My moods began to spiral upwards once I regained control of my life!

 

Is it that simple?   Gaining control  of my life  didn’t happen overnight. I did  know that most people’s depression usually lifted after a year’s time. Mine did.  The catch is,  that for me,  it took some work and patience. No magic wand waving over my head and no silver bullet automatically killing the demon of despair that continued to beat me down. But what  gradually happened was  that my mood  came back providing me with hope and a plan for my recovery.  I began to feel some control over how I was feeling and the new mood of cheer gave me the courage to keep on doing what I was doing. In my case, my mood began to be lightened the more I continued my daily walking.

Just my determination to take of myself physically paid huge benefits. For once, in many months I felt some control over my mood and the direction where my life was heading.  I was beginning to be in control instead of my life being out of control and unmanageable.

I remember in Graduate school I gave persons depressed a questionnaire  determining  how  much control they felt they had over their lives. Interestingly, the person who felt they had less control over their lives, or none at all, these  more depressed  persons felt less in control over their environment and the way  the direction of their life was taking.

Those who were less depressed answered that they were begin to feel more in control of their lives. These persons  were experiencing more hope and   the direction of their lives was providing purpose and meaning.

What to do?

First of all, get a plan that will work for you. My plan was this Step by Step program of recovery we call Depressed Anonymous. The best part of the plan is to find friends who, just like ourselves, are working the same plan.  This fellowship, this non judgmental approach and support of the group provides us with our marching orders.  When members of the fellowship share their story–we hear our own story. We know that just by admitting that we need help  it is at this initial starting point, where we begin to spiral upwards instead of continuing   the spiral downward.

If you  want to take control of your life and your mood, it would do you well to join us and  discover how others gained control  over their lives just as it is possible for yourself.

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

Do you want a new way of living?

 

AFFIRMATION

I now  have a new way of living!

“But with OUR new way of living and thinking we are going to stay in the now. We know tomorrow produces anxiety and fear. Yesterday is there with all the past hurts and anger. All I have is the now!  If I live in the now I can begin to  try to stay out of yesterday  with all its old wounds  and hurts and resist living in tomorrow with its unknown problems.  Negative thoughts about our past or those about tomorrow can numb our feelings so that we don’t have to feel the pain of whatever it is that isolates us from the world around us. We also admit,  like any one person addicted to a person, thing,  place,  chemical or drug, that our lives are out of control. We have to admit, that by depressing ourselves, we have chosen saddening ourselves as our drug of choice. We medicate ourselves with sadness any time we might have to change the way we live our lives. Sometimes, our depression or sadness arises out of guilt as we continue to turn our personal mistakes into giant catastrophes – this continues to make us feel as if we are nothing and valueless. This all adds to our frustration and the feeling of our being out of control. We know that if we just give up our struggle against depression and admit our powerlessness over it, we can begin to surrender it to our Higher Power and practice letting go of it. I can decide that I want to feel happy and put this constant sadness and hollowness behind me once and for all. I know that no longer will I have to retreat or flee from   those sad feelings and escape with sleep, over activity or drugs.  I know that, whenever my sadness seems unending, I then just admit that I am not helpless and that I can do something about it because I have the tools and I can learn the skills that I didn’t know were available to me before.  Now I am deciding to think, act and behave differently, much to my personal credit and a new-found trust in the Higher Power.  I am a sailor who sees the land, knows the right direction and does the rowing to get where I want to go.  The Twelve Steps are my compass. I also   know that this group of people which we call Depressed Anonymous will help me assume a sense of no longer feeling out of control.”

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SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 34-35.

 

 

I will face my fears!

I will take another small step in my own recovery  and face any uncomfortable  fears that arises. I will face it and let go.

“I had to surrender to God, quit controlling everything and everyone, including God.  Let go and let God.” (8 )

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

To think of letting go of my depression is like telling a drowning man to let go of his life jacket. When we have been depressed for so many years and this is all we know, we don’t know what to make of someone telling us to let go and surrender this experience to God.

I also know that for me to be in control, either by my sadness at home or my attempts to control every member of the family, I know that this keeps me from having to face all the pain in my own life. My thoughts don’t flow the way other peoples’ thoughts flow. My thoughts continually flow in a stream of heavy blackness. The blackness has always been part of my life and I feel that there is no way to escape it.  The only way out for me now is to “admit that I am powerless over my depression and that my life is unmanageable.”

I know that in the program there is much talk about giving over one’s life to a Higher Power and letting it guide us.  It’s somewhat like we are going down the road of life and we see a large narrow bridge which is spanning a river before us. We see the bridge and  can even see the other side but instead of crossing over we get out of our car, go down the embankment and begin to swim across to the other side. Depression and our own feelings of unworthiness won’t allow us to risk a way out of our sadness. Like so many life situations, the answers are hidden there in plain sight.

 

MEDITATION

We used to believe that our God was a God of wrath. We needed to believe that,  because we were feeling so bad, evil, worthless and unacceptable about ourselves. Now we believe God’s supply of love is endless. (See Step #3).

