Category Archives: Focus

What Happens If I Decide To Change? Will I Feel Better? I Have To Know For Sure Before I Change!

TO LIVE IS TO CHANGE

(March 12, 2015)

To live is to change. I choose to live with uncertainty today so that I can live with hope today.  I choose to monitor all the negative and unpleasant things I say to myself today.

“TRUSTING MEANS ACCEPTING UNCERTAINTY, AND THAT IS NOT ONE THING THAT YOU ARE PREPARED TO  DO.” (3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

How often do I hear others who were once depressed say that it is only when they become vulnerable –that is, trusted others, that their lives took a turn for the better.  So often, because of my need to completely control past, present and future, I can give my trust to no one else, including God.  I must live my life with total certainty which the certain sad feeling of depression assures me, that what always  has been (sadness) always will be.

To believe that my depression will never lift is to possess  an irrational belief like saying the sun will never shine again because the sky has been overcast for days. It is living with certainty that gets me so depressed.

MEDITATON

God, we want to begin today to trust you with our lives. We hear others who work the Twelve-Step program claim   a new feeling of hope for their lives when they begin to live with trust in their Higher Power. We accept your plan for us today. We surrender our will to you now –we’ve only got our depression to lose. ”

Again we can’t promise anything about what will happen if you decide to change.  I just can talk about my own experiences with depression. The only thing I knew was that I had to do something–I had to take responsibility for my life–I didn’t know for sure that my walking everyday and forcing myself out of bed a morning would make a difference in my mood. I didn’t know for sure that the Twelve Step Promises would work for me. I just knew that I was vulnerable and was willing to live with that uncertainty that possibly the sun would shine again for me. I just believed that if I moved the body–the mind would follow behind (which it did) and soon my own uncertainty about me ever feeling different than my everyday sadness–changed into hope as I did feel different. The fog of my depression did lift. I was almost caught up in one of those six immutable beliefs that Dr. Rowe speaks about, namely, “since bad things happened to me in the past, bad things will happen to me in the future.”  The certainty of this belief will definitely hinder us from taking responsibility for our lives.

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. 1993, 1999. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. 40217. (p. 53))

HELP IS ONLY A KEYBOARD CLICK AWAY!

For many of you who are scouring our website for a Depressed Anonymous group in your location, you will find that there are none. This is what made this  WordPress BLOG site so necessary for the formation and development of groups around the globe. Truly, we are only a keyboard click away for those who are seeking help with their own depression or the depression of friend or family member. The beauty of this Twelve Step program deals specifically with the human angst of depression by using the spiritual principles of the  Steps. To date, persons representing over  70 national groups, have visited our website resulting in over 14,000 hits since August of 2014. And the best scenario for getting  started on one’s own recovery is, of course, the face to face group. Those persons who have set up groups in their own location, around the world, are most fortunate to have those persons who take up the challenge of getting a group started. But, not all of us are able to do that. Just the thought of starting a group is overwhelming I know. Just getting out of bed is an almost Hurculean effort for those of us depressed. So, what can we do? You can start your own Depressed Anonymous HOME STUDY PROGRAM. This process of using the DA Manual and Workbook together is a format used by some of our groups at their  face to face meetings.

Depressed Anonymous Publications has offered different ways to get our material. A person can download our combo set of our main Depressed Anonymous plus the Depressed Anonymous Workbook off the website bookstore. This makes it possible to print out these two major works immediately on your home  computer printer. This is also the least expensive. Then you can order the DA Manual and Workbook together off of our own website www.depressedanon.com  or at AMAZON.COM. We also have other pieces of literature written by persons like ourselves, who once were depressed and now, thanks to our recovery program and the Steps, one is  no longer shackled by the isolating prison of depression.

SO, once you do click onto our site, check out all the website Menu offerings, where you can get a true picture of who we are, and what we do. You may like to download the many pages of info about our program onto your own computer and print it out  as you prepare to set up your own group in your own community. Help yourself while helping others.

My Life Was A Sinkhole!

MY LIFE WAS A SINKHOLE!

If you know anything about a sinkhole you  know one thing–you know that everything is gobbled up which sits on the sinkhole spot.  I mean, houses, cars, buildings, streets, etc.  And if you throw anything else down the hole it too gets gobbled up.   Just recently, at the Corvette car museum in Bowling Green,  Kentucky, a number of their vintage  cars ended up at the bottom of a sinkhole–ironically,  it  occurred in their showroom.  There was no way anyone was going to drive these vintage cars out of there.

