Category Archives: Courage

Do we believe nothing will ever change? A response from The Promises of Depressed Anonymous. #1

Excerpts from The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

FOLLOW THE DISCUSSION/COMMENTARY ON THE PROMISES EACH DAY

“I do believe that the pain of our depression originates from inside ourselves. We construct present day reality based on life experiences. The past is the predictor of the future. As it says in Depressed Anonymous, many of us hold the absolute belief that “since bad things happened to us in the past bad things will happen to us in the future. ” In other words – we have made up our minds – nothing will ever change. And of course this belief is what promotes and keeps our depression alive.”

The opposite of depression is spontaneity and vitality. When we are depressed we move about as in a fog. We are stuck. Since we desire everything to remain the same, that is, predictable, we in no way believe that life can be different for us. If we intend to stay stuck, we make the decision, choose to stay in the rut of being lifeless, hapless and hopeless.

As we change old beliefs into new ones we believe that things can change as things begin to change. We will begin to experience hope, light and joy.”

“… life doesn’t have to be lived alone in agony or misery.” (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 41.)


NOTE:
Tomorrow our commentary on the Promises continues for Promise #1.

Copyright(c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 1-3. The 1st Promise of a total of 13 Promises.

Serenity Prayer flowchart

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

The Serenity Prayer confuses some people. Why wouldn’t it? The prayer begins at the end where they ask God to grant them serenity. There are things that happen prior to that point. Have you determined what is and is not possible to change? Have you prayed for wisdom? I found this infographic online and this is more like the process that I go through.

serenityprayerflowchart

What problem has the fates put in front of me? Can I change the problem? If I can change it, then I will pray for courage to actually change it. If I’m unsure if I can change it, I will ask the God of my understanding for wisdom to discern if it is possible to change it. Only when you determine that it’s not possible to change the problem do you pray to your Higher Power for serenity. The Accept it state is not a static thing. Acceptance ebbs and flows, you have it and then you don’t. You will need to pray to God multiple times to get to a state of complete and utter acceptance.

I hope this helps.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

A culture of comfort

Note: originally published March 21, 2016

In the past, my response to a situation that needed my attention I would tell myself “I’ll do it when I feel better.” This was my “old normal” behavior for making excuses for NOT taking care of business in my life.

I believe that for most of us who were or are depressed the “normal” behavior was to just sit in the comfort of doing nothing and letting our lives spin out of control. Now when I mean comfort, I don’t mean without pain, I mean taking NO action when action is seriously needed. And it was only when the situation , that depressing paralysis of will and life activity began to come to a deadening halt, that I had to face myself, make a decision to do something and get my body moving.

I believe that when I unexpectedly found myself drifting down into a sort of a deadly physical inertia, that this discomfort, this slow motion moving and thinking, forced me to come to my senses and stop whatever it was that had me sinking in quicksand up to my chin.

How many times have persons shared with me, as well as sharing in the Depressed Anonymous group, that the comfort of staying stuck in neutral was better than trying to dig themselves out of the stagnation of depression. Depressed persons sometimes have the fear that their unending physical sadness , their mental torment and the comfort of doing nothing is better than trying to change it for fear that they might get something far worse. In fact, many felt that to change would be like turning themselves into the hole in the doughnut. They would be reduced to zero.

Like it says in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, most times we all are looking for an easier and more comfortable way out of whatever has us by the throat. Why not stay in the cocoon of our predictable misery than try to live in the real world which is unpredictable and challenging. Of course, to live this way, takes energy. To live this way takes hope and the belief that I can and I will take the plunge to be proactive in doing all that I can to feel differently. I also have come to the point where I will make a “decision ” to take action today, not tomorrow, but today. Today is all that I have. I have just 24 hours at a time to begin deciding to live differently and find out how this can be accomplished. Where to start.

Just by reading this piece today, you can find the hope and energy to turn your life around like thousands other have done over the years.

Read the following literature and see how it may be of help to you in leaving your own “comfort zone”.

SOURCES:

    • Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
    • Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Please VISIT THE STORE at this site for information for ordering your own copies of valuable literature on ways to leave behind the misery of your own depression experience.

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

I’m having cabin fever during this pandemic self-isolation. How are you doing?

Updated 29 Dec 2020: The US based ZOOM meetings are no longer being held.

Getting a daily rhythm during this time of self-isolation is getting to be a must for me. How about you? After a month of isolating myself this isolation getting old. And, it appears that it isn’t going to be over for a spell. We are all created as human beings to be close to others. We love the fellowship of groups. Ironically, this is what will kill us or make us very sick at the very least. Physical/social distancing is a must now.

I am getting my stride. Athletes talk about getting into their rhythm. I am much aware that I can’t fiddle my time away – getting myself depressed, or just staring out the window, watching TV , streaming on my computer or just sleeping through it.

So, I have developed a schedule. I make sure that I eat every day and at the same time. I use my 12 Step literature for prayer and reflection in the morning. I also do some writing on my online WordPress blog . Because I have gone through self-isolating when I was depressed – I definitely do not let it happen again. In my schedule I go to the park and exercise everyday and at the same time. I spend a part of the afternoon catching up with friends and members of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship. At these times I connect with member s of the large DA fellowship in Iran and other DA members outside US. (Everyone with whom I have contact are going through the same pandemic as we are.)

