Category Archives: Depressed Anonymous

All it takes is one good person to restore hope. – Pope Francis

 

This  statement is so true.  All it takes is one  good person  to restore  hope.   This is a reality that I personally experience each day of my life.  I find these individuals every day – carrying the message of hope  to those others who are looking for a way out of their pain and suffering.  These good people who lead are sharing their own hope, strength and experience with those who still suffer alone, and without hope. These good people take it upon themselves to communicate  to others how they found hope and now want to share their  recovery with others.  They  are   using  the fellowship of hope by the electronic systems such as  ZOOM, SKYPE, FACEBOOK  and the many face to face groups outside of the virtual world.   These various communication tools enable us to  reach around the world  bringing  fellowship to those seeking  hope.

Recently,   individuals in Poland decided to set up their own SKYPE meetings. Just recently in America two  ZOOM group are operating, with one more about to get up and running. There is also a phone – in meeting   operating. in America.

We are here at  depressedanon.com (Depressed Anonymous) offering hope to those who come to our website. A Blog is offered a number of times a week. There are those good people who are not members of Depressed Anonymous who use their resources and talents to keep our  websites, our ZOOM and SKYPE online programs   operating with a myriad of technical skills.  All in all, good persons continue to find hope and   share what they have with others.  so that they too can experience the hope that is  real and offered freely to them.

Depressed Anonymous website at depressedanon.com will lead you to the places where you can go and join up with others at a 12 Step Depressed Anonymous meeting.

Like Francis tells us “All it takes is for one good person to restore hope.

” Won’t you be the next “one good person?” Will you join with us on this great journey where we all  discover  the hope of recovery and personal serenity.

 

The Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

Did I create my own prison of depression?

You know,  that’s a  great question for us who have been , or who are presently depressed.  My own reflections about my own experience with depression wasn’t a question that I  asked myself. Actually, that came later in my recovery.  I  really didn’t care who or what  created it – all I knew was I had to get rid of it.  In fact, the experience was much like Noah’s  in the belly of the whale.  I was just walking along one day minding my own business, and suddenly bam! physically feeling swallowed  up by some  invisible  creature who  was devouring me. And that was that. From that  moment on, the feeling continued to overwhelm  me for the next year and half.

Because I had no label to pin on this “whatever it was,”  and I thought nothing important to talk to  anyone  about, but only that the  feeling of helplessness had me locked down.  Oh, I still went to work, trudged through Graduate studies and continued my relationship with others, never revealing my interior mysterious  sense of isolation and despair.

My only distraction was to get up early every morning( biggest challenge of the day) and walk for miles, round and round,  thankful I was still able to function.

Long story short, during this period,  I gradually felt   small lift’s in my spirit but they never lasted. So I continued walking until I managed to walk out of the fog. I was feeling hopeful again,  able to face life with hope. Finally feeling fully freed from the  hopelessness that had isolated me from my world, disconnecting  me from everything, everybody, even myself. That was then.

Now reaching back into the past, looking at my life before ”  whatever it was” that had me,  I began  discovering that I’d unconsciously constructed my own prison and confinement. My ruminating on fearful scenarios of losing my job, not able to handle     negative life issues and constant  frightful thinking plus the  continuous feeling deep painful moods, all grinding my body, mind and spirit into the ground. The feeling, best described this  is  like  someone scraping  their  fingernails on  a blackboard all day  without end.  If you are old enough to remember this particular feeling, (or even a blackboard)  then you know it was that painful knife-like  feeling thrust through your stomach that echoed throughout your whole body. Well, that was the way I felt all the time, particularly in the morning each day.  I wanted never to get up. Here is where motivation  follows action . Move the body and the mind will follow.

When I speak of the pain that threw me to the ground and ended the familiar  life that I knew,  the members of the Depressed Anonymous group know exactly what I am talking about. Depression is physically  painful.  Usually when I tell someone I was depressed, they normally  don’t understand, unless of course, they have been depressed themselves.

In my case, I unconsciously  caused and created  my depression, and allowed the symptoms to grind me down until I took steps to feel differently.  The steps that I took   was to attend the “miracle of the Depressed Anonymous group ” where  I could share my own experiences, strength and hope, make the 12 Steps a daily part of my life, and to share this message of hope with all who feel the same way as I did.

