Think of others.
Keep your heart free from hate,
Your mind free from worry.
Live simply, expect little, give much.
Fill your life with love,
Scatter sunshine, forget self.
Think of others, and
Do as you would be done by.
– Author unknown
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be Kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true friends.
If You are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good that you do today, people will forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best that you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you have anyway.
You see, in the final analysis. it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
– Mother Teresa of Calcutta
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
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.”
“Depressed Anonymous meetings are a safe place to fall.”
(c) A Medley of depression stories. Debra Sanford. (2017) pp.57-58. With permission
When I share at our Depressed Anonymous fellowship meetings (online or virtual) my story is always met with kindness. No one tells me that I ‘shoulda’ or ‘woulda’ or ‘coulda’ done this or that differently. No, the group listens and shares their own thoughts on the issue at hand. The main feature of our fellowship sharing is for each of us to speak in the first person and share what has or has not worked for them.
Kindness kindles kindness. This is the strength of our fellowship. We are here for our recovery; we hope to be treated with the same respect as we would treat another. To tell our story – possibly for the first time – is quite a challenge for most of us. Depressed Anonymous, presents an important fact
“…that the more we share our story with other members of the Depressed Anonymous group, the more we can hear for the first time our own unique story. It is amazing how, when we speak to others about ourselves and our addictions, we begin to loosen up and release in ourselves a new sense of ourselves – freedom to express our true selves. It is at these times when we discuss our addiction at the Depressed Anonymous meetings that we get first-hand information and feedback on how others are working free of their sadness and hollowness.” (Depressed Anonymous., p.79.)
Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.
Are you a “nice” guy or gal? Is there a relationship between wanting to be “nice” and being “co-dependent”? I think so. And why is being nice so important? Is it that if you weren’t nice, people wouldn’t like you anymore? Is this a possibility?
Personally, I had found myself being “nice” when I was boiling with anger at something someone said or did. All this with a smile on my face. Crazy? What makes us want to be “nice” when inside we are ready to blow our top?
Here are some of my thoughts about being “nice.” For example, I want to be a good guy. If I am not agreeable, I may lose a friendship or a relationship. So, in the process of being agreeable, we lose a piece of who we are and the values that we espouse.
How can I be “nice” and still be honest?
For more about being “nice,” click on the blog at the Archives for September 3rd, 2015. https://depressedanon.com/1091/
Also, check out the word Anger at Categories.
Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does get exposed, but in inappropriate ways.
Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old fashioned wood burning stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke Is up the flue and out the chimney. If the normal avenue is blocked, the smoke will leak out the stove in an unintended way…around the door, through the grate, etc., choking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the stove ceases to function. Likewise, the normal human expression of anger is gross physical movement and /or loud vocalizations; watch a red-faced hungry infant sometime. We learn to “be nice”, which means (among other things) hiding “bad” feelings. By adult hood, even verbal expression is curtailed, since a civilized person is expected to be “civil.” Thus expression is stifled, and to protect ourselves form the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed “bad” feelings, we go to the next step and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even when we are. Such self-deception is seldom completely successful and the blocked anger “leaks out” in inappropriate ways.
© The Depressed Anonymous Workbook – Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 33. Fourth Step 4:41.
Updated 29 Dec 2020: The US based ZOOM meetings are no longer being held.
Getting a daily rhythm during this time of self-isolation is getting to be a must for me. How about you? After a month of isolating myself this isolation getting old. And, it appears that it isn’t going to be over for a spell. We are all created as human beings to be close to others. We love the fellowship of groups. Ironically, this is what will kill us or make us very sick at the very least. Physical/social distancing is a must now.
I am getting my stride. Athletes talk about getting into their rhythm. I am much aware that I can’t fiddle my time away – getting myself depressed, or just staring out the window, watching TV , streaming on my computer or just sleeping through it.
So, I have developed a schedule. I make sure that I eat every day and at the same time. I use my 12 Step literature for prayer and reflection in the morning. I also do some writing on my online WordPress blog . Because I have gone through self-isolating when I was depressed – I definitely do not let it happen again. In my schedule I go to the park and exercise everyday and at the same time. I spend a part of the afternoon catching up with friends and members of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship. At these times I connect with member s of the large DA fellowship in Iran and other DA members outside US. (Everyone with whom I have contact are going through the same pandemic as we are.)
The Depressed Anonymous fellowship have an International daily DA SKYPE online meeting. I am able to contact and participate in this group in early afternoon. Then there is a new ZOOM online fellowship that has just been formed. You can find times and places at our Depressed Anonymous website. Or on Facebook. Please try and attend these meetings. Great resource for keeping in touch and helping to maintain our recovery – one day at a time. In the late afternoon I follow our Governor’s daily TV meeting(Kentucky) where he keeps us up to date on things that we have to do to keep each other safe and out of harms way. Then evening news and then other news sources. So by night time I am saturated with news – mostly sad news about how there is so much suffering and isolation among all of us who need each other so much.
I am especially grateful for our 12 step fellowship where we can see each other f2f and maintain our sanity and sobriety. Please check out our recent blogs at www.depressedanon.com or FB Depressed Anonymous. Today is the first day where we are offering our eBooks for $1.00 a piece. These are the 3rd edition of Depressed Anonymous and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Both of these eBooks can be downloaded on the computer or printed out on your printer. These are the books which we use at our Online group meetings. If you want these books today, they are yours for downloading. We felt that now is the time to make these books available to as many people as possible. We wanted to make them available on line free – but somehow that was not possible. So we went for $1 buck apiece. I do hope others take advantage of this opportunity – especially most of us who might be hard pressed to come up with any money now when food and shelter is our most critical need. Depressed Anonymous Publications is a very small business operation and all our work is done by volunteers – including me.
My suggestion is to do the same thing everyday, have a schedule for each day and now that the children are home, and with the kids out of school, they will always need some help with their eLearning classes.
Do some fun things for yourself – I personally liked the old Three stooges, Jim Carey’s movies and older comedies keep me laughing. It sure helps lift my mood.
Plan to call at least one older person who is alone. Maybe a neighbor who needs food. My wife and I are now trying to make some strategic decisions in our food purchases and TP. Trying to make do with what we have, sharing what we have with others.
Call your sponsor everyday or a fellow member of our 12 Step fellowship group.
Finally, get into your own rhythm – take it one day at a time-make a schedule and as a family get together and decide how we all can decide how we want to spend our day.
Thank you and may all of us remain safe and secure. This too shall pass. We are all in this together. We are going to get through it. We are going to get through it together.
Love and peace to you all.
Hugh, for the fellowship
One of the areas of my life, when I was depressed, was to begin looking for that personal and secure base providing me with hope and resources for a complete recovery. My first attempt at finding this refuge and secure base was preceded by a search for answers. Why was mind always distracted? Why couldn’t I remember anything? I would read a paragraph and within no time I couldn’t remember a word of what I had just read. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and just wanted to sleep. Coming home after working all day I would hit the sack. My mind was like in a dense fog. I felt like I was driving a car at night with my headlights on off. I was lucky just to be able to get to work. For me it was do or die. No job -no Master’s degree. My job paid for my education. It was that simple.
What can I do? What is wrong with me? I have never in my life felt so filled with anxiousness. Constant jitters. I even began feeling tremors in my hands. That is when I got worried. I didn’t have a doctor to consult. Since I lived back in the “stone age” there was no Internet. So, here is what I did. I forced myself out of bed every morning and I started to walk. I went to a mall located where I lived and walked. I mean I walked miles around that store. Early morning walkers, like myself, were allowed to walk before the store opened. I can relate to Forrest Gump in the movies. It was boring but I did manage to do it for over a year. And then it happened.
A feeling of lightness came over me. Wow! I almost wanted to shout with joy. That horrible jitteriness stopped for a moment. I felt a cheerfulness that I thought would never come back. My mind was clear. Momentarily I began reflecting that something good had just happened. And then the words, flashing across my mental screen, began spelling out the words, It won’t last!”
And just as quick as the words flashed in my mind, with it’s lifting mood, it too disappeared. I retuned downcast to my walking. And then slowly everything started to feel different for me. My mind cleared, my mood spiraled upwards and I began to feel like my old self–now, a renewed guy with a deep gratitude that all my walking paid off. I gradually began to see everything coming back into place. Whatever it was (it was only later that I could put a label on my experience and call it what it was, depression.)
Eventually, I designed a pilot project at my university using the 12 spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous to determine if those depressed persons gathered in the program would respond to the power of the Steps. The Steps continue to help the alcoholic to recover from alcoholism. Now we learned that the 12 Step discussion groups, would also help others make progress, like our depressed participants in the study, as their moods lightened over the 10 week pilot discussion period. Today, the group that we call Depressed Anonymous is spreading worldwide and its Big Book (Depressed Anonymous) is now translated into Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Farsi and English.
If you are looking for a secure base, that is a group, where everyone speaks your language of depression, and where you can be accepted and introduced to a program of recovery that promises healing and a brand new start in life.
(C) Depressed Anonymous 3rd ed., (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Louisville. KY.
You can check out our literature at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com. You may also order books online.
Family members also feel guilty about the situation and feelings of their depressed loved one. They somehow feel they have played a part in the melancholia and so are to blame. That is exactly what we don’t want to produce in the family member, more guilt and shame.
Walking a mile in another’s shoes is good advice today. Unless a family member has ever been depressed – then it won’t do to wish that their loved one would just think more happy thoughts or just pray more or just get out and get busy. All these suggestions fit someone who might be sad or unhappy –but they don’t apply to a person who has a mood disorder –like the deep immobilizing mood of depression.
When I was depressed I became overwhelmed by all the situations and circumstances surrounding me til I became consumed by them. They became all ever conscious, these thoughts that I could no longer keep at bay –like a lion tamer wielding chair and whip –poised for action against an angry lion.
Many times the stigma of a family member who is experiencing is often enough for a family to avoid the subject. They pretend it isn’t there. In a way it is like the behavior of those people who live within an abusive relationship, or with a practicing alcoholic, or a verbally abusive spouse. There is an elephant sitting in the living room and everyone quietly walks around it. Nobody wants to talk about the problem that lies in the center of the family.
Gradually a vicious cycle of negative feelings and behaviors manifest in the family members. They feel isolated, resentful, angry or despairing, and this complicates the sense of isolation, guilt or hopelessness.
I believe that DEP-ANON will be or can be a great resource of strength for those members of the family who live with the depressed day after day. They too must begin to work on the 12 Steps, one after another so they can begin, in a supportive group context, facing the fact that that their feelings about their loved one have resulted in them feeling hopeless and helpless. This is the first step for all of us in recovery, to admit that we are powerless over the behavior of a loved one depressed. Once the 12 spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous are interiorized in our hearts and minds, and actively operating in our own daily lives, we will see progress. Not only will we change but so will all members of the family. The DEP-ANON group provides the whole family an opportunity to experience a new found peace and wellness.
Copyright(c) DEP-ANON family group manual: A 12 Step support group for families and friends of the depressed. (1999) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.