In our Big Book, Depressed Anonymous as quoted in our recent publication  ” I’ll do it when I feel better,” it states that

The overeater, gambler, smoker, sexual addict are all driven by their compulsions. The emptiness of our lives is like a hole  that  continuously  needs to be filled with some compulsive and addictive behavior.  By letting go of our excessive tightfisted hold on our life, which paradoxically it causes us to lose hold; we start to face reality for the first time without the crippling crutch of our compulsion. We let go of our compulsion to repeat –the ritual of addictions.

…Gradually over time, and due to being able to say no to the impulse to smoke, or sad oneself, you feel stronger and so the pained  withdrawal becomes less intense.  The same applies to the addiction of  depression in that at first it’s difficult to stop completely the compulsive repeating of sad thoughts, but with time and working our Twelve Steps, and by our active involvement with DA we have the strength to say no to these sad thoughts and begin to choose hope and serenity.”

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I use the analogy of a sinkhole because it truly expresses what happened when I was depressing myself. I couldn’t stop these incessant flow of thoughts that continued to gobble up my serenity,my peace and/or the desire to do anything positive for myself.  All I could do was to sit in a room, look at the four walls and reflect on how hopeless I felt. As my pain intensified ( like a total body toothache) I found myself getting  more isolated from life: meaning  family, spouse, friends, groups, you name it.

How did I get out of the sinkhole? The first thing I had to admit was that I was IN A SINKHOLE. If this is where you find yourself today, you might want to go back to the Menu of this Website and read all the stuff there that tells about the” what” of Depressed Anonymous. And if you want to begin your own personal home study program for a further clarification of thought, you can get the Depressed Anonymous Manual and the Depressed  Anonymous Workbook.  I believe you’ll be happy you did. You’ll get some answers. It happens to be written by folks like you and me. That’s the good part.

Source: I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER, (2013) Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville, Ky  40217.(p.60).

I DON’T NEED TO BE PERFECT

AFFIRMATION

I have hope that I can accept myself today and just let fly by all the old messages from old tapes of childhood.

“You desperately wanted people to love you, but you became very wary of giving your love to others. You reasoned that the less you loved another person the less it would hurt when the inevitable rejection came.” (3 )

REFLECTION

I have been holed up for so long in my own little world of feeling hurt and rejection that to attempt to love someone else seems like the greatest challenge of my life. I desire so badly to be loved by someone else that this lack of another’s love makes my isolation from others so hurtful.

After having witnessed the miracle of the group in Depressed Anonymous, where depressed people come with their feelings of hurt and being rejected, I find that other’s love and nurture challenge me to hope once again.  I can share with the group the fact that I haven’t measured up, that I am angry and that I just want to lay down and die.

I am open enough now to let the light of love from others, who like myself, realize that I am not alone and that I am beginning to feel better already now that I no longer need to be perfect.  This means to be willing to affiliate and give of myself for someone else’s good. In the program I am starting to love –myself.

MEDITATION

We are going to make a mental decision right now to let God, as we understand him, guide us and instruct us on how best to love ourselves. ”

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Source: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 step fellowship groups.  (1993,1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. (p.47).

Please Visit the Store for more information about literature  specifically geared to the subject of depression and the utilization of the 12 Steps  for recovery.

For a further clarification of thought, do yourself a favor and read the Depressed Anonymous manual and the Depressed Anonymous Workbook.

I CAN ONLY CHANGE MYSELF

  Higher Thoughts for Down Days(c) (February 27)

AFFIRMATION

I am gaining, day by day, a new and hopeful attitude about my life and my relationship with others.

“Strangely, I feel as if I have been incredibly lucky. Logically, I don’t believe in luck. I believe that people make their own lives what they are, but still I feel so lucky to have been involved in a group which gave me  the opportunity, and incentive, to start to make changes in my life.  To understand why I am sometimes so angry, (See DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK / Anger workshop. Checklist for Hidden Anger) why I have been so self-critical and self-destructing.  Understanding why you feel as you do open the gates for the even harder struggle of changing what you do.” (7)

REFLECTION

Making changes is part of making a life.  If I choose to stay mired in the deep pit of depression, I can choose that.  I have this as an option.  But, if I want to choose  and risk changing myself, I have the option of working to construct a different way of looking at my world.  Just by changing my attitude about my life and the direction where I want it to go, I can make the hard changes. I want to change my attitude. I will now want to listen to those who have been in recovery for months or years and listen to their hopeful attitudes and how they are felling better now that they are living one day at a time, and no longer fearful that their old nemesis, the sadness, will sneak up and change everything back to the way it was.

