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.

The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk got it right!!

 

“It’s an addiction if you find yourself continually bashing yourself for past mistakes and /or failures.  It is this constant rumination that puts us in the negative spiral which leads to more isolation, withdrawal and psychic pain. The familiar feeling of sadness and the continual inner hollowness that make our life so miserable becomes our security.”

But, where do we go from here?  I myself  got caught up in the spiraling downward descent into the darkness and hell of depression. I felt  trapped and helpless.

My spiraling upward came when I felt the hope in the  stories of those like myself, who no longer felt hopeless and helpless.  I became proactive in my own recovery and survival. Some had already attempted to commit suicide.  Once I discovered others just like myself, I was  fascinated by the fact that others were really telling my story as well. There were differences in some of the details, but basically  their stories rang true with my own. It was from that moment on that I was hooked.

Was the group my own Higher Power? Who was the God  that was greater than myself?   How did I contact this Power?  It was listening to others that I came to believe that there is someone, somebody that I could believe in, to free  me  from my prison of  depression.

It was just like the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina who believed that humans could fly.  They had their ups and downs, (no pun intended) but their faith in what they were doing got them in the air and off the ground.

The way to get up and get moving toward recovery is to get moving and start working the Steps, one by one.  You too will begin to live in hope one day at a time.   You will now have a flight plan that will take you where you want to go.

Hugh

The second Step of the Twelve Steps  promotes the belief  that we “came to believe that a  Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed. ,Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY. Page 40.

For more information on the Steps and Depression click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for your own flight plan!  It’s a journey you will never regret.

 

It takes hard work and faith to free oneself from depression.

MY AFFIRMATION FOR TODAY

I believe that with time and work I can feel better about myself.

“But don’t expect that one psychologist can tell you just what the trick is to get out of being depressed. There  is no trick, just hard work.” Dorothy Rowe. The way out of your prison. 2nd ed. (1983, 1996). Routledge. London.

The first three Steps of the Twelve  Steps are about faith and the remaining nine Steps are about action. One has to have faith that there is truly something bigger in this world than  one’s own depression and one’s perspective. I formerly used to believe  that I was stuck forever in these moods where I just didn’t want to live anymore. I was sick and tired of being sick  and tired with the feelings of despair. But now my program is a spiritual one and the spiritual way is the way out of my depression.

If I truly want to be free of my fears and anxieties, I will have to have faith that the God of my understanding is not going to  let me down.

My energies and commitment used to be directed toward finding ways to live always with the predictable and secure feelings that my sadness provided. I am working another program, one which will help me find a way to live a lifer filled with serenity and hope.

MEDITATION

God, help us know your will so that we may start today filled with hope. (Personal comments).

SOURCE: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“Depressed Anonymous is a light to guide me.”

Dear All,

I have been very busy lately, out living life, and I wanted  y’all  to know that just being on this Blog subscription list and reading the shares and the “Big Book” of Depressed Anonymous has helped me tremendously to not fall into depression in blind denial as was my custom,. Two things are helping  me.

do the next right thing

motivation follows action

Thank you so much for being here!

Also for the first time I can handle flashbacks from PTSD more easily because I am not depressed. I even had more repressed memory come up. I was depressed for about a day and a half and then got sick of it and got up and went back to my daily life. It  is a miracle! Thank you, thank you, thank you…I believe I am  on the path that leads to depression being something that I used to struggle with so mightily. I don’t think I’m cured, just that Depressed Anonymous is a light to guide me, to keep  me on the path to wellness….

Trish.”

The Antidepressant Tablet.

A     Comment

Thanks to you Trish,  for your thoughts and your enthusiastic response to the  power of the 12 steps of Depressed Anonymous at work in your own  life.  And yes, the mutual aid support group  which we  fondly know  as Depressed Anonymous  group  has participants thought out the world.  It  has come a long way since it was founded in 1985, Truly, the group is like the “mustard seed” of the Gospels. Our BIG BOOK  is being translated into Dutch, Spanish, Iranian(Persian). It has already been translated into Russian and now made available to those in Eastern Europe who speak Russian.

