Change the view of yourself. Reframe!

 

 

 

It is not the facts about myself that results in higher self-esteem – it’s how I view the facts (how I hink abut them).

Some of the very most accomplished people still have low or poor self esteem.

 

For example

Some pople view Bob Dylan as the grreatest, most talented folk singer of the day, others hear his voice and songs and  think he is unbearable.

Some people love  to hang out at (put your own favorite restaurant here) and others wouldn’t  put a foot in the place.

It isn’t whether we are good or bad, talented or untalented, attractive or unattractive.

Self-worth comes from the view we have of ourselves.

+When I am depressed I have a negative, punishing, self critical view of myself. It’s as if I have on dark glasses and I see everything about myself as ‘dark’ and negative.  But when I am less depressed I see myself much clearer.

I’m not as crititical and judgemental about myself. It’s as if I have on clear, clean glasses.

REFRAMING

Reframing is simply selecting another way of looking at something. It’s a little different from self-defense but  similar.

The following a examples  of how to reframe my negative view of myself to something positive..

1. Stubborn                       can be                                                       determined.

2. Emotional                        can be                                                       passionate, caring.

3. Loner                                   can be                                                        Independent

4. Inconsiderate                may instead be                                       purposeful.

5. In decisive                       could be  considered                             careful.

6. Hyper                                   Is                                                                     energetic.

7. Unpredictable               may be                                                              accommodating

8.. Pushy                                can also be                                                 forceful.

9. Dependent                      may be                                                           cooperative

10. Critical                             my be                                                            discriminating

EXERCISE

  1. Cover the right column. In the left  column CIRCLE all of the negative view words that you apply to yourself. Do that.
  2. Now remove the cover and CIRCLE all of the corresponding words in the right column which are positive non-judgmental views of the same behavior and qualities.
  3. To get used to thinking about yourself in positive terms, read the circled words in the right column out loud and say “I am……” before each of these characteristics.

Part II:

The following is a partial list of additional positive personality characteristics. Circle the ones that apply to you. At the bottom are some blank lines. Add some other good qualities that you can add to the list.

Thoughtful

Courteous

Polite

Helper

Persistent

Forceful

Emotional Diligent

Friendly

Determined

Cheerful

Truthful Adaptable

Gentle

Sensitive

Courageous

Enthusiastic

Hard working

Creative

Compassionate

_________________

_________________

_________________

If you circled less than five of these qualities, select someone from your support group, family member and ask them to help you find others in the  list that apply to you.

III. Pick three positive qualities from the previous lists and write examples of when you showed the quality:

I am _________________________________________________________________________and I showed that when I____________________________________________________________________________.

I am also _____________________________________________________________________and I know that when I ______________________________________________________________________________.

In addition, I am ___________________________________________________ and I showed that when I____________________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________..

Source: Doctoral dissertation from Oregon Univ.

NOTE: Tomorrow, more thoughts on  building self-esteem.

 

Increase activity-decrease depression. Set goals for your recovery and you will reap its rewards.

One of the greatest lessons  I learned was about setting goals. When I would isolate and withdraw from life, friends and family,  is when my depression began to deepen and worsen.

If you stop taking care of yourself and retreat from living,  you will find yourself  boxed in and all alone. I remember well when I would withdraw  trying  to figure out what I could do  to relieve my   deep sadness. Usually my thinking took the easy way out.   I would  tell  myself that I would do it when I felt better. ( “I’ll do it when I felt better.”)

This excuse was a way out for me, because I would never have to do anything because I would never feel better. It was only when bad went to worse  that I began  to realize that the only way out was up. Instead of spiraling down I needed to spiral up.

When I set a goal  to find  help, I started to work on my recovery using the tools of Depressed Anonymous. That is, I would use the Depressed  Anonymous Workbook, and answer one or two  questions every day—one week I could only answer three of the questions a day. I took it one step at a time.    Some days, I just felt like hanging it up. A  mantra that I kept repeating to myself was that nothing was happening.  I was still depressed. No change.

