Category Archives: Isolation

#6 Promise. 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.

Promise # 5 of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous.

Promise # 5 : No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we see how our experiences can benefit others.

“Some of us have attempted suicide. A few of us more than a few times. We had despaired of ever finding peace or hope. We believe that we had no future and that our yesterdays were as hopeless as our today’s.

It was hard to attend our first Depressed Anonymous meeting. We felt horribly alone. We just know that no one in the group has been through what we have been through. But as we listened and watched the other members of the group speak – we saw ourselves in their stories.

Personally I believe that whatever you give out to others is the amount that comes back to us. Our experiences can usually help another. An experience such as depression is so isolating, so predictable in its misery that it is bound to have had an impression upon us that it changed our life. And then when our life is changed for the better – thanks to DA and the fellowship that we have to share it with those still suffering.

Ironically, it appears that the farther we have gone down in mood– and up again in our recovery -the more powerful is this experience. They see the after and hear how it was before we got involved in the fellowship.

The fact that we have recovered so completely is in itself a message of tremendous hope for those who are newcomers to the group.

Isn’t it amazing that those who can do the most for those still suffering are those who have worked themselves out of the pit of isolation and depression.”

Copyright (c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. (Page 12).

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.

Fred Took The Plunge

I remember Fred on his first visit to Depressed Anonymous. He said that he had been depressed all his life. The group listened to Fred, and of course for the most part Fred said he didn’t have the foggiest notion what all this talk of God had to do with his sadness and how it was supposed to help him. (Step 3) But it was the pain of Fred’s depression that brought him back time after time to the meetings, and he started not only to feel better but he began to look better. Then as he heard more about the Twelve Steps he saw that he could trust his Higher Power. And that maybe the depression that had been such a lifetime companion was not for him anymore. Fred took the plunge, came to believe that a power greater than himself could restore him to sanity – and it did just that. Fred said that he didn’t need this depression anymore, got busy making amends to family and friends and co-workers for being such a negative person, and began to take inventory where he needed to Spring clean his home.

It appears that Fred is like the many of those who come to attend their first Depressed Anonymous meeting. They come fearing that the risk that they are taking by attending a meeting, like everything they have tried, will not produce any positive results. They figure that no one could possibly love them for themselves.

I’ll Do It When I Feel Better, © (1988, 2013) 2nd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 73-74

A Message to our Depressed Anonymous Fellowship. How are you doing?

Today, is another day no different from all the rest. Staying isolated from friends and family . Being pulled apart from all those relationships which is what makes us social beings. Being isolated and missing meeting up with friends and our fellowship-except for our SKYPE and ZOOM meetings which are life savors for many of us).. Going to the market is a challenge. Unable to visit with friends in Nursing home. You don’t really appreciate something till it’s gone. I think I am in mourning. I am irritable and feel lost. But with you, who read our blog I know someone will be reading what is written here. I am not alone.

This brings me to another very important issue now that I am on the subject of being alone and isolated. And I don’t think about this issue very often, since life was rolling along fine until the virus put us in lockdown. When I was depressed I always talked about how depression felt like being in prison , isolated and alone. I grant that. But I knew little of what happens in the life of a prisoner, until we were allowed to start Depressed Anonymous groups in a State prison near our hometown.

It was an eye opener. I have visited prisons before. Short periods of time. Having a service for those who wanted to attend. This time it was different. This prison experience began with being interviewed by a prison staff, including the head psychiatrist. Our work would be carried out in a new wing in the prison which dealt specifically with prisoners with mental health issues. I say “our” because I had the good fortune to work closely with a woman corrections officer. I was there for about three years, with visits two times a week to attend DA meetings which we had set up. I remember well our first anniversary celebration where the warden allowed our fellowship to have a birthday party for all of those men who were part of our groups. It was a most unusual event as this had not been done before – having punch and cookies in prison, at least not in the wing where are groups are located.

Fast forward to now,2020. The covid-19 virus wreaking havoc on lives around the world. And now moving into prisons, nursing homes and other persons in institutional forced lockdown.

