Category Archives: Courage

Courage To Change The Things I Can

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is having fears, facing them, and taking action. I know that I can be overcome with fear. My depression manifests as a deer in the headlights. I am stuck in inaction. The hardest part is getting started.

Break whatever project you are procrastinating on into small manageable pieces. Start attacking and accomplishing those smaller tasks. Some people say to tackle the low hanging fruit – to start off easy. Some people say to tackle the hardest task first – the one that you are dreading the most. If you can handle the hardest task then you should be able to handle the rest.

Does it matter which way you start? The answer is a resounding no. What matters is that you take action, any action. Start, start NOW! It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake by going into action – you will have momentum on your side, and you can accomplish much more.

Choose action. Pick something, anything that is productive and gets you one step closer to your goal.

You will experience fear, it is to be expected. Have the courage to feel the fear and do it anyway. You may not feel better instantly, but you will feel better eventually.

If you are overcome with fear to the point of inaction don’t worry. Be gentle with yourself. Breathe through your fear and set the task aside for a few moments. Don’t have the attitude of no never, but instead have the attitude of no, not right now. Revisit the task that you put aside. Don’t get trapped in avoidance as you’re merely putting the fearsome task aside for a few moments. Catch your breath, and dive back in.

Be gentle with yourself, but do it!

Yours in recovery, Bill R

With the compulsion to sad ourselves…

In our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous the statement is made:

” With our compulsion to sad ourselves, much like the alcoholic’s urge to medicate his or herself with alcohol, we need daily to turn our will over to God and ask for the  Higher Power’s (God) guidance, eventually it is the conscious contact with the loving God that sets us free from the need to sad ourselves.”

11.1 Question: How do you see your depression as a compulsion? What are the triggers that cause you to spiral downward back into the dark pit of depression?

When you think of depression do you  think of it like one big thing or do you see it for the many parts that make up a depression experience, namely, the way that we think, behave or feel. In other words, when we make it to be a thing, that is when we reify it – it holds power over us – like it came out of the blue – we talk about depression in medical terms such as I just had a bout of depression -like it came from outside of us like an infectious germ or virus. In reality, our depression is made up of many parts, such as particular depressiogenic ways of thinking, behaving and feeling.

11.1. Write the way that you perceive your depression? Can you distinguish the various parts ( thinking; feeling; behaving;  physiological; motivational; spiritual ) that go to form what we call the depression experience?  Which of the above parts continue to cause you the most anxiety/fear?

Which of the following Illustrations can you best relate to.

11.2. A need to be perfect!

11.3. A need to be successful!

11.4. A need to please others always!

11.5. A need to never get angry!

11.6. A need to have someone in my life before I feel I am somebody!

11.7. Please write down how one or more of the above items keeps you down, despairing and hopeless? Also, write about where these attitudes come from?

Please respond to the statement:

I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it. It is truly living in the will and mind of God that will help us, one day at a time to stop being so compulsive in our rigid and automated thinking about people and things so that we do not let our dated emotions and thoughts predict what the outcome of our perceptions ought to be.”

The Home Study Program is an excellent tool for self reflection and a meaningful way to discover what needs to be changed in our lives.  The Question  and answers provided by the participant provides freedom from the issues (dated emotions) that continue to cripple us.

RESOURCES

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. pp79-80.

These and other helpful publications  can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications  Bookstore at our website www.depressedanon.com.

I can visualize myself happy and serene.

A HIGHER THOUGHT FOR YOU  TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I will trust myself to try thoughts other than  the ones that make me feel sad, small and guilty. I will imagine myself happy and serene.

“Any system approaching perfect self-control is also approaching perfect self frustration. The desire for perfect control of the environment and of myself, is based on a profound mistrust of the controller. Because you couldn’t trust yourself to become, to allow   yourself to grow as a plant grows. Rather you have to make yourself, like you make a box. In regarding yourself as a manufactured box, rather than a growing plant you see yourself as an object, not as a living being…” (3) Dorothy Rowe.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know now that I need to let go and to let God guide my life as I attempt to live today. Just one day at a time. I pray now that God, or my Higher Power, will not let me get down on myself. Instead the Higher Power will help me become conscious of the fact that the Twelve Steps are truly  my steps out of the cell of the prison of my depression.

Each and every living human organism on this earth has five major characteristics that link all life together. Each  life organism has an autonomy, a competency, an interconnectedness to others, a self-directedness and an ability to duplicate itself.

MEDITATION

We want to control our lives and we are discovering that the best way to guide our lives is to live in the principle  of this Higher  Consciousness or, the God of our understanding.”

SOURCES:  Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for  members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Page 59. March 22.

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. 2nd Edition (2018) Hugh Smith, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

How can I change if I am depressed?

Has depression distorted us from the truths of life, namely that life is to be lived with hope and serenity.  Nursing along a good habit can in time  wean us from old and debilitating habits of thought and behavior. We want to daily fill our day with the gratitude that we are in deed getting better and that the trust that we have is indeed placed in our Higher Power.

In order for us to change and In order for us to escape depression, we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. This 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 we do. Something has to give.

