Category Archives: Fear

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.

Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world, as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

© Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Ed., page 417

That passage really speaks to me. After reading it I feel centered.

Life is 1% what the world hands you and 99% how you react to it. I’m not trying to minimize the pain and trauma that people go through, but I know that I can create suffering by not accepting the reality of the present moment.

When my daughter died I thought I was being stoic and heroic by going back to work immediately. I was not accepting on a deep and profound level the reality of my situation. I swallowed my emotions. I picked up an addictive behavior and ran from my feelings as opposed to having the courage to feel my emotions. I really didn’t grieve my daughter until 15 years later in a group therapy session.

Whatever pain you’re going through accept the fact that is where you are at the moment. I don’t mean give up and not find a way out through and past the pain. Stop asking yourself and God “WHY did this happen to me?“. For me the WHY is a way that I create suffering for myself.

I’ve had to learn to accept whatever situation I am currently in. Now is not the time for knowing why. When I die I’m sure my Higher Power will tell me why certain things happened to me and for me. Acceptance is the answer to my problems today. Problems morph into situations. Situations are things that need to be dealt with maturely, serenely and soberly. I hope that you can find acceptance with whatever is troubling you today.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

Periodically I will share pearls of wisdom that I’ve heard or read. I will try to include attributions to the original author/speaker.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
I.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
II.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I still don’t see it. I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
It isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
III.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there, I still fall in.
It’s habit. It’s my fault. I know where I am.
I get out immediately.
IV.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
V.
I walk down a different street.

© 1977 Portia Nelson

Yours in recovery, Bill R

Courage To Change The Things I Can

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is having fears, facing them, and taking action. I know that I can be overcome with fear. My depression manifests as a deer in the headlights. I am stuck in inaction. The hardest part is getting started.

Break whatever project you are procrastinating on into small manageable pieces. Start attacking and accomplishing those smaller tasks. Some people say to tackle the low hanging fruit – to start off easy. Some people say to tackle the hardest task first – the one that you are dreading the most. If you can handle the hardest task then you should be able to handle the rest.

Does it matter which way you start? The answer is a resounding no. What matters is that you take action, any action. Start, start NOW! It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake by going into action – you will have momentum on your side, and you can accomplish much more.

Choose action. Pick something, anything that is productive and gets you one step closer to your goal.

You will experience fear, it is to be expected. Have the courage to feel the fear and do it anyway. You may not feel better instantly, but you will feel better eventually.

If you are overcome with fear to the point of inaction don’t worry. Be gentle with yourself. Breathe through your fear and set the task aside for a few moments. Don’t have the attitude of no never, but instead have the attitude of no, not right now. Revisit the task that you put aside. Don’t get trapped in avoidance as you’re merely putting the fearsome task aside for a few moments. Catch your breath, and dive back in.

Be gentle with yourself, but do it!

Yours in recovery, Bill R

I will make a daily inventory of all my strengths

Believing Is Seeing: 15 Ways To Leave The Prison Of Depression – Eleven

I will make a daily inventory of all my positive strengths. I tended to magnify the worst in everything in my life and make mountains out of molehills. I will focus on my stars and not my scars.

“One of the problems of being depressed is that every circumstance and situation is filled with potential hurt and disappointment. The depressed person has a tendency to think in patterns of despair, hurt, and disappointment. It appears to be a proven fact that the more a person keeps their fears and anxious thoughts to themselves, this can cause the mountain to grow larger. But by sharing these fears and thoughts with others, either by writing them out, as in a daily journal, or group discussion (like on SKYPE and ZOOM) we soon discover that our fears are not as big as we thought. The expression of fear many times decreased the size of their fear. Now that we are accepting ourselves we can begin to see that we possess the strength and persistence to tackle whatever obstacle lies ahead.

One of the features that stands out in our lives when depressed is we see everything in dark colors. Nothing looks hopeful. There does not appear to be a light at the end of the tunnel – except that it might be an oncoming freight train. We feel that we do not have a friend in the world. We feel that we’ll never feel good again. The list goes on and on.

What may be of some help is to take out pen and pencil and begin writing down your good points that you feel are your strengths. We have already done this, but it still remains an excellent exercise no matter how often you do it.

