Category Archives: Negativity

Memory, worry and depression

 

If you’re worried about memory and fear that may be damaged beyond repair than give some thought to something you know quite well – remembering is one of those processes where the more you try to remember something the worse it gets. Trying to remember is always a fruitless process. If someone says to you, “what kind of refrigerator do you have?” The answer either comes to you are it does not. If it does not, trying to remember will produce nothing. You have to wait until the answer comes suddenly and spontaneously into your mind. Memory is a spontaneous process. It is not something you can control.

 

Of course you can discover some ways of encouraging the spontaneous ideas to appear. Witness that common exchange between mother and child.

“Where is my schoolbag?”

“w

Where did you have it last?”

The wise child should realize that the mother is not being obstructive and difficult, but is encouraging the child to think about the places and activities associated with the bag and then the memory and perhaps the bag may reappear. We cannot force a memory out of our mind like an inch of toothpaste  out of the tube, but we can create conditions in which the memory may spontaneously appear.

Many of my depressed clients (Dorothy Rowe’s)are not greatly pleased when I point out to them that, depression quite apart their ability to remember recent events is decreasing because they are getting older. But of course this  is what happens to all of us, and most of us adapt to this change by finding systematic ways of reminding ourselves of things that we need to remember. I organize my work by using a thick notepad where I note down all the things I have to do and all the information that in earlier years I would’ve remembered without difficulty. I also write lists of work to be prepared,  and then the pleasure of crossing items off the list. I never go shopping without a list, and if I find that there is something at home that I need to bring to work I put a note in my makeup bag to remind me when I’m getting dressed and for the next morning. As well as helping my memory, all this list writing helps me feel that I have my life well organized and well controlled.

But sometimes all this organization is threatened by events over which I have no control. Then I start to worry, and it is then that I have to find, yet again, that peaceful place within myself.   Dorothy Rowe:   Depression: the way out of your prison. 2nd edition New York  1983, 1996.

A therapist speaks out about Depressed Anonymous

“One of the greatest resources I’ve used in working with many depressed persons has been Depressed Anonymous. The transformation it causes in an individual’s life is truly miraculous. This stems from it being primarily a spiritual program of healing and recovery.  It encourages a person to seek a personal relationship with God, whoever they understand God to be. In doing this, it helps a person to look inside for healing, rather than in a pill or some quick “cure.” Many persons who suffer with  depression look on God as being one who judges them harshly. This thinking usually leads  to much anger towards God, which results in more negative thinking. I know this from my own experiences with depression, and the angry relationship with God I had during those times. This is where Depressed Anonymous offers hope by getting a person connected to a group who also suffers with depression, and are working the Twelve Steps. In doing this, it helps a person come to a realization that it will only be through a power greater than themselves that they will find sanity in their life.  Depressed people cannot do this alone because of the compulsion to ruminate endlessly over negative thoughts. It is only through coming together with a group of people like Depressed  Anonymous that they are able to break the cycle of negative thinking. ”

To read more of what therapists have to say about Depressed Anonymous please read  their thoughts in  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. KY.  Page 67-68.  ( The therapist who wrote the above is Ms. Denise List, doing therapy in Louisville, KY.)

As a therapist myself, I have found, as  Denise herself found, that our own struggles with the isolating and painful reality that we call depression, made a difference in our relationship with clients. To have a mutual aid group such as Depressed Anonymous  to which we could  refer them had  special and positive outcomes.

Our manual contains a veritable host of testimonies from persons from all walks of life who found Depressed Anonymous to be the “real deal.”  It is  here where they found acceptance tools for recovery and most importantly a safe place to share their story.

Please VISIT the STORE here at our site.  And if you are a therapist reading this now, it would serve your clients well for you to suggest  that they pick up  this book and begin to see and find hope for themselves.

Always trying to “please others” diminished me!

“I’d rather be imperfect and happy than always trying to be perfect.”  The THIRTEENTH WAY to leave the prison of depression.

