Category Archives: Love

The gift that just keeps on giving!

“These Twelve Step;s work for those who work the program and who try to live one day at a time.  Many times we have been so scared of being rejected once more that we have withdrawn deeper into  the anguish of our shame and hurt. We need to to air our hurts, our shame, and let others hear our story.  There is something healing  about hearing ourselves speak to others about  our own journey in life and the many emotional potholes that we have fallen into from time to time. We have felt our lives were jinxed. But now we can begin to feel hopeful when other members of the group shake their their heads in knowing approval of what we are saying when we tell our story. Most have been where we are now. And the more we make an effort to come to meetings regularly, the more we will find members of  the group telling us how they are seeing a change in the way we act, talk  and look.  We will accept the group’s comments as being true and honestly expressed. These people speak our language and they all have been where  we are now. You gradually begin to see yourself as healer instead of victim the more you work the program and get excited about the possibility of helping others. When you start reaching out to others in the group, it is at that point thay you are carrying the message of hope to others. You have a future with Depressed Anonymous. ”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 105.

The last Step of the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous says it best for those of us who  now want to be that “gift that keeps on giving.” and become bearers of HOPE.

STEP TWELVE of   the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS FELLOWSHIP

“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we  tried to carry this message to the depressed,  and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

I need a manual on how to live life!

The other day I noticed that one of my head lights was out. I thought why spend good money and have a mechanic fix this thing?  I will just find a manual that fits the make and year of my car and do it myself. So that is what I did. It worked perfectly and I saved my self some grief from a mechanic’s bill.

Before this situation I was visiting my mechanic about a problem that I knew I could not fix and so I went into the garage and found him under the hood peering intently into the car’s engine. At the same time, he was  reading carefully from a manual, spread out over the engine  illustrating the engine parts with pictures and text. I thought, wow! just like my wife when she is cooking up a new dish. Her new dish was illustrated with pictures and text,  giving step by step directions for giving her  latest creation new life.  Many times at a 12 Step group meeting how many times that I  felt I needed a manual on how to live life successfully. When you  are born, your Mom didn’t get a manual from the doctor telling her how her  new creation was to live his/her life.

Fast forward to adolescence and young adulthood or even as an older adult in retirement. In the midst of living out our life there may come a time when we are baffled, surprised about a personal condition that we find we have no control. In our mind we try and figure out what is wrong with  us. What is happening to us.  And for the sake of an example, which I personally know best–been there done that–I painfully discovered I was depressed and getting myself deeper into the dark pit as I continued to ruminate   uselessly on what I had and how to escape this terrible pain.  The more I ruminated and worried the more I isolated myself. I wanted to know if  I was losing my mind, had a brain cancer or some new and incurable disease.

Because  I already was a member of another12 Step program of recovery, it was  obvious, that the Big Book of their fellowship, outlined step by step the nature of our illness and gave a detailed program of recovery on how to live with the interminable effects and symptoms of my illness. The manual worked whereas before  I was powerless to get anything to work  for me that could change my life.

And then Depressed Anonymous was founded and I soon discovered there was a manual for this illness that was working for other persons depressed so why couldn’t it work for me. It was depression  that seemed to have me by the throat with its innumerable symptoms.  Just as those who put out cook books with hundreds of   recipes, I found the perfect recipe, or detailed instructions, on how to leave the prison of my depression.    And the best part of this Manual,  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, was that there was a group discussion meeting that talked about these helpful and healing instructions.  If you were experiencing depression  these steps would work for any one else as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not want you, the reader,  to think we are minimizing the “life threatening “ issues that go with the depression experience by using the mechanic and cook book analogies. But if I had not had access to this Manual with its detailed information on how to get well and to feel better ( by the way–all our material is written by people like me–depressed and in recovery), I probably would have struggled longer and who knows what would have become of me.

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Our recipe for wellness  can be located at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. Also go to the Website Menu (depressedanon.com) and check out our  HOME STUDY  PROGRAM. Anyone can use this Manual, Depressed Anonymous  and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook together if a Depressed Anonymous group is not in one’s area.

 

 

Being depressed means isolation

How do I know if I’m depressed?

“Being depressed means isolation – and being cut off from everybody and everything.  It is like being in prison, like a pit where the walls are like soft clay and I cannot climb out. To me the isolation is pre-hell and often I feel so dead inside.  There is an awful feeling, that hole in my soul which is like a clenched fist.   I don’t know where to turn with all the pain and hurt. I can’t imagine anyone hurts the way I do and I hope no one does. I would never want to inflict this pain on anyone, so I tried to hold it inside and it seems like it’s too much to bear, especially alone. This is where Depressed Anonymous comes in – this is where powerlessness and God come in. There was no one to help, even to try to understand before Depressed Anonymous. No one wanted my pain  and others started  to avoid me.  I understand better now, especially since I’ve been around Depressed Anonymous via Hugh and the book Depressed Anonymous,3rd edition and the journaling I’ve done. My hope is that I will be more at peace and will try to use the  specific tools which continue to be  great helps in overcoming depression while  giving me  hope —  just for today.”

