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.

Today’s Hope: Depressed Anonymous

  1. Today  I can experience hope. I will believe I can live this day with pleasant, thoughts. I will do one activity that will give me hope and light for today.
  2. Today I will “not” dwell on the past and the losses that have occurred up until those times and space.
  3. Today I will  “do” whatever I can put movement into my life. Any  small effort will help lessen the feelings of the stagnant sadness of depression.
  4. Today I will look forward to seeing a rose, the sunshine, a precious person – be it a baby laughing, a child at play, an elderly person on a park bench, and let myself believe that we are “all” of infinite value and vey loved.
  5. Today I will embrace myself in some small way and this may be going to lunch with a friend over coffee, or ice cream or a good brisk walk to the park or around the mall, or just a smile into my mirror and back at me. I will believe that I am worthwhile and worth the effort to recover today.
  6. Today I will believe I can live this entire day “hopeful” and that I can return to the above activities anytime and as many times as I need to just for today.

 

Mary- A Member of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship

SOURCE:   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. (Personal Stories #21.)

“Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” Step 5 of Depressed Anonymous

“I haven’t done anything wrong, so why do I have to admit anything? And anyway, what does this have to do with my depression?”

In the Depressed Anonymous Workbook these questions there are provided answers for those who are struggling to free themselves from depression. In fact, the more we work through each of the questions posed in the Workbook, we can also go to the Depressed Anonymous Manual, 3rd edition., and find six pages  (pgs. 59-64) of thoughts from members of the fellowship on Step 5.  We discover that the Depressed Anonymous Manual is written by people like you and me. We have been where you are and we came to believe after admitting that we were powerless over our depression and that life was unmanageable we had to make a decision.

In Step 3 we made a decision –that is what life is all about –namely, making decisions. Our decisions are the product of the meaning that we give to those persons, events and circumstances that fill our lives every day.  We make the decisions based on those meanings that we give to those situations and experiences. We are making a decision to day to share part of our dark side with another human being.

In Alcoholics Anonymous it describes the way to make a good 5th Step:

” We pocket our pride and go to it, illuminating every twist of character, every dark cranny of the past. Once we have taken this Step, withholding nothing, we are delighted. We can look the world in the eye.  We can be alone at perfect peace and ease.  Our fear fall from us. We begin to feel the nearness of our creator. We may have had certain beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience…”

Telling someone else seems to be the key to our freedom: When we decided who is to hear our story, we waste no time. We have a written inventory and we are prepared for a long talk. We explain to our partner what we are about and why we have to do it.” (This is why it is so important to write down in a  separate notebook the answers to all the questions in the Workbook which now bring us to the point of sharing our answers with a person we can trust, such as a clergy person or our sponsor. ED).

Steps 1 and 5 are the two Steps where the word “admitted” is used.  When we hear the word “wrongs” such as in this Step 5 – we may induce in ourselves a feeling of guilt. This is NOT the intention of Step 5 at all.

To be depressed is not to be wrong. We are not accusing ourselves of being bad. We are only pointing out the ways that I need to act, think and behave as a non-depressed person.”

SOURCES:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 49-50.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 59-64.

Depressed Anonymous helps us get in touch with our best selves.

Taking charge and being responsible for oneself is at the core of all recovery programs. As we get into a discussion with other people who are depressed, much like ourselves, we see that they talk about feeling better while at the same time acting on their own behalf. These people who are doing better are also talking about taking charge of their lives and doing things for themselves instead of constantly trying to please others. In fact, at Depressed Anonymous meetings, the recovering people often delight at how assertive they are becoming now that they have gained a sense of mastery over their lives. They are also committed to their own recovery. People who want to change begin to swallow their pride and ask for help. They begin to get in touch  with their feelings and feel! This is truth and this is getting in touch with one’s best self.”

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SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 91.

DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS IS SOLUTION FOCUSED. THE GROUP PROVIDES US WITH A SECURE BASE.

Depressed Anonymous, as a functioning mutual aid group is solution focused. How do I know? I know because I practice the principles of the Twelve Steps in my daily life–day after day. I have a step by step program of recovery which provides me with an assortment of tools (solutions) to help  dig myself out of whatever has me by the throat.  The  fellowship of a Twelve Step recovery group embeds me in a secure group of men and women who, like myself, are focused on what can rebuild my life and not continue to destroy it. A lot of the rebuilding might be  to repair a faulty foundation that did not provide security  for us as we passed through the various  formative years of our lives.

In a similar vein, it has been our family or significant others who have told us who we are and  who  by their feelings towards us to a large extent  determined who we are today. Our parents for good or for ill have defined  who we are combined with other significant early childhood caregivers.

It was their opinion of us, plus the familial environment that helped create the personality of who we are today. If we grew up with a secure base  — a supportive father and mother who let us pursue and reach out beyond our environment and encouraged this pursuit – most probably we grew up confident and hopeful as if life was a good place to be and which nurtured us and protected us – in other words, we were not afraid to move beyond our family boundaries – we were encouraged to grow and go beyond our family boundaries and explore. But the family where the child doesn’t feel secure –that child was closed in and felt afraid of that which was outside the circle of the family. In one family there was an openness that promoted growth and learning and  in another the closed family system produced fear, aloneness and alienation from self and others.

If a teacher, parent or significant other told you that you would never amount to anything they probably have influenced you for much of your life, that is until you discovered  that something in your life was amiss.  A small child believes so much taught to them by those older people who not only were bigger and stronger but who were like gods compared to our small size and small minds.

I remember well a teacher who told me in the 3rd grade that I would never be like my brother and uncle  (smart guys) –this truly shocked me — but I did believe her and it has influenced me for the remainder of my life–until I found out that she was not correct.  Over  the years I finally caught on and became the person that I am growing to become today. I am not a carbon copy of some other person’s idea of who I was and supposed to be. (The thoughts here of Family Systems  researcher and author (Bowen) have influenced me in my reflections on my own family and its influence on my life)

Are you,  the reader,  still influenced by those old labels and messages that were pinned on you years ago? If so, you can now  do something about it. Are you ready!

See the source cited below.

 SHINING A LIGHT ON THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL: A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE FOR HEALING THE DARKNESS . OF DEPRESSION. (1999)  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE,  KENTUCKY. Pages 1-2

families

HOW CAN I CHANGE MYSELF FROM SAD TO GLAD? THE DOING STAGE.

Well, for one, it takes work to change our behavior. It takes time. It also takes a plan for getting done what needs to get done. You remember the saying: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”  There is some truth to that as I know firsthand from personal experience. How often did I tell myself that I would do this or do  that, when I felt better. Can you relate to that? Most of us can. But when I was depressed I never felt better – to do anything–at least to do the stuff that I needed to do to  escape  my comfortable  cocoon of inactivity. It was hardly comfortable. At least I didn’t have to make any decision to get better. I guess that was the comfort.

First of all, I knew that after being painfully aware that I was spiraling down into a place where I could not just snap my fingers and I would feel good again. My will power was powerless to help.  So, my awareness  told me that I had to get motivated and start to move–I mean physically move. I had to force myself out of bed. I did that. I motivated myself to move. I Got up the force to move my body and this gradually and with some reluctance moved my mind to do more. So then I placed myself into the doing stage. I had to change, I told myself

I then started a process  of removing from my thinking those thoughts that told me how futile my life was, plus how worthless I  considered myself.  I started to replace all those negative statements about myself  in my head with positive statements. Positive affirmations.  I began  to repeat over and over my mantras where I began to say good things   about myself, while discarding the negative and unpleasant thoughts about myself;  thoughts that continued to paralyze me. These mantras are the mental thinking loop which I repeated dutifully hour after hour, day after day. ” I will build a new life”;  “I am stronger than my sadness”; ” I have the courage to go through this painful experience”;” I no longer blame myself or others for my sadness”. “I do not have to wait for someone else to make me glad;” “I am focusing on my stars, not my scars;” . “I can do it;.”  “Yes, I can.”

Now that you are AWARE of being powerless over the sadness in your life, what are you DOING  today to continue MOTIVATING  yourself?  I will change myself.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE 12 STEP DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PROGRAM OF RECOVERY?

Depressed Anonymous  

1) Educates and informs us about our experience of depression. 2) Nurtures us so that we can begin to share and to trust our unpleasant feelings with others.  3) Accepts us and does not make   judgements  about  our experiences with depression. In other words, we don’t hear “snap out of it” in the group. 4) Teaches coping skills by our frequent meetings and group  membership interaction.  It provides us with a  “toolbox” of new skills we can utilize in our overcoming of sadness. 5) Empowers us to believe that there is truly a way out of our depression. One of the major benefits of our group is you can hear how other persons depressed have made it out of depression. (Read the Personal Stories in Depressed Anonymous).   It is clear that the program works best for those who keep coming back to meetings.

There are multiple benefits that come to those of us  who  are committed to being  active participants in our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. I should know, I am one of the active participants.