How come I couldn’t get out of bed when I was depressed?

 

In his recent book The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic, Jonathon Rottenberg shares with us what he thinks might give an answer.

“Why do depressed people lie in bed? It’s not because it’s great to snuggle under the blankets; it’s because they can’t bring themselves to get out of bed. Almost any other activity or task becomes a painful ordeal, even activities as simple as taking a shower or getting dressed. This seems strange. A perfectly able-bodied  person can’t bring herself to rise out of bed. How does this happen?

The intuitive answer is that this reflects a lack of motivation. Depressed people are directionless because they are undercommitted to goals. Without goals to drive future behavior, current behavior becomes frozen for long periods. Bed is the most natural location for a behavioral pause, as the place in the house most associated with inactivity.”

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Comment from the Blog author.

I agree with the above reasons for a depressed person seeking their pillow when depressed. Further on he  tells us that when depressed we seek a pause because our goals are failing us and that “depression results from an inability to disengage efforts from a failing goal is relatively new. Could  it be a  plausible pathway into depression?”

This view surely strikes  a chord with me. I also couldn’t get out of bed in the morning because my  lack of motivation  was immobilized.  It was get up or don’t get up and then lose my job. Everyday my goal was to get up and walk. Everyday. My goal was to save my job. Motivation came with forcing my body to roll out of the sack.

Constant rumination about my goals in life, at that time, were being frustrated or about to be frustrated, till my brain felt like it was filled with cotton.

It was the continued rumination about a personal loss which  gradually and methodically pushed me over the edge. The more I tried to figure out what was going on in my body, continued fatigue with hopelessness,  the more I dug the hole deeper.    I  was in the dark abyss with no way out.  Eventually the walking paid off, my dark mood lifted, the fog cleared and the horizon looked brighter. In time I dealt with the personal loss , plus the help of the supportive group Depressed Anonymous. Life got better.

NOTE. I found this work to be an excellent guide for one’s personal growth and understanding of the experience of depression.  Hugh S.

SOURCES: Jonathan  Rottenberg. The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic.  (2014) Basic Books, NY.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

 

I refuse to run from what I feel.

AFFIRMATION

I will be in touch with my feelings throughout the day. I refuse to run from what I feel.

“The ability to experience one’s  feelings without resisting or running from them, determines  to a large degree whether a person is healthy are not.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I’m going to make a real effort today to do what I  see works for depressed persons like myself. They all say that the longer they are in the program (Depressed Anonymous) , the more feelings they are able to express and the  less the unpleasant feelings of fear dominates their life. I am finding that by  writing my feelings down, the less frightening they seem to be to me. I am now able to deal head on with my feelings.

My addiction was a way of walling off my pain. In time, I became addicted  to the pain and in doing so, I lost myself in the process. I find this experience to be a freeing  one.

My addiction was a way of walling off pain.  Now the pain is more important than what I am running away from.

What I experience in my life determines to a large extent what I predict life to become. My past experiences are predictors of a life not as yet lived. I am wanting to experience the fact that my good days are more frequent now and my bad days occurring not as often.

MEDITATION

God, the more I give up my need to be depressed the more I’m finding that I’m becoming more assertive and truly present to others in my life. I want you to help me feel my feelings and express them today. [ADD YOUR OWN PERSONAL THOUGHTS HERE]

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SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowships. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

What am I feeling?

WHAT AM I FEELING?

                                 Anger? Hostility? Aggression?

Anger: An emotion that says “Something is wrong.” That  it can be expressed to tell others about your personal limits, values, rules, and boundaries. The respectful expression of anger is an important way to educate others about how their behavior affects you. It can result in mutual respect between you and another person.

Hostility: An attitude that contributes to the violation of another person’s rights, values, rules, or boundaries. This attitude can include ruminating or brooding about another person’s real or perceived injustices toward you and ways that you can  “get even” with him/her   and this attitude leads to feelings of powerlessness. It can often lead to aggression our withdrawal as a way to punish others.

Aggression: A behavior, acted on with the intent to harm others, either physically or emotionally for real or imagined  “wrongs” done to you. This behavior always results in disrespect for yourself or the other person. It creates distance between you rather that brings you closer.

                           Learning how to express anger respectfully.

1.  Admit your anger. Accept that you are angry. Shouting “I am not angry!” at the other person only escalates you more. It can be safe and growth producing to acknowledge that you are angry.

2. Take a “timeout” to cool down if you need it.  Learning to deal respectfully and constructively with your anger takes time and practice.

3. Identify the source of your anger (look for your primary feelings). Make sure you perceived what happened correctly. Ask yourself questions like: ” what is my negative self-talk?” “Am I  dealing only with this issue at hand or are there other stressors that have already escalated me before this?” “Am I looking for a reason to blowup?”

4. Separate the energy of your anger (pent up feelings inside you seeking release) from the issue your anger is about (the condition, idea, event, or person you feel angry at).

5. Decide how and when you will express your anger.

6. Talk to the other person involved with your anger. Share your anger and any  primary feelings you can identify in an open, direct, and respectful way.

7. Make  “I” statements. Take responsibility for your own feelings. Resist the temptation to blame someone else for  “making you” feel angry.

8. Listen closely to the others point of view. Recognize and accept that their view may be quite different from yours. Remember that they have a right to their perspective and feelings.

9. Get in touch with your expectations and your intentions in sharing your anger. The purpose is not to “win” the argument (or discussion) or to make the other person agree with you or your point of view. Rather, it is an opportunity to give  both of you a time to express feelings.  Also,  explore alternatives such as compromising. Or you can “Agree to disagree” and table the discussion until another time.”

Source: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 34 to 35.

Please VIST THE STORE  for more information on the Depressed Anonymous Workbook and the Depressed Anonymous Manual, both of which comprise the HOME STUDY KIT which can be purchased online.

“I gave up my negative thoughts one at a time.”

“It has been a year now since I gave up on those negative thoughts that I had over my lifetime.  I gave them up one at a time. It wasn’t like I dumped them all at once. It was like the people needed to show me a new life  and that I can be happy again. In the beginning, I thought the old familiar tapes that begun playing again . The old tapes saying that I was “stupid” began to play. But then I would attend Depressed Anonymous  meetings every week  and I would   go and find that I could use things that other people said at the meetings which would help me. That it was one place where you could go and be fully accepted for whatever you had to say, and someone else there said that they knew exactly what I was feeling.”

“For the depressed person, giving up old ways of thinking and acting is much like giving up any other addiction. At first letting go of the old behavior makes us feel uncomfortable. The old behavior wants to cling to our spirit like swamp mud hangs on to knee-high boots. ”

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

VISIT THE STORE for more literature pertaining to the Steps of DA and depression.

We trust our newfound beliefs…

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

“We trust others by sharing our recent episodes of loss/sadness while at the same time sharing our hopes and strengths.  We trust our newfound positive beliefs for getting  ourselves out of the prison of depression.

Many of us won’t allow ourselves to trust anyone. We are so distrustful of ourselves that we cannot trust ourselves to feel. The painful hollowness of depression is such that we can’t allow it to be felt.  It is only among our brothers and sisters in the 12 step group that we can share our hurts and deep pain of being isolated. When we hear other members share their stories of hurt and isolation we know that we are not alone. We gradually begin to trust ourselves to touch our own nerves of pain and hurts. We trust the nurturing and accepting atmosphere of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous to take part of our hurt and help carry us along. Every time we share a hurt from our own past we remove one more brick out of our prison wall of depression. The more we find that our trust is validated by the continual acceptance from the group, the more energy we muster up for ourselves to continue trusting our deepest thought and feelings to others. No longer do we take refuge in the numbed comfort of our isolating sadness. Now we walk upright and begin making choices on how we want to feel, think an believe.  We no longer live our lives in isolation and disconnected from others.  Now we join in the mutual  fray of battling depression with all our new friends on the broad road of healing.”

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SOURCES: Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 15-16.

Copyright(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE for more literature on the subjects of depression and the 12 steps of recovery.

 

WORKING IT OUT

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Our feelings expressed and positively received by the group allow us then to focus on the way we think about ourselves, and make it possible for us to parent ourselves instead of  continually seeking out the lost unavailable parent in the guise of multiple sexual relationships, alcohol, gambling, and any of the many other compulsions that are used  to fill the void in our lives.

Practicing  the  program enables  us to be used by the Higher Power to do the most good that we can and which our Higher Power wants us to do.”

In the Depressed Anonymous Workbook(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville., in the section relating to Step number 11, (Page 80) read the following statement  and respond with your own answers to questions about what you are doing now that you were not doing before you came into the Depressed Anonymous group?

“I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to “live without it.” It is truly living in the will and mind of God that will help us, one day at a time to stop being so compulsive in our rigid and automated thinking about people and things so that we do not let our dated emotions and thoughts predict what the outcome of our perceptions ought to be.” (See Page 95 in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

For best results in working out a gradual release from the darkness of the depression is to use the WORKBOOK and 3rd edition of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS together. We call this the HOME STUDY KIT. Please VISIT THE STORE here at our website (www.depressedanon.com)  for more information about the  literature that is now available.

The solution-focused journey out of depression.

Solution-focused is not only a description of a particular type of therapy but is likewise an apt description of the work that is done when one becomes  a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship. The Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous present to those still “suffering from depression” positive solutions for the overcoming of their own feelings of worthlessness and despair.

By using the Steps you can begin to take the journey that will change your life, your feelings  and your relationship with the world inside yourself as well as the world in which you live.

Step Twelve  tells us that  “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.”

And, that is why we do what we do. Now that we have admitted we had a problem, turned our life over to something bigger than ourselves,  cleared away the rubbish of lives that kept  us imprisoned  (fears, guilt, isolation), we gained a freedom to live everyday in the solution of hope and serenity.

Try the solution! See if our program will work for you. It’s already restored thousands of lives and families.

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VISIT the STORE and check out the HOME STUDY PROGRAM, and order it today.    The solution-focused program consists of The DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK,(2001), and  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition. (2011).Both books  and all our literature is written by those of us who have been depressed and who  now live a daily life of hope.

All we have to lose is our misery!

