Category Archives: Hope

Sunny was one smart dog

When anyone talks about their pets, dogs, cats, birds, I am all ears. I love dogs and we sure got a good one when we got Sunny. She was barely six weeks old. She was also a Border Collie. We loved her and she loved all our family, especially our Grandchild. He was about 2 years old when he came to live with us.

Sunny took to him immediately. She would curl up with him on the couch, it was almost like she thought he was a little lamb. She also made sure no one approached him without her approval.

Sunny showed us unconditional love. This is why we love them. You can’t buy that type of love anywhere. And during this pandemic I feel that having a dog (insert your family pet here) as a family member is really a source of comfort and healing. They ARE family.

We really need each other during this most trying time in our lives. We tend toward feeling blue, and some of us get depressed because everything that we did normally is not normal now. We are self quarantined whether we like it or not. The feeling alone and isolated is like waves of grief washing over us; not just now and then – but most everyday.

I hope you who are reading this have someone, a pet, a member of the family, a DA fellowship member, anyone who is telling you with their love and presence how happy they are that they can share time with you, via Skype, Zoom, telephone, a letter or an email. Just knowing someone cares about us – means everything these days.

In our Depressed Anonymous fellowship I am blessed to know that I can meet with my friends all that I like. I can meet with them when I am blue and they can call me when the isolation is getting too great for them as well.

Contact us at https://depressedanon.com and let us know how you are doing today. We’d love to hear from you.

#4. THE PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

Promise # 4: We comprehend the word serenity and know peace.

Agitation, anxiety and jitteriness were all part of my life as I muddle my way through – day after day, one foot in front of the other. Serenity was not a part of my life.

As with any attachment to negative behavior, serenity and peace were the farthest thing from my life. The new beliefs and thoughts which I heard at Depressed Anonymous meetings started to help me change the way I thought about myself, my world and my future.
I believe that it takes work, time and prayer with meditation to achieve the peace and serenity that we are talking about here.

Peace of mind is the result of:
1) A clear conscience
2) Living in the present
3) Gratitude everyday
4) The belief that the God of my understanding will get me through the problems of my life.
5) Forgiveness of myself and making amends to all persons I have harmed.
6) Hope
7) Doing God’s will- Neither grasping but instead “letting go.”

I also believe that my own serenity is constantly being assaulted during the day by all sorts of problems and situations that cry out for my immediate care and attention.

I am firmly convinced that in order to continue my semblance of peace and serenity I will have to structure a daily quiet time into my life. This is an essential part of the prescription for getting well and staying well.

Also, I believe that when I am quiet, God will give to me all that is mine to have. My will and my life have to be attuned to God’s presence and love. We will know that in order for God to make itself present to us and to demonstrate its love we have to be still, be quiet and listen with a purity of heart. This is an important part of the formula where we will find success.

It is a belief of mine that God does speak to those who remain quiet and have a desire to listen.
Peace is defined as a “quality or state of mind of being serene, calm and tranquil.”
The quality or state of being serene all takes time and I might add work and discipline. What possibly might have taken years to accomplish, remember we have built a fortress with our defensive thoughts and behavior to reject any force that is deemed harmful on our path. We always sought the prison of isolation over the risk of doing something different.

I believe that the Big Book of AA says it best: ” When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new employer, being all powerful, he provided what we needed, if we kept close to him and performed his work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We’re reborn.” (Alcoholics Anonymous. Page 63.)

The particular section following Step Two which declares that we “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” (Depressed Anonymous.Pages 39-45). This is an important part of our getting re-centered and renewed as we let the power flow into our lives.

“…We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. We feel that we are on the Broad Highway walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” (Alcoholics Anonymous.Page 39).

“Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist –remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances, Alcoholics Anonymous. Page 100)

RESOURCES
(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 39-45.
(C) Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York City, 1955. Pages 39,63,100.

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.

You can be the “good news” of hope for a person depressed

HERE IS YOUR HIGHER THOUGHT FOR TODAY

AFFIRMATION

I want to carry the message of hope to those others who are depressed.

Quoting Dr. Dr. Dorothy Rowe who tells us “what I so often said, that the best way that depressed persons can help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one another.”

REFLECTION

They also think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they have control over it. My depression took time to develop 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. Form a group, get to know one another, support one another.

MEDITATION
“God grant us the serenity to accept the things that we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.” (The Serenity Prayer recited at all Depressed Meetings.)

RESOURCES
(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups. (1993) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. (Reading for October 7th.).
(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

* All Depressed Anonymous publications are available for purchase online.

The Covid-19 and its effect on a pre-existing clinical depression

Since we believe that depression just doesn’t come out of the blue, but stems from our relationship to the environment, our past and present relationships and NEGATIVE ruminations and self-talk.

