Category Archives: Hope

I met some great folks at a time in my life when I needed them most

We all have heard when the student is ready the teacher appears. You know there is a lot of truth to that statement. It is also true that when we are face flat on the ground, a person happens along who gives us needed support and a purpose for living. Is it a coincidence or is it part of a greater plan? Or maybe a divine setup.

How often has it been your experience that you’re thinking of a friend and the friend is suddenly contacting you on the phone. Synchronicity is one way to explain this simultaneous happening with two events happening at the same time. Again, you meet an old friend who shares important information with you: information that you desperately needed but this need of yours is unknown to the friend. Again, is this a coincidence or just something that happens without any mysterious meaning attached to it.

This brings me to Step Two of the 12 Step program of Depressed Anonymous. “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” This meeting of a Power greater than ourselves happens all the time to many of us in the recovery program. But it frequently happens at just the right moment when that greater power shows up and saves the day and/ or our lives.

Has this been your experience? If so, I think that you remember the time of day, the month and the year. We call this your birthday in the recovery program.

Hugh S.

To keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity

Maybe and maybe not! We use this slogan many times in our recovery groups, thinking the statement to be true. For example, to keep missing our recovery meetings week after week may result in a possible relapse. I believe this to be true! Insane? It is definitely not helpful when one is trying to find sobriety or a way out of their depression

For the depressed to isolate oneself from family, friends and the world, is to gradually move self into a deepened mood of sadness and ultimately depression. The isolation is not going to defend the individual from depression but is only going to make it worse.

To look at the slogan from another angle is to find that the statement is false. In fact, to keep going to meetings week after week or more often is doing the same thing – expecting different results. By doing the same thing over and over again, in this case, the different results are a strengthened recovery with hopefulness coupled with serenity.

Survive the now and I will survive the tomorrow

This is a timely nugget of hope for my day today. All we have today is 24 hours.

When I attempt to stay in the now, keeping my mind occupied with what is happening in my inner environment – my thinking and feelings. I reflect on how these thoughts affect my mood. My mood might be spiraling upward, or it my be spiraling downward. And again, it just might just be stuck in neutral, sort of flat.

When I share at a Depressed Anonymous group meeting, I feel the acceptance of the fellowship no matter what I share. The group helps keep me in the now. I find some meetings, some speakers, say things that hit me where I live. I feel my own mood resonates with what they have to say. My mind pushes past my gloom with its struggling thoughts, hanging on to that spoken life raft just now offered to me. I begin to believe, right now, at this very moment in time, that maybe I too can survive the tomorrow. I feel hopeful.

Hugh

STOP. LOOK. LISTEN.

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.
Step Eleven of Depressed Anonymous

This passage is a direct quote from Step Eleven of Depressed Anonymous. With this Step, we are taking a break, a pause if you will, and making room for a time when we will stop. Look and listen to that small voice that is waiting to prompt us into a closer relationship with our Higher power.

Many times, in the past, we have looked for the reason that our life is so confusing and chaotic. It is at this juncture in our lives that we take time out and start to examine the possible ways that have led us to where we are today. My own feelings of powerlessness removed all hope that I would ever feel good again. I was in a deep dark pit with no way out.

It happened that when I became an active member of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship did I realize the many ways in which I could help myself. My own involvement in the group meetings gave me an incentive to pursue the growth that I saw happen in the lives of those who were coming regularly to the meetings.

I put my mind, soul, and spirit into action and began to pray that I too could have what others were having, peace and hope. I received this slowly and without fail. All along I had to keep my hand on the plow and move forward.

And thanks to the God of my understanding, this power greater than myself has given me a life purpose, filled with new friends and a commitment to share the news that there is hope… and we do recover.

Source:

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

YouTube Playlist on Depression

Given the deadly nature of depression and how some people can’t or won’t participate in recovery here is a link to a playlist on YouTube. The playlist includes: short films, TED Talks, documentaries, college lecture, out there alternative treatment options. No endorsement real or implied.

Depressed Anonymous believes that the 12 Steps are the most effective way of managing your disease of depression. As a fellowship we don’t believe and agree on any single cause of depression. Also as a fellowship we have no opinions on other treatment options: it is up to the individual, with input from their doctor, to come up with a plan for managing their depression. Depressed Anonymous does believe that a portion of our depression is self-created, and by following the 12 Steps you can stop doing those things that add to your depression.

For whatever reason recovery and the 12 Steps rub some people the wrong way. Perhaps it’s because we use the word God – we do not require a belief in any religious theology or doctrine. We merely believe there exists a Higher Power (and it could be the group) that can help us manage the disease of depression.

