Approval seeking and emotional dependency.

 

I have observed that many depressed persons, including me, are given to approval seeking, some more so than others.  It seems fair to call it a kind of emotional dependency. Little children are truly and completely  dependent on their parents or whoever is taking care of them. They have no choice and are helpless. They’d better have their parents approval or else.

Some of these children carry this kind of dependency right into  adulthood, even to their graves unless they do the hard work of unlearning it. They have become so unsure of themselves, their opinions, thoughts and skills, that they feel an imperative urge to get someone’s approval that they are doing the right thing and that they  are still OK.

When we, the former children, reach physical maturity, we find that people soon resent those who become dependent on  them. They often become contemptuous of them – leaners, clinging vines, etc.  We literally drive them away from us with our constant demand for reassurance, hanging onto them, and begging them to throw us a few crumbs of approval now and them. We become fearful of asserting ourselves at all,  for fear of retaliating with outright ridicule, not being given a seat around the campfire,  prolonged silent treatment, or stopping cooking for us, etc.  How can we avoid this treatment? Please them more, of course? Hardly. That brings us more contempt.

What will become of us? We will spend our lives doing what others want us to do. Not what we want to do. If it gets bad enough, we will have feelings of total worthlessness and self-loathing. Some will reach the point  where they would rather die than to continue living with that yoke around their neck.

You can free yourself from this fetter, but it’s really rough depending how badly you are addicted. It will take determination and sustained effort. It’s worth it to finally breath the air of freedom. And you, give it to yourself. Start with a proven self-help program like Depressed Anonymous. Here you will learn how to prize yourself.

I include some words by Lao Tzu, 500 BC, who wrote the TAO TE CHING.

“Care about people’s approval

and you will be their slave.

Must you value what others value

and avoid what they avoid?

How ridiculous!

When you are content to be simple yourself

and don’t compare of compete

everybody will respect you. ”

(c) Quote from The Antidepressant Tablet.

NOTE : Bob P., author,  of Evansville, Indiana, is  founding member of Depressed Anonymous and one whose friendship I cherish. (Hugh S.)

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Depressed or unhappy?

 

Depressed Anonymous bases its healing and recovery on the  premise that once depressed persons admit they are out of control, even to the extent of attempting suicide, they come to believe that a power greater than themselves can restore them to sanity, while at the same time, making a decision to turn their minds and wills over  to the care of God, as they understand God,

The God, as we under stand God, is what appeals to more and  more persons as we admit our helplessness over our compulsive, depressive thoughts, actions, or behaviors. We feel we have lost all control over everything including our thinking. The depressed person is aware that their unpleasant thinking is a cyclical and spiraling process where there is never a respite.  This obsession,   driven by one’s one feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness is the fuel that that continues our own isolation.  This experience is not so much a psychopathology as it is a  way for the human spirit to comfort itself. The depression  is more of a disease of isolation and being disconnected than  a biological disorder.

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.

By recognizing how it feels to be depressed, more people will have the help and guidance that will get them through their depression. Lives  will be saved as well. Besides reading the Twelve Steps at each meeting, the group learns on a firsthand basis about the “miracle of the group.” It is in the sharing and getting connected with the other members of the group where one’s recovery begins.

RESOURCES:

(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 162-163.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information on Depression, spirituality and recovery.

There is hope for you now.

AFFIRMATION

“One of the most important things to remember in  the midst of depression  is that it won’t last forever, that there is hope for you to begin to feel better. We won’t tell you to SNAP OUT OF IT (who have never experienced depression) like other folks,  because we are not turning something on and off like a water faucet. Just as it took years to get where you are now, it   takes  time to get better and air out your sad thoughts as well.” D. Rowe

I know that in our program of recovery we try and live one  day at a time. This is not easy for someone who usually wants to know the outcome for something that might happen ten years from now,  not to mention the need to try and make right something not done properly ten years from our past.  When I work my program I want to work on myself, finding serenity in knowing that in time and with patient work I can begin to feel better. There are just too many success stories of how people get better  when they work their Twelve Step recovery program.

Forever is a word that hardly is heard in a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I intend to try and live just for today. I accept that I am depressed but that I do have a choice to find my way out of this sadness. I also believe  that it is irrational to think that this sadness can last forever. The more I change the way I think and behave the more positive will my attitude be about my recovery.

MEDITATION

Our Higher Power, or our God as we understand God, is guiding and leading us toward a life free from sadness. We intend to place more of our trust in its hands. (Personal comments).

RESOURCES

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily  thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.  (May 21, page 103.)

Note. To discover more literature about depression and recovery  please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at  VISIT THE STORE.  All literature can be ordered online.

Stepping out of hopelessness.

 

One of the greatest feelings  I experienced in confronting my depression was that I began to have hope. I began to believe   what others were saying about the Steps. They were telling me that the plan that they followed everyday of their lives was giving  them a positive feeling that they were going to step out of  the  swamp   of sadness and hopelessness. In fact,  those who spoke these encouraging words already  were  manifesting the strength and power of the 12  Steps in their own lives. I was one of these people.

A question that continued to cross my mind  during my period of pain and isolation was basically “is life worth living.” Many folks depressed still debate this question in their minds. And far too many have provided us their answer that “life is not worth it.”

This has been my mission over these past years to show by example of other’s recovery (plus my own) that with appropriate  faith, work and  the spiritual tools, life can be good again. There is a faith, a strong  indomitable spirit  at the core  of every human being, that hope is available to all who seek it.” What you seek, will seek you.” It’s almost akin to the  belief in Karma–as you give out so will you receive back–in some way, at some time in your own  life   experiences. I don’t know how or why, but I do know that it just works out that way.

When I was first introduced to the 12 Steps, I came to my first meeting, willing to learn what I could to  recover fully from my addiction. I had to have hope that something would work. It would have to work for me. And members of this 12 Step group presented me stories , facts and situations where persons completely down and out, physically, mentally and spiritually found hope in the confusion and despair of their own hopelessness  and became free.

No longer did we feel hopeless of finding a way out of what was killing us.  Yes, “we” found a way out. The plan was before us and the group was behind us as we plodded along , each of us supporting the other til we finally completed our Steps. We  now share how our stepping into hope continues to be the North star for me  these past thirty plus  years for my own life.

Is life worth living?  For many years now   I discovered how a faith, a strong belief in my Higher Power, and a bonded group of men and women have continued to travel the same  path as my own.

If you want more  information  about our group Depressed Anonymous please check out our website at www.depressedanon.com for a   full explanation of  who we are and what we do. You’ll want to step out with us.

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(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.

Having a secure base in life.

After ten years of repeated meeting  with the depressed of Depressed Anonymous meetings, it’s clear that the meetings create a secure base for those who in their childhood had neither kindness nor the life-giving warmth and affection of a loving family.

People who keep coming back to Depressed Anonymous continue to grow and become aware of the inner change taking place week after week.They find not only attention to their story, but find that they are loved and cared for at the same time. Possibly for the first time they find that they look forward to each weekly meeting  and become attached to the positive feelings that emerge inside themselves  they continue to share the story of their pain. In time, they share how their week is suddenly being filled with more good days than bad. It also becomes obvious to the participants that childhood behavior and experiences are carried right on into adult life. Trusting is such a hazard for the depressed because every person is different. You can’t trust your environment because it could suddenly shift and you would be without a certainty that you were bad and worthless.

The meetings gradually present to you an opportunity to be someone worthwhile and valued. Your starting and risking information about yourself begins the construction of a new and secure you. The Depressed Anonymous group becomes for possibly the first time in your life, a very secure and stable environment where you can share, trust and grow.”

–Anonymous

Copyright.(C)  Depressed Anonymous. 3rd edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

The prescription for sanity in one’s life.

This idea of choosing sanity  is   what we desire.  Who would ever choose insanity? But, believe it or not,  people choose insanity all the time. You  remember the saying, “doing the same thing over and over again is insanity.” If you are honest with yourself, I think you might   remember a time when you yourself  kept doing something that was assuredly insane. Today, if you   can honestly say that  you  always choose sanity,  then my response to you  is that   is a good thing.  I am happy for you.

