It takes one to know one!

And so it goes in life that God often uses those of us with a certain experience to help others who are experiencing that same hurt and pain.” Debra Sanford in her recent publication: A Medley of Depression Stories.

Without a doubt, the statement  “it takes on to know one, ” is right on target. The truth of this   statement is verified by the increasing number of mutual aid groups that  keep cropping up in our communities. The fact remains, that if anybody can understand my situation or my particular  physical or mental condition, it most likely  will be that person  who has  experience the same condition.

During  my experience with depression, I found myself isolated and alone. I also found myself asking questions about what was happening to myself. I was  not coming up with any answers. I was scared!  I was living a lie.  There was a smile on my face  with others, but inside I was also  fearful of being found out.  Without any exterior evidence on my body that I was in  pain, every day turned out to be a momentous challenge for me.

Not until I discovered that all my pain, mental and physical had to do with being depressed, did I start to deal with it.  It was then that I became proactive in my own personal recovery. What did I do?  I started walking five miles a day. The only way I could chase the pain away was to walk.  And walk some more. Every day.

During this time, just getting out of bed was an overwhelming  chore. At this time in my life, I had to have a job to support  myself. Calling in sick  at work wouldn’t get it.  I kept walking. And after months of  exercise, I gradually felt my mood begin to rise.  Of course, because of my familiarity with negative thinking and bashing myself unmercifully, I told myself that  this calm in the storm, would not last. I was right. It didn’t last. Eventually, because I persisted with my walking , I  eventually was able to live  my life   without depression. I could live with peace and hope.

Also, because of Depressed Anonymous and sharing with others in the group, I got stronger, found more tools to stay depression free, and helped others start their own  Depressed Anonymous group. One of our members   pointed out to the new members how  our own “feeling better”  could be attributed to the “miracle of the group.”  It was in the group where  sharing our struggles and experiences   made it possible to have hope and a gradual  from depression.

As Debra C., tells us in her account of persons who tell their stories     (A  Medley of Depression Stories) and experiences,   as being part of the Depressed Anonymous group.  She states a fact  about the members of Depressed Anonymous that “The sheer healing obtained from the group is immeasurable.”  A Medley of Depression Stories. (2017) by Debra  Sanford.  ( ISBN 978-1974499601). Her book can be purchased at Amazon.com/Books. I highly recommend it. Her book is filled with those personal and powerful testimonies of how people joined together for the same  purpose can find the help they need. Why wouldn’t they? We all have come from the same experience and isolation and now find kindred souls in our life who not only speak the same language of hope but continue to offer it to each other.

Hugh

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

(c)  Debra Sanford A Medley of Depression Stories. (2017)  @      Amazon.com/Books

Today I am going to be active in my own recovery.

 

”  I believe that our involvement with people like ourselves in the  group  (Depressed Anonymous) can gradually broaden our perspective in the area of hope. We have to utilize new found tools that help us live with hope as well as enable us to learn that we have to be active in our own recovery.  ”

Copyright(c)  I’ll do it when I feel better. 2nd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

A  person who wants to get active in their own recovery would do well to go to the Main Menu at depressedanon.com  ( here) and check out the drop down menu  at TOOLS OF RECOVERY. It is here that one can find many  recommended ways  and activities to begin the journey to freedom out of the prison of depression.

If not today, then when?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

PS   For more Information about Depression and the 12 Step program  of Recovery go to DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE @  DEPRESSEDANON.COM

The only person I can control is myself.

 

 

The only person I can control is myself. I will keep the focus of my recovery on myself.

AFFIRMATION

“Admitting our helplessness, we can abandon our desperate attempts to control everybody and everything and simply ‘go with the flow,’ taking life as it comes. Many people emerging from depression or from a major trauma, do this when they  decide to take one day at a time.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am more convinced than ever that one of the best ways to get out of my depression is to live one day at a time. and to spend that day thinking thoughts that reflect hope rather than thoughts that spiral us deeper into sadness and despair.  I am much more in need of admitting that I am depressed instead of denying to myself and to others that everything is all right when it isn’t.

My recovery is a step-by-step process and I try to live one day at a time. My best recovery occurs when I am conscious how my depressed thinking distorts the way I look at the way I live out my life and I have to make the effort to think differently.

