“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.

 

I am beginning to taste what a new life can be like. Hope is close at hand. I want my wings!

 AFFIRMATION

I  deserve to be free of my sadness.

“Now that small  voice, that little part of you that wants to have light and some hope, is getting up the courage to seek more for itself.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I can no longer turn back and live in my old self. I am like the butterfly gradually becoming winged and ready to fly as soon as it throws off its old body, the body of the caterpillar. My metamorphosis is in process and nothing is going to turn me back to the  way my life had been. I want  now for my life  to continue to get better as I notice   the more I work on myself and trust in my Higher Power, the more I am ready to live with courage and hope. I am beginning to like the taste of living life and look forward to each new day as it comes. I want my wings!

Courage is to have heart and to believe that all things can work out if I just put my belief into gear and work as if it depended on myself and pray as if it all depended on God.

MEDITATION

God, we hear you speaking to us to grow and to trust. We all count the ways that you have cleared the obstacles from our path so that our down days are less than before and we have now more good days than before.

(Write your personal comments here).

SOURCES: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. April 2. Page 55.

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

(c) Believing is Seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

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For more  information about depression and the twelve spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. Please know that one can order online.  Our ebooks  are also available.

Notice

Depresivos Anonimos is soon ready for publication.  Those who wish to have our Big Book in Spanish will be able to order this new version.

 

The “before” and “after” stories of those who freed themselves from the tyranny of depression.

I just want to write a few thoughts this morning about the “before” and “after” experiences of group members  battles  with depression.  Before there was a Depressed Anonymous group for me to attend, where I could address my problems, I joined another 12 step program of recovery. It was at this meeting that I heard and saw people who shared their stories how it was “before”  they got into recovery and  the  “after”  now that they are living the recovery program.

The difference was like night and day. I could listen all day to a lecture on depression, alcoholism, overeating or any other addiction  and not be as moved as I am when I hear the actual person telling  their story of how life is  now by  actively participating in their own recovery. To hear the changes that have taken place in those many people whose lives had spiraled down into the darkness of isolation and hopelessness is a phenomenal  experience in itself.

Most of the books which serve as the basic text of 12 step groups such as Depressed Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, to name a few, all include many “before” and “after” stories of those who have suffered the loss of their self only to find that with the help of the spiritual principles of the Steps were they able eventually to share how  their lives had changed dramatically.   Their stories are simple, direct and filled with powerful accounts of  human beings who once were lost in the chaos of addiction,  but now have been freed,  living with hope and serenity.

Depressed Anonymous’ basic text  has its own “before” and  “after ” stories as well. All the stories, the “before” and “after” accounts,   give credit to the program of recovery which  has changed the thinking and lives of thousands of persons throughout the world.  I see  these stories manifesting  the miracle of the Higher Power, at work in those persons who made a decision to choose to walk that different pathway out of their addictions.  They then  tell those others “still suffering from depression” about the power  they have received.

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

Sources:

Depressed Anonymous, recommends its basic text, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition for the many inspiring accounts of those persons who came to a meeting, like myself, heard what others had experienced and decided that to see how it worked for them.

Also another excellent publication with many “before” and “after”  stories is A MEDLEY OF DEPRSSION STORIES, by the founder of two Depressed Anonymous groups in North Carolina, Debra Sanford.  Her work is available at Amazon.com.

Depressed Anonymous Publications also has books available at depressedanon.com. VISIT THE STORE

Personal empowerment is an investment in ourselves.

 

It is with a personal sense of awe that I see the empowerment that comes to those persons who work the 12 Step  program of Depressed Anonymous. The empowerment comes to those who are conscious of the various ways they will have to change if their lives are to grow and change. This of course is not without its risks.

One of the major obstacles that we have to face when we are depressed is to be willing to change the way we think about ourselves, the world and our future. And of course, to change the future we have to dwell and experience the pleasant as well as the unpleasant feelings in the present. We have to be willing to face the discomfort of living life with a sense of unpredictability. This is not an easy task, but it is a task that can be achieved with time, patience and work.

