Category Archives: Depressed Anonymous Workbook

To be honest, open and willing to look at ourselves gets us the hope we are looking for!

We notice in Step Seven  (Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings) we don’t tell  God how we want God to remove our shortcomings – we leave that up to God.  This of course takes time just as it took time to develop our shortcomings and our defects of character. Sometimes, we hear some professionals say that people who are depressing themselves shouldn’t spend time taking an inventory of their faults or shortcomings because that is what got them  here in the first place – namely dissecting and bashing ourselves for all the bad things we have done and become. Why would those depressed want to make themselves sadder? The answer to this is that you will not make yourself sadder, you will make yourself healthier as you admit how you have kept yourself locked up in the prison of your depression by any or all of the following: your perfectionism, your anger, anxiety, indecisiveness, feeling always overwhelmed, self-doubts, all or nothing thinking, your passivity and avoidance of getting in touch with your feelings, people pleasing, pessimism toward yourself, lack of feeling competent, loss of identity, feeling unconnected to the world, and finally feeling socially isolated. These are some of the shortcomings that each of us has to look at if we are to live with any amount of freedom.  Some of the above are sure to be part of the depressed person’s life and thinking.”

Quoting  Dorothy Rowe,  tells us that

“People won’t change until they have some assurance that when they do change they will be completely happy. They want to have someone promise them that if they decide to change, they will have no more problems and will be happy.

This request is based on two assumptions, namely: 1) Anyone who hasn’t got my problems has no problems at all (therefore when my present problems disappear I shall have no problems); 2) Happiness is total certainty  (therefore unless I know exactly what is going to happen I cannot be happy).

Change is always difficult. I need to examine in my own life and check out to see if I always expect my actions to produce perfectly happy results or I won’t pursue them.”

Ordering can be done online (depressedanon.com) The two works listed here make up our HOME STUDY RECOVERY KIT. It is a long distance approach for learning more about the power of the  Twelve Steps and how to apply them to oneself.


RESOURCES:  (C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY  Pg. 72.

(C) The  Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY . Pg. 59.

Hidden Anger Survey

SWALLOWING MY ANGER

Articles on how anger can affect our lives on a daily basis.

An excerpt from The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (Fourth Step. Question # 4.41.) Page 33.

“Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does get expressed, but in inppropriate ways. Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old fashioned wood burning stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke is up the flue and out the chimney; If the normal avenue is blocked, the smoke will leak out the stove in unintended ways…around the door, through the grate, etc., choking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the above ceases to function. Likewise, the normal human expression of anger is gross physical movement and /or loud vocalization: watch a red-faced hungry infant sometime. We learn to be “be nice,” which means(among other things) hiding “bad” feelings. By adulthood, even verbal expression is stifled, and to protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed “bad” feelings, we go to the next step and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even when we are. Such self-deception is seldom completely successful and the blocked anger “leaks out” in inappropriate ways…”

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

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

Putting power into my life

Yesterday’s blog spoke about the “lack of power” in one’s life.  Most persons are looking for getting some power in their lives. Power to get out of bed. The power to feel better. The power to overcome the feeling of powerlessness. The power to break out of our  prison of depression.  The power to find a way to have some peace and happiness in my life.

In the beginning of the book, titled Depressed Anonymous, there  are  articles  written by two different therapists who share their views on how the Twelve Steps have helped their counselees work their way out of depression.  They are sharing how a   program of recovery, with the spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous, modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps, are the basis of recovery from depression for the counselee.

As a therapist myself  I have found that the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship is a power that  gradually can pivot the counselee from sadness to hope. The group provides individuals with  new tools, giving power to their search for freedom and serenity.  No longer do they  feel alone and isolated.  We know that a sure-fire way to remain in a state of depression  lockdown is to isolate oneself from loved ones and life in general. By using the “Big Book” of Depressed  Anonymous  in the group  and with a therapist we discover a powerful truth that provides the impetus   for  continuing  on with our search for hope, recovery for  our own mental wellness.

 We begin to live in the present,   believing  that yesterday is gone forever and tomorrow  hasn’t yet arrived. All we have is the now. No one can promise us a tomorrow – so let’s live for today–one day at a time.

 Denise shares how  her client , “spent his time alone and many countless hours thinking of all the disappointments in his life, which continually reinforced his depression. Then he started going to DA and found that through being with other people like himself, he didn’t feel as  alone as he did before.  He started sharing his pain, and found understanding and support. Then I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. He also found help spiritually from DA, for he started working the Twelve Steps, and as a result, he started trusting God more for his healing. He is one of the many persons I’ve worked with who have found  help and encouragement through  attending Depressed Anonymous.”  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 29/ Therapists views on Depressed Anonymous, pages 26-29.

