“Please treat yourself kindly! Begin to plan pleasurable activities into your life today.”

  Believing is Seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression#8 Please treat yourself kindly! Begin to plan pleasurable activities into your life today.

“One of the best ways to make sure you will have a pleasurable activity today is to plan for it the day before and then placing it on your calendar for the next day. Don’t say you will do it “when I feel better,” as you and I both know, we don’t usually do anything no matter what we tell ourselves. I think we have  all heard the saying “have a nice day unless you have made other plans.”  A lot depends on our attitude. If this isn’t  enough, just know that Abraham Lincoln said that we are about as happy as  we make up our minds to be.

What do you think?  Have you thought about  developing a “gratitude attitude?”

Note: Another resource for personal reflection is the work titled “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (2014).

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SOURCES: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 45-46.

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

Three of the world’s worst excuses!

We have our identity in the process of depressing.  We are afraid that if we stop, we won’t know how to be, won’t know who to be, won’t know what life will expect.

It’s safer and more comfortable to continue with the depressing than to risk freedom

Is this depressing?

Can I realize I do this (reject well-being) without being depressed about it?

It’s depressing to realize that I’ve spent my whole life depressing myself.

The most important part is that I’ve thought it was external. Now I’m getting the sense that it is something I’ve learned to do and now to do to myself.

To say this is depressing information is like saying that you are on a sinking ship and you have just discovered a lifeboat.

You can stand there and be upset that this ship is sinking or you can take the lifeboat.

We’re talking about being compassionate with yourself because everything else springs from that.

It is not selfish to love yourself.

If you can’t find compassion  for yourself, you’ll never find it for anyone else. You won’t know how. You will never be truly generous to anyone else. You won’t know how. You will never be truly generous to anyone while depriving yourself.

The reason we don’t tell anyone they should do this is that a person won’t do this until they are ready.

Most people never will in their life.

All we’re saying is that when you’re ready here’s the way you can do it. This definitely is  not another stick to beat yourself.

When you’ve suffered enough, you’ll remember that you know how to do it. It  doesn’t really matter what you have thought, believed, felt or done before.

This is a new day.

“But I’ve always done it this way.”  “But I’ve always been  this way.”  “This is just the way I am.”

These are three of the world’s worst excuses.

It’s OK to change.

It’s OK to try something new.

It’s OK to try something radically new…There isn’t really anything new because if you try it and don’t like it, you can always return to how you were doing it before. No problem. No shoulds. Trying anything once or twice doesn’t mean you have ever to do it again if you don’t want to.

And not taking a risk because you are  afraid is a grave disservice to yourself.  Fear is not the problem. You can have your fear and allow it to stop you or you can have your fear and risk anyway. Either way, the fear is there. The choice is yours.”

Sources:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2001)  DAP. Louisville. Pgs.45-46.

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

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

I’ll do it when I feel; better. (2014) DAP. Louisville

You can let your thoughts come into your mind, just don’t invite them to stay for tea.

The Promises of Depressed Anonymous: Promise #10 of 15.

Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.

Losses may produce a variety of very intense and painful feelings. Fear can cripple the best of us. Why fear people and economic insecurity? In Steps 4,5,6,7,8,9 we have examined our lives piece by piece, ending up with a good conscience, while feeling neither guilt or shame for things of the past. We have thrown off the shackles of the past.

Bill, in his personal testimony in the DA book relates that you don’t get better overnight, but you do get better. “I was down in the muck  as far as I could go.  I had to go and open  the door for the first time  because there was no other place to go. I had already used up all the hiding places in my life. I still have many problems like anyone else, but when I need sleep very badly, I turn the problem over to the Higher Power and go to sleep. I can always pick  life up in the morning. Somehow it all gets done. Every few days the world dumps on you and beats you down. That’s just life..” (Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.)

I believe this man definitely “got it.” when he began attending the  group, spending some quiet time every day and learn that people like himself were able together to form a new environment, a surrogate  family if you will, where there exists healing and hope.

Granted the group cannot find you a job or take away fear of people, but it can provide you with a map where you can discover a way out of the prison of one’s depression. How can you learn that?

Kim, a member of DA in her personal story says that “the moment I read that I had a choice to stay in depression I undoubtedly knew that I could make the choice to get out of my depression. Bingo! It wasn’t an illness. This did not have control over me. And another tool I use frequently through the DA manual is  that “thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce moods and moods produce behavior.” (Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.)

In the tradition of one major religion, there exist the three poisons, greed, anger and delusion. And as the saying goes “You can let your thoughts come into your mind, just don’t invite them to stay for tea.”

And as it says in the Bible; “Fear not, for I am with you. Let not your heart be troubled.”

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If you have ever experienced the pain and hurt of depression you know what the thoughts expressed here are all about.

