Let’s get real. The “snap out of it” advice doesn’t get it!

Let’s get real!  How often do we hear people who’ve   never been depressed  tell people depressed to just “snap out” of their depression? Answer? Too many times.

In our Manual,   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition  we read  “I don’t believe you can snap out of your depression, or suddenly   and dramatically get your life turned around by going to one Depressed Anonymous meeting, or reading the  12 steps  five times an hour. It just doesn’t happen that way, especially if you have lived with  your depression for any length of time. Even though we  emphasize  that  depression is not a disease, we do want you to know that depression over a long period of time can cause physical problems and upset the metabolism of the human organism. More and more, doctors see how  positive feelings, attitudes and emotions can help cancer patients maintain a remission and stay free of a recurring cancer condition. Unpleasant emotions such as fear, anger, resentment, tension and depression all work against recovery.

I would call the sadness  that  has  been with us for as long as we can remember,  a learned way to respond to certain negative stimuli. What you will be doing when you come to a Depressed Anonymous meetings is to get involved in your own healing. You will find other men and women who are struggling with the same pain as you are. You will discover that the first step in coming to grips with depression that won’t  quit is for you to surrender it,  quit fighting it.  Let the God, as you understand God  take over your life and help let it restore you to sanity, peace and understanding of the way in which you can find the path  out of your depression and pain. Depressed Anonymous works if you begin the work of the spiritual program that we’re going to outline in this book.  Depression is a moral problem and as such there needs to be a moral solution,  one part of which is to admit that we are responsible for ourselves and that we can’t blame it on genes, psychological predispositions or one’s spouse or some other situation.  We are going to take charge. We choose to un-depress ourselves. Today! One day at a time!

…But let me warn you — it isn’t easy to do something different from what you have been doing  most of your life. This is especially true when it comes to the way we see ourselves, our world and others. There are no magic pills and no easy answers to bring us immediately out of this inner pain and anguish. It does take time and work.

If you really want to leave behind your painful sadness, the daily tears, and the feelings of worthlessness, then begin now to admit the unmanageable mess of your depression. You have had it with feeling out of control!

That’s the way it is with depression – over the years you get comfortable with feeling miserable, which doesn’t mean you like it, but that you’re just too afraid to risk doing something different. When you want to change and leave your depression behind, the choice that you want to make is immediately dashed to the ground because you  feel there is no hope for you. “I can’t pull myself up by my bootstraps and start to feel better,” you tell yourself. Most the time, we tell ourselves that we will do it when we feel better. (See reference to” I’ll do it when I feel better”   below). Folks, let me tell you something – you will never feel better until  you begin to physically get moving! We all know that we feel better only when we get into gear and get busy – distracting ourselves  from those ever present miserable  thoughts which whisper how bad we are and how hopeless life seems to be.”

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SOURCES: (c)Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pgs. 31-32.

(c) I’ll will do it when I feel better. (2015) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002)(Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON DEPRESSION AND THE HEALING POWER OF THE 12 STEPS.

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Miraculous power

FAITH, PRAYER AND MEDITATION PROVIDE THE BELIEVER WITH MIRACULOUS POWERS!

 

“Deep down in every man,  woman and child is the fundamental idea of a God.  It may be obscured by calamity, by pump, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives are facts as old as man himself.

“Faith may often be given through inspired teachings or a convincing personal example of its fruits. It may sometimes be had through reason. For instance, many clergymen believe that St. Thomas Aquinas actually proved God’s existence by sheer logic. But what can one do when all these channels fail? This was my own grievous dilemma.

“It was only when I came fully to believe I was powerless over alcohol or depression, only when I appealed to the God who just might exist, that I experienced a spiritual awakening. This freedom-giving experience came first, and then faith followed afterwards-a gift indeed!”

Bill W., co-founder of AA shares this thought in Alcoholics Anonymous, p.55 and in a letter, 1966.

Who is in charge of your life? What and who is the source of your strength?

