If there is one thing that you crave when you are depressed it is certainty.

AFFIRMATION

I am willing to live in the imperfect moment and focus on the now, not yesterday’s now or tomorrow’s now.

“So it is if we are to make changes in our lives we must be courageous.  Such courage can be found relatively easily in two kinds of situations. When we are certain that the new situation in which we shall find ourselves will bring us every advantage and happiness; when we are certain that the situation we are leaving is totally and absolutely bad.

Thus if the new situation promises perfection, or if the old situation is totally imperfect, we have certainty, and if there is one thing you crave when you are depressed, it is certainty. ” Dorothy Rowe.  Breaking the Bonds.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

My thinking always had been very black and white when I was depressing myself. I know that if I want to continue to live in uncertainty, in time, my depression will also be left behind me in the darkness of yesterday, as I live in the light of today.

The only certainty that I have today is that I want to free myself from the attachment that I have to sadness.  I must be willing to risk giving up the certainty that my life will always remain the same. I know that it is only by living with some uncertainty, that my life can be lived with any hope.

MEDITATION

Today, we pray for the courage to remove as much fear from our lives as possible. We pray that God will let us live with the conviction that our  lives can be one without fear of people, places, or situations. We believe that once we begin to live without the every present need for certainty in our lives that our fears can be diminished.

(Personal comments: See  March 12, 2015 in the Archives of the Blogs.)

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and  meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. KY.  September 1.

 

A rabbit had been showing up in our backyard–exactly on Easter morning for the last two years.

An Easter bunny who kept coming back!

This year is very different.  We have moved to another part of town and so we can’t know if our friendly bunny got to our backyard this  past Easter Sunday.  I do wonder though. I can just imagine him sitting in the grass along our back yard fence.  I can at least think that he might have missed us as we miss him.  For a moment, I wish  I would have gone back to the old home place to see for   myself  if   he actually arrived last Sunday morning.  To have shown up two years in a row, just   like the last  two  Easter mornings.  The first appearance was just too weird. And then again, right on time, right day, he shows up. I mean,  a bunny, showing up, out of the blue, at Easter.   This on the one day when  bunnies   show up. They come in all sizes and shapes. They come mainly made of  chocolate. And most of us have had them delivered, when we  were children,  in a basket with every form of chocolate and candy available.

I got to  thinking: Was he disappointed, possibly troubled, as was I,  by the thought that he could have possibly missed us? Did  he  wonder “where are  the excited children hunting for eggs and chocolates?”

Sometimes it happens this way. We hope  that a beautiful  encounter  we have experienced will happen again, just the way it  has happened before.  On  Easter Sunday I was wondering “What if”  the bunny did show up today and I missed him?  This recurring  thought could have made me feel sad because I don’t know for sure that he wasn’t there. But  I did learn an important lesson from my bunny friend. I learnt that I need to be grateful for any and all  enriching and exciting encounters that come my way, sometimes in   mysterious ways, but mostly in ordinary circumstances.

The moral of the story,  for me, is that if something pleasant and mysterious happened to you once–it most probably can happen to you again. And who knows, that Easter bunny could possibly show up at my new home. And, it doesn’t have to be on Easter!  I think he misses me too.

Hugh

 

Today I want to keep the focus on myself.

AFFIRMATION

Today, I’m going to keep the focus on myself and I aim to take responsibility for myself.

“… 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. That’s why you always expect the worst.”

REFLECTION

It is when I no longer blame others for my problems that I begin to see that how I turn out is ultimately up to me. My happiness or unhappiness depends on the choices that I make. No one needs to feel sorry for me any longer because I am depressed. I know that I am responsible for me and that I have made the decision to get myself undepressed and to stay undepressed.

It’s most difficult to make decisions when I have hardly the energy to get out of bed in the morning. It’s always difficult to choose one way or the   other because in the past, most of my decisions have usually resulted in failure. Today and everyday I will make the decisions to learn all I can about the various ways that I use the 12 step tools of recovery  to release myself from my hopelessness.

MEDITATION

We now have hope that our expectations will come true for ourselves as we begin   to take responsibility for ourselves.

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Source: Copyright (C) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 64.

HIGHER THOUGHTS IS AVAILABLE ON THE KINDLE  eREADER.

Visit the store for more information on Depressed Anonymous literature.

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.

