Category Archives: Fear

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.

#6. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous

#6 Promise: The feelings of uselessness and self-pity disappear.

“One of the major areas that changes quickly by our attendance at the group meetings is that we pity ourselves less and less. We begin to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are. We begin to see that once we start getting connected to others like ourselves on a regular basis through our Depressed Anonymous meetings, we are now listened to by others and we are validated. We don’t hear “snap out of it here.”

Suddenly our years of self pity, isolation and desolation have ben cashed in for a currency that buys us a new competency, a new identity, an autonomy and a burgeoning inter relatedness with others just like ourselves.

We now can speak about our experience with depression in the past tense. We can now share how we have the tools of self care whereby we can dig out and begin to construct an edifice of hope that will last the rest of our lives. As long as we continue to use the tools of the program we are bound to feel different.

We know that feeling sorry for ourselves promotes a greater attention to and for the problem, while attention to how our experience can help others promotes not only our own well being but that of others as well.

As we learn how the program works – and this only happens primarily by attending meetings. The solutions and ideas help us all to become more active in the pursuit of our own serenity, as promised by the fellowship.

When we were depressing ourselves, we felt not only useless, but unacceptable to ourselves and to others. It seems that the harder we pushed to fight against depression the sadder we became. When we began to feel differently we also began to believe differently. We learn how to be more helpful and hopeful.

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering? What motivates me to continue to try and help others. What has made the changes in my life where now I want to share what I know and what I feel? Basically,I know that the program of recovery works.

I no longer feel powerless over my symptoms of depression, that I can do nothing about my depression. I have seen that the major solution for my symptoms of depression is in the doing and in the feeling and the expression of my feelings with others in the group. In DA people speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time looking back over my shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears is going to overtake me. I now have attained small amounts of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that can overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the first Step “we admitted that that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Self-pity is that feeling where we continue to go over and over again of all the hurts that have put us where we are today!

We waste hours and days in our self-wallowing.”

RESOURCE
(C) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Lpuisville, KY. Pages 13-14.

Do we believe nothing will ever change? A response from The Promises of Depressed Anonymous. #1

Excerpts from The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

FOLLOW THE DISCUSSION/COMMENTARY ON THE PROMISES EACH DAY

“I do believe that the pain of our depression originates from inside ourselves. We construct present day reality based on life experiences. The past is the predictor of the future. As it says in Depressed Anonymous, many of us hold the absolute belief that “since bad things happened to us in the past bad things will happen to us in the future. ” In other words – we have made up our minds – nothing will ever change. And of course this belief is what promotes and keeps our depression alive.”

The opposite of depression is spontaneity and vitality. When we are depressed we move about as in a fog. We are stuck. Since we desire everything to remain the same, that is, predictable, we in no way believe that life can be different for us. If we intend to stay stuck, we make the decision, choose to stay in the rut of being lifeless, hapless and hopeless.

As we change old beliefs into new ones we believe that things can change as things begin to change. We will begin to experience hope, light and joy.”

“… life doesn’t have to be lived alone in agony or misery.” (Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011)Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 41.)


NOTE:
Tomorrow our commentary on the Promises continues for Promise #1.

Copyright(c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 1-3. The 1st Promise of a total of 13 Promises.

Anger Worry Fear Guilt

Today I would like to share some thoughts and reflections from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook (the same one used for the Online Depressed Anonymous meetings at SKYPE).

On page 77 @ question 10.18 this question is asked of the participants: “list the various ways that you plan to remove your most frequent unpleasant emotion? Write down your strategy.”

If we are following the work in the Workbook, we have already spent a good amount of time and energy reflecting upon our own anger, worry fear and guilt. We know how all these emotions and moods have a large role to play in our own experiences with depression.

Step 10 states that we “continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” Our Depressed Anonymous manual speaks to us about taking responsibility for our recovery from depression.

“Responsibility is the name of the game in recovery and it is here that we need to focus our attention. As we get into a discussion with others in the group who are depressed – much like ourselves- we see that they talk about feeling better while at the same time acting on their own behalf. These people who are doing better are also talking about taking charge of their lives and doing things for themselves instead of constantly trying to please others.” (You can find this quote on page 107 in the Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.)

A potent strategy is suggested in our DA book (Page 110): “Promptly forgive yourselves! Promptly tell a friend, DA group member, coworker, spouse, that you are now trying to live one day at a time, one hour at a time and are depending on the Higher Power to give you the courage to risk thinking hopeful thoughts which have the power to lead yourself back into the community, the family and among friends. Develop a gratitude attitude and thank God for today! This day is all we have. Get involved in your own healing. Start to take on the attitude that if other people can make it so can I. It’s true – you can make it if you follow the program.”

Join with us every day at SKYPE. See Home Page menu items for MEETINGS times and places. You’ll be happy that you did!!

RESOURCES
(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

The Covid-19 and its effect on a pre-existing clinical depression

Updated 29 Dec 2020: The US based ZOOM meetings are no longer being held.

Since we believe that depression just doesn’t come out of the blue, but stems from our relationship to the environment, our past and present relationships and NEGATIVE ruminations and self-talk.

For instance, the pandemic is a good place to start to untangle some of those underlying conditions which keep popping up in our daily lives. The covid-19 continues to create havoc, fear and anxiety in ourselves and communities. The more isolated we are from our normal life activities the more time we spend on all the negativity that continues to envelope us.

Anxiety and fear, both of which are some of those feelings and moods which may have contributed to our depression in the first place. Feelings can change from one to the other while moods are longer lasting with an ability to spiral down deeper in our psyche, resulting in an emotional lockdown. We can couple this with a fear that our life is spinning out of control, as our mind continues latching onto the worse possible scenario for our future, throwing more fuel on the fire, believing that life will always be this way for ourselves. We continue to live in total hopelessness.

And then the pandemic. Here we are, away from all the normal activities that once provided us with some temporary distraction from our fears and anxieties. It’s not as if we didn’t continue to feel the pain of living a life of isolation, holed up in the darkness of our own paralyzing moods, day after day, but now that we are cut off physically from friendships, co-workers, close friends or family members, our isolating pushes our negative moods further down. All this comes with a strong possibility that the virus may have claimed the life of a family member or grandparent or close friend or co-worker.

My own feelings, are the same basically of everyone else. Here we are, gradually realizing that this is now the “new normal” for each of us. We come to realize that we need to step back, and look at where we are today – and face our fears and anxieties. The question arises as what do I do now? Let me share with you my own experiences as my own life is turned upside down.

Because of my involvement in a mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous, I am able to leave some of the pain of my isolation, join with all those others like myself who together are giving each other hope. All of us can share – not just our own pain of isolation – but ways to deal with and encourage each other with the successes we have experienced in facing our own fears and anxiety now and in the past.

As we try to navigate this “new normal” as best we can, we discover together how we are helping each other, day after day find a real lifeline – even though a virtual one. I am making this path work for myself, actively participating with the rest of the group, finding that my anxieties have diminished. By being in the now and being part of this mutually support group I am finding that there is a way out. I no longer am going to stay isolated.

“There is hope…and we do recover.” Please join us on SKYPE AND ZOOM – there are meetings on SKYPE every day at 11:30AM CST / 12:30PM EST. See Home page menu for DA meetings for more information). This is located at our website depressedanon.com.

Finally, one of our resources is the Depressed Anonymous Workbook that we use at our meetings, helping us to uncover some of our “underlying conditions” that existed prior to the present pandemic.

Presently our contacts with family and friends are stretched thin. Everything that makes us a human being, those live social encounters that provided us with joy, comfort and hope. We all have lost that shoulder to shoulder feeling and the hugs and smiles that gave us hope. Now the new normal is social distancing six feet apart. People older-stay home. Wear mask. I agree with all those solutions to staying safe.

It is here at our virtual online Depressed Anonymous meetings where we share and strengthen our resolve, uncovering those areas of our lives (thinking, feelings, moods, behaviors) that prohibit our personal growth and happiness. Now we are replacing our hopelessness and helplessness with hope and help everyday online.

The Depressed Anonymous fellowship is a potent provider of self-discovery as we move from one Step to the other at our meetings using the Workbook format. It is here in this virtual environment where we not only can take the time to listen to others in the group about their own issues, but listening as well to their many responses to how hope and healing have given them a new freedom, a new self-confidence while being provided a self-discovery tool, the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. This tool, with the Depressed Anonymous manual is used at every meeting.

If you are interested in a HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY you can learn more about this process of recovery from our website.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook and Depressed Anonymous manual are also both available online as eBOOKS from Depressed Anonymous Publications.

YOUR HOPE IS OUR HOPE!

Hugh for the fellowship

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