Good question. Bill W., co-founder of AA has an answer for us.

“The more we become willing to depend on  a Higher Power, the more independent we really are. Therefore, dependence as AA and all the other Anonymous groups practice it, it  is really a means of gaining true independence of the spirit.

At the level of everyday living, it is startling to discover how dependent we really are, and how unconscious of that dependence.  Every modern house has electric wiring carrying power and light to its interior.  By accepting with delight our dependence upon this marvel of science, we find ourselves personally more independent, more comfortable and secure. Power flows just where it is needed.  Silently and surely, electricity, that strange energy so few people understand, meets our simplest daily needs.

Though we readily accept this principle of healthy dependence in many of our temporal affairs, we often fiercely resist the identical principal when asked to apply it as a means of growth in the life of the spirit. Clearly we shall never know freedom under God until we try to seek His will for us. The choice is ours.”   As Bill W., Sees It. Page 26.

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Our Big Book, which is a 12 step program of recovery  directs each of us on our path of personal recovery so that our mutuality of purpose as a fellowship ignites meaning for each of our daily lives.

The following is a quote from the Denise List, from the Therapist’s Views on Depressed Anonymous section in our Big Book. Page 27.

“The spiritual emphasis of Depressed Anonymous is its greatest strength. People come together and hear from one another how their Higher Power is healing and guiding their lives. They realize that being part of the group, they are not alone, and also  encourage true living. Depressed Anonymous has been a wonderful healing tool in the lives of many depressed persons  I’ve worked with.  It will always be one of the greatest resources I use in my work. It is true that ‘it works if you work it.’ ”

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

SURVIVAL IS TO MEET LIFE’S PROBLEMS HEAD ON!

AFFIRMATION

I am going to take a fearless and moral inventory of myself today and list on paper my strengths as well as my weaknesses, that is those characteristics in my life that might keep me fearful and depressed,

“Step Four and Five really have to be faced head-on if our depression is to go away. Steps Four and Five are all about cleaning house. We must square off with ourselves and begin the rooting out process that will in time, free us from our sadness and our identity as a depressed person. So often a person depressed is afraid, panic stricken really, in facing some issues that were never their fault in the first place.”

REFLECTION

I see so many people are liberated from their depression the moment they begin to look themselves in the eye and reflect on  their character defects. These persons are the ones who are not afraid to make a list of all the persons they have hurt by their isolating depression and by the thought that they are unacceptable to others and to themselves. By working Step Five which states  that “we admitted to God, ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” I am assured by another person’s acceptance of me that I will get through this time of pain and hurt.

Bill W., the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous had a spiritual awakening on night as he truly was at the lowest point in his life and begged God to help him. God’s love lit up the room for Bill and he was never the same after that. He was a changed man. I need to make restitution to my family, my friends, my spouse and to whomever for my withdrawing from life and hiding from my responsibilities. This is the work that is needed if I am to get free of the shackles of sadness.

MEDITATION

God, shine the light of your wisdom into our hearts so that you might help us find the way out of our depression and get on with living our  lives the way you would have us live them.  Our fears and anxieties are definitely not the way you would want us to live. You have shown us the way out of our misery by bringing us close to those who once were depressed, but now in recovery, are doing better.”

SOURCES: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for all members of 12 Step fellowships. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. Page 224/ November 10th.

Now available in the KINDLE format. Check out our STORE for more information as how to order online or snail mail.

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

“I realized that I was addicted to the self.”

” As a person that has suffered depression since childhood, I can say that until you start to open up, share your hurts and feelings, listen to the members of the group, watch them as they grow from the support of the group, you will not be able to get out of the prison of your depression. I have been going to Depressed Anonymous for four years and only until recently have I realized that I was addicted to the self.  Only then did I start to take a good look at myself and start to ask God for his help and truly mean it. I am learning to trust in God  and do His will and not mine. I feel better about myself. I can tell you it is a lot easier to be depressed than it is to work on yourself and admit to yourself that there is a problem. It is God’s will for us to live each day to the fullest because of our time on earth is limited. Live each day, not yesterday or tomorrow. Share with the group and your friends and you will be surprised who will be glad to listen  if you would give them a chance. Accept the fact that all of us at Depressed Anonymous are here to listen to you and not make judgments  on you or give advice. Even if you don’t want to share, come to the meetings because you can always get something out of them. Eventually, you will want to share and the group will listen.

