Category Archives: Purpose

What is an emotional laryngitis condition?

Have you ever experienced laryngitis, that inflammation of the larynx, often accompanied by a temporary loss of your voice. Most probably you have have had that experience. It’s more of a nuisance than anything. But nevertheless, a problem that lingers around for a short time. This is a case which if you want to be heard, you have to whisper really loud.

Now how about your experience with an emotional laryngitis condition, a metaphor for being unable to voice unpleasant feelings, which causes you to be stuck in the dark pit of depression.

To experience an emotional loss of your voice, usually starts at a young age. You remember the saying, “Children should be seen and not heard.” And as it works out, that is precisely what happened to so many of us growing up. We lost our voice. We couldn’t share our feelings of hurt and loss.
We stuffed our feelings. We buried the pain of growing up, where we felt abandoned and unloved. We tried to forget about them. Which we did. Buried in our unconscious.

When we wanted to have a grownup, a parent, a family member listen to what we had to say, nobody cared what we had to say. We felt invisible. Also, to cry was forbidden. The message that we heard was “Little boys don’t cry.” Or, “just get over it.” Or, “suck it up.”

I remember on one occasion, standing near my mom and dad, I tried to tell them something. They ignored me. I remember feeling hurt that they didn’t want to listen to me. Strange, it was that one time which I do remember and I still wonder why I remember that one time. Does this mean my voice was always heard and that this time was an exception? I don’t know.

How often do I hear adults tell me HOW their home life was chaotic, filled with anger and fighting parents.
Usually, it was because of one or both of the parents were alcoholics and they NEVER wanted or even suggested, that they wanted to know how we felt or what was happening in our lives. In fact, our whole family didn’t want to hear from us. They never seemed to make time for us in their lives. We didn’t feel safe, and definitely we did not feel love. And what do we do? We began to hide, isolate ourselves creating our own little fantasy worlds. We wanted to have someone hear our voice. But there was never anyone that would listen to how we were feeling. We were the lost child.

Fast forward. As adults now, we discovered we have been addicted to alcohol, or opioid or gambling.or pornography. Anything to remove the pain.The core of all of these addictions, both substance and process addictions, were my attempt to fill the hole in my soul. Not only had we lost our voice, but we almost lost our lives. We lost the purpose for our lives. Not being able to tell people who we are had robbed us of the one thing that might have saved me – my voice. I was too scared to use it.
I needed to tell my story. How I survived. I never wanted to lose my voice again. Today is a good day.

Not until I became an adult did I attend a Twelve Step Depressed Anonymous meeting. It was here that I would use my voice and tell total strangers about all the losses in my life. It is here, that all my feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant are voiced. They heard me. They heard my voice. They listened to me. They didn’t judge me. I had RECLAIMED my ability to use my voice. I could talk about my feelings. My worst life hurts could now be shared and voiced. i was no longer the lost child. No longer was I the victim, the martyr, a clown seeking attention. And, all the time seeking for someone to tell me that I was loved.

It is here that my emotional laryngitis, accompanying me throughout my life, would no longer keep me from voicing who I am and who I want to be. No longer were my feelings shut down and no longer was I invisible. I am here–deal with it!

If you, are having an emotional laryngitis condition, and need a way to use your voice, and share you feelings, then we have a group for you. We call ourselves the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous. You will always be welcomed into our fellowship.

For more information about who we are, click onto our website at depressedanon.com. Attend our Depressed Anonymous daily group zoom meetings and begin to hear the voices of hope. Come and share your own VOICE.

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

Hugh S., for the fellowship.

The Circle Dance

If you have ever been depressed or are depressed at this moment, you are familiar with the Circle Dance.

I know the dance steps well, and in fact, I could share with you some of the basic steps, illustrating familiar dance steps.

First of all, let me say that you already know those steps that automatically get you to perform the “Circle Dance. You get caught up emotionally, the moment certain negative thoughts come bouncing across the dance floor into your mind. You know them as that painful hollowness in your gut, a desire to quit the dance and lay down, or to bash yourself with thoughts of how bad you feel.

Sometimes, starting with those life events from childhood, when your caregivers, be they parents or guardians, made you feel worthless and unwanted. These thoughts and feelings are constantly triggered by those with whom you share this life. You avoid people, think of yourself as unlovable –and the dance goes on and on in your head.

