Category Archives: Choice

A VICTIM IN MY OWN MIND

-A personal story of a Depressed Anonymous member

Depression was something that I grew up with.  I really had no idea that I had it until my senior year in college. It started with my parents divorce  and ended with me totally losing control over everything in  my life. I couldn’t decide what career I wanted, but hated every job I could think of. I couldn’t decide what city or state to live in, so I kept moving, hoping that the next place I lived in would make me happy. Eventually, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to die or live.   I cried at the drop of a hat, but still found enough rage inside to push the people I loved as far away from me as possible.

I knew that I needed help. I have been to counselors on three other times in my life, but nothing seemed to work or last.  This time, I have been in counseling about two months. I was sick and tired of being like this. I wanted a life and I wanted to be happy.  Every week, someone would notice a change in me, but I still felt the same. Then one day while watching TV (thinking thoughts at 100 mph), it occurred to me that I was making myself miserable.

I had always known  that I was hard on myself. I reamed my self every time something bad happened. “Why can’t I find someone to love me? “Why isn’t God looking out after me?” But for some reason, when I realized that I was doing this to myself, it made me realize that maybe all I would have to so is stop doing it! All of a sudden it made sense.

If I tell myself negative thoughts, I feel negative. If I tell myself nothing, I feel nothing.  So if I tell myself positive thoughts, eventually I have to feel positive.

Of course. I ‘m still testing it out, but I feel better and for the first time in 14 years, I have hope.  So I remind myself of something positive every day. and that’s what I’m going to do until I don’t have to remind myself anymore because I’ll know.

I’m slowly finding out that my life is not as horrible as I’ve made it out to be. I used to tell myself that since it happened before, it will happen again–and that simply is not true.  Yes, my past was horrible and it’s no wonder I ended up with depression. I want out of it and the only person to get me out is me. There is no magic wand to transport you to the life you want. Everyone knows what they wish their life could be  — so do it!  Make the changes you have to make, trust in God and always remember that good things come to those who wait. I’ve waited over half my life. I don’t have to be a victim of my past or of my mind anymore. I’m more than ready for the good things!  With love and hope. ”

SOURCE : (Copyright) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville  Pages 120-121/Personal Stories # 9.

A Most Effective Strategy

AFFIRMATION

I will be a better person today than the person I was yesterday.

“The first step to change is to see  it is as possible in our scheme of things. The next step is to accept and cope with the anger and frustration that change bring ..coping with anxiety involves accepting it into awareness and permitting its full expression.  This may not lead to a comfortable stare in the short run, but in the long turn it is a most effective strategy.(6)

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I believe that all growth is gradual and that each day I have only twenty-four hours in which to live out my life.  In these twenty four hours I can get a lot  accomplished in my efforts to surrender my need to be dependent upon my depression. My depression will no longer be an excuse that keeps me from starting my recovery program.

I know from personal experience that my life is very different from the way that it was before I turned my life over to my Higher Power. (Step 2 of Depressed Anonymous)  Now I can live with the belief that this power is going to walk with me. I can now be assured that life is going to get better for me. It is better already.  Since this program of Depressed Anonymous is spiritual, I know that my healing of my depression is accomplished by my desire to let God, as I understand him, direct my life. (Step 3 of Depressed Anonymous).

The program  of the Twelve Steps has no pat answers  and it will not allow you to be comfortable where you are–in fact it will cause you to want to move out of the prison of your depression and into the light of daily efforts to change.

MEDITATION

God, we are aware that this day and this day alone we are going to trust in you and we will commit  ourselves to you so  that we might commit ourselves to a positive change in our attitudes.

SOURCE: Copyright: HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS. Depressed Anonymous Publications  Louisville  Page 90. May 3rd.

My Inner Most Thoughts Are Stepping Stones

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I am going to think of my inner most thoughts as stepping stones to a better and more positive way to live my life.

“In the ancient secret Gnostic Gospels Jesus is reported as saying, ‘If you bring forth what is within you, what you  bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is in you, what you do not bring forth  will destroy you.'”(6)

  CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

My sad thoughts which I continually run around in my mind keep me enslaved to inaction and a feeling of being trapped.  I want to let these thoughts  out so that I will be able to look at them and see them for what they are  —  the empty fears that have no power when placed out in the light of day. I believe that the more I express my fears to another, the less powerful they are and the less control they have over my life.

