Even though I don’t feel better right now, I am going to make a mental decision to desire to feel better. I have a choice.
“We need to ask ourselves but one short question: Do I now believe or am I willing to believe that there is a power greater than myself.” As soon as a person can say that he or she does believe or is willing to believe, emphatically assure that person that he or she is on their way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that at this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective structure can be built.
I have found that the program of the Steps is simple to understand. It is a spiritual program one that doesn’t force me to think of God in pre-established ways. I am truly free to allow the God of my understanding to clear from the path of my life the thoughts and various saddictive ways where I have learned how to depress myself.
I know that the world simple means without a fold. The word denotes a reality that you get what you see. Hopefully I can see that my program of recovery is a most simple one to follow and one to practice in all affairs of my life.
We want this God of our understanding to be with us as we face our fears and try to keep my thoughts focused on the here and now, not the pain of yesterday or the fears about tomorrow. (Add your personal comments).
(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. (1998) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 40241. June 7. Online purchases can be made at The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore, at www. depressedanon.com.
“One of the most important things to remember in the midst of depression is that it won’t last forever, that there is hope for you to begin to feel better. We won’t tell you to SNAP OUT OF IT (who have never experienced depression) like other folks, because we are not turning something on and off like a water faucet. Just as it took years to get where you are now, it takes time to get better and air out your sad thoughts as well.” D. Rowe
I know that in our program of recovery we try and live one day at a time. This is not easy for someone who usually wants to know the outcome for something that might happen ten years from now, not to mention the need to try and make right something not done properly ten years from our past. When I work my program I want to work on myself, finding serenity in knowing that in time and with patient work I can begin to feel better. There are just too many success stories of how people get better when they work their Twelve Step recovery program.
Forever is a word that hardly is heard in a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I intend to try and live just for today. I accept that I am depressed but that I do have a choice to find my way out of this sadness. I also believe that it is irrational to think that this sadness can last forever. The more I change the way I think and behave the more positive will my attitude be about my recovery.
Our Higher Power, or our God as we understand God, is guiding and leading us toward a life free from sadness. We intend to place more of our trust in its hands. (Personal comments).
(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.
(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. (May 21, page 103.)
Note. To discover more literature about depression and recovery please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at VISIT THE STORE. All literature can be ordered online.
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.”
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.
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 life. It also provides hope for people like yourself who have been where you are. Hope now resides where once there was only darkness and despair!
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.
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.
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.
SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
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.
- Exercise is a great tool if you happen to be depressed.
- Getting out into nature will also help put your mind on beauty and your surroundings.
- 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.
- Recite the “SERENITY PRAYER” as often as you need it.
- The present. Staying in the now.
- Making use of the God box. This is an exercise, a simple one at that, which helps us learn the discipline of “letting go.”
- 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.
- Disable negative thinking: learn how to short circuit negative thoughts when they pop into our minds.
- Reading Depressed Anonymous literature and all material on the subject of depression.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
” 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.”
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.
Information for additional literature on Depression and the 12 Steps of recovery is available at VISIT THE STORE. (See Menu)
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.