For instance, the pandemic is a good place to start to untangle some of those underlying conditions which keep popping up in our daily lives. The covid-19 continues to create havoc, fear and anxiety in ourselves and communities. The more isolated we are from our normal life activities the more time we spend on all the negativity that continues to envelope us.

Anxiety and fear, both of which are some of those feelings and moods which may have contributed to our depression in the first place. Feelings can change from one to the other while moods are longer lasting with an ability to spiral down deeper in our psyche, resulting in an emotional lockdown. We can couple this with a fear that our life is spinning out of control, as our mind continues latching onto the worse possible scenario for our future, throwing more fuel on the fire, believing that life will always be this way for ourselves. We continue to live in total hopelessness.

And then the pandemic. Here we are, away from all the normal activities that once provided us with some temporary distraction from our fears and anxieties. It’s not as if we didn’t continue to feel the pain of living a life of isolation, holed up in the darkness of our own paralyzing moods, day after day, but now that we are cut off physically from friendships, co-workers, close friends or family members, our isolating pushes our negative moods further down. All this comes with a strong possibility that the virus may have claimed the life of a family member or grandparent or close friend or co-worker.

My own feelings, are the same basically of everyone else. Here we are, gradually realizing that this is now the “new normal” for each of us. We come to realize that we need to step back, and look at where we are today – and face our fears and anxieties. The question arises as what do I do now? Let me share with you my own experiences as my own life is turned upside down.

Because of my involvement in a mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous, I am able to leave some of the pain of my isolation, join with all those others like myself who together are giving each other hope. All of us can share – not just our own pain of isolation – but ways to deal with and encourage each other with the successes we have experienced in facing our own fears and anxiety now and in the past.

As we try to navigate this “new normal” as best we can, we discover together how we are helping each other, day after day find a real lifeline – even though a virtual one. I am making this path work for myself, actively participating with the rest of the group, finding that my anxieties have diminished. By being in the now and being part of this mutually support group I am finding that there is a way out. I no longer am going to stay isolated.

“There is hope…and we do recover.” Please join us on SKYPE AND ZOOM – there are meetings on SKYPE every day at 11:30PM CST / 12:30PM EST and ZOOM four times a week (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. See Home page menu for DA meetings for more information). This is located at our website depressedanon.com.

Finally, one of our resources is the Depressed Anonymous Workbook that we use at our meetings, helping us to uncover some of our “underlying conditions” that existed prior to the present pandemic.

Presently our contacts with family and friends are stretched thin. Everything that makes us a human being, those live social encounters that provided us with joy, comfort and hope. We all have lost that shoulder to shoulder feeling and the hugs and smiles that gave us hope. Now the new normal is social distancing six feet apart. People older-stay home. Wear mask. I agree with all those solutions to staying safe.

It is here at our virtual online Depressed Anonymous meetings where we share and strengthen our resolve, uncovering those areas of our lives (thinking, feelings, moods, behaviors) that prohibit our personal growth and happiness. Now we are replacing our hopelessness and helplessness with hope and help everyday online.

The Depressed Anonymous fellowship is a potent provider of self-discovery as we move from one Step to the other at our meetings using the Workbook format. It is here in this virtual environment where we not only can take the time to listen to others in the group about their own issues, but listening as well to their many responses to how hope and healing have given them a new freedom, a new self-confidence while being provided a self-discovery tool, the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. This tool, with the Depressed Anonymous manual is used at every meeting.

If you are interested in a HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY you can learn more about this process of recovery from our website.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook and Depressed Anonymous manual are also both available online as eBOOKS from Depressed Anonymous Publications.

YOUR HOPE IS OUR HOPE!

Hugh for the fellowship

Slow down! Road work ahead!

How often do we see these orange warning signs along our highways? Sometimes it seems that everywhere we go, construction is going on. According to Murphy’s law, they only show up when we are in a hurry to get somewhere else.

In our recovery it is a necessity to read the signs that tell us to slow down. There is road work ahead. As we know or will soon find out recovery is about work, using those tools that are provided for our own healing and serenity.

We slow down, stop and reflect on our lives, examining how certain “triggers” not only slow us down but can “shut us down.” We discover how ruminating on the same negative feelings, produce a mood that continues to stifle us and prevents us from seeing it for what it is, namely a warning for us to make some changes in our behaviors. If we let these moods deepen there is a strong possibility that these negative ruminations can push us deeper into symptoms of depression. Before that happens, starting to use our tools can save us from relapsing or experiencing a recurrence of symptoms and get us back on the road again.

