need for other people in ways which make it hard for you to live.

    Take the first form of existence – wanting to be part of a group and fearing isolation. If you see yourself as basically a good person and therefore with  something to offer other people, you have no fear of joining groups, of being part of the family, as much as you suffer loss, you know you’re able to find new friends and to help other people. But if you see yourself as basically a bad person, then the threat of expulsion from your group is expected and feared. Since  you do not value yourself, you cannot see people as wanting you to join them, either as a friend our helper. If disaster wrenched you away from your family you cannot see yourself surviving, and so no matter how much you come to hate your family you cannot let them go. They are your reference point of existence, and you fear that if you lose them, you will disappear…

     Seeing yourself as basically good reduces the need for other people’s approval. If you see yourself as basically good, you can set up a select group of people whose approval you desire and can be indifferent to the opinion of the multitude. But if you see yourself as basically bad then you need everybody’s approval…”   Dorothy Rowe. Depression: the way out of your prison. 1983. Harper Collins, London, UK. Page 111.

Source:  Copyright ( c)  Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2002) D AP. Louisville. Kentucky. 40216. Pages 47-50.

I have learned that by admitting that I am depressed is my key which unlocks the door

AFFIRMATION

I will let  go of the negative thoughts about myself as soon as I am conscious that I am experiencing them.

“…try to live one day at a time. We know from past experiences that our sobriety, our disappearance  of sadness is due to letting go, admitting my powerlessness over my sadness and turning it over to my Higher Power  and letting it take care of my sadness. I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live with out.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that I have to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an on going and daily basis.  My letting go and letting God take over my life doesn’t mean that that I’ll just sit back and let God do all the work, no, it means that I will work on my self and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power.   I know that my life can be lived differently. if I just make an effort to choose to be conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during the day.  The more I monitor   my thoughts, the more I am able to filter out the negative thoughts and  have them replaced.

So often when I am depressed  I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child.  I am not even conscious as to how I would always select the negative attributes about myself to reflect upon instead of attempting to think positive and hopeful thoughts and about myself and my relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way that I feel.

MEDITATION
God, just let us for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness that you desire to bestow on us. We pray that our awareness of your love for us will free us from sadness.”

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SOURCE:  Copyright (c) HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 248.

“…something powerful is starting to blossom within me.”

 Promise  #12 states that “We would suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”

I believe that this Promise is at the core of our recovery. It is precisely at this moment in our lives that we realize that somebody, someone greater than myself is guiding me. This someone is not forcing us but is guiding us through our darkness.  It is lighting our path so we neither stumble or regress into our old ways of thinking and behaving. It is with this in mind that we continually redirect our attention to have that desire to do its will.

Before we discovered the program of Depressed Anonymous we were convinced that the only chance that we had to get better was to wait while the prescribed drugs kicked in and then everything would be all right.   But now we are certain that our ability to get well is surely based on how much we develop the belief that we can choose how we feel and think. Indeed we are now convinced that we can either sad ourselves or choose not to sad ourselves. We have a choice.

The community and bonds of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship produce a feeling that just as other members of the group are recovering so can I. We must be willing to let go of all thoughts that tell us we will   never get well. These are the same thoughts that have imprisoned us over the years.

We now listen to the God of our understanding and proceed with the belief that what we hold about the world on the outside of us is determined and governed by the world that is lived within us. We are in a brand new way, on a new path, and find ourselves committed to a fresh belief that something powerful is starting to blossom within me.  A peace that surpasses all understanding is beginning to be born in us when we learn to relax,  wait and listen for that still small voice.”

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

(c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous: Planting a seedbed of Hope. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 25.

 

 

 

 

HOW TO OPEN UP THE CLOSED SYSTEM OF DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS: SIX DIFFERENT PORTALS TO CHOOSE FROM.

Just what does it mean to “open up the closed system of depression symptoms? ”  Basically, it means that we have determined that there are 6 major  portals, with their own unique and negative characteristics. The strategy is to develop a number of positive  and opposing  procedures for the characteristics of each portal, which can  in turn do just the opposite of those which continue to keep us in the pit of desolation and helplessness. In a sense we will be opening up that closed system, which like the bars of a prison cell, keep us locked down and isolated. By learning something about each of the six gateways to our personal lives, we will possess the tools that can open up and break down the walls of each of these portals.

Let’s talk a bit of what these portals look like.  Together we are aware how they form a massive obstacle to our moving out of the closed and deadly system. But taken each alone, we have a chance to break down their individual  negative components and replace them with small positive steps of motivating ourselves toward change.

  QUESTION: How do you eat an elephant? ANSWER: One bit at a time. And the same holds true for what we are proposing to you today.  Let’s consider  the following categories which make up the essential attributes  of the human person. By entering any one of them and making changes in their unique characteristics we are indirectly affecting for good all the other five categories. These portals with their unique  identities are all inter related and what affects one affects all. By the same token, the symptoms of depression affect all the other portals and together promote a tightly closed system which is highly impregnable.

The six portals that open us to   the closed system of depression are the following: (1)THINKING (2) FEELING (3) BEHAVIOR (4) MOTIVATIONAL (5) PHYSIOLOGICAL (6) SPIRITUALITY.

For today, let’s take a look at the first portal: the thinking gateway. Here are the characteristics of this portal: mistaken beliefs, worthless, guilt, self-accusations, self-dislike, failures, self -hatred, suicidal thinking, hopeless and helpless thinking. Now, with these characteristics staring us in the face, we can choose to look at each of the above and decide which one or ones can I muster up the energy to defeat and turn around? For starters, how can I change any beliefs about myself? I can give you one solution   and that  is to get into a fellowship of folks like yourself who will mirror to you the strengths that you really possess.   In other words, by  taking  a more solution focused approach  to oneself rather than concentrating on the negative,  this continues that gradual diminution of all that keeps us imprisoned. And just to show connections between portals, the Behavior portal discusses social withdrawal. If I think that I am worthless and inferior I surely won’t want to move around in social environments. We gradually with time and work  open the tight grip of the closed system of depression on our lives. We now have the toolkit whereby we can dismantle those old beliefs that undermined our best selves. We now are at the beginning of  a new system filled with hope and the courage to let go of the past!      More tomorrow.