Sharing your story is to save your life!

 

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has at least one book inside of them that needs to be written.  In her award winning book, Depression: The way out of your prison, Dr. Dorothy Rowe tells us how getting our story told can be  life- changing, and for some life-saving. Below are  her thoughts on the importance of sharing one’s story with that person who is willing to listen.

Help comes in two ways -from yourself and from other people. But help cannot come from other people unless you are prepared to find it and accept it. You have to find the people to confide in and you have to overcome your habit of keeping things to yourself. Perhaps you are ready to confide in someone, but there is no one available. Your family will not listen, and your doctor prefers to write you a prescription rather than give you his listening attention.

So you need to find someone who will listen. Someone outside the family and, possibly, outside work, is usually best—someone who has no vested interest in keeping you as you are or who has no reason to feel guilty about what you might disclose. It need not necessarily be just one person. On your journey out of your prison of depression you will meet many different gurus, people who throw light on your darkness. A nurse might listen to your fears about your health and the drugs you take, and may find the words to calm your fears. A friend may share with you the burden of family responsibilities. A pastor  or priest might listen and acknowledge your religious doubts and fears and impart the courage and trust which enables you to deal with these. Of course, not everyone you hope to confide in will respond in a  helpful way. ..”

And then Rowe continues to say that “you might like to consult a professional listener of some sort. You may find someone in the Health Service, or you might go to a private therapist. Talking to people who have been depressed and are now coping is tremendously helpful.”   Pages 199-200.  (Copyright)  Depression:The Way out of your prison.  (1996) Routledge. 2nd ed. London.

Our Twelve Step program  tries to ensure that everyone who attends our program of recovery and who shares their story will be given a sponsor, a listener if you will, who too has experienced the pain and anxiety of depression. They are sponsors because they too have been able to share their stories. They know that  powerful freedom that comes when someone really listens to us and our story. People  often say to me “Doesn’t listening to all these depressed people get you depressed? ” And I can honestly say that it does not  get me depressed.  In fact, I know that by listening to someone else’s story, I  find many areas which are  similar to my own. Besides the fact that I myself experienced the chaos and pain of depression,  I know how difficult  it is to come out and share one’s own struggle. But it can be done!

If you are looking for someone or others to listen to your story with compassion and without a judgmental attitude, our group Depressed Anonymous is the right place to come. We are all storytellers. We all have been heard. We all continue to tell our story. Not only the personal account of our  own depression but also the story of how we have recovered from depression. In our program there is always the “before ” and “after” story that we share.  The ” after’  story of all of us is that important account of what we did to recover, how we did it  and with whom we did it,  made all the difference in the world. Out of the darkness into the light.

You  can read the stories in Depressed Anonymous, which contain heart warming  stories of how persons young and old, have come to our fellowship, shared their story and   who now listen to  those new members who share their own story. They want to share that hope, so that others depressed may know that there is a way out and a life to be lived without depression. They are no longer alone!

It takes trust to share our story. Finding the right person or the right group of persons is what we are looking for. There are persons waiting to hear your story. There are    those persons  who have recovered from depression and who are now sponsoring other people and forming other groups. If there is no group in your area, know that we have a long distance group learning program, called the Home Study Recovery program.  This program can be done at home and all it requires is the willingness  to work the Steps with a sponsor through emails.  All one needs is   the Depressed Anonymous manual and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. There are no fees or dues for this Home Study Program.   As in all our groups, sponsors can accompany new members as long as they like. In time, attending the DA groups our new member can choose their own sponsor.

Please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at this site and examine the material that is used for this program.  Again, in the event that you would yourself want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in your locality, these two books are our main resources used in all groups, here   in the USA and internationally. If the purchase of the books is a hardship, contact the DA Publisher and they will make it possible for you to receive the books regardless of payment.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Email address is Depanon @Netpenny.net.

“I realized that I was addicted to the self.”

” As a person that has suffered depression since childhood, I can say that until you start to open up, share your hurts and feelings, listen to the members of the group, watch them as they grow from the support of the group, you will not be able to get out of the prison of your depression. I have been going to Depressed Anonymous for four years and only until recently have I realized that I was addicted to the self.  Only then did I start to take a good look at myself and start to ask God for his help and truly mean it. I am learning to trust in God  and do His will and not mine. I feel better about myself. I can tell you it is a lot easier to be depressed than it is to work on yourself and admit to yourself that there is a problem. It is God’s will for us to live each day to the fullest because of our time on earth is limited. Live each day, not yesterday or tomorrow. Share with the group and your friends and you will be surprised who will be glad to listen  if you would give them a chance. Accept the fact that all of us at Depressed Anonymous are here to listen to you and not make judgments  on you or give advice. Even if you don’t want to share, come to the meetings because you can always get something out of them. Eventually, you will want to share and the group will listen.

