When will I feel better?

Often I ask myself about the length of the depression experience and what makes it end.  One author quotes  someone who  asks “When will I feel better?”   I asked myself the very same question, with never getting a  satisfactory answer.  That is, until I read Jonathon Rottenberg’s book The Depths. His work, is my “go to ” guy when I want to learn more about moods and how they affect our daily lives.

Rottenberg, whom I have just finished reading gives us some pertinent information on the subject.  He tells us that ” Martin Keller and his colleagues followed a cohort of 431 patients diagnosed with depression – many of them so debilitated that they had been hospitalized over a five year period. Two months into the observation, nearly one in three had recovered from the episode. By six months, over half the patients had recovered ….

Likewise, data from samples that are more representative of the average depressed person  in the community, suggest that depression will last a year or less 90% of the time.”

The author,Jonathon Rottenberg, in his insightful and helpful account,  Out of the Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic,  tells us that the experts have referred to depression as a self-limiting condition, a problem that ends in by itself.

“…But as depression grinds on, vague bromides don’t work so well. For someone at the end of her rope, whose patience is measured in days or hours, it’s the pace of improvement that is critical. Someone who  has already the best years of life torn up by depression wants to know, “When will I be better?” Hearing that most people recover eventually, even if it’s true, is not good enough.” We all want to know what can make this recovery possible? With my own personal battle with depression and a feeling that I might never escape that tight hold that it had on my thinking and feelings, I   wanted to know how long this journey in “death valley  was to continue. As I never got an answer to my question,I continued the trek through the fog.  It was  about a year and half later that I began to have a rise in my mood. I felt just a tad of cheer and hope as I continued my long walks in the mall where I spent all of my daily mornings before work.  Even though I never had a  clue as to when I would feel better, I kept  waiting for the moment when the gut wrenching  pain would be over. When the mood changed for me, from sad to hopeful, my life and moods began to spiral upwards instead of following  their usual negative trajectory downwards.

I do know this, that I  have lived my life without depression for at least three decades now. I attribute the fact of my recovery to a continued use of a resource, the Depressed Anonymous meeting, plus putting  the Twelve Principles of the 12 Steps in action in my everyday life.

Back to the question: “When will I feel better?” When will anybody feel better? I can’t answer that. I wish that I could. I did not know that 90% of persons depressed, do get better in time.  That is good news. That is something to share with depressed persons, and sometimes various treatments do  help in ending the torment of the depression experience. Even though the experts tell us that  the depression experience is self-limiting, this in a small way can provide some hope for the  one who has suffered  depression all of their life.

Jonathon’s,The Depths, is a work that  has a permanent  place in my reference  library.

RESOURCES:

Jonathon Rottenberg. The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic. Basic  Books.  A Member of the Perseus  Books Group. New York.  NY.

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

 

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.

Women aware of their abilities and rights as human beings

“In our depression groups you can come and begin to get out some of those feelings accumulated over the years which have taken their toll on our lives by making us feel helpless and alone. Many women in our culture seemed to have imbibed a helpless feeling with their mother’s milk. As women become aware of their abilities and rights as human beings, they begin to experience the freedom that comes from being themselves and throwing aside rules and roles fashioned  by men and male mindsRecovery is being able to trust ourselves in exploring ways to feel emotions.

In most cultures, when males begin to depress themselves, they “numb out” and stuff their feelings of shame, hurt, or anger. Males are conditioned to not express in any intimate fashion these unpleasant feelings. One of the positive aspects of our support group is that men can come to our fellowship, share their tears, and know that this is acceptable behavior for any member of the group. What most males really want to do but don’t know how,  is to be intimate with others, sharing those deep feelings. From just an anecdotal account, normally at most Depressed Anonymous meetings there are as many men in attendance as there are women, even though the statistics tell us that women are more depressed than men. I too  believe that accounting is based on cultural conditioning as well. Women have learned how to talk about feelings more than men. Depressed Anonymous is an excellent group for men to not only learn new skills in intimacy, but helps them outgrow old patterns of negative thinking and behavior.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville. Ky.  P. 82-83.

 

I have found a new life and a new freedom. Will you join with me?

AFFIRMATION

My freedom today is growing inside of me as I hope for new life, new friends and new opportunities for serenity and peace.

