“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” Michael John Bobak

 

How many times have we said “I’ll do it when I feel better(2016). ”  We all know that any new endeavor or activity in our behalf would definitely put us outside our “comfort zone.”  Any movement toward  walking out of our isolation is still too much of a risk. Depressed people do not want to take risks, especially as it involves change of    one’s lifestyle or behaviors.  We feel most comfortable staying parked in neutral! It’s better to know what we have than to  not know and get something for worse. We now know that to make progress in our lives and to live without depression we have to move courageously out of our comfort zone.

The following statement, How Depressed Anonymous Works,  is read at every Depressed Anonymous meeting and we quote it in full.

“You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are in a journey of hope and who mutually care about each other. You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a black hole and tired of living.

By our own involvement in the group we are feeling that there is hope – there is a chance for me too -I can get better. But we are not the people with the magic pills and the easy formulas for success.  We believe that to get out of the prison  of depression takes time and work.

We have all been  wounded in different degrees by the experience of depression.  We also know that there is a method to regain control over our lives that is practical and workable. It is successful for all those who want to change their lives. Some of us believed that there was no hope and that suicide was the only way out.

In this natural world one of the first laws is that all growth is gradual -that belief is the bottom line for all of us who are depressed and who want to get better. The  more  we attend meetings the more we will learn and see the various ways to escape from depression. We also learn how important it is  to not give up on ourselves.” (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Page 182. Appendix A.)

 JIM MOVES OUT  OF THE COMFORT ZONE

“…The group members all expressed to Jim ( a new member to  DA) how they each had made a  mental decision to turn their lives and their depression over to the Higher Power because they had no place to go but up. It was this  to the Higher Power or God as we understood God that was the beginning of the overcoming of some people’s addiction to the comfort of their depression. They are now ready and willing to live with some hope. In time Jim got in touch with his anger and shared it with people who accepted it, and so was able gradually to move out of the shell that kept him from the hope that life would ever be different for him. The depressed person just believed and takes on faith that he/she will always be depressed and sad. Now that negative belief of being depressed forever has  to be reframed and we have to tell ourselves that if we have a positive faith our life will be better and we will begin to see changes. Many times we get what we choose when it comes to our personal feelings.”

Depressed Anonymous. Pages 57-58.

In the Chapter Eleven we read more about  the COMFORT ZONE

” Every so often we come into contact with a person, place or circumstance that causes some uncomfortableness and we start to withdraw into the comfort of our depression. It is here that we have dumped our trust  of the Higher Power and choose the comfort of our sadness  instead.” DA. Page 112.

“…For us who find sadness our second nature we at times continue to revert to the comfort of old familiar negative thinking and are in actuality returning to self destructive activity. Sadness is overcome by hope.” DA. Page 124.

For the 31 Personal Stories of those persons who no long find depression a comfort and have since left the prison of their own depression, please click onto our Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and read for yourself the amazing stories of these 31 people in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. Personal Stories, pages 128-176.

For those who would like to order any of our publications, you now can order online.

“Only by sharing my pain can I hope to reduce its size.”

Empowerment and prevention are two realities that give us the push and the power for talking day after day with persons still suffering from depression. I know that some who hear about us will go with an expectant faith that they will find hope and peace in this group(Depressed Anonymous).  This hope in itself may keep them from sliding down the slippery slope of depression. Life is too short and the pain so devastating.  Only by sharing my pain can I ever hope to reduce its size.

Today I can experience hope. I will believe I can live this day with pleasant thoughts. I will do one activity that will give me hope and light for today.

Today I will believe that I can live this entire day “hopeful” and that I can return to the above activities anytime and as many times as I need,  just for today.”  

SOURCE: I will do it when I feel better. (2016) . Louisville.  Page 70.  Quoting from  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 136.

 

Depressed Anonymous meetings are normally positive and the focus is upbeat!

WHAT IS DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS?

Depressed Anonymous is modeled after the 12 Steps (principles) of Alcoholics Anonymous and was  founded in Evansville, Indiana in May of 1985. It uses a group approach where members mutually support each other.

In Depressed Anonymous the depressed person admits that he/she is powerless over his or her depression. The depressed person admits that the various areas of his/her lifer are controlled by depression, and that he /she needs help from one’s inner resources, combined with a faith in a Higher Power to help work through one’s time of hopelessness and helplessness.