Here is the link to the playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-6rJNUx6cXCxacWbyHOcQLJCmW55U0gd

Non-recovery Resources for Depression

TRADITION FIVE – Each group has but one primary purpose- to carry its message to the depressed person who still suffers.

Depressed Anonymous believes that the 12 Steps are the most effective way of managing your disease of depression. As a fellowship we don’t believe and agree on any single cause of depression. Also as a fellowship we have no opinions on other treatment options: it is up to the individual, with input from their doctor, to come up with a plan for managing their depression. Depressed Anonymous does believe that a portion of our depression is self-created, and by following the 12 Steps you can stop doing those things that add to your depression.

For whatever reason recovery and the 12 Steps rub some people the wrong way. Perhaps it’s because we use the word God – we do not require a belief in any religious theology or doctrine. We merely believe there exists a Higher Power (and it could be the group) that can help us manage the disease of depression.

In light of the fact that depression is a chronic, progressive, and if untreated, a fatal disease we are sharing these non-recovery resources around depression. This is not an exhaustive list mind you, but it is a start.

AUSTRALIA

Australian Government Department of Health
Mental health and suicide prevention
https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/mental-health-and-suicide-prevention
Some information available but site is mostly dedicated to providing mental health services to those residing in Australia

Beyond Blue
https://BeyondBlue.org.au
A non-government organization (NGO) focused on mental health support in Australia.

Lots of information available about various topics such as: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, postnatal depression, Covid and climate anxiety, and many other topics as well.

Discussion forums are available.
Mental health conditions
    Anxiety
    Depression
    PTSD & Trauma
    Suicidal thoughts and self-harm
Caring for myself and others
    Staying well
    Treatments, health professionals and therapies
    Relationships and family issues
    Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers)
    Long term support over the journey
People like mental
    Young people
    Sexual and gender identity
    Multicultural experiences
    Grief and loss

CANADA

Government of Canada – Mental Health and Wellness
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/topics/mental-health-wellness.html

Canadian Mental Health Association
https://cmha.ca/
A non-government organization (NGO) centered around mental health issues in Canada.
They have a BLOG covering many different topics. Peer support and online classes are available but I believe they are only available to Canadian residents.

IRELAND

Ireland Department of Health
https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-health/
Government agency for all health issues including mental health.

Mental Health Ireland
https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.

UNITED KINGDOM

United Kingdom NHS mental health services
https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/

Mental Health Foundation
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.
Many articles on different mental health topics. Articles tend to have supporting links available: podcasts, videos, government services, NGO services.

Mind – for better mental health
https://www.mind.org.uk/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.

Depression Alliance
https://www.depressionalliance.org/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.

UNITED STATES

US – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
https://www.samhsa.gov/
A US federal government agency focused on substance abuse and mental health issues in the US. Links for treament options for substance abuse. A treasure trove of information on mental health and addiction issues. They have 381 publications on mental health, and 430 publications on substance abuse.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
https://www.nami.org/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.
They have a helpline, support groups, online discussion groups, publications, video resource library. NAMI also has a number of regional offices distributed throughout the US. The NAMI regional offices provide support groups for a number of issues and tend to be short duration commitments (10 weeks)

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
https://www.dbsalliance.org/
A non-government organization (NGO) for mental health issues.
Information resources: podcasts, videos, brochures, webinars, newsletter, online store. Free online class – Recovery Goal Setting Course – appears to be a workbook and 3 video modules. DBSA also has many local face to face support groups. DBSA also has online support groups.

Lois got it right

Lois joins a Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group.

It was December of 1992 that I made that decision. I knew that I was powerless over depression and that my life had become unmanageable. I was willing to do anything that Depressed Anonymous offered. I wanted to get rid of the pain. If Depressed Anonymous had told me that I would get well if I stood on my head three times a day, I would have done it. Daily I read from the book and consciously worked the Twelve Steps. I worked them one at a time from One through Twelve. Working the Steps to me meant posting the Step I was working on and consciously pondering it throughout the day.

Lois, a member of Depressed Anonymous

Source:

Depressed Anonymous 3rd Edition, © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY. (Pages 110-111)

Depressed Anonymous Workbook, © 2012, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY.


For more information on Depressed Anonymous literature and ordering online, please VISIT THE STORE at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

“Do not ask what the world needs.”

“Do not ask for what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and do it. For what the world needs is people who are fully alive.”
Howard Thurman

This thought got me thinking. I have asked myself the very question many times over. I always had an answer to the question. For many years, the same answer continued to take me down the same path. It was a gentle path. It was like going to work in the morning. You know, getting on the bus, or driving the car to the same place every day. There it was the same faces, the same tasks. After a days work it was back home again. End of story.
It was a good life. I felt alive doing what needed to be done. And yes, I think I was fully alive. But then at a certain point(I can still feel it) life started to spin out of control. If you have had this experience you definitely know what I am talking about.

