Category Archives: Depressed Anonymous Workbook

So, I admit that I am depressed? Now what do I do?

“The first thing that I would do, would be to check out our Depressed Anonymous website @depresedanon.com. It is Here that you will be able to participate every day, with people just like yourself, who are seeking hope, and healing. This mutually supportive fellowship will lead you out of the prison of your depression and open your life up to hope, healing, and lasting friendships.

Even though we have a need to be by ourselves, and stay apart from human contact, we also have a need to be in contact with others. For to be in contact with others means that we will have to take some risks to make some choices. But when I am depressed and alone. I don’t have to make as many choices or take any action except to keep isolating myself and staying apart.”

Copyright (C) Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2002) Louisville, KY

When you’re depressed all you’re interested in is survival – Dorothy Rowe

 

THE ORIGINS of MISTRUST

I want to share with you how Dr. Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist, provides examples how our lack of trust can originate in early childhood. Patterns of isolating behavior and negative thinking, grow strong in a home environment where the child is not loved and nurtured.

Dr. Fitzgibbobs, tells us “that the seedbed of mistrust resides in childhood. Many times this lack of trust, of others and ourselves and the world around us, may have begun with the loss of a parent, sister, brother, or a close friend. A serious illness in a parent, sibling or oneself can be the cause of depression. Many times mistrust comes about because of an alcoholic parent so that a child never knows if a drunken loved one is coming home, or in an angry drunken stupor. Anger and rejection by caregivers and/or peers can also have an effect on the ability to trust. Parental divorce or separation can have an effect on a child. Also a cold distant, and unloving parent can have a negative effect on a child. Add to this, a legacy of mistrust and fear in the family will negatively influence a child. Finally, poverty may also be a cause of mistrust”

Brenda, (not her real name ) shares with us some of her own story:

” I have often reflected on how a lack of trust in myself and in others, had a crippling effect on my early childhood development. It was only until I began examining my own childhood, later in life, that I discovered reasons for my mistrust of others. I accomplished these discoveries by getting in touch with those early negative feelings that constantly bombarded my everyday thinking. Most of these early feelings remained unconscious and hidden, until I started to examine my childhood relationships, especially with those significant others who were my caregivers. ”

By utilizing the Depressed Anonymous Workbook with its’ 12 STEP COMMENTARY, and questions, directed toward one’s early life experiences, special attention was centered on those caregivers and significant others in one’s family, who, charged with caregiving, to provide the child with the love that a child deserves. For many children, who grew up in a home environment, filled with anger, parental arguing, and violence, made it impossible for a child to defend themselves against such abuse, including mental, sexual, and physical abuse. Some children create fantasy worlds, some with imaginary friends, with whom they can confide in and feel secure in a home environment where chaos reigns.

In our Depressed Anonymous fellowship, we can begin to open up to group members, giving us that opportunity to share and trust,\

others, who are like ourselves. We happily discovered that we are now no longer alone. Most of us come to our program of recovery, looking to find help, and that welcome relief from the daily crippling burden of depression, which has forced us to isolate from others, believing that we are not good enough.

Earlier, Dr, Fitzgibbons has listed some of the major causes of our childhood depression, and we can resonate with them within our hearts and minds. And in your moments of personal quiet and reflection, celebrate who you are and not who others say you are.

So get a notebook, and begin to write down your answers to those questions in the DA Workbook, which hold meaning for your own personal life and recovery, to which you can relate. Share your DA Workbook with your therapist, sponsor or friends in Depressed Anonymous at the ZOOM meetings online, and/or face to face meetings.

So now, not only will you be a survivor, you will no longer be a victim of those circumstances, which made you believe that you were worthless, unlovable and unacceptable. Progress, not perfection.

By completing my Fourth Step inventory, it became possible to uncover those areas of my early life which made trusting an impossibility. As mentioned earlier, and later into my early adult life, it was my own spiraling downward, into the darkness of depression, the only thing that I could think of was my survival. I was desperate to stop the descent into the darkness and physical pain. I knew that I must get active, preventing my paralyzing desire to take comfort in sleep and shut out the world.

My life is very different now. I continue to take inverntory of my life on a daily basis and I finally believe in myself and the Higher Power that has helped me believe that I have a purpose and a meaning for my life. I also believe in a power that is greater than myself and who continually leads me, everyday, on this wonderful journey of hope! Progress and not perfection.

TRUST IS A FEELING OF BEING SAFE IN RELATIONSHIPS AND IN LIFE.

HUGH S., FOR THE FELLOWSHIP

Who am I? What do I want? Who is my God?

As we dig  deeper into the  benefits of the Inventory, we want to get started with asking ourselves some  basic questions,

Who am I? What do I want ? Who is my God?

I  recommend  that you spend some time reflecting upon these questions as we continue our discussion of seeking more information on who we are  as a person.  This self-disclosure   process can provide us with  valuable insights as to those areas of our lives which have been responsible for the way  we are today. This includes an examination of the way we think, feel and  live out our daily lives.

In the early days of my own recovery, I  began to put together a workbook where I used  the three questions listed above and  focused on each of the Twelve Steps.   With each step, I listed a number of  questions which I felt would help  me discover  the areas in my life which I had never really examined  in any detail.  An important issue here is that when I was depressed  I didn’t have a clue as to what was happening to me.  I felt like my mind and body were spiraling down a slippery slope.

My first  reaction to this sudden fear was to create even more fear as my mind swirled around,  attempting  to  stop whatever it was that suddenly and without warning, had me locked in  a mental turmoil.  As I was oblivious to the fact that I had unconsciously and  gradually beat myself up over the previous months , creating guilt and shame,   resulting   that I became physically and emotionally immobilized.  Eventually , I discovered that this was called depression.

Back to our inventory. Only with the help of the newly formed Depressed Anonymous group,  a fellowship that was using the Twelve   Steps for their recovery.   It was when  I admitted that I was powerless over my depression, that the real work had  its beginning.

If you want to examine your  own life, with a personal  thumb print of your strengths and weakness,  then today is a good day to get started.

As an exercise in recovery,  write down your own responses to the three  questions listed in the   title of today’s blog .  Take your time, this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Again , we  are  taking  time out to find out who we are…not who people said we were.  It will not surprise you that what others said you were   in your early life, favorable or not,  stays with you into your teen years,  adult  life.

As we move along in our recovery, answering the questions in the workbook, gradually our examined life will provide you with information that you may  never have thought about.

So,  next time I meet with you  at our  blog, I hope you will have made a start in discovering something about yourself.  The inventory is about making progress–not being perfect.

The Depressed  Anonymous Workbook.  (Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville , Ky.

If  you have questions please let me know. My email address is: depanon@netpenny.net

Sweeping away prejudice

“”There is a well known saying, Contempt prior to investigation will leave one in everlasting ignorance.”

Strong words, everlasting ignorance. Everlasting meaning never ending ignorance. Ignorance meaning not more of and nothing to do with intelligence here. One is left everlastingly in the dark. Contempt has prejudiced the light of awareness. I believe our true Being ness is this light of awareness. Twelve Step recovery suggests a sweeping away of prejudice along with honest thinking and diligently looking within, in order to join the Broad Highway of Belief. I is called the Cornerstone.
Let’s say we use a a spiritual broom as a tool for this sweeping away. N0w let use this broom to clean up and clear away old ideas and beliefs that have been darkening our Source or Higher Power. The Depressed Anonymous Workbook does such a thorough job of uncovering these. Deeply embedded fears/hurts/ anger etc., can be swept into ( or surrendered into) the heart or the light within or the seed planted within each of us. This seed idea of God, when these ideas, beliefs and motives are swept away, then the light can be nurtured to grow and shine so brilliantly in our lives. We are life and no longer dwelling in darkness! However it is suggested in Scripture from Christ Consciousness, that when a house swept clean, it must not allow itself to become “vacant”after this spiritual House is in order. Now in Presence. No past or future occupancy in the mind, saddening oneself again. Find the Miracle of Abiding Presence. We are Life and Life is Now eternally. A quote from Misread Maharaji, “Wisdom is knowing I am nothing. Love is knowing I am everything.
Affectionately
Janet M