What do you remember as strengths before being aware that you are depressed? Going to Depressed Anonymous meetings has the potential to restore your sense of proportion about your strong points. At the meetings your friends in the fellowship will begin to tell you are showing improvement the more you are participating in the meetings. To listen to those who themselves are working the program and who share their lives week after week, you begin to realize that you too can begin to feel differently. Today can be a new start and yes, you do have it within yourself to be that person who is reversing old negative patterns of thinking and replacing them with thoughts of hope and optimism. You now believe that there is hope for yourself. Right now your strength seems to be that of maintaining a habitual way of thinking thoughts of hope. By the fact that you are reading this, takes the strength to want to feel good and continue to maintain a positive recovery. Begin now and reflect on your strengths. Believe that you have a way to maintain a personal persistence and desire to continue with gratitude for this new feeling of hope.”

NOTE: Take your pen and/or pencil and begin writing your thoughts down in response to the questions posed in the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK. Depressed Anonymous Publications.

Resources

Copyright © Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2020) Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 57-59.

Copyright © The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

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

These basic books of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship can be ordered online.

See: www.depressedanon.com

Literature Available

To receive a mailing of Depressed Anonymous literature, send a Self addressed stamped envelope to: DAP, Box 465, Pewee Valley, Kentucky. 40056.

The material can be used as “handouts” at your local Depressed Anonymous meetings.

I Was A Natural Born Worrier

Margie, a charter member of Depressed Anonymous shares her story

Her story appears as part of the Personal Stories to be found in Depressed Anonymous, page 131.

I really can’t remember for sure how I became involved in Depressed Anonymous. I believe a coworker told me about a professor at the University of Evansville who had students that were helping people in the psychology department field and wanted to know if I would be a volunteer to help start this new self help group. And it was free! What did I have to lose? I had seen doctors, took their prescribed drugs and still ended up on the same old merry-go-round of ups and downs and “hangovers” from the drugs. I joined a small group at first. We talked, set weekly goals, took short walks,visited with friends or enjoyed a cup of coffee together to relax. We had to do something for ourselves. I had to learn to be good to myself instead of nurturing everyone else. I found a good doctor who gave me a lot of good advice about “pampering” myself more. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve read self-help books, positive thinking books and worked hard on my way of thinking for years. I’m a natural born worrier, so things always seemed worse than they really were. So after four marriages, I finally sat back and took a good look at myself. Why was I making these bad choices and keeping my head messed up? After staying single eight years and working on myself daily, I am now remarried and happy. I have two daughters and two grandsons who are my pride and joy. I work with the elderly at a nursing home and manage to keep busy and happy.

After dropping out for several years, I’m now involved with Depressed Anonymous again. I feel like I have something to offer the group. Hope is the word. I finally got above the edge of the rut that I could hardly peer over for years. I know others can do it too. Don’t give up. It’s a lot of hard work, but it can be done. I know. I was there.

– Margie

Source

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition – © (2011) Depressed Anonymous publications. Louisville. KY

Box 465, Pewee Valley, KY 40056

I believe that my life is going to get better! Hope is a hard habit to break!

 

How often have I heard these powerful words at one of our group Depressed Anonymous meetings. In fact, it is  oftener  than one would think, seeing where most of the group members have been before opening the door  into our fellowship.

Not only have we heard powerful stories of recovery but we also witness them with  own eyes. By coming to meetings week after week, we  begin to see the truth of the Promises as laid out for each of us who take that first step into recovery.  In Higher Thoughts for Down Days I read that I am going to be secure in my belief that my life is going to get better.

Today is the day. Doing your best, living each day to the fullest is the art of living. Yesterday is gone forever, and we don’t know whether we will be here tomorrow. If we do a good job of living today, and if tomorrow does comes for us, then the chances are we will do a good job when it arrives – so why worry about it?

This makes sense to me. What about you?  I know that the more I share myself with others, be that with my DA sponsor or with other members of our fellowship, that my life is beginning to change for the better. Also, the more I share with others the more spontaneous I become, and there are now some bright periods  of my life beginning to appear in my life.

I believe that by living in the present reduces my trust in the past fears of yesterday or the anxious moments I thought I needed for tomorrow.