Long story short. My life was falling apart. I started isolating from friends and family. All I needed was to get away from the world and try figuring out what ws happening to me. I did not need a world that looked so gray, forbidding and threatening.
I only wanted to live in a world of which I could control. Now, I was moving slowly in a world that gave me no promise of direction. I was a walking zombie.

Then gradually, a light went on in my dull and darkened spirit. I discovered a new and exciting path. It was a new world for me. I was no longer alone. It was my gradual awakening to a new reality. I was no longer alone. I was part of others who are on the same journey. It was a journey of hope. I had a direction. It is called recovery.
My depression was gone. The fog had lifted. I came alive with the help of the group. It is better called a fellowship.I am needed. My experiences of recovering from depression is needed. I am called to give hope. My life’s ultimate concern, my purpose is to walk with others just like myself–once wounded –now wounded healers. I am fully alive.

I believe that the world truly needs me–needs you. What once made me think I was worthless and useless, now I am alive. Depressed Anonymous helped me come alive. Now I have no doubt what makes me fully alive. It’s those others, just like me at a time in my own life, who said, we need you. We need you to help others become fully alive. Now we know what the world needs.

With a gratitude that I am alive.

Hugh, for the fellowship

A light at the end of the tunnel

Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that I don’t do myself any good blaming myself with those daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. I now an conscious.

  1. CONSCIOUSNESS. I am conscious of my need to discover what there is about myself that I do not find acceptable, good and wholesome.
  2. PREPARATION. I am aware how I have depressed myself by the faulty beliefs that I have held about myself over past years. I now know that part of the way I feel is due to the way I automatically talk to myself through out the day. I now realize that my feelings about myself are very negative and emotion laden.
  3. ACTION. i intend today to replace all negative statements that I make about myself, like waving a red flag before my eyes every time I call myself “stupid” or put myself down mentally. I will use affirmations such as the following: ‘I will build a new life for myself. I am strong today. I have the courage to go through the experience. I will no longer blame myself or others for my depression. I do not have to wait for someone to make me feel better, as I can do this myself if I choose to do so.’
  4. SUSTAIN. I am very hopeful that I can feel better just for today. I am going to tolerate my imperfections while at the same time refusing to feel sorry for myself. I am going to make myself accountable for how I feel, not blame it on someone or others.

RESOURCES
Copyright(C) Believing is seeing: 15 Ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 54-55.
Copyright(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 40241.
Copyright (C) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.(2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.
Copyright (C) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. (2011). DAP. Louisville, KY 40241.
Copyright(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) SECOND EDITION. DAP. Louisville, KY. 40241.

NOTE
These publications can be ordered online at www.depressedanon.com. These books can be purchased together or individually. The DA Workbook and the DA Manual, THIRD EDITION, are available as Ebooks and are downloadable. If you order with the intent of setting up a Depressed Anonymous support group, having all five publications will be a source of support library for the fellowship.

I Wanted To Get Well

The following is part of the written testimony of Helen who found a solution to her life problems.

The title of her story is: ‘I have to take responsibility for my own life.’ You can read her whole story, one of many personal stories of recovery from depression in Depressed Anonymous, Third Edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky. Pages 145-148.

Helen knew that she needed help after two yeas of sleepless nights. She knew that someone had to help her. She tells us that she found a card at the back of a phone book which read “Depressed Center”. It had a phone number and that was all. I talked to the man on the other end of the phone. She made an appointment with the man and made herself go see him. “I thank God that I did. I thank God that I went for help. She tells us that it was a new beginning for her. I wanted to get well so badly. I do think that people do want to change. I went in with the attitude that I have to get well. I 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 thinking. I began to feel better and continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous a few weeks later.”

I remember Helen very well, as her story is so much like so many of our own stories. She was very sure that by her wanting to get well she was willing to do all it took for her to get well. She had to eliminate her negative thinking and by doing so she began to feel better.

I highly recommend that you read this story as it is an inspiration. Helen illustrates a way out of depression that really works. Her life is a living example of what you do and what you believe is the key to recovery. She shows us that you first have to take the key, put it into the door and turn the key. When you you accomplish this feat, you are on your way! You will recover!


For those of you who want to turn the key in your own life, please check out the HOME STUDY KIT at depressedanon.com website and get started on your own recovery. You can also join a Depressed Anonymous online Skype meeting. Check out Meetings at the DA Homepage menu section for the link that will take you to these meetings. The books which are needed for your recovery can be downloaded as eBOOKS from our online bookstore.

Hugh, for the fellowship