Category Archives: Denial

Addicted to sadness?

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.

  1. It’s an unhealthy coping mechanism for life’s ills.
  2. It worked for a while but now it no longer works.
  3. It has made your life unmanageable.
  4. It is a disease that tells you that you don’t have a disease.
  5. You lie about how often you do this drug/behavior.
  6. You think about it most, if not all, of the time.
  7. You have continuously done this drug/behavior even though it has done great harm to you and loved ones.
  8. It may have caused you to be fired from a job.
  9. It may have caused you to be admitted to a hospital/mental institution.
  10. It may have caused you to be arrested.
  11. 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

Depression and Security

“Being depressed is a state of great security.Jackie said (client of D.Rowe) , ‘I get very quiet. I don’t want to know anyone. Very angry. I get very hurtful, not intentional hurt, but that’s the only way I can get through to people, so they don’t get any closer. If I hurt them, they’ll stay away and therefore I can be on my own in this depression, and hide behind the mask and just solely by hurting people, being quiet, feeling angry inside and putting the barrier up, that’s how I can keep people away, which I feel helps me in the state of depression.I need to feel safe within the blackness. A fear of being with people. Being really frightened of everything and anybody around you. It’s just so painful. You feel drained of everything. Hiding behind the mask is putting yourself away from the outside world. The world you were frightened of stepping into, but people still seeing you with that smile, the joking, the laughing, and that is where the mask comes on. Behind the mask, I am suffering hurt and pain, rejection, helplessness, but behind the mask and shutting myself within four walls, I feel secure, because none of the outside world can come in unless I let them hurt me.
Because depression gives a feeling of security, the depressed person can feel very much in control. (We are always capable of being two contrary things at once. Depression is always a state of complete helplessness and complete control,) A depressed person can take great pride in being in control.”

SOURCE: BEYOND FEAR. Dr. Dorothy Rowe, Fontana, London, 1987, pp. 307-308.

Published in The Antidepressant Tablet(c) Issue: Volume 4, Number 3 SPRING 1993. Louisville, Ky.

Miss My Sad Thoughts

Some days I miss my sad thoughts. They are addictive. They fill a space in me and meet a requirement of comfort and familiarity. Humans require and seek a level of comfort and familiarity. The depressed human is no different. Sadly, it’s the sad thoughts that provide the deep level of comfort. When I remove the sadness, I have to work to replace that big open field of nothingness left. It feels hard. It feels like work. Pressure and effort. I want to fall back into the sad thinking because, I know very well how to form those thoughts and how to feel them. How to make use of them, strangely. They serve a strong purpose. They validate my depression and vice a versa. They have lived in me for so long that to have to fill the void of their space feel so hard. It feels like big shoes to fill. I feel pressed, just trying. My mind is having to accept this new training I am putting it through. It doesn’t want to change. It is not welcoming of these new positive thoughts at first. It is a struggle. My mind wrestles back and forth: ‘I just want to go home and go to my bed. No, no! You want to keep grocery shopping…! No, please, I just need to lie down, I’m leaving this group!! I am so depressed. No, no! You are going to do your task today, because, it will make you feel better.’ The better part of me wins and I refuse to be held captive, a victim to this negative dark thinking that is killing me. So, I continue on doing the grocery shopping with an internal mind struggle going on. The whole day seems to continue like this. The back and forth tug of war in my mind! It takes time to truly train the mind to accept the incoming positive thoughts. Affirmations are a needed daily medicine for the saddened mind for sure. It takes consistency. I ask myself how bad do I want to feel better? I continue to retrain my mind every single day. Slowly, I miss my sad thoughts less and less. I feel the need for the positive affirmations more and more. This is the process of healing the depressed mind and thus, my feelings. I look forward to a time where I will not miss my sad thoughts and the struggle between the positive and negative thoughts will not be such a big part of my day.”
Debra NC

“Slowly, I found the positive affirmations more and more and more.”

Copyright(c) Debra Sanford. A Medley of Depression Stories. First edition. (2017) PP> 30-31.( Used with permission.)

You may email Debra: She would love hearing from you.

Motivation follows action

I find that if I am depressed and want to start to feel better, or at least get my mind off depression, I need to go for a walk and get moving. In DA we say that MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT YOU’LL NEVER GET MOTIVATED til YOU GET BUSY DOING SOMETHING. This was my feeling much of the Time. It was only when I actually started walking that I wanted to walk. I didn’t want to do anything to help myself. I didn’t want to do anything to help myself until I forced myself to do something.

I believer much of one’s tiredness, when depressed comes from having too many things going through one’s brain at the same time. The strain of being overwhelmed is too much for the human mind and so it and the body begin to show the stress. I also believe that so many unpleasant emotions constantly coming to surface and being felt by the body results in an overload situation for my brain.

The best way to get into action is to get into action. I know this is so obvious–but when the time comes for me to actually do something–that is a different story. Then my mantra becomes “I’ll do it when I feel better,” and course this doesn’t get me out of bed. This doesn’t get me walking. Instead, what happens, is that my thinking gets caught in that neural rut, much like a merry-go-round. Round and round we go. Nothing ever changes.

Tell yourself that this day is going to be different .Make a commitment to yourself today! Make up your mind that you are not going to ride the merry-go-round horse today.You are going to start small. Take the “baby steps” that just might push you out the door and put some fresh air into your lungs. MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION. Check it out. See, for yourself if this doesn’t work for you.

Copyright(c) Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY January 24, p.15.

I have to say I never really admitted I was depressed. That seemed too heavy and embarrassing to me


           A Medley of Depression Stories. 2017. (With permission of the author Deborah Sanford.) This work can be found available  at

                               Cindy’s Story of regrets.

”  I am realizing what a young woman I was when I had my kids. Now at 32 with 13 and 11 year old sons, I can barely find the energy to just live through today. I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulder to raise them, to teach them morals and care for them and keep them out of trouble.  Since both are diagnosed ADHD, I spend a great deal of time at the school fighting the administration on their behalf. It is exhausting. I hear myself saying in my thoughts: “I just want it to be over.” I feel depressed so often. I think how I just want to run away and leave my husband to raise them. When will  it ever be time for me? Their father works all the time. I would on most day’s trade places with him gladly. The house stays a mess. and their dishes, cups and glasses stay  seated where they leave them. It  doesn’t seem fair.  I don’t remember asking for this job. How could a busy robust life turn into this?  I can’t find the hope to be anything or do anything anymore. By the time I get them raised I will not qualify for any jobs except  spreading peanut butter and jelly on bread!  Some days I think I just could start over but I know I can’t go back 14 years ago. I love my boys to pieces but, I feel so trapped, so hopeless and so valueless. After this ongoing heavy feeling of hopelessness, I found a good therapist who also told me about a local Depressed Anonymous meeting for depression. I have to say I never really admitted I was depressed, that seemed too heavy and embarrassing to me. I didn’t think I was depressed anyway to even search for a depression meeting. I just thought everything in my life was just wrong and messed up. And I just needed  to “figure how to fix it.”   She (therapist) assured me that I had fallen into a depression and that a support group would really benefit me! She was right! I can’t find the words for how much the Depressed Anonymous meetings have helped me. I have been able with help to put things into perspective. I’ve learned to take it one day  at a time. The boys are teenagers and truthfully I wouldn’t have them but for a few more years. I want to treasure the little bit of time left that I will have. And my therapist encouraged me to hire a housekeeper for just three hours a week to mop and catch up laundry  and dishes. My problems are solvable! Thank God! I haven’t  felt trapped and stuck for quite a while now. My husband is always going to have to work long hours but my life has become more manageable in the meantime. And I have met new friends at the support  group who have kids and feel like I was feeling. It’s so nice to be able to relate to them. I am so very grateful for Depressed Anonymous.”

Cindy is a member of Depressed Anonymous. Her story is part of a collection of 35 stories,  all centered on persons depressed who have found   help and hope in the fellowship of Depressed 


NOTE: The author, Debra Sanford, is the Founder of Depressed Anonymous groups in the North Carolina communities of Elizabeth City and Edenton, NC.  We thank her for the permission to post this inspiring story on our Blog today.

  SOURCE: Below you can   get more information  on the new book,  (c) A Medley of Depression Stories.

                        https://the depression stories.

