Category Archives: Anxiety

LEAVING LONELINESS BEHIND. DISMANTLING THE BARRIERS.

Leaving loneliness behind. Dismantling the barriers.

THE TWELVE DECISIONS
What is loneliness?

“Loneliness is the state of being cut off from other people, through fear of other people. Loneliness is felt as a barrier and an emptiness between yourself and other people. You reach out to other people but the barrier intervenes. You take a step toward other people, but there is no place to put your foot. People come towards you and your loneliness shuts them out.”

“It is your loneliness rather than the absence of other people that leads you to be alone.” Dorothy Rowe. Ph.D
The only person that is going to take your loneliness away is you. This is what you do. You make 12 decisions and carry them out.

DECISION 1. BECAUSE I VALUE MYSELF AND ACCEPT MYSELF I WILL END MY LONELINESS.
In our planned conversation about how to leave our loneliness behind, I have noticed my own presence, as at a Depressed Anonymous meeting, whether on ZOOM or Face to face, each of us is provided a way to risk telling others who we are and what we are not. This presence gradually instills in our mind the fact that “Hey, I feel more with others when I can share.” I no longer feel so alone now. After our sharing at a DA meeting, others in the group connect with who we are.This personal sharing tells others how we intend to live out our lives. We share how our lives were before coming to the meeting of others like ourselves.

I believe this personal sharing and risking things about ourselves, will carry out beyond this one hour of meeting, having a gradual and positive effect in our world where we live out our lives. Now, you are able to maximize a good experience (group sharing) being being accepted and loved. This online group or a face to face group, is like a surrogate family. Whereas, when you were born into a family–not of your own choosing, you make a decision to choose this DA group as your family. I make a choice as to who I share my life. By making the decision, you will begin to value yourself as a worthwhile person. At the meeting, people really listen to what I have to say.

It helps to get close to others by helping them tell us who they are. We will hear their stories. And to get closer to others, you can do this by asking questions, asking how they are, what they are interested in, and other areas of their lives. They will begin to let you into their private world. You will let them into your world. A barrier has been dismantled.

This sharing at our DA meetings, a place of feeling safe,I can allow myself to chip away the barriers that once made me feel alone and afraid. THe old thoughts that we once felt we had to defend ourselves against, by erecting walls, built during our childhood days, will no longer be needed.

It is this first decision that we make, to value and accept ourseves and risk sharing my story with others. This will be the start, for breaking down those barriers which kept me from telling others who I am.

Tomorrow, we will Share Decison 2: “I will take the risk of approaching others.” Stay tuned.

Hugh S.

NOTE: Quotations are from Dorothy Rowe’s “Breaking the bonds. Understanding Depression, finding freedom. Fontana, 1991. London, UK.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
– Navy Seal credo

If I am in a frantic state, I will make many mistakes. Then I need to do things over again and that takes even more time.

If I do things slowly and follow a process I am far less likely to make mistakes. I need to do things right the first time. The best way that I know to do that is to follow a process. I can have processes about many things: how I shave, how I iron a shirt, how I troubleshoot a problem in my professional IT career, how I approach my recovery from depression and anxiety.

Sometimes in a highly excited anxious state it seems incredibly hard to slow down and calm my mind. I sometimes see my issues with anxiety as a block of wood with really rough edges. I may not be able to have a smooth block of wood immediately. I can however start the process of sanding down the roughest edges of my anxiety. My anxiety may be so intense that I can’t go from frantic to calm and serene. But perhaps it is possible to lessen my anxiety by 1%. I will be in a better place of mind. I want to be serene and calm, but in this moment I may only be able to achieve a 1% reduction.

Progress not perfection.
– 12 step recovery slogan

Another benefit of having a process is that you will develop muscle memory about the process. When in the thick of a fight, or deep in anxiety, it may not be able to think clearly. Wouldn’t it be great to have muscle memory about a process that you can follow?

It is better to sweat in training, than to bleed in war.
– Wisdom sometimes heard in military training

This week at work there were some major problems. Systems critical to the business were not functioning preventing action on revenue generating jobs. There was immense pressure to get those systems back online and functioning again NOW. As I felt the anxiety in me rise I would repeat the mantra several times and my anxiety would lessen a little bit. I had a process and it helped.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

The Circle Dance

If you have ever been depressed or are depressed at this moment, you are familiar with the Circle Dance.

I know the dance steps well, and in fact, I could share with you some of the basic steps, illustrating familiar dance steps.