At Depressed Anonymous meetings, we do not pry into people’s personal lives. We also do not give advice at meetings but instead tell our story and how the 12 steps are releasing us from the tight grip of depression. Meetings are normally upbeat and the focus is positive! Each of  us set  small concrete  and positive goals for ourselves and begin to learn how to gain some mastery over our lives and feelings. Each of us has time at meetings to share our experiences with other member so f the group. As a new member you are ready to make a commitment to quit sadding  oneself, and that’s when results begin to happen.

This 12 Step recovery program can be a great healer  of personal wounds and provides the depressed with a new start in lifeIt also provides hope for people like yourself who have been where you are. Hope now resides where once there was only darkness and despair!

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SOURCE: (C)  I’ll do it when I feel better.(2013). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 22-23.  Chapter Three: What  is Depressed Anonymous.

Please VISIT THE STORE and  discover the many exciting chapters, which will outline hope for the depressed and how the group can provide essential tools for unlocking the prison of one’s own depression.

“..we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.”

Promise #4: We comprehend the word serenity and we know peace of mind.

Agitation, anxiety and jitteriness were all part of my life as I muddled through day after day, one foot in front of the other.  Serenity was definitely not a part of my life.

As with any attachment to a negative behavior, serenity and peace was the farthest thing from my life. The new beliefs and thoughts which I heard expressed at Depressed Anonymous meetings started to help me change the way I thought about myself, my world and my future.

I believe that it takes work, time and prayer and quiet periods of meditation to achieve the peace and serenity that we are talking about here.

  PEACE OF MIND IS THE RESULT OF:

  1. A clear conscience
  2. Living in the present
  3. Gratitude everyday
  4. Belief that the God of my understanding will get me through the problems of my life
  5. Forgiveness of myself and amends to all person I have harmed
  6. Doing God’s will means letting go

I am firmly convinced that in order to continue any semblance of peace and serenity I will have to structure a daily quiet period into my life. This is an essential part of the prescription for getting well and staying well. Also, I believe that when I am quiet, God can give to me all that is mine to have. My will and my life  have to be attuned to God’s presence and love.  We will know that in order for God to make itself present to us and demonstrate its love we have to sit still, be quiet and listen with purity of heart. This is an essential part of the formula where we will find our sobriety and serenity.

It is my belief that God does speak to those who remain quiet and have a design to listen. Peace is defined as “an undisturbed state of mind, absence of mental conflict.”   Serenity is defined as “a quality or state of being serene; calmness, tranquility.”

The quality or state of being serene all takes time, work and discipline. I believe that  the big book of AA says it best: ” When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts   of remarkable things followed.  We had a new employer; being all powerful he provided what we needed, if we kept close to him and performed his work well.

Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in plans, our little designs  and ourselves.  More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or hereafter.. We’re reborn.” ( Page 63, AA).

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SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 36-38. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous.

 

“We have providede hope with a step by step recovery program…”

“In Depressed Anonymous we soon learn that to get well we have to believe that we are not passive victims of depression which comes out of the blue and bites us.  We are not talking about cold and flu here. We learn  to be responsible  for our own health and healing. We have to learn that MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. I will not blame myself for being depressed but I do have to take responsibility for my own health that I know what I have.  We are  responsible for the depression in the fact that it resides and has its home in us and  has crippled us for months, and yes, possibly even years.  Now that we have provided hope with a step by step recovery program we think it is possible to use our program, attend our meetings, read our literature and take life as it comes – one day at a time.

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SOURCE:  Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2015)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 15.

Frozen feelings

My feelings get frozen for me when I am depressed.  My face sometimes masks the feelings  of despair that lurks in my whole being. I feel only the pain and hurt of yesterday. I say “I’ll do it  when I feel better.” I never do it because that day never comes. I need to have a list of feeling words that will help me best get in touch  with what I feel and desire. The words that describe the feelings are just that – words- but the words that I describe myself with are the same words that I have allowed to imprison me throughout my life.

The major feelings  are mad, sad, glad and fearful.  It is when I can name  my feelings, feel them, that I can make  some headway accepting that they are there and then deal with them. In the past, I fled from what was new and uncomfortable.

Meditation

In the spiritual life, I find that God is there whether I feel its presence or not. What I  know is that there is some grand design for this universe and for myself. I am in debt to its plan and to its process.  Right now, as I yield to its desire for my life (it’s desire is my desire). I will and I can find a way out of my depression. Even though I fear that I might lose something of myself, my very self,  if I trust, just the opposite can happen.  I will gain a new life filled with hope and a new way of feeling alive.”

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SOURCES:   Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. January 11.