2. Motivating stage: I am going to prepare myself for needed changes 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 going to feel better and differently.

4. Maintaining stage: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working the 12 Step program of recovery.

 

I believe that it is when we begin to understand the process of the 12 steps begin the important process of enlarging our awareness of our own depression experience and slowly learn how to apply them  to our daily lives. This awareness will place us directly in a recovery program, using the formula for success in overcoming depression.

We highly recommend that anyone who wants to escape depression   begin to study our program of recovery as outlined in our Manual DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS and begin to question oneself as to how, when  and what began the spiraling downward into despair  of our own depression. Our Workbook, is the greatest tool in unearthing  the ways   that put us in the place that we are today.  We  do this by gradually working our way out of this maze of problems and situations that   shackled and immobilized us day after day.

The more attention that we give to how we got where we are today, the more we will be motivated to continue our quest to use the tools provided by Depressed Anonymous. Once we get busy with the work of understanding how depression works, the more we will find ourselves  motivated to get free of our life of hopelessness.

 

 

 

SOURCE:  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2001, 2017) . DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. Louisville. PAGE 41.

MORE THAN C0MFORT

When I am feeling depressed, I repeat to myself statements such as these…”Pain is the touchstone of progress.”…”I fear no evil.” …”This, too will pass.” … “This experience can be turned to benefit.”

These fragments of prayer bring far more than mere comfort. They keep me on the track of right acceptance; they break up my compulsive themes of guilt, depression, rebellion, and pride; and sometimes they endow me with the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Bill W., writing in Grapevine, March 1962.

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My mantra, personally,  is the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,  the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

I Don’t Have To Feel This Way!

As one person told Dorothy Rowe: “When I think of all those years I wasted being depressed, I wish  I would have listened. I’d wish I’d realized that all I had to do was say that I had enough of being put upon and put down,  feeling that there was something wrong with me. I’d like to go up to the hospital and tell everybody: ‘You don’t have to be like this.’ Up there nobody ever told me that.  I’d see those people going on and on being miserable. If I’d have seen someone like me now, it would have given me hope.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications,. Louisville. P.72.

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How often do we present this message to those who enter into our world.  Our world is one of hope, possessed with the awesome reality that I am different. I have changed.  I can use my tool kit of the 12 steps to gradually dismantle and replace the negative features of my life with new directions, new behaviors and continuing to put into action those positive beliefs about who I am. The Depressed Anonymous fellowship helps us meet others who were depressed and  who now are living a full life.  We are grateful for coming into contact with those who  have a  story of hope to share. So, if you are feeling miserable and helpless, just know  that what you read here will definitely make a difference in your life. We don’t have a magic wand that will take away your pain but we do have a step by step recovery process that can  lighten your load and give you courage to live one hour, one 24 hour period at a time. You are no longer alone. No “snap out of it” from our group. You can make your decision today to join us and  begin a journey that can  lead you eventually  to say,  “I don’t have to be like this.” I did!

Hugh

CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOLOGIST: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND DEPRESSION

David Karp, in his work Speaking of sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness (1996)  confesses that in the middle of interviewing persons for this work  states, “I was initially puzzled by the number of respondents who spontaneously  spoke about the role of spirituality in their lives.  During the early stages of the data collection, however spirituality meant no more  or less to me than any of the large number of issues that were coming out of the interviews. At a certain point, though, enough people spoke about spirituality that I began routinely to ask everyone about it. Certainly there were many who had little to say, and some who claimed no interest in spirituality, but the question often elicited an outpouring of talk.  After 25 or so interviews, it seemed that my anticipated chapter on coping and adapting would have to pay at least some attention to the role of spirituality.” (p.190).

Karp was deeply impressed by what he calls the “courage and grace”  how some of his interviewees faced their own pain of depression. He says  he “left many interviews with a sense that spiritually engaged individuals were in touch with something important. ”  He concludes by saying  “These people possessed or knew something that I didn’t.” (pp. 190 -191).

I think most of you who are reading my posts know that I too am an advocate  of the  power of  spirituality in the recovery process for persons depressed. In the American culture and most probably in most Western cultures, where one’s lack of meaningful work and diminishing intimate relationships, or “double trouble” as a colleague of Karp,  Charles Derber points out, promotes a community of strangers, alone, isolated and disconnected.  He describes depression as the disease of disconnection.  Freud when asked what makes for human happiness he replied ” arbeiten  und  leben”. (work and love).

All the above is put before you, the reader, to continue to present to you how important  my own recovery from depression  continues  to this day because of my own spirituality dependent on my Higher Power, or the God of my understanding. In BELIEVING IS SEEING:15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION (2014) I share how I believe that I am not alone, as I have other fellow travelers who will lead me around the ditches and the potholes of that old depressive life style that once ruled my thoughts and actions. Now I am on a personal mission of growth and recovery.” (p.13).

I still have my potholes, ditches and rough seas to maneuver around,. Thanks to a Power greater than myself— I pray and continue rowing to shore, and this Power as I understand it, has been getting me to that safe harbor of serenity and safety.