Category Archives: Courage

In helping others, I helped myself. Gloria’s story.

” I remember my first night at a Depressed Anonymous meeting. It was the 6th of June, 1985. I went into the room of people I didn’t know and was afraid, I wondered what it would be like and sat at the back of the room so that I could leave if I wanted to. I was withdrawn with the pain of depression, so I knew I wouldn’t open my mouth to these people I didn’t know. The man in charge took me out to another room and asked me a few questions. I found out later it was to see if I needed medical care. When it came my turn to talk at the group of nine people, I refused. Everyone had a very sad story to tell. When I came home, I decided that I didn’t need any more sadness, so I wouldn’t return the next Thursday night. I didn’t. However, the next Thursday, I was ready To
go try again.

After my fourth Thursday, I opened up a little. I didn’t trust these people yet. As the Thursdays past, I became more relaxed and realized they could become good friends to me. I felt a closeness to these people, and I always liked helping others, so I opened up more and more.

After meetings we would go to a restaurant for coffee and food. One night I was laughing and talking, and our counselor in charge said “Gloria you have opened up like a rose. Petal by petal you have opened up.” Well, I felt special and very good inside. It had been a lot of work, and it was noticed by him. I felt proud.”
-Gloria’s story is continued tomorrow here at the blog.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous Publications. THIRD EDITION. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 140.
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You can find 30 other positive recovery stories and literature at Depressedanon.com. See The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore. You can order online.

A new publication by DAP is their new manual, Dep-Anon, a 12 step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed. This book is also available at the bookstore.

Acceptance that “we are partners in a common effort”

How wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be.

Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted, solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things, these are the satisfactions of right living for which no pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions could possibly be substitutes.

SOURCES
The Twelve and Twelve/Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Ny, NY.
–Quoted in DEP-ANON: A 12 Step Recovery Program for Families and Friends of the Depressed. DAP. Louisville, KY 40241. Pages 14-15.

Asking for help – my responsibility and my privilege

I’ve learned that asking for help is so important in this program and in my life.  Reaching out for help when I’m hurting can be a really hard thing to do.  Reaching out and asking for help anytime can be hard – but especially when I’m in a bad place.  Pain, however, is the great motivator.  When I’m in enough pain, I know what my solution is.  Pick up the phone and call someone.  Ask for help.  Ask for a sponsor.  Call my sponsor and take suggestions. Talk to my Higher Power, surrender my will, and ask for my Higher Power’s help.  There are people in this fellowship who understand me and will support me.  It is such a blessing to be a part of a fellowship where encouragement and support is freely given.  All I have to do is be willing to reach out and ask for help.

Why do I need to ask for help?  Many reasons.  My best thinking got me here.  What I mean is that my best thinking brought me to the point of severe depression, suicidal ideation, and the inability to function.  Clearly, there is something wrong with my thinking.  I am a depressive, or a saddict. My first thought tends to be a negative one.  Left to my own devices and my own thinking, I sadden myself.  But now that I know this, I can reach out and ask for help.

Self-sufficiency has failed me. It’s an old and well engrained idea of mine – the philosophy of self-sufficiency.  The idea that I should be able to solve all my problems myself.  The question I need to ask myself is “how well did that work for me”?  In my case, it led to self-destruction and severe depression.  This program has introduced me to the concept of God reliance, or Higher Power reliance, or even fellowship reliance.  The idea of relying on a Power greater than myself.  That idea works for me.  It gives me hope, better days, connection with others, and a way out of depression.  But to do that – to get help – I’ve got to ask for help.  That is my responsibility and my privilege.

Be kind anyway…

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be Kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends.
Succeed anyway.
If You are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good that you do today, people will forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best that you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis. it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.

– Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Doing what you can, even if it is really small

My depression wants me to wallow in doing nothing. I want to crawl into the Bill cave and let the world pass me by.

If I give into that thought completely I am doomed to remain in the pit of my depression. I must take action! What if I don’t have the motivation? Well I don’t need to muster up the energy and motivation to do the grand projects. Maybe my house is an utter pig sty and I really should fully clean my house. That’s OK – start small. Perhaps all you need is a small self push of picking up all the dirty dishes in your house and bringing them to the kitchen. If you’re feeling inspired perhaps scrape the leftovers from the plates into the garbage. Tell yourself that you are going to load the dishwasher in an hour. Two hours from now you’ll wash the pots and pans.

