If I do what I always did, I’m going to get what I always got

If I do what I always did, I’m going to get what I always got.
Slogan heard in a recovery meeting

I need to do things differently. If I attempt to go on autopilot I’m doomed as my autopilot takes me to deep, dark places. I have a choice today because of recovery. I don’t have to go with the default dark thoughts and feelings. I can take action, something different, because my old way of doing things have brought me to depression.

Depression can be viewed as being in the habit of (addiction to) feeling bad. The truth is that feelings are not in isolation. They are in a relationship with thoughts and actions.

  • Feelings influence our thoughts and actions.
  • Thoughts influence our feelings and actions.
  • Actions influence our feelings and thoughts.

I’ve got some good news and bad news.

  • Bad news – you can NOT directly control your feelings. It’s just flat out impossible.
  • Good news – you can directly control your thoughts and your actions, which greatly influence your feelings.

Accept the fact that you can’t control your feelings. Have the courage to change your thoughts and actions. That is the way to a better place.

Move a muscle, change a thought.
Slogan heard in a recovery meeting

Yours in recovery, Bill R

What is known as “the Paralysis of Analysis” was a big factor in my spiraling down into depression

I don’t know what your experience with depression might be, but it may be similar to my own. When I first became aware that I was depressed, I imagined that my wishful thinking would get me to a better place emotionally. You know, I would feel better. Wrong! In fact, the more I tried to figure out in my head what was happening to me, it seemed like the hole I was digging was getting deeper, hurtling me downward into the abyss of hopelessness. Simultaneously, my insides betrayed a foreign activity of being hollowed out, producing an anxiety in me which I can only say was a bad case of unending “jitters”.

I remember how incessant was my need to try and figure out what was happening to me. I looked back on my life’s activities previous to being locked down into this prison. I wondered why I was feeling so awful. There was no relief. I continued thinking about my life unraveling and I there wasn’t an answer available – at that time.

The more energy I gave to try and think my way out of this pain-filled darkness, the more fatigued my mind, body and spirit became. With the fatigue came a total loss of motivation.
Not only did my analyzing mind NOT provide any meaningful clues as to my situation of feeling hopeless and helpless, but I mistakenly felt that my life would never return as before. I gave up. The forever negative thinking loop became a noose around my neck – I was scared.

My analysis, my paralysis of mind, body and spirit came to an end when I joined with our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. I moved my body and my mind followed. I didn’t want to go to meetings, talk to anyone or even try to get out of bed. Soon after, it became decision time. I had to admit that I was powerless at this time of my life, that my thinking, loopy as it was, felt like I was riding on one of those up and down carousal ponies. I was moving, but not going anywhere but down.

I never really figured out why I was depressed, only that the more I attended Depressed Anonymous meetings, read their literature (written by the depressed), I consciously became aware of a needed change in my lifestyle, the way I thought, and how my behavior might have led me down the path to where I had to admit my life was unmanageable. I sought help. I entrusted my life and decisions to a Power greater than myself and of my own understanding. By doing this, my sanity has been restored and now my life has a purpose and a meaning.

If you have been feeling the same way as I have described here, please send us an email at depanon@netpenny.net and we will help you find a way out of your depression. You can also go to the drop down MEETING menu on the homepage and discover times and places where DA meetings are being held. We hope to hear from you.

Hugh, for the fellowship

Accept what is…

When I argue with reality, I lose — but only 100 percent of the time.
Byron Katie

Reality is what it is. When I fight the reality of my present moment I will lose. I need to accept what is and make it the foundation for the future. Acceptance is not about resigning and giving up the fight. It merely mean to see things as they are, not as I perceive them to be.

All of us have things about our present moment that we don’t like. A certain amount of dissatisfaction is part of the human experience. I don’t like the fact that I’m visited often by negative thoughts and dark moods, but to deny and not like those things is not truly helpful. I need to accept what is: I’m visited often by dark and negative thoughts. What do I do with that then? I need to accept that as my current reality. That is my present, but it need not be my future.

I can put into play better thoughts and better actions that have the possibility of creating a better future for myself and those around me. The future has not yet been written. I can have an influence over that future with what I do and what I think. I need to put in the work and do those things that have the potential to lessen my suffering. The outcome is in God’s hands, but I can do my part in creating that better future.

I have to humble myself, clean house, and trust in the God of my understanding. By doing these things persistently I have a real shot at creating a better future, but first I need to accept what is. May you have the courage to accept your present moment without judgment and work towards creating a better future.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Not too tight, not too loose

Last week, my boss’s 8 year old daughter told me something that really helped me with my recovery today. She asked me to do her hair in preparation for her ballet class that was near my office. As I was gathering her long locks into a ponytail, she told me,

“Not too tight, but not too loose!”

