All posts by Bill R

YouTube Playlist on Depression

Given the deadly nature of depression and how some people can’t or won’t participate in recovery here is a link to a playlist on YouTube. The playlist includes: short films, TED Talks, documentaries, college lecture, out there alternative treatment options. No endorsement real or implied.

Depressed Anonymous believes that the 12 Steps are the most effective way of managing your disease of depression. As a fellowship we don’t believe and agree on any single cause of depression. Also as a fellowship we have no opinions on other treatment options: it is up to the individual, with input from their doctor, to come up with a plan for managing their depression. Depressed Anonymous does believe that a portion of our depression is self-created, and by following the 12 Steps you can stop doing those things that add to your depression.

For whatever reason recovery and the 12 Steps rub some people the wrong way. Perhaps it’s because we use the word God – we do not require a belief in any religious theology or doctrine. We merely believe there exists a Higher Power (and it could be the group) that can help us manage the disease of depression.

Here is the link to the playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-6rJNUx6cXCxacWbyHOcQLJCmW55U0gd

Non-recovery Resources for Depression

TRADITION FIVE – Each group has but one primary purpose- to carry its message to the depressed person who still suffers.

Depressed Anonymous believes that the 12 Steps are the most effective way of managing your disease of depression. As a fellowship we don’t believe and agree on any single cause of depression. Also as a fellowship we have no opinions on other treatment options: it is up to the individual, with input from their doctor, to come up with a plan for managing their depression. Depressed Anonymous does believe that a portion of our depression is self-created, and by following the 12 Steps you can stop doing those things that add to your depression.

For whatever reason recovery and the 12 Steps rub some people the wrong way. Perhaps it’s because we use the word God – we do not require a belief in any religious theology or doctrine. We merely believe there exists a Higher Power (and it could be the group) that can help us manage the disease of depression.

In light of the fact that depression is a chronic, progressive, and if untreated, a fatal disease we are sharing these non-recovery resources around depression. This is not an exhaustive list mind you, but it is a start.

AUSTRALIA

Australian Government Department of Health
Mental health and suicide prevention
https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/mental-health-and-suicide-prevention
Some information available but site is mostly dedicated to providing mental health services to those residing in Australia

Beyond Blue
https://BeyondBlue.org.au
A non-government organization (NGO) focused on mental health support in Australia.

Lots of information available about various topics such as: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, postnatal depression, Covid and climate anxiety, and many other topics as well.

Discussion forums are available.
Mental health conditions
    Anxiety
    Depression
    PTSD & Trauma
    Suicidal thoughts and self-harm
Caring for myself and others
    Staying well
    Treatments, health professionals and therapies
    Relationships and family issues
    Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers)
    Long term support over the journey
People like mental
    Young people
    Sexual and gender identity
    Multicultural experiences
    Grief and loss

CANADA

Government of Canada – Mental Health and Wellness
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/topics/mental-health-wellness.html

Canadian Mental Health Association
https://cmha.ca/
A non-government organization (NGO) centered around mental health issues in Canada.
They have a BLOG covering many different topics. Peer support and online classes are available but I believe they are only available to Canadian residents.

IRELAND

Ireland Department of Health
https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-health/
Government agency for all health issues including mental health.

Mental Health Ireland
https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.

UNITED KINGDOM

United Kingdom NHS mental health services
https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/

Mental Health Foundation
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.
Many articles on different mental health topics. Articles tend to have supporting links available: podcasts, videos, government services, NGO services.

Mind – for better mental health
https://www.mind.org.uk/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.

Depression Alliance
https://www.depressionalliance.org/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.

UNITED STATES

US – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
https://www.samhsa.gov/
A US federal government agency focused on substance abuse and mental health issues in the US. Links for treament options for substance abuse. A treasure trove of information on mental health and addiction issues. They have 381 publications on mental health, and 430 publications on substance abuse.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
https://www.nami.org/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.
They have a helpline, support groups, online discussion groups, publications, video resource library. NAMI also has a number of regional offices distributed throughout the US. The NAMI regional offices provide support groups for a number of issues and tend to be short duration commitments (10 weeks)

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
https://www.dbsalliance.org/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.
Information resources: podcasts, videos, brochures, webinars, newsletter, online store. Free online class – Recovery Goal Setting Course – appears to be a workbook and 3 video modules. DBSA also has many local face to face support groups. DBSA also has online support groups.

Awesome article on PsychologyToday.com

A friend of mine in recovery posted a link to an article on depression that should be read by all those who have depression, or have a loved one with depression.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shouldstorm/202012/we-ve-got-depression-all-wrong-it-s-trying-save-us

In it the author, Alison Escalante M.D. discusses how there is current research around depression that posits depression is not a disease per se, but rather a biological adaptive response to adversity and trauma. I will post the first three paragraphs here, but I highly recommend that you read the full article.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

For generations, we have seen depression as an illness, an unnecessary deviation from normal functioning. It’s an idea that makes sense because depression causes suffering and even death. But what if we’ve got it all wrong? What if depression is not an aberration at all, but an important part of our biological defense system?

More and more researchers across specialties are questioning our current definitions of depression. Biological anthropologists have argued that depression is an adaptive response to adversity and not a mental disorder. In October, the British Psychological Society published a new report on depression, stating that “depression is best thought of as an experience, or set of experiences, rather than as a disease.” And neuroscientists are focusing on the role of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in depression. According to the Polyvagal Theory of the ANS, depression is part of a biological defense strategy meant to help us survive.