There are many things that can keep us motivated to stay involved in our program of recovery. You can read these for yourself here on our website (depressedanon.com) under the menu, TOOLS FOR RECOVERY. They are welcome tools not only providing help but hope.

You can also reflect on the “slogans” used by those of us in the 12 Step fellowships. I am going to list some of them and hope that you will use these as “mantra’s” or “slogans” for your own recovery and “road work.”

KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t complicate your life by over-analyzing or by placing judgments on others thinking or behavior. Don’t double yourself up with doing a hundred different things all at once.

DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING Telling yourself I’ll do it when I feel better never gets it. If you are recovering then go to meetings when you don’t want to or an appointment when you don’t feel like it. If you need to go to work go to work. That is the next right thing. Always be there for yourself and your healing. If you are doing Step work with a sponsor, then do the Step work. Do the next right thing. Put that on your bathroom mirror.

PROGRESS – NOT PERFECTION. Do what you can do and then don’t worry about it. The main thing is not that something you do is perfect –but that you are doing what you can do and doing it to the best of your ability.

CONTROL THE EFFORT-NOT THE OUTCOME. Take responsibility for you all that you do and again do your best. Make the effort. Give it your best shot. “To thine own self first be true.”

BE. HERE. NOW. Be in the present. Yesterday is gone forever. Tomorrow is not here yet. All we have is today. Enjoy the moment. Mindful that there is a God-and it isn’t me!

ONE DAY AT A TIME. We are only given one 24 hour period at a time. Use it well. Keep a journal and list three things that you are grateful for today.

Thank you for doing a little road work for yourself today. I hope that some of what I have written may have motivated you to look deeper into how you can “accept the things that you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

If you would like to read more about depression please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

Hugh

I have a plan that is simple with startling results

Originally published September 30, 2018. Some formatting changes.

Years ago I needed help and I was offered a number of plans/solutions which promised me relief for my particular problem. The plans offered me didn’t seem to work. In my desperation I thought I would try a 12 Step program of recovery. The plan was very simple. Not hard to understand. I tried it. I went to my first meeting and was given hope. All the folks there at the meeting were using the same plan. They talked about how this plan changed their lives. That got my attention. It got my attention because their story was my story. The group provide me with the plan’s list of areas in my life that I needed to look at. The plan, as I mentioned before was simple. Not complicated at all.

Have you ever in your life had to put something together and the thing that you put together came with a plan. It was a blueprint like thing that showed you what the end product would look like. when all the proper instructions were carried out. At this first meeting I made a commitment to follow this plan for 24 hours. Only 24 hours. Hey, not a big deal. I could handle that. So, I took the plan home and started to read the instructions, chapter and verse. It was a simple plan.

Now I had this plan. It was a plan for everyday of my life. I thought wow! is this good or what. That is exactly what I needed. I remember saying to myself, “I hope it works.” It works. Over 30 years later I am using the same plan. It never gets old and stale.

Early on I got some tools to go with the instructions on how to use the plan. The first tool showed me how to admit what was fouled up in my life and to also admit how things were terribly out of hand. In our plan there were all sorts of other tools that I needed to use if I was to get back on my feet. I have to confess some of these tools were not easy to use exactly. I mean there were parts of the plan that I needed to look at more closely than I ever had before. This plan came with a great instruction book that I and others call the Big Book. It spells out not only how to use the tools but what happens when we actively embrace them and put them to use in our daily life.

So, now besides the plan, we have the tools to go along with the instructions. So my life began to change. I began to find serenity in my life and I began to realize that there were things that I need to change in my life and then there were things I knew I couldn’t change. You know, like things that happened to me in then past. The instructions showed me a great way to take care of those issues that up to a time haunted me. I now really feel at home in my own skin now.

Startling results? Well, for sure. And part of the reason for these startling results is besides having a plan–having new tools to use-I was plopped right in the middle of a group of men and women that were using the same plan as I was. Like, we are all on the same page, literally. I was in a fellowship of folks who were telling each other their stories about how the instructions and tools brought them some really fantastic experiences changes in their lives. The first time I set foot in this group, I was promised that certain things were going to happen to me. You know what? They were right. They said that once I had the instructions under my belt, I would want to go and tell others my story. I would want to go and let those still suffering from whatever addiction was killing them, that they could live with the hope that their lives would change, as did mine. By following our plan, using our tools of recovery, and being a part of our fellowship (a 12 Step group) you “will be amazed before you are halfway through”. (the instructions) Again, that’s a Promise!

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Contact: depanon@netpenny.net for more info.

