Category Archives: Fear

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.

We can do the possible – the impossible takes a little more time

If there are challenges for me today, I remember other days when what seemed impossible was made possible.
– AA Grapevine

Can you relate to this statement? I sure can. Like most of us, I always felt that when facing an obstacle of whatever kind and size, I just believed that the effort was too much. This was always my thinking, especially when I was living in my emotional and mental desert of depression.

Just getting out of bed was a Herculean task. I didn’t even know why I couldn’t get out of bed, but I did know this, the effort that it would take was just impossible. The challenge was more than my mind and my body could handle.

When I discovered the twelve spiritual principles (steps) of recovery I discovered that I had to face the challenge, admit that and that I was powerless. By using the tools which my fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous, was giving me, I began to climb out of the hole that I was in. From that point on, the challenges that faced me every day, I found they were no longer impossible to face and overcome. Yes, the impossible does take a little more time and work, but no longer living in a hole, makes taking on the challenge worth it.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

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.

MISS MY SAD THOUGHTS

MISSING 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: thedepressionstories@gmail.com. She would love hearing from you.

The ways we can make a “conscious contact” with our God.

For many of us, this might be the first time that we have run into information on how to make a “conscious contact” with God. In our program of Depressed Anonymous this is what we actually accomplish as we work through the 12 spiritual principles of recovery.

In Step 11 of our mutual aid group, our recovery program, Depressed Anonymous, has a clear and succinct method for making this a strong possibility for those of us who are willing to follow God’s path to freedom.

In Step 11 we learn how to get in touch with the God of our understanding.

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

The major words that stand out in this Step are prayer, meditation, doing God’s will for us and the and the power to carry it out.

On pages 95-96, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition we read

“That when we are especially depressed, it is hard to keep our mind on things such as prayer, but with continued effort and practice, we can come to believe that whatever we are doing just might be better than sitting in our pool of self-pity. If we haven’t ever been big on ‘organized religion’ we have a good chance that this new approach in being with God is much less judgemental, and that this God of the Twelve Steps is much more accepting than other concepts of God that we might once have held. Sometimes we have found that our religious background has filled us with a large amount of crippling guilt, shame and hopelessness rather than the complete acceptance that we will receive from the Higher Power.”

By now, here at Step 11 we have made some great strides in not only understanding the nature of our depression, but also to spend some time on what brought us to this point in the first place.

Our journey of hope begins with Step 1, where we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable. This admission is what brought me into our fellowship, Depressed Anonymous. It is here that my life began to change for the better. I became part of a fellowship where I learned that it was my belief that this Higher Power, who greater than myself, could finally restore me to sanity.

Throughout the process of living with the 12 spiritual principles in my own life and becoming part of the life of all those who are the DA fellowship, I gradually learned the more I placed my trust in my Higher Power,and kept in contact with his will, my life, thinking, feelings and behaviors changed dramatically for the better. The closer I stayed in contact with God, took part in my fellowship meetings, talked with my sponsor on a regular basis the more serenity became big part of my life.

THE YEAR 2022
How to continue CONSCIOUS CONTACT with God and making your life a daily retreat.

In 2022 my daily life will start with prayer and meditation each morning. I will sit quietly, get my mind quiet, start at the same time and be in the same location every day. This regular schedule helps us stay focused on our time with God.
The following is my plan and I hope it might be yours as well. You can use those prayers and meditations that best suit you.

1. I will read my HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS.
2. i will focus on a paragraph or two from reading our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MANUAL,THIRD EDITION.
3.Answer a few questions FROM THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK

Following the daily retreat I will make an entry into my Journal about any inspiring thought that I can carry with me throughout my day.
Hugh, for the fellowship

ALL DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS LITERATURE CAN BE ORDERED ONLINE FROM OUR DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE.

