“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. ]

We learn to be “nice.”

” Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does not get expressed, but in inappropriate ways. Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old fashioned wood burning stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke is up the flue and out of the chimney; if the normal avenue is blocked, the smoke will leak out the stove in unintended ways…around the door, through the grate, etc., choking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the stove ceases to function. Likewise, the normal human expression of anger is gross physical movement and /or loud vocalization; watch a red-faced hungry infant sometime. We learn to “be nice,” which  means  (among other things) hiding “bad” feelings. By adulthood, even verbal expression is curtailed, since a civilized person is expected to be “civil.” Thus, expression is stifled, and to protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed “bad” feelings, we go to the next step and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even when we are.  Such deception is seldom completely successful and the blocked anger “leaks out” in inappropriate ways…”

Source: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 33.

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Some of my own feelings about anger have to do when anger is stifled or swallowed. I do know that a result of stifling my anger is the build up of resentments. If we want to really deal with our anger then we must be willing to express our feelings,  even though they might make us feel very uncomfortable. All I am saying is that  NOT to express feelings and stifle them will create more emotional pain and more damage for our lives. So, to my mind, the best way to get the anger out is to get oneself to a Depressed Anonymous meeting where we can get the help we need  and share those feelings that cause us so much grief.

Three of the world’s worst excuses!

We have our identity in the process of depressing.  We are afraid that if we stop, we won’t know how to be, won’t know who to be, won’t know what life will expect.

It’s safer and more comfortable to continue with the depressing than to risk freedom

Is this depressing?

Can I realize I do this (reject well-being) without being depressed about it?

It’s depressing to realize that I’ve spent my whole life depressing myself.

The most important part is that I’ve thought it was external. Now I’m getting the sense that it is something I’ve learned to do and now to do to myself.

To say this is depressing information is like saying that you are on a sinking ship and you have just discovered a lifeboat.

You can stand there and be upset that this ship is sinking or you can take the lifeboat.

We’re talking about being compassionate with yourself because everything else springs from that.

It is not selfish to love yourself.

If you can’t find compassion  for yourself, you’ll never find it for anyone else. You won’t know how. You will never be truly generous to anyone else. You won’t know how. You will never be truly generous to anyone while depriving yourself.

The reason we don’t tell anyone they should do this is that a person won’t do this until they are ready.

Most people never will in their life.

All we’re saying is that when you’re ready here’s the way you can do it. This definitely is  not another stick to beat yourself.

When you’ve suffered enough, you’ll remember that you know how to do it. It  doesn’t really matter what you have thought, believed, felt or done before.

This is a new day.

“But I’ve always done it this way.”  “But I’ve always been  this way.”  “This is just the way I am.”

These are three of the world’s worst excuses.

It’s OK to change.

It’s OK to try something new.

It’s OK to try something radically new…There isn’t really anything new because if you try it and don’t like it, you can always return to how you were doing it before. No problem. No shoulds. Trying anything once or twice doesn’t mean you have ever to do it again if you don’t want to.

And not taking a risk because you are  afraid is a grave disservice to yourself.  Fear is not the problem. You can have your fear and allow it to stop you or you can have your fear and risk anyway. Either way, the fear is there. The choice is yours.”

Sources:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2001)  DAP. Louisville. Pgs.45-46.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) DAP. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) DAP. Louisville.

I’ll do it when I feel; better. (2014) DAP. Louisville

“I NEVER KNEW THAT THERE WAS A TWELVE STEP GROUP FOR DEPRESSION”

What a surprise, for those who search on Google for groups that help people with depression. Just the other day someone mentioned that they came upon our group by accident and were not aware that there was a group focused solely on depression.  There are groups which help all sorts of maladies, including depression, but as far as we know there are not many whose sole focus  centers on depression and who use the suggested spiritual recovery program of the Twelve Steps for  a solution. But, here we are, DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS.

If you would like to learn more about our group please keep on reading the articles/BLOGS which appear on our website menu. It is here that you can find  information about who we are and what we do. Presently, we are trying to help others start their own DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS and if there are no groups in your locale you can use the HOME STUDY PROGRAM which can help you start your own mutual aid group. The HOME STUDY PROGRAM utilizes the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MANUAL along with THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK.  It only takes  yourself and one other person to form a group. If you would like more information about our Twelve Step approach to depression please read more about our DA literature  available at the Website store.

The most important person to be honest with is …me!

“If I were asked what in my opinion was the most important factor in being successful in this program besides following the Twelve Steps, I would say Honesty. And the most important person to be honest with is yourself.” Big Book of AA as quoted in our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK, 12th STEP (p.86)

Remember this saying and repeat it often during your day today.

 TO THINE OWN SELF FIRST BE TRUE!

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?

WE ARE OUR PARENTS

” In order to make a good inventory I need to go to my roots and discover how I came to be the person that I am today.  As the saying goes, “We are our parents.”

When we were small we “swallowed” our parents, meaning “swallowed” their main personality characteristics. Even today parents, grandparents, a stepparent, or guardian are all now part of our personality — for good or for ill. For myself to escape from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages about myself from these adults who surrounded me as a helpless infant and child.  All of us have received  messages as children — some helpful and others not so helpful. Some messages directed toward us might have made us feel worthless because we got the message that we could never do anything to please others. ”

See FAMILY OF ORIGIN in THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK (P.29)  Please visit the store at DA website for more information.

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It has been said that the make-up  of one’s personality is a mix of the personal, the biological and the environmental.  As for our parents, so much of who we are can be traced back to early childhood beliefs about ourselves.  When we t reflect on  early childhood experiences are there any messages about ourselves that come to mind presently. These messages could be helpful to our development or not so helpful. Write down in your Workbook some of these reflections.

TO SHARE YOUR STORY IS TO SAVE YOUR LIFE (Yiddish proverb)

“It seems to me that the more we share our story with other members of the Depressed Anonymous group, the more we can hear for the first time our own unique story. It is amazing how, when we speak to others about ourselves and our addictions,  we begin to loosen up and release in ourselves a new sense of ourselves — a freedom  to express our true selves.  It is at these times when we discuss our addiction at the Depressed Anonymous meetings that we get first-hand information and feedback on how others are walking free of their sadness and hollowness.”

Source: Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 79.

PS.     Also, in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, on page 68 and at # 8.36 we discover how our depression may have kept us disconnected from others.