Category Archives: Isolation

This group gave me my voice back.

There were times when I wanted to talk to someone about what was happening in my life –but I didn’t even have a name for whatever it was that had me totally immobilized. What could I tell my friends–that I felt I was losing my mind. Some mysterious cancer of the brain maybe? I was definitely scared. The more stuff that I read about the symptoms the more confused I became. Whatever it was I knew that I needed help. Go to a doctor? Talk to a counselor? I felt so alienated, from my self, family and friends. I had hit the wall.

Like others with whom I later became became acquainted, it gradually came to me that I must be depressed. I had most of the symptoms: I lost my appetite, I felt shame that I was unable to help myself. I did manage to hold down a job, but my main thing after work was to go home and sleep it off. I lost my ability to concentrate, plus my memory seemed to be on the blink. I didn’t answer my phone, skipped business appointments and just rather not be in touch with anyone and everyone. Most of all I was very angry about something that clearly made my life miserable, hopeless and out of my control. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning–why, because my life was now without goals, purpose and meaning. My own isolation from everything that I once valued and dear to me was gone. In a sense I had lost my voice to ask for help.

I got a phone call one day –a work buddy asked me to attend a meeting with him. ” I asked What kind of meeting?” He just said something to get you moving again. I agreed, but only for his sake did I agree to go with him. By this time I realized that I was depressed –I knew what I had –or what had me. And if you are presently attending Depressed Anonymous meetings you know what I am talking about.

Not til after a few more meetings did I feel comfortable in this group. But it was only after more meetings was I willing to share my own story. You know, the before (how it was before recovery) and the after (how it is now that I am in recovery, have my own sponsor and go regularly to meetings). I felt I had to speak. I needed to get it out in the open. I told my story how I was a veritable wreck during my struggle and inner battles with depression. And then how I came to this fellowship and became a new person. The key that unlocked my prison was this group of men and women just like myself –and a God of my own understanding who I know loved me and was with me all the time.

With my voice back and no longer all alone I am using it now to encourage others who come to our meetings — to keep coming back and using the tools that we freely offer them. They will be another voice added to the many who are today sharing their hope, strength and experiences. If you are brand new they will be wanting to tell you about it!!

A Depressed Anonymous Member.

I need to get prepared for a new me today!

I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way that I feel. I have the option to feel content and even smile today if I so desire. I will act like I want to smile again even though I don’t feel like smiling.

“If you have made yourself a martyr to your unappreciative family, remember the principle of partial reinforcement and apply it to your family. If you are always at their beck and call trying to meet their every demand, they will not appreciate you, but once they see that they cannot rely on you to to meet their demands, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (Breaking the Bonds, D. Rowe.Fontana, 1991).

REFLECTION
i Know that so often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need to remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for me — not for everyone else. I think that reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to DA meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery over anything and everyone else. I am going to begin to be a pleasant person. I will want to learn how to be pleasant to myself.
Now is the time and this is the program where I start to detach from other people’s opinion of myself and start to reflect where I start to detach from those people’s opinions of myself and start to reflect on my own opinion of myself. When I am depressed, I know that I haven’t been able to get angry, not to forgive anyone, much less forgive myself. I feel cheerless. I meet my own demands and continue to work the steps so as to get in touch with what I need to do to reinforce those positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new me today.
“We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God, our Higher Power. We trust an infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the extent that we do as we think he would have us do, and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (As Bill sees it.p.265).

MEDITATION
When we gradually work our way to the real self we get closer to the God who made us.

RESOURCE
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Hugh Smith. Pages 14-15.

I’m depressed! Where do I go from here?

“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 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

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

…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.”