Now is the time to get into action…

 

Now is the time to take charge over my life and do something good for myself   by drumming up  positive thoughts about myself.  In the program of Depressed Anonymous of which I am an active member, we call these positive thoughts and mental images as SUNSPOTS.  These are the times in my past life where something happy came to mind and I remember how good I  have felt about that event. Those pictures in my mind need to be deeply embedded into my memory as they are the steps that can lead me out of my prison if I think about them often enough.

Joy is a rare commodity for those of us who have been depressed. I know how hard it is to smile, to laugh and to feel happy about much of anything. I tell myself don’t get too comfortable getting happy as it will all end anyway.  I continually caution myself to watch out. Now I can take mastery over my life and learn how to share something good within myself and be kind to myself.

 

RESOURCES

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditation for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pg. 34. January 22nd.

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

“That which doesn’t kill you will probably make you stronger.” Nietzsche

 

Stress  put me in the hospital two years ago. First, pneumonia  put me in the hospital for a week.   Then, following  a diagnosis of clogged arteries with other assorted problems,  open  heart surgery.  Cardio/rehab for 24 straight weeks gave me my life back. But this was not my first experience with stress and /or depression.

Nietzsche had it right. In my case at least.  What made me stronger and saved my life was not only heart surgery but my new way of  dealing with stress. I now see stress for the trouble maker that it really is. The  stress in anyone’s,  continues to impress me how dangerous living under stress, of any kind, can be.

I know that the daily stress that I  had put my mind and body through every day,  every month, gradually destroyed my immune system’s ability to defend against  constant fear, worry and anxiety. Because of the environment  with which I was living in, day after day, finally caught up with me: pneumonia and then open heart surgery. So you might wonder  how can stress do all this damage to your mind and body?

THEN

This takes me back to my first  experience with sadness. It didn’t kill me, but it did force me to look  at my lifestyle, staying in a bad  situation and the ongoing ruminating which poured adrenaline into my veins, hyping up fear   and anxiety day after day.  Finally, all this  weakened not only my body but my mind  as well. My thinking started circling  around  and around as I tried to figure out exactly what the problem was  knocking me off my feet.  Not only that, I couldn’t concentrate. I would read a sentence or so  and then would forget what I had just read. I was always tired.  I always wanted to sleep. I never laughed anymore. My sense of humor went out the door. I started to isolate. I pushed friends away. I always had an excuse for cancelling meetings and appointments. Every morning I woke up, dead on arrival.  No energy. No purpose and nothing to look  forward to. I was losing all spontaneity and replacing it with boredom. I gradually was being sucked down intro the quicksand of futility and hopelessness.

After a year and half of this    pain filled  life I gradually walked out of the fog. I walked at least five miles a day-like a forced march looking forward to regaining my life. That was 1985.

NOW

Now,  I am stronger because I know all the red flags that pop up in my mind, wanting to  suck me back down into that environment which almost killed me in the first place.  I am definitely stronger now that I have a sponsor, a  12 Step   program (Depressed Anonymous) and  a daily plan   for my ongoing recovery.

My heart is stronger now. My commitment to taking good care of myself with proper rest, good healthy food, and physical activity at least three times a week or more. I also know that keeping in touch with those “still suffering from depression” by email, Home Study, website BLOG (depressedanon.com), phone and reading Depressed Anonymous literature.  What we give away comes back in countless ways. For me, continued sobriety and hope!

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

Online Depressed Anonymous International Skype meetings ( Check website Menu for listing and links).

Order online :The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

 

After 14 years, I have hope!

I had always known that I was hard on myself. I reamed myself out every time something bad happened. “Why can’t I find someone to love me?” “Why isn’t God looking after me?”  But for some reason, when I  realized that I was doing this to myself, it made me realize that maybe all I would have to do is stop doing it. All of a sudden, it made sense.

If I tell  myself negative thoughts, I feel negative. If I tell myself nothing, I feel nothing. So, if I tell myself positive thoughts, eventually I’ll have to feel positive.