The Depressed Anonymous fellowship have an International daily DA SKYPE online meeting. I am able to contact and participate in this group in early afternoon. Then there is a new ZOOM online fellowship that has just been formed. You can find times and places at our Depressed Anonymous website. Or on Facebook. Please try and attend these meetings. Great resource for keeping in touch and helping to maintain our recovery – one day at a time. In the late afternoon I follow our Governor’s daily TV meeting(Kentucky) where he keeps us up to date on things that we have to do to keep each other safe and out of harms way. Then evening news and then other news sources. So by night time I am saturated with news – mostly sad news about how there is so much suffering and isolation among all of us who need each other so much.

I am especially grateful for our 12 step fellowship where we can see each other f2f and maintain our sanity and sobriety. Please check out our recent blogs at www.depressedanon.com or FB Depressed Anonymous. Today is the first day where we are offering our eBooks for $1.00 a piece. These are the 3rd edition of Depressed Anonymous and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Both of these eBooks can be downloaded on the computer or printed out on your printer. These are the books which we use at our Online group meetings. If you want these books today, they are yours for downloading. We felt that now is the time to make these books available to as many people as possible. We wanted to make them available on line free – but somehow that was not possible. So we went for $1 buck apiece. I do hope others take advantage of this opportunity – especially most of us who might be hard pressed to come up with any money now when food and shelter is our most critical need. Depressed Anonymous Publications is a very small business operation and all our work is done by volunteers – including me.

My suggestion is to do the same thing everyday, have a schedule for each day and now that the children are home, and with the kids out of school, they will always need some help with their eLearning classes.

Do some fun things for yourself – I personally liked the old Three stooges, Jim Carey’s movies and older comedies keep me laughing. It sure helps lift my mood.

Plan to call at least one older person who is alone. Maybe a neighbor who needs food. My wife and I are now trying to make some strategic decisions in our food purchases and TP. Trying to make do with what we have, sharing what we have with others.

Call your sponsor everyday or a fellow member of our 12 Step fellowship group.

Finally, get into your own rhythm – take it one day at a time-make a schedule and as a family get together and decide how we all can decide how we want to spend our day.

Thank you and may all of us remain safe and secure. This too shall pass. We are all in this together. We are going to get through it. We are going to get through it together.

Love and peace to you all.

Hugh, for the fellowship

Anxious? Please read this.

“Sometimes persons tell us that they get sad for no reason at all. All of a sudden they just feel down and don’t know why. Many times after reflecting upon this sudden rush of sadness, they realize that it has come from somewhere and they might as well take responsibility for it and deal with it. One of the best ways to deal with a feeling, especially the unpleasant ones, is to stay with it, feel it, and see what it is trying to tell you. When we run from it we lose. Granted, this won’t be easy and you might not find the source of the sudden sadness at the first glance, but in time you can feel it, deal with it and then discard it. The more you ruminate about how sad you are and then how bad you are for being so sad, the more you have begun the downward spiral into physically feeling weak and hopeless. This is the time to call a friend or a member of the group. Just say: “Hey, I’m feeling sad and there is no reason why I think I am feeling sad – what do you think?” More times than not, your sad feelings will melt away.

Our feelings are like messengers. They come to tell us something important. They can tell us , as was the case with our ancestors of primitive times, that either it was time to run or to stand and fight. Flight or fight. Today, in these modern times, we don’t have to run or even fight when the unpleasant feelings rise up inside of us. The only activity that most of us engage in when faced with an unpleasant thought/feeling is to put our mind in overdrive, stomping on the accelerator, and shooting adrenaline into our blood stream. Even though there is no lion nipping at our heels we begin to flee those feelings of fright and find our selves swimming in a sea of fear and anxiety. Our palms begin to feel clammy, our forehead breaks out in beads of sweat and our heart rate is going trough the roof.

The more we “listen into” these frenzied feelings the more frenzied and frazzled we become physically. Now, totally worn out with all this adrenaline pumped through our arteries, and all physical systems on high alert, we become exhausted. After all this, my drug of choice was to hit the bed and sleep it off. Some folks medicate themselves with alcohol or other mind altering drugs.

Our other stance is to stay and fight the lion. No lion? We fight in our mind whatever it might be that is ready to devour us and spit us out. We might be sitting at our desk at work and this negative ruminating will be having the same effect on our body as it did with the native faced with fighting a lion. It was the lion or himself that had to win this fight.

So, for us, as we continue to put emotional energy into the negativity of the thought that affects our moods, we find ourselves spiraling downward into that depressed mood and isolation. Instead we need to listen to the feeling, face the feeling, and tell ourselves that the feeling is uncomfortable, but not life threatening. This becomes sort of a mantra at the time of our panicky thoughts where by gradually and slowly repeating this phrase over and over again to ourselves, our breathing gets slower, our heart rate slides back to normal and the sweating stops. No running and no fighting. No foot on the accelerator resulting in no more adrenaline pumping through our arteries.

This technique of talking ourselves down when our body and reasoning is about to be taken over by unpleasant emotions, really works.

RESOURCES

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. Pg.91.

(c) Claire Weekes, Hope and Help for your Nerves. (1969) Berkley. NY.

NOTE: All Depressed Anonymous publications can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. At https://depressedanon.com

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.