Depressed? Feeling all alone? Want support?

Want support? That’s what we all want for our lives, especially  when we are depressed. This is certainly  a fact as  we sink deeper into the quagmire of a melancholy mood. Without support from others when we  feel depressed —  even  hopeless — is   a critical time for  us.  It’s a do or die moment. It’s time to make a decision.  What do we want?

I think that for most of us who are or were depressed to have someone understand what we are living through–but let’s be frank–unless you yourself  have experienced the deadening feeling of depression it is quite a leap for others to try and understand our experience if they have never been there themselves. And really this is the reason we have a support group for those of us who can come together and get support. We are not alone. We have walked the walk where we were all alone and in  a continued isolation from family, friends and our world.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

In a social diagnosis made by C. Lasch,  (La cultura del narcissimo (Andres Bello, Barcelona. 1999). “who typified  our contemporary culture as a culture of narcissism – a culture in which every person relies on himself alone and is horrified by old age and radically  marginalizes the elderly.” (Dolentium Hominum. Church and Health in the world. xix. 2004.)

Social support for   those of us who are or have been depressed has  saved many of us from those deeper and life threatening  forms of addiction, such as alcoholism, gambling,  pornography, hoarding.  We  have become a materialistic  throw away society,  craving more things to consume and  more things  filling  up the hole of our emptiness.

While having already personally experienced the power of the 12 spiritual principles  of the 12 steps, plus a powerful social support  of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, I know of the power of being with others who just like myself, who find unconditional acceptance from the group. I also continue to learn about and use the many tools that keep me from relapsing back into depression . In Depressed Anonymous we all speak the same language of hope and recovery.

Dr. Aquilino Polaino-Lorento, a psychopathologist,   in his  article Is depression solely a matter of medical intervention?  tells us   “the absence of social support  is not  a cause of depression but is its consequence….less social support meaning a greater expression of symptoms.”

Here are more of his thoughts on social support and how that can be a predictor in a depressed persons’ response to therapy. He shares the following;  Depressive illness in elderly patients is higher the lower the level of the social support they receive.The speed of the response to therapy correlates in both sexes with  the social support they received.  The higher the level  of social support the more rapid the response.

Social support for many who are depressed is just not there. Period. It is a sad fact that there is even a stigma placed on persons depressed.  A depressed person has need of other depressed persons who can give them hope that their experience doesn’t have to go on.  The  social support of a mutual aid group can give exactly this–support and hope. As  persons depressed have a tendency to isolate themselves — and  the less social support they receive the deeper the spiral into darkness.

So what we have here is that more persons in our modern societies are isolated and remote from others.  We have become nomads looking for more things, more experiences that deepen a focus  on oneself, pushes  us away from the community however large or small, and contributes to an attitude of “it’s all about me.”

So is all we are left with is a society filled with isolated narcissists? No, that doesn’t have to be at all.  But if we want help for those of us who are depressed, we learn that the greatest help can be not to judge, not to tell them how to live, but instead,  listen and be present to them as friend.

In our Dep-Anon Family Group Manual we have a section titled

    WHAT TO SAY TO SOMEONE WHO IS DEPRESSED.

“It is more tempting, when you find out someone is depressed to immediately fix the problem. However, until the depressed  persons has given you the permission to be their therapist (as a friend or a professional) , the following responses are more likely to help.

The things that didn’t make me feel worse are the words which 1) acknowledge my depression for  what it is (“No, its just a phase.”) 2) give me permission to feel depressed ( “But why should  you be sad?) .

Here is a list  of things that might be said to a depressed friend or family member. “

“I love you.”

“I care.”

“You are not alone in this.”

“I’m not going to leave you or abandon you.”

“Do you want a hug.”

“It will pass, we can ride it out together.”

“When all this is over, I’ll still be here (if you mean it) and so will you.”

“You are important to me.”

“We are not primarily on earth to see through someone –but to see one another through.”

“I am sorry that you’re in so much pain. I am not going to leave you.  I am going to take care of myself so that you don’t need to worry that your pain might hurt me.”

“I listen  to you talk about it, and I can’t imagine what it’s like for you. I just can’t imagine how hard it must be?”

“I can’t fully understand  what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.”

If you need a friend…” (And mean it).

Here we are. There is hope and there is social support available.

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For more information please read and learn about the HOME STUDY KIT which one can use as an individual with their therapist, family member  or a friend.

The two works which comprise the Home Study Kit are:

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

and

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. These two works comprise the Home Study Kit.

Depressedanon.com (here at this site) has a daily blog from which information and inspiration can be experienced.

VISIT THE STORE for other   available literature. Remember, our literature is written by those of us who were depressed.

 

 

youI lov

I refuse to run from what I feel.

AFFIRMATION

I will be in touch with my feelings throughout the day. I refuse to run from what I feel.

“The ability to experience one’s  feelings without resisting or running from them, determines  to a large degree whether a person is healthy are not.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I’m going to make a real effort today to do what I  see works for depressed persons like myself. They all say that the longer they are in the program (Depressed Anonymous) , the more feelings they are able to express and the  less the unpleasant feelings of fear dominates their life. I am finding that by  writing my feelings down, the less frightening they seem to be to me. I am now able to deal head on with my feelings.

