BELIEVING IS SEEING
I will use a notebook or my Depressed Workbook Home Study program to chart my course, list how each day goes, so that I can repeat the feelings or thoughts that have allowed me to feel I am becoming responsible for my activities.
“”…there is one great advantage about seeing yourself as helpless and in the power of others. You don’t have to be responsible for yourself. Other people make all the decisions and when things turn out badly, you can blame other people. And things always turn out badly. You know this. That’s why you always expect the worse.” (3)
REFLECTION/ CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT
Truly, I know this is where the great serenity lies, being responsible for myself. If all I did was sit around and say poor me, and woe is me, I am not only making life tough on myself but I am making life miserable for those around me. This is why I, as a writer and therapist, and one who has been depressed, knows that it is only when I get moving, even though I felt like death that I began to get better. No one will make me feel better. (See: I’ll do it when I feel better) I will now make myself feel better. Make up your mind to do what needs to be done…TODAY! I want to enjoy this world. I am tired of the pain of feeling worthless. I don’t want to blame anyone for my problems because no one is making me live in the problem. I will live in the solution from now on. The solution for me is working the Twelve Step program.
Blame helps me to never have to look inside myself and ask myself how much of my present state of depression is due to the way I have learned to think about myself and my life? I am not in the blame game and so I am now willing to face the enemy and start the changing process.
Faith can move mountains. (See: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression) Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door shall be opened for you. I believe this. What do you believe?
SOURCE: Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for Twelve step fellowship groups.
A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON
The more time that I spend in daily prayer and meditation the closer I feel to this Power greater than myself. Now, let’s be honest, it isn’t everyday that I feel this or think this way, but for most days I feel energized by my time in quiet listening. It was when I first joined a Twelve Step recovery program that I I knew that I was truly home. I had always been looking for a home where I could feel acceptance, nurturing and fellowship. It was at my first meeting, 32 years ago, that in all my brokenness, guilt and shame, that I felt I had made it home. It was here that I could reveal who I was, who I thought I was and get a plan for my life, just one 24 hour period at a time. My own feelings of being totally accepted in this new fellowship created in me the belief, without doubt, that sanity would be restored to me. How did I know this? What made me a believer? Simply the fact that the members of the group had pretty much the same story as my own. But for all of this, what stood out was the basic belief among all of the members, that there is a Power, and it is greater than me. And that this Power, whom we understand as God, is my GO TO person every day of my life. And the two things this group taught me early on, is that THERE IS A GOD, AND IT IS NOT ME!
If today you are feeling alone, lost and frightened, please join me here everyday, as I speak about spirituality and the Power greater than myself, and what it has to do with my recovery, and how it impacts on our search for that serenity that we are all seeking. Remember what you seek, seeks you!
I THINK I WAS A CONTROL FREAK!
“If surrender of our wills to the ‘care of God’ is of the essence of the spiritual life, for anyone who truly desires to free him or herself from a chronic and compulsive behavior such as depression, the Twelve Steps can be your stepping stones to the path of a hope-filled life.” (8)
My thinking is what has been keeping me depressed these many years. I haven’t thought of myself as being addicted to sadness or that I might even be a saddict. Now the truth is becoming clear to me as I work the Twelve Steps and attempt to change the way I think and feel. I no longer want to be a victim of my past, but I am becoming a person filled with hope and a new found zest for living. I am finding that my expectations for myself have decreased as my need to be perfect is yielding to a greater acceptance of myself as I am. Being perfect is such a bore. By letting go of my need for perfection it seems that my self-acceptance is beginning to grow.
One of the great freedoms I am experiencing in my life today is that I don’t have to be in control of everyone’s life or behavior. One of my character defects has been a need to always have everything and everybody under my control. I have even tried to control God until I learned that it is only when I surrender to God that my life can be filled with hope and peace.
We will no longer allow ourselves to continue to obsess about hiow bad our lives are when all we need to do is learn how to find our peace by allowing God to guide our will and our life on a daily basis. We don’t have to choose to live a life of misery –we can make different choices which restores my sanity.
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days(c)
BEST WAY TO EAT AN ELEPHANT? ONE BITE AT A TIME!