Source:  Mary C, Sterling Heights, Michigan.

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

Visit the Store for more information on Depression and the use of the 12 Steps.

“We’ve got work to do.”

When my grandson  was  3 years old  and older he would always say “papa, we ‘ve got work to do. ”  When he would see me with a hammer in my hand or a can of paint and ready to work on some repair project around our house,   without fail he would always be willing to pitch  in and do his part. As a little guy he always seemed so much older than what he was because of his strong desire to help his papa. He is 19 today and now he is doing his own  work. But not surprising is his continued willingness to help me when he can. Now that I am in recovery, thanks to our Depressed Anonymous program of recovery  and  after these many  years,   I am still free from depression.  I attribute that  this freedom is due to what I did learn  when I was depressed and continue using these tools on  every basis. I have found  that it does take some work to get through the darkest periods of the depression. It also takes a supportive group of men and women who know what we know,  and feel what we have felt when depressed.

Every meeting that we attend, and every step that we take on the road of our recovery, we find the fog lifts, the desire  to live again returns. Not all at once–but in short spurts – the fog lifts and we feel the hope churning in our hearts and minds.  And at every Depressed Anonymous meeting we hear the following words read from HOW DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKS.

“You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are on a journey of hope and who mutually care for each other. You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a  black hole and tired of living.

By your involvement in the group we are feeling that there is hope – there is a chance for me too – I can get better. But we are not the people with the magic wand and the  easy formula for success. We believe  that to get out of the prison of depression takes time and work.

And so at each and every Depressed  Anonymous meeting the group listens as we hear  what it will take to escape  from the prison of depression. ”

Also, at every meeting of the fellowship we hear how by using the spiritual tools, our Twelve Steps, we can gradually find the path that will that can lead us out into the light of freedom. We come to believe that a power greater than ourselves  can restore us to sanity. And then we make a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God as we understand God.”

SOURCE:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page  67.

PLEASE VISIT THE STORE for more info on depression and ways to free ourselves from the agony of sadness.

Go to Groups on Menu to see if there is a DA group in your State or LOCATED  outside the USA.

Making “gratitude my attitude” helps keep Robin out of depression.

A personal story/ testimony from Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition by Robin.

“Through the Depressed Anonymous program, which utilizes the Twelve Steps, I have been on a  journey of transformation from the familiar life of drudgery and gloom and desperation to discovering a new freedom and a new happiness – something I didn’t know existed. My entire perspective is changing.  Other people who I once thought were   judgmental  are now considered as all being a child of God–all created equal. What a peace provocative tool this is. Really! It helps me lift those negative attitudes and replaces them with affirmations. This is certainly the most  valuable technique offered in Depressed Anonymous to acquire an optimistic attitude towards life itself, or simply “making gratitude my attitude.” So many of us were only familiar with the sham and the drudgery of life, but even with all the sham and drudgery in the word,  it is still a beautiful place to live.  We learn to change not the world, but how we view the world and all its intricacies.”

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.


It is truly a remarkable fact, that  by going to one meeting you may hear someone  share  their own personal story and you think they are talking about you. It is amazing how this works, but not really.  What happens  is that all of us who come to the Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first  time, find that members of this mutual aid group speak the same language … hope and support. It does take one to know one, which is true. I guess the point here is that if we all feel pretty much the same thing when we are depressed, even though my depression experience is unique to me and how it effects my life, that this awareness is a great thing as it helps to produce those many strategies for recovery which can be applied across the board for most of  us in the group. The Twelve Steps are  strategies that in time and  work can   give us a  fresh and healing perspective for  our individual lives.  To read more about the recovery experience   of  others who have used tjourney of transformation

he Twelve StepsVISIT THE STORE and continue to find other literature which can   provide you with hope  plus  a way out of your depression.

Hugh


The latest offer by the PUBLISHER is the KINDLE edition of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily Thoughts and Meditations for Twelve Step individuals. Take a Higher  Thought with you were ever you go!

May the Force be with you!

The Force (in Star Wars movie) is that Power which guides, protects and surrounds those who believe in it.

For those of us who crawled(figuratively speaking) into our first 12 Step meeting of recovery,  Depressed Anonymous, we too were hoping that there was to be found a Force that would protect us, and eliminate forever the pain that we felt 24/7. We just knew that we were “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and wanted relief and help…now.

When we heard members of this group tell us how their lives had begun to change, with hope  being part of their new  way of thinking about themselves, we knew they were onto something big. We felt a spirit of hope as we listened to their  stories of how they to came into the group feeling  beaten and despairing.

And as we wrote in our book  I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER (2013)  we shared how Newcomers to the group reminded us of our selves when we stepped into the group for the first time.