The following two  excerpts quoted below  are from   Believing is seeing:15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2015). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

 

”  One of the areas in my life where I strive to excel is in the area of trying to be perfect.  Somewhere in our early development as children we got the message that if we were perfect we could be more acceptable to others. I gradually began to believe the more I  tried to please other’s that this would bring me happiness. Instead all it brought me was a loss of myself.  The loss of self reduced me to a shallow self without direction  or meaning.” Page 63.

”   Eventually, my depression became a sort of a comfort as it kept me from having to risk an unpredictable life. In other words, this way of living took away all hope. This is what keeps many of us depressed. We hold onto the mistaken belief that since bad things happened to us in the past, bad things will continue to happen to us in  the future.” Page 64.

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SOURCE: Copyright (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE for more information on other publications offered to the depressed by Depressed Anonymous Publications.

How to live outside the box? The depression box!

If you really want to begin to “live outside the box“, a description of what the box feels like and looks like might be helpful to you.  First of all, a box has an identifiable shape. It is a box mainly because it contains something–whatever that might be. And when we speak of the subject of depression, we talk about depression having us boxed in. The box as it is used here, in this context is a metaphor for feeling enclosed and which there is no exit. It is like being trapped or like in a prison.

Now, in order to live outside the box we want to live creatively, which means  that we are having to learn  how to live outside the box. Now, if you  find  this hard to believe -stick with me now  as I will explain what I mean.

Just briefly, my own experience with depression can be used as an example. First of all, when I was depressed I thought that I was losing my mind. The box that I put myself in was getting more restricting by the day and making my life hell. I could see no way out. I was trapped. What could I do I asked myself?  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t just will these feelings and scary  thoughts away–like taking a broom and brushing them out of my life. No matter which way I turned I hit a wall. With no answers forthcoming on how to keep my head above water, my body slowly  was being sucked down into  the quicksand of despair. The thought came to me, much like that small glimmer, a tiny light so far away, but nevertheless  a light. It was  like the lighthouse which with its  intense brightness warns seafarers that rocks were nearby and to be watchful before approaching. My mind began to race here and there for a way out of the box and then it hit me —   get moving. Move the body. Get busy.  The key out of this prison was already in my hand. And now, those of us here in the Depressed program of recovery,who have been putting “out of the box” ideas to work in our daily lives, we want to share what has worked for us and we know, if you actually use them for your own recovery, they are  bound to  ultimately free you. That is the promise I share with you today.

The following activities,  listed below  are some of  the tools that will get you “out of the box” when you get serious about using them.

I think taking a close and personal look at the following tools will not only help you get  “out of the box” but can be tools that you will be able to utilize, day after day as you continue your recovery.

  1. Exercise is a great tool if you happen to be depressed.
  2.  Getting out into nature will also help put your mind on beauty and your surroundings.
  3. Overcoming fear is also a great place to learn how to get out of the box. Learn about “first fear” and “second fear.” Fear doe seem to be at the center of our life when depressed.
  4. Recite the “SERENITY PRAYER” as often as you need it.
  5. The present. Staying in the now.
  6. Making use of the God box. This is an exercise, a simple one at that, which helps us learn the discipline of “letting go.”
  7. Feelings need to be examined and expressed. We will look at why expressing feeling is  so important,  instead of having them bottled up and causing all sorts of physical and emotional problems.
  8. Disable negative thinking: learn how to short circuit negative thoughts when they pop into our minds.
  9.  Reading Depressed Anonymous literature and all material on the subject of depression.
  10. Learn how we all have choices. We make those decisions that bring us closer to freedom–not those that continue to imprison and box us.
  11. Journaling is a great tool for writing down what has been our experience for the day.  It helps to clarify our thinking and puts things into perspective.

NOTE

In the next post, I will begin placing attention on each of the eleven ideas listed above.  Gradually we can take time to evaluate  our response to each individually and make our own notes as how to use these recommended ideas  for our own recovery.