I can only change myself. I will always try and keep the focus on how I need to change, not how others around me need to change. (For more accounts of how persons changed their lives in   Depressed Anonymous (Personal stories) , third edition, 2011. DAP. )_

MEDITATION

God, we are always heartened and healed by the group. Please guide us and let us be  led to that healing community of those persons who are struggling to find the security that you promise to those who do your will.” “Fear not, for I am always with you.”

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Lately, I have been reflecting on how each of us is embedded in a unique culture which not only influences our decision making but also personal mores, attitudes about life, ourselves and each other. In the near future I will spend some time here at this BLOG  and share how culture has a dramatic influence  on how we live out our lives  My thoughts will go in the direction of trying to answer the question: Does our culture, way of life, that is our society, promote  a depressive lifestyle, thinking and behavior. I hope that you will follow me here as we  together reflect on this critical question. Join me as we continue this clarification of thought process here at our Depressed Anonymous website.

Please check out Depressed Anonymous Publications @ Visit the store

BELIEVING IS SEEING

  BELIEVING IS SEEING

AFFIRMATION

I will use a notebook or my Depressed Workbook Home Study program  to chart my course, list how each day goes, so that I can repeat the feelings or thoughts that have allowed me to feel I am becoming responsible for my activities.

“”…there is one great advantage about seeing yourself as helpless and in the power of others.  You don’t have to be responsible for yourself.  Other people make all the decisions and when things turn out badly, you can blame other people. And things always turn out badly. You know this.  That’s why you always expect the worse.”  (3)

REFLECTION/ CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Truly, I know  this is where the great serenity lies, being responsible for myself.  If all I did was sit around and say poor me, and woe is me, I am not only making life tough on myself but I am making life miserable for those around  me. This is why I, as a writer and therapist, and one who has been depressed, knows that it is only when I get moving, even though I felt like death that I began to get better.   No one will make me feel better. (See: I’ll do it when I feel better) I will now make myself feel better. Make up your mind to do what needs to be done…TODAY!  I want to enjoy this world. I am tired of the pain of feeling worthless. I don’t want to blame anyone for my problems because no one is making me live in the problem. I will live in the  solution from now on.  The solution for me is working the Twelve Step program.

Blame helps me to never have to look inside myself and ask myself how much of my present state of depression is due to the way I have learned to think about myself and my life? I am not in the blame game and so I am now willing to face the enemy and start the changing process.

MEDITATION

Faith can move mountains. (See: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression)  Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door shall be opened for you. I believe this. What  do you believe?

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SOURCE: Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for Twelve step fellowship groups.

HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT WAS POSED TO A CLIENT BY HER PSYCHIOLOGIST? (SEE BELOW).

Dr. Rowe in her book WHAT SHOULD I BELIEVE, asked her client Julie this question:

“Suppose you were faced with a situation where you could act only in one of two ways. If you acted one way people would like you, but you wouldn’t respect yourself, and if you acted the way people wouldn’t like you but you would respect yourself. If you were faced with that, which would you choose, respecting yourself or other people liking you?”

Julie answered immediately, “Respecting myself. That’s one of my standards. I realized that at university. One thing about depression, it does make you independent because you don’t care about popularity. You must function without other people anyway, so it doesn’t really matter about other people. I suppose you just live like an observer, observing people, the way they live, and just get a bit cynical. I am very scornful of people who do things just to be popular. I analyze myself and other people constantly, and “honesty and integrity” is the byword.  ….” Page 203-204.

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Hugh’s comment follows

Julie makes an interesting statement where she says that “depression, it does  make you independent.”  That statement, like the one in the above paragraph made me stop and reflect on my own experience with depression.  Did the experience, painful  and immobilizing as it happened to be, did it make me more independent?  In some ways I think it did. Like, I was more sure of myself as I learned more about my character and how some areas of my negative thinking and behavior were the cause of the spiraling downward of my person into the dark pit of depression.  First of all, I became more aware of my thinking processes and nailed the times that I was beating myself up or not watching the way I ate and the fact of my great need of exercise which I was neglecting. No matter what, I now am embarked on a healthier lifestyle and am convinced that the Twelve Steps continually help me assess my strengths and defects of character. Yes, Julie is right. I am more independent. Now,  instead of going about  my life in a  mindless fashion I am mindful of what prevents me from being in the present moment. I now try to center myself, by my daily prayer and meditation times. All this is critical to my staying sane and serene. What do you think?

BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. ( SURRENDER AND WIN!)

The First Way (#1) to leave the prison of depression: “WE ACCEPT AND BELIEVE THAT HOWEVER HOPELESS EVERYTHING APPEARS RIGHT NOW, WE WILL RECOVER FROM OUR DEPRESSION”

Often persons depressed give up the hope of feeling different. They can’t believe that they have the power to change the way they feel.  They don’t believe that they have a choice either to get well or to remain locked in the prison of depression.  This is why the belief coupled with the First Step of Depressed Anonymous, a Twelve Step mutual aid group, has a positive impact on one’s personal belief about the recovery process. The First Step of Depressed Anonymous states “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

First we have to admit that our lives are out of control. No matter how hard we have tried, we can’t shake this persistent hollow feeling that has us feeling hopeless and  helpless. This admission that we are powerless will begin to free us up and get us the help and support that we want. It’s a paradox. Surrender and win! The group doesn’t pass a magic wand over our head and suddenly you are freed of your symptoms of depression. In fact, the admission that we need help puts us in in contact with a step by step map which leads us out of the land of darkness into the land of light and hope.”

For more information see Literature reference

BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Pages 1-2.

A Power Greater Than Ourselves: Our Go To Person

A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON

The more time that I spend in daily prayer and meditation the closer I feel to this Power greater than myself. Now, let’s be honest, it isn’t everyday that I feel this or think this way, but for most days I feel energized by my time in quiet listening. It was when I first joined a Twelve Step recovery program that I I knew that I was truly home. I had always been looking for a home where I could feel acceptance, nurturing and fellowship. It was at my first meeting, 32 years ago, that in all my brokenness, guilt and shame, that I felt I had made it home. It was here that I could reveal who I was, who I thought I was and get a plan for my life, just one 24 hour period at a time. My own feelings of being totally accepted in this new fellowship created in me the belief, without  doubt, that  sanity would be restored to me. How did I know this? What made me a believer? Simply the fact that the members of the group had pretty much the same story as my own. But for all of this, what stood out was the basic belief among all of the members, that there is a Power, and it is greater than me. And that this Power, whom we understand as God, is my GO TO person every day of my life. And the two things this group taught me early on,  is that THERE IS A GOD, AND IT IS NOT ME!

If today you are feeling alone, lost and frightened, please join me here everyday, as I speak about spirituality and the Power greater than myself,  and what it has to do with my recovery, and how it impacts  on our search for  that serenity that we are all seeking. Remember what you seek, seeks you!

PRAY, BUT KEEP ROWING TO SHORE! GRAB AN OAR!

Some days I feel like my life is like that small boat on the ocean. I watch as the swirling waves and the thunderous noise of waves and wind wash over me. I watch as my small boat takes on water. No land is in sight. What to do? I pray. Have you ever had these feelings of helplessness? Well, let me tell you, I have had this experience more than I would like to admit.
One time in my life, one very difficult time for sure, I thought that my boat was sinking and that there was no recourse –no land in sight. This is when that deadening feeling of melancholia (depression) –like the Pac Man arcade game – began to chew me up. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what exactly. The time to row, so to speak, was when I couldn’t get myself out of bed and knew that I had to get to land, get my body moving, the best way that I could. I had to keep rowing.
Gradually, by walking everyday, and forcing myself to do what I didn’t want to do, like exercise, I gradually regained my balance. And after a year of this activity (rowing) I began to notice that the wind howling around me gradually subsided. My boat was still afloat and I could see land. Safety. This all happened almost thirty years ago.
It was then that my 12 Step life began. Now, with each new day, before the sun pops up over the horizon, my day begins with prayer and the centering of my thoughts. In our program of recovery we call this a meditation experience. I then read the Higher Thoughts for this day. I also read the Depressed Anonymous book, plus entering thoughts in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. All this is accomplished in that first hour of the day. I feel like I truly am now on solid rock. And it’s like I take these morning thoughts and with them begin my day. With Step Two … I “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” So this morning, I continue to “make a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as we understand God to be.”
Turning my life over to to the care of God doesn’t mean I lay back and see what God is going to do…no, it means that I do my work and God will do his. And so I keep on rowing. Grab an oar!