Category Archives: Isolation

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

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.”

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.

Today is your day!

 

If you are depressed, this is your day. Yesterday is gone forever, except in our memories. Tomorrow is not here yet, except in our imagination. This is all we got. This 24 hour period of time is  my time.   This is the space in which we will be living for the next 24 hours. For some of us, it won’t pass fast enough.  But  think about it: we’ve told ourselves thousands of time that we will not face who we are and what we want today but only when we feel like it. I will do it when I feel like it. Sound familiar?

The physical and mental pain of our sadness won’t allow us to think about anything BUT  my pain.  I feel like I am in a prison and no matter what keys I am supposed to have to get out, nothing will work.   I won’t accept that I have options for my release. Once depressed –always depressed, that’s my mantra.

Today is your day. This is the day you are going to make a break ! This is your day to do something different.  Namely, to listen for that other voice inside your head. You are going to hear that there is another way out. The lockdown is over.  You don’t have to live this way. Isolated. Imprisoned and without hope.

In “I’ll do it when I feel better is written for all of us who are waiting. Waiting. Waiting for what, I ask? Yes, I know what you are waiting for–you are waiting for   the depression to just  disappear. Poof! And it’s gone. But you and I know better than that. We have been depressed for so long we can’t accept that we can do anything about our life sentence  of misery.   I have personally been at this struggle for so long that I know something very important about leaving behind the misery of our lives.  The fact is that when we begin to take charge of our thoughts, feelings and lives, good things will begin to happen today. How? Talk to a person who has been there and is now recovered-living that life of hope. Read   the hopeful material from folks who have successfully found that  making today decision day  is today.

Let’s be honest. I once faced the same feeling of being hopeless  and  despair. I never thought that I was able to dig out of the hole that I had been living in.  My continuous negative and hopeless  thinking   eroded  all  the  motivational   energy that I might  have had to  try something that might work for me.

This is your day! You still have hours left in this day to make a decision to start   the  life that you have been wishing for.  Throw the sheets off–get off the couch-call a friend–check out this website depressedanon.com discovering how to get motivated for something that will work for you.   Why? Here you will   find the written accounts of folks, just like you  and me,  who have begin to live one day at a time. They are  making the most of each day.  Many of us begin each 24 hours by saying this prayer, the  moment upon awakening:

God grant me the  serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s similar  to putting your toe in the water. Too cold? Too hot? No, just right. Why? Because there is hope here. There are folks here who are available for you to talk with.  There is an International  online SKYPE group that meets every Sunday. People who need to talk with others about their own  recovery using the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous.. People who are in recovery. These are those who  are spending today reaching out to others for assistance. They  find kindred spirits everywhere.

You can read hopeful stories  of people like yourself in Depressed Anonymous who have made a decision to live each day with hope.  For example, the following is  Gloria’s story of how her “today”  was on June 6, 1985. (First meeting of Depressed Anonymous was  founded  at this time).

“There are four of us who were together first on June 6th, 1985. We have become very good friends. I still remember what the counselor from the very first meeting told us. “I’ve seen people come and go. Some helped, some for just one meeting, some wanting a magic  wand waved.  It has helped me over the rough spots, and gave me courage to go on as a widow. I have found a peace in life, a special joy in knowing and loving people. In helping others, I have helped myself. I know my background in life has made me depressed at times. My Mother was abusive and I realized later in life that it was an emotional illness. I forgave her.

I will continue t attend Depressed Anonymous. Every time  is different and who knows what mystery each group holds? One never knows who needs me, who needs a smile or a hug or  who needs to feel that they are not alone, or who needs to know that there is a God who loves all. ”

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Annonymous Publications. Louisville.KY. (Personal Stories section. Page 141/In helping others I helped my self).

“On awakening, let us think about the 24 hours ahead. We ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity and from dishonest or self-seeking motives. Free us of these, we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be on a higher plane when our thinking begins to be cleared of wrong motives. If we have to determine which  course to take, we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought, or a decision. Then  we relax, and take it easy, and we are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for awhile.

We usually conclude our meditation with a prayer that we are shown all through the day what our next step will be, asking especially for freedom from damaging self-will.”  Bill W.

