Depression is different from normal sadness.

Depression cannot be reduced to a single factor. It is the result of the coinciding of different factors. Biological, historical, environmental and psychological factors play a certain role in the beginning and its evolution.

Many people never reach a state of clinical depression .  Such depression, with the feeling of paralysis that it involves, is different from normal sadness. People with clinical depression, in general, demonstrate physical and psychic alterations; people who are  not depressed manifest certain mental signs of sadness.

In addition, people often confuse depression with unhappiness. often one can hear the phrase “I feel depressed’, even though the person concerned only wants to say that he or she is not happy. Until, one has really experienced depression one cannot realize the enormous, difference that exists between being depressed and being unhappy. When we are unhappy, despite the scale of the tragedy that has afflicted us, we remain in contact with reality. When other people offer us consolation and love we can still feel gratitude for their warmth and support. But when we are depressed we feel like people who are excluded from the rest of the world. The comfort and love offered by other people do not penetrate our barrier and we feel neither consoled or loved. To experience real depression means to feel entrapped in pitch or suffocated by some dense, heavy material or buried alive in a dark tunnel. The depressed person   is interested in nothing and nobody, and does not feel any hope.”

SOURCE: Jose Saraiva Martins

—————————–

Comment: If you are  a depressed person and are reading this you know the guy who is writing the above material  knows what he is talking about. But, if you are  a person who has been unhappy but never depressed, it is  impossible for you to even begin to fathom what he is talking about.  ” Yes”, you might say, “but I don’t see any plaster casts, no sign of physical brokenness and the guy or gal is always happy. You know, the life of the party.”

There is a night and day difference between being depressed and being unhappy. I know,  as I have been depressed. I also  have been very unhappy as well. Being depressed is  a life threatening illness and for many the trajectory can lead to suicide  preceded by thinking that is hopeless and suicidal.

The person who has experienced depression themselves and who seeks  help to climb out of the dark pit now has friends in the  Depressed Anonymous fellowship of the 12 steps.  The new person coming into our group soon learns that the members know about the depression experience. Some have talked about trying to commit  suicide.

My point is that  persons depressed live in a world that they cannot touch, a world which they are viewing from the insides of an  enclosed soundproof glass room. They are completely isolated and adrift —  floating alone in a river of turbulence and dangerous currents. And when the time comes to flee this pain and isolation they run to the people who say they know what depression is. They also have a “toolkit” which they continue to use in their daily lives which helps them to forever stay out of that glass enclosed room.  I am one  of those persons who never  returned to that past time in my life when I felt totally alone, without friends, purpose or meaning in my life. I owe my life to Depressed Anonymous and its powerful focus on hope instead of hopelessness.

Hugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am choosing to live in the security of my hope rather than in the fear of life’s possible pain.

“…Haven’t our sadness and thoughts of unworthiness been our last refuge from having to face ourselves, take charge and accept responsibility for our own lives? For many, just knowing that they might have a choice and be able to choose to feel differently can be a startling revelation. I can choose to be happy or I can choose to stay feeling miserable.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Life is one that provides me with many areas of choice. I can choose to live with the uncertainty of  hope or I can stay mired in the despair of having to always have everything predictable.  The latter is the hell of my depression.

MEDITATION

We choose to place our trust in you, our God, and to believe that all we can ever have is to be provided with your love and protection in our daily struggles to free ourselves from this continued depression.

SOURCE:   Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

“My depression is such a comfort to me.”

How many times have we heard this from those who are depressed.  Many depressed people say that this feeling  of worthlessness and hollowness is all that they have ever known. In fact, they add. “since it is all I’ve ever known I’m too scared to feel something different.”  In other words, their feelings of sadness is like a life-long friend and to change now is asking the impossible. Their whole identity has ben centered on how bad they always feel. Even though they are sick and tired of being sick and tired they cling on to the familiar and secure sadness.  This is all they know and can’t trust themselves to surrender this debilitating sadness and attempt to feel something different. It’s a risk to try and feel cheerful. Being sad all the time is predictable –at least  they know what they have. Getting oneself undepressed is almost too frightening to think about, much less spending  a lot of time  and energy trying to figure out how to escape it.

How can I help myself out of this deep pit if I believe what I have is better than what I might get?  I recommend first of all that a person admit that their life is unmanageable  and out of control because of their depression.  Your compulsion to depress yourself might make you feel secure but it does  make for a life lived in misery and fear. You have to admit that you no longer want to live this way.  You have to say that you are NOW wiling to listen to other people and find out how they are able to risk feeling something  other than sadness.  You have to want to quit  saddening oneself!  If you have felt this sadness all or most of your life then you can now learn a way to escape the personal sadness and constant fatigue that feeling disconnected from yourself and your world makes you feel.”

SOURCES:  Material taken from the Home Study Combo:

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2001)  Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. [VISIT THE LiTERATURE STORE for more excellent resources. ]

I can still hope…

AFFIRMATION

I am finding a way out of my sadness and just for today, I will remain hopeful!

“…We have come a long way on our journey,  for the road to coping and recovery is widening and has its obstacles, but we have all fared well, we have braved the storms and found a hope that extends beyond tomorrow.”