I remember Bill very well from the time he came into our group for the first time. And  with time passing I saw him change right before my eyes and live out what he shares with us in his personal story in Depressed Anonymous. I do know that it is just in the sharing of who we are that life can begin for us once again. It truly is like a rebirth. I also know how our feelings produce our moods and the moods produce our behavior. My behavior shifted dramatically from the extrovert that I normally was to the reclusive and isolated person trying to figure out the “why” of my depression. It was only until I got moving did my  feelings begin to change and I became more positive in my thinking so that gradually I began to climb out of the deadness of my  inactive behavior. “If you want something that you never had before,  you must do something that you never did before.”  Doing that something will be the thing that will change your life!

SOURCES:    I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014). DAP. Louisville.

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

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

“WHEN YOU’RE DEPRESSED, ALL YOU’RE INTERESTED IN IS SURVIVAL.”

How true. I will always remember how I felt when I found myself unable to get up in  the morning. I knew something was different and something was very wrong. I was scared.  I did the only thing that I knew what to do–I got into “fight” mode and forced my unresponsive  body to get into motion. For some strange reason  I found myself in  “survival mode.” I just knew that whatever had me pinned to the floor and motionless I had to do the next right thing. The next right thing was to get out of bed and start walking. I did just that. And from that “survival mode” experience I learned a very important lesson: motivation follows action. In a way I had a faint bit of trust that what I was about to do, would be a factor in my survival;.

As it says in the book I’ll do it when I feel better, that “Trust, always has been a critical element in one’s search for finding one’s true and best self. And with trust comes hope. Hope is the thread which weaves its way throughout the spiritual program of the Twelve Steps.”

    LOST SELVES

Depression is about lost selves – and the struggle to regain the self. We are in a perpetual lock down! it is indeed a battle with one’s will to survive –that is why Dorothy Rowe calls depression a prison. We build the walls as a defense to keep us safe until we can combat our demons and find which way out is the best.

Over time you and I both have discovered  a truth: trust is never an easy proposition. Trust comes with a belief that all things will work out. But another problem is that so much of our lives negative and harmful life experiences have ben carried through life and so conditioned us to predict that no matter what we say or do we will always be living in the prison of despair.”

And finally I discovered the more I walked, the more bricks that had me imprisoned in despair and fear, I was able to remove.

It was then that I had the energy to pick up my Twelve Step “tool box”  from the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, and to this day continue my life of serenity and hope. Now, learning to be in a “trust mode” has given me freedom to live each new day with hope.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETETR.(2015) DAP. LOUISVILLE.  PAGES 75, 76-77.

PRIZING YOURSELF

 

One of the activities that you might think about is something that you found fun or pleasurable before your present depression.  You might  give this activity some thought and then  write down this activity with any other fun things that comes to your attention. After a while, I think you will find that there are many  things that you could do when you are feeling especially low. At a time when I was especially feeling a total lack of energy I would go and lie down –why fight the fatigue?  But then I learned that if I would reject the thought of lying down  and instead interest my attention in an activity such as typing on my computer that I found my energy coming back.  The thought that I was too tired to do anything disappeared in a short while.  Weird, but it works!

Also, as for planning pleasurable  activities, you might want to start listening to the way you talk to yourself. Try to speak words to yourself as if you were talking to a guest in your home. Talk out loud if you wish – hear yourself say kind things to yourself. For once, say something good about yourself instead of listening to all those old negative tapes that always made you feel you’d be better off dead. Or else be someone else. You get the idea.

When  you start listing your strengths  as part of your Fourth Step Inventory, list all  the good things  that you like about yourself. (See the Depressed Anonymous Workbook). With every negative statement about yourself don’t allow yourself another statement about yourself until you are able to replace it with three positive statements. I mean. let’s be fair and balance this thing out.  I know that you might feel a bit uncomfortable about prizing yourself, but give it a try anyway.  One of the best ways to make sure you will have a pleasurable activity today is to plan for it the day before and then placing it on your calendar for the next day.  Don’t say you will do it “when I feel  better,” as you and I both know, we don’t usually do anything, no matter what we tell ourselves. I think we have all heard the saying “have a nice day unless you have made other plans.”  A lot depends on our attitude. If this isn’t enough, just know that Abraham Lincoln said that we are all about as happy as we make up  our minds to be. What do you think?

SOURCE: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.   Pages 43-45.

NO MATTER HOW FAR DOWN THE SCALE WE HAVE GONE, WE SEE HOW OUR EXPERIENCE CAN BENEFIT OTHERS.

This is another one of the Promises that helps promote our purpose in life as well as gives our life  meaning.

“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 believe 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 have 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 our 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.

New members of our fellowship see the “after” of our lives lived in recovery and so they themselves get involved in the 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 began sharing their story of hope and personal empowerment.”

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 39-40. PROMISE # 5.

