” The sanity of the Twelve Step program is what will eventually help you change how you look at yourself and your experience of depression. The program shows that just because you have always felt miserable is no reason to remain miserable for the rest of your life. The sanity of placing your trust in a Power greater than yourself opens up great possibilities for your personal happiness and success. If you have felt that you have to be in total control of every situation in your life, then coming to believe in a power greater than yourself might be a frightening experience. What would happen if suddenly you couldn’t control your unhappy situation with the comfort of sadness or self-pity? Haven’t our sadness and thoughts of unworthiness been our last refuge from having to face ourselves, take charge and accept responsibility for our own lives?
The escape into feelings of worthlessness and resignation over my depressing feelings is no longer an acceptable way for me to delay the hard choice of being responsible for me. This statement is not made to make you feel guilty but only to help you see that, with time and by working the Twelve Steps on a daily basis and having the ongoing fellowship and support of the Depressed Anonymous group, you can begin to choose a way out!”
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 42-43.
What is a speed bump? A speed bump is simply a slight rise in the pavement to alert car drivers to slow down. Most of the speed bumps can be found in residential areas/ neighborhood streets. In some areas they are marked with yellow stripes .Depending on the necessity for motorists to drastically cut their speed, these bumps are built with more height and force the motorist to come to almost a stop to prevent damage being done to one’s vehicle.
I find the speed bump to be a metaphor for my own experience with symptoms of depression. I do know that as my symptoms grew more in kind and strength I gradually reduced my activities. My mind was filled with obstacles which grew larger and more formidable as time went on. I found myself sitting alone and stalled. I found my personal speedometer registering 10mph instead of the normal 50mph. The more I perceived the speed bump ahead, rising out of the ground like a brick wall, I knew that I couldn’t go any further. I was like the sail boater on the lookout for any breeze to get me moving again.
No matter how hard I tried to get over the bump, I kept telling myself it was a hopeless task. There was no way to get over it. I felt helpless. I kept telling myself that I might as well just stay where I was and so I shut off the engine. It was like I was terrified with fright. I thought of a thousand options but none of them appeared manageable. I just believed my situation was useless.
Well, this metaphor doesn’t end there because I am no longer helpless. In my real world I thought, I’ve got a serious problem here ( symptoms of depression: fatigue, anger, feeling worthless ) all of which I have to deal with. So, I admitted that I was powerless over my depression and that my life was unmanageable. (Step One of Depressed Anonymous). And then “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” (Step Two of Depressed Anonymous) Then I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of the God as I understand God. (Step Three of Depressed Anonymous).
If your speed bump keeps you from moving in life know that many of us have been there like you. There is a solution, and just begin to believe that you are NOT l alone. It really helps to know that you can join our fellowship and find hope. Been there, done that!
How true. It’s like being around persons who are continually toxic (negative) and for us to try and make them happy. Or someone in the family smokes and we tell them they need to quit smoking. And how has that worked for you? Or someone who continues to pig out on junk food day after day and who is obese and you try to have them change their eating habits. How has that worked out for you? But you say, we have our own problems.
Today I tell myself, like all the days past, I am going to make a change in the way I talk to myself. You know, all those thoughts which keep circling in our minds, like the proverbial merry-go-round, riding our horse, bobbing up and down, going nowhere, and telling ourselves we must get off before we fall off. And….what do we do? Yep, we keep riding this bobbing up and down horse. Again, we tell ourselves, I’ll do it when I feel better; When I have the time, the money for counseling, the friend who will listen to me forever and not run away like all the rest of those who said they were my friends. Where do you go after the continual self speak which pounds in to our heads thoughts voicing how I am unacceptable to myself and everyone else. Another horse (thought) that I ride that bobs me up and down is the one that tells me how bad and unacceptable that I am.
How do I keep from riding a dead horse? Get off!
In Step Two, and the commentary which tells us all about this Step Two in our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOK — “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” we learn some things about the compulsivity of sadness that has gripped our minds and our whole physical self. The insanity of our thinking continues to make us feel helpless and hopeless. I got off the merry-go-round years ago. At times I almost bought a ticket and got back on but then I remembered I had a “toolbox” which continues to provide me with a spiritual and Step by Step program to NOT get trapped into the maddening, insane way that caused so much pain in the past. DO YOU WANT TO GET OFF THE MERRY-GO-ROUND OF INSANITY?
Books from Depressed Anonymous Publications which can help: Depressed Anonymous, Third edition, 2011. Also, I’ll do it when I feel better.”
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)
What do you give your power to in your own life today? What can help you to greater sanity?
Various powers have played a critical role in our lives in the past. If you wish, please name and list the people, places, situations, and things that have exerted the greatest power over you and your life in the past. These places, persons, situations and things can have a positive or negative power over you and your life. Please list below.
Depressed anonymous Workbook/ Depressed Anonymous Publications/Page 11/ Step Two.
In tomorrow’s post we will list some of the thoughts about Step 2 and how our beliefs can produce sanity in our lives.
Isn’t this the way it is? It usually takes an awareness of something bigger than just me that propels us into life armed with a sense of purpose. This something bigger could be getting involved in a political campaign, working in a food kitchen serving the poor, helping migrants find a job, learn a language of their newly adopted homeland.
The experience of depression gradually whittled down my world and any interests that I considered worth my time. Then as I continued to spiral down into the dark abyss of inactivity and aloneness, I felt a great need to find something that would break my fall and so it all began–the search, the seeking the power that would help me get up and get going again. For me, (this is about me right now), I made a decision to find some power that was greater than the power of my need to sad myself. I found the power that was greater than myself–it was a group of persons journeying with a hope and a faith that manifested serenity and purpose in their words and deeds. My world began to get large again, it started to swell with possibility and hopefulness. It was sanity personified. It was a belief, coupled with a witness of those others who had achieved a continued saneness in their dealings with their world and most importantly within their selves. Now I am a witness to the truth of that power which I discovered or that which discovered me. You, the reader are now part of my world and I, for a bit of time, am part of your world. I am grateful.
Expressing oneself and sharing personal feelings can liberate ourselves from thoughts that imprison us and isolate us. They isolate us from others and the world around us.
I have found that it is in the milieu of an accepting and understanding group of people that I can grow and share my feelings. I have witnessed these many years (30 ) how all of us, including myself, can gradually come to trust others with feelings of shame, hurt and pain. In fact, it is in the context of my 12 step group program of recovery that I became a different person. I was able to come out of the shadows of my isolating depression and found people just like myself. They taught me and proved to me that just by coming back to meeting after meeting and sharing their own feelings that something, a power if you will, enabled them to move forward. No longer was I isolated in my own prison of depression but now I became liberated to talk freely, share freely, and join with others on this road to sanity and serenity. I AM NO LONGER ALONE!
Just by hearing myself share my feelings of how depressed I was–and listened to with respect–no “SNAP OUT OF IT HERE–I now found that toolbox of hope and freedom. I call this the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous.
Comments are always welcome here and a place where you too can share