Helen shares her story about finding help–when she needed it most.
” I finally knew after two year 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 has a phone number and that was all. I talked to a 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 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 an attitude that I have to get well. I had 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.”
If you are curious about how the mutual aid group changed Helen’s life you’ll need to read her full account in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, pages 169-172.
She also has something powerful to say about pleasing people and how she needed to get her priorities straight and begin taking care of herself.
Sources: Seeing is believing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017). Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.
I’ll do it when I feel better.(2018) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY
“But we are not yet community creatures. We are impelled to relate with each other for our survival. But we do not yet relate with the inclusivity, realism, self-awareness, vulnerability, commitment, openness, freedom, equality, and love of genuine community. It is clearly no longer enough to be simply social animals, babbling together at cocktail pareties and brawling with each other in business and over boundaries. It is our task — our essential, central, crucial task — to transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures. It is the only way that human evolution will be able to proceeed. ”
M.Scott Peck: The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace. (1987) TOUCHSTONE.
The above quote presents fleshes out the realities of making community. Also, the critical need we have as social beings to help build those forms of communities where people not only just happen to live proximate to each other but instead see each other as brother and sister. The question then arises how to transform ourselves into a community as Peck proposes?
Alcoholics Anonymous and all 12 step mutual aid groups present us with a model of recovery and the dynamic experiences of community by each persons effort to transform themselves. These 12 step groups have given us a model on how to build community 1) by first beginning the process of transforming that individual and 2) by embedding themselves as part of a caring and healing community. By sharing our vulnerabilities and committing ourselves to the transformation of our live through the dynamic force of a caring community (12 step group) and each of our lives is renewed and changed.
In the mutuality of a caring group of people we can add ourselves as one who truly has been part of building a community where trust, healing and respect take place.
The First Way (#1) to leave the prison of depression: “WE ACCEPT AND BELIEVE THAT HOWEVER HOPELESS EVERYTHING APPEARS RIGHT NOW, WE WILL RECOVER FROM OUR DEPRESSION”
Often persons depressed give up the hope of feeling different. They can’t believe that they have the power to change the way they feel. They don’t believe that they have a choice either to get well or to remain locked in the prison of depression. This is why the belief coupled with the First Step of Depressed Anonymous, a Twelve Step mutual aid group, has a positive impact on one’s personal belief about the recovery process. The First Step of Depressed Anonymous states “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
First we have to admit that our lives are out of control. No matter how hard we have tried, we can’t shake this persistent hollow feeling that has us feeling hopeless and helpless. This admission that we are powerless will begin to free us up and get us the help and support that we want. It’s a paradox. Surrender and win! The group doesn’t pass a magic wand over our head and suddenly you are freed of your symptoms of depression. In fact, the admission that we need help puts us in in contact with a step by step map which leads us out of the land of darkness into the land of light and hope.”
For more information see Literature reference
BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 1-2.