The common wisdom is that depression starts in the mind with distorted thinking. That leads to “psychosomatic” symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue. Now, models like the Polyvagal Theory suggest that we’ve got it backward. It’s the body that detects danger and initiates a defense strategy meant to help us survive. That biological strategy is called immobilization, and it manifests in the mind and the body with a set of symptoms we call depression.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/shouldstorm/202012/we-ve-got-depression-all-wrong-it-s-trying-save-us
Author: Alison Escalante M.D.

Powerless does not mean No Power

People get hung up on the word powerless.

powerless –

  1. devoid of strength or resources
  2. lacking the authority or capacity to act

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powerless

Personally I don’t believe that I have NO POWER. Instead I have less power than the average healthy person. There are things that I can do to help manage my disease. OK, so I know I don’t have all control (100% control) and I believe that it’s not a case of having no control (0% control), so I’m somewhere in the middle – between 1% and 99% control over my depression. Wherever I fall on that spectrum I am compelled by my Higher Power to act. My Higher Power has given me the authority and capacity to act and attempt to influence and manage my disease of depression. I may wish and yearn for 99% control over my disease of depression but wherever I am I must act. I need to get out of my familiar zone (I don’t call it a comfort zone as it is NOT comfortable), and take action.

That action could be as miniscule as bringing the dirty dishes to the sink (washing may take another burst of commitment and action), or it could be as major as cleaning out and organizing the garage. I have it within my power to take my dog for a 20 minute walk. I may not have it in me today to go on a 45 minute walk, but I can do the 20 minutes and work towards improving my mood. Progress, not perfection.

If the love of your life was sick and in bed, wouldn’t you feed them? Wouldn’t you bring them tissues? Show yourself the same compassion and commitment! You are worthy of action and of love. Love is not a feeling, it is a choice and an action. Have the courage to choose to love yourself and put that choice into action. You are worth it!

Yours in recovery, Bill R

If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging – Will Rogers

If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.
Will Rogers

Do you really want to create yet another future Step Nine that you need to make? I didn’t think so.

If you make a mistake make an immediate Step TenWhen we were wrong, we promptly admitted it. Making a mistake is being in the hole and continuing to dig. That’s good because an immediate Step Ten is to put the dirt back in that you just dug up.

The better goal though would be to put down the shovel. Don’t keep making the hole bigger. Be loving TODAY. Be patient TODAY. Be compassionate TODAY. Be sober TODAY. You don’t need to do those things FOREVER, you merely need to do them TODAY.

The hole you have dug because of your active depression will need to be filled in with Step Nine, but don’t worry about that at the moment. Focus your attention on Step Ten – don’t make the hole deeper.

The results will be that you feel better about yourself, and others will feel better about you.

Yours in recovery, Bill R.

At a loss of words to describe emotion?

Sometimes I’m so out of touch with my emotions I can’t even come up with a word to describe it. I found this resource online that helps me to put my emotions into words. It’s not a perfect tool but it can help me to better describe what I’m going through.

If you can’t describe your emotion use this tool to try out different words. Sometimes putting a word to an emotions lessens it to some small degree. By using a word we can create a small gap between who we are and the emotion that we are feeling. I tend to run from my emotions and stuff them by acting out in some fashion. I’m still working on not using food to soothe my emotions, but I’m a work in progress.

I hope you find this tool useful. Give it a try and see if it works. If it works, great – you’ve found a tool that works for you. If it doesn’t work for you, great – you now know this tool is not right for you.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

emotion_word_wheel

Three Circles

OK we know that depression is a disease, and we can also look at it as an addiction. In my opinion it’s helpful to look at other programs of recovery for understanding, inspiration, and tips on how to best manage your recovery from that addiction.

One topic of recovery is to have a relapse prevention plan. If you go through life unaware and on auto-pilot chances are real good that you will relapse in your depression. You want to avoid that if humanly possible. The trick is to be aware of your behaviors and where those behaviors lead you. There are things that you can do that make you feel useful and whole. There are things that you can do that lead you towards that bottom line addictive behavior. And finally the thing you are trying to avoid: having a relapse of active depression.

The three circles is one way to come up with a relapse prevention plan. The three circles are concentric (see diagram below).

The Outer Circle contains those things that you can do that make you feel good and build your inner resolve. In some circles (pardon the pun) the Outer Circle is sometimes referred to as Top Line behaviors. I’ve put into the diagram some examples of top line behaviors but that is not a comprehensive list. You decide what things fill you up and make you whole. Some other examples include: prayer; hugging loved ones; playing with your pet; talking with friends; doing service; donating time/money to your favorite charity.

The Middle Circle contains those behaviors that lead you closer to a full blown relapse of your depression. Sometimes the Middle Circle is called Mid Line Behaviors. In some recovery groups they are called “People, Places, and Things” – anything that brings you closer to your bottom. As before you decide what belongs in the Middle Circle. What triggers you toward your depression may be a common trigger, or may be unique to you.

The Inner Circle contains those behaviors that you are really trying to avoid and if you do them you are active in your depression. Again, you define what goes into the Inner Circle. I’ve diagrammed some examples, but come up with your own if those don’t ring true for you.

three-circles

I encourage you to come up with your own Three Circles diagram. Become aware of your behaviors and if you find yourself in the Middle Circle take action with your Outer Circle behaviors. If you find yourself in the Inner Circle take massive action in the Outer Circle. Seek help you are worth it.

Good luck with this task. It only works if you work it. Diagram it and put it into action.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

If you’d like to read more here is a link to a Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_circles