Some days I feel like my life is like that small boat on the ocean. I watch as the swirling waves and the thunderous noise of waves and wind wash over me. I watch as my small boat takes on water. No land is in sight. What to do? I pray. Have you ever had these feelings of helplessness? Well, let me tell you, I have had this experience more than I would like to admit.
One time in my life, one very difficult time for sure, I thought that my boat was sinking and that there was no recourse –no land in sight. This is when that deadening feeling of melancholia (depression) –like the Pac Man arcade game – began to chew me up. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what exactly. The time to row, so to speak, was when I couldn’t get myself out of bed and knew that I had to get to land, get my body moving, the best way that I could. I had to keep rowing.
Gradually, by walking everyday, and forcing myself to do what I didn’t want to do, like exercise, I gradually regained my balance. And after a year of this activity (rowing) I began to notice that the wind howling around me gradually subsided. My boat was still afloat and I could see land. Safety. This all happened almost thirty years ago.
It was then that my 12 Step life began. Now, with each new day, before the sun pops up over the horizon, my day begins with prayer and the centering of my thoughts. In our program of recovery we call this a meditation experience. I then read the Higher Thoughts for this day. I also read the Depressed Anonymous book, plus entering thoughts in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. All this is accomplished in that first hour of the day. I feel like I truly am now on solid rock. And it’s like I take these morning thoughts and with them begin my day. With Step Two … I “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” So this morning, I continue to “make a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as we understand God to be.”
Turning my life over to to the care of God doesn’t mean I lay back and see what God is going to do…no, it means that I do my work and God will do his. And so I keep on rowing. Grab an oar!
Yes, what we believe about ourselves can and does make all the difference in the world. Yesterday we were sharing how certain people, places, situations and things have had power over our lives. Even those earlier and long forgotten relationships with significant others are still kicking around in our psyche’s.
As we continue to work through these relationships and attitudes about ourselves (less than) the following quote from our Depressed Anonymous Workbook says it best:
” We have given ourselves over to the belief that this growing feeling of helplessness is what must govern our lives, moods and behavior. We have given it license to run roughshod over every part of our life and over our relationships. Most people can’t see inside us and discover the pain that makes up every waking moment. For the most part we are able to hide how miserable we feel.” Depressed Anonymous Workbook, Step 2/ Page 12.
What power have you given over to others that you are willing to reclaim? And speaking of power–what Power greater than yourself are you able to turn to when you feel hopeless and helpless? And this power, has it been able to help you feel more in control of your life? Just some things to ponder today.
What do you give your power to in your own life today? What can help you to greater sanity?
Various powers have played a critical role in our lives in the past. If you wish, please name and list the people, places, situations, and things that have exerted the greatest power over you and your life in the past. These places, persons, situations and things can have a positive or negative power over you and your life. Please list below.
Depressed anonymous Workbook/ Depressed Anonymous Publications/Page 11/ Step Two.
In tomorrow’s post we will list some of the thoughts about Step 2 and how our beliefs can produce sanity in our lives.
We all enjoy taking part in quizzes and surveys. At least I do. It’s pretty much a challenge to see how much we know or don’t know. By doing the quiz we possibly learn just a little bit more about whatever the subject may be, even though we might not answer all the questions correctly. In a certain fashion we have clarified a bit of our thinking about a certain subject.
Clarification of thought is a most difficult process when It comes to a mind swallowed up by depression, is confused, darkened with fog and just extremely exhausted. Many of us wanted to think our way out of depression, as if our will power could push open that prison door which continued to keep us locked up. Will power is useless initially. What we do need is a fairly straight forward and simple approach to getting at the genesis of our sadness. Along the way of the clarification process we find out and discover more of who we are, how we got to be where we are and what to do now that we know what we got and how we got here. For one, I don’t believe that that paralyzing feeling of melancholia just drops out of the sky and hits me on the head and knocks me down. So, I start with where I believe it all gets started. The pain is inside of me so I have to start there!
After getting some physical stamina back into my life I began to ask myself some questions–each as it pertains to the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous. I used a process which I called the clarification of thought process. How I was thinking about myself and speaking to myself needed to be examined to see how much of my thinking got me to where I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.
Today, if you would like to join with me, I will, pose a few questions about your own experience with depression and then you can evaluate how that affects your life today.
1. When you feel depressed what do you say to yourself?
2. What action or behavior do you do when you feel this way?
3. Does it promote more isolation or being more connected?
We are using the Depressed Anonymous Workbook to help us work through the questions that will help us all clarify our thinking and thus gradually free us from the mystery of what keeps us in bondage. Continue your program of recovery using the Clarification of thought process and you will find a key that will present to you the ” courage to change what you can.”
In order for us to escape from depression we need to be aware of the process of how people change. That process for change is of the nature of a spiral instead of a straight line. In other words, now that we are willing to risk feeling differently we have been gearing up to improve our situation. In other words we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.
As we illustrated yesterday there is a process of how a person chooses to change. First comes an Awareness stage. Then comes the Motivating stage. A Doing stage is then put into motion, and finally we have the Maintaining stage where a person continues to do all that is necessary to sustain and be responsible for positive changes.
In the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK, it asks the participant to apply all of these four stages as antidotes to those character defects which may keep us imprisoned in our prison of depression. Today we want to examine the character defect of BLAMING. Now let’s put to use our formula of the four stages. Today, I am going to share just one of the four stages with the example of BLAMING. For me, being aware meant that not only was I aware of what I was doing to cause me to heap blame after blame on myself but much later I discovered through Step Four of Depressed Anonymous the many good things that I had going for myself. I learnt that working the Steps is a gradual process developed for changing myself.
(1) AWARE. Now that I have admitted I am powerless over my depression and that it serves no purpose to blame myself for my depression and bashing myself with daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. Now I am: (1) AWARE of my need to discover what there is about myself that I do find acceptable and wholesome?
Tomorrow, we apply the Motivating stage to our BLAMING. Then this will be followed by a segment on the Doing stage. Finally, the Maintaining stage will be considered. I hope to meet with you again tomorrow.
My thoughts: I share my own thoughts here. When my whole body became physically incapacitated and I could hardly get out of bed of a morning. My whole insides felt hollow and a strong, vague feeling that something was totally wrong inside of me. I felt full of “jitters” and anxiety. I was totally clueless as to what monster had me in its clutches. I had to admit that I needed help. I was powerless. I was not only AWARE I was scared. Know what I mean? If you do, please comment. So how do you change? Can you admit what is possibly keeping you depressed? Hugh
We have entered the world of the spirit
From the AA Big book
“…We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past (Steps 4 & 5) . We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for a lifetime (Step 12) . Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code…Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee? Thy will (not mine) be done.” These are the thoughts which must go with us constantly. We can exercise our will power along this line all we wish. It is the proper use of the will.
THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK Step 10 Question for personal reflection #10. 12. Page 76.