TODAY IS YOUR DAY! WHAT CAN YOU MAKE OF IT?

For more information please contact: depanon@netpenny.net.

  www. depessedanon.com for BLOGS and information about depression and recovery tools.

Visit the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information  on how to order books online

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

(Copyright) I’ll do it when I feel  better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Page 101. Louisville. KY.  (Quote from  As Bill Sees it. The AA Way of Life… selected writings of A.A.’s co-Founder. AA World Services Inc., New York. 1967. Page 243.)

What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?

 

“What is the power of Depressed Anonymous? Well, let me first say that when I started attending Depressed Anonymous meetings, I went for a couple of months and then stopped. I stopped going because my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment facility where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there and one of the members of the Depressed Anonymous group where I attended answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me that for some reason, it was important for me to be at the meeting.  I attended  the next Depressed Anonymous meeting. After the meeting I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.

So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous? For me, it’s just like attending that first meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go where there were other depressed people just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going through. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy. I was accepted.”

–Ray

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky .

The “before” and “after” stories of those who freed themselves from the tyranny of depression

I just want to write a few thoughts this morning about the “before” and “after” experiences of group members  battles  with depression.  Before there was a Depressed Anonymous group for me to attend, where I could address my problems, I joined another 12 step program of recovery. It was at this meeting that I heard and saw people who shared their stories how it was “before”  they got into recovery and  the  “after”  now that they are living the recovery program.

The difference was like night and day. I could listen all day to a lecture on depression, alcoholism, overeating or any other addiction  and not be as moved as I am when I hear the actual person telling  their story of how life is  now by  actively participating in their own recovery. To hear the changes that have taken place in those many people whose lives had spiraled down into the darkness of isolation and hopelessness is a phenomenal  experience in itself.

Most of the books which serve as the basic text of 12 step groups such as Depressed Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, to name a few, all include many “before” and “after” stories of those who have suffered the loss of their self only to find that with the help of the spiritual principles of the Steps were they able eventually to share how  their lives had changed dramatically.   Their stories are simple, direct and filled with powerful accounts of  human beings who once were lost in the chaos of addiction,  but now have been freed,  living with hope and serenity.

Depressed Anonymous’ basic text  has its own “before” and  “after ” stories as well. All the stories, the “before” and “after” accounts,   give credit to the program of recovery which  has changed the thinking and lives of thousands of persons throughout the world.  I see  these stories manifesting  the miracle of the Higher Power, at work in those persons who made a decision to choose to walk that different pathway out of their addictions.  They then  tell those others “still suffering from depression” about the power  they have received.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.” Step Twelve of Depressed Anonymous.”

Sources:

Depressed Anonymous, recommends its basic text, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition for the many inspiring accounts of those persons who came to a meeting, like myself, heard what others had experienced and decided that to see how it worked for them.

Also another excellent publication with many “before” and “after”  stories is A MEDLEY OF DEPRSSION STORIES, by the founder of two Depressed Anonymous groups in North Carolina, Debra Sanford.  Her work is available at Amazon.com.

Depressed Anonymous Publications also has books available at depressedanon.com. VISIT THE STORE

Got too much on your plate?

 

Yes, I have too much on my plate. So, now what can I do to make my plate lighter? How can I slow down, smell the roses and deal with  all those pressures coming at me at the same time?  Even before I get out of bed   I get depressed just thinking of all the things which are facing me today.  I just want to take the bed covers, pull them over my head  and say goodbye to it all. I keep telling myself “I don’t want to do this anymore.  My life is  a metaphor for a roller coaster. I just wanna get off!”

Ok, my life is out of control. My life is unmanageable.  I feel like the clown in the circus,  who has  dinner plates all spinning around at the same time  – all zipping around at top speed and not a one crashing to the floor. Amazing!  Today we call this multitasking. Yes, I  multitask  and it’s killing me! But I want to know how to keep life simple? How to  gain control of what is on my plate and how to rid myself of those things which I can live without.

In Higher Thoughts for Down Days, I read how ” I can learn to keep my life simple. I plan to do that by first of all admitting that I am powerless over my depression and that my life is unmanageable. I also believe that I can get out of this mess by focusing on respected and workable solutions rather than keeping focused on my ever present difficulties.