I am going to accept the fact that I have every right to be part of this universe and I am going to do everything in my power to achieve a sense of security and happiness for myself.  The first step  where “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable” is what will free me in time from the prison of my depression.

When we get in touch with what we fear, we can get in touch with ourselves. By doing this, we find a way out of the cold and lifeless sadness that we call depression.

MEDITATION

God, please come to us and dwell within us that you might create in us the strength that we need to bring us forth what is within us. This means both those pleasant and  unpleasant thoughts.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 89. May 1.

PROMISE #11 OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS: INTUITIVELY KNOW HOW TO HANDLE SITUATIONS WHICH USED TO BAFFLE US

“As my mind began to heal and my thoughts became more lucid it became apparent that something inside me is changing. Depression, when you begin to examine the various symptoms up close, and deal with them, the experience becomes less threatening. Some say that depression is a collection of behaviors that are brought into play to defend us against things that are too  painful  to to face.  Also, depression results when a love object is lost through death or that one feels abandoned. We have become so at one with our lost love, that we mourn the death of part of us. The love object  and ourselves has become one. I believe we use the word codependence today.

At first I was frightened by my various symptoms of depression.  The symptoms proved to be baffling.  I was not able to get out of bed as well as being unable to concentrate or manage a complex thought. I began to worry that I was losing my mind and I often asked myself if I was going to survive.  But now my ability to handle situations in a meaningful way is due to my frequent attendance at meetings, and by making a daily time of prayer and meditation and a feeling that my life has purpose and meaning. The more I am physically active, that is,  going to meetings even when I don’t feel like it. Working in my Depressed Anonymous Workbook, reading my 12 Step literature.

This behavior is where my freedom begins. And yes, I do feel lousy at times but I know that nothing can stand in my way to make choices in my own behalf. Previous  to my involvement with the group I had no idea that my depression was not so powerful as to prevent me from even thinking that I could choose to feel differently.”

SOURCE: (C) I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER. (1986, 2013) 2nd Edition  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS LOUISVILLE,  KENTUCKY   Pages 50-51.

This Promise really does work. I know from my own personal experience that once I had begun my recovery and began to deal with those things I refused to face that things lightened up. When I was in the pit of my own melancholia I couldn’t even begin to think that there was a way out — I just didn’t consider  that as a possibility. But the more I read–the more I listened to others who had or were presently climbing out of their own pit of melancholia I felt hopeful  that I too could choose to think differently and so feel different.  With time, work and prayer plus having a sponsor I intuitively knew how to handle situations that at one time confused me. Things in my life became clearer and I began to examine those past patterns of behavior and thinking that put me in the pit.  It was by living out the Twelve Steps and practicing these principles in all of my affairs that eventually gave me the freedom of making the choice to either choose to stay depressed or to choose to live life  and find the path to free me from the bonds of my own depression.

Hugh

WRITING IN MY JOURNAL OR DA WORKBOOK HELPS CLARIFY MY THINKING, FEELINGS, AND BEHAVIORS ONE DAY AT A TIME!

AFFIRMATION

I  see myself better when I write down who I feel I am today.

“The simple act of writing something down is tremendously helpful because to do so we have to bring something clearly to mind. Instead of  having half-formed thoughts and confused emotions crashing and fumbling around inside of us, we crystalize these thoughts and feelings into sentences. Once we put these sentences down on paper we have taken something from inside and put it outside. Now we can look at it, judge it, and master it.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am making every effort to get in touch with who I am and I am taking the opportunity now to focus on what gets me down and what keeps me up. I am seeing too, that the more I associate with people like myself who are following and working their program, the better I feel.  I intend to journal and keep a diary of my good progress.

I know that the more I stay in my head the greater the confusion. It is only when I begin to see on paper my expressions of hope and confusion that I can begin to change some of my thoughts which I find I am compulsively repeating to myself, day after day.  I now can write down a new positive thought about myself.  I can choose to feel  whatever I choose.”

MEDITATION

Our guiding love, our God as we understand God, is dong for us all that it desires to lavish on us today.  I am hopeful that I can find my new path and grow stronger in learning the various ways to hear our Higher Power’s promptings.

SOURCE: (c) HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS. (1993, 1999) DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS, LOUISVILLE. Pages 78-79.

ARE YOU GOING IN CIRCLES? THE ADDICT’S CIRCULAR DANCE

In the work  I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER,  recently published  (2013) by Depressed Anonymous Publications, Chapter Six centers its attention on COMPULSISIONS AND CHOICES; THE ADDICTIVE NATURE OF THE DEPRESSION EXPERIENCE. The following thoughts reflect some of the ideas discussed in  Chapter Six.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

“We all  know that any addictive/compulsive type of behavior gradually removes you from the regular  activities of persons around you, including family, friends and coworkers, until you are established in the narrow confines of pain and isolation. We are always going to be just a little more isolated the more we try to think our addiction through in the circle of our own thoughts.

This is what I have found out about addictive/compulsions is that they are like that of a dog chasing his tail. It’s a circular dance that can never end. The dog can never catch his tail. The addict can never get enough of what they are chasing, be it one substance or the other. The next physical rush  is the next hit, the next drink, the next porno movie/picture.

Once we have admitted that our lives are powerless and unmanageable we begin to get excited about a vision, a vision of the new person that we might become. We also learn that there are other alternative ways and various choices that we can make in our behalf. It is beginning to sink into our minds that we are truly responsive for our choices and personal decisions. Like others in the program of recovery who broke out of the vise grip of their addictions they slowly learned to make decisions that favored sobriety and serenity”. Pgs. 61 – 62.

Bill W. & Dorothy Rowe & Margie W.

Three persons who made a big difference in my life and how they each  helped me deal with my own melancholia (depression).

First of all there is Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who by his own witness, presented to us the spiritual program of recovery that we know as the Twelve Steps. Not only have they given me personally  a daily step by step program of recovery to follow but helped me fashion a program of recovery for persons depressed using the same spiritual program of recovery. Bill W., makes available through the Steps to any and all who seek a way out of their attachments to whatever is slowly  destroying their lives.

And then there is Dr. Dorothy Rowe, PH.D., a psychologist who has written many great books on depression and how to live one’s life. In 1985, a member of our newly formed Depressed Anonymous group gave me a copy of her book Depression: The way out of your prison. (1983, 1996) Second Edition. Routledge, London and New York. It was this book that opened my eyes and my mind to beliefs about depression that has accompanied me through my encounters with persons with depression in my own clinical practice, as well as  in the formation of  all the Depressed Anonymous  groups  focused and centered on the Twelve Steps. Not only have she and Bill W., been my mentors in this life long effort of mine, but both have given me keys that not only have released me from my own prison of depression, but persons everywhere have their lives back, plus a belief in a Higher Power,  thanks to these two pioneers.

Then there is Margie W., a charter member of Depressed Anonymous (whose account  appears in Depressed Anonymous in the Personal Stories section of our book). She states  “I can’t really remember for sure how I became involved in Depressed Anonymous. I believe a co-worker told me about a professor at the University of Evansville who had students who were helping people in the psychology field and wanted to know if I would be a volunteer to help start this new self help group. And it was free! What did I have to lose? I had seen Doctors, took their prescribed drugs and still ended up on the same old merry-go-round of ups and downs  and “hangovers” from the drugs. I joined a small group at first. We talked, set weekly goals, took short walks, visited with friends or enjoyed a cup of coffee to relax. We had to do something for ourselves. I had to learn to be good to myself, instead of nurturing  everyone else. I found a good doctor who gave me a lot of good advice about “pampering ” myself more. It hadn’t been easy.  I’ve read self help books, positive thinking books and worked hard on my way of thinking for years. I’m a natural born worrier, so things always seemed worse than they really were.  “(I) feel like I have something to offer the group. Hope is the word. I finally got above the edge of the rut that I could barely peer over for years. I know others  can do it too. Don’t give up. It’s a lot of hard work, but it can be done. I know. I was there.” Depressed Anonymous, (2011)  Third Edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville Kentucky.