You don’t need to do it all right now. You don’t need to undertake all the work of recovery right now. All you need to do is to take action on the small thing in front of you. Remember you don’t climb a mountain in a single small step. Climbing a mountain is done a step at a time. Sometimes looking at the peak while we are in the valley is overwhelming. Believe me, I’ve been there. Don’t focus on how far the peak is. Just be mindful of your surroundings and where you are going to place your next step. Then take that step, then the next. Eventually you will be at the peak. The pit of the depression will be behind you.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
– Tao Te Ching

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Depression made me think I was losing my mind, until I did two things that changed my life forever

“What is happening to me,” I asked myself, as I spent another week of struggling to get out of bed. It was like a 500 pound lead weight had dropped on top of me. I felt that whatever commands I issued to my body, “like get out of bed,” the message never reached my body.

The only thing that I knew what to do was to force myself to move the body and hopefully the mind would follow, be it reluctantly. And that is exactly what happened. Every morning after was a struggle, but I did manage to push myself out of bed and I got myself to work. When work ended, I went home and immediately hit the bed. What’s going on here? I asked. I had no clue that what was the matter was that my body was shutting down and that my mind gradually became powerless to make any positive changes in my behavior or thinking.

It was only as I started to walk five miles a day in a local mall, just to promote the fact that I was up and out and able to get to work. I want to make the point here that even though this walking continued for over a year and half, I still was forcing myself to get out of bed. Every morning the debate in my head started all over again. By now I had developed some resistance to staying in bed and just realized, if I was to save my job, I had to walk.

Eventually, the walking was a way out of the prison that my mind had constructed. Eventually, I learned that the way I was living my life and the negativity that I had embraced in my thinking, together threw me into a deep dark pit. Before I was able to figure out what was happening to me, I became depressed. The more I tried to figure out, in my mind, why I was depressed the more I became further depressed, isolated and alone. Then I did something that changed my life to this very day.

The first thing that I did was to force myself to get out of bed and walk, walk, and walk some more. (I still walk three times a week). I know first-hand, the potential life-threatening nature of depression.

The second most important discovery for my recovery was to find a group of men and women just like myself, all who were depressed and looking for a way out of their depression. It was this 12 Step fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous, that has been an integral part of the way I live my life today. If you are looking for what I found, namely, a way to quit saddening yourself, this support group may be your lifeline as much as it continues to be for me today. And I still attend this meeting, even though I have not been depressed for many years, I attend because I find that I can help others to find the hope and peace that it promised and provides for me today.

Discover important information at www.depressedanon.com for our online virtual Zoom meetings which meet every day of the week. Other DA sponsored groups also meet during the week. There are no fees and dues. Come and share or just come and listen. You will find that you are not alone. We are all on this journey of hope together…and we do recover.

For the fellowship, Hugh S.

At least someone listened to me

I have heard this comment a few times after a new member shares some of their personal story at a Depressed Anonymous meeting. Can it be that many people feel so isolated and alone contend no one wants to stop and listen to what they have to say? I am afraid this is true. This is especially true for those of us who come to a meeting, professedly for people depressed, and discover we are welcome to share who we are and where we have been on this life journey. Possibly for the first time in our adult life, there are people like myself who are able to share their story. And people listen.

Just like children, emotions heal when they are heard and validated.
– Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight

MISS MY SAD THOUGHTS

MISSING MY SAD THOUGHTS

Some days I miss my sad thoughts. They are addictive. They fill a space in me and meet a requirement of comfort and familiarity. Humans require and seek a level of comfort and familiarity. The depressed human is no different. Sadly, it’s the sad thoughts that provide the deep level of comfort. When I remove the sadness, I have to work to replace that big open field of nothingness left. It feels hard. It feels like work. Pressure and effort. I want to fall back into the sad thinking because, I know very well how to form those thoughts and how to feel them. How to make use of them, strangely. They serve a strong purpose. They validate my depression and vice a versa. They have lived in me for so long that to have to fill the void of their space feel so hard. It feels like big shoes to fill. I feel pressed, just trying. My mind is having to accept this new training I am putting it through. It doesn’t want to change. It is not welcoming of these new positive thoughts at first. It is a struggle. My mind wrestles back and forth: ‘I just want to go home and go to my bed. No, no! You want to keep grocery shopping…! No, please, I just need to lie down, I’m leaving this group!! I am so depressed. No, no! You are going to do your task today, because, it will make you feel better.’ The better part of me wins and I refuse to be held captive, a victim to this negative dark thinking that is killing me. So, I continue on doing the grocery shopping with an internal mind struggle going on. The whole day seems to continue like this. The back and forth tug of war in my mind! It takes time to truly train the mind to accept the incoming positive thoughts. Affirmations are a needed daily medicine for the saddened mind for sure. It takes consistency. I ask myself how bad do I want to feel better? I continue to retrain my mind every single day. Slowly, I miss my sad thoughts less and less. I feel the need for the positive affirmations more and more. This is the process of healing the depressed mind and thus, my feelings. I look forward to a time where I will not miss my sad thoughts and the struggle between the positive and negative thoughts will not be such a big part of my day.”
Debra NC

“Slowly, I found the positive affirmations more and more and more.”

