Category Archives: Belief

HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT WAS POSED TO A CLIENT BY HER PSYCHIOLOGIST? (SEE BELOW).

Dr. Rowe in her book WHAT SHOULD I BELIEVE, asked her client Julie this question:

“Suppose you were faced with a situation where you could act only in one of two ways. If you acted one way people would like you, but you wouldn’t respect yourself, and if you acted the way people wouldn’t like you but you would respect yourself. If you were faced with that, which would you choose, respecting yourself or other people liking you?”

Julie answered immediately, “Respecting myself. That’s one of my standards. I realized that at university. One thing about depression, it does make you independent because you don’t care about popularity. You must function without other people anyway, so it doesn’t really matter about other people. I suppose you just live like an observer, observing people, the way they live, and just get a bit cynical. I am very scornful of people who do things just to be popular. I analyze myself and other people constantly, and “honesty and integrity” is the byword.  ….” Page 203-204.

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Hugh’s comment follows

Julie makes an interesting statement where she says that “depression, it does  make you independent.”  That statement, like the one in the above paragraph made me stop and reflect on my own experience with depression.  Did the experience, painful  and immobilizing as it happened to be, did it make me more independent?  In some ways I think it did. Like, I was more sure of myself as I learned more about my character and how some areas of my negative thinking and behavior were the cause of the spiraling downward of my person into the dark pit of depression.  First of all, I became more aware of my thinking processes and nailed the times that I was beating myself up or not watching the way I ate and the fact of my great need of exercise which I was neglecting. No matter what, I now am embarked on a healthier lifestyle and am convinced that the Twelve Steps continually help me assess my strengths and defects of character. Yes, Julie is right. I am more independent. Now,  instead of going about  my life in a  mindless fashion I am mindful of what prevents me from being in the present moment. I now try to center myself, by my daily prayer and meditation times. All this is critical to my staying sane and serene. What do you think?

BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. ( SURRENDER AND WIN!)

The First Way (#1) to leave the prison of depression: “WE ACCEPT AND BELIEVE THAT HOWEVER HOPELESS EVERYTHING APPEARS RIGHT NOW, WE WILL RECOVER FROM OUR DEPRESSION”

Often persons depressed give up the hope of feeling different. They can’t believe that they have the power to change the way they feel.  They don’t believe that they have a choice either to get well or to remain locked in the prison of depression.  This is why the belief coupled with the First Step of Depressed Anonymous, a Twelve Step mutual aid group, has a positive impact on one’s personal belief about the recovery process. The First Step of Depressed Anonymous states “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

First we have to admit that our lives are out of control. No matter how hard we have tried, we can’t shake this persistent hollow feeling that has us feeling hopeless and  helpless. This admission that we are powerless will begin to free us up and get us the help and support that we want. It’s a paradox. Surrender and win! The group doesn’t pass a magic wand over our head and suddenly you are freed of your symptoms of depression. In fact, the admission that we need help puts us in in contact with a step by step map which leads us out of the land of darkness into the land of light and hope.”

For more information see Literature reference

BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Pages 1-2.

A Power Greater Than Ourselves: Our Go To Person

A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON

The more time that I spend in daily prayer and meditation the closer I feel to this Power greater than myself. Now, let’s be honest, it isn’t everyday that I feel this or think this way, but for most days I feel energized by my time in quiet listening. It was when I first joined a Twelve Step recovery program that I I knew that I was truly home. I had always been looking for a home where I could feel acceptance, nurturing and fellowship. It was at my first meeting, 32 years ago, that in all my brokenness, guilt and shame, that I felt I had made it home. It was here that I could reveal who I was, who I thought I was and get a plan for my life, just one 24 hour period at a time. My own feelings of being totally accepted in this new fellowship created in me the belief, without  doubt, that  sanity would be restored to me. How did I know this? What made me a believer? Simply the fact that the members of the group had pretty much the same story as my own. But for all of this, what stood out was the basic belief among all of the members, that there is a Power, and it is greater than me. And that this Power, whom we understand as God, is my GO TO person every day of my life. And the two things this group taught me early on,  is that THERE IS A GOD, AND IT IS NOT ME!