Hugh

I’ve had it living with feeling out of control

If you really want to leave behind your painful sadness, the daily fears, and the feelings of worthlessness, then begin now to admit the unmanageability   of your depression. You have had it with feeling out of control.

That’s the way it is with depression –over the years you get comfortable with feeling miserable which doesn’t mean that you like it, but that you’re just too afraid to risk something different. When you want to change and leave your depression behind, the choice that you want to make is immediately dashed to the ground because you just feel that there is no hope for you. “I can’t pull myself up by my bootstraps and start to feel better,” you tell yourself. Most of the time, we tell ourselves that we’ll do it when we feel better. Folks, let me tell you something – you’ll never feel better until you begin by physically get moving. We all know that we feel better only when we get in gear and get busy – distracting ourselves from those ever present miserable thoughts whispering how bad we are  and how hopeless life seems to be.”

____________________HELP IS ON THE WAY! ___________________________

SOURCE:         Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 32.

Let’s get this straight…

Let’s get this straight about  depression: it is a very serious illness and needs to be taken seriously as a potential life threatening illness. We already know about the rising number of suicides in the country, especially those from the ages of 18-35. Our mission is to let people  know that we are here (Depressed Anonymous) and we have a program that works.

What’s my point? My point is simple: know that depression is a life threatening illness and that society needs to get with it and learn how to reach those who feel hopeless and want to kill themselves. Because of those who come to our meetings and share how they have tried to kill themselves in the past but now have found hope in the fellowship of DA because of the acceptance of group members. They know they are not alone and can share their pain with members of the fellowship and gradually discover hope.

Rheatha  describes her situation of being overwhelmed and suicidal with her personal story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Pages 124-125.  Rheatha,  by making the 12 Steps a daily part of her life,  she found her life to be a gift  and not a burden.

Walling off negative feelings

“In examining our purpose one of the things that stands out is our emphasis on feelings. We stress feelings for several reasons… First of all, our behavior in the past has been so opposed to our value system that considerable feelings of remorse and self loathing have been built up. It appears that we have accumulated a pool of negative feelings and walled them off with a variety of masks or defenses that prevent this discovery…” Source: Group Psychotherapy with Addicted Populations. Flores, Phillip J. The Haworth Press.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know all about “walling off” my negative feelings.  I purposely disconnected myself from negative feelings. To even think about negative events in my life, and much less to even talk about them with others, were  the bars that created my own personal prison. It was only when I admitted my own powerlessness with a life spiraling down out of control, because of shame, guilt and isolation, that I had to do something, anything,  to free myself from the bondage of depression. And that is where my story begins and that is where I began to get my life back.  When I admitted to myself and then to that group of persons who faced the same problem as myself,  that the bars of my prison were gradually removed.

Could it be that we have spent so much time on getting rid of these oppressive feelings of shame and despair that, as Thomas Moore states so wisely in his work, Care of the Soul in  Everyday life, that “depression  may be as important a channel for valuable “negative” feelings, as  expressions of affection are for the emotions of love.”

Finally the truth comes out. Even though medications prescribed for depression may help some of us get  back on the  playing field of life, getting in touch with these dark feelings of melancholy which have us down for the count, it is by feeling them and talking about  them that get us back to life. Why is it that we are so ready to get rid of something which with time and work can reveal to me a better path where i will discover a purpose and meaning  for my life.

If you want to discover how others like myself made this journey through the darkness and bitterness of their lives and came out more fully human, with negative feelings  and all, then please read  the PERSONAL STORIES of those like myself who using  the 12 Steps of recovery found the passage to freedom.

SOURCES:

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

I’ll do it when I feel Better(2014)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications.   Louisville.

Please Visit the Store for more literature dealing with Depression and the 12 steps.

Keeping Our Dark Thoughts Out Into The Open

” Most of us need the fellowship of the group to keep ourselves honest and in recovery and our dark thoughts out in the open.”

