In order for us to escape depression we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. That process for change is of the nature of a spiral instead of a straight line. In other words, now that we are willing to risk feeling differently we have been gearing up to improve our situation. In other words we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.
1. AWARENESS STAGE: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way that we do. Something has to give.
2. MOTIVATING STAGE: I am going to prepare myself for needed change in my thinking, acting and feeling.
3. DOING STAGE: I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changes that have to be made by me if I am to feel differently.
4. MAINTAINING STAGE: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working of the 12 step program for recovery.
Now apply these four stages which serve as antidotes to our character defects and which cause us to stay imprisoned in our prison of depression…The first is the character defect of BLAMING.
(1) AWARE. Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that it serves no purpose to blame myself for my depression an d bashing myself with daily reminders how bad and unacceptable I am. And now I am: (1) AWARE of my need to discover what there is about myself that I do find acceptable, good and wholesome.
(2) I am MOTIVATING myself now that I am aware how I have depressed myself by the faulty beliefs that I have held about myself over the past years. I now know that part of the way I feel is due to the way I automatically talk to myself throughout the day. Without ever being conscious of it I now realize that my feelings about myself are very negative and emotion laden.
(3) DOING. I intend today to replace all negative statements that I make in my head and replace them with positive statements –positive affirmations. I am going to alert myself –like a red flag waving –every time I call myself stupid or put myself down mentally. I will use affirmations such as “I will build a new life.” “I am strong.” “I have courage to go through this experience.” “I no longer blame myself or others for my sadness.” “I do not have to wait for someone to make me feel differently.” “I can do it myself.”
(4) MAINTAINING. I am very hopeful that I can feel differently just today, for this 24 hour period. I am going to tolerate my imperfectness while at the same time refusing to feel sorry for myself. I am going to make myself accountable for how I feel –not blame it on another, the weather, parents or whatever.
SOURCE: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (Pgs. 41-43)- Depressed Anonymous Publications – Louisville
Continued tomorrow: BEING A VICTIM
Back in the last century I made a decision that continues to direct my life today and everyday. That decision was that I needed help. I needed to know how to free myself from an addiction to a substance that was gradually killing me. The only place that I knew that might offer me some help would be a local AA group. Frightfully, but expectantly, I walked through the door of my first 12 step meeting. The power that was greater than me–was the group of men and women who were meeting to talk about a solution–namely, to their addiction to alcohol. I felt at home. Well, not totally at home–but I did find acceptance for me and my particular addiction. They presented me with a toolbox–not material tools–but spiritual tools that I use to keep myself free of my desire and craving for alcohol. We call them the 12 steps.
That was in 1982, December 7th. And then three years later I became depressed and I applied the steps to my depression experience, which likewise was killing me. I got out my tool box and began applying the same tools as I had applied to my other addiction and found I again had a solution to my twisted and distorted thinking. It was only after I admitted that I had a problem, and my life was unmanageable, did I find a way out. My Higher Power leads the way, day after day, month after month and year after year. If you want to learn more about how YOU can make a decision, find the tools and keep your attention focused on the solution oriented 12 steps, then you let us know. We want to share with you our story and how it was before in our life and how it is now.
Looking to find that toolbox? We can help. Don’t give up. Look us up and give us a call.
IF YOU WANT SOMETHING THAT YOU NEVER HAD BEFORE, YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING THAT YOU NEVER DID BEFORE.
Well, that pretty much says it all. We all have our comfort zones–that is for sure. About two weeks ago, a friend of mine wanted to know if I would join him in getting out the vote here in the USA. I told him I would. All it entailed was going to certain neighborhoods and knocking on people’s doors and asking them if they were going to vote in the Midterm elections. If they said yes, then I would tell them where the polling place was located. I spent two days of this–knocking on doors and asking them to get out and vote for their candidates. I had never, in my whole life done this before–going and knocking on strangers doors and asking them to vote. (Only time before was when I was a kid and went “trick or treating” on Halloween.) Anyway, the whole point here is that I was very uncomfortable knocking on doors and talking to total strangers. It was way out of my “comfort zone.”
When I was depressed I entered into another type of “comfort zone” namely an isolation zone–where all I wanted to do was just do nothing. Just absolutely nothing. Except sleep. My comfort zone was like I was living in a glass house–I could see everything around me but I had no interest in or connection to what happened outside my walls. I had no desire to get involved with former activities that provided me with a sense of purpose or happiness. My mantra was “I’ll do it when I feel better.” Finally I made up my mind, crawled out of my comfort zone and walked through the doors of my first 12 Step meeting. This was a very un-comfortable move for me as I forced myself to go and get help for what could possibly kill me.
Reader, just know that if you want help for yourself or a loved one–knock on our door–come on in– know that if you are depressed, or a friend is depressed, we have the tools to help you find your way out of your prison of depression. You’ll be taking a step into a new way of living.
“Why wouldn’t our relationships with other people improve? After we have begun to put into place our daily program for recovery, namely through prayer and meditation we now are expectant and hopeful. We reflect upon each step, and we complete a piece of the structure that in time will be the new one.
I think that one of the more critical areas to mend our lives is the thinking part of ourselves. Depression appears to start with the way our minds react and perceive events outside of ourselves. So, from the start we need to promote to those persons depressed to get involved in as much physical activity as possible, namely, walk, express to others, go to DA meetings, talk on the phone with supportive people –in other words, get connected as much as possible. The point where we hope to enter into the life of the depressed is at the point of hope –be it at different stages of recovery.
…I believe that our involvement with other people like ourselves in the group gradually broadens our perspective in the area of hope. We learn to utilize new found tools that help us live with hope as well as enable us to learn that we have to be active in our own recovery.”
THE PROMISES. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS LOUISVILLE, KY. Pages 19-20.
DEP-ANON FAMILY GROUP
Support Group for family and friends of the depressed.
Scores of books have been written on the subject of depression. If you are like most of us, we have all run after and read the latest work on depression looking for clues to see just what is wrong with our loved ones and what it is that they face and struggle with.
DEP-ANON is a support group for family and friends of the depressed. This program is very much like AL-ANON where family members gather to help each other learn how to detach and cope with alcoholism. In the same way DEP-ANON is an effort of family and friends to gather together and learn how to live with and cope with their depressed loved one.
At a planning session for DEP-ANON, family members were asked to list all the feelings that they experience while living with a depressed loved one. From the discussion we were surprised to find out some amazing facts. 1) That the feelings family members were experiencing were very similar to those which their depressed loved ones were experiencing, and 2) these feelings were also having an equally destructive effect in the lives of family members. DEP-ANON FAMILY GROUP (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville, KY.USA.
More on this important subject tomorrow. Please let us know if this topic is of interest to you. We might be able to help you set up a Family Group in your locale or just use the material for your own guidance.
“The Wright brothers almost childish faith that they could build a machine which would fly was the mainspring of their accomplishment. Without that, nothing could have happened.
We agnostics and atheists were sticking to the idea that self-sufficiency would solve our problems. When others showed us that God-sufficiency worked with them, we began to feel like those who insisted the Wrights would never fly. We were seeing another kind of flight, a spiritual liberation from this world, people who rose above their problems.” Bill W.
Somehow each of us, in our way and in our own time, may come to the fork in the road. We have to decide whether to take the well trod road or take the “road less traveled.” The Wright brothers chose the road less traveled. They believed that they could fly with a machine that looked like a bird. Kittyhawk will always remind us of the childish faith of two brothers who put wings on their dreams. Because of their faith in their dreams, they experienced a spiritual liberation, a spiritual flight if you will. Believing in a Power greater than themselves that places no barrier in the minds and hearts of those who believe, they achieved in their dream that humans can fly.Step Two of Depressed Anonymous tells us that we “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” In my experience with depression I felt that I was going crazy. My mind was a fog. I couldn’t remember a thing. No retention of words I had just read. No memory power at all. I was always feeling that deadly jitteriness in my gut. Sleeping all the time. Feeling so worthless and lacking any self-confidence. Feelings of guilt and shame. Thinking only of what I didn’t like about myself. Beating myself up for past mistakes. All of these gradually squeezed out any hope of feeling different. I felt that I was in a prison –locked into a solitary isolation.
Then came the “spiritual liberation of “believing in a power greater than myself.” Instead of relying solely on self-sufficiency I relied on God-sufficiency. I joined a group of and women who came to the belief that whatever they tried to give them life (addictions to substance, behaviors) and these didn’t work–they came into the fellowship of the Twelve Steps of recovery. For me, I believed that Depressed Anonymous, a Twelve Step program of recovery might help me. In time and with work, and prayer, I found myself gradually breaking out of my prison–brick by brick. People, like myself in the group which I attended, gave me a new map, a map of hope, based on a promise of spiritual liberation. Because of regular attendance at my meetings I saw the light. Others believed in this Power greater than themselves and so did I. I was no longer alone. I believed! The Wright brothers were right!
Someone once shared with me how he and a friend–both feeling depressed –went to the local library – checked out a Depressed Anonymous book and started working the 12 Step program of recovery. After a bit of time they got the workbook and then after a few months discovering the power of the Steps opened the group up to their community.
The point: if you are unable to locate a group in your community have you thought about getting one other person to work the Steps with you? This other person doesn’t have to be depressed. Could be a counselor, friend or family member.
Like the song, “it all starts with one.”
IT ALL STARTS WITH ONE
Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote this about those who found themselves alone with the message of hope appearing in the first Alcoholics Anonymous book , in 1939.
“Someday, we hope that every alcoholic (depressed person) who journeys will find a Fellowship of AA (DA) at his destination…Little clusters of twos and threes and fives of us have sprung up in other communities…Thus we grow. And so can you, though you be but one man (woman) with this book (Depressed Anonymous) in your hand. We believe and hope it contains all you will need to begin.
We know what you are thinking. You are saying to yourself. “I’m jittery and alone. I couldn’t do that.” But you can. You forget that you have just now tapped a source of power much greater than yourself. To duplicate, with such backing, what we have accomplished is only a matter of willingness, patience and labor.” (AA, 1976)
Ane Brun in her song “:ONE” has the following lyrics
“It all starts somewhere/ It all starts with one/ Everything comes from something/It all starts with one…First everything is quiet/A breath of fresh air from lips and tongue/Then the sound makes the world wild/ One, two, three more/ We can do more/ Much more, let’s do more/ Much more, lets say more/We are more”
Yes, I agree with Ane. It all starts with one. Even though you might be just one person and are reading our book Depressed Anonymous for the first time, and just by talking to one other person about help gained from the reading, you now have a 12 step group. You are part of a group. You now have a group which is a power greater than you alone or yourself.
Even though you are alone and feel jittery and anxious just know that by picking up our Depressed Anonymous book and reading the personal stories contained in it, that you will know that you are not alone. You now can take this message of hope and share it with another one. We speak your language!
To really believe, possibly for the first time in my life that I can free myself from the prison of depression and begin to feel better. I know that I need to be proactive in my efforts at self-recovery. But what causes our outlook and attitude to change?
I have begun to believe that hope and healing is possible. Once we have gone through some painful inner changes, such as dealing with our character defects and our isolating tendencies we see there is a way out. We have to have a positive attitude that will move and motivate us to want to go and get to the next step. Watching someone actually take these steps week after week and watch that feeling of wellness rise up in them can provide a belief that with work and time, their lives do improve. Soon we see that a sense of purpose begins to manifest itself the more time and work we put into our personal recovery.
A door opens every slightly, and there appears a way out! I do know that when hope and faith in recovery rises, my symptoms of depression go down.
From: I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 46.
HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS
I have a desire to get connected with everything around me today!
“Until we have actually been depressed we do not realize that there is a great difference between being depressed and being unhappy. When we are unhappy, no matter what terrible things have happened to us, we still feel in contact with the rest of the world. When other people offer comfort and love we can feel it warm and support us… When we are depressed we feel cut off from the rest of the world.” (7)
I admit to taking full responsibility for my detachment from my world and also from my very self. It seems that by numbing my grief over those matters lost in my past life, this has caused myself to be depressed. By burying what need to be faced and mourned, I am making a stand to face the depression that I have created over the years. I am going to care for myself and make the effort to hope that this twenty-four period that I call TODAY is one of rebirth and movement toward others.
Many times I wish I was merely unhappy rather than depressed. I can handle being unhappy, depression is a different story./ I am not about to give up on myself as I step out of depression and begin to take responsibility for my recovery TODAY. Because I have “made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understand God” my life is already starting to show the signs of a positive nature.
My God has given me hope that my depressed days are going to be less and less: I believe that. My faith in God has given me hope.
Source: (c)Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 2014). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Page 210.