First of all, let me say that you already know those steps that automatically get you to perform the “Circle Dance. You get caught up emotionally, the moment certain negative thoughts come bouncing across the dance floor into your mind. You know them as that painful hollowness in your gut, a desire to quit the dance and lay down, or to bash yourself with thoughts of how bad you feel.

Sometimes, starting with those life events from childhood, when your caregivers, be they parents or guardians, made you feel worthless and unwanted. These thoughts and feelings are constantly triggered by those with whom you share this life. You avoid people, think of yourself as unlovable –and the dance goes on and on in your head.

The Feelings of hopelessness produces unpleasant feelings. The feelings produce an unpleasant mood and the dance begins. The mood speeds up the dance and whisks you away into that painful circle with its attendant anxieties, sucking you down into the mental quicksand, swallowing you with all the terror and fright of losing all hope, much less your future. The Circle Dance will take you, everyday and in every way, to where you know you don’t want to go.

This dance is familiar. It is like the helpless insect caught in the web of the spider. The why of this hellish addiction to sadness, is never fully addressed with any solutions or answers. We want to know how to stop it. How to control it. We ask ourselves, how is it that I am depressed? How did I get into this terrifying circle, this loop which keeps me locked in a mood of hopelessness and despair. Where did all this sadness, anxiety originate? Will I ever find a way out? Is the dance, on automatic pilot, going to destroy me? Am I, a victim, without a source of help? Is this the way life is for me to be–forever filled with misery?
So much of the time I feel like I am on a train, heading toward a precipice, with no way of stopping it or escaping disaster?

Through all this, pain and confusion, you become an expert dancer, in fact, you know of others who like you, are expert dancers — trapped in dancing within their own Circle Dance.

The dance, it is so familiar. It is a defense, a comfort. We gradually learn to use it to protect us from the pain, without ever having a clue as to how it took over my life.

“A famous psychiatrist, a Dr. Freud, once theorized “that the reason a person continues to do the Circular Dance within themselves, is an effort to touch an unpleasant early life behavior or that long since forgotten event, buried in one’s unconscious. The Circular Dance promotes our addictive nature and the compulsion to repeat, is an effort by our mind to remember what it was that is the cause of our present cycle of misery, spinning us around and around – looking for answers as to what we do and why we do what we do and feel the way that we do, but never able to unlock the prison of our sadness.”

The Depressed Anonymous 12 step fellowship provides us with a possible solution to this question of no longer allowing the Circular Dance to determine the our life’s direction.

It is my belief, after participating in Hundreds of Depressed Anonymous meetings, over three decades or more, that the compulsion to repeat these sslf-destructive thoughts and images, may be linked to early childhood periods, accompanied with their painful, traumatic events. It is in those early days, that our Circular Dance took root and began to keep us locked down in its circular loop.

It is here, in the 12 Step Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, that those unpleasant feelings, resultant from physical. emotional and mental abuse by significant others (parents and/or guardians, others) can be shared, voiced and talked about safely, and confidentially in the light of the accepting fellowship that we experience in all of our mutual help meetings.

It is possible that with time, patience and work, that these early feelings of hurt and feeling worthless, to name just a few, can be identified and shown how they have affected us negatively in the way we feel about ourselves today. With the help and work of the group, we are able to locate and make conscious those early life experiences that have been pushed aside. Because the feelings were too powerful and painful to examine and so they were buried in our unconscious. Basically, we can say, that there is no longer a need for that compulsive and addictive Circular Dance that our mind had used to punish us with guilt and shame. We now have the freedom to live life, recover from the wounds of the past, and live life today with hope and purpose. That is my wish for you this day.. And for myself.

No one puts me down, for saying that I am depressed. We never hear a “Snap nap out of it” at our meetings. If we could “snap out of it” there would be no need for our meetings. With work, time and the fellowship we no longer need a dance that goes nowhere but down. Now we are spiraling upward. We thrive!

Hugh S., for the Fellowship


Copyright(c) Hugh Smith (1986, 2013) 2nd Edition. I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
Pages 64-65.

Life is unpredictable

Life is unpredictable. Every living organism operates with a certain amount of unpredictability and uncertainty. The uncertainty of life creates in us a desire for predictability. If we do not believe in the possibility of change, we would all be hopelessly lost and forever bored. Hope would be lost. Potential for a better life would never exist. When there is hope, change is possible. The experience of depression is much the same. Depression is so predictable and unchanging that we lose hope for the pain of our isolation ever coming to an end.

–Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. From the Introduction, Page 20.

Catastrophic Thinking

Dorothy Rowe shares with us some helpful thoughts on how to deal with those thoughts which we label as catastrophic.