If today you are feeling alone, lost and frightened, please join me here everyday, as I speak about spirituality and the Power greater than myself,  and what it has to do with my recovery, and how it impacts  on our search for  that serenity that we are all seeking. Remember what you seek, seeks you!

Sadness Can Be Overcome By Hope!

”  Remarkable things happen to us when we are willing to admit defeat and talk about our powerlessness over depression and how our lives had become un-manageable.  This first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living.  At our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we talk hope, we act hopeful, and we think hope. We learn that our thinking depressed and negative thoughts might have gotten us in the shape that we are in today. What you think is what you become.  For us who find sadness our second nature, we at times continue to revert to the comfort of old familiar negative thinking and are in actuality returning to self destructive behavior. Hope is overcome by sadness.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. Depressed Anonymous Publications.Page 107.

We all have heard the saying, seeing is believing. I prefer the reverse, namely, that believing is seeing. Once the newcomer arrives through the door of a Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first time, they will hear and see recovery in action.

Possibly for the first time the newcomer  to the DA group  will hear their story voiced by the various  members of the group. They will see that they are not alone.  They discover how their own sadness gets a positive  jolt as they  hear hope expressed in the  recovery group. It is easier to believe someone when they share the same conditions of isolation, and feeling hopeless that you feel.   In fact, in a group of people much like oneself, you begin to see that maybe, just maybe, there is hope for you as well.

SPIRITUAL LIBERATION

“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!

“Our whole outlook and attitude upon Life changes.” Promise # 8 of Depressed Anonymous.

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.

ISOLATION FROM WORLD AND OTHERS KEEPS ME DEPRESSED

HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS

AFFIRMATION
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)

REFLECTION

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.

MEDITATION

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.
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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.

A PRESCIPTION FOR PUTTING SANITY IN ONE’S LIFE!

prescription for sanity in one’s life!

Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.” This is Step Two of Depressed Anonymous and it provides a program  for those of us who  want a step by step approach to putting light, hope  and sanity in our lives.

If you feel you are losing your sanity, then this is a program for you.  DEPRESED ANONYMOUS  WORKS FOR ME!

HOW TO BE A WORRYWART.

AFFIRMATION

I INTEND TO LIVE IN TODAY!

“As an expert in guilt you cannot live in the present.  You are constantly worrying about the past and fearing for the future. As an expert in guilt you cannot enjoy happiness when it comes, for you believe that as night follows day, suffering will follow joy. When good fortune does come your way, you know it will not stay, for you are the guilty ones and you will b punished.”  (7)

REFLECTION

I have believed for most of my life that since most things never worked out in my life, why should things work out now. I have always had the belief, mostly unconscious, that nothing ever works out for me and that this belief is reinforced by the way I habitually think about my life.  I have lived my life so much in the past and in the future that I have forgotten about trying to live for today. 

What I have learned is that most of the things that we fear never happen and if they did we would have the resources to deal with them in some effective manner.  Steps Four and Five of the Twelve Step program insure that we find a way out of this depression by looking at the way we guilt ourselves and then make amends to those, as appropriate, who we need to make amends to.

MEDITATION

God, we ask you to help us to make amends to ourselves as we go through this day. We want you to help us rid myself of the guilt, worry and fear that prevents us from living with any serenity or peace today.  We pray that our lives will improve as we make attempts to change the way we feel and think.”

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SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. DAP. Louisville, Ky  Page 199.

Therapists Views on Depressed Anonymous

The “Birth” of a Depressed Anonymous Group. Judith Bouffiou, Ph.D. (Cand.), Olympia, Washington

Isn’t life just full of expected and unexpected challenges, synchronous happenings, joys and griefs. Your life and mine. Following is a synopsis of a time in my life when I experienced all of the above. The summer of 1991 saw the dissolving of a business partnership for me; a painful, but healthy decision. The counseling center my ex-partner and I operated had provided the community with a Domestic Violence/Anger
Management (DV/A M ) Program for court and self referred clients, plus each of us had a private practice. M y decision to dissolve the partnership was motivated by a number of reasons, among them a desire to go back to school, and to spend more time and energy in my private practice. Over time my private practice had evolved into a growth and development type of practice, which I loved doing. A long with the dissolution of the partnership came the decision to no longer do the DV/A M work. I had a desire to still give the community some type of community service, but what?

Then I remembered reading some time earlier in one of my professional journals about a man who had developed a Twelve-step program, Depressed Anonymous for individuals who suffered from depression. Like most therapists, a significant number of the people I saw (and still see) in my practice were experiencing depression to one degree or other.

The more I thought about the concept of Depressed Anonymous, the more intrigued I was, so I contacted the founder of Depressed Anonymous for information and details. Information was sent to me and that was the start of the first Depressed Anonymous group in Washington State.

From the Depressed Anonymous material I received, I photocopied, organized, prepared and prepared and advertized. I decided on a start time and date, sent notices to our local paper, our Crisis Clinic, therapists and physicians in this area, tacked up flyers all over town, and of course, lots of word of mouth advertizing. The Depressed
Anonymous group originally met in a group room at my office, and eventually moved to a local church when I moved into a smaller office space.

A s a therapist I organized, started, sponsored, and “mothered” the Depressed
Anonymous group for a time, before withdrawing to just being the phone contact person that people can call in for information. From the very first meetings, which had 8-10 people, a “home” group evolved; fine people, some of whom had previous Twelve-step experiences. One of fine traditions and legacies of Twelve-step groups is the willingeness of folks to be and do the supportive and necessary work (the glue) that holds the Twelve-step groups together. The Twelve-step tradition and service continues on.

As is often the case, I have received more than I’ve given as the person who organized and started this Olympia, Washington Depressed Anonymous group. Now that I’m not a person who suffers from depression, other than short term appropriate situational depression; nothing ever deep or prolonged. A s I organized and started this Depressed Anonymous group little did I know that I would benefit from the Depressed Anonymous process and group in such a personal way.

The Depressed Anonymous group had only met two or three times when my middle son unexpectedly died from a type of cancer that years before had taken his father. So, in a synchronous manner, for a time and in a different way, the Depressed Anonymous group supported me as much as I supported them. In my prior work as a nurse, I had often been witness to dying and death, also in my personal life. However, the death of one son and then a year and half later, the death of my oldest son (two out of three) have been devastating experiences for me.

So in many, many ways being the organizer and sponsor of the first Depressed Anonymous group have been an exceedingly enriching experience for me. A s mentioned before, because of the wonderful people in the group, and with great confidence on my part, I turned the operation of the Depressed Anonymous group over to the capable hands of the home group people. I remain the telephone contact. The Depressed Anonymous group continues to thrive and grow. Just recently I talked with a man from Portland, Oregon, who is thinking about starting a group in the Portland area

MY VIEWS ON DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

Denise L ., Louisville, Kentucky

One of the greatest resources I’ve used in working with many depressed persons has been Depressed Anonymous. The transformation it causes in an individual’s life is truly miraculous. This stems from it being primarily a spiritual program of healing and recovery. It encourages a person to seek a personal relationship with God, whoever they understand him to be. In doing this it helps a person to look inside for healing, rather than in a pill or some quick “cure”. M any persons who suffer with depression look on God as a being who judges them harshly. This thinking usually leads to much anger towards God, which results in more negative thinking. I know this from my own
experiences with depression, and the angry relationship with God I had during those times. This is where Depressed Anonymous offers hope by getting a person connected to a group who also suffer with depression, and are working the twelve steps. In doing this, it helps a person come to a realization that it will only be through a power greater than themselves, that they will find sanity in their life. Depressed people cannot do this alone because of the compulsion to ruminate endlessly over negative thoughts. It is only through coming together with a group of people like Depressed Anonymous, that they are able to break the cycle of negative thinking.

A client I was working with is a good example of the above. H e 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. H e started sharing his pain, and found understanding and support. I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. Then I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. H e 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. H e is one of many persons I’ve worked with who have found help and encouragement through attending DA .

The spiritual emphasis of DA is it’s greatest strength. People come together and hear from one another how their higher power is healing and guiding their lives. They realize that in being part of the group they are not alone, and also encourage true healing. DA has been a wonderful healing tool in the lives of many depressed persons I’ve worked with. It will always be one of the greatest resources I use in my work. It is true that “it works if you work it.”