In our 12 Step program of recovery we  learn about the   2nd Step, “Came to believe that a power greater than myself can restore  me to sanity.” Now for most of us, like it says in the 12 &12 and 12 Traditions, written by Bill W., co-founder of AA,  sanity “means soundness of mind.”  Now here is the point, when I was in the throes of depression, I was scared and I really did think that I was losing my mind. I could not concentrate. My feelings and emotions were flowing through me like a river overflowing its banks. My thoughts always circled back on themselves, making a tight grip-like  on every thought that flowed from   my mind. I was in a circular round dance – without a partner.  I would   try to think my way  out of my depression. What was happening to me I thought? The more I thought,  the more I got tangled up in my own mental fog.  After the mental wrestling which  went on in my mind, hour after hour and day after day, I begin to wonder if there was any  way out of this  labyrinth. The paths led to places which indicated that there was no exit. I began to believe   there was no way out and so my daily recourse/solution was to sleep. Sleep was the only thing that would deaden the assault on my mind.

Many times my own mind goes back to the time when as a therapist I tried to help others break down their life choices into  small pieces. When I was depressed,  all I could think of was a wall, a huge wall that would show up,  every time I wanted to go  and try to figure out a solution for my problem. And it was here that I would continue the insane banging my head against a wall that would not let me gain entrance. But when I began to break the  symptoms of my depression into smaller parts and take a closer look at where the solutions might lie.  I discovered a way out of my own prison by  this method and   it  gradually provided  hope for me. I  discovered that what I needed  to do was to utilize some of these ” tools ” as a way out of the prison of depression and gave me a gradual  exit out of my prison. Instead of going over and over in my mind on how bad or worthless I was, I began to cut off these self-bashing thoughts with hopeful designs on making a new me. No more was I engaged in that insane circular thinking that provided no solutions, but instead, always sent me right back to square one from where I started. Insanity! It was like a dog chasing its tail.  Doing the  same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sorry, it doesn’t happen that way when we are with a group of people at a Depressed Anonymous meeting.  We all have experienced the type of thinking that puts us deeper in the lowest mood possible. It is the group experience and the spiritual principles of the Steps that help us to spiral upwards into wholeness and sanity.

One of the great lessons that I have learned over the years is listening to those persons who share their stories of hope. They tell the stories of their own recovery sharing with us how they used all the “tools” at their disposal for their own recovery

.(See Tools of Recovery at our website Menu where you will find a list of many of the effective tools for extricating oneself from depression. You will be able to use  ” sane” tools as a means of rejecting the insanity of our own lives and making sense out of how to live a life without depression. A life with hope. It happens.)

Also read the many stories in our Depressed Anonymous “Big Book”   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY). Personal testimonies section.

More information at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

Order are accepted online.

 

 

 

I’m on a personal journey of transformation! Today!

I can do almost anything to feel better and more alive.  All I need to do is believe that I can do it. I want to believe.

“Through the Twelve Step program of recovery, I have been on a journey of transformation from the familiar life of drudgery, gloom and desperation,  to discovering a new freedom and a new happiness – something I didn’t know existed.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

This is the real world, the 12 Step program for healing and  gradual abstinence from hiding the pressure that builds from inside and pushes me to want to withdraw and isolate myself.  I am more sure today than  I was yesterday.  The more I work my 12 Step program I  feel better. I also believe that the more I begin  to take charge of  areas of my life, like exercising,  getting a  hobby,  and moving about, the speedier will  be my recovery.

From childhood, I had a scarce amount of love and nurturing. I know that I can find the freedom to live and feel differently than I did  in the past. Today presents me with a clean slate –a new beginning, if you will.  Granted my yesterdays are always there, but my today is what really counts. This is the exciting part of living with hope. Life is a challenge and I need to forgive myself for all my yesterdays and live right now as if it is the first day of my life.

MEDITATION

God, make peace and serenity the by-word of our lives and efforts this day. We know that you are here – closer to us than the light in our eyes. We again trust you so that we can  live this unpredictable life with hope and trust in you. (Personal comments).

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for all members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

I am part of something bigger than myself.

By being in a recovery group I am able to beat loneliness.

