Category Archives: Hope

Staying out of the loop. Creating your own circuit-breaker!

One of the characteristics of the depression experience is to get lost in the loop of negativity. The more we try to think our way out of the mental labyrinth with our mind circling down into the deeper pit of sadness, the more locked and immobilized we become.

So, how do we stay out of the swirling cycle of despair? The loop is our master taking over our minds and emotions. Once we have managed to stay out of the loop, I discovered what frees me and breaks the chain that shackles my motivation.

What I find helpful and kind of simple is to distract myself and do something that takes me out of the loop momentarily as I focus on something else. This something else could be to go for a walk. Talk to a friend. Go to a mall. Visit a lonely friend. Choose your own distracter.

I will give a personal example where I found a distraction strategy that works. Because I was wearing out my mind with my continuous negative swirling thoughts, I was reminded how fatigue is an indicator of feeling depressed and helpless. When I became tired, I would automatically head for the coach. This just prolonged the pain, and it was when I said, “No, not this time,” I went to my desk and started to do some work on my computer. In a short time, my mind was focused on my writing and not on the assumption that I needed a nap. Even though I am no longer depressed, I still find this distraction strategy a real loop-breaker.

So, if you find yourself beating yourself up, ruminating, and mentally circling round and round, going nowhere but down, you’ll need at last 5 circuit-breakers ready to plug in when the looping begins. Be prepared!

Share this idea/strategy at your Depressed Anonymous meetings and let others in the group try it out when their own loop starts rolling.

Hugh

Hope is an essential part of the human DNA

The fingerprint of God is on all living creatures, great and small. Each of us has been imprinted with the creators. God has for us to discover the way of personal peace and serenity. He has provided us with a set of fingerprints, all uniquely our own.
In John Powel’s book Through Seasons of the Heart, 1986, he shares the following.

“There is a Christian tradition that God sends each person into the world with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with a special act of love to bestow. These are entrusted only to me. No one else can speak my message, sing my song, or offer my act of love. Think about this quote today. What is the message that God wants you to give today? What is the message that only you can give? What is the only act of love that you can bestow to others today?”

I believe this is true. Bill W. and Dr. Bob came into my broken and messed up world with the message that the God of their understanding had given them. And now, I, with others, are bringing the same message of hope and healing to the world.

The only song that I can share is “O Happy day.” This is the song that I now sing because I have come into the world with God’s fingerprint on my soul. The message I am to share with others is not to give up on yourself if you are depressed. Know that you can recover. You have God’s fingerprint of love on your heart! You are never alone.

Hugh

Resources

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (1998. 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville. KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook 2002, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

Living in the security of my hope.

” I am choosing to live in the security of my hope rather than in the fear of life’s possible pain.”

To read this article, please click onto the Archives located on the home page of Depressed Anonymous.
Click onto the year 2016, February 21. You will be able to find this article and many more at this Archived location.

Pick up the bow

We are all flawed. That’s not an indictment, merely a fact.

Food for thought: the word sin is not about eternal damnation. The origin of the word is either Hebrew or Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke) and it comes from archery meaning ‘to miss the mark’ – to not hit the bullseye.

We all fall short of God’s ideal. Pick up the bow and shoot another arrow. Try to get closer to the mark. We don’t need to be perfect, we merely need to strive to do better.

Mother’s intuition

We all have experienced our mother’s intuition, especially as children. They always had the ability to take one look at us and sensing that we had been up to something. That something was more in the line of a Dennis the Menace something. You know, the kind of look that messaged “Yea, Mom, I did break that antique vase given to you by the President.”

In our 12-step program of recovery, we read the Promises of AA at all our meetings. And of the thirteen lines or so, there is one of the Promises that I have been thinking about this past week. A member of Depressed Anonymous and I have been sharing our thoughts with each other about these Promises. Here is the sentence that I find to be full of hope for our recovery. “We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”

The dictionary defines intuition as “The direct knowing or learning of something without the conscious use of reasoning: immediate apprehension or understanding.”

It has taken me some years to realize, without even thinking about it, that there was something that really baffled me, was powerful and cunning. I am not talking just about abusing alcohol, even though the three words apply to addictive drinking, and how the thought to drink suddenly popped into my mind and I thought one drink wouldn’t hurt. The one drink did matter.

Now that I have been in recovery, I have learned that there is such a thing as “red flags” which automatically pop up in my mind and my thinking starts to slide down into that slippery slope which always brings my mood down and my feelings aching. In the past I could not stop these thoughts from pulling me downward. Now, I get “red flags” warning me. intuitively, that no good is going to come from going down this path.

Like any addiction, which once enslaved us, the thinking, as messed up as it was, suddenly threw me down and put the shackles on my mind.

Now I intuitively know, recognize, that I will not be overpowered, or let these old tapes, old playbills, take over my mind, my body, and soul. When the old deadly thoughts come knocking at my door, I know, no heavy-duty thinking, no conscious reasoning about what is available, I just know. DON’T GO THERE!

I do know this for a fact when an addictive thought starts to take me to where I know I cannot go, I have enough warning now, a “red flag”, where I don’t even have to think of the consequences–I intuitively know that there will be hell to pay if I start to go through the “should I” or “shouldn’t I” internal dialogue.

Hugh

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.