Hibernation works for bears!

 

One of the situations that develop for those of us who are depressed is to isolate. To hole up. To hibernate.  This of course works for bears –but just makes things worse for those of us who are depressed. Isolation from life causes a fracture–a disconnectedness from others and our daily activities. We find that we are gradually slowing down–withdrawing from others and choosing to be alone rather than being connected. Our minds  go round and round choosing to do nothing,  circling around like a dog chasing its tail,  rather than finding solutions. Basically, isolation is our solution.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

A mantra that needs repeating in our minds is to tell ourselves that we need to move our bodies if the mind is to break free from the chains of immobility. Move the body and the  mind will follow.  Once we have committed ourselves to   get physically moving the more the mind will challenge our isolation and inactivity. At first we will have that ongoing debate inside ourselves telling ourselves “I’ll do it when I  feel better.” I know,  I’ve been there.

I am going to keep myself physically fit.

“Keeping physically fit! It is a must for us, who are and who have been depressed.  Walking not only restores harmony to the body, it likewise restores my self-esteem and self-confidence.”

Try walking. It costs nothing. No gym fees or dues.  Walking can make a difference for those of us who find ourselves with our thoughts of suicide, despair and hopelessness. In the very act of walking, I move outside  the narrow and limited circle of my life and move into relationships with other people, places, and situations. Walking releases mood elevating chemicals in my blood  and like others, may cause me to feel a slight elevation of mood. Walking also helps distract me from the ever present round of negative thinking that continues to oppress me.

With time and perseverance, I discover that exercise not only reduces physical tension in my life, but it also makes it possible for me to feel better about myself.

For me to feel good about myself, I have to first want to like myself. I want to attempt to live just for today and not be concerned about what if this , or what if that happens. I am deciding today, that for me to feel better, I must get active and exercise.

God will help us and motivate us to get out into the world of fresh air and the diverse beauty of creation so that we may enjoy God’s goodness manifest itself all around us.

***

Please click onto the TOOLS FOR RECOVERY menu here at the website.  See items EXERCISE and BEING in NATURE.

SOURCE: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days” 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky. Pages 222-223. November 8.

  I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous  Publications.  Louisville.

Live for today–yesterday is gone forever and tomorrow isn’t here yet.

AFFIRMATION

I am going to begin a program today that includes daily exercise, proper nutrition and the right amount of sleep.

“When we are under stress, our auto-immune system, which fights off all the noxious agents which makes us ill, ceases to operate efficiently. This is why people who are depressed get so many bouts of colds, flu and worse.  What makes any illness   worse is that, because you don’t value yourself, you don’t look after yourself properly and you don’t seek the help that you need.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I want to believe that the more I take care of myself, the less likely I am going to be a victim of my own negative stress. I do want to take good care of myself and be healthy. So often in the past, I would worry, be tense, and continually fret about what happened yesterday. I would try to live in tomorrow with all  its own trials and tribulations as well. I never had much luck just trying to live in the present moment. If I want to start feeling better, then I have to live in today.

There is good stress and bad stress. Good stress challenges us to live each day with enthusiasm and hope as we go about our daily routine. Bad stress is  that which causes us to worry, be concerned about things that we have no control over and generally causes us to feel tired. By following our Twelve Step program of recovery, we discover that our life can have hope and purpose.

MEDITATION

We believe that the God of our understanding make it possible for us to gradually eradicate our need to worry and distress ourselves. I am like an  addict who continually needs to medicate those feelings of helplessness and hopelessness by saddening myself when things look bleak and out of control. With the help of my Higher Power, I believe that I can begin to feel better as I take the proper means to take care of my physical health.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships. (1998) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.KY. August 8th.

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.)

Mastery is what we regain

KEEP PHYSICALLY FIT!  IT IS A MUST FOR US WHO ARE AND WHO HAVE BEEEN DEPRESSED. MY WALKING NOT ONLY RESTORES HARMONY TO THE BODY BUT IT RESTORES MY SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-CONFIDENCE.

THE SIXTH WAY TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION: AN EXCERPT

“One of the major areas to remember when someone says that they are depressed is to recommend that they get some physical exercise. So many times when we find that we are depressed, feel listless and lacking energy we tend to recoil from any activity that attempts to force us out of our isolation and inactivity.  At one time in our lives, any task or type of activity, even the smallest might have been cause for happiness and a continual life of productivity. When we are depressed , we just want to lie down and sleep. We feel that we have no mastery over our life, thoughts and future. What  we forget is that this is the nature of depression. We believe that there is no use in getting active because we just can’t get the energy to  attempt anything that requires  positive response. No use to get active –I won’t like what I am going to do anyway.  When we are depressed we know that our body’s  metabolism slows down and we lose interest in almost all those hobbies and activities previous to our depression,  which brought us happiness.

Mastery is what we regain when we force ourselves to get out of bed, get going and start an exercise program on a regular basis.” (Our lives might depend on it).

______________________

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 33-36.

How to live outside the box? The depression box!

If you really want to begin to “live outside the box“, a description of what the box feels like and looks like might be helpful to you.  First of all, a box has an identifiable shape. It is a box mainly because it contains something–whatever that might be. And when we speak of the subject of depression, we talk about depression having us boxed in. The box as it is used here, in this context is a metaphor for feeling enclosed and which there is no exit. It is like being trapped or like in a prison.

