“We find ourselves enervated and weakened…” But hope is Promised!

Promise # 3 of 13  continued: “We do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.”   The following is a continuation from the previous statement concerning Promise # 3.

“When we suppress a negative emotion and refuse to deal with it, either consciously or unconsciously, it becomes one of those blocks that form  the walls of our personal prison. These unexpressed emotions can fester and boil over so that our energy level is dissipated, scattered. We find ourselves enervated and weakened. We discover that with the internal war raging inside of us we can hardly find the energy to get to work and roll ourselves out of bed a morning.  We no longer have the freeing feeling of spontaneity in our lives.

We discover that our ability to make ourselves do something is now beyond our personal strength and power. We have become helpless.

We also discover that we are powerless. Our will power has no control  over this depression.

But how do we know that this particular Promise will come true for me?  What we can rely on is our own experiences.  Our experiences tell us that the more we live in the solution of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous the more serenity and peace will be ours. We have discovered that it is when we begin to live in the solution and not focus on our problems that will lead us past the fear of what might happen to the serenity of the present moment.  We no longer wait  with trepidation for the other shoe to drop. Our freedom begins when we start to reflect consciously on what is happening now at this very moment. I have noticed that it is when I become conscious about what I am feeling now is the direct result of my  thinking which enable me to make  the conscious decisions to bring myself back to the present.”

SOURCES: (c)  I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 35-36.

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

 VISIT THE STORE for more literature dealing with the Steps and Depression..

The little part in me that says I am OK, is the part that I am going to concentrate on today.

AFFIRMATION

“Now that small voice, that little part of you that wants to  have light and some hope is getting up  the courage to ask more for itself.” (8)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am finding that the more I seek out a solution to my depression and begin to look for signs of sadness lifting, the more my focus stretches from despair to hope. I am making the courageous move to speak kinder thoughts to myself and gradually replace those harmful negative thoughts  to newer and more hopeful thoughts.

The only voice that I want to listen to today is the voice that says that the mistakes of yesterday or the various views I held about  myself in the past do not matter. The voice that I am going to listen to today says that I can make a choice to feel better right now.

MEDITATION

God, help us to take what we can that’s positive about ourselves and leave behind the awful negatives that always seemed to take center stage in our mind.”

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups.(1999). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The solution-focused journey out of depression.

Solution-focused is not only a description of a particular type of therapy but is likewise an apt description of the work that is done when one becomes  a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship. The Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous present to those still “suffering from depression” positive solutions for the overcoming of their own feelings of worthlessness and despair.

By using the Steps you can begin to take the journey that will change your life, your feelings  and your relationship with the world inside yourself as well as the world in which you live.

Step Twelve  tells us that  “Having had  a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed,  and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

And, that is why we do what we do. Now that we have admitted we had a problem, turned our life over to something bigger than ourselves,  cleared away the rubbish of lives that kept  us imprisoned  (fears, guilt, isolation), we gained a freedom to live everyday in the solution of hope and serenity.

Try the solution! See if our program will work for you. It’s already restored thousands of lives and families.

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VISIT the STORE and check out the HOME STUDY PROGRAM, and order it today.    The solution-focused program consists of The DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK,(2001), and  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition. (2011).Both books  and all our literature is written by those of us who have been depressed and who  now live a daily life of hope.

All we have to lose is our misery!

DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS IS SOLUTION FOCUSED. THE GROUP PROVIDES US WITH A SECURE BASE.

Depressed Anonymous, as a functioning mutual aid group is solution focused. How do I know? I know because I practice the principles of the Twelve Steps in my daily life–day after day. I have a step by step program of recovery which provides me with an assortment of tools (solutions) to help  dig myself out of whatever has me by the throat.  The  fellowship of a Twelve Step recovery group embeds me in a secure group of men and women who, like myself, are focused on what can rebuild my life and not continue to destroy it. A lot of the rebuilding might be  to repair a faulty foundation that did not provide security  for us as we passed through the various  formative years of our lives.

In a similar vein, it has been our family or significant others who have told us who we are and  who  by their feelings towards us to a large extent  determined who we are today. Our parents for good or for ill have defined  who we are combined with other significant early childhood caregivers.