“We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, ever dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this Step Five, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye. We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.  Our fears fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our creator. We may have had certain  spiritual experiences. The feeling that the drink (insert depression) problem has disappeared will often come back strongly. We feel we are on the Broad Highway, walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” AA Big Book.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

“…When I am in the early days of my recovery, it is so natural for me to begin thinking how bad things will be today, or when will I actually begin to feel better? I don’t believe that these good feelings will last. I set myself up for sadness. This  type of thinking is similar  to the alcoholic who think they  can take one drink but continue to drink til they are drunk.    For us to think that we can start to bash ourselves with sad thoughts without getting drunk with the numbing effects of sadness is sorely mistaken. This is called  denial.

I believe with all my power that even though I walk through the valley of darkness that my God will always be there  with me. I believe also that my sadness will not last forever, but that today is all  I have and I have hope for my day, today. I know that the more I turn to my Higher Power, the more  my Higher Power turns to me.

MEDITATION

God, please don’t let us get attached to anything that isn’t of your making. Our thoughts that we will never feel better are really thoughts  that aren’t   based on fact as most people admit, since they have both good days and bad days in  the future. God, help us to have a good day, today!  Help us to be free today!”

Copyright(c)  Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. (Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY. Pgs 133-134.)

VISIT THE STORE for information on ordering online this work and many others.

Higher Thoughts is  now available of KINDLE.

The Twelve Steps: A powerful means of recovery.

 

“The Twelve Steps are the essential beliefs and at the very core of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous recovery program, modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous,  which originally developed to help men and women deal with their addiction to alcohol, one day at a time. The Twelve Steps have ben found to be a potent means of recovery for those who desire to free themselves from their compulsions. The Twelve Steps are basically a program of letting go of our compulsions and handing over our will to the care of God as we understand God. Essentially our program is a step by step way to change not only our addictions but our way of life. Change happens when we choose to change. The fellowship of the group and our desire to make changes in our lives is what provides our life-giving spiritual experience. Many people get organized religion and spirituality mixed up and Depressed Anonymous achieves strength from spirituality without set creed, dogmas or doctrine. All the program asks of a person who comes to the meetings is only to have a sincere desire to stop the compulsion of saddening themselves.

We make no apologies for our faith in a God who can restore one not only to sanity but to serenity and joy as well. “We never apologize for God. Instead we let God demonstrate, through us, what God can do. We ask God to remove our fear and direct our attention to what God would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow  fear.” (AA).

The God as we understand God is what appeals to more and more persons as we admit our helplessness over our compulsive, depressive thoughts, actions or behaviors. We feel we have lost all control over everything-including our thinking! The depressed person is aware that their unpleasant thinking is a cyclical and spiraling process where there is never a respite.  The obsessiveness driven by one’s feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness is the fuel that continues our own isolation.  The experience is not so much a psychopathology as it is a way  for our human spirit to comfort itself. The depression then is more a dis-ease of isolation and  being disconnected than it is a biological disorder.” .

SOURCE:  COPYRIGHT(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.  Pages  162-163.

Please VISIT OUR STORE,  then click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information on the literature that is available  online.

Our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening!

 

 

Antidote: “A remedy to counteract a poison.” This is the definition as given by Webster’s dictionary. Fear is truly a poison in some ways and in others it is a gift. We need to fear only that which will keep us locked in the prison of depression. Sometimes our fears are of what tomorrow might bring or might be the fears from the past. One of the better antidotes to fear is trying to live, just for today. Today is all I have.

So often I hear others say that they have been depressed all their lives until – let me repeat- until they hear other stories as to how with work, time and belief in a power greater than  themselves that they did and are feeling better now.  I need to trust that once I have made my conscious decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand him, that my life will indeed begin to change.

“I am no longer alone in my suffering depression. I believe that by getting more active in my recovery that my life will begin to brighten up.”

“We of (AA) and  Depressed Anonymous find that our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening.” Bill W.

 

SOURCES:

Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville. May  10. Page 95.

Copyright (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015 ) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

“I realized that I was addicted to the self.”

