What happened?

+++   Recollections from the founder of Depressed Anonymous +++

“There was nothing I could do to shake those horrible and painful feelings. My mind was unable to focus on or to concentrate on anything. My memory was affected and it was impossible to retain anything I tried to read. With each new day, I felt my strength ebbing away. I was physically and emotionally drained. I knew that something was wrong – what was it?

The answer to those  question seemed to lie within all the losses that I had acquired over the past months.  I had slipped down into the slippery and dark world known only to someone who has ben depressed. I had to do something besides talking to break out of depression. I had to change the way that I had lived my life. First I had to admit that my life was out of control. I was powerless to overcome my symptoms of depression by will power alone. I needed to believe in a power greater than myself. I had to have a spiritual experience. Having been in the ministry for may years, I thought I had a deep spiritual experience, but I seemed to have lost it along the way.

I began to walk five miles a day inside a mall near my home to shake this awful feeling of emptiness that had taken over my life. I set myself this goal to force myself to walk until  I starter to feel better. This was about a year following that day in August when I felt myself slipping into  the abyss. After doing this exercise of walking day after day,   I began to feel a little better. But then the old message came back and said “yes, but this good feeling won’t last.”  Then I knew that since I had good days before that depression, I could have a good day again. I went on walking, and within time, I walked my way through the fog that had imprisoned me.

But I had to do the work!   Did my symptoms have me imprisoned or did the meaning that I had created in my mind about my life have me imprisoned? I believe it was the meaning I had given to those losses in my life  that gradually threw me to the ground, hog tied  me, and wouldn’t let me go. I had to believe that somehow my walking gave meaning to the belief that I wasn’t going to let these feelings of helplessness beat me down. I just believed that I was going to beat this thing! I learned a great lesson here in that “motivation follows action.”

SOURCE :Copyright(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY  Pg. 21.  (Autobiographical sketch of the founder of Depressed Anonymous, Hugh S., in Evansville, Indiana in 1985.)

Pray, but keep your oars in the water.

I love this Russian saying. How true it is that if we keep rowing,  keep  praying and believing that God can and will provide his peace for us, we will in time discover that this is not just wishful thinking but reality. The more we take care of ourselves, admit that we need help,  ask this power greater than ourselves to lead us out of our darkness,  the God of our understanding will take us where we want to go.” Move the body and the mind will follow ” is especially true when it comes to our self enforced isolation. To get well we have to move, we have to put our oars in the water and row if we ever want to reach the shores of peace and serenity.

We believe that we already have the map laid out for us in the 12 spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous that can  take us  to  a land of hope and fellowship. And if we feel we have run aground on the shores of ruin and desolation we now know we can go where others just like us have gone and find a new life.

“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves  could restore us to sanity.”

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

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