It was their opinion of us, plus the familial environment that helped create the personality of who we are today. If we grew up with a secure base  — a supportive father and mother who let us pursue and reach out beyond our environment and encouraged this pursuit – most probably we grew up confident and hopeful as if life was a good place to be and which nurtured us and protected us – in other words, we were not afraid to move beyond our family boundaries – we were encouraged to grow and go beyond our family boundaries and explore. But the family where the child doesn’t feel secure –that child was closed in and felt afraid of that which was outside the circle of the family. In one family there was an openness that promoted growth and learning and  in another the closed family system produced fear, aloneness and alienation from self and others.

If a teacher, parent or significant other told you that you would never amount to anything they probably have influenced you for much of your life, that is until you discovered  that something in your life was amiss.  A small child believes so much taught to them by those older people who not only were bigger and stronger but who were like gods compared to our small size and small minds.

I remember well a teacher who told me in the 3rd grade that I would never be like my brother and uncle  (smart guys) –this truly shocked me — but I did believe her and it has influenced me for the remainder of my life–until I found out that she was not correct.  Over  the years I finally caught on and became the person that I am growing to become today. I am not a carbon copy of some other person’s idea of who I was and supposed to be. (The thoughts here of Family Systems  researcher and author (Bowen) have influenced me in my reflections on my own family and its influence on my life)

Are you,  the reader,  still influenced by those old labels and messages that were pinned on you years ago? If so, you can now  do something about it. Are you ready!

See the source cited below.

 SHINING A LIGHT ON THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL: A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE FOR HEALING THE DARKNESS . OF DEPRESSION. (1999)  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE,  KENTUCKY. Pages 1-2

families

WE ADMITTED THAT WE WERE POWERLESS OVER DEPRESSION AND THAT OUR LIVES HAD BECOME UNMANAGEABLE.

To admit that there is a problem is the first step which can move us into recovery. The First Step of the Twelve Steps begins with the word WE. This is a WE program–a program about us as a group of hurting people. Since we have tried to tackle our problems alone and in the confines of our own mind we soon discovered that for most of us this was not enough. We still were saddled with a life destroying and  unmanageable situation. There must be a solution we thought. Yes, there is a solution. For many of us who have traveled this path of recovery, living out the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps and being part of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we have found peace and a new way of living,

THREE OF THE WORLD’S WORST EXCUSES. HOW WE RESIST CHANGE WITH OUR NEGATIVE SELF TALK!

” But I’ve always done it this way.”

“But I have always been this way.”

“This is just how I am.”

Stuck!  How often does someone tell us one of the above excuses or all of the above on first showing up at a Depressed Anonymous meeting.  They tell us that they are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  They come to those of us who have said the same thing in the past. Like those  who stick with the fellowship of persons like themselves, persons depressed, they learn how   our lives were before participating in our program of recovery and how our life is today.  The change that we talk about is like night and day.   The BEFORE describes a life of darkness and despair and the NOW describes a   life filled with light and hope.

Now, by using the four stage process of change: 1. Be aware 2) Be motivating 3) Be doing 4) Be maintaining  we can examine our past. We begin to see how our excuses which keep us imprisoned in depression many times originate growing up in a dysfunctional family. This  loss of trust and love and in   some cases,  even loss of provision for basic survival needs such as food, shelter and physical  safety, conditions us to a feeling of being helpless and depressed. Sometimes this chronic depression is masked and defended against by compulsive activity and perfectionistic kinds of striving. Becoming “tireless” and “limitless caretakers of others defends a person against his or her own neediness and yearning to be care for.

So, how can we promote a positive change? How does this change come about?  Well, first of all, we admit we have a problem. For some of us, a life-threatening problem. We became aware something is wrong. Then  we believed that we had to do something about this problem. We came to the DA group. We discovered that the members of the group learned how  to motivate themselves and get into action. We found a way that gave us hope. We found a map that continues to lead us out of the darkness.  Finally, one’s motivation is followed by action. We got into action  and   continued to find ways to change ourselves.  We have the tools  to change our selves,  one Step at a time. We are no longer alone. No more excuses.  We now have a solution.  How about you?

