“To live is to participate.”

“Our Depressed Anonymous program of recovery is one of hope and peace.  The more active I become in my efforts to think and act positive the more confident and free I become.” The TWELFTH WAY to leave the prion of depression. An excerpt from Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“It is recommended that if you want to be helped by our program of recovery it is best to go to at least six meetings before you make any long term commitment to whether or not the group is for you. Just  as it has taken time to get ourselves depressed, in some cases it may be a lifetime…There is a Swahili saying that states
to live is to participate.” How true this is especially if you happen to be depressed. One of the things we want to do when depressed is hide and isolate ourselves. We don’t want anyone to bother us. We want to be left alone….You will  start feeling different about yourself the more meetings you attend. In time you will be taking the focus off yourself as you listen how others are showing improvement of mood and behavior and you will discover that they are much like yourself. You are not alone. You begin to hope again.”

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Give yourself the opportunity to attend a meeting and hear how others, much like ourselves, are feeling better. Gradually, for those who keep coming back to the meetings, week after week, will begin the journey out of the prison of depression . Wouldn’t you like to try it?

The risk of being willing to change!

“When you and I begin to work on our life’s journey and start to make this list of people we have resentments against, and begin to forgive them, then this is the beginning of my making things right in our life. You might now be feeling better for the first time in your life as you continue to make a conscious effort to take responsibility for your sadness.  You realize the effort to take responsibility for your sadness.  You realize that you no longer want to stay depressed but instead are willing to risk feeling better (differently). This is taking the risk of being willing to change.

When a person stops smoking there is a residual craving for nicotine, and the craving is most painful for the first weeks after quitting the addiction.  Gradually over time, and due to being able to say no to the impulse to smoke  you feel stronger and so the painful withdrawal becomes less intense.  The same applies to the addiction of depression in that at first it’s sad thoughts, but with time and working our Twelve Steps and our active involvement  with the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous  we have the strength to say no to these sad thoughts and begin to choose hope and serenity instead,.”

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

SINGLE HOUSEHOLDS IN AMERICA INCREASED 10% BETWEEN 1970 AND 2012. (us census)

I sometimes believe that the rise in single person households in the USA might either be the cause of a rise in Depression or at least show a correlation between these two  variables. I  believe that our modern culture helps produce the human monad or let’s say, a human nomad rootless and alone. As the reality of a person isolated and alone can many times enkindle  a personal sadness and atrophied social skills, we might be able to deduce from this that an  individual could be setting themselves up for episodes of depression. Our modern mass culture, dedicated as it is to being a consumer of things and stuff (cf. George Carlin), and being part of a homogenized society with its focus on appearance, affluence and acceptance (cf. Mary Pifer’s work REVIVING OPHELIA: Teenage girls and depression), we find  the  isolated monad, in a society dominated by the pursuit of wealth, ( most of society struggling to make ends meet, working part time and low wage jobs) so why wouldn’t a person find themselves depressed.

I also think that most of us desire a life with meaning. A life that has purpose bigger than ourselves. But the more walls we butt our heads against, trying to find meaningful work, or any work and just wages, the deeper the pit of our frustration grows

Today in this age of an ever changing technology,  more of us might find ourselves  like the wandering nomad in a desert, no longer provided with guideposts directing us on a way out of our isolation and alienation from ourselves and our society. There is always another NEW and IMPROVED gizmo, for consumers to salivate over, marketed 24/7 on all our electronic devices.  And, not surprisingly, the message is to always have the right appearance so to  fit into all the right social groups; accepted by the all the right cliques  of people;  to live in the right affluent neighborhood (usually always more than our income allows).

Finally, when the bubble of our chase leads to a loss of self, and our bubble of isolation bursts, we either admit we are on the wrong path or we continue to deepen the pit of our own isolation and sadness.  To this end, speaking for myself, we begin the search for the real deal, where people are really themselves, warts and all. We want to  become part of that society (fellowship) larger than ourselves, where we now have a purpose motivated life. We now are neither monad or nomad but part of a group of men and women who live a life filled with hope and serenity. The chase has ended. What do you think?

Hugh

LONG TIME ESCAPISTS

AFFIRMATION

I will not be afraid of the shadows in my life and my personality, but I will face them and look at them and find serenity.

“They knew what to do about those black abysses that yawned to swallow me when I felt depressed or nervous. There was a concrete program, designed to secure the greatest possible inner security for us long time escapists.  The feeling of impending disaster that had haunted me for years began  to dissolve as I put into practice more and more of the Twelve Steps. It worked. ” (1)

 CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am now having more periods of serenity and quiet as I begin to work the Steps of my program and trust more in my Higher Power. I know that my God is there right now waiting to help me through this time of sadness  and disease.  I believe that my help is coming from a  power greater than myself. I know that it is never to my advantage to run away from my problems or hide from the fact that I need to construct a new way to look at myself.

