The healing shows on the faces of all those who keep coming back to meetings.”

THE TENTH  WAY to leave the prison of depression. #10 of 15.

I know that with time and work I will get better and out of my depression. I believe that though I might feel helpless, I am not hopeless. I will make a decision to get better today!”

One of  the most heartening phenomenon of our 12 step program for persons depressed is to see how quickly healing becomes apparent to those who keep coming back to meetings. The healing shows on the faces of all those who keep coming back to meetings.They commit themselves to getting better. The work that one has to engage in is a deep desire to quit sadding  themselves. This means that a person depressed really must make a commitment to themselves, that with time and work, they can leave the prison of their own depression.

This statement of belief is so important that it, like the rest of the 15 ways to leave the prison of depression provides hope for those still suffering from depression. Just by coming to the meetings, even when we don’t feel like moving out of our isolation and comfort zone. This is in itself an investment that must be made if we are to reap the dividends of healing which can be ours. The program works by investing your time and energy in it.

Depressed Anonymous provides a step-by-step program of recovery and doesn’t talk in vague generalities about your own depression experience. Actually,  the program offers a map where you can walk out of your past filled with negative thoughts and  behaviors  creating your own new hopeful lifestyle. The Depressed Anonymous mutual aid  group is the  “miracle”  incentive for getting ourselves motivated   and living with hope. The group provides a continued acceptance and support for your life. The purpose of the 12 steps is to free ourselves from the debilitating isolation and pain of our sadness. We realize now that it is by accepting responsibility for our physical, emotional and spiritual care of self that predicts the hope filled long-term effect of a life lived without depression.

First of all, what gains consciousness is to be aware of  one’s  own need to discover what there is about myself that I do not find acceptable, good and  wholesome. Secondly,  preparation. I am aware of how I have depressed myself by the faulty beliefs that I’ve held about myself over the past years. I now know that part of the way I feel is due to the way I have automatically talked to myself throughout the day. I now realize that my feelings about myself have continually been very negative and emotional laden. Now I take action. I intend today to replace all negative statements that I make about myself, they are like waving a red flag  before my eyes. Every time I call myself stupid or put myself down mentally, I will substitute  affirmations such as the following:  I will build a new life for myself. I am strong today. I have the courage to go through this experience. I will no longer blame myself or others for my depression. I do not have to wait for someone to make me feel better, as I can do this myself if I choose to do so. And this will   sustain me and not just for today but every day of my life.  I’m going to tolerate my imperfections while at  the same time refusing to feel sorry for myself.  I am going to make myself accountable for how I feel… and not blame it on someone else.”

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Sources: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. pages 51-56.

Please VISIT THE STORE where all publications of Depressed Anonymous can be ordered online.

Depressed Anonymous meetings are normally positive and the focus is upbeat!

WHAT IS DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS?

Depressed Anonymous is modeled after the 12 Steps (principles) of Alcoholics Anonymous and was  founded in Evansville, Indiana in May of 1985. It uses a group approach where members mutually support each other.

In Depressed Anonymous the depressed person admits that he/she is powerless over his or her depression. The depressed person admits that the various areas of his/her lifer are controlled by depression, and that he /she needs help from one’s inner resources, combined with a faith in a Higher Power to help work through one’s time of hopelessness and helplessness.

At Depressed Anonymous meetings, we do not pry into people’s personal lives. We also do not give advice at meetings but instead tell our story and how the 12 steps are releasing us from the tight grip of depression. Meetings are normally upbeat and the focus is positive! Each of  us set  small concrete  and positive goals for ourselves and begin to learn how to gain some mastery over our lives and feelings. Each of us has time at meetings to share our experiences with other member so f the group. As a new member you are ready to make a commitment to quit sadding  oneself, and that’s when results begin to happen.

This 12 Step recovery program can be a great healer  of personal wounds and provides the depressed with a new start in lifeIt also provides hope for people like yourself who have been where you are. Hope now resides where once there was only darkness and despair!

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SOURCE: (C)  I’ll do it when I feel better.(2013). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 22-23.  Chapter Three: What  is Depressed Anonymous.

Please VISIT THE STORE and  discover the many exciting chapters, which will outline hope for the depressed and how the group can provide essential tools for unlocking the prison of one’s own depression.

Get the body moving and the mind will follow!

Sue, tells us how working at a local Zoo got her out of the house and focused on a new volunteer position at the zoo. She found that she loved it. It gave her a purpose and a self dignity that her depressed lifestyle had taken from her. The following is her own account of what this volunteer position brought into her life.

Action does precede motivation and I began working at a local zoo. It is a beautiful place (and safe from muggers too). I began talking with people and learned about classed there to become a docent (a volunteer teacher). I enrolled and graduated. This gave me a new purpose in life. I get great joy from working there doing outreaches to schools, nursing homes and hospitals. I have made friends with both animals and humans. There isn’t a day that I go  there to talk that I don’t get thanked by someone, a visitor, or employee (or sometimes an animal).

My family hasn’t changed ( although my mother commented on the change in my face), but I have. In this the Serenity  Prayer really helps.  I know that I can’t change them but I have new friends and a real support system so this doesn’t matter so much now.

Whoever you are, you who are reading this. Believe! The first Three Steps are the most important. Walking or other exercise is important. Staying with it is also important. Going to the meetings and participating is important, but above all else, faith is important. Faith will truly move mountains.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 142-145. Personal Stories: Sues story: Faith does move mountains.

 

Living in the security of my hope

I am choosing to live in the security of my hope rather than in the fear of life’s possible pain.

“…Haven’t our sadness and thoughts of unworthiness been our last refuge from having to face ourselves, take charge and accept responsibility for our own lives? For many, just knowing that that they might have a choice and be able to choose to feel differently can be a startling revelation.  I can choose to be happy or I can choose to stay feeling miserable.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Life is one that provides me with many areas of choice. I can choose to live with the uncertainty of hope or I can stay mired in the despair of having to always have everything predictable. The latter is the hell of my depression.

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

How to live outside the box? The depression box!

If you really want to begin to “live outside the box“, a description of what the box feels like and looks like might be helpful to you.  First of all, a box has an identifiable shape. It is a box mainly because it contains something–whatever that might be. And when we speak of the subject of depression, we talk about depression having us boxed in. The box as it is used here, in this context is a metaphor for feeling enclosed and which there is no exit. It is like being trapped or like in a prison.

Now, in order to live outside the box we want to live creatively, which means  that we are having to learn  how to live outside the box. Now, if you  find  this hard to believe -stick with me now  as I will explain what I mean.

Just briefly, my own experience with depression can be used as an example. First of all, when I was depressed I thought that I was losing my mind. The box that I put myself in was getting more restricting by the day and making my life hell. I could see no way out. I was trapped. What could I do I asked myself?  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t just will these feelings and scary  thoughts away–like taking a broom and brushing them out of my life. No matter which way I turned I hit a wall. With no answers forthcoming on how to keep my head above water, my body slowly  was being sucked down into  the quicksand of despair. The thought came to me, much like that small glimmer, a tiny light so far away, but nevertheless  a light. It was  like the lighthouse which with its  intense brightness warns seafarers that rocks were nearby and to be watchful before approaching. My mind began to race here and there for a way out of the box and then it hit me —   get moving. Move the body. Get busy.  The key out of this prison was already in my hand. And now, those of us here in the Depressed program of recovery,who have been putting “out of the box” ideas to work in our daily lives, we want to share what has worked for us and we know, if you actually use them for your own recovery, they are  bound to  ultimately free you. That is the promise I share with you today.

The following activities,  listed below  are some of  the tools that will get you “out of the box” when you get serious about using them.