Suppose that there is some event looming and you are frightened of what is going to happen. Your Mother may be coming to stay or you are required to go to the firm’s ball, or your daughter expects you to go to her graduation or your son wants you to take him along – all fearful events of course – and you can’t see any way of avoiding them other than being very depressed. Try something else. Write down what it is you are expected to do and then say, ‘if I do this, what is the very worst that could happen?’

Write down your answer and look at it in the cold light of day. If you have said ‘I’ll die’ then rejoice your troubles will soon be over.

If you have said, ‘I’ll make a fool of myself’ ask ‘What is the opposite of making a fool of oneself’? Then ask ‘Why is this important’? See if you dare commit to paper just how vain you are.

Then go back to the original situation and say, ‘How many different outcomes can I see?’ List them all, the good ones as well as the bad, the fantastic ones as well as the prosaic, see if you can predict what then actually happens. (No cheating by using self-fulfilling prophecies like ‘I am sure I won’t enjoy it.’)

Then there are the things that you feel compelled to do. No strange force is compelling you, not any person other than yourself. When you see your own values clearly you can ask, ‘Do I do this because I believe it is right or do I do it because the parent in my head tells me to and I am too scared to disobey’?

You are you, you are the parent in your head, you are the child who is scared to disobey. You can spend the rest of your life `going around as three squabbling people, or you can choose` to make into yourself one whole person.

Resource
Copyright(c) Dorothy Rowe. Depression: The way out of your prison. SECOND EDITION. 1983, 1996. Routledge, New York, NY.pp.225-226.

Depression made me think I was losing my mind, until I did two things that changed my life forever

“What is happening to me,” I asked myself, as I spent another week of struggling to get out of bed. It was like a 500 pound lead weight had dropped on top of me. I felt that whatever commands I issued to my body, “like get out of bed,” the message never reached my body.

The only thing that I knew what to do was to force myself to move the body and hopefully the mind would follow, be it reluctantly. And that is exactly what happened. Every morning after was a struggle, but I did manage to push myself out of bed and I got myself to work. When work ended, I went home and immediately hit the bed. What’s going on here? I asked. I had no clue that what was the matter was that my body was shutting down and that my mind gradually became powerless to make any positive changes in my behavior or thinking.

It was only as I started to walk five miles a day in a local mall, just to promote the fact that I was up and out and able to get to work. I want to make the point here that even though this walking continued for over a year and half, I still was forcing myself to get out of bed. Every morning the debate in my head started all over again. By now I had developed some resistance to staying in bed and just realized, if I was to save my job, I had to walk.

Eventually, the walking was a way out of the prison that my mind had constructed. Eventually, I learned that the way I was living my life and the negativity that I had embraced in my thinking, together threw me into a deep dark pit. Before I was able to figure out what was happening to me, I became depressed. The more I tried to figure out, in my mind, why I was depressed the more I became further depressed, isolated and alone. Then I did something that changed my life to this very day.

The first thing that I did was to force myself to get out of bed and walk, walk, and walk some more. (I still walk three times a week). I know first-hand, the potential life-threatening nature of depression.

The second most important discovery for my recovery was to find a group of men and women just like myself, all who were depressed and looking for a way out of their depression. It was this 12 Step fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous, that has been an integral part of the way I live my life today. If you are looking for what I found, namely, a way to quit saddening yourself, this support group may be your lifeline as much as it continues to be for me today. And I still attend this meeting, even though I have not been depressed for many years, I attend because I find that I can help others to find the hope and peace that it promised and provides for me today.

Discover important information at www.depressedanon.com for our online virtual Zoom meetings which meet every day of the week. Other DA sponsored groups also meet during the week. There are no fees and dues. Come and share or just come and listen. You will find that you are not alone. We are all on this journey of hope together…and we do recover.

For the fellowship, Hugh S.

The three questions I need to answer

I have learnt that in order to do any sort of recovery, there are three questions I need to answer. Basically, the three questions are simple in nature and not complicated.

When the Depressed Anonymous Workbook was being considered for publication and to be utilized as a critical piece of the recovery process, the Workbook was the other piece amplifying the message of the Depressed Anonymous Manual. As I began to use the Workbook, I had to reflect upon my own feelings of depression, clarifying the effects of sadness in my life. Also, I am poised to examine my relationships with family, friends and others with whom I was in contact over the years of my life. It is in the circle of these friendship and relationships that my life has been lived. We don’t live as hermits.

I guarantee that you will find a plethora of information about who you are, and how you think about yourself. Your response to so many situations that have brought you to the point where you are today. I believe, having gone through the Workbook myself, question by question and chapter by chapter with those with whom I served as a co-sponsor. I am amazed at the self-awareness that is stimulated for so many of us when we put our energies into this personal and unique process of gaining a new self-awareness of the real me. Many are surprised at the Workbook questions and one’s own responses which the questions elicited from us. The whole Workbook/Manual helps each of us face the real me and not the person whom you believed you were. So many times I find the person going through the Steps, gradually replaces mistaken beliefs about themselves, while Slowly coming into contact with the “real” and not the “false” self that others have wanted us to be, even from our earliest childhood days. Now, by finding answers to questions which were never asked and if they were asked, were not much help. Not that we didn’t want to share, but that we didn’t have an answer. Now, we not only are providing answers about who we are, we also are finding ourselves empowered as we continue to empower ourselves with the right to feel, think, and behave in ways that fits who we know we are. The three questions and their answers are unlocking those of us who were in “lockdown” but now are free.

Here are those three questions that you will be answering, at your own speed, in your own time, in more depth, as you’ve move through the Workbook.

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I want?
  3. And who is my God?

If I am depressed or a loved one is depressed-the depression doesn’t define all that I am. Even though I may feel depressed all over- this can’t define all that I am. Just as someone who has an eating disorder – this eating disorder doesn’t define their whole person, just as being an alcoholic doesn’t define the whole total person. We might call someone an alcoholic or an addict but the label never defines the whole person.

If you are in a recovery program, such as Depressed Anonymous, it’s obvious that you are seeking help to find a way out of the prison of your own depression. The Workbook will provide you with many questions, and answers, (many your own) to help you find what you REALLY want for your life. The entire Workbook is a process of turning over each and every rock of sadness and gradually provide you with the tools, the support and the faith to overcome a life built on fear, anxiety and misery. You have the solution with credible answers that can and will provide you with a way out – the problem is no one ever told you that you have a choice or gave you the tools to gradually work your way out.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

RESOURCES
© The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
© Depressed Anonymous, Third Edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Both of these books can be ordered from the Depressed Anonymous Publications website Bookstore @depressedanon.com
These two book can be purchased as a combo editions at a reduced price. They are also available as eBOOKS, and are less expensive as you have the ability to print them on your computer.

Statement
All books sold here on our website, the monies go back into buying more books, so as to keep our organization functioning. All work is done by Depressed Anonymous member’s service work. WE receive no outside help as we are self-supporting.

Fun? When was the last time you had some?

In Step Four of our Depressed Anonymous Workbook, we find the statement: “When was the last time you had some fun?” You could also add when was the last time you actually laughed or even had a smile on your face? In one of our early Depressed Anonymous meetings. Bob told the group that the DA meeting was the only place where he could actually find himself laughing.

At our online Depressed Anonymous meetings, we are presently sharing our thoughts and feelings about Step Four. As part of our inventory, there are a number of questions pertaining to our Family of Origin. The following section helps me to take and reflect on my own family of origins and the relationship that I had with all those persons who I shared my life in those early childhood years.

In order to make a good inventory I need to go to my roots and discover how I came to be the person that I am today. AS the saying goes, “WE are our parents.”
When we were small, we “swallowed” our parents, meaning “swallowed” their main personality characteristics. Even today parents, grandparents, a stepparent, or guardian all are now part of our personality -for good or for ill. For myself to escape from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages from my depression I need to discover how I might have received certain messages about myself from those adults who surrounded me as a helpless infant and child. All of us have received messages as children -some helpful and others not so helpful. Some messages directed toward us might have made us feel worthless because we got the message that we could never do anything to please others.

Our Depressed Anonymous manual, with an excerpt from Step Four gives a detailed and traumatic account of one of my experiences as a 10-year-old child. This event had recurring consequences for my young life and into my adult years. We might want to take a deeper look into some of the unpleasant feelings that we have today, traced to their origins in our childhood. I know for a fact that these events, producing guilt and shame, were finally dealt with in therapy as a young adult.

“I still remember being embarrassed when my third-grade teacher told me in front of the whole class That I would never be like my brother who was much smarter than me. I used to feel my face get hot every time I thought about that embarrassing incident. But the more I share my shame of having been exposed to others about something that I had no control over, the freer I became of that fear. The same principle is at work here in the Depressed Anonymous group. We can take our own personal inventory of our weaknesses and fears and trust the group to hear us out and accept our stories of shame and hurt as we accept theirs. We begin to see how and why so many people feel bad because in their earlier years people made them feel they could never measure up to the way others expected them to grow up. By becoming our little child once more, we paradoxically grow up.”

More about our childhood experiences, pleasant and unpleasant in the days to follow. And since it is time for school to start again, it seems that our bodies, sensors that they are, remind us that the Fall weather and school both arrive at the same time of year.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, p.29.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, (2011) THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, p. 55.

Depressed? Looking for a stable and secure environment?

Depressed and feeling alone? This is what many of us have felt when a combination of the many symptoms of depression shackled us physically and put our mind in park.

Some of us felt that there must be a way out of the pain of depression, but as yet were unable to find what might help us. But this feeling changed once I came into the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, our 12 Step program of recovery. When I was asked if I would like to share with others my own path of recovery I heartily agreed. Here is my story.

I am sharing my story here to give others a chance to read what happens when we land in this circle of friendship with its healing acceptance and support.
After ten years of repeated meetings with the depressed of Depressed Anonymous meetings, it’s clear that that the meetings create a secure base for those who in their childhood had neither kindness nor the life giving warmth and affection of a loving family.
People who keep coming back to Depressed Anonymous continue to grow and become aware of the inner change taking place, week after week, as they find not only attention to their story, but find that they are loved and and cared for at the same time. Possibly for the first time they find that they look forward to each weekly meeting and become attached to the positive feelings that emerge inside themselves as they continue to share the story of their pain. In time they share how their week is suddenly being filled with more good days than bad. It also becomes obvious to the participant that childhood behavior and experiences are carried right on into adult life. Trusting is such a hazard for the depressed, because every person is different. You can’t trust your environment because it could suddenly shift and you would be without a certainty that you were bad and worthless. The meetings gradually present to you an opportunity to be someone worthwhile and valued. Your sharing and risking information about yourself begins the construction of a new and secure you. The DA group becomes for the first time in your life a very secure and stable environment where you can share, trust and grow.
–Anonymous

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 162-163. (Personal stories: #25. Depressed Anonymous provides a secure (love and acceptance) base for those who never experienced love nor support growing up.


To read more stories of inspiration (Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com. Literature can be ordered online. Ebooks are also available.

I’m depressed! Where do I go from here?

NOTICE: Whenever a blog post mentions an online meeting be sure to consult the page Online Depressed Anonymous Meetings for the most up to date and correct information. If the blog post is more than a few days old there is a chance it could be incorrect.

“Now that I have admitted I am having a difficult time living I want to learn some new avenues that will make my life more enjoyable and much more livable.” Depressed Anonymous Workbook, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. 2002.
Are the sad feelings of depression causing your life to be lived inside the prison of hopelessness? Have your moods deepened to the extent that you are no longer able to function. By that I mean are you unable to do even the basic things like talking to family or friends, holding onto a job, getting out of bed in the morning, or just to concentrate on any single thought for any length of time. Some of us are unable to sleep when we are depressed. Some of us gain weight because of inactivity and fatty comfort foods. If you say yes to any of the above life changers then you could possibly be suffering from the symptoms of depression.

I know now that at the point that I think my life is at its lowest point…that is when this program of recovery came into my life. I believe with the Psalmist who once stated that we need to commit ourselves to God, trust in him, and that the God of my understanding will act in my behalf.

When we learn to let go+ of those persons, mental images, painful past personal situations and memories the better I am able to let God control my life. I find this letting go a fearsome project but nevertheless I find that I must do it if I want to find hope once again.

“Some of the major ways people help buiild the walls of derpession are to consider themselves worthless, won’t allow themselves to get angry, they can’t forgive themselves or others, and they beleive that life is hard and death is worse. Also, they beleive that since bad things happened to them in the past bad things are bound ti happen to them in the future.”
Depressed Anonymous, Third Edition, Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisvile. KY. 2011. Page 28-38.

And so to answer my question, where do I go from here? I personally suggest that you find a Depressed Anonymous meeting and be part of the conversation. But now with the covid-19 surrounding us, most face to face meetings have paused for safety reasons.

We are now very fortunate to have an online International Depressed Anonymous Skype meeting every day. It is live at 11:30AM CST and at 12:30PM EST. The Depressed Anonymous meeting originates from the USA, and can be accessed by anyone with the Internet.

For more information please go to www.depressedanon.com, click onto Depressed Anonymous HOMEPAGE drop down menu at MEETINGS and it is there you wil find a link to the meeting live.

If there are other questions please contact Depanon@Hotmail.com

For more information about Literature on Depression and the 12 Steps please click onto THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE for online ordering.

The DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS Third Edition is available as well as the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK. Both these can be downloaded as Ebooks from our website.