” As a person that has suffered depression since childhood, I can say that until you start to open up, share your hurts and feelings, listen to the members of the group, watch them as they grow from the support of the group, you will not be able to get out of the prison of your depression. I have been going to Depressed Anonymous for four years and only until recently have I realized that I was addicted to the self.  Only then did I start to take a good look at myself and start to ask God for his help and truly mean it. I am learning to trust in God  and do His will and not mine. I feel better about myself. I can tell you it is a lot easier to be depressed than it is to work on yourself and admit to yourself that there is a problem. It is God’s will for us to live each day to the fullest because of our time on earth is limited. Live each day, not yesterday or tomorrow. Share with the group and your friends and you will be surprised who will be glad to listen  if you would give them a chance. Accept the fact that all of us at Depressed Anonymous are here to listen to you and not make judgments  on you or give advice. Even if you don’t want to share, come to the meetings because you can always get something out of them. Eventually, you will want to share and the group will listen.

In conclusion, trust in your Higher Power – God as you understand God. Support groups are the  way out of our addictions. We may have given  up on God, but God hasn’t  given up on us. Start your day out by asking God: God I pray for the knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out. ”

-Starr writing about her experience with depression and the healing support that she receives in the Depressed Anonymous 12 Step mutual aid group.

Read Starr’s whole story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Personal Stories section/Pages 129-130 ).

WE ARE NOT VICTIMS

The FIFTEENTH WAY out of the prison of depression follows below. This is the last  chapter  excerpt from BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION.

 

Depressed Anonymous believes that we are not to think of ourselves as “depressives” or permanent sufferers of depression. We believe that we can move out of our depression and help others out of their depression. To label ourselves as “depressives” is counterproductive  to our  own recovery.  We will not define ourselves solely by our painful and personal experience with depression: we are not victims.  We also believe that once you have worked your way through and out of depression that you will continue to receive our support and appreciation. You can continue your recovery by reaching out to those persons still suffering from their depression.”

BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. (2015) DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE.

“We can feel a change happening…”

THE FIFTH WAY OUT OF THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION: AN EXCERPT

“Remember that an oak tree was once an acorn –recovery begins by taking one step at a time as well as reading DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS literature and regularly participating in the meetings.”

How often do we meet people in the program who want the quick fix, the easy way out, the feeling getter -now! But just as it might have taken years for the person to learn how to get themselves  depressed, it will take time and work to start to feel better. I do believe that all good growth in nature is gradual and that if we want the good growth to continue, we need to follow certain steps  to make sure this growth will continue. One of the first things that we want to do is to admit, like any  thing, person or substance to which we are attached/addicted to,  which we cannot free ourselves from the attachment by will power alone. We ask our Higher Power, this  power greater than ourselves, to free  us. We begin our recovery by meeting with our local Depressed Anonymous group and admit by our presence that we want to change.  We are dissatisfied where we are now and decide to work on ourselves so that we will feel better. By our taking one step at a time we can feel a change happening. Many people have  been depressed for years-they are in so much pain that they want relief now. The members of the group are taking full responsibility for their feelings, moods and behavior.

If you want some inspiring stories of persons who have freed themselves from the deadly grip of depression and isolation, please read their stories  in DEPRESSED ANONYNMOUS, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 110-152.

THE  HOME STUDY PROGRAM: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition is combined with another publication The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002). These two separate publications provide an individual with an opportunity to further their recovery on their own, with the possibility of getting a Depressed Anonymous  mutual aid group started in their own community. The best help for ourselves is in helping others.

Please VISIT THE STORE to discover  a plentiful resource for books dealing with depression and our 12 Step recovery program, Depressed Anonymous.

 

 

No longer am I alone in my depression.

The FOURTH WAY to leave the prison of depression: An excerpt.

No longer am I alone in my depression. I can now see that it is up to me to form new friendships with others in the fellowship of the Depressed Anonymous group.  I have found persons who understand me and my problems.  I also learn coping skills and new positive behaviors from my fellow group members.

One of the best things about belonging to a Depressed Anonymous group is that a person will find support and acceptance there. Frequently those persons who begin  to work the 12 step program begin to realize that instead of wanting to stay isolated and sad,  it’s the acceptance that they receive in the Depressed Anonymous group that keeps them coming back to the meetings. Another reason people keep coming back to the group is that members of the group place no conditions on you or judgments when you join the group.

They love you and accept you just the way you are,. That’s pretty neat I’d say.

For more on the FOURTH WAY to leave the prison of depression is to read further (Pages 21-28) in BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE.