“How many times have we heard persons say that ‘my depression is such a comfort to me.’ Many depressed people say that this feeling of worthlessness and hollowness is all they have ever known. In fact, they add, ‘since all I’ve ever known I’m too scared to feel something different.’ It appears that their whole identity is based on how they feel, and so they feel they are bad.” (9)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
I know that I can recover and feel good about myself. Each new day I can choose to think differently about myself. I believe that, with time and while working my Twelve Step program, I can feel better. I will make a list of how I want to feel and then start to experience these brand new feelings of mine. My spiritual program of letting God run my life is beginning to payoff as I can feel a change in myself occurring.
I am taking out one of the main bars of my prison cell. I am no longer considering myself as someone who is bad, worthless, unacceptable to myself and to others. I am finding myself acceptable to me.
Our feelings of hollowness are greatly diminished after and during a meeting where we hear the hopeful stories of those members of the group who are feeling better because of the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery.
-Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. page 112.
I have definitely been there and experienced that despair like feeling. Will power wouldn’t brush it away. Nothing would help. It was only when I got moving–actually putting my body in motion that something good began to happen. Not right away–but over time I was freed from my lack of physical, emotional energy– as well as the thought that I would never feel differently.
People depressed many times don’t think that they have a choice either to get well or remain locked in the prison of their depression.
“This is why the belief coupled with the First Step of Depressed Anonymous, a Twelve Step mutual aid group, has a positive impact on one’s personal belief about the recovery process. The First Step of Depressed Anonymous states “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
And this is just the begging. Stay tuned.
Source: Believing is Seeing. DAP. Louisville. (1913) P.2.
A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY
I will trust myself to risk getting better by way of the Twelve Step program. The first step is to admit that I will beat my depression in a group rather than trying to do it all by myself.
“Many of us can’t allow ourselves to trust anyone. We are so distrustful of ourselves that we can’t trust ourselves to feel. The painful and terrible hollowness of depression is such that we cannot allow it to be felt…When we hear other members share their stories of hurt and isolation we become more at ease within ourselves and we gradually allow/trust ourselves to touch the nerves of the past pain and hurts. ” (9)
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
One of the better ways I have found to get out of the prison of my depression is to trust my story with someone who has experienced the pain and the hurt. To know that I am not alone in my misery is quite a relief. To know that there is someone out there who understands where I am coming from does much for raising self-esteem. I know that it is only when I begin, today, to start taking care of myself that my life will improve and so will my thoughts. I also believe that there is no problem too great to be lessened.
I know that wanting control, wanting things my way, has made my life unmanageable! I want to trust my Higher Power and give my program and my friends who are in it my very best. I trust that I can be as honest with them as I am with my Higher Power.
God, we turn our will and our lives over to you and we know things are getting better because of that surrender.
SOURCE:, Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. (1993, 1999) Louisville. June 1. Depressed Anonymous Publications.
“During my first night in the hospital, a member informed me of a support group known as DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS. I decided to give it a try. By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous, and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the Twelfth Step, but has also given me a key, a key which would open many doors for me. Walking through these doors was like admitting defeat. I was playing first base in a ball game in which I would eventually win. If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me. With the help and the positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me. With the love, support, and true friendship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license when two members of the group took me in for my road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst was finally over.”
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous (3rd.Edition) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. “We never talked about our feelings.” Page 112-113.
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered, FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY!
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. BE KIND ANWAY.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. SUCCEED ANYWAY
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. BUILD ANYWAY.
If you find serenity and happiness, there may be jealousy. BE HAPPY ANYWAY.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. DO GOOD ANYWAY.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU GOT ANYWAY.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. IT WAS NEVER BETWEEN YOU AND THEM ANYWAY.
In the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous (3rd Edition), an anonymous writer shares with us how when she began to follow her bliss—happy memories from her past life–something started to happen. In the program of Depressed Anonymous we call them SUNSPOTS. Let her tell us in her own words.
” Look for SUNSPOTS, memories from the past that were happy times and ones which bring back happy feelings from years gone by. I tried, but none came to mind. But I did find that just thinking about the book (Depressed Anonymous) and what it said, did make me feel a little better. Then a piece of a song popped into my mind “Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all the others will be added to you..” “Hey! A SUNSPOT I said to myself
Then I felt a warm glow and then I did feel better — I did it! I made myself feel better. I can un-depress myself. I had mixed feelings. I wanted to feel better, but admitting I depressed myself was not an easy thing to do.
I went back and reread the book, but now with an open mind. I have started to follow the Twelve Steps and with the help of the Higher Power, I can have a brighter future. I am making and putting in my memory a lot of SUNSPOTS for those times when I am feeling depressed and which I can choose to draw upon when I feel that I need them.
I put up a “stop” sign and bring out a SUNSPOT to carry me through.” By Anonymous. Page 114. “I depressed myself. I can un-depress myself.”
NOTE: I have also found that when I create a picture album in my mind I can always leaf through them, one memory at a time. It is a well known fact that memories carry with them pleasant or unpleasant feelings. We don’t want to try to forcibly push away those unhappy memories-as that seems to just make them more persistent- but to just let those unhappy pictures float by – like watching a vehicle passing by. And as we move onto those happy memories in our mind’s album and place our attention on them, we will with time and practice discover that happy memories produce happy and pleasant feelings. Hugh
“We do know that depression, like any other long standing emotion, can and does cause a physiological change in the body. Many scientists also know that positive emotions over time can produce a change in the immunological makeup of our human body and so protect it from illness.”
CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
Depression can be eliminated from my life after I take a closer look at my lifestyle. If I want to conquer depression, I have to take a closer look at the way I think, behave and live out my life. Of course, to have a belief in some power greater than myself produces the hopeful vision that, in time, I can begin the healing process. My brokenness and fear of risking change is at the core of my depression. I know that once I begin to get moving in a positive physical and mental way, the healthier I can become.
Someone once said that an emotion is energy in motion. A good description I would say. My ability to maintain an emotional balance depends heavily on my belief that I can change the way I feel. I know with the help of my conscious contact with my Higher Power that I can find the peace that I am searching for.
We know that good things start to happen when we give up our will to the one who wills nothing but our personal good. The power which is greater than the power of our depression is desirous of eradicating its dominion of our lives. Let go now your fear to let go and let God.
Source: Copyright(c)Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 106. Higher Thought for May 25.
Source: Depressed Anonymous (3rd Edition) 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky.
What is a speed bump? A speed bump is simply a slight rise in the pavement to alert car drivers to slow down. Most of the speed bumps can be found in residential areas/ neighborhood streets. In some areas they are marked with yellow stripes .Depending on the necessity for motorists to drastically cut their speed, these bumps are built with more height and force the motorist to come to almost a stop to prevent damage being done to one’s vehicle.
I find the speed bump to be a metaphor for my own experience with symptoms of depression. I do know that as my symptoms grew more in kind and strength I gradually reduced my activities. My mind was filled with obstacles which grew larger and more formidable as time went on. I found myself sitting alone and stalled. I found my personal speedometer registering 10mph instead of the normal 50mph. The more I perceived the speed bump ahead, rising out of the ground like a brick wall, I knew that I couldn’t go any further. I was like the sail boater on the lookout for any breeze to get me moving again.
No matter how hard I tried to get over the bump, I kept telling myself it was a hopeless task. There was no way to get over it. I felt helpless. I kept telling myself that I might as well just stay where I was and so I shut off the engine. It was like I was terrified with fright. I thought of a thousand options but none of them appeared manageable. I just believed my situation was useless.
Well, this metaphor doesn’t end there because I am no longer helpless. In my real world I thought, I’ve got a serious problem here ( symptoms of depression: fatigue, anger, feeling worthless ) all of which I have to deal with. So, I admitted that I was powerless over my depression and that my life was unmanageable. (Step One of Depressed Anonymous). And then “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” (Step Two of Depressed Anonymous) Then I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of the God as I understand God. (Step Three of Depressed Anonymous).
