Category Archives: I’ll Do It When I Feel Better

Motivation follows action

I find that if I am depressed and want to start to feel better, or at least get my mind off depression, I need to go for a walk and get moving. In DA we say that MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT YOU’LL NEVER GET MOTIVATED til YOU GET BUSY DOING SOMETHING. This was my feeling much of the Time. It was only when I actually started walking that I wanted to walk. I didn’t want to do anything to help myself. I didn’t want to do anything to help myself until I forced myself to do something.

I believer much of one’s tiredness, when depressed comes from having too many things going through one’s brain at the same time. The strain of being overwhelmed is too much for the human mind and so it and the body begin to show the stress. I also believe that so many unpleasant emotions constantly coming to surface and being felt by the body results in an overload situation for my brain.

COMMENT
The best way to get into action is to get into action. I know this is so obvious–but when the time comes for me to actually do something–that is a different story. Then my mantra becomes “I’ll do it when I feel better,” and course this doesn’t get me out of bed. This doesn’t get me walking. Instead, what happens, is that my thinking gets caught in that neural rut, much like a merry-go-round. Round and round we go. Nothing ever changes.

Tell yourself that this day is going to be different .Make a commitment to yourself today! Make up your mind that you are not going to ride the merry-go-round horse today.You are going to start small. Take the “baby steps” that just might push you out the door and put some fresh air into your lungs. MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. Check it out. See, for yourself if this doesn’t work for you.

Copyright(c) Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY January 24, p.15.

Stick to the plan. A prescription for change today.

It took me awhile to put into practice a simple idea. That idea is to do the same thing, day after day, in the same place and at the same time. If you have trouble following through on ideas or commitments, then you might feel better about reading the next few paragraphs.

With different situations in my life, some upheavals, some turning points, changes in my life goals, plus trying to do to much at the same time. It was somehow never easy to do what I knew needed to be dome. I used as my mantra “I’ll do it when I feel better.” In fact, this idea seemed to express perfectly, what I was doing, so I titled one of my books after it. Gradually, procrastination, I sensed, would not fit into my recovery program. I had put off for too long to knuckle down and start to do the work that I needed to do.

Here is my plan. I know it can work for you as well. There is no particular time limit on how long your prayer time is to be.

1. Everyday, I have found that morning works for me, I go to the quiet place that is best for my time alone with God, and start with a daily reading of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships. This reading begins with an Affirmation, then a reflection, and a final meditation. I have my notebook handy and I write down a positive thought that I want to carry me through my day. Most of the time this is a simple single sentence.

2. I then read and reflect on a paragraph or two from our Depressed Anonymous manual.This is coupled with the accompanying Depressed Anonymous Workbook, where personal reflections, in the form of questions, help me clarify how I think about myself. These questions continue to uncover issues which I might have never encountered, becoming the positive basic building blocks, helping with an understanding of the nature of my own depression experience, and developing in myself strategies, the 12 spiritual principles of growth, for my personal recovery, day-by-day.

It’s not complicated. It’s a plan. This time of prayer and meditation is a powerful way to make “conscious contact” with the God of your understanding. (Check out Chapter 10 in “I’ll do it when I feel better.” This chapter discusses more fully the topic of prayer and meditation.

Resources

(c)Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville, Ky.
(C)Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

+ These works can by ordered online at www.Depressedanon.com. Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

Making “resolutions” on New Year’s Day hasn’t worked for me

My New Year’s resolutions usually self-destruct, sometimes quickly (same day) and most times, a little bit later. What’s the point? Why make them? It sounds good when I hear myself tell others how I am going to do this or I am going to do the other to change my life. Now, today, I tell myself, that this year it’s going to be different. I know that the one major change in my life was a decision I made more than three decades ago…to no longer sad myself. That is the one “resolution”, if you will, that I have kept over the years and has worked for me. It continues to work for me.

I don’t make big “announcements” that I am going to do this or that. What I do now is to keep making decisions that I know with time and God’s help I can change my life, my thinking and my moods.

Recovery’s North Star is honesty – honesty with self and honesty with others. With this in mind, I place the resolution business aside. I know the New Year is about a new start, for some, a new beginning, filled with hope, promises and experiences. Whatever works for others is fine – it just doesn’t work for me.

My life has been geared toward living one day at a time. Keeping it simple, and putting the 12 principles of recovery into practice in my everyday life. My life is as Bill W., points out in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions,

…service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the well understood fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in a self constructed prison, the surety that we no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong to God’s scheme of things – these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of living, for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions could possibly be substitutes.
True ambition is not what we thought what it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk with humility under the grace of God.

RESOURCES

Copyright © Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. p.95.

Copyright © Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. (1952, 1953, 1981) The A.A., Grapevine,Inc and Alcoholics Anonymous.

Energy of activation – Walking through the struggle

I study chemistry, and I see a correlation between a chemistry concept and walking through a struggle in depression.   In a chemical reaction, there is something called the “energy of activation.”  It is the energy that is necessary for a reaction to proceed.  In the diagram below, is the large hump or hill between the initial state and the final state.  So if I relate that to depression, it is the struggle that I go through to perform a particular task.  Now, I’ve realized it’s not about the task.  For example, it does not matter if the task I’m trying to achieve is getting out of bed, going to a meeting, going to work, going to the gym, or achieving a lofty goal.  It’s about the energy of activation, or the difficulty of the struggle that matters. When I am in severe depression, the energy of activation required for me to get out of bed is immense.  It may feel impossible at times!  Now that I am not in a depression, that task is not a struggle for me.  It has a low activation energy.  In other words, it’s easy for me at this time.

So why does this matter?  Because I used to (and still can) compare myself to others and ask myself the question “how does that person do this or that so easily?  How come it’s so hard for me to get out of bed but so easy for someone else?”  This concept of activation energy helps me realize that everyone has struggles.  And if I focus on how to get through the struggle, then I am focusing on the solution.  I also realize that at different points in my life, the activation energy for the same task can be VERY different.  This also tells me that I can and should give myself credit for getting through the struggle, no matter what the task is!!  Because what matters is getting over that hump.

So how do we do that?  It boils down to our thinking, doesn’t it?  If I feed myself positive thoughts, such as “this is possible,” “I can do it,” “I’ve had successes is the past, so I can do it again,” “I am capable and I am worth it,” then I’m going to get into action and take baby steps up the hill.  But if I think negative thoughts (or choose to stay with those negative thoughts, since in my case my default thinking is negative) then I am going to walk myself right down that hill and stay stuck at the bottom.  Sometimes I need to think positive thoughts that will get me to call someone else and ask for help or motivation.  It’s okay to get help – it’s easier to climb that hill together!

I’m realizing that when I focus on giving myself credit for overcoming that struggle, then I’m helping myself.  If I tell myself, “oh, it’s no big deal.  All I did was get out of bed today.  That doesn’t really count as a success,”  then not only am I saddening myself, but I’m also being dishonest with myself!!   Because overcoming the energy of activation for that task was critical and a major achievement!!  And best of all, at the end of the task, I’m in a better place than where I started.  So just for today, I am going to give myself credit for walking though the struggle – no matter how big or small the task.

We can start today in getting our lives in order

It is only when we have begun to experience the sanity and healing of the program, studying the Steps and then returning to the meetings week after week, it is then, and only then, that we have the desire to want to bring this message of hope to those still suffering. Too often those who are hurting the most have the least desire to stick out the weekly meetings and which can produce a belief that they will be healed. They just don’t believe that anything good can happen to them. This of course is where they make a mistake. Their depression continues to inform them that no matter what they do or the actions that they take on their own behalf, it seems that nothing provides relief. I remember the times I informed two gentlemen, each at different times within a two-week period to come to our program and give it a try to see if they might begin to feel differently. I told them most, if not all those who come to our group, almost always felt better after getting actively involved in our program. They both declined my invitation. Within the next month, both had completed suicide. They chose death over the possibility of life. One of the recently deceased told me what would he gain by going to a meeting with a bunch of depressed people? Wasn’t he depressed enough? In a sense he was right. If a depressed person goes to a Depressed Anonymous meeting and they just talk about their depression, then yes, I suppose that would bring on more sadness in a person. But if it is a Depressed Anonymous meeting where they speak about the spiritual nature of the program and begin to live out the solution. namely, all that is contained in the suggested principles in the 12 Steps then they will definitely get the help they need. We live in the solution, not the problem. If you go to one of our meetings and hear nothing but talk of depression and nothing about the spirituality of our program of recovery that you might be in the wrong meeting. The good thing about the Depressed Anonymous meeting is that many of those attending are in that stage of their recovery, have a sponsor, have been applying the tools of the program, and have gained a positive view of themselves, their world, and their future.

Those of us who have lived with depression on a daily basis know the despair that dogs us day after day. For those who have been dependent principally on drugs and therapy and found no relief -this program is a good place to land. For those who have the courage to stay, and that need help, then this personal faith and effort will begin to pay off in time.

RESOURCE
Copyright(c) Hugh Smith. Depressed Once – Not Twice. (2000) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 1-2.

I will keep physically fit. Exercise is my priority now!

MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION

AFFIRMATION
I promise myself that I will walk today to regain a positive feeling about myself and my world.
Keep physically fit. It is a must for us who are and have been depressed. Walking not only restore harmony to the body, it likewise restores my self-esteem and self confidence. Remember that motivation follows action.

REFLECTION
How can motivation follow action? Isn’t it the other way around, namely that action follows motivation? In a sense the criticism is true, but in another sense, it isn’t quite that accurate. When speaking about the paralysis of depression the individual’s motivation is almost completely nonexistent. That is why it is important for me, a depressed person to force myself to get moving -that’s right, force myself into an activity because even though I say “I will do it when I feel better.” I never usually feel better. So I need to find that point in my day, when I feel better and get out in the air and walk, if nothing else, it tends to distract from my wanting to sad myself.
When I take care of myself physically and begin giving myself p[permission to express my feelings, especially the unpleasant ones, I begin to speak more assertively and begin to like myself.

MEDITATION
Today, help me sort out what needs to be thrown away and what we need to keep. Help us keep those memories that had love attached to them.

RESOURCES
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. (2002)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pages 150-151.

Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Chapter Six. Pages 33-36.

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

Share your story-save your life!

“It is my belief, after participating in hundreds of DA meetings over these past 25 years that the compulsion to repeat these self-destructive thoughts and images can be broken by attendance at our group meetings. It is at the meetings where these unpleasant feelings, swallowed these many years, can eventually be brought safely out into the light and accepted by the fellowship. No one puts me down for saying I am depressed. We never hear a “snap out of it” at our meetings. If we could just “snap out of it”  then there would not be a need for our group meetings.”

So, the logjam of all these unpleasant feelings, all balled up into one, gradually get untangled. The group fellowship accepts us for what and who we are.  Gradually, as we are able to tell our story  – tell who we are and trust ourselves and our story with this DA group – we begin to feel again.  We free ourselves of the deadness, which has not only isolated us but has kept us disconnected from family, friends and those who love us. As the Yiddish saying states “share your story – save your life.”  I have witnessed this miracle many, many times at our face  to face Depressed Anonymous meetings. Now that  I am learning how to choose a different way of thinking and feeling which  results  in breaking up the cycle of my addictive thinking and behaving.  I now lead a normal life where my depression addiction experiences,  are helping others get connected to those of us who are now living in hope,  one day at a time.”

SOURCES:  (C) I’ll do it when I feel better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.  Pages 54-55.

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

NOTE:   Examine  helpful  literature for depression  at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.  Online ordering is  available.

I felt envious of those who were happy and optimistic

This is your Higher Thought for today

AFFIRMATION

The more active I become in working my program, the better and healthier I feel about myself

“If you want to get better you have to act on your own behalf…”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know this might go against the grain of all of us who felt there was absolutely nothing we could do to help ourselves out of the prison of depression. Now I know that if I want to start feeling  better I have to be active in my own healing.  How does it work? First of all I admit I am powerless over my depression ; secondly, I put my trust in a Higher Power and believe that it can restore me to some sanity. I commit myself to understanding its will for my life.

I begin to believe that by getting active and involved in my own recovery, I will begin to be free of the interminable sadness that I have lived with for most of my life. In my depression, I was jealous of others who I figured had it better than I did. I envied those who felt happy and optimistic.  Now I know that I can feel better, too.

MEDITATION

We want to live with the belief that we can get better. We are recovering by means of our belief in a Power greater than ourselves.”  (You may want to write out your own personal responses to this Higher Thought   here for today.)

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. March 24. Pages 60-61.

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.     

NOTE: You can order Higher Thoughts for Down Days online by going to our website at Depressed Anonymous (www.depressedanon.com ). Click onto the drop down Menu  at VISIT THE STORE and  click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore, where any one of 12 different publications can be purchased.

Higher Thoughts can be purchased as a KINDLE eBook.  The Depressed Anonymous manual, 3rd edition and the Depressed Anonymous Workbook can likewise be ordered as eBooks.

The road less traveled

So to trust oneself can bring to one’s life a new dimension of hope that there might be a possibility for a positive change. But we need to take the road less traveled — not the road that is worn and rutted with the traveled path of hopeless journeys and adventures. The road less traveled is the one that joins with fellow travelers who are filled with hope and purpose.

Rowe says that by listening to our inner voice and so trusting that quiet inner voice is the beginning of getting hope for your self and serves as the key out of depression. Bill W., says that as time passes and we begin  to “get” the program of recovery that we are better suited now to follow those intuitive hunches which come with our renewed trust in self and the god  of our understanding.”

A comment. Most of the worn and rutted paths that are a big part of our sadness and isolation is due to the way we ruminate and fixate  about the way are life is spinning out of control. We  continuously try to think our way out of box which has us imprisoned in those rutted paths, dead ends.  This negative thinking is familiar–it’s like the train that travels on rails that are shiny with years of continual use.

Now, with our Twelve Step program of recovery our minds are taking the path that leads to peace and serenity.  We  have a way out of our isolation and pain.

Are you willing to take the road less traveled? Let us help you do just that. We can chart out a path for you that works and works for as long as you stay on the path. That’s a promise.


SOURCES: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER.(2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 78. (Chapter on TRUST).