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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

What am I feeling?

WHAT AM I FEELING?

                                 Anger? Hostility? Aggression?

Anger: An emotion that says “Something is wrong.” That  it can be expressed to tell others about your personal limits, values, rules, and boundaries. The respectful expression of anger is an important way to educate others about how their behavior affects you. It can result in mutual respect between you and another person.

Hostility: An attitude that contributes to the violation of another person’s rights, values, rules, or boundaries. This attitude can include ruminating or brooding about another person’s real or perceived injustices toward you and ways that you can  “get even” with him/her   and this attitude leads to feelings of powerlessness. It can often lead to aggression our withdrawal as a way to punish others.

Aggression: A behavior, acted on with the intent to harm others, either physically or emotionally for real or imagined  “wrongs” done to you. This behavior always results in disrespect for yourself or the other person. It creates distance between you rather that brings you closer.

                           Learning how to express anger respectfully.

1.  Admit your anger. Accept that you are angry. Shouting “I am not angry!” at the other person only escalates you more. It can be safe and growth producing to acknowledge that you are angry.

2. Take a “timeout” to cool down if you need it.  Learning to deal respectfully and constructively with your anger takes time and practice.

3. Identify the source of your anger (look for your primary feelings). Make sure you perceived what happened correctly. Ask yourself questions like: ” what is my negative self-talk?” “Am I  dealing only with this issue at hand or are there other stressors that have already escalated me before this?” “Am I looking for a reason to blowup?”

4. Separate the energy of your anger (pent up feelings inside you seeking release) from the issue your anger is about (the condition, idea, event, or person you feel angry at).

5. Decide how and when you will express your anger.

6. Talk to the other person involved with your anger. Share your anger and any  primary feelings you can identify in an open, direct, and respectful way.

7. Make  “I” statements. Take responsibility for your own feelings. Resist the temptation to blame someone else for  “making you” feel angry.

8. Listen closely to the others point of view. Recognize and accept that their view may be quite different from yours. Remember that they have a right to their perspective and feelings.

9. Get in touch with your expectations and your intentions in sharing your anger. The purpose is not to “win” the argument (or discussion) or to make the other person agree with you or your point of view. Rather, it is an opportunity to give  both of you a time to express feelings.  Also,  explore alternatives such as compromising. Or you can “Agree to disagree” and table the discussion until another time.”

Source: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 34 to 35.

Please VIST THE STORE  for more information on the Depressed Anonymous Workbook and the Depressed Anonymous Manual, both of which comprise the HOME STUDY KIT which can be purchased online.

“A rock in a rocky sea which we all hold onto.

“Remarkable things happen to us when we are willing to admit defeat and talk about our powerlessness over our depression and how our lives had become unmanageable. This first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living.  At our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we talk hope, we act hopeful, and we think hope. We learn that our thinking depressed and negative  thoughts might have gotten us in the shape that we are in today.  What you think is what you become. For us who find sadness our second nature, we at times continue to revert to the comfort of old familiar negative thinking and are in  actuality returning to self destructive activity. Hope is overcome by  sadness.

When we become convinced that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, we found ourselves turning many times during a twenty four hour period to that power.  It is a rock in a rocky sea that we all hold onto when we find it easier to just give up and sadden ourselves instead of facing the storm and living through the fear. What Bill W., said about the alcoholic applies equally to the saddict: “He or she can settle for mediocrity and self-satisfaction even though this may indeed prove to be a precarious perch. Or he/she can choose to go on growing in greatness of spirit and action.”

You never stop using and following the steps of the program. We are  in recovery all our lives. You don’t graduate. When we return to saddening ourselves, we return to the old compulsion that can again reduce us to that bankrupt individual who is bereft of peace and hope. We want to grow in the conviction that the Higher Power will restore us to sanity. One of the best ways to grow out of our  saddiction  is to start acting the healer instead of being the passive victim.  We are under the care of no one except our God.

This spiritual awakening is enhanced even further when we make a decision to turn our wills and our minds over to the care of God. Without a doubt this is a very big step for many people to trust anybody – and now especially to trust a God who they have spent a lifetime fearing. It is this decision which allows us to feel freedom when  we start to practice the daily turning over of our will to God. It frees us up and as we pray and listen in our meditation times, we find that our spiritual capacity to connect with the Higher Power is greatly magnified.”

SOURCE:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 107.

_________________

” It has to be that what one believes is what one can become. Actually it is a self fulfilling prophecy  that how we conceive of our self is what we can become. This having a dream and setting out some life goals can lead to a life filled with hope and promises.  And for those of us who take our 12 Step fellowship seriously and stay actively involved one day at a time, soon discover the joy and serenity that this spiritually rich recovery program provides.”

SOURCE: I’ll do it when I feel better. (2016) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. Page 85.

 

In getting my priorities straight, my depression got better.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

On this New Year’s Day, I find that my work for my life today is to reflect on a happy period of my life  where I have experienced   happiness and contentment.  If I can’t remember such a time,  then  I will construct a situation of contentment in my mind  and just imagine it happening right now.

In my relationship to God, I am beginning to realize that it isn’t so much that I don’t believe that I’ll ever feel better, but that I just  can’t know for sure. My first  priority is to admit that I do have a problem and that with God’s help I can get through my depression.

As soon as I give up my victim stance and begin to take responsibility for my feelings and my life, I can start to work as if my recovery is really up to me and that I will in time, succeed in getting out of this deep dark hole that I call depression. My priority  is to begin each day with the conviction that the Twelve Steps will be an aid in getting out of my depression. I know and believe without a doubt that WE have a solution for depression!

MEDITATION

God, we seek your guidance and your strength for our lives. Whatever we have lost or feel we have lost, please heal the holes in our soul and fill  it with your love and peace. In our quiet time today, show us what part of us needs to be healed.”

_______________________________________________

HAVE A NEW YEAR FILLED WITH PEACE !

VISIT THE STORE TODAY AND DISCOVER THE TOOLS THAT WILL BE THE PATHWAY TO YOUR OWN RECOVERY, DAY AFTER DAY.

An excellent tool that is highly recommended for the Depressed Anonymous  group use or individual study is the HOME STUDY KIT which is composed of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) both published by Depressed Anonymous Publications. These two books give a complete listing of the Twelve Steps and a commentary for each Step. The Workbook provides a coordinated listing of Steps with its appropriate questions related to each Step in the Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition..

 

 

 

Remove the letters “d”, “e”, and “i” from the word depression and I have “press on”!

AFFIRMATION

“The idea that we have to be responsible for ourselves and that the ways of the world are neither good nor just is too terrifying for you to contemplate. You cannot tolerate such uncertainty. You do not trust yourself, so how can you take responsibility for yourself?”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  don’t like facing the fact that ultimately I am the one responsible for myself, no one else. It appears to me that I have to take care of myself, depend on my Higher Power for direction, and go from there.  My Higher Power isn’t going to do it all.  I know that I have to do all that I can to restore my life and my feelings.  God is the rudder to my boat and I have to put my oars into the water if I am going to get moving in the right direction.

I am attempting, day by day, to tolerate the unpredictability  of my life and gradually learn new ways to cope with uncertainty. While I am depressing myself, I want everything to be perfect and under my control. I know now that I will be  happier when I learn how to tolerate a pleasant mood without telling myself that it will not last. (I also know about this last one from personal experience when I started taking care of myself).

MEDITATION

We believe that the closer that we come to God, as we understand God, the closer our God draws to us.  We believe that whatever we want changed in our life this can best be accomplished by approaching the God of our understanding and letting his power greater than ourselves steer us across the stormy sea.

PRESS ON!