All posts by Hugh Smith

Keep your stick on the ice!

If you are a hockey player you know how important it is to keep your hockey stick on the ice. In fact this is one of the first lessons I learned when I started playing hockey. The reason was so that when a flying puck bounces around in the court and heads your way, you want to be ready. It might mean making a goal or losing a critical opportunity to score.

In Baseball we were told to “keep your eye on the ball.” Good advice. And in basketball the ball handler knows when he has a “good look” and needs to shoot the ball.

In our Twelve Step group of Depressed Anonymous, we have many short sayings like the ones mentioned that help keep us focused on our game. They are simple, direct and easy to understand. Not only do they help me continue to keep my life on track, but they also serve as “guardrails” reminding me of the various ways I can use them in my recovery. These short and pithy sayings are like my daily vitamins, providing some healthy immunity for fighting off all the negative thoughts that might be floating about in my head. What I am accomplishing by doing this simple activity is replacing a negative feeling with a pleasant one. I am replacing sunspots with darkness.

Here are some of my favorite slogans: KEEP IT SIMPLE. TAKE IT EASY. ONE DAY AT A TIME.THINK.EASY DOES IT. STICK TO THE PLAN. LET GO AND LET GOD. HAVE A NICE DAY UNLESS YOU HAVE MADE OTHER PLANS. GOD IS MY FRIEND. ALL I HAVE IS THESE 24 HOURS. THIS TOO WILL PASS.

My advice to you is to keep your stick on the ice, get a good look, and keep your eye on the ball. You will score every time!
Have a great day!

Hugh S.

A SPIRITUAL CONDUIT

“The more I believe in this Power greater than myself the more that power begins to operate in my life. I am beginning to understand how life works – it is a paradox. The more I let go of my own perspective and turn it over to this greater power, I form a channel, a spiritual conduit by which this power can enter in and slowly and methodically transform my life. By my own life being transformed I find that the lives which I touch on a daily basis –they to begin to be transformed. Dep-Anon helps me focus my attention on what I need do. The attention is no longer on the depressed significant other but on where I am and how I will try and live one day at a time.” (Dep-Anon : A Twelve Step program of recovery for family and friends of the depressed. To be released for publication March 21, 2021.)

“The world breaks everyone. Then some become strong at the ‘broken places’.” Ernest Hemingway

In his novel, Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway shares with us a truth that has become our own reality. I am referring to how we can become strong even when our life feels like it is spiraling out of control.

Case in point: when I was depressed for more than a year I felt like a zombie on the loose. Wherever I was I didn’t want to be there.I just wanted to be alone. The best place for me was to just lie down and sleep.

Gradually I began to feel a lift in my spirit as my mood began to spiral upwards instead of sliding down that slippery slope of despair and aloneness.

And then I became strong. I was learning a great deal about living. I admitted that my life had been out of control. It was if someone had turned off the power switch in my brain.
Thanks to the fellowship of the Depressed Anonymous group which I attended regularly, I started to use the tools which were provided me for my own recovery by the members of DA.

I also possessed an understanding of how my life before recovery was responsible for my depression. I found out that it was my thinking with its mistaken beliefs about myself, and my relationships that caused me to suddenly feel helpless and clueless as to what was happening to me. I became totally immobilized. My bed was my “go to” when I felt that I was in lockdown without goals or anything to look forward to. There didn’t appear to be a solution for what was happening to me.

Now, let’s fast-forward to my finding help. Now that I have been depression free for many years now, I can attribute my new way of looking at myself while applying the 12 step spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous to my everyday life and behaviors. With the support of the DA group my depression experience was closely examined. Now I have these “red flags” that can warn me of my old beliefs and behaviors that gradually and unconsciously forced me down to the ground. Because of recent negative events in my life and/or those of my childhood, which were brought to light by applying the 12 Steps to my life, past and present. Also by my sharing and participating in regular DA meetings, having a sponsor with whom I can share and get support outside of the meeting times.

Basically, I have become strong at my own “broken places” and become stronger every time I read the literature of DA, written by members of our DA fellowship, go to meetings, using all the many tools given to me and sharing with others. We believe that all newcomers at our meetings will also be able to heal their own “broken places” and discover a new life of hope and serenity. That’s a promise!

Hugh, for the fellowshiP.
_____________________________________
Everyone is able to order online literature from our website Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com

This group gave me my voice back.

There were times when I wanted to talk to someone about what was happening in my life –but I didn’t even have a name for whatever it was that had me totally immobilized. What could I tell my friends–that I felt I was losing my mind. Some mysterious cancer of the brain maybe? I was definitely scared. The more stuff that I read about the symptoms the more confused I became. Whatever it was I knew that I needed help. Go to a doctor? Talk to a counselor? I felt so alienated, from my self, family and friends. I had hit the wall.

Like others with whom I later became became acquainted, it gradually came to me that I must be depressed. I had most of the symptoms: I lost my appetite, I felt shame that I was unable to help myself. I did manage to hold down a job, but my main thing after work was to go home and sleep it off. I lost my ability to concentrate, plus my memory seemed to be on the blink. I didn’t answer my phone, skipped business appointments and just rather not be in touch with anyone and everyone. Most of all I was very angry about something that clearly made my life miserable, hopeless and out of my control. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning–why, because my life was now without goals, purpose and meaning. My own isolation from everything that I once valued and dear to me was gone. In a sense I had lost my voice to ask for help.

I got a phone call one day –a work buddy asked me to attend a meeting with him. ” I asked What kind of meeting?” He just said something to get you moving again. I agreed, but only for his sake did I agree to go with him. By this time I realized that I was depressed –I knew what I had –or what had me. And if you are presently attending Depressed Anonymous meetings you know what I am talking about.

Not til after a few more meetings did I feel comfortable in this group. But it was only after more meetings was I willing to share my own story. You know, the before (how it was before recovery) and the after (how it is now that I am in recovery, have my own sponsor and go regularly to meetings). I felt I had to speak. I needed to get it out in the open. I told my story how I was a veritable wreck during my struggle and inner battles with depression. And then how I came to this fellowship and became a new person. The key that unlocked my prison was this group of men and women just like myself –and a God of my own understanding who I know loved me and was with me all the time.

With my voice back and no longer all alone I am using it now to encourage others who come to our meetings — to keep coming back and using the tools that we freely offer them. They will be another voice added to the many who are today sharing their hope, strength and experiences. If you are brand new they will be wanting to tell you about it!!

A Depressed Anonymous Member.

YOU ARE HERE

A few years back I was driving across a deserted stretch of highway in New Mexico. I noticed that my gas gauge showed that I was getting low on fuel. As I had no idea where the next gas station would be I began taking notice of signs, hoping to find a place to get gas. Having never traveled on this stretch of road before I was starting to get anxious. I didn’t want to run out of gas out here in the desert.

It wasn’t long until I could spot a small building a few hundred yards ahead. Lucky for ne, it was a gas station.I knew that I didn’t want to tempt fate, so I filled up my tank. I still had no idea where I was and so I asked the attendant where I was. He turned around and pointed to a large map on the wall. All the map showed was a long horizontal line across the face of the map. In the middle of the map there was a large X placed over the stretch of the road indicating YOU ARE HERE. My only problem was that I didn’t know where “here” was. My attendant was a man of few words and he said the next town was about an hour down the road. The map didn’t tell me much.

Just like many of us who are looking for some kind of support for our own lives, all we know is that a group called Depressed Anonymous was meeting today. This is the reason why you are here. We showed up today because our lives had come to a standstill. We were starting to feel there was no where to go. The man who is lost in the desert and running out of gas with no hope, can be a metaphor for all of our own lives. And at our first meeting of Depressed Anonymous today we don’t know what to expect – only that I am here and you are here. Let our recovery begin.
Hugh,
for the fellowship.

When you come to a meeting with oters attending a Depressed ANonymous meeting

The biggest disease…

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.”
-Mother Teresa

I wonder how many of us telling someone that we are depressed — they either have an immediate solution for us or they say they don’t want to hear about it anymore. Or, maybe we are too ashamed to admit –to anyone–that we are depressed. Whatever the situation, I believe that we can finally make a breakthrough — without feeling ashamed or unwanted and pushed away from both family and friends.

Well, there is a solution for you–and for me –I have found a group of friends –actually a fellowship of friends –who come together and share their stories and struggles with depression. By doing so, they hear how there is hope and recovery. And initially, the really big surprise, is that members of Depressed Anonymous want us to share our own story. When we do share our story, lo and behold, some of our story happens to be like everyone else’s story. They share with us a plan., A plan that holds promise of recovery for our own lives. The plan is called the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous. This plan is modeled after the Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery.

Initially, We all have felt alone and helpless. We all have felt that no one understands our pain, struggles and despair. This is so true if you have never felt depressed before. In fact, our sadness comes unannounced. It doesn’t send an email or warning that there is something that is about to swallow me alive. And like myself, it was only when I found myself being sucked down into that deep pit of aloneness– feeling no way out, that I found Depressed Anonymous. I admitted that I needed help.

At my first meeting, I knew that I was home. I felt welcome and a warmth from all the members of the fellowship. Even though I was a newcomer, I was welcome. They even told me to come to at least six meetings to see if this group was for me. Now I felt that I was wanted –that everyone was there to accompany me along this new path of hope and life.

If you want to know how to find the same help as I am finding, click onto www.depressedanon.com website and see what meetings are available to all those who are seeking hope. Presently, there are online International Skype meetings everyday of the week. Just sign on to https://join.skype.com and click onto the link. Also, click onto depanon@hotmail.com for more assistance. I hope to see you at a meeting–soon.

Hugh, for the fellowship

“Do not ask what the world needs.”

“Do not ask for what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and do it. For what the world needs is people who are fully alive.”
Howard Thurman

This thought got me thinking. I have asked myself the very question many times over. I always had an answer to the question. For many years, the same answer continued to take me down the same path. It was a gentle path. It was like going to work in the morning. You know, getting on the bus, or driving the car to the same place every day. There it was the same faces, the same tasks. After a days work it was back home again. End of story.
It was a good life. I felt alive doing what needed to be done. And yes, I think I was fully alive. But then at a certain point(I can still feel it) life started to spin out of control. If you have had this experience you definitely know what I am talking about.

Long story short. My life was falling apart. I started isolating from friends and family. All I needed was to get away from the world and try figuring out what ws happening to me. I did not need a world that looked so gray, forbidding and threatening.
I only wanted to live in a world of which I could control. Now, I was moving slowly in a world that gave me no promise of direction. I was a walking zombie.

Then gradually, a light went on in my dull and darkened spirit. I discovered a new and exciting path. It was a new world for me. I was no longer alone. It was my gradual awakening to a new reality. I was no longer alone. I was part of others who are on the same journey. It was a journey of hope. I had a direction. It is called recovery.
My depression was gone. The fog had lifted. I came alive with the help of the group. It is better called a fellowship.I am needed. My experiences of recovering from depression is needed. I am called to give hope. My life’s ultimate concern, my purpose is to walk with others just like myself–once wounded –now wounded healers. I am fully alive.

I believe that the world truly needs me–needs you. What once made me think I was worthless and useless, now I am alive. Depressed Anonymous helped me come alive. Now I have no doubt what makes me fully alive. It’s those others, just like me at a time in my own life, who said, we need you. We need you to help others become fully alive. Now we know what the world needs.

With a gratitude that I am alive.

Hugh, for the fellowship

SOUL SPIRIT HEART

What do those words mean for you.
Holy Joe words I always thought
Not anymore, I believe
Through listening a lot

Years and years, it takes you to see
To put those words in order for me
Holy Joe words, they can indeed be
But today, mostly those words mean emotions for mE.

For years I saw weakness where emotions should be
Don’t show emotions they are not useful to me
I believed others tormented more when I let my guard down.
Emotions hide those it’s easier to frown
Much better be competent by the book whilst going around

I thought I was here only for tasks
Keep going on story stuck
So, on my life towards solitude went
Find another quest on which my life’s time to be spent.

Quest after quest, blow after blow
The emotions were there but now trodden below
My life revolved around rushing to go
Never ever learning how to really say no

I can’t trust my brain
When it comes to what’s best
Who would believe that that could be so?
Instead of my brain helping, it can stop me to grow.
++++++++++++++

Moore, M. Member of the International Online Skype Depressed Anonymous Fellowship.
With permission

Depression, depression. What an oppression.

Depression, depression
What an oppression

And how can this be explained?

My pills are to my rescue
My basic needs are fully met
One is convinced that I am in paradise
A woman, married happily with wonderful parents,
children, lovely family, and all.

But what a waste of time!
I hear! Why aren’t you happy?
You are more fortunate than others!
What are you missing? I’m told!
What am I missing, really w=hat?
Since what I need is very little
Just love and peace for all of us.

It’s tortuous to witness pain
and around people’s suffering
It does not help me, knowing that
others are less fortunate than I’m.

One might think that I am just lazy.
And difficulty getting off my bed —
is simply crazy…

Why do I feel so miserable, helpless?
Depression, depression —
What my oppression?

I can’t bypass the homeless
and poor, like many others do
on streets each day.

I’m told to close my eyes and ignore.
I am scared by vehicles sirens,
by bitter odors, children screaming,
by peoples fighting, their rudeness.

How do I support that pain?
I want to help myself feel happiness again.

God knows, I ‘m desperately trying to play
the game of happiness, I can’t own.

A temporary relief is achieved
A sip of freedom so sweet, but
not for long, it quickly leaves.

The witch-depressions’s back again
to haunt me more, to torture me again.

“Be brave, collect yourself”
I hear others.
But that’s so hard for them to get.
That happiness cannot be forced.
That only unable to eat and
sleep when sadness suffocates one’s soul…

Depression, depression,
What an oppression.'”
—————————————-
Submitted by Irene S., a member of the Depressed Anonymous International Fellowship

With permission.