If your speed bump keeps you from moving in life know that many of us have been there like you. There is a solution, and just begin to believe that you are NOT l alone. It really helps to know that you can join our fellowship and find hope. Been there, done that!
Today we have made a big step in that we admitted that you, me, all of us are here to learn how to brighten up our life and begin to take greater responsibility for the way we feel, think and act. We all know that if we want to have the light and warmth of life then we will have to risk the unpredictable. We have to face the uncertain future. And as we all know, this is the nature of depression in that it predicts sameness and the unending hell that we have experienced, day after day for months and for many years. And as strange as it may sound –for some, the sameness and the predictability of depression is sort of a comfort. At least we know what we got.
Today, we will take every advantage for discovering how to begin to take full responsibility for our own lives and how to become hopeful, and help ourselves out of the prison that we have constructed for ourselves over the years.”
“…By diagnosing the problem, and providing a solution and providing a practical plan for getting out of our depression we now can be free of the depression that has imprisoned us for so long.
As we go about attempting to shed some light on our own personal darkness –on our own symptoms of depression –we will gradually begin to see that we must now hold some different beliefs about ourselves – -some immutable beliefs which have hindered our development as hope filled happy people. Now, once we learn what these are and how they defined us these many years we can become free.
We will learn to take responsibility for our lives and our behavior. ”
Source: Shining a light on the dark night of the soul. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 2-3.
Tomorrow 5/25/15 we will list the six immutable beliefs which may have held us behind the bars of depression.
Depressed Anonymous, as a functioning mutual aid group is solution focused. How do I know? I know because I practice the principles of the Twelve Steps in my daily life–day after day. I have a step by step program of recovery which provides me with an assortment of tools (solutions) to help dig myself out of whatever has me by the throat. The fellowship of a Twelve Step recovery group embeds me in a secure group of men and women who, like myself, are focused on what can rebuild my life and not continue to destroy it. A lot of the rebuilding might be to repair a faulty foundation that did not provide security for us as we passed through the various formative years of our lives.
In a similar vein, it has been our family or significant others who have told us who we are and who by their feelings towards us to a large extent determined who we are today. Our parents for good or for ill have defined who we are combined with other significant early childhood caregivers.
It was their opinion of us, plus the familial environment that helped create the personality of who we are today. If we grew up with a secure base — a supportive father and mother who let us pursue and reach out beyond our environment and encouraged this pursuit – most probably we grew up confident and hopeful as if life was a good place to be and which nurtured us and protected us – in other words, we were not afraid to move beyond our family boundaries – we were encouraged to grow and go beyond our family boundaries and explore. But the family where the child doesn’t feel secure –that child was closed in and felt afraid of that which was outside the circle of the family. In one family there was an openness that promoted growth and learning and in another the closed family system produced fear, aloneness and alienation from self and others.
If a teacher, parent or significant other told you that you would never amount to anything they probably have influenced you for much of your life, that is until you discovered that something in your life was amiss. A small child believes so much taught to them by those older people who not only were bigger and stronger but who were like gods compared to our small size and small minds.
I remember well a teacher who told me in the 3rd grade that I would never be like my brother and uncle (smart guys) –this truly shocked me — but I did believe her and it has influenced me for the remainder of my life–until I found out that she was not correct. Over the years I finally caught on and became the person that I am growing to become today. I am not a carbon copy of some other person’s idea of who I was and supposed to be. (The thoughts here of Family Systems researcher and author (Bowen) have influenced me in my reflections on my own family and its influence on my life)
Are you, the reader, still influenced by those old labels and messages that were pinned on you years ago? If so, you can now do something about it. Are you ready!
See the source cited below.
SHINING A LIGHT ON THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL: A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE FOR HEALING THE DARKNESS . OF DEPRESSION. (1999) DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY. Pages 1-2