I HAD ALREADY USED UP ALL THE HIDING PLACES IN MY LIFE

” You don’t get better overnight, but you do get much better. I was as down in the muck as far as I could go. I had to go and open the door for the first time because there was no other place to go. I had already used up all the hiding places in my life. I still have many problems like anyone else, but when I need sleep very badly, I turn the problem over to my Higher  Power and go to sleep.  I can always pick up the next morning. Somehow it all gets done. Nothing so bad has happened to me. I have trouble trying to figure out what I am exactly supposed to do. I am sure God points me in the right direction. Sometimes, I miss the message but it will come to me eventually what God wants for me.  All you have to do is reach out and get it. But my faith is stronger now in God than it has ever been in my life because I need that companion in  my life. It is there for all of us if we just reach out and take it.” (P. 147/Personal Stories)

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky  40217.

TODAY IS ALL I HAVE

AFFIRMATION

I can live each moment as it comes. I can live only in today. Today is all I have.

“Try to work out which is your habitual response to change which you see as dangerous, so that as you dare to explore you don’t suddenly find yourself running away to the safety of old ways, or resisting the new ideas with old prejudices.( 3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I find that when I am depressed I find all the comfort in the predictable and the familiar.  Right now, I am in battle for my life and I am going to stay and work things out. My feelings are agitated and make me feel very uncomfortable, but I know that it is only by feeling them and accepting them (not run away) that I will, and can in time, begin to taste the freedom of a new me beginning to be born.  I believe that by desiring change, this desire will produce a greater motivation in my self to think and feel differently.

This is an important concept when I am depressed. I desire the safety of the familiar and the predictable.

MEDITATION

God, help me to live in the peace and the serenity  of the present moment. And let us be aware of the moment when we begin to depress ourselves.  Alert us to the moment that we can CHOOSE to turn our minds to something more constructive.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days(c). (March 17).

The Risks Of Faith ( Part 2)

Yesterday we talked about the various parts that make up one’s progress on the path to recovery. Now we will continue to see how the path of hope is formed.

1. The first item is choices and we discussed how our path is first formed with the choices that we make.

2.  Next come acceptance. Acceptance for how  we are and what we are, accepting our own ideas, values, feelings and emotions but even more important is accepting the  fact that these changes  can and will be made by ourselves and other people can’t do  that for us.  They can only add or detract from those changes. By accepting our choices and taking responsibility for those choices for our journey on the path of hope has begun.

3. The third item is trust. Trust in ourselves to make the right choices. Trust in ourselves to overcome any obstacle we face no matter how difficult it is. Also, trusting another person, especially when that person loves, cares or just  believes in us.   Trust is so important, as it tells us we are not alone and we can accept and trust in another to lead us down our chosen path as well as trusting in our self.

4. The last item is faith.  Faith in ourselves that things will be solved even when no answer or solution is in sight or seems impossible. Faith in others helps us when we need help and that they will be there for us.  Faith in God or our Higher Power and that thru him our anguish, our sorrow, our pain will be lifted. Faith in our path of hope.”

The path of hope for depression sufferers is not easy to build or to find sometimes.  That’s why I think it is so important to take your medications  if medications  are prescribed, see your Doctor, counselor or therapist and go to a Depressed Anonymous meeting as often as you are able. Remember –when all seems to be lost there is always hope.”

Source: Copyright(c) How to hope and let it blossom. 1999. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky 40217. Pages 12-13.

And more from How to Hope — “As I attend more meetings I sense growing within me a personal competency to meet head-on the challenges of what were formerly fearful feelings of just existing  –just going through  the motions of life.  Now I attempt not to run when I feel so miserable but instead I stand and feel what  I am feeling. It seems the more I gain a sense of personal competency about how to love life, the more I am able to be willing to express my feelings whenever I feel them, This seems to be the secret of my gaining more hope on an ongoing and daily basis  — namely,  that the more I am able to feel less insecurity in having to have everything nailed down in my life and a willingness to express my feelings whenever I need to express them and with whomever I choose to share them with.” Page 5.

This is empowerment!