My addiction was a way of walling off my pain. In time, I became addicted  to the pain and in doing so, I lost myself in the process. I find this experience to be a freeing  one.

My addiction was a way of walling off pain.  Now the pain is more important than what I am running away from.

What I experience in my life determines to a large extent what I predict life to become. My past experiences are predictors of a life not as yet lived. I am wanting to experience the fact that my good days are more frequent now and my bad days occurring not as often.

MEDITATION

God, the more I give up my need to be depressed the more I’m finding that I’m becoming more assertive and truly present to others in my life. I want you to help me feel my feelings and express them today. [ADD YOUR OWN PERSONAL THOUGHTS HERE]

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SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowships. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

WE ARE MESSENGERS OF HOPE.

“Each group has but one primary purpose, to carry its message to the depressed person who still suffers.”

FIFTH TRADITION OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

I think this is what keeps me going through out my week, namely, to know that there are people out there that will support me in my moments when I want to sad myself. I am grateful for all the  Twelve Step programs of recovery which help me let go of my need to sad myself. I am grateful that someone told me about Depressed Anonymous  and now, since I am feeling better, I am carrying the message of hope to others like me.

I have a message of hope to give to others who keep coming back to the Depressed Anonymous  meetings. I am convinced that it is the group and their understanding of my depression that makes me feel accepted and understood. I carry the message of hope to all those others out there who want to get better.

MEDITATION

Today, we pray that our potential for carrying the message  of hope to others who are depressed will be strengthened in us. We want to be a channel of God’s healing power.

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Source: Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 116-117.

I THINK I HIT A HOME RUN!

“During my first night in the hospital, a member informed me of a support group known as DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS. I decided to give it a try. By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous, and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the Twelfth Step, but has   also given me a key, a key which would open many doors for me.  Walking through these doors  was like admitting defeat. I was playing first base in a  ball game in which I would eventually win. If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me. With the help and the positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me. With the love, support, and true friendship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license when  two members of the group took me in for my road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst was finally over.”

–Lena

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous (3rd.Edition) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.  “We never talked about our feelings.” Page 112-113.

THE MYSTIC EXPERIENCE OF BILL W., CO-FOUNDER OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS.

Granted that this site is not about alcoholism but about depression. But let’s face it, many of those addicted to alcohol are also depressed. I think many depressed try and medicate the pain with alcohol and then end up with two conditions that they need help with. We call this a co-morbid addictive illness.
A few days ago I wrote about the “spiritual awakening” that gave Bill the jump start that he had to have in order to quit his drinking. For Bill it came down to either lose (surrender) his life to this mystic power or to the disease of alcoholism. After this special illumination of the hospital room and to his mind, he knew he could not continue his drinking.
Bill describes his thoughts about this epiphany in the following light:
I was the recipient of a tremendous mystic experience or “illumination” and at first it was very natural for me to feel that this experience staked me out as somebody very special.
But as I now look back upon this tremendous event, I can only feel very grateful. It now seems clear that the only special features of my experience were its suddenness and the overwhelming and immediate conviction that it carried.
In all other respects, however, I am sure that my own experience was essentially like that received by any A.A. member who has strenuously practiced our recovery program. Surely, the grace he received is also of God; the only difference is that he becomes aware of his gift more gradually. Source: AS Bill sees it.

Soldiers, Suicides, and Support groups.

I think that most of us have read or heard   through the media about suicides among our nation’s military. Even though there are less suicides recorded this year  among members of the Armed Forces,  our National Guard units have experienced  a rise in suicides among its members this past year. One suicide among us is one too many!

So what is going on? From my perspective as a civilian who works with persons every day who are depressed, I think that because of the nature of their roles as men and women  committed to putting their lives on the line, especially combat,   this fact in itself is enough to present  a person with stress and the many  resultant symptoms of depression.  I do know that stressful  life events, and the thinking  about them, can grind us down psychologically, physically  and psychically.

Depression must be taken seriously! Telling a person depressed to  ” snap out of it.” is not helpful at all.  This basically invalidates my own feelings  of hopelessness and helplessness.  I can’t just turn my depression on or off like a faucet.

I just hope that those with the capacity to help our soldiers who are depressed can help all our  soldiers to be better prepared by making available  support groups designed specifically for men and women depressed.  As one top military put it, he thinks that just by making available someone to talk to–and telling them that it is  “ok,  to admit feeling helpless about circumstances in one’s life and  that you are spiraling down into an abyss and can’t climb  out.” Most person depressed feel especially out of control, I also think that men in our culture, because of needing to be strong and brave, find it most difficult to share these deep emotions of feeling helpless plus dealing with something that can’t just be willed  away.    Shame and guilt are real obstacles to getting help. Depression not only paralyzes our wills but makes moving out of our isolating behavior just that much more difficult.

It would be my recommendation that the military continue its efforts in establishing  support groups which deal specifically with issues of depression and suicidal thinking and behavior. Would the military consider using material modeled after the 12 steps off AA and which has been established as a remedy, since 1985,  not only for the military but for all who are looking for support. .   Depression is a global problem. We feel that Depressed Anonymous  is such a therapeutic  approach and one  which our military deserve.    And as a nation we need to “pass muster” and give our troops the best that we have to give.

Hugh