Category Archives: DA Literature

Slow down! Road work ahead!

How often do we see these orange warning signs along our highways? Sometimes it seems that everywhere we go, construction is going on. According to Murphy’s law, they only show up when we are in a hurry to get somewhere else.

In our recovery it is a necessity to read the signs that tell us to slow down. There is road work ahead. As we know or will soon find out recovery is about work, using those tools that are provided for our own healing and serenity.

We slow down, stop and reflect on our lives, examining how certain “triggers” not only slow us down but can “shut us down.” We discover how ruminating on the same negative feelings, produce a mood that continues to stifle us and prevents us from seeing it for what it is, namely a warning for us to make some changes in our behaviors. If we let these moods deepen there is a strong possibility that these negative ruminations can push us deeper into symptoms of depression. Before that happens, starting to use our tools can save us from relapsing or experiencing a recurrence of symptoms and get us back on the road again.

There are many things that can keep us motivated to stay involved in our program of recovery. You can read these for yourself here on our website (depressedanon.com) under the menu, TOOLS FOR RECOVERY. They are welcome tools not only providing help but hope.

You can also reflect on the “slogans” used by those of us in the 12 Step fellowships. I am going to list some of them and hope that you will use these as “mantra’s” or “slogans” for your own recovery and “road work.”

KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t complicate your life by over-analyzing or by placing judgments on others thinking or behavior. Don’t double yourself up with doing a hundred different things all at once.

DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING Telling yourself I’ll do it when I feel better never gets it. If you are recovering then go to meetings when you don’t want to or an appointment when you don’t feel like it. If you need to go to work go to work. That is the next right thing. Always be there for yourself and your healing. If you are doing Step work with a sponsor, then do the Step work. Do the next right thing. Put that on your bathroom mirror.

PROGRESS – NOT PERFECTION. Do what you can do and then don’t worry about it. The main thing is not that something you do is perfect –but that you are doing what you can do and doing it to the best of your ability.

CONTROL THE EFFORT-NOT THE OUTCOME. Take responsibility for you all that you do and again do your best. Make the effort. Give it your best shot. “To thine own self first be true.”

BE. HERE. NOW. Be in the present. Yesterday is gone forever. Tomorrow is not here yet. All we have is today. Enjoy the moment. Mindful that there is a God-and it isn’t me!

ONE DAY AT A TIME. We are only given one 24 hour period at a time. Use it well. Keep a journal and list three things that you are grateful for today.

Thank you for doing a little road work for yourself today. I hope that some of what I have written may have motivated you to look deeper into how you can “accept the things that you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

If you would like to read more about depression please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

Hugh

I have a plan that is simple with startling results

Originally published September 30, 2018. Some formatting changes.

Years ago I needed help and I was offered a number of plans/solutions which promised me relief for my particular problem. The plans offered me didn’t seem to work. In my desperation I thought I would try a 12 Step program of recovery. The plan was very simple. Not hard to understand. I tried it. I went to my first meeting and was given hope. All the folks there at the meeting were using the same plan. They talked about how this plan changed their lives. That got my attention. It got my attention because their story was my story. The group provide me with the plan’s list of areas in my life that I needed to look at. The plan, as I mentioned before was simple. Not complicated at all.

Have you ever in your life had to put something together and the thing that you put together came with a plan. It was a blueprint like thing that showed you what the end product would look like. when all the proper instructions were carried out. At this first meeting I made a commitment to follow this plan for 24 hours. Only 24 hours. Hey, not a big deal. I could handle that. So, I took the plan home and started to read the instructions, chapter and verse. It was a simple plan.

Now I had this plan. It was a plan for everyday of my life. I thought wow! is this good or what. That is exactly what I needed. I remember saying to myself, “I hope it works.” It works. Over 30 years later I am using the same plan. It never gets old and stale.

Early on I got some tools to go with the instructions on how to use the plan. The first tool showed me how to admit what was fouled up in my life and to also admit how things were terribly out of hand. In our plan there were all sorts of other tools that I needed to use if I was to get back on my feet. I have to confess some of these tools were not easy to use exactly. I mean there were parts of the plan that I needed to look at more closely than I ever had before. This plan came with a great instruction book that I and others call the Big Book. It spells out not only how to use the tools but what happens when we actively embrace them and put them to use in our daily life.