MEDITATION

We thank God for our lives and the opportunity that we have to come into conscious contact with this Higher Power who is now providing us with his love and his hope.

Source: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.  October 30.

My moods began to spiral upwards once I regained control of my life!

 

Is it that simple?   Gaining control  of my life  didn’t happen overnight. I did  know that most people’s depression usually lifted after a year’s time. Mine did.  The catch is,  that for me,  it took some work and patience. No magic wand waving over my head and no silver bullet automatically killing the demon of despair that continued to beat me down. But what  gradually happened was  that my mood  came back providing me with hope and a plan for my recovery.  I began to feel some control over how I was feeling and the new mood of cheer gave me the courage to keep on doing what I was doing. In my case, my mood began to be lightened the more I continued my daily walking.

Just my determination to take of myself physically paid huge benefits. For once, in many months I felt some control over my mood and the direction where my life was heading.  I was beginning to be in control instead of my life being out of control and unmanageable.

I remember in Graduate school I gave persons depressed a questionnaire  determining  how  much control they felt they had over their lives. Interestingly, the person who felt they had less control over their lives, or none at all, these  more depressed  persons felt less in control over their environment and the way  the direction of their life was taking.

Those who were less depressed answered that they were begin to feel more in control of their lives. These persons  were experiencing more hope and   the direction of their lives was providing purpose and meaning.

What to do?

First of all, get a plan that will work for you. My plan was this Step by Step program of recovery we call Depressed Anonymous. The best part of the plan is to find friends who, just like ourselves, are working the same plan.  This fellowship, this non judgmental approach and support of the group provides us with our marching orders.  When members of the fellowship share their story–we hear our own story. We know that just by admitting that we need help  it is at this initial starting point, where we begin to spiral upwards instead of continuing   the spiral downward.

If you  want to take control of your life and your mood, it would do you well to join us and  discover how others gained control  over their lives just as it is possible for yourself.

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

“My life is out of control!”

 

“I have come to the Step program because my life is out of control. Whatever I do or think or say seems to make no difference on the way that I feel right now. I feel out of control, and some other force is in charge of my life. I know also that this force, this power other than myself, this sadness has me captive and somehow I have felt unable to do much about it.”

Until today!

In our Home Study program of recovery,  we use the Depressed Anonymous Workbook in conjunction with the  Depressed Anonymous Manual,   together  let them lead us, Step by Step   out of our depression.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook facilitates a new self awareness  by questions which we need to answer.  Each Step is provides  further meaningful thoughts from the “Big Book” of Depressed Anonymous. By reading certain noted paragraphs, as indicated in our Workbook, (Page #), we move through all the questions with that  greater  self-awareness of how depression controls every day of our lives. Actually, the Workbook, by its questions and my responses, continues to open up for me  where my life can be lived with hope once again.

Example: Workbook question #1.9 “What areas of one’s life appear to be more out of control now that you are aware of how depression can isolate a person. What areas  of one’s life appears more manageable now that you are aware of how you can change things around —  choosing to feel differently?” Workbook, Page 9.

“It is in the admission that we are out of control that a remedy can be applied to our battle with depression. It is a paradox for our understanding of depression to learn that only  when we give up control, do we gain control over what we want to be, think or do. If there is anything that creates a sense of hopelessness, it’s when we  fee that we don’t have any control over our lives. When we are depressed, we feel  dependent on all the forces that act on us and our environment. We feel that we are like the victims of the interminable feeling that we call depression. Depression can be like a hell or bottomless pit from which we feel we can never escape. It’s like being in an  eighty foot hole with an eight foot ladder.” Depressed Anonymous Manual.  Page 28.

______________________

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky

Many Depressed Anonymous meetings  use the Home Study as a meeting Step Study group

For more literature about Depression and the Twelve Steps click onto the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore.

Sharing your story is to save your life!

 

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has at least one book inside of them that needs to be written.  In her award winning book, Depression: The way out of your prison, Dr. Dorothy Rowe tells us how getting our story told can be  life- changing, and for some life-saving. Below are  her thoughts on the importance of sharing one’s story with that person who is willing to listen.

Help comes in two ways -from yourself and from other people. But help cannot come from other people unless you are prepared to find it and accept it. You have to find the people to confide in and you have to overcome your habit of keeping things to yourself. Perhaps you are ready to confide in someone, but there is no one available. Your family will not listen, and your doctor prefers to write you a prescription rather than give you his listening attention.