…change always involves uncertainty.

 

   Dorothy Rowe wrote:

“Dangers, perhaps even greater dangers, threaten you if you if you leave your prison of depression for the ordinary world. There you might have to change, and change always involves uncertainty. The good thing about being depressed is that you can make every day be the same. You can be sure of what is going to happen. You can ward off all those people and events that expect a response from  you. Your prison life has a regular routine, and like any long term prisoner, you grow accustomed to the jail security and predictability. The prison of depression may not be comfortable, but at least it is safe.”

In Depressed Anonymous we read that:

“We believe that to be conscious is to have been able first of all to listen to someone or something that expresses God’s desire to free us from our misery as soon as we are willing to turn  our minds and our wills over to it. Somewhere along the way, we were convinced that the only safe way to make this life bearable and predictable was to continually sadden ourselves, withdraw into our little shell  (prison) and make sure that our own small world was completely under our control. It was a perfect little world, this world of ours. It was dark, gloomy and painful, but at least we knew what we had. It is this predictableness that makes life inescapably hell for all of us, even though we’d rather have this than the total surprise of living.”

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COMMENT:  One of the things about this life is that it is hard to predict. We call this the  surprise of living. And for us to really get into living we have to face the fact that it is unpredictable. We must give up trying to control other people in our lives.

I have found that the spirit of mutuality which permeates all mutual aid groups, such as our own Depressed Anonymous fellowship, promotes that feeling of security which enables us to live with all sorts of unpredictability. We look forward to living our life,  with whatever comes. “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Step Two of Depressed Anonymous.

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SOURCES: #11.19  in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 84.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 97. Step Eleven.

NOTE: These two books, The Depressed Anonymous Workbook and Depressed  Anonymous,3rd edition, can be purchased together as the HOME STUDY KIT. Please VISIT THE STORE on how to order.

Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups.

May 15

  AFFIRMATION

I will forgive myself for my past faults, mistakes and live just for today and try not to be afraid.

“Even without using not forgiving as a way of controlling people, taking other people’s thoughtless slights and bad temper personally and vowing never to forgive them soon leads to loneliness….If you see forgiving as something you ought not do, then when you do something wrong, you must not forgive yourself.” (7)

CLARIFICATION IOF THOUGHT

Today, I am becoming more aware of how I cannot control life because life is so broad and expansive.  The area that I do control is quite small when compared to all areas of my life. To live means to let life happen and life is spontaneous. The more we try to control our relationships, our friends and what happens  to us we short circuit any serendipitous intervention into our life today by our Higher Power.

The best place for me to experience  life and the stories of others like myself is at Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings, Al-Anon meetings, Dep-Anon Family  Group  meetings, Depressed Anonymous meetings and the many other Twelve Step program meetings.

One of those absolute truths that live in every cell of our bodies when  we are depressed is that I can never forgive myself – nor anyone else for that matter. It is this absolute truth that we hold about ourselves that continually imprisons us in our depression.

MEDITATION

Just for today, we are going to really attempt to forgive ourselves for what happened to us yesterday and act as if today, the first day and only day of our lives, that I will be a new me. We are beginning life all over today. God, let your peace fill us now, and forever.”

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky  Page 99.

HOPE IS CONTAGIOUS!

HOPE IS CONTAGIOUS!

A great benefit of belonging to a fellowship is the power of hope. “If he or she can do it, then so can I.” This is a common belief for those who begin reading a book called Depressed Anonymous. This book, by the way, is written by folks who have felt hopeless and helpless.   The many accounts and personal stories in  the book  fill one with hope and courage.  The pages of this book help  serve as a manual for those of us who want to embark on this personal journey of hope and recovery from depression. Now this book and all of the other books published by DAP are specifically geared to those of us who want to leave the prison of depression and are written by persons who were depressed — and who got better. What is  better than to hear that the program works. Hearing how  other people  use the Twelve Steps and have them always available, is much like tools in your toolbox. The tools  are there to help build a structure for one’s own life  making it an adventure of hope–not a prison from which we felt we could not escape.

In Depression: The way out of your depression. Dr. Dorothy Rowe.1996 (2nd Ed).,  tell us that “Hope can exist only in a state of uncertainty. That certainty means total certainty. That security means to be without hope. The prison of depression is built with the bricks of total certainty.

Certainty. Security. No hope.

To hope means to run the risk of disappointment.

To be insecure means not to be in control.

Stay  in control. Be depressed.

To be uncertain means to be unsure of the future.

Predict the future with certainty. Stay depressed.

Hope can  only exist where there is uncertainty. Absolute certainty means complete hopelessness. If you want to live fully we must have freedom, love and hope.  So life must be an uncertain business. That is what makes it worthwhile.”

So, when we gradually believe that in each life some  rain must fall, and pain can come, we  begin to live life with hope. That’s the way it is. We can gradually believe, like thousands of other pilgrims on this path of recovery, that having a spiritual program such as the Steps, hope is possible, hope is doable and  our lives can take on new meaning and have purpose.