In the group, I established myself and I got some positive feedback from others who watched me grow and who have seen the genuine change I have made  personally. I am gradually throwing off my personal war  with sadness. The real support comes when I begin to learn that members of the group have the same problems that I have. This helps me trust  others with the story of my life. These people are the ones who want to hear my story of how depression almost cost me my  life. Now, my life is freeing me from my need to sad myself.

I feel more able to attach myself to the group now that I know that they are struggling with the same depression that I struggle with. I no longer have to fight this battle on my own.

MEDITATION

God you are our rock and our refuge, on you I place all my trust. We know and believe easier now than before, that God has something good in store for us today.”

 

Source:

(C) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of  12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 69. April 26.

MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION!

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering? What motivates me to continue to try and help others? What has made the change in my life where now I want to share what I know and what I feel.  Basically, I know that the program of recovery works. I no longer feel powerless over  my depression. In DA group meetings members speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time looking back over our shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears is going to overtake me.  I now have attained small amounts  of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that at times overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the first step “we admitted we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” It is a paradox that it is in the admission of our lives being out of control that we began to take control of our lives.”

It was an interesting fact that in the very beginning of my recovery   that I received a very important message… that if I was to get well I had to motivate myself to do something. I had to get in motion. That sounds simple enough doesn’t  it?  I must stop the isolating of myself and get to work on ways that would gradually lead myself  out of despair and hopelessness, and deadly inactivity.

The first thing that I began to do each and everyday was to start walking.  I just knew  that the inner war that  was waged with every step that I took was the message that “walking would not do me any good”  would almost  completely scuttle my best intentions to complete my walks.  The odd thing about it was that, almost without fail, if I could just continue on and walk at least for 15 minutes  and ignore the messages “that I was too tired to walk this morning”    my body began to get into  a  rhythm. I would feel content  to finish my walks. And ironically, there is not a day that goes by,  when I start my walk that I don’t feel the lethergy and resistance to continue my walking.  Then as always, after about 10-15 minutes into my walking, I feel  a rush, an energy spurt, to continue walking. Other walkers have told me that they have the same experience. It must have something to do with the human body,  with all its members working together and harmonically working in sync with each other.

I just add the above note to let others know that your body will repel the healthy attempt to move out of its   isolation. It’s the force of one’s motivation powered by action that will in time help us all do one of the more beneficial exercises that our body can undertake, namely to walk.

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(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 42.

Staying on the balance beam.

One of the more difficult exercises in gymnastic sports is the balance beam. Now, that is only my opinion. And when the gymnast performs a somersault   on this narrow beam and manages to keep their balance,   this is really a feat to behold.

When I was depressed I felt like  the gymnast who missed their somersault and came tumbling off the beam. And it hurt–big time. In fact,  it hurt for many months later. For some depressed, the hurt  lasts a lifetime.

The point I want to make is that we have to make choices. We want to make a decision that can make us feel differently and better — not  worse.  We want to get back on the beam, make a decision to  change how we do things.  We will correct what got us where we are now and go forward with new strategies for  living a life with hope and faith in a power greater than ourselves. Our new habits of thinking and feeling positive will definitely change our behaviors.   We can  continue to be on the beam.

“One makes a choice when making a decision. One of the hard things in a depressed person’s life is making a decision. The indecision is what really gets to a person continually  to  remain off balance. Usually this indecision is the result of an emotinmal war going on inside, and both sides war over who will have their way.  The more depressed we become, the less able are we able to muster up the necessary energy to make a decision that will benefit us. I believe that this moral type of inventory is not going to be detrimental to our recovery because it is all about our recvovery. We are not intending for it to make us feel ashamed, but to help us see that if we want to feel better, then we have to start to make some changes, which  are gradual at first.  Changing old habits and ways  of thinking will with time and work make our personal world a better place to live.  Just as the Third Step states that we made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God, we can believe that our recovery is about decision and choices. We have to decide a hundred times daily that we are going to turn our wills over to care of the God of our understanding. In time we will feel secure enough to put our depression behind us.  In other words, our depression  will no longer serve a purpose in our life.”

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Pg.73.

(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville,Ky.