Category Archives: Kindness

The highest form of wisdom is kindness – The Talmud

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.)

Resource
Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

We learn to be nice

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.

Learning To Be Nice

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.

Source

© The Depressed Anonymous Workbook – Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 33. Fourth Step 4:41.

I’m having cabin fever during this pandemic self-isolation. How are you doing?

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

A secure base providing recovery: Depressed Anonymous.

 

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.

 

RESOURCES

(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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking in another’s shoes

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. 

Having the right tools helps me get the job done.

TOOLS FOR RECOVERY FROM DEPRESSION

Whenever I have a job to do I make sure that I have the right  tool. When I want to saw a board I make sure that I am cutting the  right length  We all know the carpenter’s  rule about “measure twice and saw once.” How many times have I made the mistake of not getting the proper length before I sawed.

In life there is a another rule about thinking before you leap. Think about the consequences of one’s actions before you act.  Look at the blueprint before you build. Check your resources before you buy something. It’s all about having the right tools in life before you start to build a life of character and possibilities for yourself. Having the right tools will definitely get you where you want to go.

Now let’s talk a bit about life’s tools and check out  how we are using the tools at our disposal.  I would think that because you have come to our site which deals with depression that you are also looking for the tools that will get you where you want to go. You and I want to have the tools which  will help us remove the pain, the feeling isolated and even angry at where we find ourselves today.

With the right tools, the right thinking and behavior tools, you will be able to construct the new you.  That is a given!  Many others are using these tools and you can read all about them in Depressed Anonymous, published by Depressed Anonymous Publications. There is a whole chapter in this book of persons who tell us who the tools of recovery saved their lives and gave them daily hope.

One of the major areas in our lives that change quickly by  our attendance at the group meetings is that we pity ourselves less and less. We begin to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are. We begin to see that once we start getting connected to others like ourselves on a regular basis, through our Deporessed Anonymous meetings, we now are listened to by others and we are validated.  We don’t hear “snap out of it” at our meetings. Suddenly our years of self-pity, isolation and desolation have been cashed in for a currency that buys us a new competency, a new identity, autonomy and a burgeoning inter relatedness with others. We are connected. We are not alone.

We now can speak about our experience with depression in the past tense. We now can share how we have the tools of self care whereby we can dig out and begin to  construct an edifice of hope that will last the rest of our life. As  long as we continue to use the tools of the program we are  bound to feel differently as well as think differently.”  Source: I’ll  do it when I feel better (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisvile. KY.  The Feelings of Uselessness and Self-Pity Disappear. #6. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous.

 

NOTE: For more information on tools for recovery please go to MENU on Home Page and Click onto the drop down menu item TOOLS OF RECOVERY

Today I am going to be active in my own recovery.

 

”  I believe that our involvement with people like ourselves in the  group  (Depressed Anonymous) can gradually broaden our perspective in the area of hope. We have to utilize new found tools that help us live with hope as well as enable us to learn that we have to be active in our own recovery.  ”

Copyright(c)  I’ll do it when I feel better. 2nd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

A  person who wants to get active in their own recovery would do well to go to the Main Menu at depressedanon.com  ( here) and check out the drop down menu  at TOOLS OF RECOVERY. It is here that one can find many  recommended ways  and activities to begin the journey to freedom out of the prison of depression.

If not today, then when?

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PS   For more Information about Depression and the 12 Step program  of Recovery go to DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE @  DEPRESSEDANON.COM

My anti-depression tool kit: An arsenal of weapons to defeat depression.

The following is a personal story of how a member of Depressed Anonymous  used her anti-depression Tool Kit to disarm and dismantle symptoms of  depression in her daily life.

I am no longer alone

” I am writing this information with the hope  that it will help anyone who is suffering from depression that is brought on by stress, anxiety, loneliness, physical or mental emotions, death or insecurity.

I am a thirty-four year old single female, who has been suffering from depression for a long time. Most of my depression was brought on by feelings of insecurity, such as not being able to express my inner feelings, being controlled by a dominating parent, loneliness, stress, workaholic, anxiety attacks (related to work and everyday pressures of living), too much sleep, nervousness, lack of motivation, being tired all the time, sadness, weight gain, digestive problems, a feeling of being trapped, self-consciousness, not trusting myself, dreams of dying but yet managing to come back to life, withdrawal from family, or loss of interest in meeting with the opposite sex.

It seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous meetings, plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual have provided  me with the tools to live without being depressed. Most important  of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power) will give me strength to deal with my depression and get on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps, has taught me that I am not alone. And that I am not the only one who is suffering from depression. It has taught me to believe more in my Higher Power and to let it handle my depression.

I read the Depressed Anonymous manual, go to counseling, and attend the Depressed Anonymous meetings. The meetings are a must. I need them to survive. The support group’s members help each other by listening, talking, expressing their feelings, and give support on how to cope with depression.   By letting my Higher Power help me, I am beginning to feel free from depression. I am not so nervous and tensed up. My Christian inner faith is getting stronger. I am not so stressed out and I am beginning to get confidence  within  myself . I still have problems with sleep patterns and I am getting some motivation back.   I have learned how to handle anxiety by taking deep breaths when I am nervous or troubled. This was suggested by my therapist. I am also learning how to stand up for myself.

All these new tools have helped me and will continue to do so. They also taught me not to dwell on my past, to live one day at a time, and to look forward to the future, but not live there. It will take me a long time to deal with depression, but I am glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

-Anonymous.

SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (Louisville, KY, 2011. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Pages 148-149.

Please go to MENU and click onto TOOLS* FOR RECOVERY.    There you will discover those tools which can be used to dismantle those painful areas of your life which in the past have imprisoned you.

  • RECOVERY TOOLS: Exercise; Meditation; The Serenity Prayer; Cutting off negative thinking-The Law of the Threes; Being in Nature; Journaling; Managing stress; Music; Nutrition; Positive self-talk; Sleep; Social engagement; Stay in the Present.

Read more stories of persons who have dismantled their own depression. Check out the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore and order online.

Giving yourself a mental make-over

HOW TO VIZUALIZE YOURSELF

“One way to increase your potential for serenity is to form a strong mental picture of yourself with it. For just one day, eliminate guilt, anger, and meanness from your mind.  Practice visualizing yourself as calm, purposeful, and strong. First thing in the morning, take a moment to form a mental picture of yourself smiling, happy and ready to meet the day with serenity. Throughout the day, whenever you think about it, picture yourself as deeply relaxed and peaceful.

Now, listen!  It doesn’t matter if that is the way that you really feel. Without even realizing it, we tend to become just what we picture ourselves to be. After a few days of steady practice, you will feel peace taking hold in your life. So, now is the time to use your self-discipline to form a positive image of yourself.

To help you form a strong and serene picture of yourself in your mind’s eye, you might try  using the following affirmations.

+My goal is serenity. I see myself as  really strong, centered, and calm, with the help of a serene mind, I can face the day. I have what it takes to be happy.

+Today, I will feel the presence of peace  in my life. I feel alive, filled with positive energy, happy to face the challenge of the day. Peace is positive, active, creative, and today I feel peace all around me.

+I see myself as strong, controlled and serene. (I am a child in the safety of my Higher Power). And with God’s help, I will not be frightened or alone. I am strong, Thank you  God, for my strength.”

Keep saying these affirmations to yourself. Believe their positive messages. Keep practicing them, and in time they will embed themselves in your unconscious mind, where they will be accepted as fact.

Replacing old negative and hurtful thoughts with positive and healing affirmations is one of the first steps in the process of transforming chaos and pain into serenity and strength.”


Source:  Strong Choices, Weak Choices, Gayle Rosellini  and Mark Verden.  A Harper/Hazeldon Book, Harper and Row Publishers ,San Francisco 1988, pp. 63-64.

Source:  Believing is seeing: 15 Ways to leave the prison of depression.  Hugh Smith.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. ( 2016).

VISIT OUR STORE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Click onto Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore here at depressedanon.com.