“Humility is not a constant harping on your faults and errors and general worthlessness. When you find yourself doing this (like being unable to say anything good about yourself or constantly apologizing or feeling quite unable to do anything even moderately well) remember what Archbishop Fenelon wrote to one of his parishioners,
It is mere self-love to be inconsolable at seeing one’s own imperfections, but to stand face to face with them, neither flattering nor tolerating them, seeking to correct oneself without becoming pettish – this is to desire what is good for its own sake and for God’s.
Humility, self-acceptance and forgiveness are all aspects of the one process where we come to see ourselves as we are and other people as they are. Since we no longer have the pride and arrogance to try to control ourselves and our world so as to make ourselves and our world into something which they are not, we can now be spontaneous. Since we no longer have to hide ourselves from other people, to put a barrier between ourselves and our world, and so feel ourselves to be alive. Since all desire leads to suffering, ceasing to desire perfection reduces our desires and so our suffering. We then know along with Lao Tsu Tau, that,
It is more important
To see the simplicity,
To realize one’s true nature,
And temper desire.
Learning to accept oneself and others, to be courageous, loving, humble and forgiving, and to face death with equanimity, is no small task. But this is what you must undertake if you are to find your way out of the prison of depression.”
Copyright(c) Dorothy Rowe. Depression: The way out of your prison. Second Edition. Routledge and Kegan Paul. New York, 1986. P.230.
For the fellowship,
“Hope can only exist in a state of uncertainty.
That certainty means total certainty. That certainty means to be without hope.
The prison of depression is built with the bricks of total certainty.
Certainty. Security. No Hope.
To hope means to run the risk of disappointment.
Avoid disappointment. Stay depressed.
To be insecure means not to be in control.
Stay in control. Be depressed.
To be uncertain means to be unsure of the future.
Predict the future with certainty. Stay depressed.
Hope can exist only when there is uncertainty. Absolute certainty means complete hopelessness. If we want to live fully we must have freedom, love and hope. So life must be an uncertain business. This is what makes it worthwhile.”
Copyright(c) Dorothy Rowe. Depression: The way out of your prison. NY. Kegan Paul. 1996.
“Hope is to seek things and have the expectation that what we desire will come true. In the matter of depression, Dr. Rowe warns us that when we predict that we will always bw the way we are, is to predict a life of certainty, but one without hope. In the way that we construct our world we begin to live with some uncertainty and with this uncertainty we are going to little bit by little bit, accept some pain, hurt and disappointment in our life. This is not bad, but it is not always pleasant.
When we are depressed, it is not so important as to how we got depressed, but what is important, is how we see ourselves. Do we believe. like Dorothy Rowe, that we will always see ourselves as bad, worthless, unacceptable to ourselves and to others when we are depressed? If this is the way that we want to look at ourselves, then we are sure to believe that we will never change. We hold these beliefs about ourselves as immutable truths, and ever binding. This is the thing about depression – we believe that it will always be this way – namely, being possessed by this painful hollow feeling and deadly emptiness, which we carry around in our bodies, day after day, year after year.”
Copyright(c) Hugh Smith. How to hope and let it blossom. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 1-2. 2004.
By Nan Van Den Bergh, Ph.D.
- The theme, limit control or mastery over the environment, often begins with the child’s realization that he or she cannot control parental drinking, arguing. Illness or other major and repeated parental behaviors that are consistently detrimental to the child’s home life.
- The second theme of learned helplessness is passivity in the face of disturbing stimuli, while simultaneously worrying, being angry, frightened and thinking about them. At the same time the child feels powerless to do anything about the problem…
- Disturbed normal routines are the third theme of “learned helplessness.” Here the child has difficulty in knowing what is normal for what is expected will change depending on the cycle of the drinking or the abuse. This means it is difficult for the child to develop clear expectations and to have a sense of security at home, This fact of feeling secure translates over time to low self esteem and poor self concept.
- Avoidance of social support is the fourth theme of learned helplessness. The child becomes fearful of what he or she will find at home and gradually begins to disengage socially. The child begins to feel different and reach out to others less often, as he or she is not sure how to share with what is happening at home. Withdrawal also serves to protect the child from being seen by others as dysfunctional and helpless. And, you first learn by watching our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles model appropriate behavior within our family. If one of more family members are codependent, meaning they adopt a powerless stance, in times of stress, then this pattern is internalized. We may acquire some of this information through screen memories that are acquired so early that do not have words attached to them. Such memories include being in a crib, throwing food or playing. There may also be sensations around us that we record as fear or pleasure. By learning to trust external cues only, the child learns dependency, as well as the belief that feeling good comes from sources external to the self. This explains why many children of alcoholics become dependent on others when in a relationship. It also explains why such children learn to eat, drink, take drugs, work, gamble or have sex compulsively.”
NOTE: Persons who claim that they have been depressed all their lives might want to reflect on the above material.
At a recent meeting we were reading from the Depressed Anonymous literature and the topic of being addicted to sadness came up. There were several people in the meeting who bristled at the idea of sadness being an addiction. Is depression really an addiction to sadness?
Instead of answering that question directly I think it would be helpful to list some common characteristics of any addiction.
- It’s an unhealthy coping mechanism for life’s ills.
- It worked for a while but now it no longer works.
- It has made your life unmanageable.
- It is a disease that tells you that you don’t have a disease.
- You lie about how often you do this drug/behavior.
- You think about it most, if not all, of the time.
- You have continuously done this drug/behavior even though it has done great harm to you and loved ones.
- It may have caused you to be fired from a job.
- It may have caused you to be admitted to a hospital/mental institution.
- It may have caused you to be arrested.
- It may have caused financial harm in your life.
Any addiction, whether it is alcohol, drugs, gambling, depression doesn’t have to meet all of these characteristics. Like the Jeff Foxworthy “You might be a redneck if…” jokes you might be addicted to sadness if say 5 or more of those characteristics are true.
Something doesn’t need to exactly match the medical definition of chemical dependence or physical dependence to be described as an addiction. Let go of your current belief on what is and is not an addiction. Look at the characteristics above and rate your depression against them. The magic number may not be 5. It could be 4 or 6 or whatever makes sense to you. Try it on for size. You may be able to let go of your skepticism.
Yours in recovery, Bill R
I am writing this prayer I wrote some five years back now for deeper peace and acceptance, during this challenging time I’m experiencing. Sharing this Hope in case I too can 0ffer Strength for others.
Affectionately, Janet M.
Thank you dear Creator of love and joy in action for the fellowship of your presence. Move me, I pray, for the Stillness of this Love. Why I abide there always gathering in your Strength, Peace and Wellbeing as kindling to feel the fire of your Spirit within. As I walk this path today, should I become disturbed return my heart to you. Purify my motives and direct my attention back into Awareness and Unity with your Spirit, which is the hand of Peace. Help me to offer kindness for the many Seeds of Blessings which feed my growing into Trueness of Being. Help me to understand your Passion in laughter, tears, joy and pain, knowing all of your Provision and how Precious that gift is that lies within the Earth of us all. Thank you for my children, family and friends. Bless ua your light, nurturing our hearts and strengthen our vision and relationships. May a seeming separateness burn up into the flames of letting go of all illusions while Liberating the Soul and setting Freedoms flight to soar and all resistance fall away. Gather us together, this day in Body, Mind and Spirit manifesting your Love. Amen.
I have been known to drive with my brakes on at times. It sure slows things down. Anyway, here is a thought from Anthony De Mallo who shares some positive thoughts on how to navigate through the tough times in our lives.
When you get rid of your fear of failure, your tension about succeeding… you can be yourself. Relax. You’ll no longer be driving with your brakes on.
Anthony De Mallo
When we are depressed, we isolate, we abandon ourselves to what others think about us, who we should be, a life that is lived as someone that we are not. If you can’t be free of what others want you to be, you’ll spend time with the brakes on, afraid to make courageous choice to change!
Depressed Anonymous, is a 12 Step fellowship where we learn how to relax, see ourselves as we really are, restored, and ready for a new adventure, as we thrive and continually prize our newly restored self.
Hugh S., for the fellowship
The Three Layers of Attachment
“…theologian Mary Reuther and the spiritual director Richard Rohr, echo Pascal’s triple abyss in their analysis of the attachments that undermine our “spirituality.” Both Rohr and Reuther emphasize the psychological and emotional attachments that can devestate our spiritual lives, making their point that “attachment” does not have to be to material things to be spiritually destuctive.