I will think only those thoughts that today reinforce my self-worth!
“…try to live one day at a time as it’s a lot easier. As someone once said, if you want to eat an elephant the best way is one bite at a time.”
I desire to be part of God’s plan today by staying active in my own recovery from depression. The more I give of myself without reservation to its leading, the more I am able to free myself from my feelings of isolation and deadening fear.
My fears keep me living in my tomorrows and in my past yesterdays. Fear is the foundation of my depression. I am becoming less fearful the more I attempt to live one day at a time and have this day lived with hope.
Thoughts leads to feelings, feelings lead to moods and moods lead to behavior. I want to think that my life will improve today by the active role that I am taking in my own recovery.
God, we believe that you will not allow me to receive more than I can handle.”
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. (2014). Page 253.
Some days I feel like my life is like that small boat on the ocean. I watch as the swirling waves and the thunderous noise of waves and wind wash over me. I watch as my small boat takes on water. No land is in sight. What to do? I pray. Have you ever had these feelings of helplessness? Well, let me tell you, I have had this experience more than I would like to admit.
One time in my life, one very difficult time for sure, I thought that my boat was sinking and that there was no recourse –no land in sight. This is when that deadening feeling of melancholia (depression) –like the Pac Man arcade game – began to chew me up. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what exactly. The time to row, so to speak, was when I couldn’t get myself out of bed and knew that I had to get to land, get my body moving, the best way that I could. I had to keep rowing.
Gradually, by walking everyday, and forcing myself to do what I didn’t want to do, like exercise, I gradually regained my balance. And after a year of this activity (rowing) I began to notice that the wind howling around me gradually subsided. My boat was still afloat and I could see land. Safety. This all happened almost thirty years ago.
It was then that my 12 Step life began. Now, with each new day, before the sun pops up over the horizon, my day begins with prayer and the centering of my thoughts. In our program of recovery we call this a meditation experience. I then read the Higher Thoughts for this day. I also read the Depressed Anonymous book, plus entering thoughts in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. All this is accomplished in that first hour of the day. I feel like I truly am now on solid rock. And it’s like I take these morning thoughts and with them begin my day. With Step Two … I “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” So this morning, I continue to “make a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as we understand God to be.”
Turning my life over to to the care of God doesn’t mean I lay back and see what God is going to do…no, it means that I do my work and God will do his. And so I keep on rowing. Grab an oar!
I will let go of the negative thoughts about myself as soon as I am conscious that I am experiencing them.
“…try to live one day at a time.. We know from experience that our sobriety , our disappearance from sadness is due to letting go, admitting our powerlessness (Step 1) and coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity (Step 2).
I know that I have to continue to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an ongoing and daily basis. My letting go and letting God take over my life doesn’t mean that I’ll just sit back and let it do all the work, no, it means that I will work on myself and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently if I just make an effort to choose to be conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during the day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced with positive and constructive thoughts. We call them SUNSPOTS (Depressed Anonymous).
So often when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even conscious as to how I would always select the negative attributes about myself to reflect upon instead of attempting to think positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way I feel.
Going to a mutual aid group, which focuses on depression, enables us to share with others how we talk to ourselves and what we tell ourselves, day after day. Do we like what we hear when we share with others our continued negative thinking? I would think not.
MEDITATION FOR TODAY
God, let us just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness. Your are not the harsh judge of my childhood. You are the God who loves us just the way we are. God is like the Mother who continues to love the child of her womb.
SOURCE: HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS(C) December 14.
“Absolute certainty may appear to you to be a wonderful thing, giving complete security, but have you ever considered that if you want absolute certainty you must give up freedom, love and hope.” (8)
In my efforts to find a cure for my depression, I have instead dug a deeper hole than what I was in. I see that my depression is an addiction. The more I ran from whatever was making me sad and feeling alone, the more alone and sad I had become, thus the cure became worse than what I depressed myself about in the first place. When and if I decide to really get cured of my depression, then I must take the bull by the horns and face whatever I was running from at the very beginning of my depression.
To live with any amount of freedom, one has to live in a certain amount of uncertainty. Our lives are filled with the uncertainty of how things will work out in the short and long run. If I want certainty, then I will have to become God as only God knows for certain what is to happen in the future. Maybe that’s what I need to look at in myself, how much am I trying to play God?
God, be present with us today! You are God and I am not!
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down days. December 11.
It takes one to know one is true. Following my own depression experience and the setting up of Depressed Anonymous groups did I realize that I had an experience which could be used to help others. I knew what it felt like to suffer the physical symptoms of depression. Following the attainment of my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology, I discovered many in my practice came seeking help to overcome their depression. Gradually it dawned on me that I could be a source of support to others — just by sharing my own struggle with depression. Once I shared with my clients my own battles with the dark monster, it became clear by sharing my own story that they began to open up about their own battle with the dark monster. My clients found someone who could not only relate to their own story about isolation, shame and the continual physical pain caused by depression–but they heard how helplessness and despair had given way to hope! My own story validated their story. That it takes one to know one is so true.
This is where Bill W., (co-founder of AA) learned the greatest lesson, namely that an addict will be more open to listen to some one who has or is fighting the same battles that you are fighting. And the best is that by using the program of recovery that we have used and still use today, might find life starting to be lived with serenity and hope.
It is not complicated. Here it is, laid out simply and to the point. I was once severely depressed and now I am not. How did this happen one will ask? It happened by believing that by being part of a fellowship of people just like myself and following a way of life, marked out step by step, that I, like Bill W., and all other addicts will see how with our belief that I can get better, get better. It does take work and time. We learn to not live in our past -it’s gone forever- and not to live in the future–but to live in the now, today. All we have is this 24 hour period. As the Yiddish saying goes, “to share my story is to save my life.” It’s so true. When I discovered the 12 Steps, shared my story and made prayer and meditation a part of my daily routine, I began to taste the freedom that comes with that ‘spiritual awakening’ which occurs when we are able to share our story with those still suffering. The depressed newcomer will know that you are the “real deal.” And if you are fortunate enough to find a group in your locale you then will find out what we all have all discovered–it takes one to know one.
“Once we admit that our depressed thinking is what conditions us to see our world as a hopeless place to live, the more we will try to change the way we think.”
When I am able to admit that I have need of improvement for some area of my life, things can begin to happen. I believe that now that I have a program in front of me that can help me to feel better, the more I will use it on a daily basis. As one member of the 12 Step group, DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, points out, “I had to go to open that door for the first time because there was no other place to go. I had already used up all the hiding places in my life.” Now that we admit we need help, help is on the way.
It is always difficult to change. Millions of others are leading lives of peace, sobriety and hope as they place their trust in their Higher Power and commit themselves to learning how to feel differently. They are learning that by having faith in God, themselves, and the fellowship of the group, life does indeed get better. I am going to get better, the more I work and live the 12 Steps.
O God, we know that our hope in you is what will make it possible for us to find hope in our lives each and every day.
SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for December 4th, 2014.
If you believe that you had nothing to do with your depression, then the good implication is that you didn’t cause it. The bad implication is if you didn’t cause it then you could get it again, like the flu or the cold. But since depression isn’t a cold or a flu virus or germ we will try taking responsibility for our depression and its symptoms and go from there. The quickest answer to that is that it may lead me to take full responsibility for anyway that I can to overcome depression –this may mean taking the medication to reduce the negative symptoms, seek talk therapy, and then be part of a beloved community –a self help group where they know us by name. It is here that people like us will take the time to guide us toward the light where we can find safety, security and people like ourselves who will not tell us to “snap out of it.”
It is now the time to ask yourselves how you can best take responsibility for yourself. Formulating a daily plan, an activity, a pleasant activity, a feeling of finally getting control over your life which you felt that you never had. Also, planning one or more pleasant activities everyday into your life is a good way to plan your day instead of your day planning you.
To examine the good and the bad implications of depression as outlined briefly above is just another way to continue clarifying our thoughts on how well we are taking responsibility for our lives.
Copyright(c) Shining a light on the dark night of the soul. DAP Pages 16=-17( Excerpts)