The 12 Steps are my North Star.

 

   “Depressed Anonymous means hope -as long as you want to get out of the pit of depression just start to believe that little voice which says “Yes,  I am hopeful. I will feel better too.”  The other members of Depressed Anonymous give me hope. Others have made it  out of the deep lonely pit of depression and so can I.  I choose to be happy even if I don’t feel happy right away. I am going to risk feeling different from this wretched sadness that I feel all the time.   I have nothing to lose – except my fear of the future.

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 old hurts and anger.  All I have is the now!  If I live in the now, I can begin 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 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, place, thing, 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 over 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 struggles against depression and admit our powerlessness over it we can begin to surrender to our Higher Power and practice letting go of it.  I can decide that I want to feel good again. 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 these 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 (see Tools of Recovery at Menu)  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 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 get. The Twelve Steps are my compass…”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. Pages. 34-35.

Women aware of their abilities and rights as human beings

“In our depression groups you can come and begin to get out some of those feelings accumulated over the years which have taken their toll on our lives by making us feel helpless and alone. Many women in our culture seemed to have imbibed a helpless feeling with their mother’s milk. As women become aware of their abilities and rights as human beings, they begin to experience the freedom that comes from being themselves and throwing aside rules and roles fashioned  by men and male mindsRecovery is being able to trust ourselves in exploring ways to feel emotions.

In most cultures, when males begin to depress themselves, they “numb out” and stuff their feelings of shame, hurt, or anger. Males are conditioned to not express in any intimate fashion these unpleasant feelings. One of the positive aspects of our support group is that men can come to our fellowship, share their tears, and know that this is acceptable behavior for any member of the group. What most males really want to do but don’t know how,  is to be intimate with others, sharing those deep feelings. From just an anecdotal account, normally at most Depressed Anonymous meetings there are as many men in attendance as there are women, even though the statistics tell us that women are more depressed than men. I too  believe that accounting is based on cultural conditioning as well. Women have learned how to talk about feelings more than men. Depressed Anonymous is an excellent group for men to not only learn new skills in intimacy, but helps them outgrow old patterns of negative thinking and behavior.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville. Ky.  P. 82-83.

 

The “before” and “after” stories of those who freed themselves from the tyranny of depression.

I just want to write a few thoughts this morning about the “before” and “after” experiences of group members  battles  with depression.  Before there was a Depressed Anonymous group for me to attend, where I could address my problems, I joined another 12 step program of recovery. It was at this meeting that I heard and saw people who shared their stories how it was “before”  they got into recovery and  the  “after”  now that they are living the recovery program.

The difference was like night and day. I could listen all day to a lecture on depression, alcoholism, overeating or any other addiction  and not be as moved as I am when I hear the actual person telling  their story of how life is  now by  actively participating in their own recovery. To hear the changes that have taken place in those many people whose lives had spiraled down into the darkness of isolation and hopelessness is a phenomenal  experience in itself.

Most of the books which serve as the basic text of 12 step groups such as Depressed Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, to name a few, all include many “before” and “after” stories of those who have suffered the loss of their self only to find that with the help of the spiritual principles of the Steps were they able eventually to share how  their lives had changed dramatically.   Their stories are simple, direct and filled with powerful accounts of  human beings who once were lost in the chaos of addiction,  but now have been freed,  living with hope and serenity.

Depressed Anonymous’ basic text  has its own “before” and  “after ” stories as well. All the stories, the “before” and “after” accounts,   give credit to the program of recovery which  has changed the thinking and lives of thousands of persons throughout the world.  I see  these stories manifesting  the miracle of the Higher Power, at work in those persons who made a decision to choose to walk that different pathway out of their addictions.  They then  tell those others “still suffering from depression” about the power  they have received.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.” Step Twelve of Depressed Anonymous.”

Sources:

Depressed Anonymous, recommends its basic text, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition for the many inspiring accounts of those persons who came to a meeting, like myself, heard what others had experienced and decided that to see how it worked for them.

Also another excellent publication with many “before” and “after”  stories is A MEDLEY OF DEPRSSION STORIES, by the founder of two Depressed Anonymous groups in North Carolina, Debra Sanford.  Her work is available at Amazon.com.

Depressed Anonymous Publications also has books available at depressedanon.com. VISIT THE STORE

Cleaning house: Steps 4 & 5.

AFFIRMATION

I know that I can be forgiven.

