Two Questions

Many times I am asked the same two questions and I always give the questioner the same two answers.

The first question: “How come you keep coming to meetings, though you say you are not depressed?”

My reply to the questioner: “Let me ask you why you go to the gym three times a week”

His answer. “Well I go to keep in shape.”

My question: “Well you look healthy enough to me. I mean, you tell me you’ve never felt better.”
“Ok” I say, “but why continue to go to the gym, since you look healthy and you say that you feel so great.”

“It’s so simple” he says. “I continue to go three times a week to keep in shape and maintain the progress that the Doctor says I am making.”

“That’s interesting” I say. That’s the same reason I continue to go to meetings. I keep in shape, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, not to mention how I can help others find the hope that is now mine. My Doctor tells me I’m looking better, happier and that I should keep doing whatever I’m doing, ’cause it’s working!”

The second question is one I am asked time and again. “Doesn’t going to all those depression meetings get you depressed? I mean, listening to all those problems? That sure would depress me.”

Here is what I tell all those who ask this question.

I tell them “that no, actually I look forward to my meetings. I always feel energized by going to a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I feel, by listening to others, and hearing their stories, I feel they are telling my story as well. Here, I am not alone. I am with people just like me. Each of us attending the meetings are at different places in our lives. We are here because we believe there is a solution for me, using the spiritual principles of recovery. The more they read the DA literature, talk to each other, they find tools to overcome their depression. They feel the energy, the peace and hope which they receive from each other at the meetings.

The meetings don’t dwell on our depression, as much as we dwell on the power of the Twelve Steps. Here is what I love about the meetings, I see people growing with every meeting. Even their faces begin to soften – they have a smile now. A few weeks previous, they had nothing but hurt to feel.

Again, the reason I go to meetings is to get a boost. I get another dose of hope. I am only as isolated as I choose to be. I now can choose to live and feel differently.

Find your plan of recovery (find a Depressed Anonymous meeting), and stick to it. Get into action. Seek out a DA member to talk with, and you’ll be on a journey that will continue to bring peace, hope and a fellowship with you as long as you wish.

For more information, check out the Depressed Anonymous website at depressedanon.com. You’ll be happy that you did. So, this fellowship is the reason I keep coming back to my meetings. There are no fees. No dues. Just come and see. Virtual, Zoom group meetings are now online.

Thanks for reading this message today. Please join us at Depressed Anonymous. You are always welcomed.

Hugh S. for the fellowship

Asking for help – my responsibility and my privilege

I’ve learned that asking for help is so important in this program and in my life.  Reaching out for help when I’m hurting can be a really hard thing to do.  Reaching out and asking for help anytime can be hard – but especially when I’m in a bad place.  Pain, however, is the great motivator.  When I’m in enough pain, I know what my solution is.  Pick up the phone and call someone.  Ask for help.  Ask for a sponsor.  Call my sponsor and take suggestions. Talk to my Higher Power, surrender my will, and ask for my Higher Power’s help.  There are people in this fellowship who understand me and will support me.  It is such a blessing to be a part of a fellowship where encouragement and support is freely given.  All I have to do is be willing to reach out and ask for help.

Why do I need to ask for help?  Many reasons.  My best thinking got me here.  What I mean is that my best thinking brought me to the point of severe depression, suicidal ideation, and the inability to function.  Clearly, there is something wrong with my thinking.  I am a depressive, or a saddict. My first thought tends to be a negative one.  Left to my own devices and my own thinking, I sadden myself.  But now that I know this, I can reach out and ask for help.

Self-sufficiency has failed me. It’s an old and well engrained idea of mine – the philosophy of self-sufficiency.  The idea that I should be able to solve all my problems myself.  The question I need to ask myself is “how well did that work for me”?  In my case, it led to self-destruction and severe depression.  This program has introduced me to the concept of God reliance, or Higher Power reliance, or even fellowship reliance.  The idea of relying on a Power greater than myself.  That idea works for me.  It gives me hope, better days, connection with others, and a way out of depression.  But to do that – to get help – I’ve got to ask for help.  That is my responsibility and my privilege.