The word simple comes from the Latin word “simplex”  meaning one fold. Also, it means to just have one part. I think to keep it simple means to be single-minded and keep the focus on the solution and practice that particular solution in all my daily affairs.”

Here at our site (depressedanon.com) we have listed a number of tools which each of us can use for our own personal recovery.  (See Tools for Recovery at Site Menu). I guarantee that if you begin to use these recovery tools, on a daily basis,  you will begin to   free yourself from being overwhelmed and your life  will no longer feel out of control and unmanageable.  Each of the tools  describe a particular action to take which can give you more control over your life.  You will in time be able to  take issues off your plate, which  once immobilized you,   providing  you  with a sense of hope.

I recommend that you take one of the listed tools, read up on how to  put its action into your daily   life. Take one at a time and get good at doing it on a daily basis. This will form a habit and habits determine what  course our behaviors will take.  Please write to me and let me know how you are doing with this exercise of hopefulness.

I will leave you today with this riddle:

QUESTION

How do you eat an elephant?

ANSWER

One bite at a time!

==================================

SOURCES:   Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. June 26. pg. 128.

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

Copyright(c)   I’ll do it when I feel better! 2nd edition. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE at  Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information available. Ordering online is available.

I have been crippled by saddening myself!

I know that I am going to be alright as long as I let God direct my thoughts today.

“When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that at first, when I was depressed, I wondered  how this could apply to me. Then I realized that for so long I tried to live in the solitude and isolation of the comfort of my depression, where everything stood still. The way I lived my life was left unchallenged.  I now realize that at the center of every one’s life must be the spiritual life of each of us and it is the amount of care and time that we give to this center that determines the amount of hope and change that  we bring to our lives.

The more I plan to work my program, I admit that truly my life has been unmanageable since I have been hampered by my saddening myself, I can truly move forward and plan more pleasant and  fun activities into my life.

MEDITATION

We ask you God, the center of our life, to continue to provide for us the necessary courage to know you on a  more personal level so that we might have the daily courage to put our life and plan into your hands. (Personal comments).

SOURCE:  (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.  Page 122.

VISIT THE STORE and learn more about Higher Thoughts for Down Days, now in a Kindle edition.

The protective wall of the community

 

I do believe the term “protective wall of the community ” is surely an apt and meaningful description  of those who are messengers of hope in the 12 step Program of Depressed Anonymous. The program and suggested principles of Depressed Anonymous serve as  a protection against the frailty  of us all producing  in each  of us a solidarity with other’s sense of futility and isolation.  We then  become  a wall against which our addiction(s) attempt to overcome and divide us. It is on the ramparts of struggle that we gain access to hope again. We, the group, now serve as a protection against despair. We know now, thanks to our active participation in our 12 Step program, that we no longer stand alone, isolated and vulnerable. We now stand together with those “others” who  are aware and conscious that some Power greater than themselves is to restore us all to sanity today.

Only by gaining an insight into my addiction to sadness and misery that I can be free from  this need to numb myself from the feelings of hurt and despair.

In recent   retreats many of the participants gathered there were in agreement that they could do something about their depression. In fact, one of the participants said that she was surprised and pleased that she could in fact take  responsibility fir her self and begin to work herself out of depression.

This was a revelation for her  that she could be an active participant in her own recovery process.

I think that too often people depressed mistakenly think that they had nothing to do with  their depression – and if they had nothng to do with it, then they think that they have no power to undo it. And like other problems in life, we have to consider our habitual attachment to those thoughts, behaviors and actions which continue  to keep us isolated  with the comfort of not making a decision on our behalf to escape the prison of our depression. We are NOT helpless.

Now that I am willing to assume responsibility for my depression I have begun to take a closer look at my life and the way in which I was living it. It now has become clear that I have to make some changes in the way I think, feel and behave.

I had to become conscious  that with the help of God, as I understand God and my recovery group called Depressed Anonymous, that I could in time free myself from my depression.

So often we want someone to take away our pain, our hurt and our grieving with out any effort on our part. Of course –life doesn’t work that way.  For more information about our program of recovery click onto the Depressed Anonymous menu and discover how you to can find hope .

Hugh