Today is Thanksgiving in the US, and the past 5 years of Thanksgiving has been a really difficult day for me. It was a special day that my father used to prepare for, waking up at 4am to prepare his famous turkey and ham. Last night I even had a dream about him and woke up very sad. Ever since his passing, this holiday has been in shambles, with none of my family members organizing or choosing to spend it with each other. I am sure it is hard on everyone who is reminded that we can never taste his delicious food.

I also have been very tight with myself, finding other families and friends to spend the day with as a distraction from my feelings. Today, I have loosened up a little, mourning him and giving myself space to feel and be. Thanks to this program, I can be kind to myself and give myself a little breathing room. I know now that it’s important to feel my feelings; to not run away from them. I know I have the tools to pull myself out before it’s too late. I can deal with the strong emotions and have people to help me wait out the storm. And to me, this is recovery; to not deny who I am or what I am feeling, but to face them and have support to overcome it. And for that I am forever grateful, and appreciate the love and support from my fellows from the bottom of my heart.

Today, I will relax the tension of my rubber band. Not too tight that I feel like my hair is being pulled, but not loose enough for it to fall apart. And I will always remember my father’s hug which was also,

“not too tight, but not too loose”

Yours in recovery,

Anna T

Courage to Change

Fear has held me back so often in life, especially in depression. Although I hated the feelings of depression, there was a security in that dark depressing place. A respite from the uncertainties of the world. Change involves uncertainty – or the question “What if?”  My mind automatically goes to the negative.  What if I try this again & fail again? What if I can’t do it?  What if I’m not capable?  And so on. The needle on my mental compass defaults to negative thinking. I have to make a serious effort to shift my thinking to the positive.  It occurred to me that I could ask myself other “what if” questions.  What if I can make a positive change?  What if I am capable?  What if I can do something good for myself? What would that look like, and what would that feel like? It was almost scary to find out!  Again, because it was different and new.

I’ve made a lot of positive changes in my life lately, and I had to ask my Higher Power for help. I said, “God, please give me the courage to change the things I can.  Please give me the courage to walk through the fear. I know that with Your help, one day at a time, this is possible.”  It has been possible, and it still is!  I’ve been walking through fear and making positive changes!  Two years ago I thought it would be impossible for me to get up Monday through Friday and go to work (let alone get out of bed and be functional, or show up to chair a meeting). But with the help of my Higher Power, this program & the fellowship – just for today – God has given me the courage to walk through fear and change the things I can. And for that, I am immensely grateful. ❤

Promises of Recovery

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. The fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

When I first joined DA, the Promises of Recovery statement gave me a glimmer of hope that I have not seen in a long, long time. Living in this modern world as a thirty something year old, with unrealistic expectations of myself and my life, and resentments building up overtime, I found myself burned out like a log turning into ash. But I got used to finding comfort in the smoldering fire… at least my life was basically over and I could just fade into the background and withdraw from this world.

Joining DA really made an impact on how I saw life, and towards the word “future”, which I was avoiding at all cost. The Promises of Recovery gave me hope, that there was a life waiting for me if I made a decision to change my perspective and my old habits. It was a scary decision filled with doubts and terror and a whole lot of shallow breathing. But I was desperate; I would have believed in a chair if that meant that it would help me feel and be different. So I decided to give it my all, with the same energy I used to fulfill my perfectionist self. I stuck to meetings and diligently worked on the steps. I’ve faced some of my past and figured out a way to live with it without regret or shutting the door on it. I was shown many instances of serenity and peace throughout the shares in the meetings. I was very much down the scale and at the very bottom, but I used that to relate to others and helped my fellows by just listening and understanding and crying with them. I realized that so much of my suffering came from my self-seeking ways, and helping people with something I deeply understood filled me with acceptance and service. I was giving myself permission of being helped when I helped others. I learned to forgive others and by doing so was able to forgive myself. It’s funny how everything starts circling back to you.

I thought The Promises of Recovery was all such extravagant promises. It took me a while to allow myself to believe them. But that’s what I learned. Spirituality is a choice. There are so many things standing in my way, but they will be gone if I decide to let them. My recovery has been a slow process, with one step forward and many steps back. I can’t put a finger on a certain step or mantra, but the promises are being fulfilled inside of me, sometimes quickly, most of the time slowly. “All growth is gradual in this natural world.”  I can really stand by that now. And when I hit one of the many bumps and roadblocks on the way, I just have to tell myself, “It’s fine, I’m working on it”. 

Anna T.

The game of chess taught me a great lesson

I like to play chess. In fact, there are some Pro basketball players who also like to play chess. I am sure that there are many others who like to play chess. I would imagine that generals on the battlefield use the skills of chess playing to rout the enemy. My brother played chess. He taught me how to lose with dignity. My grandson and I also play chess.