Focus On Your Stars – Not Your Scars. Strength Survey

“What do you remember as strengths before being aware that you are depressed? Going to Depressed Anonymous meetings (now on ZOOM and SKYPE) has the potential to restore your sense of proportion about your strong points. At the meetings your friends in the fellowship will begin to tell how you are showing improvement the more you are participating in the meetings. To listen to those who themselves are working the program and who share their lives week after week, you begin to realize that you too can begin to feel differently. Today can be a new start and yes, you do have it within yourself to be that person who is reversing old negative patterns of thinking and replacing them with thoughts of hope and optimism. You now believe that there is hope for yourself. Right now your strength seems to be that of maintaining a habitual way of thinking thoughts of hope. By the fact that you are reading this, takes the strength to want to feel good and continue to maintain a positive recovery. Begin now and reflect on your strengths. Believe that you have a way to maintain them each day. Your personal strengths maintain a personal persistence and desire to continue with gratitude this new feeling of hope.”

As a therapist I would usually start my counseling session with a few questions for the counselee. I would ask them to write down five or six things that they liked about themselves – strengths. Invariably they would sit there, notepad in hand, watching the hand on the wall clock, gradually moving forward. (I might add that this question and answer session would not be too difficult for most of those who came for counseling) But for the depressed, it is a different story. Most could be unable to list any strengths on the list. I would ask them if they needed a little more time? Usually not. I would then tell them that just coming through the door to see a counselor showed immense strength. I told them that seeking help probably is a strength that could open up more doors for their own healing and serenity.

My final session always concluded with the question that started our sessions together – asking them to list all their strengths. The answer this time was quite different. No surprise to me.

Depressed Anonymous meetings can all provide the same help in giving us a look at our newfound strengths. Come to a F2F meeting or an Online meeting and discover this for yourselves. You will be happy that you did.

Resources

Copyright © Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. Hugh Smith. (2020) Louisville. KY. Page 57-59. (The Eleventh Way).
Copyright © The Depressed Anonymous Workbook(2002) Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Louisville. Ky.
Copyright © Depressed Anonymous,3rd ed. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

What is your middle name?

No one ever calls me by my middle name. How about you? The only person that used my middle name, which happens to be Louis, was my Dad. And when my Dad used all three of my names, with emphasis upon Louis I knew I was in trouble. Big trouble. Well, that is another story. I haven’t the time nor the wish to go into that at this time. It really has nothing to do with depression. You’re right.

What I want to share today with you is something about who we are as a 12 Step program of recovery. As you may know, people and their families have coat of arms with some fancy pictures of shields, words etc. Here at Depressed Anonymous we too have our coat of arms, let’s for simple sake call them Logo’s. It’s our brand name if you will. Our logo shows footsteps. At the bottom are the words

  • HOPE
  • SERVICE
  • FELLOWSHIP

These words are our mission statement. They tell others who we are and what we are do. First of all we provide hope for those still suffering from depression. That’s what we do. Secondly, we provide service as members of our fellowship. We sponsor ZOOM and SKYPE meetings everyday. When someone calls and is hurting we respond. We have sponsors who help others with their Step Program. We have books and literature for those who are seeking more information on how to help themselves. We provide an email address where we can also be connected with anyone night and day. And finally, we are a fellowship, united in an effort to help others who are depressed and want an online and f2f program of recovery for their own recovery. We are here and we all in the fellowship and are no longer alone. Depression? We get it! We know. We’ve been there and done that. No more. With all of the services that we provide there are no fees or charge. We are all serving others because we ourselves have been served. Served with the opportunity to have HOPE.

So, now you know what middle names are important. They reall give an added dimension to who we are as people. You can call me by my middle Louis if you choose. That will make me feel like family. 🙂

M. Louis S.

Simple is as simple does. – Forrest Gump

Affirmation

Even though I don’t feel better right now, I am going to make a mental decision to desire to feel better. I have a choice.

“We need to ask ourselves but one short question: Do I now believe or am I willing to believe that there is a power greater than myself.” As soon as a person can say that he or she does believe or is willing to believe, emphatically assure that person that he or she is on their way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that at this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective structure can be built.

Reflection

I have found that the program of the Steps is simple to understand. It is a spiritual program one that doesn’t force me to think of God in pre-established ways. I am truly free to allow the God of my understanding to clear from the path of my life the thoughts and various saddictive ways where I have learned how to depress myself.

I know that the world simple means without a fold. The word denotes a reality that you get what you see. Hopefully I can see that my program of recovery is a most simple one to follow and one to practice in all affairs of my life.

Meditation

We want this God of our understanding to be with us as we face our fears and try to keep my thoughts focused on the here and now, not the pain of yesterday or the fears about tomorrow. (Add your personal comments).

Sources

© Higher Thoughts For Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowships. (1998) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 40241. June 7. Online purchases can be made at The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore, at www.depressedanon.com