Category Archives: Belief

Gathering evidence that I am doing better

Originally published January 25, 2019. Some formatting changes.

I need to gather evidence that I am doing better, rather than focusing on all the ways I am feeling worse.

Negative voice: I am doing worse and I do everything wrong.

Positive response: No, I’m doing better little by little and here is some evidence:

  • Set your goals really small
  • People often give up hope feeling too overwhelmed
  • Each week identify what would be the tiniest-absolutely smallest piece of evidence that you are doing better

The smallest tiniest piece of evidence that I am doing better is:

  • I stopped my negative tape in my head once
  • That I read and completed a small section of the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, answering four questions
  • That I was able to go out and walk though I didn’t want to this week
  • Called a friend in the recovery program
  • Began to read the first couple of paragraphs from our Big Book Depressed Anonymous and made a commitment to read a few paragraphs each day

Please add a few more of your own small pieces of positive changes that you made happen this past week.

Just by reading this BLOG you are taking a tiny step in your recovery.

Now That I Look Back

Now that I look back and see the way I was and see how I am now, I can’t believe that I ever knew that other person. This person is different altogether. I like this person now very much. I am so thankful to the group. They are just wonderful. They are my family. They are my Depressed Anonymous family. I also have my church family. It is a wonderful,l feeling to know that there is a Higher Power that can help you through these things. At first, I thought, “I doubt that very much” when everyone was talking about the Higher Power and peace in my life. Then it happened to me. Every few days, the world dumps down on you and beats you down. That’s just life. I always think to myself that there is that extra strength that I didn’t have before. I feel that everything is going to be OK with me. I have that peace now myself.

An excerpt from Bill’s story in PERSONAL STORIES from Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Page 147.

I will make a daily inventory of all my strengths

Believing Is Seeing: 15 Ways To Leave The Prison Of Depression – Eleven

I will make a daily inventory of all my positive strengths. I tended to magnify the worst in everything in my life and make mountains out of molehills. I will focus on my stars and not my scars.

“One of the problems of being depressed is that every circumstance and situation is filled with potential hurt and disappointment. The depressed person has a tendency to think in patterns of despair, hurt, and disappointment. It appears to be a proven fact that the more a person keeps their fears and anxious thoughts to themselves, this can cause the mountain to grow larger. But by sharing these fears and thoughts with others, either by writing them out, as in a daily journal, or group discussion (like on SKYPE and ZOOM) we soon discover that our fears are not as big as we thought. The expression of fear many times decreased the size of their fear. Now that we are accepting ourselves we can begin to see that we possess the strength and persistence to tackle whatever obstacle lies ahead.

One of the features that stands out in our lives when depressed is we see everything in dark colors. Nothing looks hopeful. There does not appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel – except that it might be an oncoming freight train. We feel that we do not have a friend in the world. We feel that we’ll never feel good again. The list goes on and on.

What may be of some help is to take out pen and pencil and begin writing down your good points that you feel are your strengths. We have already done this, but it still remains an excellent exercise no matter how often you do it.

What do you remember as strengths before being aware that you are depressed? Going to Depressed Anonymous meetings has the potential to restore your sense of proportion about your strong points. At the meetings your friends in the fellowship will begin to tell you are showing improvement the more you are participating in the meetings. To listen to those who themselves are working the program and who share their lives week after week, you begin to realize that you too can begin to feel differently. Today can be a new start and yes, you do have it within yourself to be that person who is reversing old negative patterns of thinking and replacing them with thoughts of hope and optimism. You now believe that there is hope for yourself. Right now your strength seems to be that of maintaining a habitual way of thinking thoughts of hope. By the fact that you are reading this, takes the strength to want to feel good and continue to maintain a positive recovery. Begin now and reflect on your strengths. Believe that you have a way to maintain a personal persistence and desire to continue with gratitude for this new feeling of hope.”

NOTE: Take your pen and/or pencil and begin writing your thoughts down in response to the questions posed in the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK. Depressed Anonymous Publications.

Resources

Copyright © Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2020) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 57-59.

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

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

These basic books of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship can be ordered online.