 

Our thought life will be on a higher plane…

 

“On awakening, let us think about the 24 hours ahead. We ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity and from dishonest or self-seeking motives.  Free of these, we can employ our mental faculties with assurance,  for God gave us brains to use.  Our thought life will be on a higher plane when our thinking begins to be cleared of wrong motives. If we have to determine which of two courses to take, we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision. Then we can relax and take it easy, and we are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

We usually conclude our meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, asking especially for freedom from damaging self-will.” Page 243 (As Bill Sees It).

And some more thoughts from our friend Bill W.

“In meditation, debate has no place. We rest quietly with the thoughts or prayers of spiritually centered people who understand, so that we may experience and learn. This is the state of being that so often discovers and deepens a conscious contact with God.” Page 108(As Bill Sees It).

“..we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.”

Promise #4: We comprehend the word serenity and we know peace of mind.

Agitation, anxiety and jitteriness were all part of my life as I muddled through day after day, one foot in front of the other.  Serenity was definitely not a part of my life.

As with any attachment to a negative behavior, serenity and peace was the farthest thing from my life. The new beliefs and thoughts which I heard expressed at Depressed Anonymous meetings started to help me change the way I thought about myself, my world and my future.

I believe that it takes work, time and prayer and quiet periods of meditation to achieve the peace and serenity that we are talking about here.

  PEACE OF MIND IS THE RESULT OF:

  1. A clear conscience
  2. Living in the present
  3. Gratitude everyday
  4. Belief that the God of my understanding will get me through the problems of my life
  5. Forgiveness of myself and amends to all person I have harmed
  6. Doing God’s will means letting go

I am firmly convinced that in order to continue any semblance of peace and serenity I will have to structure a daily quiet period into my life. This is an essential part of the prescription for getting well and staying well. Also, I believe that when I am quiet, God can give to me all that is mine to have. My will and my life  have to be attuned to God’s presence and love.  We will know that in order for God to make itself present to us and demonstrate its love we have to sit still, be quiet and listen with purity of heart. This is an essential part of the formula where we will find our sobriety and serenity.

It is my belief that God does speak to those who remain quiet and have a design to listen. Peace is defined as “an undisturbed state of mind, absence of mental conflict.”   Serenity is defined as “a quality or state of being serene; calmness, tranquility.”

The quality or state of being serene all takes time, work and discipline. I believe that  the big book of AA says it best: ” When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts   of remarkable things followed.  We had a new employer; being all powerful he provided what we needed, if we kept close to him and performed his work well.

Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in plans, our little designs  and ourselves.  More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or hereafter.. We’re reborn.” ( Page 63, AA).

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SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 36-38. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous.

 

How to live outside the box? The depression box!

If you really want to begin to “live outside the box“, a description of what the box feels like and looks like might be helpful to you.  First of all, a box has an identifiable shape. It is a box mainly because it contains something–whatever that might be. And when we speak of the subject of depression, we talk about depression having us boxed in. The box as it is used here, in this context is a metaphor for feeling enclosed and which there is no exit. It is like being trapped or like in a prison.

Now, in order to live outside the box we want to live creatively, which means  that we are having to learn  how to live outside the box. Now, if you  find  this hard to believe -stick with me now  as I will explain what I mean.

Just briefly, my own experience with depression can be used as an example. First of all, when I was depressed I thought that I was losing my mind. The box that I put myself in was getting more restricting by the day and making my life hell. I could see no way out. I was trapped. What could I do I asked myself?  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t just will these feelings and scary  thoughts away–like taking a broom and brushing them out of my life. No matter which way I turned I hit a wall. With no answers forthcoming on how to keep my head above water, my body slowly  was being sucked down into  the quicksand of despair. The thought came to me, much like that small glimmer, a tiny light so far away, but nevertheless  a light. It was  like the lighthouse which with its  intense brightness warns seafarers that rocks were nearby and to be watchful before approaching. My mind began to race here and there for a way out of the box and then it hit me —   get moving. Move the body. Get busy.  The key out of this prison was already in my hand. And now, those of us here in the Depressed program of recovery,who have been putting “out of the box” ideas to work in our daily lives, we want to share what has worked for us and we know, if you actually use them for your own recovery, they are  bound to  ultimately free you. That is the promise I share with you today.

The following activities,  listed below  are some of  the tools that will get you “out of the box” when you get serious about using them.