  Empowerment comes from being informed and making choices that help us change our lives for the better.  When I came to Depressed Anonymous meeting I am making the first major step–namely, that I admit with my presence at the group meeting that my life is out of control. My compulsion to depress myself is at the root of my inability to take on the challenge of living life with risk and enthusiasm. But how can I possibly say that I want to depress myself?  We are not blaming ourselves here  but are taking responsibility for our own feelings, behavior and thinking. We are no longer going to  run on mental auto-pilot. Now that I am conscious of some negative patterns of my own for my own behavior I can get on with learning new strategies for my own healing. With the heartfelt prayer of a monk, I now understand that it is by sharing the story of my life –and with the conviction that someone is there to listen, that this can in time help me make it out of my prison of fear and sadness.

I am empowered by taking the bull by the horns and choosing each new day, one day art a time, and start to feel different. I now have the support of the group–a sponsor–support from those people who have walked where I have walked.

I am investing in myself. I am making my recovery my highest priority. I may have been on all the antidepressants medications- I may have seen all the counselors, psychiatrists and doctors but now finally I am going to a room full of depressed people –people who understand me. These people I discover are investing in themselves. What will I find there? I will find some of the most caring people on the face of thee earth. Some of the group will have ben coming for months, and they are having more good days than bad and it’s getting better. The more meetings they attend the better they feel and the more support they receive. They are feeling empowered. It’s the miracle of the group.  Instead of living with a compulsion to repeat old negative and life negating thought and feelings we now have a compulsion to live with hope plus a desire for a brand new way of living. We are now about  to change the way we live –not just the way we talk to ourselves.

We are going to get  a life.

I now feel that I’m getting better in learning how not to repeat my old way of thinking, feeling, believing and isolating myself. I now know that this  healing all takes time. With    work and patience I will get better. For most of us, it has taken us a few years to get here (depressed) so why not take the time and daily work toward getting better – one day at a time-one meeting at a time.

Hugh  /The Antidepressant Tablet

Dear reader: No DA group in your community. Today sign onto the Home Study Program of Recovery which begins online this November 15, 2017. There are no fees or dues just a commitment to utilize the Home Study combo of DA Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition and the Depressed Anonymous Workbook.  This will be an online person to person program where emails between participant will form the basis for discussions between the participant and the sponsor.

Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore to learn how to purchase study material.  SKYPE may also be an alternative means of communication.

For a description of the program please go to the Website menu at www.depressedanon.com and go to the Newsletter drop down menu where the latest Newsletter, titled The Antidepressant Tablet, Volume 1 Issue Fall, 2017. Here  a member of DA shares her recovery  experience using our new method of contact with the Home Study Program.  All the work is accomplished with emails between the sponsor and the DA member.  I know this  will help so much to facilitate one’s own recovery from depression.

To join, please sign up soon. Contact us at depanon@netpenny.net  for more information. Thank you.

“Hope is Something more, Someone more, so keep going!”

In Man’s  Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl describes  how hope is a key to survival and the heart amid the horrors of a concentration camp. The prisoner who was able to find meeting – in nature, in the memory of a loved one, and a generous act – would more likely not to give up. When we hope, in whatever circumstance, the future we long for comes closer, an experience of mind and heart that sustains us now and impels us forward.

Thomas Aquinas named hope as a theological virtue. It is a gift from God that we receive now, fueling our journey to a fuller union with God. Hope is the way God encourages us. It stirs up memory of God’s abiding faithfulness. Hope expands our vision beyond the immediate horizon. It breaks open our heart to dispel fear. It stokes our imagination to realize unexpected opportunities. Hope whispers, or shouts, when we need it “There is Something more, or Someone more, so keep going!”

Hope is not sentimental optimism. Optimists to easily escape reality, denying challenges in making promises that the are hard to keep. When we hope, we face reality because God is found in what is real. We know that things  may not turn out as we want, but we strive  valiantly nonetheless.  God is faithful, we insist, so there is meaning even in the toughest and most unexpected circumstances.

When we hope, we live generously and gratefully in the present because deep down we know that all will be well – not perfect, but well. With every word or deed steeped in  hope, the future opens up to reveal a present beyond our imagining. ”

Source:  Fr. Kevin O’Brien

The Ignatian  Adventure: Experiencing  the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life.

 

Kevin O’Brien, SJ, is Dean of this Jesuit school of theology of Santa Clara University he is author of the nation adventure: experiencing the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius and daily life.

 

What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?

What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?


“Well,  first let me say that when I first started attending Depressed Anonymous, I went for s couple of months and then stopped. I stopped going because my depression was so bad that I didn’t  want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment center where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there and one of the members of the DA group where I attend answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me  that for some reason, it was important for me to be at the meeting. I attended the next Depreseed Anonymous meeting. After the meeting was over, I suddenly realized the importance  and power of Depressed Anonymous.

So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous? For me, it is just like attending that first meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go where there were other depressed people just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going thr0ugh. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy. I was accepted.

Another power of Depressed Anonymous is the miracle fo the group and what each person brings to the group. I have seen our fellowship get stronger and grow. I have developed many friendships that I can depend on for support and understanding. I have watched some  of the newcomers that have kept coming back grow and improve. Even something as simple as a smile when there was none before.  The miracle of the group empowers and energizes me.

The most important power of Depresseed Anonynous is hope. Hope that we will not be locked into the prison of depression forever and that there is a way out for each of us. A hope that our Higher Power will work the miracle through us and that we will find our own happiness. I have hope that our heart and minds will know love and peace like we have never known or felt before.  The power of Depressed  Anonymous works for me.  I hope and pray that it works for you. Keep coming back!

SOURCE:  Copyright(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY . Pages 134,135.  Ray’s personal story of recovery.

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If there is no Depressed Anonymous group where you live–don’t let that stop you from joining our fellowship. Get started today and use the HOME STUDY KIT (SEE STORE)  where you can begin your own recovery using the tools that members in a “face to face” group use at their meetings.  The HOME STUDY  version provides you with a Depressed Anonynmous WORKBOOK plus a Depresssed Anonymous  MANUAl. These two works will provide you with an amazing process in which you can grow and learn more about depression and its effect upon your own  life.  It can also  provide you with an access to our web blog where you can read article after article on the “how” to leave the prison of depression. You are always welcome to involve yourself with any and all comments that you would like to send to the site in response to what you see and read here.

We welcome you.

Home Study Kit

Depressed Anonymous meetings are normally positive and the focus is upbeat!

WHAT IS DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS?

Depressed Anonymous is modeled after the 12 Steps (principles) of Alcoholics Anonymous and was  founded in Evansville, Indiana in May of 1985. It uses a group approach where members mutually support each other.

In Depressed Anonymous the depressed person admits that he/she is powerless over his or her depression. The depressed person admits that the various areas of his/her lifer are controlled by depression, and that he /she needs help from one’s inner resources, combined with a faith in a Higher Power to help work through one’s time of hopelessness and helplessness.

At Depressed Anonymous meetings, we do not pry into people’s personal lives. We also do not give advice at meetings but instead tell our story and how the 12 steps are releasing us from the tight grip of depression. Meetings are normally upbeat and the focus is positive! Each of  us set  small concrete  and positive goals for ourselves and begin to learn how to gain some mastery over our lives and feelings. Each of us has time at meetings to share our experiences with other member so f the group. As a new member you are ready to make a commitment to quit sadding  oneself, and that’s when results begin to happen.

This 12 Step recovery program can be a great healer  of personal wounds and provides the depressed with a new start in lifeIt also provides hope for people like yourself who have been where you are. Hope now resides where once there was only darkness and despair!

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SOURCE: (C)  I’ll do it when I feel better.(2013). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 22-23.  Chapter Three: What  is Depressed Anonymous.

Please VISIT THE STORE and  discover the many exciting chapters, which will outline hope for the depressed and how the group can provide essential tools for unlocking the prison of one’s own depression.

A PROMISE: “OUR WHOLE OUTLOOK AND ATTITUDE UPON LIFE CHANGES.”

“Our whole outlook and attitude upon life changes.” One of the Promises of Depressed  Anonymous.

“To really believe, possibly for the  first time in one’s life that I can free myself from the prison of depression and begin to feel better. I know that I need to be proactive in my efforts  at self-recovery. But what causes our outlook and attitude to change?

I have to begin to believe that hope and healing is possible. Once we have gone through some painful inner changes, such as dealing with our character defects and our isolating tendencies we se there is a way out.  We have to have a positive attitude that will move and motivate us to want to go and  get to the next step. Watching someone actually take these steps week after week and watch the feeling of wellness  rise up in them can promote a belief that with work and time, their lives do improve. Soon we see that a sense of purpose begins to  manifests itself the more time and work we put into our person recovery.

A door opens ever slightly and there appears a potential route to freedom.  A way out! I do know that when my hope and faith in recovery rises, my symptoms of depression go down. ”

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. 2013. Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky. P. 46.