All of us who use  the Steps of recovery can give thanks to Bill W., and Bob S., the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (1939).All of us in the program continue to stand on the shoulders of these two giants, plus those who were the first members of this healing initiative.

I personally can say that my own recovery and the life I lead now  would not have been possible if I had not become a member  of a 12 Step  recovery program and lived my life around the Promises of the Steps.

You might want to participate in our online HOME STUDY PROGRAM  where you will be able to work your own program using the DA Workbook and Manual (BIG BOOK). The online program works via emails and  correspondence that are set up between you and the sponsor.

You can find out more about this personal recovery effort by clicking onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications website  www.depressedanon.com. At the Site menu, you can use the drop down individual menu HOME STUDY PROGRAM, and learn how to order the materials and then start your own program using these two books. Trish, would be happy that you will find the serenity and hope that she has found.

Hugh

 

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.

 

“I gave up my negative thoughts one at a time.”

“It has been a year now since I gave up on those negative thoughts that I had over my lifetime.  I gave them up one at a time. It wasn’t like I dumped them all at once. It was like the people needed to show me a new life  and that I can be happy again. In the beginning, I thought the old familiar tapes that begun playing again . The old tapes saying that I was “stupid” began to play. But then I would attend Depressed Anonymous  meetings every week  and I would   go and find that I could use things that other people said at the meetings which would help me. That it was one place where you could go and be fully accepted for whatever you had to say, and someone else there said that they knew exactly what I was feeling.”

“For the depressed person, giving up old ways of thinking and acting is much like giving up any other addiction. At first letting go of the old behavior makes us feel uncomfortable. The old behavior wants to cling to our spirit like swamp mud hangs on to knee-high boots. ”

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

VISIT THE STORE for more literature pertaining to the Steps of DA and depression.

“I just wanted to be left alone.”

“I had good friends at work – I am well educated – two degrees behind my name.  I wasn’t fulfilled. My world was falling apart. I left counseling after things went  better.  I had a major loss about two and a half years ago. I lost a job and then another job. I purchased a home. I lost my job and I lost my girl. Bills were too much.  I wanted to be left alone. The burden was too unreal.  Stress and anxiety were beating up on me. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. I just wanted to be left alone to be isolated and bored.  It was tough. I was nasty and mean.”

____________________________________________________

Comment

How many of us have felt the way Bill felt? I bet most of us have felt this way. I have. But when you read the next part of Bill’s story tomorrow,  you’ll find out what he had to do to feel differently. And as you might suspect–he did find a way to feel better.

I remember  how it was when I was depressed. Getting out of bed was the biggest accomplishment of my day.  I had to force myself — I couldn’t afford to lose my job.

In time I discovered a way out. My recovery took time, work and support. I had the full support of my fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous. And now, 30 years later I still have the fellowship and all the necessary supports that I need to stay out of the prison of depression. If you are looking for an “easier and more comfortable way”  out of the quicksand of your depression–I hope you can find it. Most of us know it is not that easy. It’s a total body pain. It is analogous to having a tooth ache all over. A pain that won’t let up. For some, it turns into a life-threatening situation and ultimately the taking of one’s own life.

If there is  anything that I am most grateful for today it is the fact that I have found a powerful  program  with its 12 Steps and spiritual principles of complete recovery.  Our program comes with a complete set of “tools” provided for each and every one’s use. I have found, as does Bill now, that these “tools” are at my disposal every day of my life. By trying to live each day at a time, I have found my life is lived in the now. My life no longer is lived in the yesterdays or the future tomorrows.

NOTE

Put some sanity in your living today and read Bill’s whole account in DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (See Personal Stories).

“Just get on base!”

These few words are ones that all base ball players hear when they go to bat. “Just get on base.” If a team is to win the game they must get on base. They have to be able to score at home plate and rack up points needed to win the game.

In our world, we know that to recover from any problem, disaster or misfortune, we have to get back on our feet and get to work. The longer we wait to get the help we need the longer will we suffer with whatever ails us. In my own life, I know that this to be true. When I started to slide slowly down that slippery slope of sadness, I could feel, in an analogous way, my feet slipping out from under me. I was losing control. It was when I finally lost all control and could no longer get up the energy to do anything-except force myself to go to work- that I got on base. If I was to win this battle then I had to do something. It was when I admitted to myself that I was losing  it that I did something to help myself.