The great lesson that chess has taught me, and still teaches me, is how to plan ahead. When I am in a chess match my mind creates a strategy that takes me beyond my next move. There is always the inner dialogue of the chess player which forecasts what happens if this move is taken and what happens if it is not taken. Some times, my strategy to check-mate my opponent is five moves ahead of me.

Basically chess, for me, teaches me how to strategize those areas of my life that need a plan. I have to look ahead, not only for possible potholes but averting disasters. And as important, I learn what happens when I have not planned ahead.

This leads me to repeat the saying that “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Life is more than a chess game I grant you that, but with us (me included) our 12 Step recovery program helps us make plans to keep us from a relapse but also can prevent our sad mood from spiraling down into the abyss of depression.

At every depressed Anonymous meeting, we each set goals, we plan, what we want to accomplish this coming week, maintaining our serenity as well as continuing to strengthen our efforts at digging ourselves out of the pit of depression.

With the holidays coming up, we need to have a plan to keep us from getting isolated by our sadness. We can plan to come to a virtual (ZOOM) meeting online. (Click onto Homepage MEETINGS schedule for daily meetings). Or attend a face-to-face meeting.

Plan to keep in touch with those who are working the same plan as we are. By sticking to the recovery plan, you can be a winner and have the serenity knowing that you made the right move!

PS Learn how to play chess. If you feel you are in a check-mate situation, don’t give up hope. Please Contact us at depressedanon.com., and I know it will teach you a life plan as much as it taught me. Our fellowship group also helps me plan and live one day at a time, each move of the way!

Hugh, for the fellowship

Help Wanted!

“Help Wanted” signs are up everywhere in my community. Everyone needs someone to help their business stay open. Not everyone is able to stay open as the “wanted help” is not showing up at their doorstep.

Here at Depressed Anonymous, our 12 step recovery program, we get many requests for help from our website blog plus our daily online Depressed Anonymous virtual Zoom and Skype platforms. So many persons looking for help, especially now during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Our doors are always open for the business of providing help for those who are suffering from depression. (see the MEETINGS drop down menu at the website homepage.)

Social isolation, anxiety, fear, boredom and every other kind of problem continues to bring hurting persons to our site. They want help. And yes, there is help. There is hope. The program is available everyday and the best part is that the people with whom you meet there are wanting help, just as are you. Some of those you meet at our meetings have already asked for help, some days ago, some months ago, some years ago, and now they are here today offering their help to you. It’s a fact that by helping you they help themselves. Isn’t this the best way to be helped — helping someone else? The door has already been opened to them during the bad times of their lives and now they are committed to help others just like themselves. We were once depressed, alone, fearful and isolated. No longer. We got help!

Take courage. The signs are up. Help is here for those who seek it. And when you come to a Depressed Anonymous meeting you don’t have to say anything. Just show up. If you feel like sharing –please do so. We do want to hear from you. It’s a safe place to be when we feel scared and no place to go. Want help? Come on in. You’ll be happy that you did!

Hugh, for the fellowship

NOTE + For literature and FAQ’s about our DA recovery program, please click onto our address @ www.depressedanon.com. You can also order our literature online.

Why am I here?

Many of us face this existential question:

Why am I here?

For me this depressive the question Why? is crazy making. I can jump up on the mental gerbil wheel and go around seemingly forever. The question Why? creates suffering for me – I need to let it go.

OK, so Why is not healthy for me, what other existential question can I ask myself that doesn’t create suffering?

The question that I choose to ask myself is:

How am I to live my life?

I could potentially go down many different paths on that simple question. What does my Higher Power say on the matter?

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34, NIV

You certainly can have your own conception of God and you need not see your Higher Power in the same way that I see mine. You don’t have to buy into the rest of Christianity – it is fraught with many apparent contradictions, and even I struggle with it. I just bring my focus back to John 13:34 – that is the essence of what I’m supposed to be doing in my life.

I am a flawed human being and I fall short of that ideal each and every day. I say that not to beat myself up but rather to state things as they are. Just because I wasn’t as loving as I could be today shouldn’t prevent me from trying again tomorrow to come closer to the ideal.

It’s my responsibility to keep my focus on loving others as He has loved me. I need to seek with prayer and meditation to discern what that looks like today in my life.

I firmly believe that the present moment is not about the Why but rather the How. When I remember to do that my life is so much easier. When I go back to the Why I suffer. I have a choice today and I choose to focus on the How.

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

We seek to prevent depression through education and by creating a supportive and caring community through support groups that successfully keep individuals from relapsing into depression.

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