All this to share how I have been feeling blue, low mood, and irritable, and wondering it will end and when. Presently, areas of life are still “iffy” and not back to normal. I wonder if there will ever be a normal to go back to?

All this fear and hurt with so many elderly dying, and those of us who are over 65+ taking the hardest hit. But let me go on to my point and the reason I am writing this article now. My concern is for those men and women in this country, 80,000 or more who are locked down in Special Housing Units, also called “Solitary Confinement.” I have been reading an account of a man named William who has been in solitary confinement for 25 years and more at the time of his writing his story. His story and the story of so many others, is titled HELL IS A V ERY SMALL PLACE: STORIES FROM SOLITARY CONFINEMENT.

William speaks about how it was before he was sentenced to prison life. He mentioned the freedom that he had before prison – but no more. He could ride his bicycle, go out with buddies, walking in the park. Anything.

If you are depressed now. If you are isolated and cut off from life now. You can count me in. I am so weary of all this enforced isolation, the social distancing, the masks. But I do believe that these efforts may save my life. Will it ever return.? Will normal ever return – not for a time. That’s just my belief.

William, in Solitary Confinement for over 25 years, writes from his 6×9 cell, wonders the same thing. Will his life ever return to the way he remembers it? I doubt it. No, neither will ours. I am not being pessimistic just honest – but I am still hopeful that we will get through this.

I have been an advocate for persons depressed for most of my adult life. I have been to more places in the world, with persons I never would believe I would meet and who live in countries I have never been. All virtually, either on Skype, ZOOM, emails or phone.

I feel that there are so many men and women who we can reach out to who are in Solitary Confinement and deeply depressed. You and I can’t undepress anyone but ourselves, but being part of a fellowship sure gives me strength and bonding that I will never forget and the Twelve steps and the spiritual principles saved my life. . Thank you. Now that we have shared online how the virus has most dramatically affected our lives in so many painful ways, our confinement is in no way is kin to what 80,000 prisoners are experiencing right now in America.

What can we do. First of all I recommend that you find a way to learn more about people who are in Solitary. We can learn how to help them in ways that will truly be of most help to them. We can learn more. We can share our own experiences with Depressed Anonymous with prisoners and least give them the knowledge that they are NOT ALONE. We can be live advocates for those in Solitary, as we can share their stories how they live out their day in a VERY SMALL PLACE, for days. for months and for years. The name of their story is found in a recent publication titled “Hell is a very small place: voices from Solitary Confinement.” The New Press (2016) New York. London. Edited by Jean Casella, James Ridgeway and Sarah Shroud.

Here is a place where I hope you will contact: “About Solitary Watch” http:://solitarywatch.com/about. We can learn, we can share, we can act. I hope to do as much as I can in being an advocate. If you would like to join with me in this effort, a justice and human rights issue, let’s get together and work as one voice. A voice for the “voiceless.

If you are interested and want more info please write to me at : depanon@netpenny.net and in the subject line put SOLITARY.

Hugh

I don’t have to be alone

…I had the conviction that a person depressed could find the same strength and serenity as did those who, sick and tired of being sick and tired, had found when they stumbled into their first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. It (Depressed Anonymous) began as a pilot project at the university where depressed people gathered as a mutual aid group. I discovered that people of all ages, beliefs, and occupations could gradually get out of the prison of depression if they were part of a support group, especially if the group followed the suggested Twelve Steps of the group now known as Depressed Anonymous. I saw that a Twelve Step program centered specifically around the subject of depression could help people escape isolation and the painful sense of hopelessness. They would no longer feel alone.

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous., 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Page 22.

NOTE: If you are tired of looking at the four walls during this time of Covid-19, we have help. If you are depressed and seeking relief, there are a number of places where you can go online for help. Depressed Anonymous now has a meeting everyday from 12:30PM (EST). This group is peer led, which means they have been depressed or using these Steps of recovery today to help maintain hope and healing in their lives today! These are excellent groups to attend to find help and hope. You can join and share your story or you can listen to the stories of others. Either way you will find the power at work in your own life.