                        Email: the



Halloween, false faces, masks and other disguises

Holloween is a great time to pretend to be someone else. It’s a day when we can all live out our fantasies of being someone than our selves. On this one night of  the year we  are given permission to be  a super hero, a great army leader, an Olympic champion, the world’s greatest athlete. This year there was a great number of Supermen running around, accompanied by a few   Spidermen for the evening , plus the  little Princess and the powerful Wonder woman.

It was great fun. Parents walking with their little one’s, going from door, carrying the bags of booty, like little pirates, with such dreadful threats as “Trick or Treat” belted out  like they meant it.  I recognized some of the monsters and figures of fame, and most I didn’t.  But we all had a great nite acting like we were someone else.

This reminds me of a friend that shared with me his great secret and who he was pretending to be. This wasn’t Holloween though. He was  a doctor addicted to cocaine and other addictive substances. As he gradually removed the mask from his face, tears streaming down his face, and he told me his story. The painful and gradual sinking into the abyss of darkness. He told me  the following and I will never forget the emotion with which he shared this secret of himself.

“I just wish, I wish I could go to the roof of this hospital and tell everyone, those who respect me the  most, as what a fraud I am. I can’t. I want to do it.  I haven’t the courage or the guts. ” And of course he never did. He kept his secret until he died of an overdose.

I took off my mask years ago at an AA meeting. And yes, I told them I was a fraud. Alcohol had given me the best false face a person could have. A fun guy.  A happy Jack who never met a stranger. Then it was time to share another secret, my depression. How I always had a smile pasted on my face even though the tormenting demons of fear, anxiety, and isolation were my constant companions.

What freed me? It was others just like me–all telling  their secrets and paradoxically becoming free. We, all of us in the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship no longer have “to fake it til we make it.”

If you want to tell your story, join us in the new  online group called the Home Study Program. Sign up before November 15th. Here you can have a one on one  Home Study program, with a sponsor and guide.  Check out  the story of Kim at our NEWSLETTER   issue #5. Read how Kim’s life has been changed by working the DA HOME STUDY combo, composed of the Manual and Workbook.

The title of our new Newsletter is THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET, ISSUE 1, FALL, 2017.



Halloween is always a great time for false faces!

This past week we all had a great time being somebody else. It was great fun to see the little Princess, the Cowboy, a super hero, astronaut and all the rest. Don’t you think that all of us would like to be somebody else for awhile – even just for a short time on Halloween eve? Yes, we all would like to be somebody important, somebody who was a mover and shaker, somebody whom everyone loved. You know, like a comedian, a super hero, a great military leader or a great statesman, like Abraham Lincoln. Yes, Halloween is a great time to act like we are someone else. To put on a false face. Everyone wants to know who that is behind that mask?

Have you ever imagined yourself someone else and felt like it fit you quite well? A perfect fit, so to speak. It’s obvious that it brings great fun and laughter all around. We all know that it won’t last long and I can be me again, but not so magical when we are someone else.

I remember when it was Halloween every day, for over a year at a painful time in my life. I was no grand champion of civil rights for the down trodden. I was no medal of Honor recipient for his or her valiant deeds. I was just me – still wearing my false face from Halloween. I never took my mask off. I had to always wear it because I could not let anyone see me, the real me, the hurting and isolated me, imprisoned in my habitual self, serving time till someone freed me from my anxiety.

Years ago, I had a friend who was a medical doctor and who was addicted to opioids and other addictive substances. I still remember his words like they were spoken just yesterday. He wore his false face well. As we talked late one night he shared with me his soul, the mask peeled gently from his face , the tears streaming down his face, as he told me something he never was able to tell anyone else. He told me, hesitatingly, that if “I had the courage and the guts, I would get as high on this hospital roof as I could and shout for everyone to listen up. For everyone to look at me – a horrible and pitiful addict. I would tell them what a fake I have been all my life, that I am a fraud. I the healer telling every one how to live their life and I can’t even begin to live a day without the shot, the pills, alcohol. I want so badly to just be me. Me, to tell others who I really am.”

My visit that night with the doctor has stayed with me all my life. It has stayed with me because I too was at a point like him later one in my own life.

It came upon me so slowly, the feelings of hollowness, the jitteriness and fear. Always the fear. Fear, that someone would discover someone else behind my mask.