An amazing thing happened. Even though my goals were small to start with, I  did believe that   this activity was gradually  bringing me closer to who I really  am and who I wanted to be. Nothing  happened overnight.  It was a day by day struggle. But as I moved through  this workbook, I discovered that there were some other exercises that  I could accomplish. I looked at the Depressed Anonymous website, and found ten or more ways to get involved with my own recovery. The one that appealed to me was the one tool called exercise.  I thought, that is definitely one that I don’t have the energy for.  Then  I rethought my decision . I had heard that when you are depressed,  set a small goal in which you find a bit more  challenging, like walking and do that every day. So I forced myself to walk, just as I was forcing myself to read Depressed Anonymous literature I now was setting aside time to walk every morning.   It was like I was in a  high hurdles race, moving over obstacles placed there by my mind and moving  over them one at a time.

I learned that there is physical  activity  as well as mental activity.   By committing myself to these small steps, one at a time, I gradually found myself a bit more hopeful.   I was gradually reaping the rewards of moving on and through my depression resistance  — no longer staying  parked in neutral.

I was  getting my life in gear.  Eventually I  started to attend Depressed Anonymous meetings and  set the goal of going to meetings every week.   Gradually I was aware of something positive shifting in my life–I was actually beginning to look forward to continuing  my activities and began participating in life once again. My mind fog had finally melted away.

The lesson here for me and it will be the same for you is to start with small goals, add a goal as you move along,  and you will find that you now have developed a workable  program of recovery that can get you through every day of your life. Oh, sure there will be other obstacles and hurdles to overcome in your life,  but my point is that you will have what you need to stay on your feet and move forward in hope because you got skin in the game.

Depressed Anonymous Member

SOURCES:  I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky.

                              Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky

VISIT THE STORE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

I refuse to beat myself up today.

AFFIRMATION

I REFUSE TO BEAT MYSELF UP TODAY.

“Basically, I am questioning whether in the experience of depression there is an order of events similar to  the order in a physical illness. For instance, the presence of a measles virus is followed by a symptom of chills, fever, and red macules. In a depression, it is said that there  is a metabolic change  which is followed by the symptoms of a despairing  in mood, guilt, loss of confidence, loss of sexual drive and other symptoms. Could not there be another order of events such as a person sees himself and his worlds in such a way that he finds himself unable to escape from his isolation which itself intensifies his fear? The fear and the isolation, if prolonged, produce metabolic changes, which can, to some extent, be mitigated by physical means.”

REFLECTION

Any feeling that I  experience over any length of  time is bound to have some physiological effect upon my body. This holds true whether the feeling or emotion is a pleasant or unpleasant one. Fear and anxiety, guilt and worry are all bound to complicate the way the mind processes attitudes in the inner intricate mechanisms of the human brain  or animal brain. To lose anything that I have taken into myself and made it something precious to myself will be sorely missed when it is lost.  And so any fear of the future can in time make me feel desolate, despondent, and despairing. What mitigates these fears is the distraction of myself from  the all-encompassing feeling of despair,  by believing that with time and work, and with a desire to feel, I can choose to feel better.

I think that as I gradually pull away from my addiction to sadness I begin to feel a shift in the way I perceive the world that I live in. As I begin to live with more hope, my perception is not so colored  by my repetitive negative thoughts that I formerly bashed myself with , but now I have substituted them with new and life-giving positive thoughts.

MEDITATION

“God, and I make a majority” is a saying  that has meaning  for many of us.    We know that as we yield our desires, whether it is to get a loved one back or to escape some future tragedy, the Higher Power will, in its own way and in its own time, allow us to get through whatever we need to get through.”

For more information on dealing with depression with  the spiritual principles of recovery click onto VISIT THE STORE(  The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore) and order online.

SOURCES:  Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pgs. 12-13.

Copyright (c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. Ky.

Our hunches are more right than wrong.

 

We think about the 24 hours ahead when we wake up, and attempt to live the day in honesty and peace. We ask God to  ward off thoughts of self-seeking, dishonesty and false motives.  As Alcoholics  Anonymous says,  with the indecision about something, we then ask God for inspiration and we let go of struggling for an answer. Alcoholics Anonymous says that you will be surprised at how the right answers will come after we have practiced this way of living. It also comes to pass that our hunches are more right than wrong. We also pause throughout the day when we are fearful, puzzled or anxious. We pray  to the Higher Power for which direction to take. I like this suggestion the best when Alcoholics Anonymous says : We constantly remind ourselves that we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “‘Thy will be dome,’ ”  We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.  By coming to the meetings and admitting our addictions, we finally get in touch with those emotions that have all but shut down from an early time in our lives, when to feel hurt too much.  We now have  the chance  to let these feelings get displayed and expressed in the supportive and trusting environment of our newly chosen  family of the Depressed Anonymous group.”

