STEP ONE OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS
“We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
“Let’s listen now to the long-denied part of us that speaks out in favor of a change – that voice of hope that says we will feel cheerful one day. The small part of us says that we should risk going to this meeting and admit that: “Yes, I am depressed, and yes, I am going to find my way out of this prison by taking stock of my strengths and by beginning to want to hope.” You do have a choice. You can begin to let go of your fears of what life will be like without the constant gnawing feeling inside of you that produces that awful jitteriness. You will find lots of acceptance from the group as you listen to the many ways others like yourself have surrendered their problems to their Higher Power and begun to find a sense of peace and sanity that they never thought existed. The old issues in your head will whisper that there is no hope for you that no one is as badly off as you are and that nobody will want to help you as you don’t deserve anything anyway. Often these old tapes have been with us since childhood and many of our adult depressions have their roots in our childhood. Many people do not remember much of their childhood, but repressing memories does not mean that the emotions belonging to these experiences in childhood disappear.”
Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky. PP.33-34.
Maybe and maybe not! We use this slogan many times in our recovery groups, thinking the statement to be true. For example, to keep missing our recovery meetings week after week may result in a possible relapse. I believe this to be true! Insane? It is definitely not helpful when one is trying to find sobriety or a way out of their depression
For the depressed to isolate oneself from family, friends and the world, is to gradually move self into a deepened mood of sadness and ultimately depression. The isolation is not going to defend the individual from depression but is only going to make it worse.
To look at the slogan from another angle is to find that the statement is false. In fact, to keep going to meetings week after week or more often is doing the same thing – expecting different results. By doing the same thing over and over again, in this case, the different results are a strengthened recovery with hopefulness coupled with serenity.
This is a timely nugget of hope for my day today. All we have today is 24 hours.
When I attempt to stay in the now, keeping my mind occupied with what is happening in my inner environment – my thinking and feelings. I reflect on how these thoughts affect my mood. My mood might be spiraling upward, or it my be spiraling downward. And again, it just might just be stuck in neutral, sort of flat.
When I share at a Depressed Anonymous group meeting, I feel the acceptance of the fellowship no matter what I share. The group helps keep me in the now. I find some meetings, some speakers, say things that hit me where I live. I feel my own mood resonates with what they have to say. My mind pushes past my gloom with its struggling thoughts, hanging on to that spoken life raft just now offered to me. I begin to believe, right now, at this very moment in time, that maybe I too can survive the tomorrow. I feel hopeful.
Many depressed people will say: “I don’t know why I am depressed. It just happened suddenly like a black cloud coming down.” They say this because they do not want to look at the terrible events which threatened to destroy the way they saw themselves and their world. These events might not seem very significant to other people, but to the person concerned they are very important. It is not the events which make them important, or frightening, or overwhelming, but the meaning we give to these events.
Dorothy Rowe, in her forward to Hugh Smith’s book Depressed? Here is a way out! she explains that it is the meaning that we give to the event that creates the depression. How true it is for my own life when I attempted to build a wall, a wall that would defend me from my constant worry that had taken me over, spiraling my life downward into a deep, dark pit. It was like a Trojan horse, who had taken my mind captive and left me with no escape. I became physically immobilized trying to defend against this force – while my thoughts continued to cycle around and around, the more powerless I became.
Even though that feared future event never took place – my false belief that it would happen – froze my feelings, thinking and behaviors. I was like a zombie. That is until I heard about a group fellowship called Depressed Anonymous. It motivates its membership to take action. To do something. To move the body into action. To learn and live the Twelve Twelve Step of recovery with others like ourselves.
Gradually, I discovered that the more I discarded my defense of sleeping, isolating and negative thinking and sought the support of others like myself, did I get better. I attended the Depressed Anonymous meetings and made use of their their recovery tools. Now, I attend meetings as often as I can. There is hope…and we do recover.
(C) Hugh Smith, Depressed? Here is a way out! HarperCollins Publishing, London, 1990.
My name is Linda and the first time I read Depressed Anonymous, I did not like it and I got angry. The first part of the book about turning our mind and lives over to a Higher Power sounded good. I was ready to do that. Hey! Here it is God. You take it. No more depression! But then came the part about a moral inventory,shortcomings and the big one is that I depress myself.
What is he thinking about? I said to myself as I read the book. I had tried to un-depress myself many times. I put the book down, and went to work.
But as I was walking around at work that night feeling very depressed, bits and pieces of the book kept popping into my head and I started to think of the word “stop” just like the book suggested to do. “I depressed myself. I can un-depress myself I said to myself.”
Look for SUNSPOTS, memories from the past that were happy times and ones which bring back happy feelings from years gone by. I tried, but none came to mind. But I did find that thinking about the book and what it said did make me feel a little bit better. Then a piece of a song popped into my mind. “Seek you first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all the others will come to you.” “Hey! A SUNSPOT!” I said to myself.
Then I felt a warm glow and then I did feel better – I did it! I made myself feel better. I did un-depress myself! I had mixed feelings. I wanted to feel better, but admitting I depressed myself was not an easy thing to do.
I went back and reread the book, but now with an open mind. I have started to to follow the Twelve Steps and with the help of the Higher Power, I can have a brighter future. I am making and putting in my memory a lot of SUNSPOTS for those times when I am feeling depressed and which I can choose to draw upon when I feel that I need them.
I put up a “stop” sign and bring out a SUNSPOT to carry me through.
Depressed Anonymous 3rd Edition, © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY. (Page 114 – Personal Stories #3)
Lois joins a Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group.