Plan ahead for intermittent brain fog

When I’m in the thick of a depressive episode my brain is foggy – I just can’t think straight. In those moments of darkness I am unable to think of things I could be doing to improve my mood, or to ease my anxiety.

My brain fog eventually passes. The trick is that when I am lucid I have to write out and plan the things I could do when depression strikes. All I have to do when the brain fog strikes is to remember that I have written down options of things to do.

Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself for any brain fog you experience. It happens to many of us with depression. If you can’t think of things you could be doing fear not. Fire up your web browser and go to your favorite search engine and search for things you could do to treat your depression. You don’t HAVE TO do any of the things on the list – they are options available to you. Having choices is better than having no choices.

I put together a list of over 100 things I could do to help treat my depression. Put together your own list of things you could do. Be thorough when putting together the list. Write down things that may only improve your mood by 1%. One percent better is better than where you are. Remember you don’t HAVE TO do any of the things on the list. You will be making a choice to do the things that you are willing to do in that moment of darkness.

Remember the hurdle you have to cross is not DO I WANT TO DO THIS, but rather AM I WILLING TO DO THIS? The willingness hurdle is lower than the wanting to hurdle. Do the things you are willing to do. Once you begin doing things motivation will come to do more. Remember that motivation follows action.

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

What to do if the Steps or any important concept seems stale

Here in Depressed Anonymous we are on a journey of studying and applying the principles of the 12 Steps in our lives. Even the wonderful 12 Steps can begin to feel stale and need to be renewed. Any important concept can become stale and become difficult to connect with. It could be the Steps, the Traditions, prayers you pray to your Higher Power, really anything of importance.

Here is my suggestion. Change the wording slightly so you can interact with the concepts in a new way. In case you didn’t notice the 12 Steps are written in the past tense, and in the third person. When I need to mix things up I will state them in the present tense, and in the first person.

The present tense, first person 12 Steps:

  1. I admit that I am powerless over depression, that my life is unmanageable.
  2. I believe that a power greater than me can restore me to sanity.
  3. I continually decide to turn my life and will over to the care of that Higher Power.
  4. I make fearless and moral inventories of myself.
  5. I admit to my Higher Power, to myself, and to others the exact nature of my wrongs.
  6. I become willing each day to allow my Higher Power to remove my shortcomings.
  7. I humbly ask my Higher Power each day to remove my defects of character.
  8. I make a list of people that I’ve harmed and I become willing to make amends to them all.
  9. I make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. I continue to take a personal inventory daily, and when I am wrong I promptly admit it.
  11. I seek each day through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with my Higher Power as I understand my Higher Power. I pray only for the knowledge of my Higher Power’s will for me and the power to carry that out.
  12. Being awakened each day by following these steps I try to carry this message to others, and to practice the principles in all areas of my life.

When I struggle with the concepts of the Traditions I will reword them and try to apply them to myself as an individual.

Stuck in the rut of referring to your Higher Power as “Heavenly Father”? Try on for size “Heavenly Mother” and see if it has any impact on your relationship with your Higher Power.

God is bigger than the box you try to put Him in.
– Slogan heard at a recovery meeting.

Don’t be constrained by the words of the concepts that guide you in your life. The concepts are bigger than words. Alter the words slightly and see what impact it has on you.

Yours in recovery,
Bill R

New DA Speaker Meeting Recording 08 April 2022 – Robin

We’ve uploaded the talk from Robin that she gave on Friday 08 April 2022.

We have a number of recordings of people sharing their story at a speaker meeting. The link to that page is: https://depressedanon.com/depressed-anonymous-meeting-recordings/

The link can also be browsed to by selecting Tools for Recovery from the horizontal menu, then Depressed Anonymous Meeting Recordings

As we record more speakers the recordings will be posted there as well. The list is in reverse chronological order (newest first).

Be kind anyway…

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 anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends.
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, they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good that you do today, people will forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best that you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis. it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

– Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Time to plant

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
– Audrey Hepburn

Submitted by Robin R.

I might not be planting a garden but I am watching the seed of my faith, service to others, grow as part of my next 24 hours. My efforts to be there for others has a relationship to how I am there for myself. I watch how I can thrive emotionally and spiritually when I believe in a power greater than myself. It is a known fact that when a person has a belief in some higher power, some purpose for living, it usually is due to a belief, that “there is a God and it’s not me.”

I believe in a tomorrow. I believe in living one day at a time. I also believe in keeping my life simple. I try and do the next right thing. As best I can I try to do what needs to be done. I try and do the possible. I have learned that trying to do the impossible, takes a little more time.

I want to live in peace with my neighbor. Treat others as I would like to be treated. Pretty simple and basic stuff. Agree?
I also believe in consequences for what I do or not do in this life. And, do I try and love my neighbor as myself. Yes.

As Bill W., a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, left the hospital room of Dr. Bob, he heard Dr. Bob tell him, “Bill, keep it simple.”
It’s not that complicated. Though it does take work. Much like “weeding” the garden.

Protecting Yourself From Toxic People

As a depressive I feel that I am more sensitive than other people. Sometimes I need to determine if it is me being over sensitive orif it is the other person toxic and harming me. Toxic people come in many forms: narcissists, sociopaths, predators, etc. Truly deeply toxic people probably should be avoided completely. How can you recognize toxic people in your life? I found a list of characteristics of “human predators” which can be a proxy for any type of toxic person.

The characteristics of a “human predator”:

  • Human predators are mean.
  • Predators are utterly selfish.
  • Predators pretend friendship and love but they feel absolutely nothing for others.
  • Predators are charming and good at flattery, but they don’t mean a single word of it.
  • Predators brag and boast and make up outrageous lies. When challenged, they blame others.
  • Predators don’t feel anxiety or fear.
  • Predators are impulsive and easily bored. They demand thrills and take dangerous risks. They enjoy pushing others into taking dangerous risks, too.
  • Predators are bullies with explosive tempers.
  • Predators enjoy humiliating people.
  • Predators hate it if anyone else has power or is praised. For the predator, life is a competition and they want to win.
  • Predators weaken people with insults and putdowns.
  • Predators are cunning and manipulative.
  • Predators lie easily and think nothing of breaking a promise.
  • Predators are without conscience: they do not feel remorse or guilt.
  • Predators often boast about the harm they’ve done to other people.
  • Predators are parasites. They are lazy and live off others, giving as little as possible in return.
  • Predators are control freaks, stopping others from taking control of anything if they can
  • Predators force petty rules on others – rules that are impossible to follow.
  • Predators boast about tricking other people.
  • Predators boast about breaking the law.

Jon Atack
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1076831346096293&id=283133205466115

If a person has most of these characteristics – avoid them. You are not being over sensitive, the other person is toxic.

If a person has one or a few of these characteristics they may be able to be managed through clear, firm and mature boundaries. However try not to fall into the trap of hate. Maintain a small amount of love for that person – even if that is just that they are a creation of God. The behavior can be hated but try not to hate the person. It’s been my experience when I hate someone I hurt myself.

If the other person doesn’t have any of the above characteristics I need to be open to the idea that I may be over sensitive regarding this. I need to pray and meditate on it. I need to talk to other mature, serene people who can help me discern my part. I need to own and take responsibility for my part of the problem.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Remember that friendly greeting? Well, I do and so do my adult children and grandchildren. Even today, Mr. Rogers’ name and face is enshrined in each our memories. What a delight to see him come through the door, moving down a few steps into his living room, heading for the closet, where he cheerfully donned his sweater. All the while he’s singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, won’t you be my neighbor? Won’t you be my neighbor.” Then he sits down and puts on his gym shoes. We are now ready and excited to see our friends and neighbor(s) again today.