SOURCE:   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.  Page 101/Step 11.

NOTE: Even though most of us who join the Depressed Anonymous group, do not suffer from alcohol addiction,  Depressed Anonymous is  modeled after the 12  spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. We have based our  program of recovery on  the 12 steps of recovery and using them on a daily basis. The 12 Steps are now universally used as the basis for a myriad of recovery tools  for those who are trying to free themselves from addictive behaviors and attachments.

 

VISIT THE STORE at the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS  BOOKSTORE. at www.depressedanon.com. One can order online.

“They said that I was ‘damaged beyond recovery.'”

Kim, The author of this comment, speaks  about those  therapists who said  that she was ‘damaged beyond recovery.’ Even though   experiencing  a myriad  of therapeutic interventions, various psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists, her depression just kept on coming. There seemed to be no escape.  Included with all these were a number of popular every 12 Step groups from  which she sought help.

In the following paragraphs,  with excerpts from  the  Depressed Anonymous Newsletter Volume .#1, Fall Issue, 2017,  she shares   her own  experiences . (See Newsletter Archives for full account). She shares with us her  life  Before and her  life After   participating in the Depressed Anonymous HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY.

What my  life was before Depressed Anonymous

While all my program friends had gotten full recovery, the Promises of Recovery had not materialized for me. I would stay depressed forever. This destroyed me. I quit the program and started to take antidepressants, but even that didn’t work: The depressions got  more intense and more frequent. I didn’t want to live anymore. One day I found the Depressed Anonymous site on the Internet, but there was no meeting in Europe.  There was a book though. So I made a deal with God; I could go through the Twelve Steps one last time. And after that I could jump  in front of a train. It was now or never. So I bought the book, and the workbook, and I asked Hugh to become my email  sponsor. That was three years ago.

What my life is like now.

I never expected this, but I have been free from depression for a whole year now.  The next depression will kill me, so it is very importantr to stay out of it. Every Sunday I sit behind my computer and answer questions from   the Workbook. I send them to my email sponsor, who reads them, gives me feedback and stimulates me to keep going.  I discover important things about myself…

In  Depressed Anonymous, I discovered my conclusion was wrong. I do belong to the  group. Indeed, I have always been part of the group. People with odd parents are part of society as well and so are depressed people and people that did rally stupid things. There is nothing to hide. I am human, no more, no less…

I made a deal with my Higher Power, one more time I would take the Steps. I am so happy that I did.

Submitted by Kim, a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship.

PS.  Kim has started an online Depressed  Anonymous for SKYPE users at Depanon@hotmail.com.  She is also translating Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition into her home  language.

+++++++++++++++++

Kim has  just completed (1/30/2019)  her work on the HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY,  with the assistance of her email Sponsor.    By her  continued commitment and  study of the Depressed Anonymous (Big Book) with the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, she not only knows herself at a deeper level but also lives out the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps with hope and vigor. One day at a time.

If you would you like to work the Twelve  Steps of Depressed Anonymous, using the Home Study Program of Recovery  and to find  how to have  an email Sponsor, as did Kim,  please write to me, Hugh  at depanon@netpenny.net., and discover how you too can work the Twelve Steps , with a program designed for you — plus  the unique  goals you have chosen for your own recovery from depression.

Make a commitment today, stick to a plan of action, and  grow through  each of the STEPS with your own email sponsor –at your own speed –especially when there are no Depressed Anonymous groups in your locale. See the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore to find out more  about the HOME STUDY  KIT.

Am I good enough?

The foundation of our prison of depression is our belief that, No matter how good I appear to be, I am bad, evil unacceptable to myself and to other people.

We can go through life being very  good, and so keep our sense of being bad, or not being good enough, well hidden from ourselves. But being good at being good means working very hard, and as we get older we lose the resilience and strength of youth.. We get tired. We do not get as much done. Our list of mistakes and wrong directions gets longer. When something happens to shake our self-confidence we can no longer trust our ability to be good at being good. We can no longer ignore our sense of being essentially bad and unacceptable.