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Even though the journey out of this darkness might be longer  than I am wanting to admit, I can still hope that the end will be in sight at some time. There is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. With time and with work, I will get better. I have already admitted, time after time, that I need help in learning how to free myself from my need to sad  myself, day after day.   This compulsion of mine has been with me for many years, but I have hope that it will not be long until my good days begin to outnumber my bad days with depression. I have the faith of a beginner, a novice if you will, in the ways of recovery. I can’t find a way out of this depression without hope. I know that there is going to have to be a change in the way I view life if I am to get better. I am going to take responsibility for my life and begin to change!

Troubles in one’s life may cause our persistence and endurance to grow and is the reason our faith is strengthened.

MEDITATION

God, help us realize that we are part of your plan and that we have a purpose here on this earth; if for no other reason than to let others like us know that we have a place where hope starts, namely, in you.

______________________________________________________________________

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

MYTH #1: DEPRESSION FLOATS IN LIKE A DARK CLOUD OVER WHICH WE HAVE NO CONTROL!

An excerpt from Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition)

“The depression is so  bad at times that we feel no one would ever understand how we feel unless of course they have been there.  We just have about given up on God, church, family and friends as allies on our behalf.  We  feel resentments and anger toward people for not feeling more sympathetic toward our never ending sadness.  We feel that people aren’t kind and don’t treat us with the same respect that they do other people such as a diabetic, insomniac or arthritic person. Most people don’t want anything to do with us because they get tired of our moaning, groaning and pessimistic way of looking at life.  Why shouldn’t they? Life is tough  enough without having to be subjected to another’s gloom and doom. But this is the place where we recognize the difference between ourselves and others, and of course we think our lot is always the worst of all. The self-pity never brings us into any personal sense of peace, but has just the opposite effect in that it helps perpetuate the myth that depression floats in like a dark cloud over which we have no control. We need to tell our spouse, family and friends that we want to start again and begin to take charge of our lives and start to chip away at our sadness. We won’t blame our need to sadden ourselves on what my wife/husband did or did not do for us, or what a friend said or didn’t say. We finally have to take the bull by the horns much like the recovering alcoholic overeater, gambler or smoker, and admit that it is “I”  that has the problem, and that it no longer does any good to blame others for my problem. 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 must realize the fact that  my depression  will only get worse unless I put a stop to all the ill-thinking, feeling and acting out behavior that keeps me perpetually locked into my sadness.”

—————————————————————–

SOURCE: DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS (3rd edition). 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 86.

MY INNER MOST THOUGHTS ARE STEPPING STONES

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I am going to think of my inner most thoughts as stepping stones to a better and more positive way to live my life.

“In the ancient secret Gnostic Gospels Jesus is reported as saying, ‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you  bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is in you, what you do not bring forth  will destroy you.'”(6)

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

My sad thoughts which I continually run around in my mind keep me enslaved to inaction and a feeling of being trapped.  I want to let these thoughts  out so that I will be able to look at them and see them for what they are  —  the empty fears that have no power when placed out in the light of day. I believe that the more I express my fears to another, the less powerful they are and the less control they have over my life.

I am going to accept the fact that I have every right to be part of this universe and I am going to do everything in my power to achieve a sense of security and happiness for myself.  The first step  where “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable” is what will free me in time from the prison of my depression.

When we get in touch with what we fear, we can get in touch with ourselves. By doing this, we find a way out of the cold and lifeless sadness that we call depression.

MEDITATION

God, please come to us and dwell within us that you might create in us the strength that we need to bring us forth what is within us. This means both those pleasant and  unpleasant thoughts.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 89. May 1.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DECIDE TO CHANGE? WILL I FEEL BETTER? I HAVE TO KNOW FOR SURE BEFORE I CHANGE!

TO LIVE IS TO CHANGE

To live is to change. I choose to live with uncertainty today so that I can live with hope today.  I choose to monitor all the negative and unpleasant things I say to myself today.

“TRUSTING MEANS ACCEPTING UNCERTAINTY, AND THAT IS NOT ONE THING THAT YOU ARE PREPARED TO  DO.” (3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

How often do I hear others who were once depressed say that it is only when they become vulnerable –that is, trusted others, that their lives took a turn for the better.  So often, because of my need to completely control past, present and future, I can give my trust to no one else, including God.  I must live my life with total certainty which the certain sad feeling of depression assures me, that what always  has been (sadness) always will be.

To believe that my depression will never lift is to possess  an irrational belief like saying the sun will never shine again because the sky has been overcast for days. It is living with certainty that gets me so depressed.