Copyright(c) Debra Sanford. A Medley of Depression Stories. First edition. (2017) PP> 30-31.( Used with permission.)

You may email Debra: thedepressionstories@gmail.com. She would love hearing from you.

SAFE PLACE TO FALL

i love when one of my Depressed Anonymous friends says that a Depressed Anonymous meeting room is a “safe” place to fall. She describes it as an all accepting place with friends who truly understand what you are talking about. A place where you don’t have to feel ashamed to have mental illness or discuss depression at length! She says when she walks into the room and takes a seat she knows that the love and the anonymity of the group will provide her a safe place to discuss what’s happening in her life with her son and the bizarre situations bringing depressive thoughts. No place else has she ever found such a place she says. The bonds made with new friends who can speak the language of depression has been an amazing blessing. She says she never knew there could be such a place. A place where she truly can give details of her life, shed tears and not feel ashamed. Discuss her meds, her dark thoughts and ask for help without ensuring failure! Thus she says Depressed Anonymous meetings are a safe place to fall! Bringing her a comfort she didn’t know before. Sometimes we just need friends who truly understand and can relate to our depression. Especially living in a world where people tell us to just get up and go out and we will feel better. It’;s a safe place to be with people who can relate to feeling suicidal or being so down and not wanting to get out of bed. This “miracle of the group” is what makes it such a safe place to “fall,”: Thank God for depression support group where we can meet wonderful friends who are there when we need the help, and who totally understands depression.”

-Anonymous

“Depressed Anonymous meetings are a safe place to fall.”
(c) A Medley of depression stories. Debra Sanford. (2017) pp.57-58. With permission

Having had a spiritual awakening …

Step 12 is about having a spiritual awakening. Remember, Step 12 is the last Step of our 12 Step recovery program. The 12 Steps are the 12 spiritual principles, the core of what we believe and what our lives and daily actions are based. The following remarks are mine and express the belief that has carried me personally through a time of darkness and hopelessness. Until, I had a “spiritual experience…an awakening.” I woke up to a new way of living my life. My old way of living brought me to the edge of personal disaster. That is, until I walked into a meeting of people who were just like myself. Let me explain. They WERE like me. They welcomed me. They shared how the God of their understanding gave them a new way of looking at themselves and others. They had an experience that changed their lives. They had a “spiritual awakening.” Their lives were no longer consumed by the devastatingly presence of fear and aloneness.

The text following is found in the Introduction to Depressed Anonymous, our 12 Step recovery program where the author extends an invitation to be part of this fellowship.

We now have a solution to offer those who want to reach out and grow into the new way of life, a life that is now focused on recovery and a feeling of hope. With this offer and solution daily before our eyes, we are beginning to see that the depressed have to depend on a spiritual experience to really be free from that debilitating scourge of depression. It is this spiritual experience, coupled with the power of the fellowship of those who like ourselves where we neither need to explain of excuse ourselves or apologize for being depressed that is the basis for our recovery.
You must want to begin this journey seriously enough to actually begin the recovery program of Depressed Anonymous. Someday I hope to know you as a kindred spirit in recovery.
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition, p. 23

Again, I would like to share a quote from A Meister Eckarte (c. 1260-1328) who shaped his insight for us about the nature of knowing God and how our knowing, comes from God himself. Here are his thoughts about the Spiritual awakening that comes to those of us and are “willing to turn their lives and wills over to the care of God as they understand God to be.”

This work then when it is perfect, will be due solely to God’s action while you have been passive. If you really forsake your own knowledge and will, then surely and gladly God will enter your own knowledge shining clearly. Where God achieves self-consciousness, your own knowledge is of no use nor has it standing. Do not imagine that your own intelligence may rise to it, so that you may know God. Indeed, when God divinely enlightens you, no natural light is required to bring that about. This (natural light) must in fact be completely extinguished before God can come in with his light, bringing back with God all that you have forsaken and a thousand times more, together with a new form to contain it all.
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition, p. 161

In Depressed Anonymous, you can read the stories of those who have had their lives changed by letting go, letting God, and willing to do what it takes to recover from depression. Please join us.

RESOURCE
Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition, (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY