Category Archives: Compulsion

Keeping the dance going: A metaphor

When I was depressed (for over a year) I got hooked up with a dance partner who  continually  stepped on my feet.  I knew that stopping the dance was  my only way out.  I imagined  if I could learn a little more about the dance and  the proper step sequence things would turn out better for me.

The more I tried to think things out, try different step sequences the worse things got. It’s like walking up a flight of stairs and  carefully watching   each foot as it lifts to go from  one level to the  next. It’s a strange feeling as our mind and body become frozen from  what is normally an automatic sequence.  We don’t even think about the fact that our feet are taking the steps up one at a time.

From my own experience with this circular dance I learned that the more I  thought about why I was doing what I was doing the more my partner (my physical  body) came to a standstill.  My mind went round and round over a  sequence,  which I was hoping would free me. Instead, the dance stopped. I left the dance floor (my world) and retreated into my own little life surroundings,  going over and over again , completely obsessed with trying to figure out  a dance sequence, with a  result,  like the  wrestler’s “body slam” which  flattened and pinned me to the floor.  No matter how hard I tried to figure out what went wrong, the more this circular dance tightened it’s grip on my thinking, my body and everything else that had made me  an active part of my world, friends and future. I am all alone.

In the Depressed Anonymous Publication,  I’ll do it when I feel better, we read

“We all know that any addictive /compulsive type of behavior gradually removes you from the regular activities of persons around you, including family, friends and coworkers, until you are established in the narrow confines of pain and isolation. We are always going to be just a little more isolated  the more we try to think our addiction through in the circle of our own thoughts. ”

Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better., 2nd edition. Hugh M. Smith (2018)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Page 61.

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

The compulsive nature of depression

“Given the need for control in all people to one degree or another, it is not at all surprising to discover that compulsive patterns are often related to depression. Compulsive patterns are by their very nature attempts to control anxiety, fear, doubt, and of course depression through establishing a repetitive and even ritualistic way of managing aspects of one’s experience.

Consider some common patterns of the compulsive personality. Such individuals are characterized as being highly moralistic and judgmental, excessively preoccupied with rules and protocol, and emotionally distant. Why the preoccupation with rules and judgments? The tendency to feel out of control (and thus anxious, afraid, doubtful, and depressed) is very strong if every detail of every experience that life has to offer is not covered in the rule book…When a person requires or expects others to follow his or her rules, he or she is inevitably disappointed, angry, and hurt when they do not.  When a person adheres to a rigid rule system for managing the unpredictable and often different things that are a part of life, the ability to adapt flexibility as times and rules change is underdeveloped…it is these types of rigidities  –that can get  and keep depression going…Given the  involvement of early learnings about control, power, responsibility, and other issues  central to depression it can be a useful assignment to have the client identify  his or her values that underlie the range of choices likely to be perceived by him or her.   This exercise is called “Me Mapping.” Thus the client is required  to think about the positions of each of the people that played a significant role in his or her development. The client can consciously discover how readily such positions can be identified and may likewise discover how readily  such positions can be identified and may likewise  discover that their positions are unknown. Either outcomes provides for interesting and useful discoveries. The individual who under controls  situations is the person in  the  helpless “victim” mid set. When opportunities arise in which the individual could act  in a specific way in order to favorably influence the outcome of a situation or escape a hazard, he or she does not act…The individual who over controls situations will attempt to  exert control over situations that are, in fact, beyond the range of his or her influence. For such individuals, there is a blurring of the lines between hope and  reality. The individual may know what he or she  wants and will attempt to attain it, only to become increasingly stressed and depressed as the goal slips further and further away. By interpreting the inability to attain the goal as evidence of personal failure than as having attempted to reach a goal outside the sphere of one’s influence, depression is a predictable consequence. “

SOURCE: (c) Copyright. When Living  Hurts. Michael D. Yapko.  Psychology Press. (1988 . pp.104, 105, 106. 117.

Ruminating about ruminating is like a dog chasing its tail

How can I “fix” my incessant need to ruminate? How can I   get out of this vicious cycle and put my mind on a  different track. This is a small matter when you are changing the track on you CD player. You just click onto the next track and start playing. Not so easy with the human mind and the compulsive nature of ruminating.

Clinicians now have certain practical remedies for their patients who ruminate obsessively  about a life situation. Their mind gets stuck on a single thought, idea or even a past life event. They go round and round without ever reaching a conclusion pro or con about the situation that they are cycling about. It’s much like the  definition of “worry” which compares it to sitting in a  rockling chair –you’re moving but you aren’t going anywhere.

Many times feeling guilty and ruminating round and round  about one’s guilty action, thought or behavior  has the same effect without ever resolving it in one way or the other. Just thinking about a problem without  taking action on changing it, goes nowhere.  The one thing that ruminating can do is to gradually help dig your depression hole deeper.

In my own case, this whole process of ruminating on a particular life issue, gradually spiraled me downward into a hole where I was unable to dig myself out.  I was in this hole for more than a year and it was only until I made a decision to motivate myself  into action did I begin  to see daylight. From that one experience of meeting depression face to face did I learn a great lesson, namely that if I wanted to quit chasing  my thoughts which led me to nowhere, then I must stop the chasing. Simple. Stop the chase. 

Well, I might have learned that to begin to replace the chase with hopeful thoughts, hopeful people and people who knew a great way to leave the chase. The whole idea was to chase after ways  to break up the chain of despairing thoughts and my own inaction.  First of all, I had to protect myself from being vulnerable to every catastrophic thought that flew  randomly  into my head, I had to move out of my isolation and get with a support group who all, as one were spiraling upward and on past their hole digging and into the light of day.

If you stay alone, you will feel alone. And if you feel alone you will hop into that old familiar rocking chair and continue to rock  yourself into nowhere. I know. Been there. Done that!

Chase with hope. Chase and start to spiral upwards  thinking hopeful outcomes for your own life. Listen to the members of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship and learn new ways, new ideas, and have the new found beliefs that make your life filled with possibilities you never dreamed of.

And when my feelings turn downward, that is my clue,  for me to call a friend in the Fellowship, get back to my daily routine of exercise and prayerful meditation, and most importantly get to a meeting.  In this crazy depressed world of ours, here is a place where sanity, serenity and hope can be found. Trust me.

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Read the book that is  giving hope to those who reach out for that one of a kind book Depressed Anonymous that will not only inspire you but provide you with a daily plan on ways to make your life so much better. And if you need a hopeful thought   on a daily basis  read   (c) Higher Thoughts for Down  Days.  Both  are available online.

The Steps had to be the key to get me out of this prison

As a new member of Depressed Anonymous, Linda knew that she:

would have to work very hard, because you really have to fight depression – negative thoughts replaced by positive thoughts – action to create motivation. Most of all, I had to surrender to God, quit controlling everything and everyone, including God. Let go and let God. So I started reading the Twelve Steps. At first, I was really rebellious, so much so that I didn’t go back to the group for two weeks. I was too depressed, but inside I knew the Steps had the key to get me out of this prison. They pointed me to my Higher Power, which unashamedly is Jesus Christ. (‘Made a decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand God’ – Ed.) Now I attend every meeting, sharing the things I learned and the times I fall (which are still quite a few) into depression. But it is working, and I could not be writing this right now if it was not for the love and the support of these very special people. As a matter off act, I told them once a week was not enough for me. The leader suggested that I start another one, which is just what I have done. I now attend the meetings twice a week – twice is nice.

– Linda

Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. © 2011, Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville KY
Personal stories #6. I was a compulsive over – eater, pages 116-117

The Twelve Steps: A powerful means of recovery

 

“The Twelve Steps are the essential beliefs and at the very core of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous recovery program, modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous,  which originally developed to help men and women deal with their addiction to alcohol, one day at a time. The Twelve Steps have ben found to be a potent means of recovery for those who desire to free themselves from their compulsions. The Twelve Steps are basically a program of letting go of our compulsions and handing over our will to the care of God as we understand God. Essentially our program is a step by step way to change not only our addictions but our way of life. Change happens when we choose to change. The fellowship of the group and our desire to make changes in our lives is what provides our life-giving spiritual experience. Many people get organized religion and spirituality mixed up and Depressed Anonymous achieves strength from spirituality without set creed, dogmas or doctrine. All the program asks of a person who comes to the meetings is only to have a sincere desire to stop the compulsion of saddening themselves.

We make no apologies for our faith in a God who can restore one not only to sanity but to serenity and joy as well. “We never apologize for God. Instead we let God demonstrate, through us, what God can do. We ask God to remove our fear and direct our attention to what God would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow  fear.” (AA).

