All posts by Bill R

Do I have to do the work of Recovery?

The short answer is NO you do not have to do the work of recovery.

Recovery is about having a choice. A choice to do things differently. I can continue to act, think, and talk in the ways that I have done in the past, but chances are the outcome will be the same.

If I do what I always did, I will get what I always got.
– A slogan heard in a 12 Step recovery meeting

I can choose to stay in stinking thinking. I can choose to continue to look to blame others for my depression and my situation. A far healthier choice though is to accept and take ownership of my part in my depression. There are things, small or large, that I can do, think or say that perpetuate my depression. That is what is meant by saddening yourself.

Taking ownership of your own stuff is hard to do. There is no denying it. But sadly, it is the only way out. I need to accept that my best thinking got me into the depths of my depression. Continuing on with doing it my way is a recipe for disaster.

I have a choice. I choose to do the work of recovery. Not because it is easy, but rather because it is what will bring about healing in my life. There is a saying in Buddhist circles – trying to calm the monkey mind. My mind is fraught with negativity, anger, fear, and self-loathing. I need to walk on a higher path. I need to go the way of recovery. I need to take the pathway where God walks.

The trick is that I don’t have to – I get to choose a better healthier way.

You too can choose to take the higher road. Good luck!

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

Plan ahead for intermittent brain fog

When I’m in the thick of a depressive episode my brain is foggy – I just can’t think straight. In those moments of darkness I am unable to think of things I could be doing to improve my mood, or to ease my anxiety.

My brain fog eventually passes. The trick is that when I am lucid I have to write out and plan the things I could do when depression strikes. All I have to do when the brain fog strikes is to remember that I have written down options of things to do.

Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself for any brain fog you experience. It happens to many of us with depression. If you can’t think of things you could be doing fear not. Fire up your web browser and go to your favorite search engine and search for things you could do to treat your depression. You don’t HAVE TO do any of the things on the list – they are options available to you. Having choices is better than having no choices.

I put together a list of over 100 things I could do to help treat my depression. Put together your own list of things you could do. Be thorough when putting together the list. Write down things that may only improve your mood by 1%. One percent better is better than where you are. Remember you don’t HAVE TO do any of the things on the list. You will be making a choice to do the things that you are willing to do in that moment of darkness.

Remember the hurdle you have to cross is not DO I WANT TO DO THIS, but rather AM I WILLING TO DO THIS? The willingness hurdle is lower than the wanting to hurdle. Do the things you are willing to do. Once you begin doing things motivation will come to do more. Remember that motivation follows action.

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

What to do if the Steps or any important concept seems stale

Here in Depressed Anonymous we are on a journey of studying and applying the principles of the 12 Steps in our lives. Even the wonderful 12 Steps can begin to feel stale and need to be renewed. Any important concept can become stale and become difficult to connect with. It could be the Steps, the Traditions, prayers you pray to your Higher Power, really anything of importance.

Here is my suggestion. Change the wording slightly so you can interact with the concepts in a new way. In case you didn’t notice the 12 Steps are written in the past tense, and in the third person. When I need to mix things up I will state them in the present tense, and in the first person.

The present tense, first person 12 Steps:

  1. I admit that I am powerless over depression, that my life is unmanageable.
  2. I believe that a power greater than me can restore me to sanity.
  3. I continually decide to turn my life and will over to the care of that Higher Power.
  4. I make fearless and moral inventories of myself.
  5. I admit to my Higher Power, to myself, and to others the exact nature of my wrongs.
  6. I become willing each day to allow my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings.
  7. I humbly ask my Higher Power each day to remove my defects of character.
  8. I make a list of people that I’ve harmed and I become willing to make amends to them all.
  9. I make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. I continue to take a personal inventory daily, and when I am wrong I promptly admit it.
  11. I seek each day through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with my Higher Power as I understand my Higher Power. I pray only for the knowledge of my Higher Power’s will for me and the power to carry that out.
  12. Being awakened each day by following these steps I try to carry this message to others, and to practice the principles in all areas of my life.

When I struggle with the concepts of the Traditions I will reword them and try to apply them to myself as an individual.

Stuck in the rut of referring to your Higher Power as “Heavenly Father”? Try on for size “Heavenly Mother” and see if it has any impact on your relationship with your Higher Power.

God is bigger than the box you try to put Him in.
– Slogan heard at a recovery meeting.

Don’t be constrained by the words of the concepts that guide you in your life. The concepts are bigger than words. Alter the words slightly and see what impact it has on you.

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

New DA Speaker Meeting Recording 08 April 2022 – Robin

We’ve uploaded the talk from Robin that she gave on Friday 08 April 2022.

We have a number of recordings of people sharing their story at a speaker meeting. The link to that page is: https://depressedanon.com/depressed-anonymous-meeting-recordings/

The link can also be browsed to by selecting Tools for Recovery from the horizontal menu, then Depressed Anonymous Meeting Recordings

As we record more speakers the recordings will be posted there as well. The list is in reverse chronological order (newest first).

Protecting Yourself From Toxic People

As a depressive I feel that I am more sensitive than other people. Sometimes I need to determine if it is me being over sensitive orif it is the other person toxic and harming me. Toxic people come in many forms: narcissists, sociopaths, predators, etc. Truly deeply toxic people probably should be avoided completely. How can you recognize toxic people in your life? I found a list of characteristics of “human predators” which can be a proxy for any type of toxic person.

The characteristics of a “human predator”:

  • Human predators are mean.
  • Predators are utterly selfish.
  • Predators pretend friendship and love but they feel absolutely nothing for others.
  • Predators are charming and good at flattery, but they don’t mean a single word of it.
  • Predators brag and boast and make up outrageous lies. When challenged, they blame others.
  • Predators don’t feel anxiety or fear.
  • Predators are impulsive and easily bored. They demand thrills and take dangerous risks. They enjoy pushing others into taking dangerous risks, too.
  • Predators are bullies with explosive tempers.
  • Predators enjoy humiliating people.
  • Predators hate it if anyone else has power or is praised. For the predator, life is a competition and they want to win.
  • Predators weaken people with insults and putdowns.
  • Predators are cunning and manipulative.
  • Predators lie easily and think nothing of breaking a promise.
  • Predators are without conscience: they do not feel remorse or guilt.
  • Predators often boast about the harm they’ve done to other people.
  • Predators are parasites. They are lazy and live off others, giving as little as possible in return.
  • Predators are control freaks, stopping others from taking control of anything if they can
  • Predators force petty rules on others – rules that are impossible to follow.
  • Predators boast about tricking other people.
  • Predators boast about breaking the law.

Jon Atack
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1076831346096293&id=283133205466115

If a person has most of these characteristics – avoid them. You are not being over sensitive, the other person is toxic.

If a person has one or a few of these characteristics they may be able to be managed through clear, firm and mature boundaries. However try not to fall into the trap of hate. Maintain a small amount of love for that person – even if that is just that they are a creation of God. The behavior can be hated but try not to hate the person. It’s been my experience when I hate someone I hurt myself.

If the other person doesn’t have any of the above characteristics I need to be open to the idea that I may be over sensitive regarding this. I need to pray and meditate on it. I need to talk to other mature, serene people who can help me discern my part. I need to own and take responsibility for my part of the problem.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

New DA Speaker Meeting Recording 11 March 2022

We’ve uploaded the talk from Irene that she gave on Friday 11 March 2022.

We have a number of recordings of people sharing their story at a speaker meeting. The link to that page is: https://depressedanon.com/depressed-anonymous-meeting-recordings/

The link can also be browsed to by selecting Tools for Recovery from the horizontal menu, then Depressed Anonymous Meeting Recordings

As we record more speakers the recordings will be posted there as well. The list is in reverse chronological order (newest first).

New DA Speaker Meeting Recording 04 Mar 2022

We’ve uploaded the talk from Moore that he gave on Friday 04 March 2022.

We have a number of recordings of people sharing their story at a speaker meeting. The link to that page is: https://depressedanon.com/depressed-anonymous-meeting-recordings/

The link can also be browsed to by selecting Tools for Recovery from the horizontal menu, then Depressed Anonymous Meeting Recordings

As we record more speakers the recordings will be posted there as well. The list is in reverse chronological order (newest first).

DA Speaker Meeting Recordings

We have a number of recordings of people sharing their story at a speaker meeting. The link to that page is: https://depressedanon.com/depressed-anonymous-meeting-recordings/

The link can also be browsed to by selecting Tools for Recovery from the horizontal menu, then Depressed Anonymous Meeting Recordings

As we record more speakers the recordings will be posted there as well. The list is in reverse chronological order (newest first).

Doing what you can, even if it is really small

My depression wants me to wallow in doing nothing. I want to crawl into the Bill cave and let the world pass me by.

If I give into that thought completely I am doomed to remain in the pit of my depression. I must take action! What if I don’t have the motivation? Well I don’t need to muster up the energy and motivation to do the grand projects. Maybe my house is an utter pig sty and I really should fully clean my house. That’s OK – start small. Perhaps all you need is a small self push of picking up all the dirty dishes in your house and bringing them to the kitchen. If you’re feeling inspired perhaps scrape the leftovers from the plates into the garbage. Tell yourself that you are going to load the dishwasher in an hour. Two hours from now you’ll wash the pots and pans.

You don’t need to do it all right now. You don’t need to undertake all the work of recovery right now. All you need to do is to take action on the small thing in front of you. Remember you don’t climb a mountain in a single small step. Climbing a mountain is done a step at a time. Sometimes looking at the peak while we are in the valley is overwhelming. Believe me, I’ve been there. Don’t focus on how far the peak is. Just be mindful of your surroundings and where you are going to place your next step. Then take that step, then the next. Eventually you will be at the peak. The pit of the depression will be behind you.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
– Tao Te Ching

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Think, think, think

Think, think, think.
AA Slogan

Before recovery it used to be stimulus then reaction. Recovery has given me choice. I no longer have to react. Recovery has changed the pattern to: stimulus, pause, then response.

I have to ask myself: “What would a mature, serene person do in this situation?” Although the diseased default first thought is to do X I have a choice. I can pause, I can think about the tools I have learned in the program. I can ask the God of my understanding what I should do in this moment. So after that pause I now have a choice – I can do Y – what a mature and serene person would do.

By no means am I perfect at this. Sometimes it escapes me so I don’t pause. At times I will pause but I will still do the default reaction of X. My pattern is changing as time goes by though. I am learning to pause more, to reflect on what I should do in this moment. Sometimes I even include other people in my process. What a novel thought – including wise others who can guide me on the most useful way to go.

So my suggestion is this: Before you act, think, think, think.

Yours in recovery, Bill R