Walling off negative feelings

“In examining our purpose one of the things that stands out is our emphasis on feelings. We stress feelings for several reasons… First of all, our behavior in the past has been so opposed to our value system that considerable feelings of remorse and self loathing have been built up. It appears that we have accumulated a pool of negative feelings and walled them off with a variety of masks or defenses that prevent this discovery…” Source: Group Psychotherapy with Addicted Populations. Flores, Phillip J. The Haworth Press.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know all about “walling off” my negative feelings.  I purposely disconnected myself from negative feelings. To even think about negative events in my life, and much less to even talk about them with others, were  the bars that created my own personal prison. It was only when I admitted my own powerlessness with a life spiraling down out of control, because of shame, guilt and isolation, that I had to do something, anything,  to free myself from the bondage of depression. And that is where my story begins and that is where I began to get my life back.  When I admitted to myself and then to that group of persons who faced the same problem as myself,  that the bars of my prison were gradually removed.

Could it be that we have spent so much time on getting rid of these oppressive feelings of shame and despair that, as Thomas Moore states so wisely in his work, Care of the Soul in  Everyday life, that “depression  may be as important a channel for valuable “negative” feelings, as  expressions of affection are for the emotions of love.”

Finally the truth comes out. Even though medications prescribed for depression may help some of us get  back on the  playing field of life, getting in touch with these dark feelings of melancholy which have us down for the count, it is by feeling them and talking about  them that get us back to life. Why is it that we are so ready to get rid of something which with time and work can reveal to me a better path where i will discover a purpose and meaning  for my life.

If you want to discover how others like myself made this journey through the darkness and bitterness of their lives and came out more fully human, with negative feelings  and all, then please read  the PERSONAL STORIES of those like myself who using  the 12 Steps of recovery found the passage to freedom.

SOURCES:

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

I’ll do it when I feel Better(2014)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications.   Louisville.

Please Visit the Store for more literature dealing with Depression and the 12 steps.

Depressed Anonymous helps us get in touch with our best selves.

Taking charge and being responsible for oneself is at the core of all recovery programs. As we get into a discussion with other people who are depressed, much like ourselves, we see that they talk about feeling better while at the same time acting on their own behalf. These people who are doing better are also talking about taking charge of their lives and doing things for themselves instead of constantly trying to please others. In fact, at Depressed Anonymous meetings, the recovering people often delight at how assertive they are becoming now that they have gained a sense of mastery over their lives. They are also committed to their own recovery. People who want to change begin to swallow their pride and ask for help. They begin to get in touch  with their feelings and feel! This is truth and this is getting in touch with one’s best self.”

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SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 91.

DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS IS SOLUTION FOCUSED. THE GROUP PROVIDES US WITH A SECURE BASE.

Depressed Anonymous, as a functioning mutual aid group is solution focused. How do I know? I know because I practice the principles of the Twelve Steps in my daily life–day after day. I have a step by step program of recovery which provides me with an assortment of tools (solutions) to help  dig myself out of whatever has me by the throat.  The  fellowship of a Twelve Step recovery group embeds me in a secure group of men and women who, like myself, are focused on what can rebuild my life and not continue to destroy it. A lot of the rebuilding might be  to repair a faulty foundation that did not provide security  for us as we passed through the various  formative years of our lives.

In a similar vein, it has been our family or significant others who have told us who we are and  who  by their feelings towards us to a large extent  determined who we are today. Our parents for good or for ill have defined  who we are combined with other significant early childhood caregivers.

It was their opinion of us, plus the familial environment that helped create the personality of who we are today. If we grew up with a secure base  — a supportive father and mother who let us pursue and reach out beyond our environment and encouraged this pursuit – most probably we grew up confident and hopeful as if life was a good place to be and which nurtured us and protected us – in other words, we were not afraid to move beyond our family boundaries – we were encouraged to grow and go beyond our family boundaries and explore. But the family where the child doesn’t feel secure –that child was closed in and felt afraid of that which was outside the circle of the family. In one family there was an openness that promoted growth and learning and  in another the closed family system produced fear, aloneness and alienation from self and others.

If a teacher, parent or significant other told you that you would never amount to anything they probably have influenced you for much of your life, that is until you discovered  that something in your life was amiss.  A small child believes so much taught to them by those older people who not only were bigger and stronger but who were like gods compared to our small size and small minds.

I remember well a teacher who told me in the 3rd grade that I would never be like my brother and uncle  (smart guys) –this truly shocked me — but I did believe her and it has influenced me for the remainder of my life–until I found out that she was not correct.  Over  the years I finally caught on and became the person that I am growing to become today. I am not a carbon copy of some other person’s idea of who I was and supposed to be. (The thoughts here of Family Systems  researcher and author (Bowen) have influenced me in my reflections on my own family and its influence on my life)

Are you,  the reader,  still influenced by those old labels and messages that were pinned on you years ago? If so, you can now  do something about it. Are you ready!

See the source cited below.

 SHINING A LIGHT ON THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL: A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE FOR HEALING THE DARKNESS . OF DEPRESSION. (1999)  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE,  KENTUCKY. Pages 1-2

families