“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?

“Just get on base!”

These few words are ones that all base ball players hear when they go to bat. “Just get on base.” If a team is to win the game they must get on base. They have to be able to score at home plate and rack up points needed to win the game.

In our world, we know that to recover from any problem, disaster or misfortune, we have to get back on our feet and get to work. The longer we wait to get the help we need the longer will we suffer with whatever ails us. In my own life, I know that this to be true. When I started to slide slowly down that slippery slope of sadness, I could feel, in an analogous way, my feet slipping out from under me. I was losing control. It was when I finally lost all control and could no longer get up the energy to do anything-except force myself to go to work- that I got on base. If I was to win this battle then I had to do something. It was when I admitted to myself that I was losing  it that I did something to help myself.

Because of my involvement in another 12 Step program of recovery I now knew that I had to admit that I was in trouble, physically, emotionally and every other  way. So, with the urgency that my situation demanded,  I got on base and started to walk miles every  day  I had to shake off this inner hollowness and jitteriness  that had my whole existence in its teeth. By remembering the 1st Step of the program, that “We admitted   that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Yes, my life was more than just unmanageable-I was  totally frozen in place. I could only think about me-what was happening to me? It was a brand new experience and totally foreign to me.   I always was “in control”   and now I was totally “out of control.” Something else was running my life. I felt like the proverbial prisoner locked down in the small confining cell of my despair.

To cut to the chase here, I finally got back to a feeling of lightness in my spirit, after having  walked miles for weeks. By admitting that I couldn’t go on the way I was, I made the  choice to do something.- get on  base (work the Steps of the program of recovery). With the help of my belief in a  Higher Power, God as I understand God, I finally got moving and got better. It was slow process of recovery but it worked.

I want everyone to know who is reading this now and feeling alone that there is hope for you too. It does take time and it takes work-there  are no magic wands waved over our head and presto! we are back on the playing field of life again. No, it takes time, work and a day by day, Step by Step  program of taking care of ourselves coupled with the belief that I too can get better. With that attitude you will not only get on base but you can win the game.

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NOTE: If you would like to start your own program of recovery  having a roadmap out of your own prison of depression it would do you well to read the  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition Manual and the Depressed Anonymous  Workbook. These two excellent sources of self help are published by Depressed Anonymous  Publications and titled the HOME STUDY KIT.

To learn more about the helpful publications offered please VISIT THE STORE at this website, DEPRESSEDANON.COM.  You will be glad that you did.

I accepted that God, as the God of my understanding…

The Second way out of the prison of our depression states that “I accepted that God, the God of my understanding is loving and forgiving. The 12 Step group and our God is the pillar  of our strength and healing.

LIVING A HALF-LIFE

In depression the first thing that we must do is to take charge of our lives and incorporate a planned pleasant activity in our lives. If I don’t, I will continue to linger on  alone and live a half-life. Nothing beyond my reach can absorb my pain of isolation and feeling worthless.

This is especially true for many of us in mid-life where the dreams we once thought possible  remains stillborn. We seem to have  lost the time to do something positive with our lives. We feel stuck. I want to get involved with a fellowship of persons who  are learning new ways of living with a sense of purpose. We want to live our lives with hope. Step  Two of Depressed Anonymous states that “we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”  We will “let go and let God.” P.11.

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Check the menu here  at our site and discover if there is a Depressed Anonymous group in your community.

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

Six ways to build a prison of depression for yourself.

“Hold these as if they were real, absolute and immutable truths these following six options.

  1. No matter how good and nice I appear to be, I am really bad, evil, valueless, unacceptable to myself and to others.
  2. Other people are such that I must fear, hate and envy them.
  3. Life is terrible and death is worse.
  4. Only bad things  happened to me in the past and only bad things will happen to me in the future.
  5. It is wrong to get angry.
  6. I must never forgive anyone, least of all myself.”

Excerpted from the book by Dorothy Rowe: Depression. The way out of your depression. Routledge and Kegan Paul. London. 1983. Page 15.

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Comment by Hugh S.

I believe that the above list of the  six immutable beliefs is an accurate summation of the major beliefs that one needs to hold if they want to truly stay walled up in their prison of depression. And as Dorothy Rowe always brings out so dramatically -if you build the prison you can likewise take the walls down.

You dismantle your depression by thoroughly examining your own beliefs and how you construct your world. It’s in the way we usually think about ourselves and the world that enables us to predict with accuracy the way things turn out. If I believe my life is hopeless and that I am an evil person, that fact that someone claims that I am not that way still won’t change the way that I believe about myself. The way I have constructed my world will invariably set my life up in a way so that I will feel hopeless and evil.  It is only when I find out that others who once had the same negative mind constructs and thoughts about themselves,  but who now are living with hope that I am beginning to listen and take note. Is there really a way out of this prison of depression?