“Our moral inventory had persuaded us that all around forgiveness was desirable, but it  was only when we resolutely tackled Step Five that we inwardly knew we’d be able to receive  forgiveness and give it, too.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

In Step 5 we really get serious about our life and our thirst for freedom.  It is especially evident when we work this step that a new spirit of freedom penetrates the very fiber of our being. I know that it is when I look myself in the face, list and spell out each and every fault/defect that keeps me locked into my prison of depression. I can say with all truth and humility that I am more free now than I have  ever felt in my life because of my working the Fourth and Fifth Steps.  I am learning that what it takes to be set free from our painful past is the total honesty in speaking about it.

I gain forgiveness by giving it. When I release my anger or revenge toward another human being I am then free.

MEDITATION

God, please release in us our need to hang onto our guilt and anger. Cast your light on our pain and let us find peace. (Personal comments).

SOURCE:  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship  groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. pg 129.

(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous    Publications. Louisville. KY

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2009) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

To order ONLINE please VISIT THE STORE at this site.

“Help is on the way!”

 

Learning some creative ways   to deal with depression, based on one’s  own personal experiences utilizing the   power of the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous.  Our program is modeled after  the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Many times a person depressed will look for help from our website,  hoping that we have something that will give them relief and present for them  a positive solution.  We  do our best to help them with our solution focused approach to overcoming depression. Most are thankful to know that we are here and have developed various avenues for one’s own  recovery from depression.

To understand who we are and what we do, we always advise that the seeker read each   of the items listed on our website menu. We also  point them to past issues of our published  Newsletters in the Newsletter Archives.

Our readers are treated to timely posts at our website  center (www.depressedanon.cm) which include those topics which are most helpful to a person depressed as well as for one’s family members and friends.

Recently, we initiated an ongoing program of recovery for those persons who would like to start their own Depressed Anonymous group This program is one in which our DA members (SPONSORS) work collaboratively with those who choose this HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY.  The program enables the person desirous of learning more about depression and their own unique experiences,  to  communicate with their sponsor  by email. The participant   answers  questions from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook and reading  from the Basic text of Depressed Anonymous.    Each of the Twelve Steps is    reflected upon as it relates  to one’s life past and present. The participant’s responses are then emailed to the sponsor and a return mail by the sponsor  answers   those questions which the participant may have during the  course study of  their ongoing Home Study  Program. The best part of the Home Study is that you can go at your own pace and  get feedback from someone who has lived the program in their daily life!

If you choose to start a group that is entirely up to you and there is no obligation to initiate a group in your locality.

So there you have it. You may discover  things about yourself that you never know existed. And  whatever questions you might have about the origins of your own experience may come to light during this program. The best answers are there in your own life experiences and your taking the time to reflect upon them by using the DA WORKBOOK and the DA BASIC TEXT.

A participant will need the two books  mentioned above for the program of Home Study and these are used in the group program.  You can purchase both books as a unit   from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore as well as purchase the books as eBooks from the Depressed Anonymous  Publications Bookstore onsite at www.depressedanon.com.

If for whatever reason you are financially  unable to purchase these  books, please send me  an email (depanon@netpenny.net)   and we will contact you privately about the matter.  Our main concern is to get these positive materials in the hands of those who want a way out of the prison of depression.

For an explanation of the HOMNE STUDY PROGRAM in more detail please click onto the Website Menu and click onto the drop down menu labeled HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

 

 

Sisyphus and his rock.

There is an ancient Greek myth about a greedy King (Sisyphus)  from Corinth who was sent to Hades (hell) and who spent all eternity pushing a heavy rock up the hill, only to have the rock roll down again.

What do I make of this myth? What meaning can we give to it? What is its message?  And how can I relate it to my own life?

First of all, it has all sorts of meaning for all sorts of situations in my own life. I like to think of the story about Sisyphus and his rock much like my own story and struggles with the “rock” that I keep pushing up the hill. That rock was my struggle with  depression which  always seemed to be a part of my daily existence. Everyday, I just knew that it was time for me to face the rock and start pushing.   In time, the thought of facing another day with my hands on the rock gradually wore me down. I was exhausted.

I couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t think a coherent thought. My nerves were in revolt and my anxiety precluded any sort of activity that might help me escape my rock pushing. I began to feel hopeless and too helpless to walk away from this rock which was  chained to my mind, body and spirit.  I felt I had no choice but to get up and push the rock.

This started me to force myself to walk each day, and without thinking about the rock. It was like I was distracted from thinking about anything while I walked. And so in time, with my daily walks, I found that my rock grew smaller and smaller. And then one day, I reached the top of the hill without my rock. I was free. I felt free. I felt that my time in hell had ended.  (Read: I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications).

