Please don’t tell me to “snap out of it.”

The Mental Health Award winner Dorothy Rowe  Ph.D.,   tells us

” that  the best way depressed people can help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one   another. ”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Some folks think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. Wrong. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they had any control over it.  My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most support are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to snap out of it!

I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try and help them. Look for a Depressed Anonymous  Group in your community.

MEDITATION

God, grant us the serenity to accept  the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things  we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS?   Please write out your comments  here if you like.

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down days. 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 201.

Six ways to build a prison of depression for yourself.

“Hold these as if they were real, absolute and immutable truths these following six options.

  1. No matter how good and nice I appear to be, I am really bad, evil, valueless, unacceptable to myself and to others.
  2. Other people are such that I must fear, hate and envy them.
  3. Life is terrible and death is worse.
  4. Only bad things  happened to me in the past and only bad things will happen to me in the future.
  5. It is wrong to get angry.
  6. I must never forgive anyone, least of all myself.”

Excerpted from the book by Dorothy Rowe: Depression. The way out of your depression. Routledge and Kegan Paul. London. 1983. Page 15.

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Comment by Hugh S.

I believe that the above list of the  six immutable beliefs is an accurate summation of the major beliefs that one needs to hold if they want to truly stay walled up in their prison of depression. And as Dorothy Rowe always brings out so dramatically -if you build the prison you can likewise take the walls down.

You dismantle your depression by thoroughly examining your own beliefs and how you construct your world. It’s in the way we usually think about ourselves and the world that enables us to predict with accuracy the way things turn out. If I believe my life is hopeless and that I am an evil person, that fact that someone claims that I am not that way still won’t change the way that I believe about myself. The way I have constructed my world will invariably set my life up in a way so that I will feel hopeless and evil.  It is only when I find out that others who once had the same negative mind constructs and thoughts about themselves,  but who now are living with hope that I am beginning to listen and take note. Is there really a way out of this prison of depression?

People who know the painful and deadening experience of depression realize  that they can never just Snap out of their deadness. Just as their sadness feels like it can never come to an end, so does their ability to do anything about the hopelessness seem impossible. But once the depressed person begins to  share their story and the history of their personal experience of sadness the more that can experience hope and the possibility that maybe they too  can escape depression.

Not only do I see people who are depressed gradually start to live with hope and energy but I also see this happen more quickly while they are engaged in a group of other depressed persons. In time, with a person’s   involvement with the group they sense a feeling that they aren’t alone any more and that they can make a choice to try and feel differently. In other words, they will be meeting on a regular basis  with people who will never say SNAP OUT OF IT but instead will say  I’M WITH YOU.  They will also find a new family where they are accepted, understood and strengthened for the work they need to do on  themselves to get better. Again, I can’t emphasize it enough how Depressed  Anonymous is the program  to follow if you want to start feeling better.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c)The  Antidepressant Tablet. Volume 2:1. 1990.

 

 

 

ARE YOU READY?

That’s right, I am ready for a life turn-around.. I am not a victim.  The First step of Depressed Anonymous says “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable. ”  We know and believe how we are no longer victims. Instead, we are learning how to be survivors, and much more. We refuse to be victims.”

Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that I don’t do myself any good blaming myself with those daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. I now am conscious of a new path out of my misery.”  BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION.  Smith, Hugh (  2014) DAP, Louisville, Ky  40217 (p.54).

One of the best parts of being a member of Depressed Anonymous (Online or f2f group) is that we don’t have to be alone if we don’t want to be. That might sound strange to some of us but we have to admit that what keeps us depressed is our need to keep apart from others…to remain disconnected and isolated.  We have a need to be by ourselves and to stay apart from human contact.  For to be in contact with others means that we will have to take some risks and to make some  choices. But when I am depressed and alone I don’t have to make many choices or take any action except to keep isolating myself and staying apart.” THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK. DAP. Louisville, KY  40217. (p.4)

Until I could put a label on the feelings of pain, shame and need to be isolated from others — all I could do was to think how hollow and empty I continued to feel. And, the feelings grew stronger day by day…”  I had to make a decision. I had to do something. I believe that this is where many of us begin our journey out of depression. We know we have to do something. We will not just lie down and die. We will not be a victim.

As it states in our Big Book, DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, (3rd edition ) 2011. (p31).

” But don’t get me wrong – I do not  believe that you can snap out of your depression or suddenly and dramatically get your life turned around by going to one Depressed Anonymous meeting or reading the Twelve Steps five times an hour. We know it just doesn’t happen that way, especially if you have lived with your depression any length of time…”

So, here we are. Decision time. What to do and where to go to find help. For myself and others, I have found it in a program of recovery that works (HOME STUDY PROGRAM AND/OR DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MEETINGS)). It works for me. It has provided me with a “tool box ” of  ways where I gradually can loosen up the tight and deadly grip of depression on  my life and begin to live with the belief that I am going to get  better and feel differently. ARE YOU READY?

THE GOOD AND BAD IMPLICATIONS OF DEPRESSION.

If you believe that you had nothing to do with your depression,  then the good implication is that you didn’t cause it.  The bad implication is if you didn’t cause it then you could get it again, like the flu or the cold.  But since depression isn’t a cold or a flu virus or germ we will try taking responsibility for our depression and its symptoms and go from there.  The quickest answer to that is that it may lead me to take full responsibility for anyway that I can to overcome depression –this may mean taking the medication to reduce the negative symptoms, seek talk therapy, and then be part of a beloved community –a self help group where they know us by name. It is here that people like us will take the time to guide us toward the light where we can find safety, security and people like ourselves who will not tell us to “snap out of it.”

It is now the time to ask yourselves how you can best take responsibility for yourself.  Formulating a daily plan, an activity, a pleasant activity, a feeling of finally getting control over your life which you felt that you never had. Also, planning one or more pleasant activities everyday into your life is a good way to plan your day instead of your day planning you.

To examine the good and the bad implications of depression as outlined briefly above is just another way to continue clarifying our thoughts on how well we  are taking responsibility for our lives.

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Copyright(c) Shining a light on the dark night of the soul. DAP  Pages 16=-17(  Excerpts)

Soldiers, Suicides, and Support groups.

I think that most of us have read or heard   through the media about suicides among our nation’s military. Even though there are less suicides recorded this year  among members of the Armed Forces,  our National Guard units have experienced  a rise in suicides among its members this past year. One suicide among us is one too many!

So what is going on? From my perspective as a civilian who works with persons every day who are depressed, I think that because of the nature of their roles as men and women  committed to putting their lives on the line, especially combat,   this fact in itself is enough to present  a person with stress and the many  resultant symptoms of depression.  I do know that stressful  life events, and the thinking  about them, can grind us down psychologically, physically  and psychically.

Depression must be taken seriously! Telling a person depressed to  ” snap out of it.” is not helpful at all.  This basically invalidates my own feelings  of hopelessness and helplessness.  I can’t just turn my depression on or off like a faucet.

I just hope that those with the capacity to help our soldiers who are depressed can help all our  soldiers to be better prepared by making available  support groups designed specifically for men and women depressed.  As one top military put it, he thinks that just by making available someone to talk to–and telling them that it is  “ok,  to admit feeling helpless about circumstances in one’s life and  that you are spiraling down into an abyss and can’t climb  out.” Most person depressed feel especially out of control, I also think that men in our culture, because of needing to be strong and brave, find it most difficult to share these deep emotions of feeling helpless plus dealing with something that can’t just be willed  away.    Shame and guilt are real obstacles to getting help. Depression not only paralyzes our wills but makes moving out of our isolating behavior just that much more difficult.

It would be my recommendation that the military continue its efforts in establishing  support groups which deal specifically with issues of depression and suicidal thinking and behavior. Would the military consider using material modeled after the 12 steps off AA and which has been established as a remedy, since 1985,  not only for the military but for all who are looking for support. .   Depression is a global problem. We feel that Depressed Anonymous  is such a therapeutic  approach and one  which our military deserve.    And as a nation we need to “pass muster” and give our troops the best that we have to give.

Hugh

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE 12 STEP DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PROGRAM OF RECOVERY?

Depressed Anonymous  

1) Educates and informs us about our experience of depression. 2) Nurtures us so that we can begin to share and to trust our unpleasant feelings with others.  3) Accepts us and does not make   judgements  about  our experiences with depression. In other words, we don’t hear “snap out of it” in the group. 4) Teaches coping skills by our frequent meetings and group  membership interaction.  It provides us with a  “toolbox” of new skills we can utilize in our overcoming of sadness. 5) Empowers us to believe that there is truly a way out of our depression. One of the major benefits of our group is you can hear how other persons depressed have made it out of depression. (Read the Personal Stories in Depressed Anonymous).   It is clear that the program works best for those who keep coming back to meetings.

There are multiple benefits that come to those of us  who  are committed to being  active participants in our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. I should know, I am one of the active participants.

Expression-not depression.

Expressing oneself and sharing personal feelings can liberate ourselves from thoughts that imprison us and isolate us. They isolate us from others and the world around us.
I have found that it is in the milieu of an accepting and understanding group of people that I can grow and share my feelings. I have witnessed these many years (30 ) how all of us, including myself, can gradually come to trust others with feelings of shame, hurt and pain. In fact, it is in the context of my 12 step group program of recovery that I became a different person. I was able to come out of the shadows of my isolating depression and found people just like myself. They taught me and proved to me that just by coming back to meeting after meeting and sharing their own feelings that something, a power if you will, enabled them to move forward. No longer was I isolated in my own prison of depression but now I became liberated to talk freely, share freely, and join with others on this road to sanity and serenity. I AM NO LONGER ALONE!
Just by hearing myself share my feelings of how depressed I was–and listened to with respect–no “SNAP OUT OF IT HERE–I now found that toolbox of hope and freedom. I call this the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous.
Comments are always welcome here and a place where you too can share

IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE — AND HELP ONE ANOTHER!

AFFIRMATION

I WANT TO CARRY THE MESSAGE OF HOPE TO THOSE OTHERS WHO ARE DEPRESSED.

“I  (Dr. Dorothy Rowe) said what I so often said, that the best way depressed people can  help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one another.”

REFLECTION

They also think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they have any control over it.  My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most supportive are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to “snap out of it!”

I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try and help them.

MEDITATION

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. (Personal comments).

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days:  365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville, Ky.  Page 201.

SNAP OUT OF IT!

 THE PROMISES  #6   The feelings of uselessness and self pity disappear.

In the Promises of Depressed Anonymous we see that “One of the major areas in our lives that change quickly by our attendance at the group meetings is that we pity ourselves less and less. We begin to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are.  We begin to see that once we start getting connected to others like ourselves on a regular basis, through our Depressed Anonymous meetings, we now are listened to by others and we are validated. We don’t hear “snap out of it” at our meetings. Suddenly our years of self pity, isolation and desolation have been cashed in for a currency that buys us a new competency, a new identity, autonomy and a burgeoning interrelatedness with others. We know we are not alone.

We now can speak about our experience with depression in the past tense. We can now show how we have the tools of self-care whereby we can dig out and begin to construct an edifice of hope that will last the rest of our lives. As long as we continue to use the tools of the program we are bound to feel different as well as think differently.”

COMMENTS, PLEASE.

SOURCES: Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd edition; The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002); I’ll Do it when I feel better (.2013) Page 41.