In our mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous, we soon learn that to get well we have to begin to believe that we are not passive victims of depression which comes out of the blue and bites us. We are not talking about a cold and/or the flu. We learn that we have to be responsible for our own health and healing. We have to learn that motivation follows action. I will not blame myself for being depressed but I do have to take responsibility for my own health now that I know what I have. We are responsible for the depression because it has made its home in us and has crippled us for months, and yes, for years.
We can learn how to go from being a patient to be in charge of our own feelings and health. It could be well to take a look at our childhood and early life relationships; especially infancy and early childhood relationships. Even more importantly it’s important to look at how secure was our early growing up environment. Were we loved? Were we cherished by our parents. Was there drinking in the home? Was there abuse? Were we ignored? If you had parents who said you were worthless, unsuitable and told that you were no good, then this has without an ounce of doubt, influenced you in deep and deleterious ways today.
Also, we know that one major manifestation of depression is what we call Obsessive Compulsive behavior – namely, that ritual attempt to reduce stress by repetitive rituals such as hand washing, checking doors to make sure they have been locked and stove burners, to make sure that they have been turned off. All of this is a person’s ritualistic attempt at reducing stress. Allied with this disability is perfectionism where a person who is obsessive-compulsive also has a hyper moral sensitivity.”
Finally, one might add that our mind follows a familiar track, circling around and around in our head attempting to figure out how we ever got depressed in the first place. This type of circular thinking usually brings us back to the same starting point. We are no further out of the woods than when we started. The side effect of this rumination is that we are mentally and physically exhausted. Fatigue is one of our biggest problems when we are depressed.
A bigger solution is to follow and use the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous and become proactive in your own recovery.
(c) Depressed Once-But not Twice! Hugh Smith (2000).Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.