Over the years I have found other tools besides that of walking in dealing with my depression. I founded a group, called Depressed Anonymous, where all the various shapes and forms of Sisyphus could gather, share their hopes, and their  victories and discard their rocks. I knew that being all alone in one’s hell, made life even more unbearable. But with a group of persons together, all with their own situations and experiences could get the strength to find their way out of this rock pushing bondage  .

All in all, I have found that when you get together with others like yourself, and you share your stories, things start to change.  You finally feel accepted, and made welcome  as you share your own rock pushing over the years, months, even a lifetime. We all can check our “rocks” at the door as we discuss ways out of our misery,  week after week .

For more information please check out our stories in our manual Depressed Anonymous, which by the way, is written by those of us who have been depressed and are in recovery, attending Depressed Meetings week after week. And if there is no meeting in our community we can also participate in our Home Study Program of Recovery, accompanied by an online sponsor.

Click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for  learning more about who we are and what we do.  If you choose you can order online from our website at depressedanon.com.

Join us here everyday as we continue sharing our serenity and our hope online at our BLOG: Depressed Anonymous.

 

When I am “powerless” I feel out of control.

 

During my depression   I was “powerless“.  I no longer had the ability to bounce back from my ongoing ruminations about how bad I felt. The more that I tried to figure out why I was feeling so bad and horrible,  the intensity  deepened. The more that my thoughts circled around in my head the more despair I felt.  I felt hopeless. All I was able to do was lay down and sleep, hoping against hope that my anxiety and fear would disappear. But no, they only intensified my despair. I knew that I had to do something. I had to get my body in motion. I had to talk to someone. I had to DO something besides sit at home and think, think and think some more.

I gradually discovered that my  thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce moods and my  moods produce behaviors. In my case. the behavior was to do nothing, The one thing that I did do, was to begin to isolate from family and friends. This deepened my anxiety and frustration. I knew about talking with someone and so I contacted a friend who was in another 12 Step fellowship. We call these friends sponsors. And so it was in talking with a sponsor that I gradually dug myself out of the hole that I was in. I quit digging.

Today, at the present we have some persons who have decided to do something about their depression and pain–they have begun to participate in our HOME STUDY PROGRAM of recovery. This program is a one to one relationship with a sponsor. All one has to do is sign up  and contact us here at depressedanon.com. There are no fees or dues just a willingness to learn all they can about depression and their  own depression experience,   while  utilizing both  the Depressed Anonymous Manual and the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Both can be found by clicking onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore here at this website.

For more information as to how this Home Study works, please read more at Newsletters, the Antidepressant Tablet. You can read how Kim found us on her computer and is now engaged  in getting herself free of the shackles of depression.

She is longer powerless.

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+++For more information please contact me at  depanon@netpenny.net.

Widening the chinks in the armor of our denial.

When I was depressed, I gradually found myself  imprisoned behind the bars of hopelessness and helplessness.  My physical self, emotional self, thinking self and spiritual self all slowly retreated into the isolating darkness of  despair.

My whole life became consumed with  self bashing, guilt, shame and  self-pity.  I felt all alone. I didn’t want to be with anyone or do anything that would nudge me into some unwelcome activity.  And yes, others told me to walk, to say a prayer, do something fun, snap out of my doldrums and get back onto life’s playing field. Oh yea, all of this was said to be in my best interest. And the problem was that those who gave me all this wonderful advice were missing one important item, namely,  they didn’t have a clue how depression, the crippling illness that it is,  was shutting down my very willingness to live. For many it can be  life threatening.

In the darkness, the cycling  menacing  thoughts continued their hourly, minute by minute destruction of my identity and what I had found to be  meaningful for my life. The key to a meaningful and purposeful existence was lost –I was lost. It was like I had just abandoned myself to a self imposed prison sentence.

My first indication was a gradual weakening of a willingness to live with hope and spontaneity. I became joyless. The more I opened up my mind and took a closer look at what  I was thinking about,  I found that losing hold of the key to hope and what was happening to me, it wasn’t  long before  my continued introspection was  accompanied by  feelings of despair and pain. This experience became so cunning, baffling and powerful, that it was totally impossible for me to free myself from its complete domination of my living free.

And now let me tell you about finding the key that opened the door to a new horizon filled with a path that was filled with signs leading to a fellowship of persons like myself who were on the same path.

And so here is what I finally had to do to reverse the  plummeting into the hell of nothingness and annihilation. I no longer felt that the pieces of the puzzle about depression had control of my life. The more I took an active role in my recovery, like walking everyday and renewing my physical being, finding a fellowship of men and women who are using the 12 steps of recovery, I began to get my life back. By embedding myself and my mind and body  in this healthy fellowship, I was gradually able to enter through and repair the  chinks in my armor  and continue discovering how the process of my  own thinking and inactive physical life  gradually paralyzed me psychologically and  physically. I  had been  frozen with fear which enlarged  my isolation and helplessness.

Now that I understood how  the trajectory of the initial feelings of sadness,  completed my shutdown,  I understand how depression works its number on our bodies, mind and spirit, and I now know how to overcome and  gain a new  control of my life. I am free and alert always to those “red flags” which tell me  there is a landmine on the road ahead and so I dismantle it and continue on.  A landmine may be as simple as telling myself that I cannot get the energy to go to a Depressed Anonymous meeting, or talk to my sponsor when a thought of fear overtakes and begins to isolate me. I might also cut down on sharing my story with others and  provide another human being that there truly is a way out of depression. Been there and done that. Who knows more about depression than those of us who have been there and freed  from its  personal ravages of the human spirit. I also learn so much from people who like myself are always sharing the how of their recovery. I can also go to the Depressed Anonymous website www.depressedanon.com.,  where I can find story after story, one blog after another, giving us hope and strength. We tell ourselves “that If he or she can do our program of the 12 Steps of recovery so can I.”  Our 12 Step program of recovery is a simple one and by using the spiritual principles  that it offers, plus the fellowship, we can’t lose.

A “red flag” for many of us depressed is to begin to isolate ourselves from our family, friends and familiar activities.  Get involved! If there is no Depressed Anonymous group in your community you still can work and use the Depressed Anonymous HOME STUDY PROGRAM. The KIT uses two of the groups (written by those who have made the program their way out of depression) books: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.(2001)  These two works give the reader a sense of  hope and renewal. These books are coordinated with each other and if we want to understand the nature of depression and the tools that we use to overcome it, then you’ll find the HOME STUDY KIT  will work for you.

The HOME STUDY KIT can be ordered  online. Visit the STORE where you will find  other works  which will be helpful for your recovery.

 

 

 

 

With Depressed Anonymous I keep on an even keel.

 

Bill’s personal story of recovery.

“Before  Depressed Anonymous, I was paralyzed. I couldn’t even interview for a job. I had no confidence. I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. I would just mope around and never really get moving. I would pick fights with my mother. I didn’t know what to do with my anger and frustration. I didn’t know where to place my misguided fears.

But then I found a place. The depressed anonymous group. We were a small group at first. In this group, we all had a story, and we had to let it out. I thought that no one could be in as bad shape as I was in. I thought everyone was perfectly happy. We started the Depressed Anonymous group about a year ago. We took one step at a time.

Being depressed is like being in a deep dark hole with no one to turn to. Your friends don’t understand you. People around you don’t understand your mood changes. I was so lonely that I didn’t know what to do about myself. I just didn’t give a damn. Now my self-esteem is up. I finally believed in myself. Depressed Anonymous had given me all that back. My attitude is positive. Right now, I feel as if I’m in recovery. I still go to the group because without the group, I get argumentative, and with the group, I keep on an even keel.”

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A personal story of recovery  from a member of a Depressed Anonymous group.

Copyright(c) DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS,   3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pg.151.

Being depressed means isolation.

How do I know if I’m depressed?

“Being depressed means isolation – and being cut off from everybody and everything.  It is like being in prison, like a pit where the walls are like soft clay and I cannot climb out. To me the isolation is pre-hell and often I feel so dead inside.  There is an awful feeling, that hole in my soul which is like a clenched fist.   I don’t know where to turn with all the pain and hurt. I can’t imagine anyone hurts the way I do and I hope no one does. I would never want to inflict this pain on anyone, so I tried to hold it inside and it seems like it’s too much to bear, especially alone. This is where Depressed Anonymous comes in – this is where powerlessness and God come in. There was no one to help, even to try to understand before Depressed Anonymous. No one wanted my pain  and others started  to avoid me.  I understand better now, especially since I’ve been around Depressed Anonymous via Hugh and the book Depressed Anonymous,3rd edition and the journaling I’ve done. My hope is that I will be more at peace and will try to use the  specific tools which continue to be  great helps in overcoming depression while  giving me  hope —  just for today.”

Source:  Mary C, Sterling Heights, Michigan.

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

Visit the Store for more information on Depression and the use of the 12 Steps.