There are now five scheduled DA ZOOM groups operating in the US and being made available to the Depressed around the world. These ZOOM groups with the SKYPE groups are ensuring that the message of HOPE continues to spread with it’s powerful message. Please join us if you are looking to free yourself from isolation.

We thank all of those who chair these meetings with such dedication and faithfulness. They are true witnesses to the “miracle of the group(s).”

Hugh

We are not alone–unless we choose to be alone

WHO AM I? WHAT DO I WANT? WHO IS MY GOD?

Let’s say that we want to find out who we are. First of all, we find out that we are not alone here. We have already discovered that there are many who are exactly like us –depressed.  Those person who speak that they are feeling helpless and out of control because of the symptoms of depression, can  help  us feel more secure because they  hear this hopeful language spoken at all our Depressed Anonymous meetings.

STEP ONE

We are not in the blame game as we pointed out in the first chapter of our Depressed Anonymous manual, 3rd edition. We are here to throw some light on ourselves and not to focus on others. Now know that this has been a trap  which can spiral our moods downward —  moods that  produce  hopeless and helpless feelings . We are here to face the light and decide what we need to do to get better. This means that we  look at the Steps  which  we need to incorporate  into our lives in  order to get out of the prison of our depression. The first step , as you can see, is  admitting  that we are  helpless over our depression and that our lives had become unmanageable . Now that we admit  powerlessness , and in a certain paradoxical  sense,  we   gain a new power  beginning to lift us out  of the darkness.

We grant that our lives have been   affected by our original family environment, either in a positive or a negative way, or somewhere in between. We know that many times, physical  and sexual abuse, plus ongoing negative ruminations  can be the cause of   depression.  Deaths and traumatic life events can also be the cause of depression. Many people say that they have been depressed all their lives after being confronted with the symptoms of depression.

Blaming others, for our depression today, such as our parents, church, teachers, and others ,  can put us on two different paths. One will take us down one road and the other down another. We can take the road less traveled as Scot Peck  points out  in his popular book THE ROAD LESS TREAVELED.  One will take us down the road for more depression and the other will take us down the road of discovery–discovering  the tools for freeing ourselves from the shackles of depression.

I believe that  if we want to blame  everything outside of ourselves  for keeping us  from being happy, others, even God , we are missing the point. Remember, we are all the choices that we make. If you want the light then you must walk in it!

If you believe that you had nothing to do with your depression then the good implication is that you didn’t cause it. The bad implication is that  if you didn’t cause it then you could get it again, like the flu or a cold. But since depression isn’t a cold or a flu or a germ/bacterium we try taking responsibility for our depression and its symptoms. We move on from there.  The quickest answer is that it may lead me to take full responsibility however I can    to overcome depression –this may mean taking the medication to reduce the symptoms, seek talk therapy, or  be an active participant in a beloved  and accepting community, a mutual aid group  where they know us by name, love us and accept us.  No such statements as “snap out of it” are spoken here.

It is a fact that people who have a greater control over their lives and their environment are less depressed than those who have less or little control over their own lives.”

I’m having cabin fever during this pandemic self-isolation. How are you doing?

Getting a daily rhythm during this time of self-isolation is getting to be a must for me. How about you? After a month of isolating myself this isolation getting old. And, it appears that it isn’t going to be over for a spell. We are all created as human beings to be close to others. We love the fellowship of groups. Ironically, this is what will kill us or make us very sick at the very least. Physical/social distancing is a must now.

I am getting my stride. Athletes talk about getting into their rhythm. I am much aware that I can’t fiddle my time away – getting myself depressed, or just staring out the window, watching TV , streaming on my computer or just sleeping through it.

So, I have developed a schedule. I make sure that I eat every day and at the same time. I use my 12 Step literature for prayer and reflection in the morning. I also do some writing on my online WordPress blog . Because I have gone through self-isolating when I was depressed – I definitely do not let it happen again. In my schedule I go to the park and exercise everyday and at the same time. I spend a part of the afternoon catching up with friends and members of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship. At these times I connect with member s of the large DA fellowship in Iran and other DA members outside US. (Everyone with whom I have contact are going through the same pandemic as we are.)

The Depressed Anonymous fellowship have an International daily DA SKYPE online meeting. I am able to contact and participate in this group in early afternoon. Then there is a new ZOOM online fellowship that has just been formed. You can find times and places at our Depressed Anonymous website. Or on Facebook. Please try and attend these meetings. Great resource for keeping in touch and helping to maintain our recovery – one day at a time. In the late afternoon I follow our Governor’s daily TV meeting(Kentucky) where he keeps us up to date on things that we have to do to keep each other safe and out of harms way. Then evening news and then other news sources. So by night time I am saturated with news – mostly sad news about how there is so much suffering and isolation among all of us who need each other so much.

I am especially grateful for our 12 step fellowship where we can see each other f2f and maintain our sanity and sobriety. Please check out our recent blogs at www.depressedanon.com or FB Depressed Anonymous. Today is the first day where we are offering our eBooks for $1.00 a piece. These are the 3rd edition of Depressed Anonymous and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Both of these eBooks can be downloaded on the computer or printed out on your printer. These are the books which we use at our Online group meetings. If you want these books today, they are yours for downloading. We felt that now is the time to make these books available to as many people as possible. We wanted to make them available on line free – but somehow that was not possible. So we went for $1 buck apiece. I do hope others take advantage of this opportunity – especially most of us who might be hard pressed to come up with any money now when food and shelter is our most critical need. Depressed Anonymous Publications is a very small business operation and all our work is done by volunteers – including me.

My suggestion is to do the same thing everyday, have a schedule for each day and now that the children are home, and with the kids out of school, they will always need some help with their eLearning classes.

Do some fun things for yourself – I personally liked the old Three stooges, Jim Carey’s movies and older comedies keep me laughing. It sure helps lift my mood.

Plan to call at least one older person who is alone. Maybe a neighbor who needs food. My wife and I are now trying to make some strategic decisions in our food purchases and TP. Trying to make do with what we have, sharing what we have with others.

Call your sponsor everyday or a fellow member of our 12 Step fellowship group.

Finally, get into your own rhythm – take it one day at a time-make a schedule and as a family get together and decide how we all can decide how we want to spend our day.

Thank you and may all of us remain safe and secure. This too shall pass. We are all in this together. We are going to get through it. We are going to get through it together.

Love and peace to you all.

Hugh, for the fellowship

My Feelings Are Becoming Unfrozen

AFFIRMATION

“I pray that God will give me the courage to live today with hope – hope that God’s leading will take me past the dead end of despair.

If we want to live life fully we must have freedom, love and hope. Life must be an uncertain business. This is what makes it worthwhile.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I  know how the feelings of depression, and the deadness and greyness of my sadness keep me holed up in the narrow confines of my dark past. Today my  feelings are gradually becoming unfrozen as I attempt new things, new connections with other persons. These cause me to reconsider that a life lived in unpredictableness is a risky but nevertheless a healthy way to live my life.

Since I hold on to the  belief that since bad things happened to me in the past, bad things will happen to me in the future.  I need to live each new day with the belief that I can change the way I think, feel and act.   I know now that I am not mentally ill nor am I losing my mind when I am depressed.  I want to live just for today to try to learn how to face the uncertainties of today.  Life is unpredictable . To have any certainty that it will  be other  than that  is clearly an illusion, and for sure one is being set up for many a disappointment.

MEDITATION

We see that it is only in risking., that is, getting a different map, a map that shows a number of different routes instead of the one that leads us down the road to narrow isolation and despair. I ask the God of my understanding to lead me according to it’s guidance. Hopefully the road that leads to hope and serenity.

RESOURCES

(C) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations  for members of  12  Step fellowship  groups.  Depressed Anonymous Publications . Louisville. KY. (January 5th).

(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2018) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(20ll). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Check out VISIT THE STORE for more material that can be ordered online.

Keeping the dance going: A metaphor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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