DEPRESSION: Only the concern of the lone sufferer or is it a harbinger of a societal (community) problem?

Remember the canary in the coal mine? The canary, carried by miners into the mine was the first one to smell potential disaster, alerting miners to get out of that mine. Today, with so much emphasis on medical treatments, David Karp, a sociologist, in “Speaking of Sadness” comments in his chapter Sociology, Spirituality and Suffering that “once individuals realize that medical treatment is unlikely to fix their problems, their thinking moves away from the medical language of cure toward the spiritual language of transformation.” He also tells us that “…(T)he Iroquois Indians, for example, believed that when any single person suffered, it reflected the suffering of nature, of the whole world, in fact.” The reality is that all life is interconnected with other living organisms. We see this illustrated best when a culture becomes narcissistic and centered primarily on the individual. Karp maintains that “the social disconnection generated by an ethic of individualism is an important element in the proliferation of affective disorders in America.”
While I believe that medications can alleviate the pain of some of those who are depressed and seek clinical help, the meds in themselves cannot remove whatever caused the pain, or the initial hurt. But the depression itself will allow us to take a deeper look at how we live out our lives. And for this reason that is why I am an advocate for mutual-aid groups where persons can come together, form community/fellowships and follow a procedure for healing ourselves while assisting in the healing of other members of the community.
The first step of Depressed Anonymous states that “We admitted…” and in Steps three, eight, ten, eleven, twelve again the word “we” is used. If anyone wants to find a community and a spiritual antidote to individualism, the 12 step fellowships provide a solution focused recovery program. I am an advocate for 12 step programs based on helping each other out of isolation into a fellowship of hope and healing. No longer is it just about me, me alone, but about something bigger than just me .It is a “we” program.
We are all connected!

Therapists Views on Depressed Anonymous

The “Birth” of a Depressed Anonymous Group. Judith Bouffiou, Ph.D. (Cand.), Olympia, Washington

Isn’t life just full of expected and unexpected challenges, synchronous happenings, joys and griefs. Your life and mine. Following is a synopsis of a time in my life when I experienced all of the above. The summer of 1991 saw the dissolving of a business partnership for me; a painful, but healthy decision. The counseling center my ex-partner and I operated had provided the community with a Domestic Violence/Anger
Management (DV/A M ) Program for court and self referred clients, plus each of us had a private practice. M y decision to dissolve the partnership was motivated by a number of reasons, among them a desire to go back to school, and to spend more time and energy in my private practice. Over time my private practice had evolved into a growth and development type of practice, which I loved doing. A long with the dissolution of the partnership came the decision to no longer do the DV/A M work. I had a desire to still give the community some type of community service, but what?

Then I remembered reading some time earlier in one of my professional journals about a man who had developed a Twelve-step program, Depressed Anonymous for individuals who suffered from depression. Like most therapists, a significant number of the people I saw (and still see) in my practice were experiencing depression to one degree or other.

The more I thought about the concept of Depressed Anonymous, the more intrigued I was, so I contacted the founder of Depressed Anonymous for information and details. Information was sent to me and that was the start of the first Depressed Anonymous group in Washington State.

From the Depressed Anonymous material I received, I photocopied, organized, prepared and prepared and advertized. I decided on a start time and date, sent notices to our local paper, our Crisis Clinic, therapists and physicians in this area, tacked up flyers all over town, and of course, lots of word of mouth advertizing. The Depressed
Anonymous group originally met in a group room at my office, and eventually moved to a local church when I moved into a smaller office space.

A s a therapist I organized, started, sponsored, and “mothered” the Depressed
Anonymous group for a time, before withdrawing to just being the phone contact person that people can call in for information. From the very first meetings, which had 8-10 people, a “home” group evolved; fine people, some of whom had previous Twelve-step experiences. One of fine traditions and legacies of Twelve-step groups is the willingeness of folks to be and do the supportive and necessary work (the glue) that holds the Twelve-step groups together. The Twelve-step tradition and service continues on.