Knowing that others, who are just like me, can make it through   the day with a greater amount of serenity and peace  as they try to live in today-just for the next 24 hours.

We all believe that the more we turn our minds and wills toward God, the more God will turn his love and will for us in unmistaken ways  and with our belief that God is truly with us.

AS Brad Cohen tells us in that great Hallmark Movie, FRONT OF THE CLASS, “Hope is hard to break.”

Hopeful people gather together on  every continent on this planet. Their hope stems from a strong belief  that with God’s help and support from their fellow members of DA (Or any other 12 Step mutual aid group) they become energized by people feeling better and coming more energized about trying to live their life with purpose and meaning.

Every Depressed Anonymous meeting starts with a statement on How Depressed Anonymous Works:

” You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are on a journey of hope and who mutually care for each other. You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a black hole and tired of living. ”

In the Big Book of Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition,  you can read story after story of those persons who have  escaped from the prison of their isolation. These stories tell each of us that there is hope and you can have it too. If it has taken  you a lifetime to find a healing way out of your depression, you then can   appreciate those others who have made it-all now living with hope and trust.

SOURCES

(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville. Ky. (Personal stories section).

(C)I’ll do it when I feel better. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. (1998) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

Healthy Adulthood? What is it?

 

Saint-Exupery, in The Little Prince   said  “that to be a  man, a woman, an adult, is to accept responsibility. And during those years that are bracketed by the dawning of conscience and end of adolescence (seven to ten) we must be slowly expanding the dominion of what we can be responsible for – becoming our own grownup.”

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A Higher Thought for Today/ March 19.

AFFIRMATION

Remove the letters “d”, “e”, and “I” from the word depression and I have “press on’!

“The  idea that we have to be responsible for ourselves and that the ways of the world are neither  good  nor just,  is too terrifying  for you to contemplate. You cannot tolerate such uncertainty. You do not trust yourself, so how can you take responsibility for your self? ” Bill W.

CLARIFICATION OF  THOUGHT

I don’t like facing the fact that ultimately I am the one responsible  for myself, no one else. It appears to me that I have to take care of myself, depend on my Higher Power for direction, and go from there.  My Higher Power isn’t going to do it all. I know that I have to do all that I can to restore my life and my feelings.   God is the rudder to my boat and I have to put my oars into the water if I am to get moving  in the right direction.

I am attempting, day by day, to tolerate the  unpredictableness   of my life and gradually learn new ways to cope with uncertainty. While I am depressing myself, I want everything to be perfect and under my control. I know now that I will be happier when I learn how to tolerate a pleasant mood without telling myself that it will not last!

MEDITATION

We believe that the closer that we come to God, as we understand God, as we understand Him, the closer our God draws to us. We believe that whatever we want changed in our life, this can best be accomplished by approaching the God of our understanding and letting the  power  greater than ourselves steer us across the stormy sea.”

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for Members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Hugh Smith. Depressed Anonymous Publications. (1997) Pages 47-48.  Louisville. Ky.

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RESPONSIBILITIES AND CONNECTIONS
We have to acknowledge that I am the one who is having the harsh and negative thoughts about myself, and that I alone must take responsibility for the feelings that I have about myself. I can’t continue to blame others for my depression and still think that I will feel better. Dorothy Rowe says that instead of blaming someone else or making someone else the scapegoat of our problems,  we need to put aside blame and guilt and think in terns of responsibilities and connections.  What she means here is that when she has dealt with depressed persons, they seem as though they are carrying the weight of the world and feel responsible for everyone and everything except themselves. She says that when it comes to themselves they se themselves as totally powerless. We need to look at what is happening in the here and   now and take responsibility for our lives, without living in the fear of tomorrow and the hurt of yesterday, Humbly ask God to help  you live in the now, even if that means living with the temporary horrible pain of depression.”

Source: Depressed Anonymous   3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. pp. 73-74.

NOTE: Click onto  www. depressedanon.com where you can order ONLINE informative and helpful 12 Step literature.  At the Home Page Menu please click onto  VISIT THE STORE,  and go to THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE.

To contact us please  use this email   depanon@netpenny.net .

 

 

How come I couldn’t get out of bed when I was depressed?

 

In his recent book The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic, Jonathon Rottenberg shares with us what he thinks might give an answer.