Now, in order to live outside the box we want to live creatively, which means  that we are having to learn  how to live outside the box. Now, if you  find  this hard to believe -stick with me now  as I will explain what I mean.

Just briefly, my own experience with depression can be used as an example. First of all, when I was depressed I thought that I was losing my mind. The box that I put myself in was getting more restricting by the day and making my life hell. I could see no way out. I was trapped. What could I do I asked myself?  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t just will these feelings and scary  thoughts away–like taking a broom and brushing them out of my life. No matter which way I turned I hit a wall. With no answers forthcoming on how to keep my head above water, my body slowly  was being sucked down into  the quicksand of despair. The thought came to me, much like that small glimmer, a tiny light so far away, but nevertheless  a light. It was  like the lighthouse which with its  intense brightness warns seafarers that rocks were nearby and to be watchful before approaching. My mind began to race here and there for a way out of the box and then it hit me —   get moving. Move the body. Get busy.  The key out of this prison was already in my hand. And now, those of us here in the Depressed program of recovery,who have been putting “out of the box” ideas to work in our daily lives, we want to share what has worked for us and we know, if you actually use them for your own recovery, they are  bound to  ultimately free you. That is the promise I share with you today.

The following activities,  listed below  are some of  the tools that will get you “out of the box” when you get serious about using them.

I think taking a close and personal look at the following tools will not only help you get  “out of the box” but can be tools that you will be able to utilize, day after day as you continue your recovery.

  1. Exercise is a great tool if you happen to be depressed.
  2.  Getting out into nature will also help put your mind on beauty and your surroundings.
  3. Overcoming fear is also a great place to learn how to get out of the box. Learn about “first fear” and “second fear.” Fear doe seem to be at the center of our life when depressed.
  4. Recite the “SERENITY PRAYER” as often as you need it.
  5. The present. Staying in the now.
  6. Making use of the God box. This is an exercise, a simple one at that, which helps us learn the discipline of “letting go.”
  7. Feelings need to be examined and expressed. We will look at why expressing feeling is  so important,  instead of having them bottled up and causing all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
  8. Disable negative thinking: learn how to short circuit negative thoughts when they pop into our minds.
  9.  Reading Depressed Anonymous literature and all material on the subject of depression.
  10. Learn how we all have choices. We make those decisions that bring us closer to freedom–not those that continue to imprison and box us.
  11. Journaling is a great tool for writing down what has been our experience for the day.  It helps to clarify our thinking and puts things into perspective.

NOTE

In the next post, I will begin placing attention on each of the eleven ideas listed above.  Gradually we can take time to evaluate  our response to each individually and make our own notes as how to use these recommended ideas  for our own recovery.

Hugh

I WILL NOT MAKE A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION FOR 2015.

It is no wonder that after all these years that I have finally got smart. How many times have I made  a resolution to do this or do that and most often as not I couldn’t make it past the first week without falling on my face. So is NOT making a resolution, in fact making a resolution? Well, I think yes it is. I Can’t win!  But don’t you think not doing something is easier that trying to do something that could be challenging and even uncomfortable. And I say to myself, “myself, yes, right on!”

For instance let’s say that I make a resolution  to get up out of bed and do an exercise activity to get my day started. I am making a resolution to do this three times a week. So far so good. I just know from what I read and from other folks who exercise how helpful this is to  put some of our depression symptoms in the back seat. And then we decide that Monday is the day we start our program of exercise.  And Monday comes and we decide that today is too soon to start and we tell ourselves we’ll do it when we feel better. Right now,  we tell ourselves, I am just to tired to do any activity at all today. So there goes the resolution.  So, now we wait for Wednesday to get started.  And on and on the resistance to do anything to overcome our depression symptoms goes by the wayside.

Another scenario is from my own past. When I became depressed I really didn’t have a clue what was going inside of me but I knew something wasn’t right. I could hardly force myself out of the bed in the morning–couldn’t wait to get off work so that I could go to bed–before 5PM. Most unusual for me. I was gradually losing any purpose for my life.   Work.  Bed. Work. I was scared and thought that I was losing my mind. Could not retain a thought. Could not remember a paragraph that I had just finished reading.  What to do? No answer popped  in  my mind. But I knew one thing–I had to get out of bed and go to work or there would be no way to take care of my bills.  So I made a commitment to exercise. One day at a time. A resolution?

I just knew I MUST force myself out of bed…sneakers at my bedside — alarm clock across the room in which I had to get up to turn the awful sounding thing off. In time , by forcing myself to get up, go exercise, I gradually found the fog lift. I learned a great lesson.

Let’s put it this way if you will. I knew something worse would happen if I didn’t get moving. For me there was no “I’ll do it when I feel better,” and putting off taking care of myself. Nothing can happen unless you make the choice to do something today. Is your life at the same point as was mine?  If it is, then force yourself to do what you don’t want to do and watch as feelings, moods and behaviors all begin to change.  For the better you! Happy New Year! One day at a time. All we have is this 24 hour period. Treat yourself kindly!