In conclusion, trust in your Higher Power – God as you understand God. Support groups are the  way out of our addictions. We may have given  up on God, but God hasn’t  given up on us. Start your day out by asking God: God I pray for the knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out. ”

-Starr writing about her experience with depression and the healing support that she receives in the Depressed Anonymous 12 Step mutual aid group.

Read Starr’s whole story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Personal Stories section/Pages 129-130 ).

Depression gradually dies in the light of…

The following is an  excerpt from the Depressed Anonymous Publication,  Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. 

The SEVENTH WAY  on how to leave the prison of depression.

Today is all that we have. Don’t let dwelling on yesterday’s hurts and fears about tomorrow, rob you of peace today. Contrary to what you might have thought -you are responsible for how you think and feel. I want to be responsible for my depression even though I feel it’s difficult to face the fact that one of the ways of getting out of my depression is to stay and feel the pain of my sadness. I have to live in the here and the now – I can’t run and hide in the unknown of tomorrow or disappear into the gloomy fog of yesterday. We begin to get mentally healthy when we take it upon  ourselves to admit 1) I have a problem, 2) secondly, I need to change the  way I think about myself and my world. Again, no one need blame us for the fact that we got ourselves depressed -but once we know and believe that we are depressed – we learn that we need to take full responsibility for our recovery. One of the best ways to break our dependency on our sadness is to share/admit our depression to members of our Depressed Anonymous groups.  We know how depression flourishes and grows strong in the privacy  and solitude of our minds. Depression gradually dies in the light of open sharing and frank discussion. We are only as weak as the secrets we keep.”

SOURCES:  Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 36-41.

   HOME STUDY PROGRAM: (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) DAP. Louisville.  Plus (c)  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Please VISIT THE STORE for more helpful information  on ways  to leave the prison of depression

Depression dies in the light of discussion.

One of the 15 Statements of Belief in  Believing is Seeing : 15 ways to leave the prison of depression, tells us  in Statement # 9 that ” Withdrawing from friends and other social contacts is the first clue that you are 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 nudge that can guide you onto the appropriate path.”

There are two times that we need to go to a meeting. One, when we don’t want to go to a meeting and secondly when we want to go to a meeting. From my own personal experience I can share with you that it’s when I go to my meetings that I am always able to come away from  it with something positive to think about.  I can always say that I feel better after a DA meeting. I know in my heart that when I just want to sit at home by myself and ruminate within my own head all the horrible things that have happened to me, are about to happen to me and are happening to me now, the more I find that I depress myself.

It’s our addictive thinking, our compulsive way of processing negative information,  which means that we habitually store the negative and dump the positive inflow of information and that gets us wanting to fall back into the old habit of staying isolated and avoiding others. We might fool ourselves and say that people have nothing to offer me so that I distance myself from everyone. Part of my nature when depressed is to avoid and distance myself from whatever I feel is threatening, like a child afraid of the dark.

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

SOURCES:

Copyright (c)Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, L0uisville.

Copyright (c)Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups. ( 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 VISIT THE STORE FOR MORE LITERATURE.

 

 

 

 

“I will continue to have faith in myself.”

France’s way out of depression.

“I joined DA in 1988. At that time, I was totally depressed, with no interest in anything or anyone, and especially no interest in myself. I felt I had no worth, a feeling  I am sure that I had for many years, as  a very young child.

Having lived with this feeling for so many years, I guess I thought this was normal, probably most people felt the same way. I had all the symptoms of depression but I know nothing about the sickness except to live with it, which I have found to be a terrible fate, until I discovered Depressed Anonymous.

I attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings quite regularly. I have found that if I can attend the meetings regularly, I get the support of the members, who I have found to have about the same kind of problems as I have, maybe not quite as bad as mine, but I guess each of us feels that our problems are worse that anyone  else’s, I know mine are.  But with the regular meetings and my friends support, I find that I am able to manage pretty well from week to week. I have more faith in myself since I work the Twelve Steps the best that I can and trust my Higher Power  (God) with all my heart. I pray to the fullest extent that I will continue to have faith in myself and others. I have become a more human being than I have ever been. I work a lot, I volunteer a lot and have a far better outlook on life than I have ever had, and I attribute all of these good feelings to DA.