The God as we understand God is what appeals to more and more persons as we admit our helplessness over our compulsive, depressive thoughts, actions or behaviors. We feel we have lost all control over everything-including our thinking! The depressed person is aware that their unpleasant thinking is a cyclical and spiraling process where there is never a respite.  The obsessiveness driven by one’s feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness is the fuel that continues our own isolation.  The experience is not so much a psychopathology as it is a way  for our human spirit to comfort itself. The depression then is more a dis-ease of isolation and  being disconnected than it is a biological disorder.” .

SOURCE:  COPYRIGHT(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.  Pages  162-163.

Please VISIT OUR STORE,  then click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information on the literature that is available  online.

What You Think Is What You Become

 

 

” Our real identity is emerging from the sadness as we try to live one day at a time. Of course I am still testing it out but I feel better and for the first time in 14 years I have hope. It’s not that hard to find something positive about my life now. So, I remind myself of something positive everyday and that’s what I’m going to do until I don’t have to remind myself anymore because I’ll know.   Remarkable things happen to us when we are willing to admit defeat and talk about our powerlessness over our depression and how our lives had become unmanageable. The first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living. At our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous we talk hope. We are hopeful, and we think hope. We learn that our thinking depressed and negative thoughts might have got us in the shape that we are in today. What you think is what you become. For us who find sadness our second nature, we at times continue to revert to the old comfort of our old familiar negative thinking and are in actuality returning to self-destructive activity. Sadness is overcome by hope.”

SOURCE: Copyright (c)I’ll do it when I feel better. (2016) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 69-70.

Get connected! Learn how to get connected and begin feeling better!!

#NINE BELIEF

Excerpts from Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2017) DAP. Louisville. pgs 47-50.

“Withdrawing from friends and other social contacts is the first clue that you are slipping back into the isolation and pain of depression. Move toward a friend,  get a sponsor, and go to a 12 Step meeting. Ask your Higher Power for that  nudge that can guide you into the appropriate path.”

“I know in my heart that when I just sit at home by myself, isolating and ruminating within my head about all the terrible things that have happened to me, or are about to happen, that is when I depress  myself even more. Get connected!”

It’s our addictive thinking, our compulsive way of processing infor- mation, which describes how we habitually store the negative but continue to dump the positive information which continually  24/7 flows into our brain. These negative thoughts and feelings persist in keeping  us falling back into the old habit of staying isolated and avoiding others. We might fool ourselves and say that people have nothing to offer me and that is why I distance myself from everyone. Part of my nature when depressed is to avoid and distance myself from whatever I feel is threatening, like a child afraid of the dark.

We know that depression grows stronger when   isolating ourselves from others.

Dorothy Rowe,  tells us in her award winning book, DEPRESSION: THE WAY OUT OF YOUR PRISON, that

“Seeing yourself as  a basically  good person reduces the need  for other people’s approval. If you see yourself as good, you  can set up a select group of people whose approval you desire and can be indifferent to the opinion of the multitude. But if you see yourself as basically bad then you need everybody’s approval….”

David Karp,   in  SPEAKING OF SADNESS  shares the following thought

” that depression is an illness of isolation, a dis-ease of disconnection. As with much of social life, and consequently with much compelling sociological analysis, it is irony that captures the complexity of things. The irony to be explained in Chapter 2 is that depressed persons greatly desire connection  while they are simultaneously deprived of the ability to realize it. Much of depression’s pain arises out of the recognition that what might make one feel better –human connection–seems impossible in the midst of a paralyzing episode of depression. It is rather like dying from thirst while looking at a glass of water just beyond one’s reach.”

For those who have no Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group to connect with in their own local community, our  Publisher, Depressed Anonymous Publications has made available the HOME SELF STUDY KIT. The HOME  SELF STUDY KIT program of recovery includes both the  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.  These  two excellent guides provide us with a path out of depression.   By  answering the stimulating  questions  as provided by the WORKBOOK, one also is able to discover the nature of depression while learning how to apply the 12 spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous to their own lives.

No longer do we have to be alone or feel disconnected in our depression. We provide the necessary resources to help an individual be connected with a community worldwide  who know what it means to be depressed. You don’t have to be alone any longer!

To see what literature is available from our Publisher,   visit the STORE here at our website  www.depressedanon.com. You can now order online.

How do people change?

People change by facing themselves and discovering a process, a step by step process, where we begin to be aware of why we are the way we are. In THE  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK, a companion volume to DEPRESSED ANONMYMOUS,  3rd edition, (HOME STUDY PROGRAM)  we  will  find  answers on how to change.

We learn that depression distorted us from the truths of life, namely, that life is to be lived with hope and serenity. Nursing along a good habit can in time wean us from old and debilitating  habits of thought and behavior. We want to daily fill our day with the gratitude that we are indeed getting better and that the trust we have is indeed placed in the Higher Power.

In order for us to escape depression we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. That process is of a nature a spiral instead of a straight line. In other words, now we are willing to risk feeling differently and we have been gearing up to improve our situation. In other words we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.

  1. AWARENESS STAGE: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way we do. Something has to give.
  2. MOTIVATING STAGE: I am going to prepare  myself for needed changes in my thinking, acting and feeling.
  3. DOING STAGE:   I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changed that have to be made by me if I am to feel differently.
  4. MAINTAINING STAGE: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working of the 12 Step program for recovery.

Now apply these  four stages which serve as antidotes to our character defects (ideas and habits which continue to make us feel sad). These defects of character cause us to stay imprisoned in our prison of depression.

In the days to follow we will examine  THE FOLLOWING THREE  issues which confront the daily lives of most of us when we are depressed.

(1) BLAMING ourselves and/or others for our problems.

(2) BEING A VICTIM.

(3) ANXIETY AND INNER JITTERINESS.

For those of you who desire a more complete approach to finding what depression is, what it does to our self esteem and ways to overcome our isolation and sadness, persons  depressed  have utilized the HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORBOOK, with its question and answer format,  provides a pathway leading  to the road to serenity and community. You find that others just like yourself started where you are starting and found answers to why we have become depressed in the first place.  By the time you have worked out answers to all the questions posed by the author in the WORKBOOK you may discover your best self. And, isn’t that what we all are looking for?

With the WORKBOOK, there is the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS Big Book, 3rd edition., which is coordinated with each Step in the WORKBOOK and provides a recovery process which will complement one’s own progress in working the program

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

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

VISIT THE STORE, which lists all literature from DAP.,  and order online if you wish, the HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

Spirituality requires risk

Alcoholism (depression) and addiction , characterized as they are by the rigid clinging of obsession and compulsion, help us to understand the experience of release. Perhaps the greatest paradox in the story of spirituality is the mystical insight that we are able to experience release only if we let ourselves go. This is the paradox of surrender. Surrender begins with the acceptance that we are not in control of the matter at hand –in fact, we are not in absolute control of anything. Thus the experience of surrender involves the “letting in” of reality that becomes possible only when we are ready to “let go” of our illusions and pretensions (our unreality).

If surrender is the act of “letting go” the experience of conversion can be understood as the hinge on which the act swings – it is the turning point, the turning from “denial” as a way of seeing things to acceptance of the reality revealed in surrender. The self-centeredness that reflects a false relationship with reality, and that false relationship begins with distorted seeing, with some kind of false understanding about the nature of reality and our relationship with it. Breaking through that denial and confronting reality is what members of Alcoholics Anonymous and Depressed Anonymous mean by “hitting bottom.”

The experience or release most frequently comes at the point of exhaustion, at the moment when we “give up” our efforts to just be…

What blocks release more than anything else is the refusal to “let go” that comes from the demand for security, for certainty, for assured results. Release, like spirituality, requires risk.”


SOURCE: The Spirituality of Imperfection. (1992) Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchum. Bantam, NY. , Page 173.

WORKING IT OUT

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Our feelings expressed and positively received by the group allow us then to focus on the way we think about ourselves, and make it possible for us to parent ourselves instead of  continually seeking out the lost unavailable parent in the guise of multiple sexual relationships, alcohol, gambling, and any of the many other compulsions that are used  to fill the void in our lives.

Practicing  the  program enables  us to be used by the Higher Power to do the most good that we can and which our Higher Power wants us to do.”

In the Depressed Anonymous Workbook(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville., in the section relating to Step number 11, (Page 80) read the following statement  and respond with your own answers to questions about what you are doing now that you were not doing before you came into the Depressed Anonymous group?

“I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to “live without it.” It is truly living in the will and mind of God that will help us, one day at a time to stop being so compulsive in our rigid and automated thinking about people and things so that we do not let our dated emotions and thoughts predict what the outcome of our perceptions ought to be.” (See Page 95 in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

For best results in working out a gradual release from the darkness of the depression is to use the WORKBOOK and 3rd edition of DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS together. We call this the HOME STUDY KIT. Please VISIT THE STORE here at our website (www.depressedanon.com)  for more information about the  literature that is now available.