Category Archives: Focus

You Can Do This!

Fighting and managing depression can seem like a daunting task. I know as I feel overwhelmed at times. You don’t need to stay stuck in depression. You can take action. Any action is better than inaction and isolation. Get out of yourself and do service for others. The others can be others with depression, or they can just be the downtrodden in need of support. The women in World War II rose to the challenge and went to work (Rosie the Rivetter pictured here). You can rise to the challenge of doing something to help with your depression.

Easy does it, but do it!
– Slogan heard in AA meeting

If you’ve read any of Tony Robbins work he recommends taking massive action. Being in the depths of depression what does massive action look like? Here are some things that when you are in the depths of depression that are massive actions:

  • Have a sleep regimen. Go to bed at the same time, and get up at the same time every day. I’m not expecting you to be an early riser, but have a routine.
  • Making your bed every time you get up from bed.
  • Personal hygiene. Take a shower. Shave (wherever appropriate). Brush and floss your teeth.
  • Wash, fold, and put away your laundry.
  • Clean the bathroom.
  • Wash the dishes (machine washed is fine) and put them away.
  • Get dressed. My recommendation is to the level of business casual. You will feel like you have more of a purpose.
  • Get outside and take a 20 minute walk.

Put these little regimens into your life. Why did I use the word regimen?

regimen: a manner of living intended to preserve or restore health
Source: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/regimen

No one likes regimen. You are doing it for a purpose. You are attempting to restore health and sanity into your life. As you begin to do these things your depression will lighten, albeit very slightly. The slightly lighter mood will enable you to do even more massive actions. These future more massive actions will have an even greater impact on your depression.

What will those more massive actions look like? I don’t know, that depends upon you. Take the little actions of regimen. You can do those little things. Your depression will lessen even if it’s a mere one tenth of one percent. Accept the challenge, you can do it!

Then you can do even greater things that will have a greater positive impact on your depression.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

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

Discover the patterns of behavior from your own life. Example: How you think about yourself.

AFFIRMATION

I want to believe that my God, as I understand him, will continually make a path for me through life. I want today to listen to its leading.

“Our patterns are more successful than the fortune telling arts,  since we expect our patterns  to prove true, and expecting this, we usually find that they do. Edmund Carpenter once wrote,
“We say, ‘If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it, but the phrase should be, ‘If I hadn’t believed it with all my heart, I wouldn’t have seen it.'”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  usually expected bad things to happen to me because bad things usually did happen to me, as Dorothy Rowe points out in her six immutable beliefs that make up the prison of our depression. I used to believe that God punished me for all the bad things I did in my life and for my being the bad person that I believe that I am. But now, I am changing my beliefs about my depression and that I am only a passive victim. I believe that I will survive this time of depression.

It’s as if  my depression is like a rotted tooth, a thing that can be extracted. I am slowly believing that it is important what I believe about myself and how I have a responsibility to extract myself from my own lifestyle of sadness. I do know this, that if I continue to think the way that I have over the last couple of years, I will stay stuck in the deep pit of depression.   If  we do  something over and over again, day after day,  we can say that we have created a pattern of thinking and behaving. Some say that our life is on auto-pilot.

I now believing with all my heart that I will get better with the help of my own resources and through the help of others and the Twelve Step program of recovery.

MEDITATION

God, you can make all things new but you never infringe your will upon any of us. But the more peace we receive from turning our will over to yours, the more I can predict that my future will be more according to your design.”

RESOURCES

(C) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Louisville, Ky.

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Pg.29.

(C) Believing is Seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville Ky.

Order Online from The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore here at our website www. 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.

Was finding this phone number a coincidence?

 

Helen shares her story about finding help–when she needed it most.

”   I finally knew after two year or more of sleepless nights that someone had to help me.   I found a card saying Depressed  Center, in the back  of the phone book. It has a phone number and that was all. I talked to a man on the other end of the phone.  I said to myself this man is too  busy to talk with me, but anyway I made the first appointment myself. I made myself go. I thank God I did. I thank God that I went for help. It was a whole new beginning for me. I wanted to get well so badly. I think people do have to want to change. I went in with an attitude that I have to get well. I had heard things about counselors that scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in. I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thoughts. I began to feel better and I continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous  some weeks later.”