I just hope that I will always be able to attend DA meetings regularly and wish people had the opportunity to do the same. DA has helped me so much. I cannot begin to explain sufficiently the support the meetings  can give one who is depressed.

DA has been and is my salvation and I know the Twelve Step program is the only way to go to get one on the right track and it takes the meetings to keep you there. They are a “godsend” for me and I know for a lot of others who are depressed also.

I thank DA and my Higher Power for a life worth living.

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

—————————

NOTE: For more information about the  12 Step literature, please VISIT THE STORE  here at our website.

 

 

 

I am responsible for me!

Higher Thoughts for Down Days

I am responsible for me!

” Responsibility is the name of the game in recovery…people who want to change begin to swallow their pride and ask for help.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

The ability to respond to the truth of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous comes particularly forceful when we have hit bottom in our lives and there seems to be no way out of what troubles us. This is where I begin to take responsibility for myself and ask others for help. Who is the best person to ask for help when you are depressed? Obviously, it’s that person who ha been where you are now. I believe that one of the biggest assets of being a member of Depressed Anonymous is the fact that so many people begin to live with happiness, peace, and hope after they have given up control of their lives to the Higher Power.  They indeed have hit bottom and there is no way for them  but up.

To say that my life is out of control is usually hard for any of us to have to admit. The pride that said that I had to please everyone to be happy, or in order to get other’s approval, had to do everything perfect, has resulted  in my depressing myself until I can hardly stand it. Now that I am telling it like it is and I begin to accept myself as I am and refuse to  let other’s opinions of myself overwhelm or dictate life to me, I begin to feel better.

MEDITATION

God, put your love into our hearts and your guidance into our minds as we struggle, day after day, to live with the understanding that we can only do your will by beginning to be responsible for ourselves.

 

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 244.

 

Depression is different from normal sadness.

Depression cannot be reduced to a single factor. It is the result of the coinciding of different factors. Biological, historical, environmental and psychological factors play a certain role in the beginning and its evolution.

Many people never reach a state of clinical depression .  Such depression, with the feeling of paralysis that it involves, is different from normal sadness. People with clinical depression, in general, demonstrate physical and psychic alterations; people who are  not depressed manifest certain mental signs of sadness.

In addition, people often confuse depression with unhappiness. often one can hear the phrase “I feel depressed’, even though the person concerned only wants to say that he or she is not happy. Until, one has really experienced depression one cannot realize the enormous, difference that exists between being depressed and being unhappy. When we are unhappy, despite the scale of the tragedy that has afflicted us, we remain in contact with reality. When other people offer us consolation and love we can still feel gratitude for their warmth and support. But when we are depressed we feel like people who are excluded from the rest of the world. The comfort and love offered by other people do not penetrate our barrier and we feel neither consoled or loved. To experience real depression means to feel entrapped in pitch or suffocated by some dense, heavy material or buried alive in a dark tunnel. The depressed person   is interested in nothing and nobody, and does not feel any hope.”

SOURCE: Jose Saraiva Martins

—————————–

Comment: If you are  a depressed person and are reading this you know the guy who is writing the above material  knows what he is talking about. But, if you are  a person who has been unhappy but never depressed, it is  impossible for you to even begin to fathom what he is talking about.  ” Yes”, you might say, “but I don’t see any plaster casts, no sign of physical brokenness and the guy or gal is always happy. You know, the life of the party.”

There is a night and day difference between being depressed and being unhappy. I know,  as I have been depressed. I also  have been very unhappy as well. Being depressed is  a life threatening illness and for many the trajectory can lead to suicide  preceded by thinking that is hopeless and suicidal.

The person who has experienced depression themselves and who seeks  help to climb out of the dark pit now has friends in the  Depressed Anonymous fellowship of the 12 steps.  The new person coming into our group soon learns that the members know about the depression experience. Some have talked about trying to commit  suicide.

My point is that  persons depressed live in a world that they cannot touch, a world which they are viewing from the insides of an  enclosed soundproof glass room. They are completely isolated and adrift —  floating alone in a river of turbulence and dangerous currents. And when the time comes to flee this pain and isolation they run to the people who say they know what depression is. They also have a “toolkit” which they continue to use in their daily lives which helps them to forever stay out of that glass enclosed room.  I am one  of those persons who never  returned to that past time in my life when I felt totally alone, without friends, purpose or meaning in my life. I owe my life to Depressed Anonymous and its powerful focus on hope instead of hopelessness.

Hugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)