The reason that we as children so readily accept our parents teaching that we were bad and had to work  to be good was that, harsh though this teaching was, it contains a promise. If you are very good, nothing bad will happen to you. We believed it. When bad things did happen to us, we blamed ourselves. We had not been good enough, so we worked harder, tried to achieve more, to do things better, to put other people’s needs before our own. Secretly this belief gave us a sense of power. Through our own efforts we could control the system of rewards and punishment that governed the universe. Instead of feeling helpless, we felt guilty. Instead of saying, ‘There was nothing else I could have done in that situation, given the information and experience I had,’ we said,  ‘I ought to have done better,’  and persuaded ourselves that we were stronger and wiser and better informed than  actually we were. By feeling guilty we could feel that we were both virtuous and not helpless.

So we lived in a world of illusion of our own making.  Then one day a terrible disaster fell upon us, and we cried, ‘I have been good all my life. Why has this happened to me?’

We found ourselves contemplating, or trying to run away from, a truth which our parents had hidden from us.’

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SOURCES:     The Successful Self. Freeing our inner strengths. Dorothy    Rowe. Page 199.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.  (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

“I am tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired!”

Where does one go or what does one do to  rid themselves of being sick and tired? How often do I hear clients come and tell me that they are here in my office because they are just too sick and tired of being sick and tired. They tell me they just had to make a decision to do something about their  feeling bad all the time.  Question: Have you ever felt this way? I admit that I have, more than a few times in my life. And every time that I did feel this way  I just wanted to go lie down and die.  But they didn’t make an “easy to swallow”  pill or a medicine  to take “for those times when you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.” If they had I would had bought a jar full of them.

Where do you go for help when you feel this bad? Or do you smoke, overdose, feel suicidal when you feel this awful?  Or maybe there might have been a person with whom you could have shared your story. You know, like getting it off your chest to feel better.  Pause. There is a problem here.  Sure, I could have talked with a number of people  about feeling the way that I did–but in my case I saw the world as filled with hundreds of monads, like desert nomads,  all walking around but without any direction  or purpose — or a way out of their desperation.

Deserts don’t usually have road signs stuck in the sand showing the way to hither and yon.  No, it is only by dogged perseverance and most probably “providence” that we find a door out there, on which is scratched the words ‘a safe place for those who are sick and tired of being sick and tired.'( These doors belong to AA, DA, ACA, AL-ANON, DEP-ANON and so many more ). We stumble through the doorway  and join with those other nomads  sitting in a  large round circle, each  sharing how they came to be free of ‘feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.’

I ask the brethren seated there   “Am I in the right place?”

“Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired ” they asked in unison.

Sheepishly, I replied , “Yes. I am .”

“Then, join us.”

***

Now, these 30 years plus, no longer  feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. If YOU happen to be looking for a 12 step fellowship  group meeting  for yourself  you might not see the words “If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired” scratched on the door,   you’ll know that you are in the right place! Walk ins welcome!

Hugh (Depressed Anonymous Member).

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.

VISIT THE STORE for more information on Depression and the Twelve Steps. Order online.

 

 

Did you ever feel that your depression would come back and swallow you up? This question had been asked of me many times.

 

That question comes to most of us I would think who have been depressed. It crossed my mind  the day I felt   better. My mood lightened up momentarily. It was  a flashback to the time–a year and half before — when my life was running on a flat trajectory and life was good. And then, suddenly,  with this heightened mood flashed the frightening message on my mental screen, “yes, but it’s not going to last!”  That was the message that suddenly knocked me to the ground causing my mood to plummet to the pits. .  And here I was I thought, back to square one. The thought came to me as I  continued my walking–a practice that I started a year before,  and which gave an incentive for me to keep trying to move beyond the grip of whatever had me by the  throat.  Because I did continue to walk I gradually restored that brief momentarily heightened mood which has endured to this day. My life did take a turn for the better because now I found out that there were areas in my life that I needed to change.

The fact is that those of us who have had only one experience with depression will most likely  not have another one. Thank goodness, that happens to be true in my own case.  But after involving myself in a Twelve Step Support group, where I found acceptance for my story of pain and isolation,  plus the tools that were used for freeing myself  from depression. I have been using these same tools for more than 30 years.

I also discovered by my participation in Depressed Anonymous that by sharing with the groups  which I attended, that these meetings and the work that I was doing on my own recovery,  gave me the freedom which the Promises of the Steps had provided me.

Jonathon Rottenberg,  in his very hopeful and helpful book, The Depths, he tells us his deep  feelings about depression.  He tells us why we are losing the fight against depression:

“We are losing the fight against depression in part because our fundamental description of it –as reflecting defects is wrong. The first step to finding more effective solutions is getting that fundamental description right, and my book is one effort toward that end. Finally, I am skeptical of any easy, one -size- fits all solution for depression, and you should be too. The genre of self-help for depression is littered with well intentioned books that overpromise solutions and false hopes. It would be nice to defeat your depression in ten easy steps, but rarely is it  so easy. Books that over promise solutions produce frustrated, disappointed, and demoralized readers and damage the credibility of experts. I haven’t written a self-help book, or at least not in the usual sense.”

Even so, Jonathon has given us   a helpful read and one which someone depressed or not depressed can gain  a positive take on depression with  helpful ways to spiral upward instead of downward.

“What you seek, will seek you.”

 

 

 

Is there an alternative?

Jonathon Rottenberg in his work, The Depths: The evolutionary origins of the Depression Epidemic tells us that

“The mood system has a bias to return to deep depression even with little provocation. Fortunately relapse is not inevitable and it can be countered. Antidepressant medication is currently the domionant strategy for buffering a person’s risk of relapse. Using antidepressants as the first line of defense is consistent with  defect  models, such as the biological model of kindled depression. In line with the idea that drugs address a permanent viability, psychiatrists  often recommend a life time  of antidepressant maintenance treatment for people who have previously experienced three or more episodes.”

This same author goes on to share how antidepressants aren’t the only  proven means for  slowing down or preventing depression. In this section of his book he goes on to explain how other treatments such as cognitive therapy and    mindfulness-based  cognitive therapy provide alternate care . He explains how “the success of brief, psychologically based treatments is encouraging not only because the treatment works, but because it speaks against  the existence of a permanently  brain-based vulnerability to depression.”

With all that has been said here, I would like to add another reality and alternative  for treatment of depression.  Simply put, the treatment occurs in the  midst of those persons depressed who share their struggles with each other. They are no longer alone, shamed and existing on the margins of those  who are  needing understanding  and  support. The group not only can provide moral and physical support, they can be buoyed by a spiritual l belief  that a God  of their understanding,  a Higher Power,  is  guiding  them on the path of their own  recovery. They not only have other members of the group walking the same path as  are they, but this support is buttressed by having a  personal plan of action.

For those of us who are  active members of Depressed Anonymous, we know first hand how our Twelve Step plan of action provides us all with a way out of depression. Whether we happen to be on antidepressants, in a therapy program,  or other forms of help, we discover that being in the midst of a group of person like ourselves, and receiving mutual aid for our own individual pain, it makes it possible to be positive about  our recovery. We are not alone. We now have the tools and we have each other. As we all are so much aware, it is the being dis-connected from life and others that makes our life hell. For most of us,  it is in the being dis-connected that drives us deeper into isolation  and personal despair.

If you the reader are depressed, and you are visiting with your doctor, ask her if she has a depression support group that she might refer you to. You can tell her that it makes sense to talk with someone who has been were you are now. It takes one to know one!

As a therapist, it was always my practice to refer clients to a  Depressed Anonymous group. Those who kept coming back to meetings had a plan in hand that was not only providing hope but the tools for living outside  the prison of  depression.  We need health professionals to be able to provide their patients with other mental health opportunities as alternatives to traditional approaches to depression or in conjunction with them.

Have a hopeful day.

Hugh

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.

Go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore,  at VISIT THE STORE for this and other helpful books  on depression. You can order material online

,

Getting my priorities straight.

AFFIRMATION

On this New Year Day, I find that my work for my life today, and only today, is to reflect on a time in my life that I have experienced a feeling of happiness and contentment. If I can remember a pleasant situation from the past, I will construct a happy situation and imagine it occurring right now.

“In getting my priorities straight, my depression is better,”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

In my relationship to God, I am beginning to  realize that it isn’t so much that I don’t believe that I’ll ever feel better, but that I just can’t know for sure. My first priority is to  admit that I do have a problem and that with God’s help, I can get through my depression.

As soon as I give up my victim stance and begin  to take responsibility for my feelings and my life,  I can start to work as if my recovery is really up to me and that I will, in time, succeed in getting out of this deep dark hole that I call depression. My priority is to begin each day with the conviction that the Twelve Steps will be an aid in getting out of my depression.

MEDITATION

God, we seek your guidance and your strength for our lives. Whatever we have lost  or feel we have lost, please take the holes in our soles and fill them with your love and peace. In our quiet time today, show us what part of us  needs to be healed.

SOURCE:  Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. January 1, 2019.