THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF HOPE

If we have worked the 12 Steps on a daily basis, we now realize the value 0f surrender and the power that releases in us, just by making a decision in Step Three to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand God”is the beginning of reconnection with life and ourselves. It is in the group that the depressed person begins trusting their members where they have admitted that their lives are unmanageable, and that they have made a conscious decision to turn their lives over to God, or the Higher Power.The Twelve Step program helps people to become God conscious. It is in working the program while making no excuses for the spiritual nature of our recovery,we can begin to attribute our new-found sense of hope and peace to the Higher Power. For the active member of Depressed Anonymous there begins to glimmer in the distance, the bright light of hope.
Submitted by JANET M.

Coming to DA I learned how to be free from saddening myself

When I was about twelve I heard the term manic depression for the first time.  I did not understand the definition I was given but I knew it had something to do with me. It was then that I began the process of hiding my sadness and negative emotions because the message from those around me was that being sad and afraid was unacceptable.  More than once in grade school teachers called me aside to ask about what might be going on in my life that could cause me to isolate on the playground.  I did not know what to tell them as I did not understand myself, but it was the beginning of habitual self-abandonment.

Throughout my teens, I had continued periods of isolation and social hyper-activity.  I became an introvert but disguised myself as an extrovert.  To hide my social anxiety and fear I got involved in school plays, clubs and leadership.  I began to split my personality between the boy who made his family and friends laugh and the boy who cloistered himself in his bedroom.  Escapism began to be a big part of my thinking and desires.  In college I became even more depressed and felt more isolated.  I habitually cut class and spent the days dissociating by “philosophizing.”  I was clearly searching for personal significance and a connection to a God of my understanding.  I felt alone like never before with the increasing awareness of the great disparity between the world I came from and the world I was faced with in college

In graduate school I maintained a high degree of involvement in the department and in the school leadership.  I cultivated a robust social life finally being accepted and stimulated socially, culturally and intellectually.  For the first time in my life I felt accepted among an understanding group of professors and colleagues that nurtured me just as I was.  I learned a great deal in a safe environment, one that I never knew existed, and I excelled intellectually in a manner I never thought possible.  I proved to myself that I was worthy and able to perform in academia.  Still, I often cried myself to sleep wishing I was dead and not understanding why.  I developed PTSD after 9/11 and as the depression became unmanageable I spiraled into near homelessness.

After discovering DA I came to know that I was not alone but that other people had gone through the same things I had or worse.  I found a group of people that understood what it is to be depressed and accepted my story without judgment or added stigma.  DA relieved me of the stigma of being damaged beyond repair that had plagued me my entire life.  Coming to DA made me realize I was not the only one carrying the burden of depression.  I was not chronically alone.  I was not isolated in the despair of depression.

Through DA and hearing other people’s shares I realized my experiences were a valid source of the disappointment, dismay and depression I had been feeling all my life.  I learned also that surviving those experiences could be a source of strength that testified to my perseverance over them.  This self-awareness has also given me new found hope that had been missing from my outlook on my life and future.   Hearing others’ experiences as well as working the steps has given me hope: the hope that, yes, I can manage depression and live a fuller life.  Most importantly learning the concept of saddening myself has done more to liberate me from sadness.  I know now that my mind and emotions have been conditioned to recreate my past sadness which was instilled in me by others and society.  Now I can recognize the manner in which I sadden myself and take the steps to stop it and reverse it.

January 2024, Luis, NYC

Motivation Follows Action

AFFIRMATION
I promise to do something positive for myself today.
“When you are depressed you are plagued by tiredness. Indeed, there are many people who experience the major portion of their depression in tiredness.”

Copyright(c) Dorothy Rowe. Breaking the Bonds, Fontana. 1981.

I find that if I am depressed and want to start to feel better, or at least get my mind off of depression, I need to go for a walk and keep on moving. In DA we say MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT YOU’LL NEVER GET MOTIVATED TIL YOU GET BUSY DOING SOMETHING. This was my feeling a lot of time. It was only when I started walking that I wanted to walk. I didn’t want to do anything to help myself, until I forced myself to do something.

I believe that one’s tiredness when depressed comes from having too many things going through one’s brain at the same time. The strain of being overwhelmed is too much for the human brain and so it and the body begin to show the signs of stress. I also believe that so many unpleasant emotions constantly coming to surface and being felt by the body results in an overload situation in my brain.

Copyright(c) Dorothy Rowe, Breaking the Bounds. Fontana. 1981


QUOTE FROM:
Hug Smith. HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS. DAP. LOUISVILLE, KY. 2005 (January 24) Pg.15.

What’s up with the use of the word God?

To me the word God is just a placeholder for the concept of Higher Power.