“They struggle to keep back their tears as they speak, possibly for the first time  trusting that they are with people who have been where they are. This is what provides the beginning of hope and healing. People in the group speak the language of hope and possibility. They hear how recovery is possible. They want these tools to use in their own recovery. ”

Now we  can all  share our stories of our own personal recovery. The Force is with us!

Please read all of the 30+ stories of how persons coming into the group and using the steps of recovery, led by the Force, find  a daily source of hope and happiness for their lives. These stories can be found in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

PLEASE VISIT THE STORE HERE AT THIS SITE.

I DON’T NEED TO BE PERFECT

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.” (3 )

REFLECTION

I have been holed up for so long in my own little world of feeling hurt and rejection that to attempt to love someone else seems like 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 having witnessed the miracle of the group in Depressed Anonymous, where depressed people come with their feelings of hurt and being rejected, I find that other’s love and nurture challenge 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 just want to lay down and die.

I am open enough now to let the light of love from others, who like myself, realize that I am not alone and that I am beginning to feel better already now that I no longer need to be perfect.  This means to be willing to affiliate and give of myself for someone else’s good. In the program I am starting to love –myself.

MEDITATION

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

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Source: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 step fellowship groups.  (1993,1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. (p.47).

Please Visit the Store for more information about literature  specifically geared to the subject of depression and the utilization of the 12 Steps  for recovery.

For a further clarification of thought, do yourself a favor and read the Depressed Anonymous manual and the Depressed Anonymous Workbook.

CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOLOGIST: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND DEPRESSION

David Karp, in his work Speaking of sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness (1996)  confesses that in the middle of interviewing persons for this work  states, “I was initially puzzled by the number of respondents who spontaneously  spoke about the role of spirituality in their lives.  During the early stages of the data collection, however spirituality meant no more  or less to me than any of the large number of issues that were coming out of the interviews. At a certain point, though, enough people spoke about spirituality that I began routinely to ask everyone about it. Certainly there were many who had little to say, and some who claimed no interest in spirituality, but the question often elicited an outpouring of talk.  After 25 or so interviews, it seemed that my anticipated chapter on coping and adapting would have to pay at least some attention to the role of spirituality.” (p.190).

Karp was deeply impressed by what he calls the “courage and grace”  how some of his interviewees faced their own pain of depression. He says  he “left many interviews with a sense that spiritually engaged individuals were in touch with something important. ”  He concludes by saying  “These people possessed or knew something that I didn’t.” (pp. 190 -191).

I think most of you who are reading my posts know that I too am an advocate  of the  power of  spirituality in the recovery process for persons depressed. In the American culture and most probably in most Western cultures, where one’s lack of meaningful work and diminishing intimate relationships, or “double trouble” as a colleague of Karp,  Charles Derber points out, promotes a community of strangers, alone, isolated and disconnected.  He describes depression as the disease of disconnection.  Freud when asked what makes for human happiness he replied ” arbeiten  und  leben”. (work and love).

All the above is put before you, the reader, to continue to present to you how important  my own recovery from depression  continues  to this day because of my own spirituality dependent on my Higher Power, or the God of my understanding. In BELIEVING IS SEEING:15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION (2014) I share how I believe that I am not alone, as I have other fellow travelers who will lead me around the ditches and the potholes of that old depressive life style that once ruled my thoughts and actions. Now I am on a personal mission of growth and recovery.” (p.13).

I still have my potholes, ditches and rough seas to maneuver around,. Thanks to a Power greater than myself— I pray and continue rowing to shore, and this Power as I understand it, has been getting me to that safe harbor of serenity and safety.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BE HAPPY?

Sigmund Freud was once asked what people needed to be happy? The questioner no doubt expected a long, complicated answer reflecting Freud’s years of deep reflection on the matter. His simple response, however, was “arbeiten und lieben,” –work and love. Happy people feel connected to others at work and through their intimate relationships. When those connections are threatened, diminished, or broken, people suffer. Today, millions of Americans are suffering from what my colleague Charles Derber calls “double trouble.” Those in double trouble have neither meaningful work nor sustaining intimate ties. The withering of community life in both domains fosters a rootless and social disintegration that unquestionably contributes to the growth of emotional disorders.” Speaking of Sadness. David Karp. Page 178.

Reflection
I believe that in the midst of the pain of depression I just wanted to pull the plug on life. I wanted to be alone. I just wanted people to keep their distance. I was not happy. I was unhappy at a job I began to hate. I do remember how hard it was even to lift up the phone to talk to a family member, an old friend or whoever intruded into my isolation. Truly I was suffering from “double trouble.”
But as the pain deepened I began to look for solutions–where was the key to unlock my depression. I found it in a fellowship, a 12 Step Recovery group. I was able to form intimate relations, work a program which was solution focused and then gradually get back into the light, into meaningful relationships. I also recovered the energy I needed to find a career that today (30 years later) still gives me joy and sustains my hope.