I think taking a close and personal look at the following tools will not only help you get  “out of the box” but can be tools that you will be able to utilize, day after day as you continue your recovery.

  1. Exercise is a great tool if you happen to be depressed.
  2.  Getting out into nature will also help put your mind on beauty and your surroundings.
  3. Overcoming fear is also a great place to learn how to get out of the box. Learn about “first fear” and “second fear.” Fear doe seem to be at the center of our life when depressed.
  4. Recite the “SERENITY PRAYER” as often as you need it.
  5. The present. Staying in the now.
  6. Making use of the God box. This is an exercise, a simple one at that, which helps us learn the discipline of “letting go.”
  7. Feelings need to be examined and expressed. We will look at why expressing feeling is  so important,  instead of having them bottled up and causing all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
  8. Disable negative thinking: learn how to short circuit negative thoughts when they pop into our minds.
  9.  Reading Depressed Anonymous literature and all material on the subject of depression.
  10. Learn how we all have choices. We make those decisions that bring us closer to freedom–not those that continue to imprison and box us.
  11. Journaling is a great tool for writing down what has been our experience for the day.  It helps to clarify our thinking and puts things into perspective.

NOTE

In the next post, I will begin placing attention on each of the eleven ideas listed above.  Gradually we can take time to evaluate  our response to each individually and make our own notes as how to use these recommended ideas  for our own recovery.

Hugh

Where do you plan to live today?

Today is all that we have. Don’t let dwelling on yesterday’s hurts and fears or about tomorrow, rob you of peace today. Contrary to what you might have thought — you are responsible for how you think and feel..”

Many of us in the program, no matter what our compulsion happens to be, prefer living in the past and/ or the next day.  We have a difficult time living through each day–it’s too risky to have to feel the pain of  the moment. But we know that the pain of the present needs to be felt if we are to reduce the lifelong misery which is ours unless we face the enemy and deal with it.  It is a promise of the program that we hand over and let God deal with us in God’s time and in God’s own way.  We know that God, with our assistance and work, our life can be straightened out. Like the old Russian saying.   “Pray, but keep rowing to shore”

Now that we have learnt how to take care of ourselves and our recovery, we now believe that we are responsible for finding our way out of depression. We can blame our sadness on our genes, hormones or a chemical imbalance. All this finger pointing can’t prevent us from having to take full responsibility for finding and using that map which points the way out of the darkness of depression. Since we have been involved in the 12 Step program of recovery we continue to learn the “how” of working our way out of sadness in the context of the fellowship of the group.

The best way to live today is to be fully conscious of the present moment and create that strong desire to be part of it.  Let’s not live in yesterday –the rent can kill you.

How often do I spend  time in tomorrow and so miss the joy of today?  I think one of the more serious occupations (aren’t  they all serious?) of the depressed is just to sit and think, and think some more about how bad life is and what awful people they are. The self-bashing makes one’s ability to change even more difficult, as continued depressive ruminations promote a great sense of unworthiness and confusion.  We feel  that we have no control over what happens in our life. Actually we are not so sure that we should care.  Everything seems hopeless. Living in yesterday is to pay some high price rent –and when you’re done paying the rent, you still have nothing to show for it.

I have to live in the here and now –I can’t run and hide in the unknown  of tomorrow  or disappear into the gloomy fog of yesterday.”

Where do you plan to live today?

Sources: Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 37-39.

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

TODAY IS ALL I HAVE.

AFFIRMATION

I can live each moment as it comes. I can live only in today. Today is all I have.

“Try to work out which is your habitual response to change which you see as dangerous, so that as you dare to explore you don’t suddenly find yourself running away to the safety of old ways, or resisting the new ideas with old prejudices.( 3)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I find that when I am depressed I find all the comfort in the predictable and the familiar.  Right now, I am in battle for my life and I am going to stay and work things out. My feelings are agitated and make me feel very uncomfortable, but I know that it is only by feeling them and accepting them (not run away) that I will, and can in time, begin to taste the freedom of a new me beginning to be born.  I believe that by desiring change, this desire will produce a greater motivation in my self to think and feel differently.

This is an important concept when I am depressed. I desire the safety of the familiar and the predictable.

MEDITATION

God, help me to live in the peace and the serenity  of the present moment. And let us be aware of the moment when we begin to depress ourselves.  Alert us to the moment that we can CHOOSE to turn our minds to something more constructive.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for down days(c). (March 17).