It was December of 1992 that I made that decision. I knew that I was powerless over depression and that my life had become unmanageable. I was willing to do anything that Depressed Anonymous offered. I wanted to get rid of the pain. If Depressed Anonymous had told me that I would get well if I stood on my head three times a day, I would have done it. Daily I read from the book and consciously worked the Twelve Steps. I worked them one at a time from One through Twelve. Working the Steps to me meant posting the Step I was working on and consciously pondering it throughout the day.
Lois, a member of Depressed Anonymous
Depressed Anonymous 3rd Edition, © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY. (Pages 110-111)
Depressed Anonymous Workbook, © 2012, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY.
For more information on Depressed Anonymous literature and ordering online, please VISIT THE STORE at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.
Dep-Anon, a new publication from Depressed Anonymous Publications will be available this month and serve as a support group guide for family members who have a loved one whose life is affected by depression.
Here, you will learn how the various symptoms of depression can overtake the mind and feelings of your loved one. The chapter What is Depression? provides examples of behaviors demonstrating how negative symptoms can immobilize and change your loved one.
You will join with others families, no longer feeling alone, using the tools of Dep-Anon. You can learn how the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps, applied to one’s own situation, will accompany you through every chapter of this new work.
A new feeling of hope will begin to take hold as you participate in Dep-Anon meetings. You will learn from other Dep-Anon family members how to take care of yourself. Your focus begins with yourself and not the depressed family member. You will find that you can only change yourself.
To thine own self first be true.
This week stayed tuned to this website https://www.depressedanon.com where you will be able to order your own copy or order one for a family member.
Copyright(c) Dep-Anon A 12 Step recovery program of recovery for families and friends of the depressed.
(2121) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
Dep-Anon Is A Twelve Step Program Of Recovery For Families And Friends Of The Depressed
The best help for the the treatment of the depressed family member is to take care of themselves. This is the message of Dep-Anon, a family support group for family members of the depressed.
Dep-Anon’s publication date is set for the middle of March, 2021. Depressed Anonymous Publications is making available a new book, with it’s emphasis on the family who have a family member who is depressed. The family is suggested to first keep its focus on their own lives. This is made possible by gathering families together and their using a group approach, emphasizing the twelve spiritual principles (steps) of AA and by practicing them on a daily basis in their own lives.
The following except from Dep-Anon, directed at the family who are beginning “to see the light”.
Our depressed loved one discovers that we are taking a “hands off” attitude toward them. Armed now with the knowledge about the nature of depression, we have more understanding about life and struggles which torment and vanquish the lives of those who suffer from depression. We realize they are to blame for depression, with all the negative symptom which form that syndrome. They are mentally, physically emotionally unable to turn on and off, like a water faucet, this deepening sadness which has them immobilized and believing ghat there is no way out.
With this being said we are at the starting point in our own recovery.
COPYRIGHT(C) Dep-Anon: A Twelve Step program of recovery for families and friends of the depressed (2021) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 40241. pg 18.
The more I believe in this Power greater than myself the more that power begins to operate in my life. I am beginning to understand how life works – it is a paradox. The more I let go of my own perspective and turn it over to this greater power, I form a channel, a spiritual conduit by which this power can enter in and slowly and methodically transform my life. By my own life being transformed I find that the lives which I touch on a daily basis –they to begin to be transformed. Dep-Anon helps me focus my attention on what I need do. The attention is no longer on the depressed significant other but on where I am and how I will try and live one day at a time.
(Dep-Anon : A Twelve Step program of recovery for family and friends of the depressed. To be released for publication March 21, 2021.)
There were times when I wanted to talk to someone about what was happening in my life – but I didn’t even have a name for whatever it was that had me totally immobilized. What could I tell my friends – that I felt I was losing my mind. Some mysterious cancer of the brain maybe? I was definitely scared. The more stuff that I read about the symptoms the more confused I became. Whatever it was I knew that I needed help. Go to a doctor? Talk to a counselor? I felt so alienated, from my self, family and friends. I had hit the wall.
Like others with whom I later became became acquainted, it gradually came to me that I must be depressed. I had most of the symptoms: I lost my appetite, I felt shame that I was unable to help myself. I did manage to hold down a job, but my main thing after work was to go home and sleep it off. I lost my ability to concentrate, plus my memory seemed to be on the blink. I didn’t answer my phone, skipped business appointments and just rather not be in touch with anyone and everyone. Most of all I was very angry about something that clearly made my life miserable, hopeless and out of my control. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning – why, because my life was now without goals, purpose and meaning. My own isolation from everything that I once valued and dear to me was gone. In a sense I had lost my voice to ask for help.
I got a phone call one day – a work buddy asked me to attend a meeting with him. I asked, “What kind of meeting?” He just said something to get you moving again. I agreed, but only for his sake did I agree to go with him. By this time I realized that I was depressed – I knew what I had – or what had me. And if you are presently attending Depressed Anonymous meetings you know what I am talking about.
Not til after a few more meetings did I feel comfortable in this group. But it was only after more meetings was I willing to share my own story. You know, the before (how it was before recovery) and the after (how it is now that I am in recovery, have my own sponsor and go regularly to meetings). I felt I had to speak. I needed to get it out in the open. I told my story how I was a veritable wreck during my struggle and inner battles with depression. And then how I came to this fellowship and became a new person. The key that unlocked my prison was this group of men and women just like myself – and a God of my own understanding who I know loved me and was with me all the time.
With my voice back and no longer all alone I am using it now to encourage others who come to our meetings – to keep coming back and using the tools that we freely offer them. They will be another voice added to the many who are today sharing their hope, strength and experiences. If you are brand new they will be wanting to tell you about it!!
A Depressed Anonymous Member