The Feelings of hopelessness produces unpleasant feelings. The feelings produce an unpleasant mood and the dance begins. The mood speeds up the dance and whisks you away into that painful circle with its attendant anxieties, sucking you down into the mental quicksand, swallowing you with all the terror and fright of losing all hope, much less your future. The Circle Dance will take you, everyday and in every way, to where you know you don’t want to go.

This dance is familiar. It is like the helpless insect caught in the web of the spider. The why of this hellish addiction to sadness, is never fully addressed with any solutions or answers. We want to know how to stop it. How to control it. We ask ourselves, how is it that I am depressed? How did I get into this terrifying circle, this loop which keeps me locked in a mood of hopelessness and despair. Where did all this sadness, anxiety originate? Will I ever find a way out? Is the dance, on automatic pilot, going to destroy me? Am I, a victim, without a source of help? Is this the way life is for me to be–forever filled with misery?
So much of the time I feel like I am on a train, heading toward a precipice, with no way of stopping it or escaping disaster?

Through all this, pain and confusion, you become an expert dancer, in fact, you know of others who like you, are expert dancers — trapped in dancing within their own Circle Dance.

The dance, it is so familiar. It is a defense, a comfort. We gradually learn to use it to protect us from the pain, without ever having a clue as to how it took over my life.

“A famous psychiatrist, a Dr. Freud, once theorized “that the reason a person continues to do the Circular Dance within themselves, is an effort to touch an unpleasant early life behavior or that long since forgotten event, buried in one’s unconscious. The Circular Dance promotes our addictive nature and the compulsion to repeat, is an effort by our mind to remember what it was that is the cause of our present cycle of misery, spinning us around and around – looking for answers as to what we do and why we do what we do and feel the way that we do, but never able to unlock the prison of our sadness.”

The Depressed Anonymous 12 step fellowship provides us with a possible solution to this question of no longer allowing the Circular Dance to determine the our life’s direction.

It is my belief, after participating in Hundreds of Depressed Anonymous meetings, over three decades or more, that the compulsion to repeat these sslf-destructive thoughts and images, may be linked to early childhood periods, accompanied with their painful, traumatic events. It is in those early days, that our Circular Dance took root and began to keep us locked down in its circular loop.

It is here, in the 12 Step Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, that those unpleasant feelings, resultant from physical. emotional and mental abuse by significant others (parents and/or guardians, others) can be shared, voiced and talked about safely, and confidentially in the light of the accepting fellowship that we experience in all of our mutual help meetings.

It is possible that with time, patience and work, that these early feelings of hurt and feeling worthless, to name just a few, can be identified and shown how they have affected us negatively in the way we feel about ourselves today. With the help and work of the group, we are able to locate and make conscious those early life experiences that have been pushed aside. Because the feelings were too powerful and painful to examine and so they were buried in our unconscious. Basically, we can say, that there is no longer a need for that compulsive and addictive Circular Dance that our mind had used to punish us with guilt and shame. We now have the freedom to live life, recover from the wounds of the past, and live life today with hope and purpose. That is my wish for you this day.. And for myself.

No one puts me down, for saying that I am depressed. We never hear a “Snap nap out of it” at our meetings. If we could “snap out of it” there would be no need for our meetings. With work, time and the fellowship we no longer need a dance that goes nowhere but down. Now we are spiraling upward. We thrive!

Hugh S., for the Fellowship
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Copyright(c) Hugh Smith (1986, 2013) 2nd Edition. I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
Pages 64-65.

IN CONTROL

The following is a passage from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY Pages 7-8.

Surrender and accept.
I want to admit that my life has been out of control for many years, but now that I am in touch with truth, I believe that my life can be lived out differently.
I can begin to use the Twelve Steps and begin the task of working myself out of the pit of depression. I believe that with time and with patience, plus the group fellowship and support, that I will be able to make some positive strides in feeling different about myself and my world.

A question: How many years, months, days can I remember being depressed? How far back in time can I remember always feeling sad and wanting to withdraw. Write out your experiences about these experiences.

Write down the number of people you have admitted to that you have been depressed.
Write down their reactions to your admission.
When you feel depressed what do you say to yourself? What action or behavior do you do when you feel this way?

Does it promote more isolation or being more connected with others? Please write these out.