When you are depressed you are not even aware of the fact that you are unconsciously making an effort to escape from your sadness as this running away that we do is so subtle and so chronic.  Now that I know that I am responsible for setting myself free from my depression the more I am going to face my fear, anxiety and loneliness. I no longer intend to escape my responsibility  for myself, my serenity and happiness. Only I can make myself happy.

MEDITATION

Our fears began to dissolve once we begin the process of believing in this power greater than ourselves. We no longer put our trust  in the sadness that appeared to us to be like a God in that it was all powerful and all important. It ruled every moment of the day. It also comforted us with its predictability.  We are, today, choosing a God who loves us and will lead us into the promised land of hope and security.

SOURCE:  HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE. JULY 14.

LIFE CAN BE GOOD FOR A CHANGE. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP!

” I am writing this information with the hope that it will help anyone who is suffering from depression that is brought on by stress, anxiety, loneliness, physical or mental emotions, death or insecurity.

I am a thirty-four year old single female, who has been suffering from depression for a long time.  Most of my depression was brought on by feelings of insecurity, such as not being able to express my inner feelings, such as being controlled by a dominating parent, loneliness, stress, workaholic, anxiety attacks  (related to work and everyday pressures of living), too much sleep, nervousness, lack of motivation, being tired all the time, sadness, weight gain,. digestive problems, a feeling of being trapped, self-consciousness, not trusting myself, dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life, withdrawal from family, or loss of interest in meeting with the opposite sex.

It seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous(502.569.1989).   The Depressed  Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual have provided me with the tools to live without being depressed.  Most important of all, the  Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power) will give me strength to deal with my depression and get  on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps, has taught me that I am not alone. And that I am not the only one who is suffering from depression. It has taught me to believe more in my Higher Power and to let it handle my depression.

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support on how to cope with depression.   By letting my Higher Power help me, I am beginning to feel free from depression.  I am not so nervous and tenses up. My Christian inner faith is getting stronger. I am not so stressed out and I am beginning to get confidence within myself.  I still have trouble with sleep pattern and I am getting some motivation back. I have learned how to handle anxiety by getting some motivation back.  I have learned how to handle anxiety by taking deep breaths while I am nervous or troubled.  This was suggested by my therapist.  I am also learning how to stand  up for myself.

All these  new tools have helped me and will continue to do so.  They also taught me not to dwell on my past, to live life one day at a time, and to look toward the future, but not live there.  It will take a long time to deal with depression, but I am glad  that these tools are available.  Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up!.

-Anonymous

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SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition). (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 148-149.  # 29 of Personal Stories

GETTING A GRIP!

AN AFFIRMATION FOR TODAY

Just for today, I intend to believe and hope that my relaxing my hold on life will give me, paradoxically, a better grasp (grip) on where I need to be in life.

“I still get scared, I don’t know where I am going or what I want anymore, or what life will throw up at me next, but, for the first time in my life, there is no rigid life-plan, and I have been forced to take, and enjoy, one day at a time.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

After admitting that I am depressed I can very truthfully say that I now need to get on with my life and work.  I want to admit as well that the Higher Power will not let me travel down any roads that I need not travel.  Even though there are always a few bends in the road along the way, I will still trust in my God to get me where I need to get. I also know that by attaching myself to my God’s leading I cannot go wrong.

By the time I was almost a year old, I already knew who I wanted to attach myself to as well as I knew who I wanted to withdraw from.  Is it possible that early on childhood frights are still unconsciously scaring the wits out of me today.  I need to live in the solution and attach myself to what has worked for me in the past when I got myself out of depression.

MEDITATION

Just our surrendering our will to you, our God, gives us the liberty to attach ourselves to new and hopeful ways of reflecting about our lives.

SOURCE: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999)   Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 40217. Pages 83-84. April 25.

HAVING A NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE

THE NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE

I was in the middle of working my way out of the fog of my melancholia(depression) when suddenly I felt a lift in my spirit. It felt so strange, this feeling of deliverance. It was the way I was before my disabling sadness imprisoned me. I was always a cheerful and upbeat sort of guy and in the blink of an eye,  I was thinking the pain was over. Not so quick I thought–“this won’t last”. Right on. It didn’t. So, I continued my 5 mile walk through the mall and wondered about this near-life experience that I just had.  It was back to that deadly hollow feeling in my gut  with thoughts that traveled through my brain like cold molasses.

Because I didn’t have a clue what was happening to me physically, mentally and even spiritually, I knew something, whatever that something was had almost completely disabled  me. It was torture to even force myself out of bed. I resented folks who were laughing and having a good time. And this intolerable hollow feeling inside of me continued eating away at me until I thought I would die. I knew I had to keep my job and keep on keeping on. My face became a mask. Inside I was dying. On the outside my persona continued as the nice guy, the upbeat and positive guy. My face turned me into a liar.

Gradually though, my very brief brush with a light feeling, a near-life feeling, became a life once known as a very welcome old friend. The hollowness disappeared. My inside feelings were the same that was on my face.

People talk about having a near- death experience. You know, the light at the end of the tunnel –being in another dimension and then suddenly coming back to the fact that you are not dead–and that you are alive. Most times this experience–this out of body experience makes you appreciate the time that you do have left to live and love others. You now have a full life.

Basically, this is what happened to me when I was so depressed I thought I was losing my mind, everything. I was living life but not on all six cylinders. Now, after coming out of my prison of depression and using the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps  for my own recovery my life is no longer just a near-life experience-it is a full  life filled with fellowship friends  and  hope.

Are  you wishing for a full life, filled with hope and serenity?  You can have it. As it says in the PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, #7 “We now have less concern about self and gain interest in others.”

Read about the full life that is available for you @  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3RD EDITION (2013) .DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY.

TODAY IS ALL I HAVE.

AFFIRMATION

I can live each moment as it comes. I can live only in today. Today is all I have.

“Try to work out which is your habitual response to change which you see as dangerous, so that as you dare to explore you don’t suddenly find yourself running away to the safety of old ways, or resisting the new ideas with old prejudices.( 3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I find that when I am depressed I find all the comfort in the predictable and the familiar.  Right now, I am in battle for my life and I am going to stay and work things out. My feelings are agitated and make me feel very uncomfortable, but I know that it is only by feeling them and accepting them (not run away) that I will, and can in time, begin to taste the freedom of a new me beginning to be born.  I believe that by desiring change, this desire will produce a greater motivation in my self to think and feel differently.

This is an important concept when I am depressed. I desire the safety of the familiar and the predictable.

MEDITATION

God, help me to live in the peace and the serenity  of the present moment. And let us be aware of the moment when we begin to depress ourselves.  Alert us to the moment that we can CHOOSE to turn our minds to something more constructive.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days(c). (March 17).

I CHOOSE TO LIVE IN MY SKIN AND FEEL MY FEELINGS TODAY.

AFFIRMATION

I choose to live in my skin and feel my feelings today.

ALAN WATTS SAID, “THERE IS NEVER ANYTHING BUT THE PRESENT, AND IF ONE CANNOT LIVE THERE, ONE CANNOT LIVE  ANYWHERE.” (3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

To live in the present is difficult because usually when I am depressed I live in the faults, losses, guilt, and shame world of the past. The horrible past with all its hurts, imperfections and sins make it impossible but for me to live in yesterday.

I am gradually learning how to live, one day at a time. I am also picking up on how to see the red flags that pop up in my mind whenever I have a thought, or an action that indicates a need to sad myself. I have to admit defeat over what  happened yesterday, accept myself for today and just thank God that I am alive and that I can choose to feel differently right now.

I accept the present as my only dwelling place . I find that the more I am in touch with my present feelings, the more I can grow into a healthier human being.

MEDITATION

God you told us that we had enough troubles today and that we didn’t need to live in tomorrow.  Our depression will be diminished the more we take charge of our lives today, utilizing your guidance that we receive in quietly listening to your voice.

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SOURCE: Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups.

A SYMPTOM OF DEPRESSION IS THAT I THOUGHT I WAS LOSING MY MIND!

I thought I was losing my mind. Why?  Well, when I was depressed, when I tried to read something–anything, I found to my surprise that I couldn’t retain information that I just read. In fact I would have to go back and re-read what I had just read. After awhile it seemed futile trying to read anything and retain it.  And here is the catch– this is where I got scared–no, not just a little bit worried–I was shaken. It was as if I lost my short term memory completely. I wondered what was going on in my brain? Was I suffering from some rare neurological disease or what? As it turned out I was also completely washed out. I couldn’t wait to get home after work and go to bed.  And another thing is that if I saw someone laughing or having a good time — I hated it! What right did they have enjoying life when all I could feel was the pain of my melancholia. I was helpless and hopeless. I felt out of control plus unable to manage anything for myself that I would consider positive.

Quite a composite of symptoms all telling me that something was not right. But what was the answer? What could all this mean?

So, I  decided to move my body and get out everyday and put some miles on my feet. Get some exercise. Get the blood flowing to my brain and wherever else it needed to go. Since these events were something new to me I didn’t really know what I had. I just knew I needed to do something–so, walking seemed my best bet. Over a year’s time it worked its healing and slowly my cognitive abilities returned.  I began to feel more in control and a lightness came  to me which had slowly evaporated a year previous.  What I am trying to share with you here is that when and if these symptoms make up part of your living experience, just know that they won’t last forever.

One of the many treasures of the Depressed Anonymous group is that when I tell my story with all my crazy physical symptoms, and how over time they gradually left me, it is here that members  of our fellowship knew they had come to the right place for help. They are no longer alone. And, they have a toolbox of skills, thanks to those who share their stories of recovery and how they too are no longer depressed. My story is their story!