“I WANTED TO GET WELL SO BADLY. I THINK PEOPLE DO HAVE TO WANT TO CHANGE…”

Yes, people do have to want to change as Helen attests so succinctly in her PERSONAL STORY in DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS (3rd edition). And yes, people do have to want it so badly that they will go to any lengths to find help. Let’s continue to read Helen’s words and how by being an active member of the Depressed Anonymous 12 Step Fellowship group she found  where she was no longer alone.  She says “Then I finally knew after two years or more of sleepless nights that someone had to help me. I found a card saying “Depressed Center” in the  back of the phone book. It had a phone number and that was all. I talked to the man on the other end of the phone. I said to myself. “This man is too busy to talk with me,” but anyway, I made the first appointment myself. I made myself go. I thank God that I did.  I thank God that I went for help. It was a whole new beginning for me. I wanted to get well so badly. I think people do have to want to change. I went in with the attitude that I have to get well. I heard things about counselors that scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in.  I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thoughts. I began to feel better and I continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous some weeks later.” Page 146.

You know, sometimes it takes just that  one person, with their own liberating story of being  freed from the isolation and pain of depression that we feel that there is hope for me. If it worked for Helen, it surely can work for me as well.

If you would like to read Helen’s working free of depression,  see the full account in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition. (2011) Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

A PROMISE: “OUR WHOLE OUTLOOK AND ATTITUDE UPON LIFE CHANGES.”

“Our whole outlook and attitude upon life changes.” One of the Promises of Depressed  Anonymous.

“To really believe, possibly for the  first time in one’s life that I can free myself from the prison of depression and begin to feel better. I know that I need to be proactive in my efforts  at self-recovery. But what causes our outlook and attitude to change?

I have to begin to believe that hope and healing is possible. Once we have gone through some painful inner changes, such as dealing with our character defects and our isolating tendencies we se there is a way out.  We have to have a positive attitude that will move and motivate us to want to go and  get to the next step. Watching someone actually take these steps week after week and watch the feeling of wellness  rise up in them can promote a belief that with work and time, their lives do improve. Soon we see that a sense of purpose begins to  manifests itself the more time and work we put into our person recovery.

A door opens ever slightly and there appears a potential route to freedom.  A way out! I do know that when my hope and faith in recovery rises, my symptoms of depression go down. ”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. 2013. Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky. P. 46.

Spontaneity is the opposite of depression.

Dorothy Rowe once said that trusting  oneself   is an essential part of creativity. And why wouldn’t trust of oneself be an essential part of creativity?  We all recognize how spontaneity is the opposite of depression. The symptoms of depression not only paralyze us into inaction physically but likewise freeze our cognitive facilities so that not another thought can move forward so as to connect with another thought to form some meaningful sentence.

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 dead ends. 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 help 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.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better.  2013. 2nd Edition.  Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky. 40217  (Pgs.  77-78).

DEPRESSION IS ABOUT LOST SELVES. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS IS ABOUT THE DISCOVERY OF THE REAL SELF!

“Without the defense of depression the human race would not have survived. By shutting ourselves in this prison we keep out all the dangers and uncertainties that otherwise would overwhelm us.  By making every day in the prison  the same as the next, we deal only with the bare minimum  of issues that we can manage to deal with, and we make sure that nothing new gets in to frighten  and stress us.  By concentrating on just ourselves we do not have to face what is happening to others. Locked in our prison we can avoid acknowledging that the inescapable disasters that the human  race is prone to — death and loss and the tragedies that nature or our own  cruelties and stupidities bring upon us. In depression we can give ourselves a breathing space before we confront all this again, or we can keep ourselves safely locked away forever.`” (14)

Depression is about lost selves — and the struggle to regain the self. We are in a perpetual lock down! It is indeed a battle with one’s self to survive – that is why Dorothy Rowe calls depression a prison. We build the walls as a defense to keep us safe till we can combat our  demons and find which  way out is the best for us. ”

I found all this to be so true in my own life until I admitted that something was very much wrong with what was happening inside of me. I was always tired, anxious and feeling painfully hallowed out inside of me. I truly was imprisoned by my own fears and shame.  In time and with work I forced my prison door open as now I had a key–a key that allowed me to see that I didn’t have to stay here. The pain was so great that the only temporary relief was for me to be proactive and get moving. I walked. I walked some more. Everyday I walked.  I began to feel like Forrest Gump. And actually, for me, walking was the key that helped me to  walk out of the fog. Once my energy level came back, I came into the Fellowship of the Twelve Steps and there began to work on the things that brought me down in the first place. My experience from feeling lost to discovering my real self was all made possible through the working of the spiritual program that we call the Twelve Steps.

—SOURCE: I’ll do it when I feel better.  2013. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville,. Kentucky   40217. (p.76)