See: www.depressedanon.com

Literature Available

To receive a mailing of Depressed Anonymous literature, send a Self addressed stamped envelope to: DAP, Box 465, Pewee Valley, Kentucky. 40056.

The material can be used as “handouts” at your local Depressed Anonymous meetings.

Now I have to dig in and dismember those core beliefs…

 

“Now that I have to dig in and dismember those core beliefs, that keep us repeating the same thinking, the same behavior   which  keeps  us imprisoned in our depression. We have this compulsion to repeat – this ritual of defeat – because, first of all it is comfortable and secondly it keeps  us from having to do something that we haven’t done before. We continue to move around in a circle always meeting  up with the same me – no major changes evident.  If we don’t start the process of change, then not without surprise  our life then stays the same. But this also closes the doors to the future and with it a sense of hope and relief.  It seems that to believe that we have no future and that we will always feel this way can imprison us as we empower these absolute beliefs that nothing good will ever happen for us. We are thus chained to our own self-will and not only are we imprisoned but we are the jailer as well. The key is in our hands and it is there for the asking.”

(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville Ky. Page 18.

Order online at  www.depressedanon.com.

Depression gradually dies in the light of day….

The best way to live TODAY is to be fully conscious of the present moment and create that strong desire to be part of it. Let’s not live in yesterday -the rent can kill you.

How often do I spend time in tomorrow and so miss the joy of today? I think one of the more serious occupations (aren’t they all serious?) of the depressed is just to sit and think , and think some more about how bad life is and what awful people they are. The self-bashing makes one’s ability to change even more difficult, as  continued depressive ruminations promote a great sense of unworthiness and confusion. We feel that we have no control over what happens in our life. Actually, we are not so sure   that we should care.  Everything seems hopeless. Living in yesterday is to pay some high price rent – and when you are done paying the rent, you still have nothing to show for it.

I want to be responsible  though I feel it’s difficult to face the fact that one of the ways of getting out of my prison is to stay and feel the pain of my sadness. I have to live in the here and now – I can’t run and hide in the unknown of tomorrow or disappear into the gloomy fog of yesterday. We begin to get mentally healthy when we take it upon ourselves to admit 1) I have a problem, and 2) secondly, I need to change the way I think about myself and my world.  Again, no one need to blame us for that that we got ourselves depressed – but once we know and believe that we are depressed – we learn that we need to take full responsibility for our recovery.  And one of the best ways to break our dependency on our sadness is to share and admit our depression to members of our Depressed Anonymous group. We know how depression flourishes and grows in the privacy and solitude of our minds.

Depression gradually dies in the light of open sharing and frank discussion. We are only as weak as the secrets we keep and strong as the secrets we share.”

Copyright(c)  Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2020) Hugh Smith.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pgs. 39-40.

Discover the patterns of behavior from your own life. Example: How you think about yourself.

AFFIRMATION

I want to believe that my God, as I understand him, will continually make a path for me through life. I want today to listen to its leading.

“Our patterns are more successful than the fortune telling arts,  since we expect our patterns  to prove true, and expecting this, we usually find that they do. Edmund Carpenter once wrote,
“We say, ‘If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it, but the phrase should be, ‘If I hadn’t believed it with all my heart, I wouldn’t have seen it.'”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  usually expected bad things to happen to me because bad things usually did happen to me, as Dorothy Rowe points out in her six immutable beliefs that make up the prison of our depression. I used to believe that God punished me for all the bad things I did in my life and for my being the bad person that I believe that I am. But now, I am changing my beliefs about my depression and that I am only a passive victim. I believe that I will survive this time of depression.

It’s as if  my depression is like a rotted tooth, a thing that can be extracted. I am slowly believing that it is important what I believe about myself and how I have a responsibility to extract myself from my own lifestyle of sadness. I do know this, that if I continue to think the way that I have over the last couple of years, I will stay stuck in the deep pit of depression.   If  we do  something over and over again, day after day,  we can say that we have created a pattern of thinking and behaving. Some say that our life is on auto-pilot.

I now believing with all my heart that I will get better with the help of my own resources and through the help of others and the Twelve Step program of recovery.

MEDITATION

God, you can make all things new but you never infringe your will upon any of us. But the more peace we receive from turning our will over to yours, the more I can predict that my future will be more according to your design.”

RESOURCES

(C) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Louisville, Ky.

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pg.29.

(C) Believing is Seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville Ky.

Order Online from The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore here at our website www. depressedanon.com.

My beliefs make my world one of opportunities or danger!

AFFIRMATION

I CAN DO WITH MY LIFE AS I WILL.

“Each of us structures and so creates our own world.  Because we are free to create  our world  and ourselves, we are free to change our world and ourselves. We can choose to see ourselves as capable of change, and doing so, the future opens up before us as an infinite array of possibilities, or we can choose to see ourselves as unable to change. Forced to live our lives as we have always lived them.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

So often my belief is what makes my world one of opportunity or one of danger. It’s how I look at my world through the lenses of my life experiences. These condition me to see the world as I see it and understand it.  If I think that I am always going to be depressed, I most likely will stay depressed because that is what I believe to be true. We hold these beliefs as unchangeable. Fixed.  I believe that I can’t change because that is not possible. I become a believer when   I see other people slowly taking mastery over their lives and starting to feel better. (See personal stories in  DA “big Book”)

MEDITATION

We make decisions how to love ourselves, to know that the God as we understood him is leading us into those realms of positive changes that will gradually help us walk out of my darkness into the light of God’s presence. Daily will we make that conscious contact with our God and pray that we might do it’s will.

RESOURCES:

(C) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY  Pg. 11. January 17th.

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.   ( See Personal Stories )

Books can be ordered online from Publications Bookstore at depressedanon.com.

That which doesn’t kill you will probably make you stronger – Nietzsche

 

Stress  put me in the hospital two years ago. First, pneumonia  put me in the hospital for a week.   Then, following  a diagnosis of clogged arteries with other assorted problems,  open  heart surgery.  Cardio/rehab for 24 straight weeks gave me my life back. But this was not my first experience with stress and /or depression.

Nietzsche had it right. In my case at least.  What made me stronger and saved my life was not only heart surgery but my new way of  dealing with stress. I now see stress for the trouble maker that it really is. The  stress in anyone’s,  continues to impress me how dangerous living under stress, of any kind, can be.

I know that the daily stress that I  had put my mind and body through every day,  every month, gradually destroyed my immune system’s ability to defend against  constant fear, worry and anxiety. Because of the environment  with which I was living in, day after day, finally caught up with me: pneumonia and then open heart surgery. So you might wonder  how can stress do all this damage to your mind and body?

THEN

This takes me back to my first  experience with sadness. It didn’t kill me, but it did force me to look  at my lifestyle, staying in a bad  situation and the ongoing ruminating which poured adrenaline into my veins, hyping up fear   and anxiety day after day.  Finally, all this  weakened not only my body but my mind  as well. My thinking started circling  around  and around as I tried to figure out exactly what the problem was  knocking me off my feet.  Not only that, I couldn’t concentrate. I would read a sentence or so  and then would forget what I had just read. I was always tired.  I always wanted to sleep. I never laughed anymore. My sense of humor went out the door. I started to isolate. I pushed friends away. I always had an excuse for cancelling meetings and appointments. Every morning I woke up, dead on arrival.  No energy. No purpose and nothing to look  forward to. I was losing all spontaneity and replacing it with boredom. I gradually was being sucked down intro the quicksand of futility and hopelessness.

After a year and half of this    pain filled  life I gradually walked out of the fog. I walked at least five miles a day-like a forced march looking forward to regaining my life. That was 1985.

NOW

Now,  I am stronger because I know all the red flags that pop up in my mind, wanting to  suck me back down into that environment which almost killed me in the first place.  I am definitely stronger now that I have a sponsor, a  12 Step   program (Depressed Anonymous) and  a daily plan   for my ongoing recovery.

My heart is stronger now. My commitment to taking good care of myself with proper rest, good healthy food, and physical activity at least three times a week or more. I also know that keeping in touch with those “still suffering from depression” by email, Home Study, website BLOG (depressedanon.com), phone and reading Depressed Anonymous literature.  What we give away comes back in countless ways. For me, continued sobriety and hope!

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

Online Depressed Anonymous International Skype meetings ( Check website Menu for listing and links).

Order online :The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

 

I am going to make a list of my strengths today!

I am going to make  a list of my strengths today.

Practicing these principles keeps us in tune on a daily basis with the God as we understand God, and  helps us keep our hope strong enough so that we can move away from our compulsion to sad ourselves.”

Depressed Anonymous

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

These principles refer to the Twelve Steps and the fellowship of our group which helps us keep the focus on ourselves and our daily need to improve ourselves. My hope gets stronger when I find myself being less compulsive about the affairs of my life and more conscious of how I need to believe that God is going to help me walk out of my prison of depression.

Our lives revolve around  principles – some good and some not so good. One of the principals formerly  guiding my life was that  I was only a passive victim of my depression. My belief was that there was nothing that I could do in my power to change my life. A new and exciting principle is replacing the old and that principle is that I am choosing to feel better. I am now going to be an active participant in my own program of recovery using the Twelve Steps. I am finding my strength grows as I believe in my own  resources and talents.

 

MEDITATION

God, you are the creator of all spiritual principles that promote healing, sanity and serenity. Please let us place these  principles of healing and hope  first in our lives today. (Personal comments)

RESOURCES

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step Fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.

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

NOTE: These excellent publications and more can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com.

A Spanish edition  Depressivos Anonimos is now available for ordering online.

If God is for us who can be against us?

Is this not a strange way to open up our blog today? Depends. It centers around what our topic might be. Today our topic is centered on spirituality and depression. As a member of a 12 Step fellowship, Depressed Anonymous, we talk and reflect upon the fact that we believe in a Power greater than ourselves. We also commit ourselves to the belief in Step two that “a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.” Following this we reflect on Step Three which states that we “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God to be.”

It was here at this point that Bill W., and Dr. Bob made a very important decision in how God would be presented to the alcoholic, who for many different reasons would reject the idea that the God of their understanding had their best interests at heart. Their idea of what the “preachers” had to say about God was not what they were looking for. In fact, there were the “preachers” in New York’s Bowery, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s who set up store-front churches where the practicing alcoholics come, get off the street, get a free meal, and hear a Christian message about salvation, redemption and freedom from drink. But it appeared that some of the preachers emphasized hellfire and fear instead of giving the alcoholic a way out that included a plan – a simple process of surrender and how “to turn over our will and life over to God as we understood God to be.”

I believe with poet Robert Frost, who wrote that memorable poem, The Road Less Traveled, where he was faced with a fork in the road, one road went one way and one the other. The one he eventually took was “the road less traveled.”

This poem speaks to me when I think of Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his personal experience with the God as he understood God, provided him with a way to understand God, not just a Christian God, a Buddhist God, a Muslim God, but a God as we understand God. It was only when he had his own epiphany with God, did it prepare him to share this understanding with other alcoholics so all could choose the God of their own understanding–not just the God of the Christian “preachers.”

This was the freedom that the early A.A., pioneers brought into the discussion where anyone could believe whatever they wanted about a Higher Power. In today’s modern world, you can find AA, NA, DA, Al-Anon in almost every nation on the planet. If he had not traveled down a road that only God knew where it led, would we have the Twelve Steps be open to all, regardless of their own spiritual beliefs or religious dogmas.

The following is an autobiographical account of Bill W.’s own encounter with God.

My depression deepened unbearably, and it seemed to me as though I was at the very bottom of the pit. For the moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once, I found myself crying out, “If there is God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!”

Suddenly the room lit up with a great light. It seemed to me, in my mind’s eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was a wonderful presence, and I thought to myself, so this is the God of the preachers!

– A.A. Comes of Age, page 63

And finally, there was another road that Bill W., and others traveled and that was how one alcoholic talking with another alcoholic, sharing their story, would make all the difference in the world. It’s a simple story, one recovering alcoholic being open, honest and willing to share their own painful story with another alcoholic, one person at a time. One day at a time.

I am one of those persons with whom a recovered alcoholic shared his story. Today, I am celebrating my 32nd year recovery birthday. I am a friend of Bill W.

Hugh