As is often the case, I have received more than I’ve given as the person who organized and started this Olympia, Washington Depressed Anonymous group. Now that I’m not a person who suffers from depression, other than short term appropriate situational depression; nothing ever deep or prolonged. A s I organized and started this Depressed Anonymous group little did I know that I would benefit from the Depressed Anonymous process and group in such a personal way.

The Depressed Anonymous group had only met two or three times when my middle son unexpectedly died from a type of cancer that years before had taken his father. So, in a synchronous manner, for a time and in a different way, the Depressed Anonymous group supported me as much as I supported them. In my prior work as a nurse, I had often been witness to dying and death, also in my personal life. However, the death of one son and then a year and half later, the death of my oldest son (two out of three) have been devastating experiences for me.

So in many, many ways being the organizer and sponsor of the first Depressed Anonymous group have been an exceedingly enriching experience for me. A s mentioned before, because of the wonderful people in the group, and with great confidence on my part, I turned the operation of the Depressed Anonymous group over to the capable hands of the home group people. I remain the telephone contact. The Depressed Anonymous group continues to thrive and grow. Just recently I talked with a man from Portland, Oregon, who is thinking about starting a group in the Portland area

MY VIEWS ON DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

Denise L ., Louisville, Kentucky

One of the greatest resources I’ve used in working with many depressed persons has been Depressed Anonymous. The transformation it causes in an individual’s life is truly miraculous. This stems from it being primarily a spiritual program of healing and recovery. It encourages a person to seek a personal relationship with God, whoever they understand him to be. In doing this it helps a person to look inside for healing, rather than in a pill or some quick “cure”. M any persons who suffer with depression look on God as a being who judges them harshly. This thinking usually leads to much anger towards God, which results in more negative thinking. I know this from my own
experiences with depression, and the angry relationship with God I had during those times. This is where Depressed Anonymous offers hope by getting a person connected to a group who also suffer with depression, and are working the twelve steps. In doing this, it helps a person come to a realization that it will only be through a power greater than themselves, that they will find sanity in their life. Depressed people cannot do this alone because of the compulsion to ruminate endlessly over negative thoughts. It is only through coming together with a group of people like Depressed Anonymous, that they are able to break the cycle of negative thinking.

A client I was working with is a good example of the above. H e spent his time alone and many countless hours thinking of all the disappointments in his life, which continually reinforced his depression. Then he started going to DA, and found that through being with other people like himself, he didn’t feel as alone as he did before. H e started sharing his pain, and found understanding and support. I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. Then I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. H e also found help spiritually from DA, for he started
working the twelve steps, and as a result he started trusting God more for his healing. H e is one of many persons I’ve worked with who have found help and encouragement through attending DA .

The spiritual emphasis of DA is it’s greatest strength. People come together and hear from one another how their higher power is healing and guiding their lives. They realize that in being part of the group they are not alone, and also encourage true healing. DA has been a wonderful healing tool in the lives of many depressed persons I’ve worked with. It will always be one of the greatest resources I use in my work. It is true that “it works if you work it.”

Dep-Anon: Support Group for Family and Friends of the Depressed

The family and friends of persons depressed now have their own support group ­ much like family and friends of those suffering from other problems. We all know that a family member with a serious problem affects the entire family or system and throw s it out of balance.

The idea of having a special group just for family members is to help each other understand the nature of depres­sion and learn how in the meantime to take care of their own needs. The group helps the focus stay on their own issues and not that of the depressed.

“Family members and friends of the depressed often feel they have nowhere to turn for help . They may find themselves reading books on depression and other resources, but still feel lost as to what to do. This is where Dep-Anon can offer assistance. It is a fellowship of persons who come together to share their stories, and offer support to one another in the process. Their issues may be different from those suffering with depression, but are just as valid. By joining a fellowship such as Dep-Anon, the families and friends of the de­ pressed are displaying a willingness to work their own program of recovery. In doing this, they are moving towards positive life changes, which promote the spiritual principles Dep-Anon is based upon. We simply can’t experience the healing we desire by being isolated, and trying to do it alone. We need the fellowship of others, who are on similar paths, and are seeking to implement the spiritual principles of Dep-Anon into their lives. This kind of fellowship is valuable beyond measure.

A group such as Dep-Anon would have been very helpful in my own last depressive episode. There wasn ‘t a group like this at the time. My husband felt lost and helpless in trying to care for me. He could have benefited from coming together with others like him­ self, who he could share with, and receive support in the process. Instead, he began to isolate as he felt increasingly overwhelmed, and became depressed as a result. This is the danger for family members of the depressed, when they don’t have resources for help and en­couragement like Dep-Anon.It is a wonderful resource that can make a tremendous difference in the lives of persons connected to the depressed. Please spread the word that help is available through Dep- Anon Family Group. It can make a difference.

Denise List, M.ED., writing in the FOREWORD to the DEP-ANON FAMILY GROUP MANUAL, 1999, Louisville, KY ,

Waiting for the Drugs to Kick In!

One of the realities of one’s life -especially if one has been depressed for a time -is that language creates reality. This is a tenet of our recovery program. How often as children have some of us have been told that “we’ll never be like our brother or our sister” all the time preparing us for a lived out prophecy from some early childhood significant other.

Since language can and does create our reality -especially if the language is that of someone who is an adult and many years our senior. It is this language that helps construct the meaning that we give to life and life’s events and circumstances – both pleasant and unpleasant. How often have we heard that we are patients or that “we are under the care of the doctor.” Get the feel of the language here –one, we are a patient, and secondly, we are under the care of and/or we are waiting for the drug to “kick in.” I don’t know about you, but the language just described can promote a self-understanding of someone who not only is powerless but is waiting for something to fall out of the sky and make things better. Don ‘t get me wrong, medication, doctors, therapists all may be very important as part and parcel of healing – but, let’s get this straight – we are responsible for our own health! I can’ t afford to sit and wait for something, someone to make me feel better – this is true especially for that painful reality that we call depression. I want to live in the solution, where I know there is hope the more I become proactive in my own recovery and start doing things for my­ self. I now believe that once I start making choices for my own health today the more I will speed up my recovery and release from the prison of depression .

Since language can create our reality and since humans are always constructing meaning for their lives it is essential that persons depressed he given the message from health-care professionals that they can do something now to start feeling different. In other words, people need to believe that there is hope for them. They can begin to believe that by starting a personal exercise program, watching what they put in their minds and mouths – in time things will start to come around. But if! am given a message that my problem is a chemical imbalance or that my problem is genetic-then that leaves me with little hope for now or the future. The only solution might appear to be no solution or at least a reliance on a chemical solution at best. And if the problem is essentially a chemical im­ balance then I’ll just have to wait til they find the right chemicals to stabilize those misbehaving chemicals in my brain.

For some reason, I don’t believe that we can just blame the brain – in fact, I don’t think it ever does any good to blame anybody or anything for the way we feel. Oh, sure, we can blame others and possibly that makes us feel a little better-but in the long run – it’s me, myself and I who has to take responsibility for me.

I caution you then, be careful the way you talk to yourself . At the mutual aid meetings of Depressed Anonymous, the whole point of our coming together is to believe that you and I together can begin to see our­ selves in a new light. In fact, we learn a new language at our meetings. We learn to take responsibility for our­ selves, We find people in the group who speak our language of hope and courage. You never hear “snap out of it” at our meetings. The message that a newcomer gets at our 12 step meetings are assurances that things will get better the more you come to meetings; expect to get better; start using the tools that have successfully led others out of the prison of depression. So, all in all, we need to get busy as soon as the doctor prescribes the medication, or we start therapy or both. Next, we need to find a depression mutual aid group like Depressed Anonymous which is a NOW program to help support you as you gradually begin to walk out of depression. No need to wait ­ wait out the weeks before the drugs begin to take effect, hopefully, and we start feeling better . We don’t have to wait for the drugs to “kick in” before we get busy and start working on ourselves. We can start today. We can join a group of people committed to change and recovery. We can start today as together we work the steps of our program of recovery. It speaks the language of hope!