Is your life more unmanageable now since you have admitted that you are depressed? Can you tell a difference now that you are admitting that depression is and has been a big problem in your life? YES? OR NO? Please write out these experiences.
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These are just a few of the many questions that you may want to answer as you go through this Workbook.
Each of the Twelve Step chapters has a number of questions that will help you discover how you feel about certain areas of your life. Positive solutions are included in each chapter and can aid in your efforts to escape from your own prison of depression.

You can answer these questions, possibly some of which have never crossed your mind before now. The Workbook, can be answered in your own privacy. Or, you may want to answer them with a friend or sponsor.
You can discover more about our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous and discover you can be part of a growing group of those persons like you, who are also searching for a way out of their depression.
_________________________________
Our website is DEPRESSEDANON.COM with listings of daily DA meetings (no fees or dues) online as well as literature, like this Workbook, which may be ordered online.

THINK before you speak

Many of us with depression find it easy to go the way of negativity. Our default behavior and way of speech tends to rub people the wrong way. The answer is to live your life on purpose. THINK before you speak. Ask yourself these five questions before you speak:

  1. Is it True?
  2. Is is Helpful?
  3. Is it Inspirational?
  4. Is it Necessary?
  5. Is it Kind?

If the answer is No to any of the questions you must remain quiet. You are beginning the journey of putting some control over your behavior. Your speech will begin to diminish in negativity.

Just because something is True does not give you permission to share your opinions. It may be true that most people have poor spelling and grammar but it is not necessary to correct other people. If you, as my friend, ask for feedback on your cover letter and resume it is now necessary for me to respond. But my response needs to be helpful, inspirational and kind.

Once you begin to practice this for a while and you become better at controlling your tongue you will have a personal epiphany – a recovery V-8 moment of Holy Crow I need to apply these questions to my thoughts.

Don’t worry and fret over your negativity. Begin to be aware of how negative you truly are. Begin the process of controlling your speech. Then you will have some control over your thoughts.

Thoughts create feelings. Negative thinking creates negative feelings. The difficulty is that if you try to tackle the negative thoughts immediately you may not be successful. Control your behaviors first. Get some level of control over your behaviors. These successes will give you the strength to fight the real fight of combating your negative thoughts.

Good luck.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

There is no spot that God is not

That is great assurance when we wonder if God is with us. Obviously, God is. And why is it obvious? Because, everywhere we look, we see th work of God’s creation. Someone once commented that there is more of God’s creative life under our feet than what surrounds us above ground. In a clod of dirt, there are billions of life forms engaged and interconnected with each other –much like any loving community.

“Good bye” is a common expression when we leave someone’s company.
Actually, the original saying was “God be with you.” WE can always appreciate that departure gift.

From my standpoint, and from my own experience, I have found the Higher Power, or God as we understand God,, manifesting itself in our group recovery program of Depressed Anonymous. I call it the “Miracle of the Group.” Most time, I find that there is more talk of God, and God’s presence in one’s life, than you could imagine.

Many times, I have heard members of our fellowship speak of how there was a “before” and “after” in their lives as they began their recovery from depression. Once they came to believe that a power greater than themselves could restore them to sanity, life began to change. Again, and not surprisingly, we personally find that “there is no spot that God is not.” The freeing spirituality of the Twelve spiritual principles of recovery, the Steps, shows how God loves us just the way we are. Even though we may feel broken and alone, when we come through the door of recovery, we gradually feel a special presence of God, surrounding us each, with it’s love, acceptance and guidance. That love and sharing creates a mutually supportive community, above and below ground.


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

For more information on ordering our literature online, please see The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore at Depressedanon.com

In helping others I helped myself. Gloria’s story, continued.

The following story continues from page 140 of Gloria’s story In helping others,I helped myself

“There are four of us who were there together first on June 6th 1985. We had become very good friends. I still remember the things from the very first meeting that the counselor told us. I’ve seen people come and go. Some helped from the very first meeting. Some wanting a wand waved. It has helped me over the rough spots., and gave me courage and to go on as a widow, I have found a peace in life, a special joy in knowing and loving people. In helping others, I have helped myself. I know my background in life has made me degreased at times. My mother was abusive and I realized later in life that it was an emotional illness. I forgave her.

I will continue to attend Depressed Anonymous. Every meeting is different and who knows what mystery each group holds? One never knows who needs me, who needs a smile or hug, who needs to feel that they are not alone, or who needs to know that there is a God that loves all.”
_____________________________
Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous. THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 140-141.

There is a time for holding on and a time for letting go.