People who know the painful and deadening experience of depression realize  that they can never just Snap out of their deadness. Just as their sadness feels like it can never come to an end, so does their ability to do anything about the hopelessness seem impossible. But once the depressed person begins to  share their story and the history of their personal experience of sadness the more that can experience hope and the possibility that maybe they too  can escape depression.

Not only do I see people who are depressed gradually start to live with hope and energy but I also see this happen more quickly while they are engaged in a group of other depressed persons. In time, with a person’s   involvement with the group they sense a feeling that they aren’t alone any more and that they can make a choice to try and feel differently. In other words, they will be meeting on a regular basis  with people who will never say SNAP OUT OF IT but instead will say  I’M WITH YOU.  They will also find a new family where they are accepted, understood and strengthened for the work they need to do on  themselves to get better. Again, I can’t emphasize it enough how Depressed  Anonymous is the program  to follow if you want to start feeling better.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c)The  Antidepressant Tablet. Volume 2:1. 1990.

 

 

 

Living in the security of my hope

I am choosing to live in the security of my hope rather than in the fear of life’s possible pain.

“…Haven’t our sadness and thoughts of unworthiness been our last refuge from having to face ourselves, take charge and accept responsibility for our own lives? For many, just knowing that that they might have a choice and be able to choose to feel differently can be a startling revelation.  I can choose to be happy or I can choose to stay feeling miserable.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Life is one that provides me with many areas of choice. I can choose to live with the uncertainty of hope or I can stay mired in the despair of having to always have everything predictable. The latter is the hell of my depression.

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

The road less traveled

So to trust oneself can bring to one’s life a new dimension of hope that there might be a possibility for a positive change. But we need to take the road less traveled — not the road that is worn and rutted with the traveled path of hopeless journeys and adventures. The road less traveled is the one that joins with fellow travelers who are filled with hope and purpose.

Rowe says that by listening to our inner voice and so trusting that quiet inner voice is the beginning of getting hope for your self and serves as the key out of depression. Bill W., says that as time passes and we begin  to “get” the program of recovery that we are better suited now to follow those intuitive hunches which come with our renewed trust in self and the god  of our understanding.”

A comment. Most of the worn and rutted paths that are a big part of our sadness and isolation is due to the way we ruminate and fixate  about the way are life is spinning out of control. We  continuously try to think our way out of box which has us imprisoned in those rutted paths, dead ends.  This negative thinking is familiar–it’s like the train that travels on rails that are shiny with years of continual use.

Now, with our Twelve Step program of recovery our minds are taking the path that leads to peace and serenity.  We  have a way out of our isolation and pain.

Are you willing to take the road less traveled? Let us help you do just that. We can chart out a path for you that works and works for as long as you stay on the path. That’s a promise.

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SOURCES: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER.(2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 78. (Chapter on TRUST).

Misery is an option.

I can make it as long as I know that my life is supposed to have some ups and downs.

“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.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

One of the hopeful sights to see at a Twelve Step meeting is that the people who work their program and who are serious about leaving their depression behind,  start to not only look more content with themselves, their world and their future, but they also seem to be enjoying life once again.

Teresa told me that her Doctor never once said she was depressed after her physical exam and it wasn’t until she got involved in therapy with me did she learn that what she had been feeling for months before was depression. She was relived to  know that she wasn’t losing her mind but only that she was experiencing the excruciating sadness that we all create when we get depressed.

She will feel better when she learns that it’s her life and the way she chooses to interpret what happens to her is also her choice. Misery is an option and if she want to go for that she may, but if she wants to live with some unpredictability  in her life, then she needs to get ready for some bumps in the road –but also she needs to be prepared to smile, laugh and know that her life can be filled with hope.

MEDITATION

God, please give us the wisdom to know that you want us to enjoy this life while we are here. We want to enjoy it, so let us seek to want to be in your will. We can make it.

SOURCE:  Copyright (c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. January 27. Pages 20-21.

I am choosing to live now-today!

AFFIRMATION

I am choosing to ask the God of my understanding to help me be open to all the persons like myself who are getting free of their hopelessness.

“Being constantly on guard against the future is exhausting, but it does have the advantage of directing your attention away from the present. Since the past and the future are ideas in our minds we can insist that the past and the future are exactly as we see them.  The trouble with the present is that it has the habit of suggesting that my ideas may not be entirely right.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

To live now takes more courage, on some days more than on others.  What I need to do is to attempt to live right now. The living in the present will make it possible for me to gradually learn some new truths about life and myself.  This opening myself up to the present moment will give me the opportunity to hear how I can live with hope and serenity.

