We come to believe that if we do consider ourselves bad and worthless, we just know that no one can really love us or accept us. We just know the more we look at ourselves and our few remaining relationships, that we really aren’t accepted – people just put up with us.
“…There is one great advantage about seeing yourself as helpless and in the power of others. You don’t have to be responsible for yourself. Other people make all the decisions and when things turn out badly you can blame other people. And things always turn out badly. You know this. That’s why you always expect the worst.” Dorothy Rowe.
Responsibility is the name of the game in recovery and it is here that we need to focus our attention. As we get into discussion with other people who are depressed, much like ourselves, we see that they talk abut feeling better while at the same time acting on their own behalf. These people who are doing better are also talking about taking charge of their lives and doing things for themselves. In fact, at Depressed Anonymous meetings, the recovery people often delight at how assertive they are becoming now that they have gained a sense of mastery over their lives. They are also committed to their own recovery. People who want to change begin to swallow their pride and ask for help. They get in touch with their feelings and feel! This is truth and this is getting in touch with one’s best self. ”
SOURCE: Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 91.
I am taking full responsibility for myself and I am making a commitment to my own health and healing.
“Now that we have learned that we have to take care of ourselves and our recovery that we begin to look at the way we think and feel. Even though we don’t want to blame ourselves for having been depressed most of our lives, we know now that we are responsible for finding a way out of this depression. We can’t blame it on our genes, hormones or a chemical imbalance.
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I am aware for the first time since I have been working my program that my thinking is cyclical in that my negative thoughts constantly keep going around and around in circles. I have found that I need to stop the negative self-destructive thinking that has dogged me most of my life. I am able to break the cycle of hurt and my own self-inflicted pain and come to my senses. I do have some good things going for me and I plan to use these good character traits as building blocks for a future filled with hope.
I am learning to take good care of myself. I am more interested in my own self-care than I am of what others around me want or need. I am not being selfish as much as I am being concerned about my own growth and development. In the Third Step we declare that “we made a decision to turn our wills and our minds over to the care of God as we understand God. To be in the care of someone means that they are concerned about us and are burdened with a concern for us.
“Restore our fortunes, O God, like the torrents in the southern desert that those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing. Although they go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown, they shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves. ” Psalm 126.
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowships. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
“It is possible to live life fully throughout life, and if that is accomplished, death need not be feared. An ancient anecdote of Zen literature is most illustrative here. A novice asked a Zen master, “What is death?” To this, the master responded, “I do not know.” “But you are a Zen master.” To this, the master responded, “Yes, but I am not a dead Zen master.”
Source: Mind as Healer, Mind as Slayer, Kenneth R. Pelletier.
So many times I hear people talking about how our modern world is basically absorbed in a “culture of death.” Sadly, so many persons, are occupied, almost phobic about growing older, looking older and being older. More thought is given to death than to life. So much time is spent on looking at the ” what if’s”, than seeing the “what is.”. We all are not automatons, going about life in a daze We all have the ability to look inside, take a deep breath and begin to take responsibility for our lives. Even though we might feel helpless and hopeless it doesn’t mean that we are. How often have I heard that language creates our reality and the language that we use in our self-talk, creates an illusion that there is no hope. And my self-talk tells me that all I have is today–yesterday is gone forever –tomorrow is not here yet, and so all I have is this 24 hour period of time. Do I make an investment in my today, so that what I do today, pays off in serenity and happiness for the 24 hours to come or do I stay frozen in my fears and isolation.
Frankly, what has worked for me and still works for me is to stay in today and say daily the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference…just for today!
Today we have made a big step in that we admitted that you, me, all of us are here to learn how to brighten up our life and begin to take greater responsibility for the way we feel, think and act. We all know that if we want to have the light and warmth of life then we will have to risk the unpredictable. We have to face the uncertain future. And as we all know, this is the nature of depression in that it predicts sameness and the unending hell that we have experienced, day after day for months and for many years. And as strange as it may sound –for some, the sameness and the predictability of depression is sort of a comfort. At least we know what we got.
Today, we will take every advantage for discovering how to begin to take full responsibility for our own lives and how to become hopeful, and help ourselves out of the prison that we have constructed for ourselves over the years.”
“…By diagnosing the problem, and providing a solution and providing a practical plan for getting out of our depression we now can be free of the depression that has imprisoned us for so long.
As we go about attempting to shed some light on our own personal darkness –on our own symptoms of depression –we will gradually begin to see that we must now hold some different beliefs about ourselves – -some immutable beliefs which have hindered our development as hope filled happy people. Now, once we learn what these are and how they defined us these many years we can become free.
We will learn to take responsibility for our lives and our behavior. ”
Source: Shining a light on the dark night of the soul. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 2-3.
Tomorrow 5/25/15 we will list the six immutable beliefs which may have held us behind the bars of depression.
Dorothy Rowe sums it up splendidly in her work, The Way out of your prison, where she states how we have to learn to take care of ourselves. It takes time and work. And this applies to learning ways to work our selves out of the pit, the prison of depression. She promotes the solution that joining a self-help group like Depressed Anonymous is a way to do this. This of course entails work and a persistence in keeping one’s hand to the plow and focused on our own recovery.
She states that ” …joining a self-help group will be one of the most valuable things you can do. You will meet a group of people who knows what it is to be depressed. You don’t have to explain it to them, or apologize, or pretend that you are happy when you are not. In a self-help group, you give and receive friendship, and in sharing the responsibility for the group, you build up your confidence and self-respect.