Wellness Steps: A personal fitness plan that builds self-esteem

BUILDING SELF-ESTEEM
1. Appraise yourself: Identify strengths and problem areas.
– Check out the Depressed Anonymous Workbook for a 12 Step self-study of one’s strengths and problem areas.
2. Try changing in small ways. Keeping it simple and manageable.
3. Emphasize your positive skills, talents and strengths. A sponsor will be most helpful in leading you to discover your hidden strengths. When we are depressed and in lockdown, it is hard to see the light. In the beginning, you will let the Da fellowship group serve as the key to unlock your potential.
4. Take what others say at face value- Free yourself from the burden of figuring out others motives.
5. Choose role models you respect. It’s possible that your presence at a DA meeting will discover others who are making the 12 Steps recovery program work for them, finding serenity an hope.
6. Stop activities you don’t like or have an aptitude for. Examples: People pleasing, isolating oneself from friends and family, catastrophic thinking, having negative thoughts about self, not trusting others.
7. Accepting yourself without judgment. Use the “SUNSPOTS” or the “Rule of Threes” to discipline oneself to use what works for you and leave the negatives behind. (See Pages 47-48 in DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS. 3rd EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. 2011.)

Please read the story of Margie, a charter member of Depressed Anonymous, as she shares her story. Personal Stories section.#31. Page 131. Depressed Anonymous.
8. Talk to your friends. This is an avenue that leads you to finding who you are. The DA fellowship, which meets every day.(Check out Website for meeting information). Here in this group, your friends will share how their Journey of Hope gave them a most valuable gift–namely, a choice to work their way out of depression or to continue to live a life of misery and hopelessness.
9. Choose one particular task and do it. Just one task. One small baby step. Keep it simple. Stay in the now–one day at a time. Walk and get out into nature. Walk around the block. Use the TOOLS of Recovery. (See Homepage at depressedanon.com and click onto TOOLS of Recovery menu. You will find an array of ways to begin your own life journey, with a commitment for your own personal wellness and fitness.)
10. Take charge of your life and set goals. Make decisions. Take some risks. Reach out to others for help!

Depression thrives and grows strong in isolation where the depressed individual can spend time ruminating over past defects and self-alleged wrongdoing. The very worthlessness can grow in this darkened environment. But if the solitary confinement is to end, the depressed person has the right and the responsibility to examine the various ways to fight back the isolation, immersing oneself in a supportive and healing environment. If there is no environment where they feel safe and secure, one will have to buildup their courage and get one. You cannot think yourself out of depression. You hold the key that will unlock your prison of depression. We recommend that you start using it now.

Hugh S.


(C) Copyright. Shining a light on the dark night of the soul.: A personal experience for healing the darkness of depression. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd Edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 47-48.
(c) The Depressed Antonymous Workbook.(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Please visit the DA literature store for more information.

How do I deal with anger in my life?

DECISION 8: I WILL BE MORE ACCEPTING OF ANOTHER’S ANGER AND NOT ALWAYS TAKE IT PERSONALLY.

When you are both the focus and the cause of the person’s anger, you will need to find responses other than cutting yourself off from the person, by doing that, sharply reinforces your barrier of loneliness.

D.Rowe tells us that we find the cause of the anger and discuss the matter. For whatever reason for the anger, it might be best to write a letter the person. Or, Possibly, a friendly visit between the two of you will help solve the problem.

Making an apology when we see ourselves trapped, weak, worthless and hopeless, by making an apology to the person who caused the anger, seems frightening and humiliating.

Making amends, an apology to those we have injured us, seems gracious and creative, allowing a relationship to be strengthened and resumed.

In some families, there was no teasing, absolutely not. Maybe outside the family it might be allowed. Everything in the family was 100% serious. If a family member was teased, then this could result in a sulk and long term silence.

But in school, children might be teased, but never knowing how to tease back. We want to distinguish between friendly and malicious teasing. We could put bullying at the top of the list as one of the most harmful ways of malicious teasing. When I make an effort to get along with other people, distinguishing between friendly or imaginary teasing, this makes our relationship stronger, the other builds barriers.


TOMORROW DECISION 9: I WILL IMPROVE MY SKILL IN DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN REAL AND IMAGINARY ENEMIES.