Imagine for a moment if you had to describe the interior of where you live and you could not use any of the noun names for the items in your living space: table, chair, carpet, cabinet, bed, sofa, sink, toilet, tub. You would need to describe each of these items in excruciating detail to convey their meaning. We don’t do that however. If we use the generic term chair that can be used to label any object that you can sit upon whether it is made of wood, stone, metal, plastic. Whether it is coated in fabric or not. No matter the color. You can understand the concept of chair and you can find items in your surroundings that match the concept of chair.

The term God is just like the term chairit’s just a label. Try not to be so fixed in your judgment that chairs can only be made of wood. God comes in many different forms. The Great Divine is a multifaceted jewel and we only can see one facet of the jewel at a time.

The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao. – First chapter of Tao Te Ching, Lao Tszu

God is bigger than any box you try to put Him in.

That is just my limited understanding of God. I know there is a Higher Power and I am not that Higher Power. Whatever understanding I do have is finite and is filtered through my limited human ability to perceive.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Is Serenity Boring?

On the phone with a fellow traveler this morning, a question arose.  Is Serenity boring?  Let us consult.  So Oxford Languages says:  serenity is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.  Boring (same dictionary) means not interesting, tedious.  This called up an immediate yawn in a three-part sigh, my hand over my mouth and feeling tired.  If we go a step further and look up Depression, Oxford says:  a medical condition in which a person feels very sad, anxious and without hope and often has physical symptoms as being unable to sleep.  (Of course, that is without Depressed Anonymous.)

Clearly, none of these is alike or interchangeable.  Serenity is a beckoning warmth, it invites us to “calm”, “untroubled ” waters.  At least every other day, I walk the 1 and 5/8 miles around Jamaica Pond.  This habit I acquired from hearing at a meeting how walking could help my depression.  Each day is a little different but my favorites are the clear-as-glass, not-a-ripple in the water except the trailing stream that follows the single file geese babies sandwiched straight up between the mom and dad.  And the end of day dusk walks with enough light for the trees and shrubs to be two places at once:  on the shore and topping the water in a marvelous mirage.  When it is quite dark dusk, it takes a while for eyes to focus in such pale light.  But then comes the grand surprise:  a crane or heron in silhouette of black, white and grey.  These are the gift of the day and evening:  the Pond giveth…..  Oh, Thank God for nature, it sets me right, it lifts my heart, it takes the toxicity of the world and injects it with its antidote of Sacredness.

Now, about Serenity.  God does grant it but maybe not right on waking.  After an inspirational reading, a little meditation, my regular yoga, a walk around the condo praying for the planet especially the animals and blessing the space, talking or texting with my DA family via phone/What’s App, things are feeling pretty good.  Good enough to start my day both knowing and feeling  I am not alone.  These, for me, hold the seeds of hope and inspiration.

Today I started something new.  Because I want that sacred thread through my day, that conscious contact with the Power greater than myself through my day.  I want extraordinary, I want to have it, to hold it, to live it.  If you had a catechism you may remember the very first question/answer.  “Where is God?  God is everywhere”!!  How I wish that teaching was expounded so we could learn and know that there is nowhere that God is not, to the edges of the Universe and to each and every heart, God is there.  And so is Divine Peace, Joy, Presence, Knowing, Bliss.  These, like God,  are always available.  The Universe (another name of God) holds no grudges, and wants me to receive all of its Good and I can have that Good.  I only need to catch the glimpse (like that heron on the dusky pond) to see it with my very own eyes and to remember God is with me and all is well.

For these ideals, I find a new use for my phone.  Every two hours I sent an alarm and so when the chime rings, there I am in an instant appointment with Higher Power, no need to wait in line.  I talk and listen and offer a prayer.  Since last Summer its been particularly challenging and that reminds me my very best prayers are “Thy will be done, not mine” and “Thank You.”

So this is how I’m wired now, wired with Twelve Steps and single days.  If you are wired like this too, we can answer the question together, is any of this boring?  “We think not.”  And as for Depression, it is what it is.  Against me alone, it can take a shot, although I vow to kick that beast to the curb every time.  But against me + my Higher Power, and me + the Power of the Group, it doesn’t have a chance.

Is Serenity boring?  I/We ….. Think …… Not.

Doreen K., New Year’s Eve, 2023

Happy New Year!

We are on the cusp of starting a New Year here in the Eastern time zone. Some parts of the world are already into the new year.

The month of January is named after Janus the Roman god who presided over beginnings. Today is the start of something new. Be hopeful for the new year even if this past year has been challenging. The dark clouds of the past eventually clear and a new day begins.

Looking closely each day is a new beginning – a microscopic reincarnation. We begin anew each day. Start the new day with hope and wonder. Approach the new day with awe and wonder what God1 has in store for you. Let go of your expectations as to what the day will bring. You may be surprised what comes your way but try not to be upset by it.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Note
1 – I use the term God because that is my understanding of my higher power. Please substitute the term that is useful and comforting for you. I am not trying to force my belief upon you.

