Category Archives: Hope

Freedom talks. We listen!

To attend a 12 step meeting is to hear freedom talk. Freedom has many voices for the many, those who are willing to listen.

It is the nature of this fellowship, the 12 Step group of Depressed Anonymous and other 12 Step programs of recovery, that when attending meetings I hear members share their victories over depression, with accounts of personal struggles, and gradually freeing themselves from the bondage of depression.

In the Promises of Recovery in Depressed Anonymous,
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly They will always materialize if we work for them.
Depressed Anonymous © Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

Even though, personal freedom from the tight grip of depression doesn’t happen overnight–it does eventually happen. I am now speaking from my own experience. And since we all have different experiences with the 12 Steps, the results are the same. A lightness of mood, a spirited energy comes into our minds, hearts and body. We begin to thrive.

My own freedom was the result of a simple belief, that a Power greater than myself could release me from my prison of depression. I learned that if we wanted to get out of the hole of depression, we needed to stop digging. That made sense to me. In our fellowship, where freedom speaks, that by listening to the stories of others in the group, and others listening to my story, gave me the incentive to keep coming back to the meetings. I found I am now living with a new hope, without old fears, anxieties, crippling my motivation to grow and thrive.

Now, I speak about my freedom from the past, no longer dwelling on old negative compulsions which once defeated me.
Today, and with each new day, I listen to the loving spirit inside of me, operating within my group, and to all those who speak of their life within a loving community, Depressed Anonymous. Will you join us today?

There is a daily DA online International VIRTUAL ZOOM meeting and to find how to get there, please click onto the HOMEPAGE MENU, MEETINGS and you will be linked to the Journeys of Hope online meeting. Hope to see you at a meeting!

Thank you,
for the fellowship.
Hugh S.

Two Questions

Many times I am asked the same two questions and I always give the questioner the same two answers.

The first question: “How come you keep coming to meetings, though you say you are not depressed?”

My reply to the questioner: “Let me ask you why you go to the gym three times a week”

His answer. “Well I go to keep in shape.”

My question: “Well you look healthy enough to me. I mean, you tell me you’ve never felt better.”
“Ok” I say, “but why continue to go to the gym, since you look healthy and you say that you feel so great.”

“It’s so simple” he says. “I continue to go three times a week to keep in shape and maintain the progress that the Doctor says I am making.”

“That’s interesting” I say. That’s the same reason I continue to go to meetings. I keep in shape, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, not to mention how I can help others find the hope that is now mine. My Doctor tells me I’m looking better, happier and that I should keep doing whatever I’m doing, ’cause it’s working!”

The second question is one I am asked time and again. “Doesn’t going to all those depression meetings get you depressed? I mean, listening to all those problems? That sure would depress me.”

Here is what I tell all those who ask this question.

I tell them “that no, actually I look forward to my meetings. I always feel energized by going to a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I feel, by listening to others, and hearing their stories, I feel they are telling my story as well. Here, I am not alone. I am with people just like me. Each of us attending the meetings are at different places in our lives. We are here because we believe there is a solution for me, using the spiritual principles of recovery. The more they read the DA literature, talk to each other, they find tools to overcome their depression. They feel the energy, the peace and hope which they receive from each other at the meetings.

The meetings don’t dwell on our depression, as much as we dwell on the power of the Twelve Steps. Here is what I love about the meetings, I see people growing with every meeting. Even their faces begin to soften – they have a smile now. A few weeks previous, they had nothing but hurt to feel.

Again, the reason I go to meetings is to get a boost. I get another dose of hope. I am only as isolated as I choose to be. I now can choose to live and feel differently.

Find your plan of recovery (find a Depressed Anonymous meeting), and stick to it. Get into action. Seek out a DA member to talk with, and you’ll be on a journey that will continue to bring peace, hope and a fellowship with you as long as you wish.

For more information, check out the Depressed Anonymous website at depressedanon.com. You’ll be happy that you did. So, this fellowship is the reason I keep coming back to my meetings. There are no fees. No dues. Just come and see. Virtual, Zoom group meetings are now online.

Thanks for reading this message today. Please join us at Depressed Anonymous. You are always welcomed.

Hugh S. for the fellowship

Life Is Unpredictable

The following quotation is taken from the Introduction to Depressed Anonymous, the book used by the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, a 12 Step recovery program.

Life is unpredictable. Every living organism operates with a certain amount of unpredictability and uncertainty. The uncertainty of life creates in us a desire for predictability. If we did not believe in the possibility of change, we would all be hopelessly lost and forever bored. Hope would be lost. Potential for a better life would never exist. Where there is hope, change is possible. The experience of depression is much the same. Depression is so predictable and unchanging that we lose hope for the pain of our isolation ever coming to an end.

Let me lift one sentence from the above quotation, which turns out to be a truth, attested to by thousands of those of us who are members of Depressed Anonymous and who are in recovery. That sentence “Where there is hope, change is possible” is what brought me into the Depressed Anonymous fellowship.

Like so many of us, who are just trying to get through each day, we are looking for something that could ease our pain and lift our burden of hopelessness. We were not only bored and isolated from life, but we had given up on ourselves of ever beng able to climb out of the hole which had us trapped.