So, now besides the plan, we have the tools to go along with the instructions. So my life began to change. I began to find serenity in my life and I began to realize that there were things that I need to change in my life and then there were things I knew I couldn’t change. You know, like things that happened to me in then past. The instructions showed me a great way to take care of those issues that up to a time haunted me. I now really feel at home in my own skin now.

Startling results? Well, for sure. And part of the reason for these startling results is besides having a plan–having new tools to use-I was plopped right in the middle of a group of men and women that were using the same plan as I was. Like, we are all on the same page, literally. I was in a fellowship of folks who were telling each other their stories about how the instructions and tools brought them some really fantastic experiences changes in their lives. The first time I set foot in this group, I was promised that certain things were going to happen to me. You know what? They were right. They said that once I had the instructions under my belt, I would want to go and tell others my story. I would want to go and let those still suffering from whatever addiction was killing them, that they could live with the hope that their lives would change, as did mine. By following our plan, using our tools of recovery, and being a part of our fellowship (a 12 Step group) you “will be amazed before you are halfway through”. (the instructions) Again, that’s a Promise!

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Contact: depanon@netpenny.net for more info.

I will make a daily inventory of all my strengths

Believing Is Seeing: 15 Ways To Leave The Prison Of Depression – Eleven

I will make a daily inventory of all my positive strengths. I tended to magnify the worst in everything in my life and make mountains out of molehills. I will focus on my stars and not my scars.

“One of the problems of being depressed is that every circumstance and situation is filled with potential hurt and disappointment. The depressed person has a tendency to think in patterns of despair, hurt, and disappointment. It appears to be a proven fact that the more a person keeps their fears and anxious thoughts to themselves, this can cause the mountain to grow larger. But by sharing these fears and thoughts with others, either by writing them out, as in a daily journal, or group discussion (like on SKYPE and ZOOM) we soon discover that our fears are not as big as we thought. The expression of fear many times decreased the size of their fear. Now that we are accepting ourselves we can begin to see that we possess the strength and persistence to tackle whatever obstacle lies ahead.

One of the features that stands out in our lives when depressed is we see everything in dark colors. Nothing looks hopeful. There does not appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel – except that it might be an oncoming freight train. We feel that we do not have a friend in the world. We feel that we’ll never feel good again. The list goes on and on.

What may be of some help is to take out pen and pencil and begin writing down your good points that you feel are your strengths. We have already done this, but it still remains an excellent exercise no matter how often you do it.

What do you remember as strengths before being aware that you are depressed? Going to Depressed Anonymous meetings has the potential to restore your sense of proportion about your strong points. At the meetings your friends in the fellowship will begin to tell you are showing improvement the more you are participating in the meetings. To listen to those who themselves are working the program and who share their lives week after week, you begin to realize that you too can begin to feel differently. Today can be a new start and yes, you do have it within yourself to be that person who is reversing old negative patterns of thinking and replacing them with thoughts of hope and optimism. You now believe that there is hope for yourself. Right now your strength seems to be that of maintaining a habitual way of thinking thoughts of hope. By the fact that you are reading this, takes the strength to want to feel good and continue to maintain a positive recovery. Begin now and reflect on your strengths. Believe that you have a way to maintain a personal persistence and desire to continue with gratitude for this new feeling of hope.”

NOTE: Take your pen and/or pencil and begin writing your thoughts down in response to the questions posed in the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK. Depressed Anonymous Publications.

Resources

Copyright © Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2020) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 57-59.

Copyright © The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

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

These basic books of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship can be ordered online.

See: www.depressedanon.com

Literature Available

To receive a mailing of Depressed Anonymous literature, send a Self addressed stamped envelope to: DAP, Box 465, Pewee Valley, Kentucky. 40056.

The material can be used as “handouts” at your local Depressed Anonymous meetings.

Depression gradually dies in the light of day….

The best way to live TODAY is to be fully conscious of the present moment and create that strong desire to be part of it. Let’s not live in yesterday -the rent can kill you.

How often do I spend time in tomorrow and so miss the joy of today? I think one of the more serious occupations (aren’t they all serious?) of the depressed is just to sit and think , and think some more about how bad life is and what awful people they are. The self-bashing makes one’s ability to change even more difficult, as  continued depressive ruminations promote a great sense of unworthiness and confusion. We feel that we have no control over what happens in our life. Actually, we are not so sure   that we should care.  Everything seems hopeless. Living in yesterday is to pay some high price rent – and when you are done paying the rent, you still have nothing to show for it.

I want to be responsible  though I feel it’s difficult to face the fact that one of the ways of getting out of my prison is to stay and feel the pain of my sadness. I have to live in the here and now – I can’t run and hide in the unknown of tomorrow or disappear into the gloomy fog of yesterday. We begin to get mentally healthy when we take it upon ourselves to admit 1) I have a problem, and 2) secondly, I need to change the way I think about myself and my world.  Again, no one need to blame us for that that we got ourselves depressed – but once we know and believe that we are depressed – we learn that we need to take full responsibility for our recovery.  And one of the best ways to break our dependency on our sadness is to share and admit our depression to members of our Depressed Anonymous group. We know how depression flourishes and grows in the privacy and solitude of our minds.

Depression gradually dies in the light of open sharing and frank discussion. We are only as weak as the secrets we keep and strong as the secrets we share.”

Copyright(c)  Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2020) Hugh Smith.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pgs. 39-40.

All it takes is one good person to restore hope – Pope Francis

This statement is so true. All it takes is one good person to restore hope. This is a reality that I personally experience each day of my life. I find these individuals every day – carrying the message of hope to those others who are looking for a way out of their pain and suffering. These good people who lead are sharing their own hope, strength and experience with those who still suffer alone, and without hope. These good people take it upon themselves to communicate to others how they found hope and now want to share their recovery with others. They are using the fellowship of hope by the electronic systems such as ZOOM, SKYPE, FACEBOOK and the many face to face groups outside of the virtual world. These various communication tools enable us to reach around the world bringing fellowship to those seeking hope.

Recently, individuals in Poland decided to set up their own SKYPE meetings. Just recently in America two ZOOM group are operating, with one more about to get up and running. There is also a phone – in meeting operating. in America.

We are here at depressedanon.com (Depressed Anonymous) offering hope to those who come to our website. A Blog is offered a number of times a week. There are those good people who are not members of Depressed Anonymous who use their resources and talents to keep our websites, our ZOOM and SKYPE online programs operating with a myriad of technical skills. All in all, good persons continue to find hope and share what they have with others. so that they too can experience the hope that is real and offered freely to them.

Depressed Anonymous website at depressedanon.com will lead you to the places where you can go and join up with others at a 12 Step Depressed Anonymous meeting.

Like Francis tells us “All it takes is for one good person to restore hope.”

Won’t you be the next “one good person?” Will you join with us on this great journey where we all discover the hope of recovery and personal serenity?

The Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous

Hope is contagious!

Yes, hope is definitely contagious,

When I attend a Depressed Anonymous meeting I hear hope spoken. My own mood is elevated  listening  to how others are feeling better because of using the Twelve Steps of Recovery  for their   lives. Now,  because of  online  Depressed  Anonymous  groups on SKYPE and ZOOM,  the depressed have the opportunity to feel and find hope. And  once they move through the most painful experience of their lives,they come back and share  with the group how their life once was and how it is now.

Persons  find hope. They will find a fellowship that  speaks their language.

Yes, hope is definitely contagious.

In the very helpful book The Depths: The evolutionary origins of the depression epidemic, the author Jonathon Rottenberg shares with the reader how our deep moods can lead to  depression. He calls his study  a mood science.

“…The mood science perspective tells us that depression, deep or shallow, is a natural product of the mood system. However a person gets there, facing deep depression is a supremely difficult trial. Rather than assuming weakness or defectiveness . We should acknowledge that getting through depression requires considerable   strength .Rather than assuming permanent debility, we should recognize that some depressions are followed by thriving. Writing these words fourteen years after  my episode, I recognize that I am not broken. Getting beyond the disease model will require us to honor the strengths of formerly depressed and the ways that, once reborn , they can help others build enduring recovery from depression.

It is possible.”

Yes, hope is contagious!

(c) The Depths: The  Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic. Jonathon Rottenberg  (2014) Basic  Books, New York, NY. Pages 199-200.

Did I create my own prison of depression?

You know,  that’s a  great question for us who have been , or who are presently depressed.  My own reflections about my own experience with depression wasn’t a question that I  asked myself. Actually, that came later in my recovery.  I  really didn’t care who or what  created it – all I knew was I had to get rid of it.  In fact, the experience was much like Noah’s  in the belly of the whale.  I was just walking along one day minding my own business, and suddenly bam! physically feeling swallowed  up by some  invisible  creature who  was devouring me. And that was that. From that  moment on, the feeling continued to overwhelm  me for the next year and half.

Because I had no label to pin on this “whatever it was,”  and I thought nothing important to talk to  anyone  about, but only that the  feeling of helplessness had me locked down.  Oh, I still went to work, trudged through Graduate studies and continued my relationship with others, never revealing my interior mysterious  sense of isolation and despair.

My only distraction was to get up early every morning( biggest challenge of the day) and walk for miles, round and round,  thankful I was still able to function.

Long story short, during this period,  I gradually felt   small lift’s in my spirit but they never lasted. So I continued walking until I managed to walk out of the fog. I was feeling hopeful again,  able to face life with hope. Finally feeling fully freed from the  hopelessness that had isolated me from my world, disconnecting  me from everything, everybody, even myself. That was then.

Now reaching back into the past, looking at my life before ”  whatever it was” that had me,  I began  discovering that I’d unconsciously constructed my own prison and confinement. My ruminating on fearful scenarios of losing my job, not able to handle     negative life issues and constant  frightful thinking plus the  continuous feeling deep painful moods, all grinding my body, mind and spirit into the ground. The feeling, best described this  is  like  someone scraping  their  fingernails on  a blackboard all day  without end.  If you are old enough to remember this particular feeling, (or even a blackboard)  then you know it was that painful knife-like  feeling thrust through your stomach that echoed throughout your whole body. Well, that was the way I felt all the time, particularly in the morning each day.  I wanted never to get up. Here is where motivation  follows action . Move the body and the mind will follow.

When I speak of the pain that threw me to the ground and ended the familiar  life that I knew,  the members of the Depressed Anonymous group know exactly what I am talking about. Depression is physically  painful.  Usually when I tell someone I was depressed, they normally  don’t understand, unless of course, they have been depressed themselves.

In my case, I unconsciously  caused and created  my depression, and allowed the symptoms to grind me down until I took steps to feel differently.  The steps that I took   was to attend the “miracle of the Depressed Anonymous group ” where  I could share my own experiences, strength and hope, make the 12 Steps a daily part of my life, and to share this message of hope with all who feel the same way as I did.

Believing in a Higher Power greater than myself  continues to keep me sane and living one day at a time. It works. It can work for you as well.

For more information contact us @

Depanon@netpenny.net and read  what we are about @ depressedanon.com.

Resources:

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publicatiuons. Louisville, KY 40241.

Home Study Program of Recovery  (See DA literature here at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore).

 

My beliefs make my world one of opportunities or danger!

AFFIRMATION

I CAN DO WITH MY LIFE AS I WILL.

“Each of us structures and so creates our own world.  Because we are free to create  our world  and ourselves, we are free to change our world and ourselves. We can choose to see ourselves as capable of change, and doing so, the future opens up before us as an infinite array of possibilities, or we can choose to see ourselves as unable to change. Forced to live our lives as we have always lived them.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

So often my belief is what makes my world one of opportunity or one of danger. It’s how I look at my world through the lenses of my life experiences. These condition me to see the world as I see it and understand it.  If I think that I am always going to be depressed, I most likely will stay depressed because that is what I believe to be true. We hold these beliefs as unchangeable. Fixed.  I believe that I can’t change because that is not possible. I become a believer when   I see other people slowly taking mastery over their lives and starting to feel better. (See personal stories in  DA “big Book”)

MEDITATION

We make decisions how to love ourselves, to know that the God as we understood him is leading us into those realms of positive changes that will gradually help us walk out of my darkness into the light of God’s presence. Daily will we make that conscious contact with our God and pray that we might do it’s will.

RESOURCES:

(C) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY  Pg. 11. January 17th.

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.   ( See Personal Stories )

Books can be ordered online from Publications Bookstore at depressedanon.com.

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.

 

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