Because of my involvement in another 12 Step program of recovery I now knew that I had to admit that I was in trouble, physically, emotionally and every other  way. So, with the urgency that my situation demanded,  I got on base and started to walk miles every  day  I had to shake off this inner hollowness and jitteriness  that had my whole existence in its teeth. By remembering the 1st Step of the program, that “We admitted   that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Yes, my life was more than just unmanageable-I was  totally frozen in place. I could only think about me-what was happening to me? It was a brand new experience and totally foreign to me.   I always was “in control”   and now I was totally “out of control.” Something else was running my life. I felt like the proverbial prisoner locked down in the small confining cell of my despair.

To cut to the chase here, I finally got back to a feeling of lightness in my spirit, after having  walked miles for weeks. By admitting that I couldn’t go on the way I was, I made the  choice to do something.- get on  base (work the Steps of the program of recovery). With the help of my belief in a  Higher Power, God as I understand God, I finally got moving and got better. It was slow process of recovery but it worked.

I want everyone to know who is reading this now and feeling alone that there is hope for you too. It does take time and it takes work-there  are no magic wands waved over our head and presto! we are back on the playing field of life again. No, it takes time, work and a day by day, Step by Step  program of taking care of ourselves coupled with the belief that I too can get better. With that attitude you will not only get on base but you can win the game.

_____________________________________________

NOTE: If you would like to start your own program of recovery  having a roadmap out of your own prison of depression it would do you well to read the  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition Manual and the Depressed Anonymous  Workbook. These two excellent sources of self help are published by Depressed Anonymous  Publications and titled the HOME STUDY KIT.

To learn more about the helpful publications offered please VISIT THE STORE at this website, DEPRESSEDANON.COM.  You will be glad that you did.

Asking the right questions delivers some important answers!

QUESTION #1

”  Now that I have admitted  I am having a difficult time living I want to learn some new avenues that will make my life more enjoyable and much more livable.

Some of the major ways people help build the walls of their depression  are to consider themselves worthless, won’t allow themselves to be angry, they can’t forgive themselves or others, and they believe that  life is hard and death is worse. Also, they believe that since bad things happened to them in the past, bad thigs will happen to them in the future.”

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) DAP. Page 7. Question 1.2

Respond how you might relate to the statement above. The five immutable beliefs as Dorothy Rowe calls them, are part of so many persons depression and they aren’t even aware that these beliefs  have anything to do with their depression experience.

YOUR ANSWER HERE

QUESTION #2

” What kind of meaning do you need to find which would enable you to master your experience  and so allow you to get on with your life? “The Depression Handbook. Dorothy Rowe. Page 318.

YOUR ANSWER HERE

QUESTION # 3

” What  have you learned from your experience of depression which you feel would be helpful to other people?” Dorothy Rowe, in the Depression Handbook. Page 318.

YOUR ANSWER HERE

Stepping up to hope.

“I want to get well so badly…”

These words were spoken by Helen, who as an active member of Depressed Anonymous found that she was no longer alone. She tells us that  when a person wants relief from the pain and isolation of their depression that they will go to any lengths to find help.

She writes in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous the following testimony:

” I finally knew after two years or more of sleepless nights that someone had to help me. I found a card saying “Depressed Anonymous” in the back of the phone book. It had a phone number and that was all. I talked to the man on the other end of the phone. I said to myself, this man is too busy to talk with me, but anyway I made the first appointment myself. I made myself go. I thank God that I did. I thank God that I went for help. It was a whole new beginning for me. I wanted to  get well so badly. I think people do have to want to change. I went in with the attitude that I have to get well. I heard things about counselors that  scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in.

I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thoughts. I began to feel better and I continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous some weeks later.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________

You know, sometimes it takes just that one person with their liberating story of being freed from the isolation and pain of depression that we feel that there is hope for me. If it worked for Helen, it can surely work for me as well.  If you would like to read Helen’s working free of depression see the full account in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011).

Available at Depressed Anonymous Publications.