His neighbor’s became my neighbors, his friends became my friends.

Our day began with Mr. Rogers. Everyday started the same. Everyday was a new day, seeing a new friend or old friend, with lessons to be learned. It was a program that we looked forward to everyday. This relationship with Mr. Rogers continues today for our children and grandchildren. As an adult, I believe that Mr. Rogers neighborhood, all his friends helped my children, my family members all thrive on the goodness and respect that they witnessed day after day.

Mr. Rogers taught me a great lesson. The more I watched his program, the more I wanted to watch his program. I found that I had created a habit for myself, a daily listening with my children happily watching neighbors loving their neighbors. It was a habit I never wanted to break. I found that my thoughts, my feelings of goodness and happiness thrived within me as my attention was glued to the screen.

But as we grow older we discovered that there have been some habits in our lives that did not cause us to thrive. In fact, they caused us to spiral downward where we had fewer and fewer neighbors (friends) that were willing to help us thrive. The lessons Mr. Rogers had taught us early on in life had gradually faded. Now, today, we continue to look for those friends who will help us get back on our feet. I have learned to develop habits that help me to thrive upwards into a serene and healthy human being. In my recovery program of healthy daily living (God, and the 12 Steps). I now watch what I think about. I watch what I say, and I watch that I always show respect for others. I also watch that I speak to myself with respect and that I affirm myself everyday with the belief that God created me because of his love for me. God has a plan for me and is always with me to carry that plan forward for the good of myself and my neighbors.

I spend time, everyday, to pray and meditate (Step 10) as I make a conscious contact with my God. Everyday, every morning, always in the same place, the same time and in the same comfortable chair. In our program, it teaches us the importance of that daily relationship with our God.

Do you know who my neighbors are today? Let me tell you who they are and what happens when we meet. I meet with them as often as I am able. They help me thrive. Do they ever! I am part of a recovery program where all of us come together, meet old and new friends and learn life long lessons. We learn how to love ourselves and enjoy each other’s company. We learn lessons on how to live out our daily lives with hope and peace. Our lessons come from listening to others who have formed a habit, a habit of how to love their selves and their neighbors.
For more information, please click onto the Depressed Anonymous website at https://www.depressedanon.com.

Welcome neighbor.

Hugh S., for the fellowship.

Life Is Unpredictable

The following quotation is taken from the Introduction to Depressed Anonymous, the book used by the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, a 12 Step recovery program.

Life is unpredictable. Every living organism operates with a certain amount of unpredictability and uncertainty. The uncertainty of life creates in us a desire for predictability. If we did not believe in the possibility of change, we would all be hopelessly lost and forever bored. Hope would be lost. Potential for a better life would never exist. Where there is hope, change is possible. The experience of depression is much the same. Depression is so predictable and unchanging that we lose hope for the pain of our isolation ever coming to an end.

Let me lift one sentence from the above quotation, which turns out to be a truth, attested to by thousands of those of us who are members of Depressed Anonymous and who are in recovery. That sentence “Where there is hope, change is possible” is what brought me into the Depressed Anonymous fellowship.

Like so many of us, who are just trying to get through each day, we are looking for something that could ease our pain and lift our burden of hopelessness. We were not only bored and isolated from life, but we had given up on ourselves of ever beng able to climb out of the hole which had us trapped.

When I walked into a Depressed Anonymous group meeting, I was thinking if those gathered could help me change, take me out of the pit that I was living in, I felt I had a chance – I too would be able to change.

Hope brought me into this fellowship, and member’s sharing their own hope, experiences and strengths, gradually convinced me that it was possible for me to get better. That now became my truth.

Hugh S.

© 2011 – Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

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!

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