I believe that keeping our dark thoughts in the open  is a must for those of us who are depressed. How often when I was feeling sad and without motivation to just go to my bed and sleep.  I couldn’t continue with  the dark thoughts that kept cycling around in my head. They each would take me right back to  where they started. I always ended up back at hopelessness and despair.

This being open, willing and honest with others  in the group is the beginning of a new adventure. The fellowship provides us with that opportunity to get out in the open those very same dark thoughts that forced us down and into the pit. Were they thoughts of guilt, shame or despair? Where they the hopeless thoughts of killing ourselves? Whatever the dark thoughts, I know from my own experiences in recovery that by bringing them (dark thoughts) into the light — the shame that they once made us feel begins to be diminished. When I tell members of our group that I once tried to kill myself, no one falls out of their chair. No one looks down on me–because, just possibly, there are other members of the group who have had the same experiences as have I.

By coming week after week to the group and feeling that those gathered in the group are in the same boat or have the same experiences, does make it easier for me to  trust them with my story–no matter how dark and shameful.   And as it says in our Depressed Anonymous (3rd edition)  big book, “Remarkable things happen to us when we are willing to admit defeat and talk about our powerlessness over our depression and how our lives had become unmanageable. This first step is the beginning of the flight of steps that takes us up and into our new way of living. At our fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, we talk hope, we act hopeful, and we think hope..” Pages 106-107. Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications, Louisville.

Listen To How You Talk To Yourself – Do You Like What You Hear?

AFFIRMATION

I will let go of the negative thoughts about myself as soon as I am conscious that I am experiencing them.

“…try to live one day at a time.. We know from experience that our sobriety , our disappearance from sadness is due to letting go, admitting our powerlessness  (Step 1) and coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity (Step 2).

REFLECTION

I know that I have to continue to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an ongoing and daily basis. My letting go and letting  God take over my life doesn’t mean that  I’ll just sit back and let it do all the work, no, it means that I will work on myself and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently if I just make an effort to choose to be conscious of the thoughts  that I let myself ruminate and think  about during the day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced with positive and constructive thoughts. We call them SUNSPOTS (Depressed Anonymous).

So often when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even conscious as to how I would  always select the negative attributes about myself to reflect upon instead of attempting to think positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way I feel.

Going to a mutual aid group, which focuses on depression, enables us to share with others how we talk to ourselves and what we tell ourselves, day after day. Do we like what we hear when we share with others our continued negative thinking? I would think not.

MEDITATION FOR TODAY

God, let us just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness. Your are not the harsh judge of my childhood. You are the God who loves us just the way we are. God is like the Mother who continues to love the child of her womb.

SOURCE: HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS(C) December 14.

THE GOOD AND BAD IMPLICATIONS OF DEPRESSION

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 if you didn’t cause it then you could get it again, like the flu or the cold.  But since depression isn’t a cold or a flu virus or germ we will try taking responsibility for our depression and its symptoms and go from there.  The quickest answer to that is that it may lead me to take full responsibility for anyway that I can to overcome depression –this may mean taking the medication to reduce the negative symptoms, seek talk therapy, and then be part of a beloved community –a self help group where they know us by name. It is here that people like us will take the time to guide us toward the light where we can find safety, security and people like ourselves who will not tell us to “snap out of it.”

It is now the time to ask yourselves how you can best take responsibility for yourself.  Formulating a daily plan, an activity, a pleasant activity, a feeling of finally getting control over your life which you felt that you never had. Also, planning one or more pleasant activities everyday into your life is a good way to plan your day instead of your day planning you.

To examine the good and the bad implications of depression as outlined briefly above is just another way to continue clarifying our thoughts on how well we  are taking responsibility for our lives.

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Copyright(c) Shining a light on the dark night of the soul. DAP  Pages 16=-17(  Excerpts)