The Real Deal

One of my favorite TV shows is the Antique Roadshow. Every piece of furniture, painting, pottery, etc., brought to the show, has its own unique history. Each piece is appraised as to its present value by professional art dealers. That is the basis of the show, to help people discover how much that old letter, old painting or anything else that they bring to the show. seeking its worth. They can discover if their painting is an original, the real deal, or just a copy, or even a forgery. It is rare that an original masterpiece is ever discovered. Even so, there are times when a very valuable piece is discovered. People who come to show their articles, know that they can at least find out if they have something of value.

In ancient Rome, there were many sculptors, who sculpted pieces of artistic beauty. At times, when a sculptor’s chisel took too much granite off his work of art, he would cover his mistake with wax. So, if an artist wanted to sell his piece of art, it had to be noted that the piece was sincere, that is, without wax. No covering up mistakes.

So when I say that I am sincere, I am telling you that I am telling the truth. I am telling you that there is no coverup in what I am saying. (sine cera in Latin = without wax). In other words, it’s the real deal.

In our recovery program, Depressed Anonymous, we thrive by being sincere. We learn that it is when we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable, that we began to thrive and freed ourselves from the prison of depression.

Please come and join us in this Depressed Anonymous Fellowship. It is here where we can share our past mistakes and shortcomings – and our strengths – no more wax jobs – and find peace abd strength with folks just like ourselves.

DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS
Our website at DEPRESSEDANON.COM, will provide you with all necessary information, directing you to our online daily ZOOM meetings. We offer two meetings a day. You are always welcome!

HUGH S., for the DA Fellowship

DA: A Wellspring of Support and Warmth

In September 2022, my journey with DA began as I stumbled upon the group during an internet search for a 12-Step Program dedicated to healing from depression.

Despite my busy schedule, working full-time and pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work, I was taken aback by the depth of my own depression, as diagnosed by my doctor.  How could someone so occupied with both helping others and managing their own life experience such overwhelming despair?

Fortunately, the DA group proved to be a wellspring of support and warmth.  Making the 12:30 pm ET meeting a regular part of my life, attending at least four days a week, I gradually became acquainted with the compassionate individuals who constituted this community.  Active participation in the group’s WhatsApp channel made me feel embraced by a loving community.  Mutual assistance and empathy permeated our interactions; I was both heard and acknowledged by these caring individuals I had the privilege of connecting with nearly every day. When I encountered distressing moments at work, triggered by my colleagues and resulting in what I refer to as uncontrollable hijacking of my mind, the DA WhatsApp group members were readily available to lend an ear.  Their presence provided solace, support, and validation.

Given my history of intermittent depression throughout my life, the aspect I treasured most about DA was the continuous camaraderie and the opportunity to nurture a relationship with my higher power.  Through this practice, my mindset evolved constantly, reaching higher levels of understanding and growth.

Unbeknownst to most, deep within me, I harbored immense gratitude for DA, seeing it as a form of insurance. With my parents aging and my mother struggling with stage 4 COPD, I knew major life changes could transpire at any moment.  Consequently, the presence of such an incredible group and way of life became increasingly invaluable.  After nearly nine months in the DA program, tragedy struck.  I received news that I have reactive Epstein Barr Virus, and my doctor simply advised rest, dismissing the severity of the illness.  I found out I have been living with this active virus for over 14 years.  Consequently, I was forced to abandon my workout regimen, a crucial element of my antidepressant treatment.  It was during this trying time that I sought to employ the program to a greater extent.  Now I had a tangible and pressing reason to experience depression.  Yet, with the support of this program and the assistance of my higher power, I managed to stay afloat and recognize that I would never be burdened with more than I could bear.  Instead of succumbing to despair, I summoned the courage to seek progress in various aspects of my life.  Breaking free from my employment bubble, I mustered the audacity to apply for a new position within my organization, acknowledging that my fear had kept me stagnant in my current role for far too long.

The fellowship I have found in DA has become a source of immeasurable gratitude.  Without the presence of these remarkable individuals and the unwavering support they provide, I would have struggled to rebound and advance despite the daunting health news I received.  I consider myself immensely blessed and secure in the knowledge that I have discovered this fellowship.

Lisa P., California, June 2023

Savor Life

“If I had my life to live over I’d like to make more mistakes next time. I would relax. I would limber up. I would eat more ice cream and
less bans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I would have fewer imaginary ones. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.

I would have perhaps more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I would try to have nothing else. Just one day after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the Spring and stay that way later in the Fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.”

Editor’s note:
The author, Nadine, wrote this at the age of 85. She died in a Louisville, Kentucky, nursing home, at the age of 88.

Copyright (C) THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET VOLUME 4 NUMBER 3 SPRING 1993

We believe that what we think, what we say, and what we do impact our depression. We believe that depression can be managed by applying the principles of the 12 Steps. All are welcome!