So you need to find someone who will listen. Someone outside the family and, possibly, outside work, is usually best—someone who has no vested interest in keeping you as you are or who has no reason to feel guilty about what you might disclose. It need not necessarily be just one person. On your journey out of your prison of depression you will meet many different gurus, people who throw light on your darkness. A nurse might listen to your fears about your health and the drugs you take, and may find the words to calm your fears. A friend may share with you the burden of family responsibilities. A pastor  or priest might listen and acknowledge your religious doubts and fears and impart the courage and trust which enables you to deal with these. Of course, not everyone you hope to confide in will respond in a  helpful way. ..”

And then Rowe continues to say that “you might like to consult a professional listener of some sort. You may find someone in the Health Service, or you might go to a private therapist. Talking to people who have been depressed and are now coping is tremendously helpful.”   Pages 199-200.  (Copyright)  Depression:The Way out of your prison.  (1996) Routledge. 2nd ed. London.

Our Twelve Step program  tries to ensure that everyone who attends our program of recovery and who shares their story will be given a sponsor, a listener if you will, who too has experienced the pain and anxiety of depression. They are sponsors because they too have been able to share their stories. They know that  powerful freedom that comes when someone really listens to us and our story. People  often say to me “Doesn’t listening to all these depressed people get you depressed? ” And I can honestly say that it does not  get me depressed.  In fact, I know that by listening to someone else’s story, I  find many areas which are  similar to my own. Besides the fact that I myself experienced the chaos and pain of depression,  I know how difficult  it is to come out and share one’s own struggle. But it can be done!

If you are looking for someone or others to listen to your story with compassion and without a judgmental attitude, our group Depressed Anonymous is the right place to come. We are all storytellers. We all have been heard. We all continue to tell our story. Not only the personal account of our  own depression but also the story of how we have recovered from depression. In our program there is always the “before ” and “after” story that we share.  The ” after’  story of all of us is that important account of what we did to recover, how we did it  and with whom we did it,  made all the difference in the world. Out of the darkness into the light.

You  can read the stories in Depressed Anonymous, which contain heart warming  stories of how persons young and old, have come to our fellowship, shared their story and   who now listen to  those new members who share their own story. They want to share that hope, so that others depressed may know that there is a way out and a life to be lived without depression. They are no longer alone!

It takes trust to share our story. Finding the right person or the right group of persons is what we are looking for. There are persons waiting to hear your story. There are    those persons  who have recovered from depression and who are now sponsoring other people and forming other groups. If there is no group in your area, know that we have a long distance group learning program, called the Home Study Recovery program.  This program can be done at home and all it requires is the willingness  to work the Steps with a sponsor through emails.  All one needs is   the Depressed Anonymous manual and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. There are no fees or dues for this Home Study Program.   As in all our groups, sponsors can accompany new members as long as they like. In time, attending the DA groups our new member can choose their own sponsor.

Please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at this site and examine the material that is used for this program.  Again, in the event that you would yourself want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in your locality, these two books are our main resources used in all groups, here   in the USA and internationally. If the purchase of the books is a hardship, contact the DA Publisher and they will make it possible for you to receive the books regardless of payment.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Email address is Depanon @Netpenny.net.

The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk got it right!!

 

“It’s an addiction if you find yourself continually bashing yourself for past mistakes and /or failures.  It is this constant rumination that puts us in the negative spiral which leads to more isolation, withdrawal and psychic pain. The familiar feeling of sadness and the continual inner hollowness that make our life so miserable becomes our security.”

But, where do we go from here?  I myself  got caught up in the spiraling downward descent into the darkness and hell of depression. I felt  trapped and helpless.

My spiraling upward came when I felt the hope in the  stories of those like myself, who no longer felt hopeless and helpless.  I became proactive in my own recovery and survival. Some had already attempted to commit suicide.  Once I discovered others just like myself, I was  fascinated by the fact that others were really telling my story as well. There were differences in some of the details, but basically  their stories rang true with my own. It was from that moment on that I was hooked.

Was the group my own Higher Power? Who was the God  that was greater than myself?   How did I contact this Power?  It was listening to others that I came to believe that there is someone, somebody that I could believe in, to free  me  from my prison of  depression.

It was just like the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina who believed that humans could fly.  They had their ups and downs, (no pun intended) but their faith in what they were doing got them in the air and off the ground.

The way to get up and get moving toward recovery is to get moving and start working the Steps, one by one.  You too will begin to live in hope one day at a time.   You will now have a flight plan that will take you where you want to go.

Hugh

The second Step of the Twelve Steps  promotes the belief  that we “came to believe that a  Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed. ,Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY. Page 40.

For more information on the Steps and Depression click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for your own flight plan!  It’s a journey you will never regret.

 

It takes hard work and faith to free oneself from depression.

MY AFFIRMATION FOR TODAY

I believe that with time and work I can feel better about myself.

“But don’t expect that one psychologist can tell you just what the trick is to get out of being depressed. There  is no trick, just hard work.” Dorothy Rowe. The way out of your prison. 2nd ed. (1983, 1996). Routledge. London.

The first three Steps of the Twelve  Steps are about faith and the remaining nine Steps are about action. One has to have faith that there is truly something bigger in this world than  one’s own depression and one’s perspective. I formerly used to believe  that I was stuck forever in these moods where I just didn’t want to live anymore. I was sick and tired of being sick  and tired with the feelings of despair. But now my program is a spiritual one and the spiritual way is the way out of my depression.

If I truly want to be free of my fears and anxieties, I will have to have faith that the God of my understanding is not going to  let me down.

My energies and commitment used to be directed toward finding ways to live always with the predictable and secure feelings that my sadness provided. I am working another program, one which will help me find a way to live a lifer filled with serenity and hope.

MEDITATION

God, help us know your will so that we may start today filled with hope. (Personal comments).

SOURCE: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Is there life after depression?

The question is a surefire cause for reflection.  In my own case, I can say that   my life  took a new and exciting direction.  As therapist I quickly learned  that my own painful depression experience gave my life and work a special path.

A recent author, in his work The Depths,  shares with us how his experience with depression provided new meaning for his life and work. It was when his depression ran it’s course did he realize that this experience had provided him with a purpose for his life.

“The specific enterprises that  will create purpose in life will differ from person to person and emerge from his or her history and needs. Your mileage will surely vary. There’s no ready made formula for discovering  and rebuilding life purpose (or purposes) after depression. It can and should emerge over time from solo reflection, as well as from conversations with spouses, friends, and therapists.  This diverse process is worth pursuing. This diverse process is worth pursuing. I expect what is common among people is that however purpose is created, it can hold depression at bay…”

Since 1985, my experience with depression  in the midst of my Graduate studies in Psychology,  provided me with a “life purpose” which I live out everyday in my life.  I didn’t just pick up where I left off before my depression but I used what I learned from my experience; used the tools given  to me while in recovery,  and now continue to share my experiences with thousands of people around the world.

Because of my participation in the 12 Step fellowship of Alcoholic Anonymous, this program of recovery I used as  a model of recovery and hope  for those of us who were depressed.

As Jonathon Rottenberg shares in his work, The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic (2014) Basic Books, NY.,  that

“This again is a reminder that we may be better off if we think about recovery, not simply as the absence of depressive symptoms, but as a set of active qualities or practices that prevent low mood from taking root, despite the presence of liabilities elsewhere. ” Pages 194-195.

I do hope that you have the opportunity to read this book as the author shows us in many different ways how the depression experience will not only provide purpose in our lives but also that  strength we  call hope.

Hugh

 

I need a sponsor to help me follow the “plan” of hope.

 

You may  choose someone to help you stick to this plan. This person is called a sponsor and should be someone who has experienced depression themselves. You can also exchange phone numbers with other members of the Depressed Anonymous group. As life gets better for you and the emotional pain gets less and less and you are no longer experiencing isolation and pain,  you can use your past experiences in helping the new members of the Depressed Anonymous group see that there is a way out of their prison of depression. The way out of the prison of depression is by connecting with the fellowship and experiencing a “vital spiritual experience.”

A newly developed approach to working the Steps and becoming familiar with the “plan”  is to learn more about  THE HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY,  at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Book store (VISIT THE STORE).

SOURCE: (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.  Hugh Smith (2017. Depressed Anonymous Publications.) Louisville. KY. Page 75.