Courage to Change

Fear has held me back so often in life, especially in depression. Although I hated the feelings of depression, there was a security in that dark depressing place. A respite from the uncertainties of the world. Change involves uncertainty – or the question “What if?”  My mind automatically goes to the negative.  What if I try this again & fail again? What if I can’t do it?  What if I’m not capable?  And so on. The needle on my mental compass defaults to negative thinking. I have to make a serious effort to shift my thinking to the positive.  It occurred to me that I could ask myself other “what if” questions.  What if I can make a positive change?  What if I am capable?  What if I can do something good for myself? What would that look like, and what would that feel like? It was almost scary to find out!  Again, because it was different and new.

I’ve made a lot of positive changes in my life lately, and I had to ask my Higher Power for help. I said, “God, please give me the courage to change the things I can.  Please give me the courage to walk through the fear. I know that with Your help, one day at a time, this is possible.”  It has been possible, and it still is!  I’ve been walking through fear and making positive changes!  Two years ago I thought it would be impossible for me to get up Monday through Friday and go to work (let alone get out of bed and be functional, or show up to chair a meeting). But with the help of my Higher Power, this program & the fellowship – just for today – God has given me the courage to walk through fear and change the things I can. And for that, I am immensely grateful. ❤

Fear

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Frank Herbert, Dune

I recently watched the film Dune and was struck by this mantra given in the first half of the movie. Most of my fears are imaginations or are irrational. Is it rational to be afraid of being attacked by a tiger on the streets of New York City? No, that is definitely not rational. If however, I was walking in the jungles of India, at dusk, then it is a rational fear for me to have.

I must separate the rational from the irrational – the true from the imagined. If the fear is irrational then I need to focus on the reality of the present moment. Where am I? What am I feeling emotionally? Is it helpful for me to act out of that place of irrational fear? No, it is not helpful for me to act from that place of imagined fear.

What about facing rational and true fears? Courage is not having no fear, but rather facing your fear and acting anyway. If you truly do have to walk in the jungles of India at dusk, wear a backwards facing mask as that greatly diminishes the chances of a tiger attack.

Ask yourself “what can I do, in this moment, to protect myself from this true and rational fear?” Don’t give into the fear. Choose to act from a place of serenity and calm. You’ll be amazed at the results you will see.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

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.

A light at the end of the tunnel

Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that I don’t do myself any good blaming myself with those daily reminders of how bad and unacceptable I am. I now an conscious.

  1. CONSCIOUSNESS. I am conscious of my need to discover what there is about myself that I do not find acceptable, good and wholesome.
  2. PREPARATION. I am aware how I have depressed myself by the faulty beliefs that I have held about myself over past years. I now know that part of the way I feel is due to the way I automatically talk to myself through out the day. I now realize that my feelings about myself are very negative and emotion laden.
  3. ACTION. i intend today to replace all negative statements that I make about myself, like waving a red flag before my eyes every time I call myself “stupid” or put myself down mentally. I will use affirmations such as the following: ‘I will build a new life for myself. I am strong today. I have the courage to go through the experience. I will no longer blame myself or others for my depression. I do not have to wait for someone to make me feel better, as I can do this myself if I choose to do so.’
  4. SUSTAIN. I am very hopeful that I can feel better just for today. I am going to tolerate my imperfections while at the same time refusing to feel sorry for myself. I am going to make myself accountable for how I feel, not blame it on someone or others.

RESOURCES
Copyright(C) Believing is seeing: 15 Ways to leave the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 54-55.
Copyright(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 40241.
Copyright (C) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.(2002). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.
Copyright (C) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. (2011). DAP. Louisville, KY 40241.
Copyright(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) SECOND EDITION. DAP. Louisville, KY. 40241.

NOTE
These publications can be ordered online at www.depressedanon.com. These books can be purchased together or individually. The DA Workbook and the DA Manual, THIRD EDITION, are available as Ebooks and are downloadable. If you order with the intent of setting up a Depressed Anonymous support group, having all five publications will be a source of support library for the fellowship.

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.