I will try to improve my understanding of my behavior

LEAVING LONELINESS BEHIND: 12 DECSIONS

“DECISION 7: I WILL TRY TO IMPROVE MY UNDERSTANDING OF MY BEHAVIOR.”

All actions have consequences. and they are usually different from what we expect.

In a situation where we want our cake and eat it too, we always try to have both, but we learn that in trying to get both, we lose both.

If you are to improve your skills in understanding people, in order to rid your loneliness, working out the consequences OF what you and others do, is extremely important.

You really have to develop more flexible ways in dealing with the consequences when the consequence is anger.”


TOMORROW DECISION 8: I WILL BE MORE ACCEPTING OF OTHER PEOPLES ANGER AND NOT TAKE It PERSONALLY.”

LEAVING LONELINESS BEHIND – DISMANTLING THE BARRIERS

Leaving loneliness behind. Dismantling the barriers.

THE TWELVE DECISIONS
What is loneliness?

“Loneliness is the state of being cut off from other people, through fear of other people. Loneliness is felt as a barrier and an emptiness between yourself and other people. You reach out to other people but the barrier intervenes. You take a step toward other people, but there is no place to put your foot. People come towards you and your loneliness shuts them out.”

“It is your loneliness rather than the absence of other people that leads you to be alone.” Dorothy Rowe. Ph.D
The only person that is going to take your loneliness away is you. This is what you do. You make 12 decisions and carry them out.

DECISION 1. BECAUSE I VALUE MYSELF AND ACCEPT MYSELF I WILL END MY LONELINESS.
In our planned conversation about how to leave our loneliness behind, I have noticed my own presence, as at a Depressed Anonymous meeting, whether on ZOOM or Face to face, each of us is provided a way to risk telling others who we are and what we are not. This presence gradually instills in our mind the fact that “Hey, I feel more with others when I can share.” I no longer feel so alone now. After our sharing at a DA meeting, others in the group connect with who we are.This personal sharing tells others how we intend to live out our lives. We share how our lives were before coming to the meeting of others like ourselves.

I believe this personal sharing and risking things about ourselves, will carry out beyond this one hour of meeting, having a gradual and positive effect in our world where we live out our lives. Now, you are able to maximize a good experience (group sharing) being being accepted and loved. This online group or a face to face group, is like a surrogate family. Whereas, when you were born into a family–not of your own choosing, you make a decision to choose this DA group as your family. I make a choice as to who I share my life. By making the decision, you will begin to value yourself as a worthwhile person. At the meeting, people really listen to what I have to say.

It helps to get close to others by helping them tell us who they are. We will hear their stories. And to get closer to others, you can do this by asking questions, asking how they are, what they are interested in, and other areas of their lives. They will begin to let you into their private world. You will let them into your world. A barrier has been dismantled.

This sharing at our DA meetings, a place of feeling safe,I can allow myself to chip away the barriers that once made me feel alone and afraid. THe old thoughts that we once felt we had to defend ourselves against, by erecting walls, built during our childhood days, will no longer be needed.

It is this first decision that we make, to value and accept ourseves and risk sharing my story with others. This will be the start, for breaking down those barriers which kept me from telling others who I am.

Tomorrow, we will Share Decison 2: “I will take the risk of approaching others.” Stay tuned.

Hugh S.

NOTE: Quotations are from Dorothy Rowe’s “Breaking the bonds. Understanding Depression, finding freedom. Fontana, 1991. London, UK.

Detour – Taking a different way home

Step Four

“MADE A SEARCHING AND FEARLESS MORAL INVENTORY OF OURSELVES.”

“Let’s Just say that you always took path A home from work everyday. You passed the same old signs, the same old buildings, the same old malls–you feel you could almost drive home with your eyes closed. This is of course boring, and also deadening to our thinking processes as we do everything out of habit. The saying is true that we are creatures of habit. But let’s just say, for example, that a detour sign pops up along our old familiar path -we become disoriented – we become confused. We say to ourselves-Where am I? Now where do I go? Good questions.” The inventory will ask questions of you which you may never have asked of yourself.

“But we have figured out that even though my path home is very predicable, it is still a path that is gradually incapacitating my ability to keep a focus on hopeful outcomes.” We need to be awakened out of our routine. The daily grind is putting our mind to sleep.