There are times when we are barely holding on and times when we have to let go.
The United States is in the beginning of weather changes that have never before been seen by most of us in this country. There are the wildfires that are burning out of control in the Western regions of the country, and flooding that most people have never experienced in their lifetimes. Just recently, in my on State of Kentucky, thirty-eight people lost their lives in an early morning flooding which affected sixteen counties in Eastern Kentucky. The extent and magnitude of this flooding was so huge that older Kentuckians had never witnessed such devastation. Previous to that, Kentucky was blasted by a Tornado 12 miles wide and 200 miles in length. It sped through Kentucky 150 miles an hour. Whole communities were wiped out. Again, another example of the powerful changes in our weather.
Sea levels rising, as ice caps continue melting in both poles. The whole planet and its’ people ( including you and me) are holding on for things to come. Some of us, more than we know, are holding on to their lives. So many losses, so much of what we have valued are gone. With all of that we are still going through the pandemic. We are holding on.
We are finding that the grief and destruction that is ours, as family, community, nation, is beginning to turn our world upide dwon as we know it.
In a positive way, some of us are holding on to what has given us hope with a sense of security. By this I mean, that when we become afraid, depressd and isolated we can still spiral out of the bad mood over all our losses and enter into a new mood of hope and serenity. And how does this happen? For those of us who are depressed, we discovered a program of recovery that works.This is a 12 Step program of rcovery called Depressed Anonymous. It is a program where persons with the same faith and practice of the Steps, come together in a fellowship and mutually support each other, in ours times of loss. We hold onto the promises of DA,where we learn what happens to those of us when we place our trust in a God of our understanding. We not only begin to hold onto the belief that we will get better, we also begin to discover and root out those personality defects which keep us imprisoned and isolated. We felt there is no help in sight. Not true. Members of our recovering fellowship show us how by putting into effect the spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps how our lives begin to change for the better.
It is in the “letting go” of the areas of our lives that made life feel hopeless and ourselves worthless. We soon found that the negative ways that we talked to ourselves were counterproductive. Once we began to affirm the good in ourselves, we were able to find ways that gave us new hope.

We came to believe that there was a God of love on our side, who manifested its power, daily working out in our mind and body, the belief that we too are able to find peace and help as we continue to live with meaning and purpose for our life.
Hold onto the belief that the God of your understanding will bring you peace and a new way of living. This new way of living will give you resources, plus a beloved community, supporting each of you on your journey of hope.

Please go to our website at Depressedanon.com and find out more of who we are and what we believe. You will be happy that you did.

With a gratitude,

Hugh S.

Acceptance that “we are partners in a common effort”

How wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be.

Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted, solved with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things, these are the satisfactions of right living for which no pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions could possibly be substitutes.

SOURCES
The Twelve and Twelve/Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Ny, NY.
–Quoted in DEP-ANON: A 12 Step Recovery Program for Families and Friends of the Depressed. DAP. Louisville, KY 40241. Pages 14-15.

Using the RAIN model

A fellow member of DA shared some wisdom with me and I thought I would pass it along. She mentioned that she uses the RAIN model or methodology when dealing with a situation:

  • Recognize
  • Acknowledge
  • Investigate
  • Nurture

Before you react to a situation that arises use the RAIN model.

Recognize – Be aware of the state you are in. State the facts of the situation without judgment.

Acknowledge – Accept that you are indeed in the situation you are in. You don’t need to fight it or complain about it. Acknowledging is not the same as liking or wanting the thing to happen – you’re just accepting that is where you are in the moment.

Investigate – Scan your thoughts, your emotions, and your physical sensations. Are you stuck in any form of stinking thinking? Label the emotion you are experiencing and where it manifests in your body. Scan yourself without judgment and with acceptance.

Nurture – Is there anything that you can do to comfort yourself and/or make you safe? Do you need to attack the thing that is harming you, or is a simple retreat a more effective way to protect yourself? Is there anything that you could think or do that would improve the situation even if only 1%? Do what the nurturing side of yourself is suggesting in the moment.

Practice the RAIN model. It will not feel natural at first, but keep doing it. A sense of calm will begin to envelop you. You will be able to respond maturely and serenely to the situations that come up in your life as opposed to the immature unhealthy reaction which is the normal way you do things.

You are worthy of being calm and loving towards yourself even if you are in the midst of the storm and chaos of those around you. Take the higher road as that is the way to peace and serenity.

Yours in recovery, Bill R