MEDITATON

God, we want to begin today to trust you with our lives. We hear others who work the Twelve-Step program claim   a new feeling of hope for their lives when they begin to live with trust in their Higher Power. We accept your plan for us today. We surrender our will to you now –we’ve only got our depression to lose. ”

Again we can’t promise anything about what will happen if you decide to change.  I just can talk about my own experiences with depression. The only thing I knew was that I had to do something–I had to take responsibility for my life–I didn’t know for sure that my walking everyday and forcing myself out of bed a morning would make a difference in my mood. I didn’t know for sure that the Twelve Step Promises would work for me. I just knew that I was vulnerable and was willing to live with that uncertainty that possibly the sun would shine again for me. I just believed that if I moved the body–the mind would follow behind (which it did) and soon my own uncertainty about me ever feeling different than my everyday sadness–changed into hope as I did feel different. The fog of my depression did lift. I was almost caught up in one of those six immutable beliefs that Dr. Rowe speaks about, namely, “since bad things happened to me in the past, bad things will happen to me in the future.”  The certainty of this belief will definitely hinder us from taking responsibility for our lives.

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. 1993, 1999. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. 40217. (p. 53))

I HAVE BASED MY LIFE ON WHAT OTHER’S THINK.

AFFIRMNATION

I will affirm myself by getting in touch with my feelings and expressing them.

” To know how to behave you have to rely on  other people’s opinions, and so you live under the tyrannies of ‘they.’  What will they think?  is the thing that accompanies every action and determines ever decision.”

REFLECTION

I am so accustomed to living my life on the basis of others feelings, thoughts, and decisions about myself that in the end I feel de-selfed.   I feel empty and horribly alone; I feel saddened over the loss of my identity as a person.

Now, I am hopeful as I see that one of the best ways to defeat my sense of nothingness is to seek out the presence of this force bigger  than myself and be willing today –just for today, to let it work its power in my life. My identity as a person is going to grow slowly and spiritually.

When depressed, it’s hard to make up my mind. Just knowing that this is part of my depression makes it less painful as I  make a mental decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God, as I understand him.

MEDITATION

Our God is consciousness and is knowledgeable of everything in  the universe. Our God is at the center of our lives, replacing the sadness around which our world  revolves. The more  conscious we are of God working in our minds and thoughts, the more we are going to feel like some one we can love.”

—————————————————————–

“MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!  Again, we are back to the conviction that the God of my understanding will guide me down the path that best suits me and my recovery. How many times have I reflected upon comments made at  Depressed Anonymous meetings by members who speak freely about God’s work in their lives. It is amazing how often the thought pops into my mind how frequently  people speak about God’s power operating in their lives. The comments made by members originate in their own “spiritual awakening”  resultant of living out the Steps in their own lives. Anyway, it’s heartening for me to know and believe that God will work in one’s life if one trusts this power greater than oneself.

—  SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky 402i7. Page 49.

SADNESS CAN BE OVERCOME BY HOPE!

”  Remarkable things happen to us when we are willing to admit defeat and talk about our powerlessness over depression and how our lives had become un-manageable.  This first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living.  At our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we talk hope, we act hopeful, and we think hope. We learn that our thinking depressed and negative thoughts might have gotten us in the shape that we are in today. What you think is what you become.  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 behavior. Hope is overcome by sadness.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. Depressed Anonymous Publications.Page 107.

We all have heard the saying, seeing is believing. I prefer the reverse, namely, that believing is seeing. Once the newcomer arrives through the door of a Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first time, they will hear and see recovery in action.

Possibly for the first time the newcomer  to the DA group  will hear their story voiced by the various  members of the group. They will see that they are not alone.  They discover how their own sadness gets a positive  jolt as they  hear hope expressed in the  recovery group. It is easier to believe someone when they share the same conditions of isolation, and feeling hopeless that you feel.   In fact, in a group of people much like oneself, you begin to see that maybe, just maybe, there is hope for you as well.

Surrender and win: a paradox of the spiritual principles of all 12 Step programs of recovery.

SURRENDER AND WIN!

How can this make sense. Surrender and win? Well, in my life and probably in the lives of most of us who live with an addiction(s) we finally discovered this statement to true. Painfully true. I remember repeating to myself that “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” It became like a mantra until one day I was forced to do something about my addiction.  It was like my hands went up in the air and the white flag I was carrying  declared  that the enemy finally had won the battle. I had no place to go. I could only admit that, yes, I was beat. Pushed down and stomped on.  By admitting my defeat  and surrendering to a belief that it was my last hope of survival. If I was to win it had to be on it’s terms. The ” IT ” here was the First Step of AA which stated that “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” Wow! I knew deep down that it was my only chance to survive and leave behind me that awful bondage of my addiction for alcohol. The day that I entered that AA meeting for the first time was the day that I began to wrest free from the scourge of my being imprisoned by alcohol.  I learned a lot at that meeting: I learned how it was just in the admission that I had a problem that freedom finally became a reality

Whether addicted to sadness, food, booze, drugs, pain pills, or pornography, sex, _____________(name your own)  there is hope for you too. Wherever there exists an addiction, more than not, there exists a mutual aid group of like minded people who were there but now they are here (free).

The paradox of course  is when you finally give up and say “I’ve had it ” that there is a group of persons just like you who will say, “Welcome, to the fellowship.”

By surrendering and admitting I was living with a cancer that would eventually kill me, I made a decision to get help–surrender–and win back my life. That day, on  December 8th, 1982 I became a winner. I thank God, my Higher Power that I had enough hope left to surrender and find help! I won by surrendering!