When I walked into a Depressed Anonymous group meeting, I was thinking if those gathered could help me change, take me out of the pit that I was living in, I felt I had a chance – I too would be able to change.

Hope brought me into this fellowship, and member’s sharing their own hope, experiences and strengths, gradually convinced me that it was possible for me to get better. That now became my truth.

Hugh S.

© 2011 – Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

We can do the possible – the impossible takes a little more time

If there are challenges for me today, I remember other days when what seemed impossible was made possible.
– AA Grapevine

Can you relate to this statement? I sure can. Like most of us, I always felt that when facing an obstacle of whatever kind and size, I just believed that the effort was too much. This was always my thinking, especially when I was living in my emotional and mental desert of depression.

Just getting out of bed was a Herculean task. I didn’t even know why I couldn’t get out of bed, but I did know this, the effort that it would take was just impossible. The challenge was more than my mind and my body could handle.

When I discovered the twelve spiritual principles (steps) of recovery I discovered that I had to face the challenge, admit that and that I was powerless. By using the tools which my fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous, was giving me, I began to climb out of the hole that I was in. From that point on, the challenges that faced me every day, I found they were no longer impossible to face and overcome. Yes, the impossible does take a little more time and work, but no longer living in a hole, makes taking on the challenge worth it.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

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

Spiritual Malady: A spiritual unmanageability.

I have seen so many people come into the meeting rooms over my 25 years of attending 12 step meetings and they stay for a few weeks, a few months, even a few years and they leave. Then they come back and leave again. A few months or years pass by and they come stumbling back to the meeting rooms, tired, exhausted, sick of life, and desperate, in need of help and support. I have also seen people who are consistent with meetings fall into the Spiritual Malady trap. The “syndrome” or repetitive pattern, is truly an indication of a “self will run life.” In other words, I got it all together now and I don’t need this mess anymore. God and these amateurs are wasting my time talking, so I am not coming back. I can figure out my life without any one’s help or shared wisdom! That includes God’s help! Thank you very much! Guess what? That was me! I was the ‘self will run life’ works better than the 12 steps for me.” I went several years, where I stopped attending meetings. I was just too busy. We had finally achieved our goals in our life financially, so I didn’t need the support group, of any kind I thought! I didn’t realize until years later how the support groups and meetings could have helped me greatly through those years! A spiritual malady formed inside of us when we place God on the back burner or up on a shelf. All the while, going on with our life and problems in full force with little or need of spiritual guidance from the Great Creator. We soon come to realize we are in a mental and spiritual sickness. We are running as fast as we can. We are making flipped decisions for our life that had requirement and seeking consent from God. We are on the fast track and there seems to be so many problems and situations that we have to fix them right now. Thus a Spiritual Malady develops. A Spiritual Malady on its most basic level, is spiritual unmanageability. It has taken loose and ran on its own. It’s a horse with out the cart! Without higher guidance or wisdom, we’re just making life decisions like water poring out of the spout! Thoughts are spouting out of our mouths without any self-care as to the consequences! This is a Spiritual Malady and most often wreaks havoc in our life. The fastest and best way to pull out of this self-will-run-riot is Step 3. It will take us there every time. The daily taking of Step 3 prayer cannot be overemphasized to protect us from a Spiritual Malady. It assures us, that a Higher Power is in charge over our life every single morning. We have asked God to take the reins and guide us today. When we take Step 3 every day it is very hard to fall into that worldly Spiritual Malady.

-Debra, NC
Copyright(c) Debra Sanford. A Medley of Depression Stories. (2017). pp. 15-17. ( Used with permission). This work can be ordered online from Amazon.com/books. We recommend it!

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

Motivation follows action

I find that if I am depressed and want to start to feel better, or at least get my mind off depression, I need to go for a walk and get moving. In DA we say that MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT YOU’LL NEVER GET MOTIVATED til YOU GET BUSY DOING SOMETHING. This was my feeling much of the Time. It was only when I actually started walking that I wanted to walk. I didn’t want to do anything to help myself. I didn’t want to do anything to help myself until I forced myself to do something.

I believer much of one’s tiredness, when depressed comes from having too many things going through one’s brain at the same time. The strain of being overwhelmed is too much for the human mind and so it and the body begin to show the stress. I also believe that so many unpleasant emotions constantly coming to surface and being felt by the body results in an overload situation for my brain.

COMMENT
The best way to get into action is to get into action. I know this is so obvious–but when the time comes for me to actually do something–that is a different story. Then my mantra becomes “I’ll do it when I feel better,” and course this doesn’t get me out of bed. This doesn’t get me walking. Instead, what happens, is that my thinking gets caught in that neural rut, much like a merry-go-round. Round and round we go. Nothing ever changes.

Tell yourself that this day is going to be different .Make a commitment to yourself today! Make up your mind that you are not going to ride the merry-go-round horse today.You are going to start small. Take the “baby steps” that just might push you out the door and put some fresh air into your lungs. MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. Check it out. See, for yourself if this doesn’t work for you.

Copyright(c) Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY January 24, p.15.