I think taking a close and personal look at the following tools will not only help you get  “out of the box” but can be tools that you will be able to utilize, day after day as you continue your recovery.

  1. Exercise is a great tool if you happen to be depressed.
  2.  Getting out into nature will also help put your mind on beauty and your surroundings.
  3. Overcoming fear is also a great place to learn how to get out of the box. Learn about “first fear” and “second fear.” Fear doe seem to be at the center of our life when depressed.
  4. Recite the “SERENITY PRAYER” as often as you need it.
  5. The present. Staying in the now.
  6. Making use of the God box. This is an exercise, a simple one at that, which helps us learn the discipline of “letting go.”
  7. Feelings need to be examined and expressed. We will look at why expressing feeling is  so important,  instead of having them bottled up and causing all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
  8. Disable negative thinking: learn how to short circuit negative thoughts when they pop into our minds.
  9.  Reading Depressed Anonymous literature and all material on the subject of depression.
  10. Learn how we all have choices. We make those decisions that bring us closer to freedom–not those that continue to imprison and box us.
  11. Journaling is a great tool for writing down what has been our experience for the day.  It helps to clarify our thinking and puts things into perspective.

NOTE

In the next post, I will begin placing attention on each of the eleven ideas listed above.  Gradually we can take time to evaluate  our response to each individually and make our own notes as how to use these recommended ideas  for our own recovery.

Hugh

Choices: To be or not to be!

For many, just knowing that they might have a choice and be able to choose to feel differently can be a startling revelation.  I can choose to be happy or I can choose to stay miserable.  ” Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) DAP. Louisville.

The following is a story of how one person, deeply depressed told her story of how by letting go she was able to hang on.  And she not only  was able to hang on but she was able to help others and hang on  and live life to the full.

” I started sleeping more, stayed in bed mostly and let the house and the children go.  I felt empty inside. No one or anything could help me. If I hadn’t thought that suicide was the cardinal sin, I would be dead today. So one night I lay on the floor crying and praying from my heart. In the past when I prayed I wanted God to do all the work, while deep down I  didn’t want to let go of my miserable, yet safe way of life. And as long as I wouldn’t  really let go, God seemed to have no answers for me. This time though, I was at his mercy. Life for me could no longer go on this way. I prayed the most releasing prayer. I offered up my entire self to him. Nothing magical happened after this except the sudden urge to call my Church for Christian counseling. They referred me to this very affordable, warm, lady counselor, who I had seen in the past. She suggested that I start attending Depressed Anonymous,  a Twelve Step meeting. This was a great effort for me. I was SCARED AND SKEPTICAL  Since that first night I’ve been attending weekly Depressed Anonymous meetings and reading Depressed Anonymous literature. I also attend drug free therapy, attend church and church activities and continue to pray and walk regularly.  I know that my life is being richly blessed. I am also using the Depressed Anonymous literature and  listening to the people in the  Depressed Anonymous  meetings where I have received valuable tools which I put to daily use.   The moment that I read that I had a choice to stay in depression, I immediately knew that I could make the choice to get out of my depression.”

And finally, a word from Bill W., the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous who tells us, “When we look back, we realize that the things  which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.”

SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Personal Stories section.

NOTE: Fore more information on a broad variety of subjects dealing with depression and the Twelve Steps click onto the VISIT THE STORE.

 

 

 

” 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)

Promise # 11. “Intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”

As my mind began to heal and my thoughts became more lucid it became apparent  that something inside of myself was changing. Depression, when you begin to examine the various symptoms up close and deal with them, the experience becomes less threatening. Some say that depression is a collection of behaviors that are brought  into play to defend  us against things that are too painful to face. Also, depression results when a love object is lost through death or that one feels abandoned. We have become so at one with our love object, that we mourn the death of part of us.  The love object and ourselves has become one. I believe we use the word co-dependence today.

At first I was frightened by my various symptoms of depression. The symptoms proved to be baffling. I was not able to get out of bed as well as being unable to concentrate or manage a complex thought.  I began to worry that I was losing my mind and I often asked myself if I was going to survive. But now my ability to handle situations in a meaningful way is due to my  frequent attendance at meetings, and by making a daily time for prayer and meditation and feeling that my life has purpose and meaning.  The more I am physically active  and going to meetings even when I don’t feel like it. Working on my Depressed Anonymous Workbook, reading my Twelve Step literature. The behavior is where my freedom begins. And yes, I do feel lousy at times, but I also know that nothing can stand in my way to make choices in my own behalf. Previous to my involvement with the group I had no idea that depression was not so powerful now as to prevent me from even thinking that I could choose to feel differently.”  (Read more tomorrow on Promise # 11.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’LL DO  IT  WHEN I FEEL BETTER.  (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 50-51.

Great ideas give energy of purpose and great wings to the soul!

“A great object to awaken resolute choice, must be seen to be within our reach.  The truth, that progress is the very end of our being, must not be received as a tradition, but comprehended and felt as a reality.  Our minds are apt to pine  and starve, by being imprisoned within what we have already attained. . A true faith , looking up to something better, catching  glimpses of distance perfection, prophesying to ourselves improvements proportional to our conscientious labors, gives energy of purpose, gives wings to the soul; and this faith will continually grow, by acquainting ourselves with our own nature, and with the promise of divine help and immortal life which abound in revelation… A great idea…if seized on clearly and vigorously, burns like a living coal in the soul.” –William Ellery Channing

Know what you want,  find out how to get it, and then go get it!

Within each of us is that soul spirit which urges us on to do what we know we must do. So often, almost  by a strange set of circumstances or coincidence we are presented with a person, an idea, or a situation by which we can fulfill the need which we search for.  Do not pass up this prompting, this nudge, but take it upon yourself to investigate and then to take it as your own if it appears to fulfill your need.

Did this fulfilled need just  “happen”  that I ran into an old friend?  Did it just “happen”  that I  picked up a book where my greatest need and solutions were outlined neatly? It was as if they were there all the time.

If you are reading this piece today, and feeling crushed down and alone, could it be that this message for you just didn’t happen but fulfills your own needs for healing and complete recovery from a depressed spirit?

Like all of us who  look for that nudge, that prompting which will push us to make an investment  in ourselves that can last a lifetime, and what I have done, these many years ago, and still use today, is the solution focused Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous for my everyday use and continued recovery. Was it the coincidence of a friend giving me a book on depression while I was searching for a way out of my depression  –did it just “happen” or did I see in this coincidence, that something, which had always been in plain sight, and knowing if I pursued this “happening” with vigor and tenacity I could be the serene person that I always wanted to be.

Here are the books that gave me the nudge to fulfill the Promises of the Twelve Steps. These two books, combined in use together are the source of my strength and the “idea”  that fulfilled my need. Follow your nudge! And if you have decided that you are reading this BLOG today, and that it’s message applies to your situation today then take a look at the HOME STUDY KIT and make something great “happen” for your life today!

HOME STUDY KIT (Visit the store)

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

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (201) Depresses Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The little part in me that says I am OK, is the part that I am going to concentrate on today.

AFFIRMATION

“Now that small voice, that little part of you that wants to  have light and some hope is getting up  the courage to ask more for itself.” (8)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am finding that the more I seek out a solution to my depression and begin to look for signs of sadness lifting, the more my focus stretches from despair to hope. I am making the courageous move to speak kinder thoughts to myself and gradually replace those harmful negative thoughts  to newer and more hopeful thoughts.

The only voice that I want to listen to today is the voice that says that the mistakes of yesterday or the various views I held about  myself in the past do not matter. The voice that I am going to listen to today says that I can make a choice to feel better right now.

MEDITATION

God, help us to take what we can that’s positive about ourselves and leave behind the awful negatives that always seemed to take center stage in our mind.”

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups.(1999). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.