No longer do I have to choose to live in the encapsulated  and isolated prison of my own fears and prejudice about the past and the future.  The past is always full of hurt and unexpected anger. The future never seems to be without its colossal fears and “what if’s.” Now is the time to accept the fact that I want to change the way I think, act and believe. Right now I am wanting a change and am willing to face the challenges that making changes bring. To do this is called living.

The Third Step tells me that I have made a decision to turn my mind and my will over to the care of God as I understand him. This is the freedom that I am looking for. This is the source of my strength today, namely, these healing Twelve Steps. Granted that I have to clean house and admit that I have unknowingly constructed my own depression  (See Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition)

MEDITATION

I will make a decision. This is the first step in getting free. I make a decision to choose freedom  over the security of isolation and a life that is lived in the past.

SOURCE:  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of  12 Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. January 7. Pages 4-5.

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

 

Depression is different from normal sadness.

Depression cannot be reduced to a single factor. It is the result of the coinciding of different factors. Biological, historical, environmental and psychological factors play a certain role in the beginning and its evolution.

Many people never reach a state of clinical depression .  Such depression, with the feeling of paralysis that it involves, is different from normal sadness. People with clinical depression, in general, demonstrate physical and psychic alterations; people who are  not depressed manifest certain mental signs of sadness.

In addition, people often confuse depression with unhappiness. often one can hear the phrase “I feel depressed’, even though the person concerned only wants to say that he or she is not happy. Until, one has really experienced depression one cannot realize the enormous, difference that exists between being depressed and being unhappy. When we are unhappy, despite the scale of the tragedy that has afflicted us, we remain in contact with reality. When other people offer us consolation and love we can still feel gratitude for their warmth and support. But when we are depressed we feel like people who are excluded from the rest of the world. The comfort and love offered by other people do not penetrate our barrier and we feel neither consoled or loved. To experience real depression means to feel entrapped in pitch or suffocated by some dense, heavy material or buried alive in a dark tunnel. The depressed person   is interested in nothing and nobody, and does not feel any hope.”

SOURCE: Jose Saraiva Martins

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Comment: If you are  a depressed person and are reading this you know the guy who is writing the above material  knows what he is talking about. But, if you are  a person who has been unhappy but never depressed, it is  impossible for you to even begin to fathom what he is talking about.  ” Yes”, you might say, “but I don’t see any plaster casts, no sign of physical brokenness and the guy or gal is always happy. You know, the life of the party.”

There is a night and day difference between being depressed and being unhappy. I know,  as I have been depressed. I also  have been very unhappy as well. Being depressed is  a life threatening illness and for many the trajectory can lead to suicide  preceded by thinking that is hopeless and suicidal.

The person who has experienced depression themselves and who seeks  help to climb out of the dark pit now has friends in the  Depressed Anonymous fellowship of the 12 steps.  The new person coming into our group soon learns that the members know about the depression experience. Some have talked about trying to commit  suicide.

My point is that  persons depressed live in a world that they cannot touch, a world which they are viewing from the insides of an  enclosed soundproof glass room. They are completely isolated and adrift —  floating alone in a river of turbulence and dangerous currents. And when the time comes to flee this pain and isolation they run to the people who say they know what depression is. They also have a “toolkit” which they continue to use in their daily lives which helps them to forever stay out of that glass enclosed room.  I am one  of those persons who never  returned to that past time in my life when I felt totally alone, without friends, purpose or meaning in my life. I owe my life to Depressed Anonymous and its powerful focus on hope instead of hopelessness.

Hugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

” For the first time in 14 years I have hope…”

”  I had always known that  I was hard on myself. I reamed myself every time something bad happened. “Why can’t I find someone to love me?” “Why isn’t God looking after me?”   But for some reason, when I realized that I was doing this to myself, it made me realize that maybe all that I  would have to do is to stop doing it.   All of a sudden it made sense.

If I tell myself negative thoughts, I feel negative. If I tell myself nothing, I feel nothing.  So if I tell myself positive thoughts, eventually I’ll have to feel positive.

Of course I’m still testing it out, but I feel better and for the first time in 14  years I have hope, It’s not that hard to find something positive about myself or my life now. So I remind  myself of something positive every day and that’s what I am going to do until I don’t have to remind myself anymore because I’ll know.”

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To read more by this member of Depressed Anonymous see #9, A VICTIM IN MY OWN MIND in the Personal Stories contained in Depressed Anonymous, pages 120-121.

Also, it’s good to remember as pointed out in the 1st Statement of Belief in Believing is Seeing,  that “I accept and believe that however  hopeless everything appears right now, I will make a decision to recover from depression.  I am not helpless.  I will make a choice  to get better.”

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

 (c)Believing is seeing: 15  ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications.

Louisville.

Information for additional literature on Depression and the 12 Steps of recovery is available at   VISIT THE STORE. (See Menu)