Of course, I’m still testing it out, but I feel better and for the first time in 14 years, I have hope.  It’s not hard to find something positive about  myself or my life now. So I remind myself of something positive everyday and that’s what I’m going to do until I don’t have to remind myself anymore because I’ll know.”

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY . Pages, 120 -121.

Keeping the dance going: A metaphor.

When I was depressed (for over a year) I got hooked up with a dance partner who  continually  stepped on my feet.  I knew that stopping the dance was  my only way out.  I imagined  if I could learn a little more about the dance and  the proper step sequence things would turn out better for me.

The more I tried to think things out, try different step sequences the worse things got. It’s like walking up a flight of stairs and  carefully watching   each foot as it lifts to go from  one level to the  next. It’s a strange feeling as our mind and body become frozen from  what is normally an automatic sequence.  We don’t even think about the fact that our feet are taking the steps up one at a time.

From my own experience with this circular dance I learned that the more I  thought about why I was doing what I was doing the more my partner (my physical  body) came to a standstill.  My mind went round and round over a  sequence,  which I was hoping would free me. Instead, the dance stopped. I left the dance floor (my world) and retreated into my own little life surroundings,  going over and over again , completely obsessed with trying to figure out  a dance sequence, with a  result,  like the  wrestler’s “body slam” which  flattened and pinned me to the floor.  No matter how hard I tried to figure out what went wrong, the more this circular dance tightened it’s grip on my thinking, my body and everything else that had made me  an active part of my world, friends and future. I am all alone.

In the Depressed Anonymous Publication,  I’ll do it when I feel better, we read

“We all know that any addictive /compulsive type of behavior gradually removes you from the regular activities of persons around you, including family, friends and coworkers, until you are established in the narrow confines of pain and isolation. We are always going to be just a little more isolated  the more we try to think our addiction through in the circle of our own thoughts. ”

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better., 2nd edition. Hugh M. Smith (2018)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 61.

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

Walk day by day In the path of spiritual progress–If you persist remarkable things will happen.

“Being depressed means feeling disconnected, isolated and separated. Truly, depression or melancholia is the illness of our modern society. Our desire to isolate ourselves  from everyone and everything when we are depressing ourselves, isolates us from ourselves as well.

To recognize how it feels to be depressed, more people will be able to tolerate  and unfetter themselves from their own depression.  Lives will be saved as well.

People describe their experience of depression as being in some kind of prison. One man said that he was in a pit where the walls were of soft clay. One woman said  that she was in a brick maze where there was no exit and the walls were closing in on her. “I’m in an infinite desert” said one man, “the bars are thick and a lone scrawny tree.” “I’m in a cage” said one woman, “the bars are thick and black and there is no door.”  In side this prison the person has intense feelings of self-hatred..

Frequently, depressed persons imagine that they are going crazy, are crazy, or being afflicted with some mental illness.

One of the beautiful things about a Depressed Anonymous  group is that everyone has the same symptoms, feels the same pain and is relieved that they are not the only ones in the world with this experience. They don’t have to go it alone. They also don’t hear people saying: “Snap out of it,”

The following provides a guide for those of you who are attempting to see whether you are depressed or not. If you  feel that you have a good number of these situations going on in your life at the same time and for a number of weeks, your melancholia  might be indicating that you need to get in touch with persons like yourself by the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Do I have some or all of the symptoms of depression?

+Wanting to isolate and be alone.

+Changes in appetite.

+Shifts in sleeping patterns (too much/not enough sleep).

+Waking up early in the morning.

+Fatigability or lack of energy.

+Agitation or increased activity.

+Loss of interest in daily activities and/or decreased sex drive.

+Feeling of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt or self-reproach and possible thoughts  about killing myself.

+Weeping/Not being able to cry.

+Lapses of memory.

+Hard time making decisions.

Fear of losing one’s mind.

+Reluctance to take risks.