In conclusion, trust in your Higher Power – God as you understand God. Support groups are the  way out of our addictions. We may have given  up on God, but God hasn’t  given up on us. Start your day out by asking God: God I pray for the knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out. ”

-Starr writing about her experience with depression and the healing support that she receives in the Depressed Anonymous 12 Step mutual aid group.

Read Starr’s whole story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Personal Stories section/Pages 129-130 ).

I said to myself, “if I ignore it maybe it(depression)will go away.”

“There was a time when we ignored trouble, hoping it would go away. Or, in fear and in depression, we ran from it, but found it was still with us. Often, full of unreason, bitterness, and blame, we fought back. These mistaken attitudes, powered by alcohol, guaranteed our destruction, unless they were altered.

Then came AA (and DA. OA, NA,  Al-Anon etc). Here we learned that trouble was really a fact of life for everybody – a fact that had to be understood and dealt with. Surprisingly, we found that our troubles could, under God’s grace, be converted into unimagined blessings.

“Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself: trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended. This was the A.A. story, and we became a part of it.  Such demonstrations became our stock in trade for the next sufferer.”

COMMENT: It was with my own experience with depression that I tried to deny that it was anything that could keep me from a life lived with hope and joy. I thought that if I just ignored it, like Bill W., stated so well above, it would just evaporate like the morning midst. Of course this just didn’t happen.

As I commented on this denial factor which is a big part of all addictions, I also came to believe that,  “well, what I am going through will surely pass. It isn’t so bad, really. I can put up with a little discomfort.”  Sorry. It didn’t work that way. And as I pointed out in   I’ll Do It when I feel Better  I said  ” we also learn that our depression is a defense and predictable and for some, depression is even come to be a comfort and as has been said before, at least one knows what they have with depression. And to change and risk removing this numbness is better not to be undertaken  because it’s better to know what one has than to risk getting something worse. Much like the example cited before of the debate within ourselves to go to the dentist for the toothache or just tough  it out and hope for the best.  We call this denial.” Page 17.

To examine more literature about depression and using the Twelve Steps in your personal recovery , please taker a look  at VISIT THE STORE here at our website.

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SOURCES:

1) As Bill sees it. Page 110.

2)  I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014)  Depressed  Anonymous Publications.                                  Louisville.

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

 

I THINK THAT I AM DEPRESSED!

In the mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous, we make it OK to say “I think I am depressed.”

In Believing is seeing, an effort is made to help  persons depressed as well as the  friends and families of the depressed to know that there is a group that is there for them. In fact, once people come to the group and experience a meeting focused on the power of the Steps working in the lives of the fellowship, they soon come to  believe and know the group members are speaking their language. It’s much like going to a foreign country and finding someone who can speak your language.

“Thank goodness, people can now go  and find help –namely, the Depressed Anonymous group.  Persons need to be educated about depression and that one is  not losing their minds when the symptoms of depression begin to take over their lives.  Their own depression experience and the symptoms that comprise it may enable them to seek help faster. They may be relieved to know what it is that is happening to them. I believe that a doctor or nurse practitioner would be more than happy to help de-stigmatize such a common and universal problem as depression or as some have called it in an earlier time, melancholia. In time and with our own advocacy as a mutual aid fellowship we will help make it OK to say “I am depressed.” We hope by that fact to help de-stigmatize this common and natural response to loss. Remember, to admit you’re depressed is the first step in recovery and the first step in getting yourself undepressed.”

Copyright (c)Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 17-18.