Believing in a Higher Power greater than myself  continues to keep me sane and living one day at a time. It works. It can work for you as well.

For more information contact us @

Depanon@netpenny.net and read  what we are about @ depressedanon.com.

Resources:

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publicatiuons. Louisville, KY 40241.

Home Study Program of Recovery  (See DA literature here at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore).

 

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

“Dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life…”

 

” I am a thirty-four year old single female who has been suffering from depression for a long time. Most of my depression was brought on by feelings of insecurity, such  as not being able to express my inner feelings of insecurity, such as not being able to express my inner feelings, being controlled by a dominating adult, loneliness, stress, workaholic, anxiety attacks (related to work  and everyday pressures of living), too much sleep, nervousness, lack of motivation, being tired all the time, sadness, weight gain, digestive problems, a feeling of being trapped, self consciousness, not trusting myself, dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life, withdrawal from family, or loss of interest in meeting with the opposite sex.

It seemed that I was living in another world until 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 the strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

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

All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, but to live life one day at a time, and to look toward the future, but not live there. It will take me  a  long time to deal with depression, but I am glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

– Anonymous

COMMENT  

Even though this anonymous writer was suffering from innumerable problems and life situations, she found   solutions  in the form of meetings, specifically geared to the depressed. By reading the Depressed Anonymous literature she is daily gaining a new motivation  to use the tools that  are promoting positive solutions to her  seemingly insoluble and negative realities. 

The tools mentioned in her story,   showing  that   by using a piece by piece  approach   to dealing with her problems, these have  brought her back to life.    We know there is always hope –please don’t give up!

Hugh

NOTE : For more stories of HOPE please click onto THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE.  The Depressed Anonymous  literature  is available by ONLINE ordering.

Resources:

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Personal stories : # 29.  I am no longer alone. Pages 148-149

+ International Online Skype Depressed Anonymous Meeting (See Homepage Menu (depressedanon.com )for Link. Meetings Thursdays and Sundays. Format is same as a f2f DA meeting.)

+ See Homepage (depressedanon. com)  drop down Menu for TOOLS OF RECOVERY.

I want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in my community? How do I do that?

 

This month (12/2018)  we have had four requests to start a Depressed Anonymous group in their particular locations. Three were requests from individuals living in the US and one was from a person from Canada.

Our first inclination would to advise them to  go to our Newsletter Archives at  our Home Page Menu and read the  issues  from #1- through and including the  Newsletter for 2018.   Each of the Newsletters has a section  about our program of recovery as well as other important information about overcoming depression.  Each is titled “How to Start A Depressed  Anonymous group.”

Since all of our Groups worldwide  use the Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition Manual, it serves  as an excellent guide for each of the newly formed Depressed Anonymous group membership and part  of their ongoing program of recovery. There is a chapter in this Manual  for the Leader  of the Group  with an example  suggested for leading a Depressed Anonymous Group.  Also, included in the Manual is a chapter on  How to Start a group.

Like most  12 Step programs of recovery they each have their own way of conducting meetings.   The 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions of Depressed Anonymous are read at every meeting.  Also included in every meeting  is the reading of The Statement of Concerns plus How Depressed Anonymous Works.

Most 12 Step groups also have their own “Big Book” which is what the  Alcoholics Anonymous program is referred to.   In a sense,  this is the bible for the fellowship and most members know it by heart chapter and verse.  If you want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in your community it is a given that you will want to have a copy of this important book, authored by the early members of the fellowship. In fact, we think it essential to have copies of this book available at each and all  meetings. If you are going to be a founder of a local DA group we  hope you  read this book before you set up your own group meeting.  After 30 years working with Depressed Anonymous and helping to set up groups around the world, we have found ourselves   continually reflecting on various passages which guide us in our  own daily  recovery.

You can order  Depressed Anonymous Online plus other books written by those of us who WERE depressed.  The sale of books provides us with revenue to share hope with others who are in  need our support.  Please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at depressedanon.com for more information.

We want to hear from you and are looking forward to another group meeting the needs of those “Still suffering from depression.”

 

Please email us at depanon@netpenny.net.  Locate us at www.depressedanon.com.

 

 

 

Was finding this phone number a coincidence?

 

Helen shares her story about finding help–when she needed it most.

”   I finally knew after two year or more of sleepless nights that someone had to help me.   I found a card saying Depressed  Center, in the back  of the phone book. It has a phone number and that was all. I talked to a man on the other end of the phone.  I said to myself this man is too  busy to talk with me, but anyway I made the first appointment myself. I made myself go. I thank God I did. I thank God that I went for help. It was a whole new beginning for me. I wanted to get well so badly. I think people do have to want to change. I went in with an attitude that I have to get well. I had heard things about counselors that scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in. I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thoughts. I began to feel better and I continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous  some weeks later.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you are curious about how the mutual aid group changed Helen’s life you’ll need to read her full account in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,  pages 169-172.

She also has something powerful to say about pleasing people and how  she needed to get her priorities straight and begin taking care of herself.

Sources:   Seeing is believing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017). Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

 I’ll do it when I feel better.(2018) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY

FREE BEER TOMORROW!

 

How many times have we voiced the  words  “I’m gonna do this” or “I’m gonna do that?”  One  of my favorites is  “I’ll do it when I feel better.” The problem with this statement is that I never feel better.  The problem with all these statements of what we are  going to do are  filled  with   conditions.   Or when I say I’m’ gonna do something , I always find some excuse not to do it.

We  like to put off what we need most. I know that I really need to see a dentist, but I keep putting it off. I mean, who likes pain? Or I know that I need to talk to my sponsor, but I’d much rather just stay in bed and sleep off my sadness. My pillow is my counselor. I know I’m gonna go to a Depressed Anonymous meeting, as I promised my friend, but not tonight.  I’ll tell him I’ll  be there tomorrow, .

The problem here is that “one of these days ” is never today.  We don’t want to live and be responsible for what happens to us today. We want to dwell in a past that we can never get back or the tomorrow which hasn’t come yet.  It’s like the guy who goes into the local pub and he sees  a huge sign on the wall with large red letters, ” FREE BEER TOMORROW!”  “Wow” he thought to himself, “I’ll be back tomorrow .”

Sure enough, here he comes. He goes up to the bartender, points to the sign, and says “I’ll take one of those free beers.”    The bartender smiles and tells him,  “come back tomorrow. ” “But today is tomorrow”  the guy tells the bartender. ” The bartender, puts his  hands on the bar, slowly and emphatically telling  the guy, “That’s tomorrow. Today is not tomorrow!”  The  bartender  gives out with a laugh. The guy walks out of the bar and could be heard repeating  “I get it, I get it.”

I will take care of what needs to be taken care of today–today is all I have.

Today is not tomorrow. Get it?

(c) Hugh(2018)

Thanks to Depressed Anonymous, I am a healer instead of being a victim.

 

“These Twelve Steps work for those who work the program and who try to live one day at a time.  Many times  we have been so scared of being rejected once more and that we have withdrawn deeper into the anguish of our shame and hurt.  We need to air our hurts, our shame, and let others hear our story. There is something healing about hearing ourselves speak to others about our  own journey in life an the many emotional potholes that we have fallen into from time to time. We have felt that our lives were jinxed! But now we can begin  to feel hopeful when other members of the group shake their heads in knowing approval of what we are saying when  we tell our story. Most have been where we are now. And the more we make an effort  to come  to  meetings regularly,  the more  we will find members of the group telling us how they  see a change in the way we talk, act and look.   We will accept the group’s comments as being true and honestly expressed. These people speak our  language  and they  al l   have been where we  are now.  You  gradually begin to see yourself as healer instead of victim the  more  you  work  this program and  get  excited  about  the  possibility  of  helping  others. When you start reaching out to others in the group, it is  at  that  point  that  you  are  carrying the  message of  hope  to  others.  You have  a future with  Depressed Anonymous.”

COPYRIGHT (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 105.

One picture is worth a thousand words!

 

The reason I started a Depressed Anonymous meeting in 1985 is because I knew that getting a meeting organized would be a help to those suffering from depression. I also know  just like in any other 12 step fellowship group,   power is in the group. Whatever the serious nature of the problem we face, a group of people who are on the same page, mentally, spiritually and physically, provides  a healing atmosphere   for the participant.

Since I was also a member of another 12 step fellowship, I instinctively knew that getting the depressed out of their isolation and into relationships with people like themselves would be therapeutic. We all had the same story to tell. It was not only a story of  our struggles with our own depression but it  was a story that brought   a fresh  new hope for ourselves and  for all those with whom we shared out lives.

I mentioned the song sung by Ane Brun, the Norwegian singer,  in a recent blog(10/13) and now today I would like to give you the lyrics to the song. I dedicate it to those   who bring to life something new. We bring a new life not just for ourselves but for others like ourselves. In this case, here is the last stanza of her powerful message.

“It all starts somewhere

It all starts with one

Everything comes from something

It all starts with one

Starts with one.”

Copyright(c) Ane  Brun

(You can hear her whole song on YouTube.)

I have found this song’s  lyrics so powerful that I was motivated to  share a small part of this song with each of you.  As you and I know, ideas and movements have to start somewhere with somebody. They don’t just happen. Movements, great ideas, they   always “start with one, and then two and then three and more. ”  Truly a song about the power of ONE.  We all know about the power of social media and how experiences of others  become viral so that  millions of people may see the same picture and get the same message. As the saying goes, “one  picture is worth a thousand words.”

I remember well the reaction that I got when I asked my Dean of the Psychology Department if I could start a group for persons depressed. I felt that we had possibly found a way out of depression, using the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous and modeling this program of recovery for persons  depressed, The Dean’s response  was doubtful. He gave me  the  “go ahead”  but remarked that  “since the depressed normally can’t get themselves out of bed because of their depression, don’t be disappointed if they don’t show up for this project.” I’m glad that we went ahead. We  had a very successful outcome where most of the depressed in our program  felt their depressed mood lighten. What happened after that is history. In May of 1985, with the help of members from our initial group, Depressed Anonymous was started. It is now is spreading around the world. Our literature is now in English, Farsi language, Russian, and presently being translated into Spanish (2019) and Dutch. The Internet has brought our message of hope  into lives and  homes around the globe.   Our message  of hope is just a click away.

Remember, it all starts with one, and two, three and more….

Hugh

My moods began to spiral upwards once I regained control of my life!

 

Is it that simple?   Gaining control  of my life  didn’t happen overnight. I did  know that most people’s depression usually lifted after a year’s time. Mine did.  The catch is,  that for me,  it took some work and patience. No magic wand waving over my head and no silver bullet automatically killing the demon of despair that continued to beat me down. But what  gradually happened was  that my mood  came back providing me with hope and a plan for my recovery.  I began to feel some control over how I was feeling and the new mood of cheer gave me the courage to keep on doing what I was doing. In my case, my mood began to be lightened the more I continued my daily walking.

Just my determination to take of myself physically paid huge benefits. For once, in many months I felt some control over my mood and the direction where my life was heading.  I was beginning to be in control instead of my life being out of control and unmanageable.

I remember in Graduate school I gave persons depressed a questionnaire  determining  how  much control they felt they had over their lives. Interestingly, the person who felt they had less control over their lives, or none at all, these  more depressed  persons felt less in control over their environment and the way  the direction of their life was taking.

Those who were less depressed answered that they were begin to feel more in control of their lives. These persons  were experiencing more hope and   the direction of their lives was providing purpose and meaning.

What to do?

First of all, get a plan that will work for you. My plan was this Step by Step program of recovery we call Depressed Anonymous. The best part of the plan is to find friends who, just like ourselves, are working the same plan.  This fellowship, this non judgmental approach and support of the group provides us with our marching orders.  When members of the fellowship share their story–we hear our own story. We know that just by admitting that we need help  it is at this initial starting point, where we begin to spiral upwards instead of continuing   the spiral downward.

If you  want to take control of your life and your mood, it would do you well to join us and  discover how others gained control  over their lives just as it is possible for yourself.

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