+Difficulty in smiling or laughing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All the   symptoms   listed above don’t necessarily  include all symptoms, but enough of them, together,  point to a serious response needed  from an  individual to seek  help. also believe that my own serenity is constantly being assaulted during the day by all sorts of problems and situations that cry out for my immediate care and attention. 

The Fourth  of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous, tell us how we will be able to “comprehend the word   Serenity and we will know peace of mind.”

Agitation, anxiety and jitteriness were all part of my life as I muddled my way through -day after day, one foot in front of the other. Serenity was not a part of my life.

As with my attachment to negative behavior, serenity and peace were the  furthest thing from my mind.  The new beliefs and thoughts which I had expressed at Depressed Anonymous meetings started to help me change the ay I thought about myself, my world and my future.

I believe that it takes time, work and prayer, and sometimes with medication to achieve the peace and serenity that we are talking about here.

Peace of mind is the result of:

A clear conscience

Living in the present

Gratitude everyday

Belief that the God of my understanding will get me through the problems of my life

Forgiveness of myself and amends to all persons I have harmed

Hope

Doing God’s will. Neither grasping  but letting go

 

As Bill W.,  co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us in the AA Big BOOK,

“Both you and the new man must walk day by day, in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist –remarkable things will  happen. When we look back, we realize  that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world no matter what your present circumstances.”

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

RESOURCES FOR HELP.

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 166-167.

Copyright(c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002) Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 9-10.

Copyright(c) Alcoholics Anonymous. Page 100.

 

I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it!

REFLECTION

I know that I have to continue to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an ongoing and daily basis. My letting go and let God take over my life doesn’t mean that I’ll just sit back and let God do all the work. No, it means that I will work on myself and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently if I make the effort to choose to become conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during my day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I  am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced with positive and constructive thoughts.

So often, when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even counscious as to how I would always select the negative attribute about myself to reflect upon, instead of   thinking  positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and my relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to  feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way I feel.

BECOMING MINDFUL

God, let me just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness that you desire to bestow on us. We pray that our awareness of your love for us will free us from our sadness.

Resources:

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville, KY  December 14th.

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

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

Put a HIGHER THOUGHT in your life every day. A spiritual vitamin will increase your spiritual metabolism so that you  begin to replace negative thinking with thoughts of hope and serenity.

You may order online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com

With the compulsion to sad ourselves…

In our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous the statement is made:

” With our compulsion to sad ourselves, much like the alcoholic’s urge to medicate his or herself with alcohol, we need daily to turn our will over to God and ask for the  Higher Power’s (God) guidance, eventually it is the conscious contact with the loving God that sets us free from the need to sad ourselves.”

11.1 Question: How do you see your depression as a compulsion? What are the triggers that cause you to spiral downward back into the dark pit of depression?

When you think of depression do you  think of it like one big thing or do you see it for the many parts that make up a depression experience, namely, the way that we think, behave or feel. In other words, when we make it to be a thing, that is when we reify it – it holds power over us – like it came out of the blue – we talk about depression in medical terms such as I just had a bout of depression -like it came from outside of us like an infectious germ or virus. In reality, our depression is made up of many parts, such as particular depressiogenic ways of thinking, behaving and feeling.

11.1. Write the way that you perceive your depression? Can you distinguish the various parts ( thinking; feeling; behaving;  physiological; motivational; spiritual ) that go to form what we call the depression experience?  Which of the above parts continue to cause you the most anxiety/fear?

Which of the following Illustrations can you best relate to.

11.2. A need to be perfect!

11.3. A need to be successful!

11.4. A need to please others always!

11.5. A need to never get angry!

11.6. A need to have someone in my life before I feel I am somebody!

11.7. Please write down how one or more of the above items keeps you down, despairing and hopeless? Also, write about where these attitudes come from?

Please respond to the statement:

I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it. It is truly living in the will and mind of God that will help us, one day at a time to stop being so compulsive in our rigid and automated thinking about people and things so that we do not let our dated emotions and thoughts predict what the outcome of our perceptions ought to be.”

The Home Study Program is an excellent tool for self reflection and a meaningful way to discover what needs to be changed in our lives.  The Question  and answers provided by the participant provides freedom from the issues (dated emotions) that continue to cripple us.

RESOURCES

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

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. pp79-80.

These and other helpful publications  can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications  Bookstore at our website www.depressedanon.com.

If God is for us who can be against us?

 

Is this not a strange way to open up our blog today? Depends. It centers around what our topic might be. Today our topic is centered on spirituality and depression.  As a member of a 12 Step fellowship, Depressed Anonymous,  we talk and reflect  upon the fact that  we believe in a Power greater than ourselves.  We also commit ourselves to the belief in Step two  that “a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” Following this  we reflect on Step Three which states  that we “Made a decision  to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God to be.”

It was here at this point that Bill W., and Dr. Bob made a very important decision in how God would be presented  to the alcoholic, who  for many different reasons would reject the idea that the God of their understanding had their best interests at heart.  Their idea of what the “preachers” had to say about God was not what they were looking for. In fact, there were the “preachers” in New York’s Bowery, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s who set up store-front churches where the practicing  alcoholics come, get off the street, get a free meal, and hear a Christian message about salvation, redemption and  freedom from drink. But it appeared that some of the preachers emphasized hellfire  and fear instead of giving the alcoholic a way out that included a plan – a simple process of surrender and how “to turn over our will  and life over to  God as we understood God to be.”

I believe with  poet Robert Frost, who wrote that memorable poem, The road less traveled, where he was faced with a fork in the road, one road  went one way and one the other.  The one he eventually took was “the road less traveled.”

This poem speaks to me when I think of Bill W., the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his personal experience with the God as he understood God, provided him with a way to understand God, not just a Christian God, a Buddhist God, a Muslim God, but a God as we understand God.  It was only when he had his own epiphany with God, did it prepare him to share this understanding with other alcoholics so  all could choose the God of their own understanding–not just the God of the Christian “preachers.”

This was the freedom that the early A.A., pioneers brought into the discussion where anyone could believe whatever they wanted about a Higher Power. In today’s modern world, you can find AA, NA, DA, Al-Anon in almost every nation on the planet.  If he had not traveled down a road that only God knew where it led, would we have the Twelve Steps be open to all, regardless of their own spiritual beliefs or religious dogmas.

The following is an autobiographical  account of Bill W.,s  own encounter with God.

“My depression deepened unbearably, and  it seemed to me as though I was at the very bottom of the pit. For the moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once, I found myself crying out,  “If there is God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!

Suddenly the room lit up with a great light. It seemed to me, in my mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me  that I was a free  man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was a wonderful presence, and I thought to myself, so this is the God  of the preachers!” A.A. Comes of Age. p.63.

And finally, there was another road that Bill W., and others traveled and that was how one alcoholic talking with another alcoholic, sharing their story, would make all  the difference in the world.  It’s a simple story, one recovering alcoholic being open, honest and willing  to share their own painful story with another alcoholic, one person at a time. One day at a time.

I am one of those persons with whom a recovered  alcoholic shared his story. Today, I am celebrating  my 32nd year recovery birthday. I am a friend of Bill W.

Hugh

 

A secure base providing recovery: Depressed Anonymous.

 

One of the areas of my life, when I was depressed, was to begin looking for that personal and secure base    providing me with  hope  and resources for a complete recovery.  My first attempt at finding this refuge and secure base was preceded by a search for answers. Why was mind  always distracted? Why couldn’t I remember anything? I would read a paragraph and within no time I couldn’t remember a word of what I had just read. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and just wanted to sleep. Coming home after working all day I would hit  the sack. My mind was like in a dense fog.  I felt like I was driving a car at night with my headlights on off. I was lucky just to be able to get to work. For me it was do or die. No job -no  Master’s degree. My job paid for my education. It was that simple.

What can I do? What is wrong with me? I have never in my life felt so filled with anxiousness. Constant jitters.  I even began feeling tremors in my hands. That is when I got worried.  I didn’t have a doctor to consult. Since I lived back in the “stone age” there was no Internet. So, here is what I did. I forced myself out of bed every morning and I started to walk. I went to a mall located where I lived  and walked. I mean I walked miles around that store. Early morning walkers, like myself, were allowed to walk before the store opened. I  can relate to Forrest Gump in the movies. It was boring but I did manage to do it for over a year.  And then it  happened.

A feeling of lightness came over me. Wow! I almost wanted to shout with joy.  That horrible jitteriness stopped for a moment. I felt a cheerfulness that I thought would never come back. My mind was clear. Momentarily I began  reflecting  that something good had just happened.  And then the words, flashing across my mental screen, began spelling out  the words, It won’t last!”

And just as quick as the words flashed in my mind, with it’s lifting mood, it too disappeared.  I retuned downcast to my walking. And then slowly everything started to feel different for me. My mind cleared, my mood spiraled upwards and I began to feel like my old self–now, a renewed guy with a deep gratitude that all my walking paid off. I gradually began to see everything coming back into place.  Whatever it was (it was only later that I could put  a label on my experience and call it what it was, depression.)

Eventually, I designed a pilot project at my university using the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to determine if those depressed persons gathered in the  program would respond to the power of the Steps.   The Steps continue to help the alcoholic to recover from alcoholism.   Now we learned  that the 12 Step discussion groups, would also help others  make  progress, like our depressed participants in the study,  as their moods lightened over the 10 week pilot discussion period.  Today, the group that we call Depressed Anonymous is spreading worldwide and its Big Book (Depressed Anonymous)  is now translated into Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Farsi and English.

If you are looking for a secure base, that is a group, where everyone speaks your language of depression, and where you can be accepted and introduced to  a program of recovery that promises healing  and a brand new start in life.

 

RESOURCES

(C) Depressed Anonymous 3rd ed., (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Louisville. KY.

You can check out our literature at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com.  You may also order books online.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life…”

 

” I am a thirty-four year old single female who has been suffering from depression for a long time. Most of my depression was brought on by feelings of insecurity, such  as not being able to express my inner feelings of insecurity, such as not being able to express my inner feelings, being controlled by a dominating adult, loneliness, stress, workaholic, anxiety attacks (related to work  and everyday pressures of living), too much sleep, nervousness, lack of motivation, being tired all the time, sadness, weight gain, digestive problems, a feeling of being trapped, self consciousness, not trusting myself, dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life, withdrawal from family, or loss of interest in meeting with the opposite sex.

It seemed that I was living in another world until my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual have provided me with the tools to live without being  depressed. Most important  of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power)  will give me the strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps has taught me that I am not the only one who is suffering from depression. It has taught me to believe more in my Higher Power and to let it handle my depression.

All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, but to live life one day at a time, and to look toward the future, but not live there. It will take me  a  long time to deal with depression, but I am glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

– Anonymous

COMMENT  

Even though this anonymous writer was suffering from innumerable problems and life situations, she found   solutions  in the form of meetings, specifically geared to the depressed. By reading the Depressed Anonymous literature she is daily gaining a new motivation  to use the tools that  are promoting positive solutions to her  seemingly insoluble and negative realities. 

The tools mentioned in her story,   showing  that   by using a piece by piece  approach   to dealing with her problems, these have  brought her back to life.    We know there is always hope –please don’t give up!

Hugh

NOTE : For more stories of HOPE please click onto THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE.  The Depressed Anonymous  literature  is available by ONLINE ordering.

Resources:

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Personal stories : # 29.  I am no longer alone. Pages 148-149

+ International Online Skype Depressed Anonymous Meeting (See Homepage Menu (depressedanon.com )for Link. Meetings Thursdays and Sundays. Format is same as a f2f DA meeting.)

+ See Homepage (depressedanon. com)  drop down Menu for TOOLS OF RECOVERY.