Britain’s MD’s prescription for depression? Exercise.

Patients in Britain are receiving  “prescriptions” for exercise.

“A  “prescriptionfor exercise typically provides the patient with twenty – four weeks of treatment. An exercise professional assesses the patient’s fitness and develops an appropriate “activity plan,” with the patient then given discounted or free access to the collaborativeing YMCA or gym. Patients work out on exercise machines, swim. and take various exercises classes. In addition , many exercise referral schemes provide access to “green gyms.” The outdoor programs may involve group walks, outdoor stretching classes, and volunteer environmental work (managing local woodlands, improving footpaths, creating community gardens, etc). Throughout the six months of treatment, the exercise professional monitors the patient’s health and progress.

As might be expected, patients have found exercise on-prescription- treatment to be quite helpful. They told the Mental Health Foundation that exercise allowed them to “take control of their recovery” and stop thinking of themselves as “victims” of a disease. Their confidence and self esteem increased, they felt calmer and more energetic. Treatment was now focused on their ” health,” rather than on their ” illness.”

“The fathers of medicine wouldn’t be surprised about what we are doing, ” McCulloch  said.  They would say, “Hasn’t science gone any further? Diet and exercise? This is what is new? If they could travel in a time machine, they would think we were mad, because people have been saying these things for thousands of years..”

SOURCES:   Whitaker R.  (2010, 2015) Anatomy of An Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.. New York. Crown. pg.347.

Smith H. (2017) Believing is Seeing: 15 Ways to Leave the Prison of Depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  (Ch.6: Keep physically  fit.)

Smith, H. (2018) I’ll Do It When I Feel Better. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

How do people change?

People change by facing themselves and discovering a process, a step by step process, where we begin to be aware of why we are the way we are. In THE  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK, a companion volume to DEPRESSED ANONMYMOUS,  3rd edition, (HOME STUDY PROGRAM)  we  will  find  answers on how to change.

We learn that depression distorted us from the truths of life, namely, that life is to be lived with hope and serenity. Nursing along a good habit can in time wean us from old and debilitating  habits of thought and behavior. We want to daily fill our day with the gratitude that we are indeed getting better and that the trust we have is indeed placed in the Higher Power.

In order for us to escape depression we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. That process is of a nature a spiral instead of a straight line. In other words, now we are willing to risk feeling differently and we have been gearing up to improve our situation. In other words we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.

 

  1. AWARENESS STAGE: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way we do. Something has to give.
  2. MOTIVATING STAGE: I am going to prepare  myself for needed changes in my thinking, acting and feeling.
  3. DOING STAGE:   I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changed that have to be made by me if I am to feel differently.
  4. MAINTAINING STAGE: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working of the 12 Step program for recovery.

Now apply these  four stages which serve as antidotes to our character defects (ideas and habits which continue to make us feel sad). These defects of character cause us to stay imprisoned in our prison of depression.

In the days to follow we will examine  THE FOLLOWING THREE  issues which confront the daily lives of most of us when we are depressed.

(1) BLAMING ourselves and/or others for our problems.

(2) BEING A VICTIM.

(3) ANXIETY AND INNER JITTERINESS.

For those of you who desire a more complete approach to finding what depression is, what it does to our self esteem and ways to overcome our isolation and sadness, persons  depressed  have utilized the HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORBOOK, with its question and answer format,  provides a pathway leading  to the road to serenity and community. You find that others just like yourself started where you are starting and found answers to why we have become depressed in the first place.  By the time you have worked out answers to all the questions posed by the author in the WORKBOOK you may discover your best self. And, isn’t that what we all are looking for?

With the WORKBOOK, there is the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS Big Book, 3rd edition., which is coordinated with each Step in the WORKBOOK and provides a recovery process which will complement one’s own progress in working the program

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

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

VISIT THE STORE, which lists all literature from DAP.,  and order online if you wish, the HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

Belling the cat

“The mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away. Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir from their dens by night or day.  Many plans were discussed, but none of them was thought  good enough.

At last a very young Mouse got up and said:

“I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat’s neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming.”

All the mice were much surprised that they  had not thought of such a plan before. But in the midst of their rejoicing over their good fortune, an old mouse arose and said:

“I will say that the plan of the young mouse is very good. But let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat?”

The moral of the story: “It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it.”

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In our work, I’ll do it when I feel better (2013), the moral of the story there is pretty much the same as  in  Belling the cat.  We tell ourselves that I’ll bell the cat of my addiction , which is killing me, only when I feel better. Of course, it never  happens. I never feel better.  I tell myself that I can’t even muster up  the energy to even begin the process  of taking on my sadness and those deadly feelings of helplessness.  But bell the cat I did! I knew that either I start helping myself out of the pit of my despair or lose my mind. The “cat” in my fight  had me physically, mentally and spiritually  immobilized.   Only because I had hit the wall did I begin to do something. I admitted that there is a problem and I had to DO something!

In the 1st Step of Depressed Anonymous which tells us quite directly and without equivocation  “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become un-manageable.”  OK. There you have it. I began to tie the bell around  the  old cat’s neck! That is the first step–to admit –and then to do something about it. It’s the beginning of a personal movement toward health and peace. But as we all know, this mouse (me) is never alone. I have a whole group of folks just like myself who have tied the ribbon around their addictions. Taking one Step after another we all have found a way to live our life without fear and depression.

For more information please read Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville and check out other books/ literature at Visit the Store at our site.

SHAME AND GUILT. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.

I remember with a great amount of clarity a situation that   shaped my entire life. The event happened more than 5 decades ago. The shaming event happened in the third grade. The teacher asked me a question which I couldn’t answer correctly. She asked me twice and the more that I tried to think what answer she wanted the more flustered I became. For years, I could feel the heat in my face. I know my face must have  been beet red. There I was standing alone in the middle of the seated classmates and feeling lost. And then she said those words that are imprinted on what seems like every synapse and cell in my brain.

“You will never be like your brother.” ( He happened  to be two years ahead of me in school. He was really smart). And then she compared me to my uncle who happened  to be a Bible scholar whom she knew.  By that time my face felt like it was burning up. And it wasn’t til decades later that I no longer felt the fiery warmth on my face as I thought about standing there, alone, in front of the class.  The feelings of heat welled up from inside of me as I even thought about that event those  years later. I was shamed. Shamed clear through. Every part of me felt absolutely worthless and alone. Shame produced in me the feeling that I was a MISTAKE. Not that I made a simple English  grammar mistake –but that I was a mistake. This shame gradually withered away the more I shared with others  my experience.

Put simply:   Guilt is when you do something that is bad and you know it, and then you feel bad about what you did or didn’t do.

So feeling you are a mistake –feeling all alone,  unacceptable to self and others, creates a person who tends to hide, isolate and feel no purpose for their lives.  In my case, it was after getting into a 12 step program of recovery that others were having the same feelings about themselves as I was.  It was here in the context of forming a trusting relationship with those like myself, that I slowly clawed my way out of my own little painful world, into a world where I was accepted for who I was. My story, was  accepted and I  was given the tools to live a life filled now with hope, serenity and purpose.

HOW DOES A PERSON CHANGE? ARE YOU A BLAMER?

In order for us to escape from depression we need to be aware of the process of how people change. That process for change is of the nature of a spiral instead of a straight line. In other words, now that we are willing to risk feeling differently we have been gearing up to improve our situation. In other words we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.
As we illustrated yesterday there is a process of how a person chooses to change. First comes an Awareness stage. Then comes the Motivating stage. A Doing stage is then put into motion, and finally we have the Maintaining stage where a person continues to do all that is necessary to sustain and be responsible for positive changes.
In the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK, it asks the participant to apply all of these four stages as antidotes to those character defects which may keep us imprisoned in our prison of depression. Today we want to examine the character defect of BLAMING. Now let’s put to use our formula of the four stages. Today, I am going to share just one of the four stages with the example of BLAMING. For me, being aware meant that not only was I aware of what I was doing to cause me to heap blame after blame on myself but much later I discovered through Step Four of Depressed Anonymous the many good things that I had going for myself. I learnt that working the Steps is a gradual process developed for changing myself.
(1) AWARE. Now that I have admitted I am powerless over my depression and that it serves no purpose to blame myself for my depression and bashing myself with daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. Now I am: (1) AWARE of my need to discover what there is about myself that I do find acceptable and wholesome?
Tomorrow, we apply the Motivating stage to our BLAMING. Then this will be followed by a segment on the Doing stage. Finally, the Maintaining stage will be considered. I hope to meet with you again tomorrow.
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My thoughts: I share my own thoughts here. When my whole body became physically incapacitated and I could hardly get out of bed of a morning. My whole insides felt hollow and a strong, vague feeling that something was totally wrong inside of me. I felt full of “jitters” and anxiety. I was totally clueless as to what monster had me in its clutches. I had to admit that I needed help. I was powerless. I was not only AWARE I was scared. Know what I mean? If you do, please comment. So how do you change? Can you admit what is possibly keeping you depressed? Hugh

HOW DOES A PERSON CHANGE? THINK ABOUT IT AS A FOUR STAGE PROCESS.

In order for us to escape depression we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. That process for change is of the nature of a spiral instead of a straight line. In other words, now that we are willing to risk feeling differently we have been gearing up to improve our situation. In other words we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.
1. AWARENESS STAGE: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way that we do. Something has to give.
2. MOTIVATING STAGE: I am going to prepare myself for needed change in my thinking, acting and feeling.
3. DOING STAGE: I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changes that have to be made by me if I am to feel differently.
4. MAINTAINING STAGE: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working of the 12 step program for recovery.
Now apply these four stages which serve as antidotes to our character defects and which cause us to stay imprisoned in our prison of depression…The first is the character defect of BLAMING.
(1) AWARE. Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that it serves no purpose to blame myself for my depression an d bashing myself with daily reminders how bad and unacceptable I am. And now I am: (1) AWARE of my need to discover what there is about myself that I do find acceptable, good and wholesome.

(2) I am MOTIVATING myself now that I am aware how I have depressed myself by the faulty beliefs that I have held about myself over the past years. I now know that part of the way I feel is due to the way I automatically talk to myself throughout the day. Without ever being conscious of it I now realize that my feelings about myself are very negative and emotion laden.

(3) DOING. I intend today to replace all negative statements that I make in my head and replace them with positive statements –positive affirmations. I am going to alert myself –like a red flag waving –every time I call myself stupid or put myself down mentally. I will use affirmations such as “I will build a new life.” “I am strong.” “I have courage to go through this experience.” “I no longer blame myself or others for my sadness.” “I do not have to wait for someone to make me feel differently.” “I can do it myself.”

(4) MAINTAINING. I am very hopeful that I can feel differently just today, for this 24 hour period. I am going to tolerate my imperfectness while at the same time refusing to feel sorry for myself. I am going to make myself accountable for how I feel –not blame it on another, the weather, parents or whatever.
SOURCE: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (Pgs. 41-43)- Depressed Anonymous Publications – Louisville
Continued tomorrow: BEING A VICTIM