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If you are curious about how the mutual aid group changed Helen’s life you’ll need to read her full account in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,  pages 169-172.

She also has something powerful to say about pleasing people and how  she needed to get her priorities straight and begin taking care of herself.

Sources:   Seeing is believing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017). Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

 I’ll do it when I feel better.(2018) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY

Life can be good for a change.

 

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s  members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and giving support on how to  cope with depression. By letting my Higher Power help me, I am beginning to feel free from depression. I am not so nervous and  tensed up. My Christian inner faith is getting stronger. I am not so stressed out  and I am beginning to get confidence within myself. I still have trouble with sleep pattern and I am getting some motivation back. I have learned how to handle anxiety by taking deep breaths when I am nervous or troubled. This was suggested by my therapist. I also am learning how to stand up for myself.

All these tools have helped me and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, to live life one day at a time, and to look toward the future, but not live there. It  will take me a long time to deal with depression, but I am glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

~ANONYMOUS

Anonymous, is  one of the many persons who share their  personal story of recovery  in  the group’s  manual, Depressed Anonymous.

For more of her story and many others please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications at www.depressedanon.com.

 

My moods began to spiral upwards once I regained control of my life!

 

Is it that simple?   Gaining control  of my life  didn’t happen overnight. I did  know that most people’s depression usually lifted after a year’s time. Mine did.  The catch is,  that for me,  it took some work and patience. No magic wand waving over my head and no silver bullet automatically killing the demon of despair that continued to beat me down. But what  gradually happened was  that my mood  came back providing me with hope and a plan for my recovery.  I began to feel some control over how I was feeling and the new mood of cheer gave me the courage to keep on doing what I was doing. In my case, my mood began to be lightened the more I continued my daily walking.

Just my determination to take of myself physically paid huge benefits. For once, in many months I felt some control over my mood and the direction where my life was heading.  I was beginning to be in control instead of my life being out of control and unmanageable.

I remember in Graduate school I gave persons depressed a questionnaire  determining  how  much control they felt they had over their lives. Interestingly, the person who felt they had less control over their lives, or none at all, these  more depressed  persons felt less in control over their environment and the way  the direction of their life was taking.

Those who were less depressed answered that they were begin to feel more in control of their lives. These persons  were experiencing more hope and   the direction of their lives was providing purpose and meaning.

What to do?

First of all, get a plan that will work for you. My plan was this Step by Step program of recovery we call Depressed Anonymous. The best part of the plan is to find friends who, just like ourselves, are working the same plan.  This fellowship, this non judgmental approach and support of the group provides us with our marching orders.  When members of the fellowship share their story–we hear our own story. We know that just by admitting that we need help  it is at this initial starting point, where we begin to spiral upwards instead of continuing   the spiral downward.

If you  want to take control of your life and your mood, it would do you well to join us and  discover how others gained control  over their lives just as it is possible for yourself.

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

“My life is out of control!”

 

“I have come to the Step program because my life is out of control. Whatever I do or think or say seems to make no difference on the way that I feel right now. I feel out of control, and some other force is in charge of my life. I know also that this force, this power other than myself, this sadness has me captive and somehow I have felt unable to do much about it.”

Until today!

In our Home Study program of recovery,  we use the Depressed Anonymous Workbook in conjunction with the  Depressed Anonymous Manual,   together  let them lead us, Step by Step   out of our depression.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook facilitates a new self awareness  by questions which we need to answer.  Each Step is provides  further meaningful thoughts from the “Big Book” of Depressed Anonymous. By reading certain noted paragraphs, as indicated in our Workbook, (Page #), we move through all the questions with that  greater  self-awareness of how depression controls every day of our lives. Actually, the Workbook, by its questions and my responses, continues to open up for me  where my life can be lived with hope once again.

Example: Workbook question #1.9 “What areas of one’s life appear to be more out of control now that you are aware of how depression can isolate a person. What areas  of one’s life appears more manageable now that you are aware of how you can change things around —  choosing to feel differently?” Workbook, Page 9.

“It is in the admission that we are out of control that a remedy can be applied to our battle with depression. It is a paradox for our understanding of depression to learn that only  when we give up control, do we gain control over what we want to be, think or do. If there is anything that creates a sense of hopelessness, it’s when we  fee that we don’t have any control over our lives. When we are depressed, we feel  dependent on all the forces that act on us and our environment. We feel that we are like the victims of the interminable feeling that we call depression. Depression can be like a hell or bottomless pit from which we feel we can never escape. It’s like being in an  eighty foot hole with an eight foot ladder.” Depressed Anonymous Manual.  Page 28.

______________________

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky

Many Depressed Anonymous meetings  use the Home Study as a meeting Step Study group

For more literature about Depression and the Twelve Steps click onto the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore.

Please don’t tell me to “snap out of it.”

The Mental Health Award winner Dorothy Rowe  Ph.D.,   tells us

” that  the best way depressed people can help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one   another. ”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Some folks think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. Wrong. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they had any control over it.  My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most support are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to snap out of it!

I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try and help them. Look for a Depressed Anonymous  Group in your community.

MEDITATION

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

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS?   Please write out your comments  here if you like.

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down days. 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 201.

Faith Appears To Be Good For One’s Health

Joyce  was a client of mine a few years back. She was in her early sixties and just recuperating from   a successful  open heart surgery. She also was very  depressed.  That’s where I come in. I was asked by my clinical supervisor  if I would spend some time with her and see  how I might be of help to her.  I agreed to do what I could do.

In the midst of counseling and listening to Joyce’s  story, I discovered her  strong faith,  which included her personal faith in God which gave her the belief that she was going to get through whatever  that had her  in lockdown.

She wasn’t aware of our Depressed Anonymous group and so I shared my story with her and the fact that I too  was once depressed. I told her how I became a  believer in the spirituality of the Twelve Steps and how my belief in God  delivered me from my symptoms of depression. Now don’t get me wrong -my own story is that it took me over a year to finally  get free of this noose around my neck.  Also, because of my faith in a program and the  recovered  people who lived it out in their daily lives,  I started on the road to recovery.

My faith told me if I would follow some of the simple steps outlined in this recovery program I would get better. My faith got me off of my seat,  out of bed and out my door to begin walking.  I believed  walking might be the key that unlocked my prison of depression. I read  that some Doctors in England were writing out   prescriptions for exercise for their depressed patients. I figured that it worked for them and so why wouldn’t exercise work for me.  After a year of walking everyday I finally walked out of the mental fog, lost the jitters and became free of depression. My faith in a Higher Power and my getting my body moving on a daily basis produced the healing effect that I had hoped for.

Back to Joyce. She and I had ten sessions together and I suggested to her that she start to think about the things that she did before her depression. What provided the satisfaction  and those pleasant events previously in her life. She talked about how she at one time was a cartoonist as well as a lover of writing poetry. So, that is what I suggested — that she involve herself with these pleasant activities again.  She said that she believed that she could do it–even though her mind and body rebelled at moving out of her comfort zone of doing absolutely nothing. The main defense for doing nothing is the oft repeated mantra from all of us when  we are depressed which  is “I’ll do it when I feel better.”

With each new session she would share with me a cartoon or a poem which she had created the previous  week. As she continued doing what she liked, I  noticed more energy in her voice as she shared her feelings about her new  creations.  All the while, she was compliant with her own physical recovery from heart surgery. Her pleasant moods  gave her a feeling of being in control of her life and her future.  She came to believe that a power greater than herself would restore not only her sanity but her health as well. Her faith was renewed in the God of her understanding while restoring  her belief that her  health was going to get better. Not only did  she have a plan to follow but she made the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps her way out of depression. She continues to follow this map to this very day.

The following quote is from a work  titled,  The Secret Strength of Depression written by Frederic Flach, M.D., K.H.S.

Faith appears to be good for one’s overall health. Cardiovascular illnesses are more frequently seen in depressed individuals, in patients with coronary ischemia, depression worsens the outcome, possibly due to alterations in platelet function and changes in autonomic tone. Depression is also associated with a higher mortality rate following acute myocardial infarction; for those patients who survive, the recovery process is often a more complicated  one. Studies suggest that the recovery rate from medical and surgical procedures, from the repair of hip  fractures to coronary bypass surgery, is faster among believers. Moreover, patients undergoing such treatment appear less likely to have serious complications or die.” Page 239.

SOURCES:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. Ky.

Copyright(c)  I’ll do it when I feel better. 2nd  Edition 1986,  2013.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Copyright)(c)  Believing is seeing:15 Ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.