All posts by Hugh Smith

I will keep physically fit. Exercise is my priority now!


I promise myself that I will walk today to regain a positive feeling about myself and my world.
Keep physically fit. It is a must for us who are and have been depressed. Walking not only restore harmony to the body, it likewise restores my self-esteem and self confidence. Remember that motivation follows action.

How can motivation follow action? Isn’t it the other way around, namely that action follows motivation? In a sense the criticism is true, but in another sense, it isn’t quite that accurate. When speaking about the paralysis of depression the individual’s motivation is almost completely nonexistent. That is why it is important for me, a depressed person to force myself to get moving -that’s right, force myself into an activity because even though I say “I will do it when I feel better.” I never usually feel better. So I need to find that point in my day, when I feel better and get out in the air and walk, if nothing else, it tends to distract from my wanting to sad myself.
When I take care of myself physically and begin giving myself p[permission to express my feelings, especially the unpleasant ones, I begin to speak more assertively and begin to like myself.


Today, help me sort out what needs to be thrown away and what we need to keep. Help us keep those memories that had love attached to them.

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. (2002)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 150-151.

Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Chapter Six. Pages 33-36.

The most difficult type of depression…

To those of us who attend Depressed Anonymous meetings can take heart in the following thought: to know how good it is to openly talk about our own depression experiences with others.
I agree whole heartedly with this belief as most of us who do attend meetings do so because we speak directly to what is going on in our lives. Those who attend the meetings feel free to speak about their struggles and victories without apologies or blame. We are happy to have them as part of our fellowship.

” The most difficult type of depression is to be in contact with is not the most dramatic, but the most indirect. It is when people themselves do not recognize their depression, or seek to solve their conflicts through behavior, such as the excessive use of alcohol, or blame everything and everyone for their misery and unhappiness, to the extent that those around them will find it hard to empathize and difficult to help. By contrast, when people experience depression clearly and directly, and can understand to some degree why they are down, it is much easier to reach out to them. Rollo May in his book Paulus, wrote about the depressive episodes that Paul Tillich experienced. “His depression never made the rest of us depressed because they were open…If we admit our depression openly and freely, those around us get from it an experience of freedom rather than the depression itself.” Pg. 187.


Flach, E. F: (1995) 3rd ed. The Secret Strength of Depression. Hattherleigh Press. New York

Sunny was one smart dog.

When anyone talks about their pets, dogs, cats, birds, I am all ears. I love dogs and we sure got a good one when we got Sunny. She was barely six weeks old. She was also a Border Collie. We loved her and she loved all our family, especially our Grandchild. He was about 2 years old when he came to live with us.

Sunny took to him immediately.She would curl up with him on the couch, it was almost like she thought he was a little lamb. She also made sure no one approached him without her approval.

Sunny showed us unconditional love. This is why we love them. You can’t buy that type of love anywhere. And during this pandemic I feel that having a dog (insert your family pet here) as a family member is really a source of comfort and healing. They ARE family.

We really need each other during this most trying time in our lives. We tend toward feeling blue, and some of us get depressed because everything that we did normally is not normal now. We are self quarantined whether we like it or not. The feeling alone and isolated is like waves of grief washing over us; not just now and then — but most everyday.

I hope you who are reading this have someone, a pet, a member of the family, a DA fellowship member, anyone who is telling you with their love and presence how happy they are that they can share time with you, via Skype, Zoom, telephone, a letter or an email. Just knowing someone cares about us–means everything these days.

In our Depressed Anonymous fellowship I am blessed to know that I can meet with my friends all that I like. I can meet with them when I am blue and they can call me when the isolation is getting too great for them as well.

Contact us at and let us know how you are doing today. We’d love to hear from you.

Lemmings and their mass migration to the sea

Today we would like to share with you some thoughts about a small mouse-like arctic rodent called a lemming. It has a furry body, short tail and fur covered feet. Every now and then, the Lemmings begin their journey to the sea. It is what is called a mass migration. Ultimately, while trying to cross the sea they all drown. This mass migration occurs at the peak of population growth.

I have reflected upon this odd behavior at different times in my life and wondered about it. Why cross the sea? It’s almost like asking the question, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” At least we know the reason for the lemmings – population growth. Does that mean, apparently, not enough food for their communities? Does it mean that they intuitively know when it’s time to march to the sea. And what makes them want to cross the sea? Is it a mutual understanding that if others are to survive then many must give up their lives so that the remnants left behind can continue to propagate and flourish.

I wonder if there is a resonance in one’s mind that, like in our world today, mass migrations of people fleeing their homes , country of origin, families and friends to escape oppression, domination by groups inimical to their religious beliefs and values.

What does this have to do with depression? Well, it has much to do with feelings, at least for humans , when we lose our place of nesting, lose members of our family, our children, spouse and all those cherished familiar relationships that kept us intertwined and mutually responsible to and for in our own lives.

Mass migrations, people on the run, millions of people on the run, with their most prized treasures, their children, and family members. All they have is the clothes on their backs. And then another tragedy: food resources, lodging, a place that is no longer familiar and friendly – all these disappear and are non-existent. Because of warring groups in some nations, people again flee their farms, herds and crops and die of starvation. And combine this with climate change, many areas of the earth are flooded out of villages and their homes making it impossible to grow their own food, feed their children and families.

Mass migrations of families and peoples are fleeing to wherever there is hope of survival and stability They are hoping that someone will come to their rescue. National leaders ar finding that the mass migrations of people over their borders are either not welcomed or allowed in. Many times the refugees are treated with hatred, physical violence or both.

Large movements of people today are presenting complex challenges, which call for global action. Many migrant s arrive in developing countries, creating tensions where resources are already scarce, by the majority of about 763 million, who move within their own countries. rather than abroad.


The World Health Organization lists depression as a major world health problem. The organization strives to help persons become aware of the life threatening challenges that face our work and our people and nations. Millions have lost families, their own national heritages, members of their own families, plus the myriad of culture changes and climate changes press down upon and impact their lives.

Even here in the Western world we live in a society flooded with gadgets, vapid entertainment, and politicians making those self serving decisions for who is in and who is out in our societies. In America it is those who are uninsured, the children and the poor who are left out, left behind and voiceless.

Resultantly why shouldn’t depression become a number one isse for all of us. Why shouldn’t this be an issue for our local communities to help others deal with their losses, lost dreams and hopeless situations. We can’t just stand by and let others fend for themselves but it is necessary that we get involved in this global, local and personal which is draining the energy and the feelings that I belong to something bigger than myself.

Can we all be there for others when we find ourselves in a sea of indifference and let “George” do it.

Here is what I recommend, get involved at a local level, get informed on people homeless in your community, the number of refugees who are looking for support, and the persons in your own family who are depressed.


AN EXCERPT FROM THE PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS as presented in the book “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Pages 28-51. Depressed Anonymous Publications.

PROMISE #13. “Are these extravagant Promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. These Promises will always materialize if we work for them.”

The word here that catches my attention, now that we have reached the end of the Promises, is the word “work.” The word “work” is what strikes me as the most important. And we go back to where we started, namely, if we are painstaking in this phrase of our development – things will change. I think that this is what it is all about. If we continue to grow we will see that indeed, before we are halfway through, some very amazing things begin to happen. ” WE CAN PROMISE YOU THAT!

Check out the previous 12/13 Promises posted here.
1. Can you share when and how you became to believe that it was important to have to “work” to get out of the prison of your depression?

2. How much do you attribute to God for your ongoing recovery and your own work?

3. Please describe some amazing things that have occurred in your everyday life since being an active member of Depressed Anonymous and working the 12 Steps of recovery.


We would suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. (#12 Promise).


“We would suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”
This belief is at the core of our recovery. It is precisely at this moment in our lives that we realize that somebody, someone greater than myself is guiding me. This someone is not forcing us but is guiding us through our darkness. It is lighting our path so we neither stumble or regress into our old ways of thinking and behaving. It is with this in mind that we continually redirect our attention to have that desire to do its will.

Before we discovered the program of Depressed Anonymous we were convinced that the only chance that we had to get better was to wait while the medications kicked in and then everything would be alright. But now we are certain that our ability to get well is surely based on how much we develop the belief that we can choose how we feel and think. Indeed we are now convinced that we can either sad ourselves or choose not to sad ourselves.

The community and common bonds of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship produce a feeling that just as other members of the group are recovering so can I.

We must be willing to let go of all our thoughts that tell us that we will never get well. These are the same thoughts that have imprisoned us over the years.

We now listen to the God of our understanding and proceed with the belief which we hold about the world on the outside of us and determined and governed by the world that is lived within us.

We are in a brand new way, on a new path, and find ourselves committed to a new and fresh belief that something powerful is starting to bloom inside of us. A peace that surpasses all understanding is beginning to be born when we learn to relax and wait and listen for that still small voice.

(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2002, 2013) 2nd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 50-51.
(C) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous, (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

We intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. (#11. Promise of Depressed Anonymous.


11/13. We intuitively know how t handle situations which used to baffle us.

“As my mind began to heal and my thought became more lucid it became apparent that something inside me was changing. Depression, when you begin to examine the various symptoms up close, and deal with them, the experience becomes less threatening. Depression is a collection of behaviors that are brought into play to defend us against things that are too painful to face. Also, depression results when a love object is lost through death or is abandoned. We have become so one with our lost love, that we mourn the death of part of us. The love object and ourselves has become one. I believe we use the word co-dependence today.

At first I was frightened by my various symptoms of depression – true, they were baffling as I was not able to get out of bed, unable to concentrate or manage a complex thought.

But now my ability to handle situations in meaningful ways are due to my frequent attendance at meetings, daily times for prayer and meditation and a feeling that my life has purpose and meaning. My ultimate concern is to live life in peace and serenity. The more I am physically active, that is, going to group meetings, online or face to face, even when I don’t feel like it — working in my workbook, reading my 12 Step literature – these behaviors are where my freedom begins. And yes, I do feel lousy at times but I also know that nothing can stand in my way to make choices in my own behalf. Previous to my involvement with the group I had no idea that my depression was not so powerful as to prevent me from even thinking that I could choose to feel differently.

The group meeting is where trust and openness is promised among the members of the fellowship. My defenses gradually lessen at every meeting.

I find myself speaking about myself. I now believe that with my new found openness that no one will discredit or abandon me. I now feel secure in this new fellowship of persons who are just like me. I can live in hope -not despair.

In her personal testimony Starr tells us that “As a person that has suffered depression since childhood
I can say that until you start to open up, share your hurts and feelings, listen to members of the group, watching them as they grow from the support of the group, you will not be able to get out of the prison of your depression.”

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY (Personal Stories, page 129-130)
(c)I’ll do it when I feel better. (2009) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. (Promise # 10 of Depressed Anonymous)


Losses may produce a variety of very intense and painful feelings. Pain can cripple the best of us. Why fear people and economic insecurity. It says in Steps 4,5, 6, 7,8,9 we have examined our lives
piece by piece, ending up with a good conscience, while feeling neither guilt or shame for things of our past.
Bill, in his personal testimony in the DA book relates how “you don’t get better overnight, but you do get much better. I was down in the muck as far as you would go . I had to go and open the door for the first time because there was no other place to go. I had already used up all the hiding places in my life. I still have many problems like everyone else, but when I need sleep very badly I turn this problem over to the Higher Power and go to sleep. I can always pick life up the next morning. Somehow it all gets done. Every few days the world dumps on you and beats you down.. That’s just life.” (Personal Story from Depressed Anonymous, page 171.)

I believe this man definitely “got it ” when he began attending the group, spending some quiet time everyday and learning that people like himself were able to get together to form a new environment where there exists healing and hope.

Granted this group cannot find you a job or take away fear of people – but it will provide you with a map where you can discover a way out of one’s prison of depression. How do you learn that?

Kim, a member of Depressed Anonymous in her persona story tells us that “the moment that I read that I had a choice to stay in depression I undoubtedly knew that I could make the choice to get out of my depression. Bingo! It wasn’t an illness. This did not have control over me. And another tool I use frequently through the DA manual is that thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce moods and moods produce behavior.” (A Personal Story from Depressed Anonymous , page 159.)

In the tradition of the major religions, there exists the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion.

” You can let your thoughts come into your mind, just don’t invite them to stay for tea.”

“In the Bible it states “Fear not, for I am with you. Let not your heart be troubled.” Jesus

“The knowledge of emptiness gives birth to compassion.” Milarepa


(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) I’ll do it when I feel better, 2nd edition (2009) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

These two works can be ordered online from The Depressed Anonymous Publications Workbook



Why wouldn’t our relationship with other people improve. After we have begun to put into place our daily program for recovery, namely through prayer and meditation we now are expectant and hopeful. We reflect upon each step, and we complete a piece of the structure that in time will be the new me.

I think that one of the more critical areas to mend in our lives is the thinking part of our selves. Depression appears to start with the way our minds react and perceive events outside of ourselves. So, from the start we need to promote to those persons depressed to get involved in as much physical activity as possible, namely, walk, express to others, go to meetings, talk on the phone with supportive people – in other words, get connected as much as possible. The point where we hope to enter in the life of the depressed is at the point of hope – be it at different stages of recovery.

Most importantly we discover at our group meetings that there are many persons, much like ourselves and at the same level of recovery.

One of the immutable truths, according to Dr. Dorothy Rowe, who wrote the award winning book, Depression: The Way out of Your Prison is “that other people are such that I must fear, envy or hate them.” If we believe that we are bad and valueless then it follows that we must fear other people because they can find out how bad we are and so reject us. When we fear anyone for long enough we come to hate that person, and when we fear someone we don’t get close enough to that person to see their own difficulties. We think that they are having an easier time than we are, and so envy them. You will believe that everyone around you is on easy street. It is only when we ere able to look honestly into our souls that we will begin to see that it is how we feel about others that has an influence on our feelings today.

“Once newcomers hear the before and after of our lives it will make it easier for them to believe us when they experience our own enthusiasm and cheerfulness. Depressed Anonymous. Page 124

“We also believe that what you think is what you become.”

We can learn something not only about alcoholism but depression when Bill W., stated ” He can settle for mediocrity and self-satisfaction even though this may indeed prove to be a precarious perch. Or he(she) can choose to go on growing in greatness of spirit and action.”

In Depressed Anonymous (Page 125), we learn one of the best ways to grow out of our sadness is
” to start acting the healer instead of being the passive victim. We are under the care of no one except our God.”

I believe that our involvement with other people like ourselves in the group gradually broadens our perspective in the area of hope. We learn to utilize new found tools that help us live with hope as well as enable us to learn that we have to be active in our own recovery. In retrospect we know that it is in our making amends to those we have harmed by our depression that make our lives more open around us. Even if those to whom we make amends don’t accept our amends the main thing is that we have made them, We are doing the amends for ourselves. Whether or not the other accepts our amends is none of our business and out of our control.”


(c) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER.” ( 2009, 2020, 2ND EDITION). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 28-53.