Let’s take an example taken from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, which presents us with a metaphor, on how an inventory will become a critical part of our personal recovery. The 4th and 5th Steps in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, includes questions dealing with our lives, while detailing areas which have been influenced by our everyday feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair.The inventory questions, prepared in the 4th and 4th Step chapters of the Workbook, (all 12 chapters are in a question and answer format) will provide for us some surprising pieces of positive information about ourselves that will be recovered from examining some of our past life issues. (Don’t forget to share all the good things that you like about yourself.)

We have mentioned how working the 4th Step Recovery Program is like coming home a different route. We will take the detour (inventory) which will help us get back on the right path. That is why, our inventory work, puts us on a different path for living. We are fitted with a new hope. We will quickly learn how doing or not doing what we always used to do, is NOT working.

By using the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, with its 12 Step questions, accompanied with our personal answers, can provide us, with a gradual process of self-understanding, self-awareness, and emotional healing. These positive thoughts and feelings about ourselves, continue to manifest as a direct result from our personal answers to Workbook questions and our hard work on ourselves. We find that we are able to live with hope the more we commit ourselves to our recovery work. Our mind continues to put a “spotlight” on these negative concerns which keep us from a life lived with hope and peace. In time, the fog in our brain will gradually be lifted. We will begin to see ourselves and future in a positive light.

Path B, points us in a different direction from where we were used to going. And for many of us, this is the first time that we are intent upon taking a good and hard look at who we are. Taking an inventory, looking at the negatives as well as all the strengths that are ours, helps us to give a gratitude for all the good areas of our life that are beginning to awaken in us and continue to take root. These awakenings are the new and fresh beliefs about ourselves and our inner world that is gradually being created.

In the 4th Step of recovery, we are ready to “make a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.” The inventory method will help us, as we take take a little time each day, reflecting on how we think about ourselves, while discovering reasons why our “mistaken beliefs” about ourselves, has gotten us to the place where we are today. This motivates us to get into action. We make a decision to change the way we live out our daily lives. We want to be fearless in uncovering any and all rocks, that have blocked our path in the past. We will begin to take action and we will possess a new courage, taking care of business.

We must look the beast in the face. I pray that the “God of your understanding” will lead you to where the light of love shines bright and where the darkness is swallowed by hope and love of self.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

For more information on the Workbook, and other literature which can be helpful, please check out the Webpage (Depressedanon.com) at the DA Literature Store

Copyright(c) Depressed Annoynous Workbook Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2002) Louisvllle, KY. Pages 22-24.

In Control

The following is a passage from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Pages 7-8.

Surrender and accept.
I want to admit that my life has been out of control for many years, but now that I am in touch with truth, I believe that my life can be lived out differently.
I can begin to use the Twelve Steps and begin the task of working myself out of the pit of depression. I believe that with time and with patience, plus the group fellowship and support, that I will be able to make some positive strides in feeling different about myself and my world.

A question: How many years, months, days can I remember being depressed? How far back in time can I remember always feeling sad and wanting to withdraw. Write out your experiences about these experiences.

Write down the number of people you have admitted to that you have been depressed.
Write down their reactions to your admission.
When you feel depressed what do you say to yourself? What action or behavior do you do when you feel this way?

Does it promote more isolation or being more connected with others? Please write these out.

Is your life more unmanageable now since you have admitted that you are depressed? Can you tell a difference now that you are admitting that depression is and has been a big problem in your life? YES? OR NO? Please write out these experiences.


These are just a few of the many questions that you may want to answer as you go through this Workbook.

Each of the Twelve Step chapters has a number of questions that will help you discover how you feel about certain areas of your life. Positive solutions are included in each chapter and can aid in your efforts to escape from your own prison of depression.

You can answer these questions, possibly some of which have never crossed your mind before now. The Workbook, can be answered in your own privacy. Or, you may want to answer them with a friend or sponsor.

You can discover more about our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous and discover you can be part of a growing group of those persons like you, who are also searching for a way out of their depression.


Our website is https://depressedanon.com with listings of daily DA meetings (no fees or dues) online as well as literature, like this Workbook, which may be ordered online.