Reuther suggests three layers of attachment that need to be peeled back sequentially, like an onion. First, we need to become detached from material gain, second from self-importance, and third from the urge to dominate others. Only through this process of stripping away these attachments, she writes, can we lay claim to spiritual progress.
Rohr uses a language more familiar to those steeped in twelve Step spirituality. In an article on A.A.’s Third Step he counsels that spirituality involves the “letting go” of three needs, the need to be in control, the need to be effective, and the need to be right. For Alcoholics( as well as the depressed) in early sobriety, the last point may be the most important, for attachment from the need to be right, surrender of the “demand to have the last word.”
“…release flows from the understanding that all absolute attempts to control our own destiny–like all attempts to do anything “absolutely” are ultimately doomed, for inevitably we will come up against something we cannot control. The attempt to control the future and the demand to be in charge of everything in our lives, sentences us to a daily existence obsessed with life numbing worry.”
This article, excerpted from the “Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Journey to Wholemess”. Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham. Bantam Books.1994. NY. Page 172-173.
Published by THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET. Volume 10 Issues 3 & 4 SUMMER/FALL 1999.
“”There is a well known saying, Contempt prior to investigation will leave one in everlasting ignorance.”
Strong words, everlasting ignorance. Everlasting meaning never ending ignorance. Ignorance meaning not more of and nothing to do with intelligence here. One is left everlastingly in the dark. Contempt has prejudiced the light of awareness. I believe our true Being ness is this light of awareness. Twelve Step recovery suggests a sweeping away of prejudice along with honest thinking and diligently looking within, in order to join the Broad Highway of Belief. I is called the Cornerstone.
Let’s say we use a a spiritual broom as a tool for this sweeping away. N0w let use this broom to clean up and clear away old ideas and beliefs that have been darkening our Source or Higher Power. The Depressed Anonymous Workbook does such a thorough job of uncovering these. Deeply embedded fears/hurts/ anger etc., can be swept into ( or surrendered into) the heart or the light within or the seed planted within each of us. This seed idea of God, when these ideas, beliefs and motives are swept away, then the light can be nurtured to grow and shine so brilliantly in our lives. We are life and no longer dwelling in darkness! However it is suggested in Scripture from Christ Consciousness, that when a house swept clean, it must not allow itself to become “vacant”after this spiritual House is in order. Now in Presence. No past or future occupancy in the mind, saddening oneself again. Find the Miracle of Abiding Presence. We are Life and Life is Now eternally. A quote from Misread Maharaji, “Wisdom is knowing I am nothing. Love is knowing I am everything.
The following are some of the ways that we can cope and deal positively with panic and anxiety.
- Remember that although your feelings and symptoms are very frightening, they are not dangerous or harmful.
- Understand that what you are experiencing is just an exaggeration of your normal bodily reaction to stress.
- Do not fight your feelings or wish them away.The more that you are willing to face them, the less intense they will become.
- Do not add to your panic by thinking about what “might” happen. If you find yourself asking “what if?” Tell yourself “So what.”
- Stay in the present. Notice what is really happening to you as opposed to what you think might happen.
- Label your fear level from zero to ten and watch it go up and down. Notice that it that it does not stay at a very high level for more than a few seconds.
- When you find yourself thinking about the fear, change your “what if” thinking. Focus on and carry out a simple and manageable task, such as counting backward by 3’s or snapping a rubber band on your wrist.
- Notice when you stop adding fearful thoughts to your fear, it begins to face.
- When th fear comes, expect and accept it . Wait and give it time to pass, without running away from it.
- Be proud of yourself for your progress thus far, and think about how good you will feel when you succeed this time.
Reprinted courtesy of the Mental Health Association. Understanding panic disorder.
“It must be repeated again that I consider, injustice, discrimination, material deprivation and painful disappointments as such and as causes of depression and depression-pro ness. What causes depression is the discrepancy between what children–and adults have learned to believe and expect, and the reality they meet. This discrepancy, when uncomprehended, causes chronic lack of self-esteem, or the loss of self-esteem that, writes Birling, has been associated with severe depression. Men and women can bear a remarkable amount of misfortune and grief, as long as they need not see them as a result and proof of their own inferiority.”
Excerpt from Emmy Gut, Productive and Unproductive Depression. Harper, SanFransisco. 1990. p.195. as quoted in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET (1991) SUMMER VOLUME 2:4. p.3