….you can get help, provided you are prepared to go out and find it and to work with what you are offered.
Spoon feeding is no use to you. You have to feed yourself.”
Comment: To work on any aspect of one’s own life it does take work as Dr. Rowe suggests. In our own recovery program of Depressed Anonymous we are provided a “toolbox” where we can step by step learn and use the various tools of the fellowship to overcome our isolation and pain. All this can be accomplished in the context of the group as well as in the literature provided by the group. By our working the Twelve Step program of recovery, designed specifically for those of us depressed, we can and do leave the prison of our depression. One can read the many personal stories of those who have used the Steps and are free of the bondage of sadness in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.
“Responsibility is the name of the game in recovery and it is here that we need to focus our attention. As we get into a discussion with other people who are depressed – much like ourselves – we see that they talk about feeling better while at the same time acting on their own behalf. ” (8)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
To blame someone else for all my problems, and to focus on someone else and not on myself, never accomplishes anything therapeutic. I believe that as I commit myself to my program of recovery I begin to feel a shift in the way I think and act. I know that the only way out of my pain is to get into dealing with my sadness and the way that I sad myself. I need to begin with Step One and admit my problem. I need to admit that my life has become unmanageable because of my attachment to depression. I must remember not to blame myself for depression – I just know that right now, today, I want out! I tell myself I’ve had it! I intend to get better.
In order to change my life, I have to begin taking responsibility for it today. By setting a goal, just for today, I can plan some success into my life.”
We know that our Higher Power wants us to live just this one day. God is neither a vengeful God nor is my God a punishing God. My God is there for me and the more I open up and trust God, I trust myself to change and be a better and more serene person.”
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications . Louisville, Kentucky P. 69.
HIDE. RUN. ISOLATE. WHEN I WAS DEPRESSED THESE THREE WORDS DESCRIBED MY ACTING OUT BEHAVIOR PERFECTLY.
The Depressed Anonymous Big Book states that:
“Once I admit that I am addicted to depressing myself then I can begin to walk through the door of the prison that binds me. I I must realize the fact that my depression will only get worse unless I put a stop to all the thinking, and acting out behavior that keeps me perpetually locked into my sadness.” (DA88).
Here again we see the responsibility issue cropping up again. This is so important for us who want to hide and run when we feel a life that has to be faced again and again. As we read in Alcoholics Anonymous and as quoted in Depressed Anonymous:
“Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us…
Yes, there is a long period of reconstruction ahead. We must take the lead. A remorseful mumbling that we are sorry won’t fill the bill…” (DA88)
Do you the reader, do this when you are feeling sad and alone? Do you try and get alone by yourself so that you can try and figure out what is happening inside of yourself? I did. For myself, I just kept going around in the circling of my thoughts. The constant circling (ruminating ) and isolating behavior gradually had me spiraling into the darkness of my unending melancholia.
I finally realized I couldn’t think myself of this total physical, psychological immobility. What could I do? See page 73 in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook.
” 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.”
I began to take responsibility for how I feel, think and behave.
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 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 her depression, She was relieved 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 wants to go for that she may, but if she wants to live with some unpredictability in 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.
God please give us the wisdom to know that you want us to enjoy this life while we are here. We want to to enjoy it, so let us seek to want to be in your will. We can make it.
Today, we can look at the Motivating Stage –One of the Four. We have talked about the first stage, namely that of just being Aware. And in the context of BLAMING ourselves, others or God, we have made ourselves aware of a character defect where blaming others works against our self. It is in the Aware stage that we realize that “something is really wrong with me” as David Karp points out in his insightful book Speaking of Sadness. I know the feeling. I knew that I couldn’t just stay in bed but had to do something to get rid of that all encompassing fatigue as well as reduce the tremors in my limbs and eliminate that horrible jittery feeling in my gut. This led me to make a decision –to get motivated— hoping against hope that I wasn’t losing my mind. I wasn’t going crazy.
In the Motivating Stage we are using our awareness to show us how our negative thinking and talking to ourselves has helped continue our sadness. It’s like we have a “wake-up” call telling us how all this negative and emotion laden self talk is making us depressed. And now I am making up my mind to change the way I talk to myself as well as motivate myself to follow the spiritual program of recovery–step by step. I also am trying to live in the present. All I have is just this 24 hours. This Motivating Stage prepares me to move to the DOING stage. I will do all it takes to quit the BLAME game and gradually accept responsibility for my life.
MOVE THE BODY AND THE MIND WILL FOLLOW!
HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS
I have a desire to get connected with everything around me today!
“Until we have actually been depressed we do not realize that there is a great difference between being depressed and being unhappy. When we are unhappy, no matter what terrible things have happened to us, we still feel in contact with the rest of the world. When other people offer comfort and love we can feel it warm and support us… When we are depressed we feel cut off from the rest of the world.” (7)
I admit to taking full responsibility for my detachment from my world and also from my very self. It seems that by numbing my grief over those matters lost in my past life, this has caused myself to be depressed. By burying what need to be faced and mourned, I am making a stand to face the depression that I have created over the years. I am going to care for myself and make the effort to hope that this twenty-four period that I call TODAY is one of rebirth and movement toward others.
Many times I wish I was merely unhappy rather than depressed. I can handle being unhappy, depression is a different story./ I am not about to give up on myself as I step out of depression and begin to take responsibility for my recovery TODAY. Because I have “made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understand God” my life is already starting to show the signs of a positive nature.
My God has given me hope that my depressed days are going to be less and less: I believe that. My faith in God has given me hope.
Source: (c)Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 2014). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Page 210.