 Denise, as one of the therapists who has shared her views on Depressed Anonymous and who makes good use of the Depressed Anonymous group structure  discovers  how  a group program  can position a counselee into a fellowship with  people who are having the same experiences.  They no longer feel alone and isolated,  knowing  that they are  being provided with a program recommended by their therapist that works. By working with the therapist and the DA fellowship in tandem with each other, they find everyone is on the same page.  Not only does the powerful message that the counselee receives validate his/her recovery   experience with depression, but it will tie  in   with the  counselor’s treatment plan of recovery. It’s a win-win situation all the way!

If a therapist wants to give their clients another source of help, they might think about referring them to a mutual aid group such as Depressed Anonymous. And if the person reading this does have a therapist they would do well to advise their therapist  how much more the therapy experience would be enriched for the counselee.

Not only do we see how depression is becoming a  problem of epidemic proportions in all societies around the world, we believe that we have a positive approach to helping those who are still suffering  from depression.

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

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, 2nd edition (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

All books can be ordered  online.

 

 

Lack of power was our dilemma

 

 “We have emphasized  willingness as being indispensable. Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things  which we have admitted are objectionable? Can God  take them all –every one? Do  we still cling to something of which we will not let go. We ask God to help us to be willing. When ready we say something like this: “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen!”

  We know that our willpower alone can’t get us out of this prison of depression, but only a belief in a force or power greater than ourselves. So by working Step Six ( “We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character),  we continue to be in God’s will and let God help us discover and root out those defects of character that keep us prisoner.

‘So many people choose the predictableness of misery to the risky feeling of being unsure and scared over the new and faint feelings of lightness and cheer. As the depressed person gradually begins to knock down the wall of his/her denial that he/she is addicted to sadness whenever life gets stressful, this is in itself is  the starting point in the recovery process…”

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Page 55.

  Lack of power that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live and it had to be  a Power greater than ourselves.”

RESOURCES

(c)Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 65.

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

It seemed that I was living in another world

“it seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous meetings plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual have provided me with the tools to live without being depressed.  Most important of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power)  will give me strength to deal with my depression and got me on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps, has taught me that I am not alone. And that I am not  the only one who is suffering from depression. It has taught me to believe more in my Higher Power and let it handle my depression.”

It absolutely  feels that we are living in another world when depression takes over our lives. We believed the our  immediate reality of  this fog that takes over our mind  is the only reality that we can ever know. It’s  like driving with one’s  car lights  on low beam. What lies ahead is hidden. Our driving becomes cautious until we are forced to stop. We are hesitant to move further. Fear and anxiety grip our every thought. What danger can lie ahead?  We believe there is no escape.

For me, this is my best analogy for  my own depression. I too, like the author of the above sentiment (see Depressed Anonymous manual /Personal Stories) who felt completely alone and helpless.

But that is not the end  of our stories. Our feeling alone, adrift and living in constant fear comes to an end.  By learning about the fellowship of a mutual-aid group that we call  Depressed Anonymous and becoming an active member   I found new ways to live with hope. 

“As these new tools have helped me and will continue  to help all those many others who are looking for help out of their own fog.  They have taught me not to dwell on my past, to live one day at a time, and to look forward to the future, but  not live there.  It will take me a long  time to deal with depression, but I’m glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

You are not alone.  I am not alone. Those who have shared their own stories of recovery in the Depressed Anonymous manual, (quoted here) all have the same story; I was depressed and now I am not. If you would like to know more about these persons who have shared their stories of hope and serenity, please check out  their stories of how they used the tools of recovery to live again with  hope.  They know that they do not  have to feel alone again. 

Besides the groups, there are those who may want  to use the Home Study Recovery Program kit, comprised of the Depressed Anonymous Manual  and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.

These two books, written by those who were depressed and  now have  made these useful tools available  for others like themselves. Recovery means that we  can now   gain critical self knowledge   plus continuing to be  motivated  to devote  personal time and study for our own recovery.

RESOURCES

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

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, 2nd edition  (2002)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. 

I get depressed for no reason at all

Sometimes persons tell us that they get sad for no reason at all. All of a sudden they just feel down and don’t know why. Many times after reflecting upon this sudden rush of sadness, they realize that it has come from somewhere and they might as well take responsibility for it and deal with it. One of the best ways to deal with a feeling, especially the unpleasant ones, is to stay with it, and see what it is trying to say to you. When we run from it we lose. Granted, this won’t be easy and you might not find the source of the sudden sadness at first glance, but in time you can feel it and deal with it and then discard it. The more you ruminate about how sad you are and then how bad you are for feeling so sad, the more you have begun the downward spiral into physically feeling weak and hopeless. This is the time to call a friend or member of the Depressed Anonymous group. Just say: “Hey, I’m feeling sad and here is the reason why I am feeling sad – what do you think?” More times than not, your sad feelings will melt away.

Low moods, if not faced promptly can sometimes spiral into deeper moods, filling us with a sadness that slowly paralyzes our thinking and immobilizes our motivation to perform the most simplest of activities. These low moods carve out a beachhead in our psyche and have their own destructive way with our thoughts and behavior.

In my own case, I would be thinking of nothing in particular when suddenly, like a wave washing over me, I would be drowning in the darkness of these feelings, unaware of their source or able to predict their duration. Seeking relief I would escape to taking to my bed and sleeping.

These feelings, as unpredictable as they are, come from somewhere. Just like the rain, the snow and wind, they all come from somewhere. In truth, there is no mystery here as there source is contained in feelings connected to an event in our recent life and more probably have their origin in an earlier period of our lives.

There is truth that our body remembers situations from the past that we have not consciously thought about in years. It’s much like the deja vu experiences we have while at a certain place or life situation and it feels like we have been there before. We might think that we have been there – done that

A client once shared with me how he always felt sad when the cold winter season rolled around and he would become begin to feel sad and alone. As he told his story of growing up he mentioned how every February his mother would hole up in her bedroom and tell them “I am sick. I am afraid I am going to die.” Resultant from this personal experience of his fear that his mother was dying, every February or around that same time, his body would connect him with the sadness and fear felt when he was a child alone with his own fears, and would repeat in his body the same fears he had felt then. It wasn’t about the cold of winter but it was about those sad feelings coming to life at this particular season of his life. The body might remember everything while the mind and feelings remain submerged and hidden. Like a plant which bloom year after year.

In The Depressed Anonymous Workbook we read how early childhood memories connected to our deepest feelings can resurface as we gain adulthood. Because of a painful and meaningful loss of a loved one that was never discussed or talked about as we grew up, the feelings continue to remain and fester, like a wound that doesn’t heal.

Is there someone who was close to you as a child who died but whom you did not grieve or shed a tear for because you were still too young to say that you missed their love and their presence. All of a sudden they were gone and you got on with your life, but your body remembered that this person was once a meaningful part of your life. This might take some investigative work on your part, but we would well to talk to family and friends and see if there were deaths around the time that you were growing up and which you are now unaware, but might have effected your parents or guardians perceptions of life and so affected you.

To discover more effective ways to handle and deal with our feelings, please consider these two books written and published by members of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship. Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more details on ordering online.

These books can be a great source of help in dis-mantling our own depression and providing the tools to get our lives back on track. Please click onto www.depressedanon.com for more detailed information on ways to find the help you are seeking.

Sources:

  1. Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY. Step 10 – Page 90.
  2. The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, © 2001, Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Louisville, KY. Page 75. Step 10.1

Mary will do one activity today that can give her hope

Today, Mary,  a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship shares some of her  personal thoughts about  her  recovery.  In one of the personal  stories from Depressed Anonymous (2011)  she  shares  

         “Today I can experience hope. I will believe I can live this day with pleasant thoughts. I will do one activity that will give me hope and light for today.”

  Mary continues to make her  remarkable recovery by  being part of a fellowship where all members have an opportunity for learning  how to use  the tools which will  deliver them from the pain and isolation of their depression.

     She continues  to tell us that “today I will not dwell on the past and the losses that have occurred.”

Of the many areas of her life that she   reflects on in her story, she shares   that instead of thinking about the past and the harm that her losses   have cost her personally, she now examines the possibilities which  her new program of hope is providing   for healing and a  new way of looking at life and her role in it. 

In the Depressed Anonymous fellowship Mary is learning to accept the fact that she doesn’t have to stay depressed. Now, today, her group is encouraging her to be part of a hopeful journey shared by all its members. One of its main messages is to live one day at a time; to live with the belief that   as other members of the group tell their stories of how they escaped the trauma and pain of depression, so too can she.  It is a fact that by following and incorporating the Twelve Spiritual principles  of the Steps in her own life — this is what has brought her to the point of recovery for herself and many others.

Mary now has a plan that works. She wants to tell others about how she has been willing,  open and honest about having that great need to believe in something so much  bigger than herself or her depression. She has had a spiritual   awakening,  releasing  in her a new peace and a new purpose,  not only for her own recovery but for those many others like herself who are seeking a solution,  focused on a new depression-free way to live.

She now believes that living out the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous in her own life is what has brought her to this place of freedom from fear and despair.

RESOURCE

For more information on Depressed Anonymous and the Twelve Steps please click onto depressedanon.com and learn more about the program that has given Mary life. You can also order online.

(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Personal Stories. Pgs.134-135.

Root canals and depression: what they have in common

When I gradually found myself in a mental and physical lockdown, due to a battle with depression, I did what most of us with the symptoms of depression do, I began to isolate. If not physically, at least in my mind.

For those of us who have experienced a root canal, you know what I am speaking of when it comes to suffering pain. Maybe today, the root canal of yesterday is not as bad today because of  advancement in this dental procedure.  But with my own depression I felt a terrible pain and total physical exhaustion.  I just wanted to be left alone. I needed to try and figure out what began as a worry turned into being a  continued ruminating about my own mental abilities.  Because I couldn’t just ask my dentist to drill down and remove the cause of my pain, I chose to hobble away quietly and  begin  to medicate it with sleep and avoidance of everything that I had held dear in my life. I was not dealing with a decaying tooth but with a powerful  mental anguish, sapping me of any positive solution to a life gone sour.

And just as a dental procedure provides a solution  for my tooth, so is there a solution for  finding healing and help for my depression.  I believe that for most people who suffer from depression there is  hope. There is a healing that is available. For many persons their depression lifts of it ‘s own. It’s been said that 85%   of us who have had only one episode of depression in our lives that  this will be the only one we will experience. 

Many seek out medication, some  therapists, some psychologists, and  most a combination of these resources.  But for those who also seek out understanding and who can  find a friend to talk with, these are the ones that gradually find hope and a solution for their misery.

In my own life, I found a group of men and women (  Depressed Anonymous) , of all ages who come together and speak about their isolation   and helplessness and find others   in the same boat  as themselves. It became clear that this is a positive experience and a resource that gradually gave me an anchor to help me survive the storm.  No longer did I feel that the waves of sadness and feeling hopeless would drown me.  It also provided me with a group of people, coming together as a group,  continuing  to provide me with  tools to leave my self constructed prison of depression. Now I am free of living always inside my mind and beating myself up with guilt and shame.

Take charge of your life, piece by piece. Take one small goal at a time. Get busy. Walk everyday. Go to gym. Find that friend to talk with-especially good if they belong to a Depressed Anonymous group and they use a plan  that provides a pathway to hope and help.  Get  a DA Workbook and DA Manual (3rd edition) and follow it’s plan, one day at a time. Learn about the 12 spiritual principles/Steps  of Depressed Anonymous and apply them to your own life.  If you do these simple steps, you will find that just as going to a dentist for help with  your teeth, so will getting involved with people like ourselves provide healing and  focus on taking good care of ourself and our  life without the debilitating pain of depression. That is a Promise!


RESOURCES

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

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

Running out of gas?

MY LIFE BEFORE

Running out of gas is a scary proposition, especially when you know the nearest town and gas station is fifty miles away. Your mind starts cranking up some o f the most dire scenarios one can imagine . Running out of gas has not been a problem for me in recent years. I have learned that it’s best to keep an eye on one’s gas gauge. That usually takes care of any problems of being stranded on the highway.

For me, being depressed is like running out of gas. Even though I was going about my life as usual, I began noticing my energy level (physical gauge) was reading close to empty. This didn’t cause much concern at first and I kept plodding along. I didn’t give the thoughts too much attention.

Suddenly, yes, it was suddenly like some huge hand reached into my head, turned the mental ignition switch off, with my life spiraling down into a bottomless pit. I was out of gas, emotionally, spiritually and motivationally paralyzed. My battery was dead and my tank was empty. What to do?

MY LIFE NOW

“The important thing to remember about depression is that you are not a victim. You have bought into the belief that you can’t change how you feel. You need to believe that once you change the way you think then that in itself can begin to produce a change in the way you feel.”

It’s been more than 30 years since I spiraled into the bottomless pit. I continue to live, one day at a time, with the strength that daily replenishes me with hope and confidence. That strength I call my Higher Power, or my God as I understand God. (Step Two).

My battery is charged by those others in the Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous who as my companions on this broad highway of recovery, who speak the language of hope. Each time that I read and reflect on the thoughts in the big book of Depressed Anonymous (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition) and stay in touch with a weekly meeting and my sponsor, I find my strength and resolve renewed.

If you are visiting this website for the first time or the hundredth time, know and believe that you too CAN rise up and resist all those hopeless and helpless thoughts trying to crowd out these new feelings of hope and resolve.

RESOURCES

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

For more information about ordering material online please click onto VISIT THE STORE at THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE.