Category Archives: Love

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.

Powerless does not mean No Power

People get hung up on the word powerless.

powerless –

  1. devoid of strength or resources
  2. lacking the authority or capacity to act

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powerless

Personally I don’t believe that I have NO POWER. Instead I have less power than the average healthy person. There are things that I can do to help manage my disease. OK, so I know I don’t have all control (100% control) and I believe that it’s not a case of having no control (0% control), so I’m somewhere in the middle – between 1% and 99% control over my depression. Wherever I fall on that spectrum I am compelled by my Higher Power to act. My Higher Power has given me the authority and capacity to act and attempt to influence and manage my disease of depression. I may wish and yearn for 99% control over my disease of depression but wherever I am I must act. I need to get out of my familiar zone (I don’t call it a comfort zone as it is NOT comfortable), and take action.

That action could be as miniscule as bringing the dirty dishes to the sink (washing may take another burst of commitment and action), or it could be as major as cleaning out and organizing the garage. I have it within my power to take my dog for a 20 minute walk. I may not have it in me today to go on a 45 minute walk, but I can do the 20 minutes and work towards improving my mood. Progress, not perfection.

If the love of your life was sick and in bed, wouldn’t you feed them? Wouldn’t you bring them tissues? Show yourself the same compassion and commitment! You are worthy of action and of love. Love is not a feeling, it is a choice and an action. Have the courage to choose to love yourself and put that choice into action. You are worth it!

Yours in recovery, Bill R

The 12 Step program of recovery is helping me learn how to love myself

AFFIRMATION

I have hope that I can accept myself today and just let fly  by all the old messages from old tapes of childhood.

“You desperately wanted people to love you, but you became very wary of giving your love to others. You reasoned  that the less you loved another person, the less it would hurt when the inevitable rejection came.” Dorothy Rowe

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I have been so holed up in my own little world of feeling hurt and rejected that to attempt to love someone else seems the greatest challenge of my life. I desire so badly to be loved by someone else,  that this lack of another’s love makes my isolation from others so hurtful.

After witnessing the miracle of the group of Depressed Anonymous, where depressed people come with their feelings of being hurt and rejected, I find that other’s love and nurture challenges me to hope once again. I can share with the group the fact that I haven’t measured up, that I am angry and that I want to just lay down and die.

I am open now to let the light of love from others, who like myself, realize that I am not alone and that I am beginning to  affiliate and give of myself fro someone else’s good. In the program  of recovery I am starting to love myself.

MEDITATION

We are going to make a mental decision right now to let God, as we understand God, guide us and instruct us on how to love ourselves.

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365  daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.  Pg. 38. March 3rd.

That which doesn’t kill you will probably make you stronger – Nietzsche

 

Stress  put me in the hospital two years ago. First, pneumonia  put me in the hospital for a week.   Then, following  a diagnosis of clogged arteries with other assorted problems,  open  heart surgery.  Cardio/rehab for 24 straight weeks gave me my life back. But this was not my first experience with stress and /or depression.

Nietzsche had it right. In my case at least.  What made me stronger and saved my life was not only heart surgery but my new way of  dealing with stress. I now see stress for the trouble maker that it really is. The  stress in anyone’s,  continues to impress me how dangerous living under stress, of any kind, can be.

I know that the daily stress that I  had put my mind and body through every day,  every month, gradually destroyed my immune system’s ability to defend against  constant fear, worry and anxiety. Because of the environment  with which I was living in, day after day, finally caught up with me: pneumonia and then open heart surgery. So you might wonder  how can stress do all this damage to your mind and body?

THEN

This takes me back to my first  experience with sadness. It didn’t kill me, but it did force me to look  at my lifestyle, staying in a bad  situation and the ongoing ruminating which poured adrenaline into my veins, hyping up fear   and anxiety day after day.  Finally, all this  weakened not only my body but my mind  as well. My thinking started circling  around  and around as I tried to figure out exactly what the problem was  knocking me off my feet.  Not only that, I couldn’t concentrate. I would read a sentence or so  and then would forget what I had just read. I was always tired.  I always wanted to sleep. I never laughed anymore. My sense of humor went out the door. I started to isolate. I pushed friends away. I always had an excuse for cancelling meetings and appointments. Every morning I woke up, dead on arrival.  No energy. No purpose and nothing to look  forward to. I was losing all spontaneity and replacing it with boredom. I gradually was being sucked down intro the quicksand of futility and hopelessness.

After a year and half of this    pain filled  life I gradually walked out of the fog. I walked at least five miles a day-like a forced march looking forward to regaining my life. That was 1985.

NOW

Now,  I am stronger because I know all the red flags that pop up in my mind, wanting to  suck me back down into that environment which almost killed me in the first place.  I am definitely stronger now that I have a sponsor, a  12 Step   program (Depressed Anonymous) and  a daily plan   for my ongoing recovery.

My heart is stronger now. My commitment to taking good care of myself with proper rest, good healthy food, and physical activity at least three times a week or more. I also know that keeping in touch with those “still suffering from depression” by email, Home Study, website BLOG (depressedanon.com), phone and reading Depressed Anonymous literature.  What we give away comes back in countless ways. For me, continued sobriety and hope!

Resource: (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Online Depressed Anonymous International Skype meetings ( Check website Menu for listing and links).

Order online :The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

 

Can I think my way out of depression?

 That very question is one which I myself have asked. It would have been neat if I could have just  set my mind to it and   deciding not to pay any attention to  those never ending  ruminations about my life and all those  crazy thoughts and  painful feelings that came to roost in my mind.  They were unending.  You know, sort of dig a hole and bury your head in it. Hoping against hope that all the noise would just stop. It got worse. I told myself–it’s only going to get worse. It did!

It was strange  how the more I didn’t want to have these thoughts  live in my head, day after day, the more my mood continued spiraling  down into that abyss where no kind word, no positive thinking, nor pleasant future for myself   dwelt.  My thoughts turned angry and my mood was  at a   ground zero. 

Now what do I do I thought to myself? What can I do? All these thoughts were accompanied with an anxiety that seemed to envelop my whole body and turned  my insides into  to what felt like a shaking bowl of jelly. At this point,  my mind was  not thinking of anything, but being  fixated on how rotten I was feeling. Again, what can I do? How to get this constant agitation  and jitteriness  removed? And how did it get this way in the first place. No answers.

  I told myself. Nothing can help me. I might as well give up– throw in the towel. Even my thinking was changing. I couldn’t read with any comprehension or even   wanting  to do the most common of my normal  daily activities.  All my thoughts seemed   like sand slipping through my fingers. I was losing my grip on reality. Was I losing my mind?

I knew that I couldn’t lie in bed all day and do nothing. I knew that my mind was not coming up with any solutions that would ignite my motivation to move. “That’s it”  I said to myself. I got to get moving. And so that is what I did. I started to move the body–and gradually my mind began to work, but I had to prime the mental machinery to get it operative once again. I made up my mind that I must walk myself out  of the  mental and physical mess that I was in. I knew that if I just moved the body my mind would follow–at least that is what I was hoping would happen. And after a year or so, my mind did began to work. My thoughts gradually became clearer  and by taking care of my body’s physical needs (exercise) my mind welcomed this healthy change. I also had my support group Depressed Anonymous help me at our meetings. I could call them anytime and get some help. I WAS NOT ALONE.

I noticed that gradually my low mood was spiraling upwards and my mood  began lifting  the fog that had me confused and dazed and immobile. 

Did I think my way out of depression? I don’t think so. What did happen  is that over time I learned how to create my own  “red flags”  alerting  me when I discovered   my thinking was getting off track. Now these “red flags ” pop up in my mind when old negative thoughts, negative behaviors and irrational thoughts want to start their cycling around in my head.  The old habits that create depression die hard. Now I  use  my many tools (see Tools for Recovery at site menu)  that defend me against  relapsing and spiraling out of control. In other words, I have brought a new and sane balance into my life and my thinking.

Before, when I was depressed, my mind was filled with horrible  thoughts,  suicidal thoughts and  my thinking was getting more and more erratic. In fact, the mind was telling me all sort of negative lies about myself–which I believed. I felt worthless and helpless in the midst of this  negativity,  an unyielding, relentless, and pounding me down tsunami-like, till   I was flat on my back.

My mind has learned a lot since those days when I was a prisoner of my own fears. My thinking no longer focuses on what is negative  about myself. Now I am  focused on what I like about myself and ways that will help me grow and be of help  to others just like me.  Now it’s all about the progress I am making on a daily basis and not worrying about  being perfect.

One of our best tools is to use the Depressed Anonymous Workbook where I can go through each of the 12 Steps and relate my own depression experience to myself, my past and discover reasons  how I got depressed in the first place. Questions in this book prepare us to make discoveries about ourselves and our lives which we never gave much thought previous to our getting into reovery.

I cannot think myself out of depression. I know that now. I tried that route. Funny thing though, is that I always came back to where I started with no more answers than when I started. It’s like a dog chasing its tail.

  (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) Home Study Program of Recovery. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

          For more information on  Depressed Anonymous Fellowship publications, please check out the Depressed Anonymous Publications  Bookstore. Ordering online is available.

 

 

 

 

The impatient patient

 

It was not too long ago when I was an impatient patient. Have you ever been an impatient patient? If you have ever been admitted to the hospital for any length of time, as was I, then you know a little of what I am talking about. This was a few years back when I underwent open heart surgery. It was quite an experience to say the least. I got excellent care. The   staff said I was a very good patient.  Not much I could do to be an annoying patient. I had wires, tubes, and everything else hooked up to my anatomy. I felt that I must have looked like one of those huge electrical grids that we see alongside the road, all with a large chain link fence circling  them.

Because my numbers weren’t right (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level,  etc.)  the doctor told me that I would have to remain in the hospital another day. I had already spent three weeks, watching an  outside world,  all beginning to look like ne big beautiful garden.  Everything was coming alive.   I was coming alive too, but not fast enough. I did thank God that I was even alive: thanks to a great team of doctors and staff.

But gradually and with a new intensity, I had this strong desire to  to free myself from  whatever kept me from getting free. I know what it was: it was the numbers. Always the numbers. So, the day came, finally, and the doctor tells me that if the numbers were right I could go home. Home! That word spoken by the one who had the power to free me. Yes, I could  go home– tomorrow! (That was like the big sign behind the bartender  which read in big red letters “Free Beer tomorrow!” Tomorrow comes and yes, Free beer tomorrow!). I knew from past experience, that that  “tomorrow”  always came with a conditional “maybe”  tomorrow.

That was it. . . I was suffering from what I felt was a terminal case of “cabin fever.”   “Cabin fever”  can only be cured by  getting out of the cabin. We all know that. So, I asked the doctor how I could go home today (the day was Friday) as there was no use staying the weekend waiting for my numbers to come down. The doctor told me, because I had to have a certain medicine over the next 48 hours to keep my numbers at the right place, I must  give myself some  prescribed shots , and then come back the following Monday for a check on my numbers. Other than that, I was good to be released.

The nurse came in and with a few practice shots– on an orange no less, and then  I was good to go! Halleluja! By this time, most of my tubes and  wires had gradually been removed, one after another.  Another patient told me that this was a good sign when they started removing wires from one’s torso. My mind went to another possible reason, but I won’t go there now.

Home. And all it took was just to give myself two shots a day. No problem.  My numbers finally returned to where numbers need to be for a good recovery and so it all worked out. Thanks to the medical team, first of all, that gave me my life back!

Fast forward to today,  as I look back over  life before my experience with depression.  The sadness, the lethargy, my whole body seemed to want to go into hibernation. Sleep. And more sleep.  And when I could hardly get myself out of bed  in the morning. reality hit me in the face. I had something that I didn’t have a name for. I was immobilized. So, I started walking. Walking. Walking. I knew that I was continually feeling very sad. Sometimes like weeping.

My life before was a life of “hurry” for this and a “hurry ” for that.  I couldn’t stuff enough  of life into my daily schedule.  And then my discovery that I had clogged arteries and need open heart surgery as soon as could be scheduled. But what about my planned vacation, my clients, my books I was working on ?  I couldn’t just sit by and let things slide.

OK. I said. Obviously I was in denial. We are talking about saving my life here and I was worrying about nothing really.  That was  before my numbers helped me face the truth about myself.  The talk with the heart surgeon definitely grabbed my attention. I got it! I needed open heart surgery!  No denial now.

I got it that my life, the “hurry” and the “impatience”  that  had produced the stress, a diet filled with all sorts of food that was bad for me as well as a life without exercise.  I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t slow down.  I was always in a rush–a hurry to get to the next important   thing, a meeting or whatever pushed me into serious health problems.

Today is different. Once back in recovery, both from a physical standpoint as well as from a mental health standpoint, I have learned how to relax, how to spend  time alone  with my God as well as to set small goals which are attainable and healthy for each new day. My prayer time and my meditating on the spiritual principles of the 12 steps,  plus taking time out for my Depressed Anonymous meetings on a regular basis. I also have a regular sponsor who helps me over the times when I am in a “hurry” and shoving too much activity into a life filled with activity. I have the tools to slow down and live. These are  a musty now in my daily life!

My new self with an awareness of staying out  of the “hurry” has helped my being patient with whatever negative situations  life throws at me. I think before I act. I think before I make decisions and do not rush into anything without first “looking both ways” (as I learned in Kindergarten) many  years ago.

And BTW  my numbers are great: 120-130  over 80. Heart rate 70’s.

Check out the TOOLS for Recovery here at this website  www. depressedanon.com

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY

 

 

It takes hard work and faith to free oneself from depression.

MY AFFIRMATION FOR TODAY

I believe that with time and work I can feel better about myself.

“But don’t expect that one psychologist can tell you just what the trick is to get out of being depressed. There  is no trick, just hard work.” Dorothy Rowe. The way out of your prison. 2nd ed. (1983, 1996). Routledge. London.

The first three Steps of the Twelve  Steps are about faith and the remaining nine Steps are about action. One has to have faith that there is truly something bigger in this world than  one’s own depression and one’s perspective. I formerly used to believe  that I was stuck forever in these moods where I just didn’t want to live anymore. I was sick and tired of being sick  and tired with the feelings of despair. But now my program is a spiritual one and the spiritual way is the way out of my depression.

If I truly want to be free of my fears and anxieties, I will have to have faith that the God of my understanding is not going to  let me down.

My energies and commitment used to be directed toward finding ways to live always with the predictable and secure feelings that my sadness provided. I am working another program, one which will help me find a way to live a lifer filled with serenity and hope.

MEDITATION

God, help us know your will so that we may start today filled with hope. (Personal comments).

SOURCE: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

CODE BLUE! CODE BLUE!

If you have spent anytime at all in a hospital or nursing home you know what these two words mean. Basically they mean, drop everything your doing and go immediately to the area (patient)  that needs immediate assistance. There is no waiting around. You go!

I personally believe that our country’s mental health system is in a state of Code Blue. I also believe that  with all the old and new antidepressant  drugs now available  to resolve this epidemic, (yes, an epidemic) there are more depressed people now than ever before. It would appear that  there would be less depressed persons because of all the medications available, specifically  designed to deal with this national mental   health emergency of depression.

In 1985 I was able to do something about the emergency when I founded a mutual aid group called Depressed Anonymous. The group is modeled after the successful Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery. The emphasis was on mutual aid and a group  focused solution for those depressed.  Persons who came to the group were many times in a Code Blue situation and needed immediate help. Most times they needed the help of other persons depressed who were speaking the same language as they were.  In fact, when they  did attend meetings they gradually knew that they were not alone and that others were  going through the same things as they had experienced. And  by attending meetings week after week they felt the strength  of hope  and began living their life  with a renewed sense of purpose and meaning.

The following is Lena’s story and how she began to live a life filled with hope and purpose.

“During my first night in the hospital, a member informed me of a support group known as Depressed Anonymous. I decided to give it a try. By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous, and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the TWELFTH STEP, but had also given me a key, a key which would open many doors  for me. Walking through these doors was like admitting defeat.  I was playing first base in a ball game in which I would eventually win.  If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me.  With the help and the positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me. With the love, support and true friendship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license, which had been another step toward independence for  me. Within a year, I earned my license when two members of the group took me for my road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst was finally over.”

The account of her recovery is just one of many stories that one can read in the Depressed Anonymous manual (Depressed Anonymous, (3rd ed.) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 113.  )

A total of 31 stories, in the Personal Stories section of the book,   are powerful testimonies of how  members of the DA   group who are living out the Steps in their individual and  group life.  No more Code Blues

 

For more information about the Personal Stories and Depressed  Anonymous literature click into THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS  BOOKSTORE

 

 

I want to believe

 

AFFIRMATION

I can do most anything to feel better and more alive. All I need to do is believe that I can do it. I want to believe.

“Through this 12 step program   I have been on a journey of transformation from the familiar life of drudgery, gloom and desperation,  to discovering a new freedom and a new happiness –something I didn’t know existed.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

This is the real  world-the Twelve Step program for healing and a gradual abstinence from hiding the pressure that builds from inside and pushes me to want to withdraw. I am more sure today than I was yesterday the more I work my Twelve Step program,

I know that like the others who work their program, I will begin to feel better. I also believe that the more I begin to take charge of some area of my life, like exercising, getting a hobby and moving about, the speedier will be my recovery.

From childhood, I had a sparse amount of love and nurturing. I know that I can find the freedom to live and feel differently than I did in the past. Today presents me with a clean slate and a new beginning, if you will. Granted my yesterdays are always there ;  my today is what really counts like the exciting part of living with hope. Life is a challenge and I need to forgive myself for all my yesterdays and live right now as if it is the first day of my life.

MEDITATION

God, make peace and serenity the operative word of our lives and efforts. We know that you are here- closer to us than the light that is in  our lives. We again trust you to help us to live unpredictable lives with your hope and trust in us now. (Your own personal comments).

SOIRCE:  Copyright (c)  Higher Thoughts  for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. April, 30. Pages87-88

I am learning how to reinforce my own worth!

AFFIRMATION

I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way I feel and I have the option to feel content and even smile today if I so desire. I will act like I want.  I will  smile even though I don’t feel like smiling.

If you have made yourself a martyr to your unappreciative family, remember the principle of partial reinforcement and apply it to your family. If you are always at their beck and call trying to meet their every demand, they will not appreciate you, but once they find that they cannot rely on you to meet ther demands, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (7)

RELECTION/CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that so often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for me not for  everyone else. I think that this reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery and putting this recovery over anything or anyone else. If I am going to begin to be a pleasant person, I will want to learn how to be pleasant to myself.

Now is the time and this is the program where I want to detach from other people’s opinions of myself and start to reflect on my own opinions about myself.  When I am depressed, I know that I haven’t been able to get angry, nor able to forgive anyone, much less to forgive myself. I feel totally cheerless. I meet my own demands and continue to work the Steps so as to get in  touch with what I need to do  to reinforce positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new day today.

“We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust God rather than on our finite selves, just to the extent that we do as we think God would have us do., and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (As Bill sees it, p.265).

MEDIATION

When we gradually work our way to our real self we get closer to the God who made us.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of the 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 14, 15.