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014) Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

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

I am investing in myself

“I am making my recovery my highest priority. I may have been on all the antidepressant medications and I may have seen all the best counselors, psychiatrists and doctors, but now finally, I am going to a room full of depressed people  who understand  me. These people  I discover are investing in themselves. What will I find there? I will find some of the most caring people on the face of the earth. Some of the group will have been coming for months. They say they are having more good days than bad and its getting better.   The more meetings they attend the better they feel and the more support they receive. They are feeling empowered. It’s the miracle  of the group.  Instead of living with a compulsion to  repeat old negative and life negating thoughts and feelings, we now have a compulsion to live with hope plus a desire for a brand new way of  living. We are now about to change  the way we live and not just the way  we talk to ourselves. We are going to get a new life. ”

 

SOURCE: I’ll  do it when I feel better. (2013). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Page 59

PROMISE # 5 of Depressed Anonymous: “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we see how our experience can benefit others.”

Some of us have attempted suicide. A few of us more than a few times.  We had despaired of ever finding peace or hope.  We believed that we had no future and that our yesterdays were as hopeless as our today’s. It was hard to attend our  first Depressed Anonymous meeting.  We felt horribly alone. We just know that no one in the group has been through what we had been through. But as we listened and watched the older members of the group speak we saw ourselves in their stories.

Personally, I believe that whatever you give out to others is the amount that comes back to you. Our experience can usually help someone else.  As the experience of depression is so isolating, so predictable in its misery  that it is bound to have made such impression upon us that it changed out life and the way we think about our life. And then when our life is changed for the better —thanks to the fellowship of DA, this precious gift  of hope needs to be with those still suffering. Ironically, it appears that the farther we have gone down in mood and up again in our recovery the more powerful can this experience be.

The new members of the our fellowship see the “after” of our lives lived in recovery and so they themselves get involved in our fellowship. The fact that we have recovered so completely is in itself a message of tremendous hope for those who are newcomers to the group. Isn’t it amazing that those who can do the most for those still suffering are those who have worked themselves out of the pit of isolation and begin sharing their story of hope and personal empowerment.”

SOURCE: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 39-40.

Promise # 11. “Intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”

As my mind began to heal and my thoughts became more lucid it became apparent  that something inside of myself was changing. Depression, when you begin to examine the various symptoms up close and deal with them, the experience becomes less threatening. Some say that depression is a collection of behaviors that are brought  into play to defend  us against things that are too painful to face. Also, depression results when a love object is lost through death or that one feels abandoned. We have become so at one with our love object, that we mourn the death of part of us.  The love object and ourselves has become one. I believe we use the word co-dependence today.

At first I was frightened by my various symptoms of depression. The symptoms proved to be baffling. I was not able to get out of bed as well as being unable to concentrate or manage a complex thought.  I began to worry that I was losing my mind and I often asked myself if I was going to survive. But now my ability to handle situations in a meaningful way is due to my  frequent attendance at meetings, and by making a daily time for prayer and meditation and feeling that my life has purpose and meaning.  The more I am physically active  and going to meetings even when I don’t feel like it. Working on my Depressed Anonymous Workbook, reading my Twelve Step literature. The behavior is where my freedom begins. And yes, I do feel lousy at times, but I also know that nothing can stand in my way to make choices in my own behalf. Previous to my involvement with the group I had no idea that depression was not so powerful now as to prevent me from even thinking that I could choose to feel differently.”  (Read more tomorrow on Promise # 11.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’LL DO  IT  WHEN I FEEL BETTER.  (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 50-51.

Our relationship with other people improve: Promise # 9 of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous

Why wouldn’t our relationships with  other people improve?  After we have begun to put into place our daily program of recovery, through prayer and meditation we now are expectant and hopeful. We reflect upon each Step, and we complete a piece of the structure that in time will be the new me. I think that one  of the more critical areas to mend in our lives is the thinking part of ourselves.  Depression appears to start with the way our minds react to and perceive events outside of ourselves.  So, from the start we need to promote to those persons depressed to get involved in as much physical activity as possible, namely., walk, express personal feelings to others, go to meetings, talk on the phone with supportive people, in other words, get connected as much as possible.  Most importantly we discover at our  group meetings that there are many persons, much like ourselves and at the same level of recovery. We know we are not alone.

One of the immutable truths, according to Dorothy Rowe, who wrote the mental health award winning book, Depression: The way out of your prison. is “that other people are such that I must fear, envy or hate them. ”  If we believe that we are bad and valueless then it follows that we must  fear other people because they can find out how bad we are and so reject us.

Once newcomers hear  the before and after of our lives it will make it easier for them to believe us when they  experience our own enthusiasm and cheerfulness.”

SOURCE: Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Pages 46-47).