“Why do depressed people lie in bed? It’s not because it’s great to snuggle under the blankets; it’s because they can’t bring themselves to get out of bed. Almost any other activity or task becomes a painful ordeal, even activities as simple as taking a shower or getting dressed. This seems strange. A perfectly able-bodied  person can’t bring herself to rise out of bed. How does this happen?

The intuitive answer is that this reflects a lack of motivation. Depressed people are directionless because they are undercommitted to goals. Without goals to drive future behavior, current behavior becomes frozen for long periods. Bed is the most natural location for a behavioral pause, as the place in the house most associated with inactivity.”

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Comment from the Blog author.

I agree with the above reasons for a depressed person seeking their pillow when depressed. Further on he  tells us that when depressed we seek a pause because our goals are failing us and that “depression results from an inability to disengage efforts from a failing goal is relatively new. Could  it be a  plausible pathway into depression?”

This view surely strikes  a chord with me. I also couldn’t get out of bed in the morning because my  lack of motivation  was immobilized.  It was get up or don’t get up and then lose my job. Everyday my goal was to get up and walk. Everyday. My goal was to save my job. Motivation came with forcing my body to roll out of the sack.

Constant rumination about my goals in life, at that time, were being frustrated or about to be frustrated, till my brain felt like it was filled with cotton.

It was the continued rumination about a personal loss which  gradually and methodically pushed me over the edge. The more I tried to figure out what was going on in my body, continued fatigue with hopelessness,  the more I dug the hole deeper.    I  was in the dark abyss with no way out.  Eventually the walking paid off, my dark mood lifted, the fog cleared and the horizon looked brighter. In time I dealt with the personal loss , plus the help of the supportive group Depressed Anonymous. Life got better.

NOTE. I found this work to be an excellent guide for one’s personal growth and understanding of the experience of depression.  Hugh S.

SOURCES: Jonathan  Rottenberg. The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic.  (2014) Basic Books, NY.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

 

I have more good days than bad days!

AFFIRMATION

I will go to any length to learn the various ways to escape from my addictions. I intend to be  a free person today, just for today. Tomorrow  isn’t here yet.

Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us ” Remember, it was agreed at the beginning we would go to any lengths for victory over depression (Editor substituted depression for alcohol). (1)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I believe that I am well equipped do all in my power to free myself from sadness. In fact, I know that the more I begin to really feel and not run away from my sadness, or my anxiety, that my self esteem begins to rise and I begin to feel better  and more hopeful. I am in touch that  the more I follow my program, the more my days are getting better  and filled with happiness. My bad days are diminishing. I am having more good days than bad days. I am doing all in my power, today, to take all the avenues open to me for my own recovery.

MY victory over depression is not an end in itself. I am beginning to believe that I am no longer a slave of this interminable feeling of helplessness. The more I feel I have mastery over the feelings of helplessness, the more hope I have.”

MEDITATION

God, of our understanding, help us discover all the ways we can use to be a suitable instrument for helping our fellow sufferer’s of depression begin to feel better.” (Personal comments)

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (Hugh Smith Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 134-135.)

Taking personal responsibility for having to change the way we live our life

 

“I want to be alive and alert to all that happens to me today and to think positively about the things I can change and  what needs to be changed in my life.”

“We numb ourselves from ever having to take personal responsibility for having to change the way we live our life or construct the way we look at the world. We can’t stand to experience  any feeling except   sadness.  Our addiction to sadness is a big problem but it is also a big comfort.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am gradually taking the time and making the effort to dismantle my depression. I know that, in time and with effort, I will win over this sadness and this desire for isolation  and aloneness. I am seeing that I need time to play, time to share, and a time to  risk myself in the group. I also find that the more I believe that I can change my mood to a more pleasant one, the more pleasant I am becoming.

An addiction is something that I cannot not do without.  That is why my depression is such an addiction. I cannot live my life without the comfort of knowing that I can always drift off and live in the womb of my sadness and isolation. I must come alive when I have to face my pain and walk through the fear of my withdrawal from sadness.”

MEDITATION

We know now that we can let go of that which is keeping us isolated from others who seem happy and content working their program. God, give us the courage to always stay connected with our friends in the program. (Personal comments).

SOURCES: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  June 6.

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