Category Archives: Supportive Actions

THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF HOPE

If we have worked the 12 Steps on a daily basis, we now realize the value 0f surrender and the power that releases in us, just by making a decision in Step Three to “turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand God”is the beginning of reconnection with life and ourselves. It is in the group that the depressed person begins trusting their members where they have admitted that their lives are unmanageable, and that they have made a conscious decision to turn their lives over to God, or the Higher Power.The Twelve Step program helps people to become God conscious. It is in working the program while making no excuses for the spiritual nature of our recovery,we can begin to attribute our new-found sense of hope and peace to the Higher Power. For the active member of Depressed Anonymous there begins to glimmer in the distance, the bright light of hope.
Submitted by JANET M.

The Real Deal

One of my favorite TV shows is the Antique Roadshow. Every piece of furniture, painting, pottery, etc., brought to the show, has its own unique history. Each piece is appraised as to its present value by professional art dealers. That is the basis of the show, to help people discover how much that old letter, old painting or anything else that they bring to the show. seeking its worth. They can discover if their painting is an original, the real deal, or just a copy, or even a forgery. It is rare that an original masterpiece is ever discovered. Even so, there are times when a very valuable piece is discovered. People who come to show their articles, know that they can at least find out if they have something of value.

In ancient Rome, there were many sculptors, who sculpted pieces of artistic beauty. At times, when a sculptor’s chisel took too much granite off his work of art, he would cover his mistake with wax. So, if an artist wanted to sell his piece of art, it had to be noted that the piece was sincere, that is, without wax. No covering up mistakes.

So when I say that I am sincere, I am telling you that I am telling the truth. I am telling you that there is no coverup in what I am saying. (sine cera in Latin = without wax). In other words, it’s the real deal.

In our recovery program, Depressed Anonymous, we thrive by being sincere. We learn that it is when we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable, that we began to thrive and freed ourselves from the prison of depression.

Please come and join us in this Depressed Anonymous Fellowship. It is here where we can share our past mistakes and shortcomings – and our strengths – no more wax jobs – and find peace abd strength with folks just like ourselves.

DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS
Our website at DEPRESSEDANON.COM, will provide you with all necessary information, directing you to our online daily ZOOM meetings. We offer two meetings a day. You are always welcome!

HUGH S., for the DA Fellowship

DA: A Wellspring of Support and Warmth

In September 2022, my journey with DA began as I stumbled upon the group during an internet search for a 12-Step Program dedicated to healing from depression.

Despite my busy schedule, working full-time and pursuing a Master’s Degree in Social Work, I was taken aback by the depth of my own depression, as diagnosed by my doctor.  How could someone so occupied with both helping others and managing their own life experience such overwhelming despair?

Fortunately, the DA group proved to be a wellspring of support and warmth.  Making the 12:30 pm ET meeting a regular part of my life, attending at least four days a week, I gradually became acquainted with the compassionate individuals who constituted this community.  Active participation in the group’s WhatsApp channel made me feel embraced by a loving community.  Mutual assistance and empathy permeated our interactions; I was both heard and acknowledged by these caring individuals I had the privilege of connecting with nearly every day. When I encountered distressing moments at work, triggered by my colleagues and resulting in what I refer to as uncontrollable hijacking of my mind, the DA WhatsApp group members were readily available to lend an ear.  Their presence provided solace, support, and validation.

Given my history of intermittent depression throughout my life, the aspect I treasured most about DA was the continuous camaraderie and the opportunity to nurture a relationship with my higher power.  Through this practice, my mindset evolved constantly, reaching higher levels of understanding and growth.

Unbeknownst to most, deep within me, I harbored immense gratitude for DA, seeing it as a form of insurance. With my parents aging and my mother struggling with stage 4 COPD, I knew major life changes could transpire at any moment.  Consequently, the presence of such an incredible group and way of life became increasingly invaluable.  After nearly nine months in the DA program, tragedy struck.  I received news that I have reactive Epstein Barr Virus, and my doctor simply advised rest, dismissing the severity of the illness.  I found out I have been living with this active virus for over 14 years.  Consequently, I was forced to abandon my workout regimen, a crucial element of my antidepressant treatment.  It was during this trying time that I sought to employ the program to a greater extent.  Now I had a tangible and pressing reason to experience depression.  Yet, with the support of this program and the assistance of my higher power, I managed to stay afloat and recognize that I would never be burdened with more than I could bear.  Instead of succumbing to despair, I summoned the courage to seek progress in various aspects of my life.  Breaking free from my employment bubble, I mustered the audacity to apply for a new position within my organization, acknowledging that my fear had kept me stagnant in my current role for far too long.

The fellowship I have found in DA has become a source of immeasurable gratitude.  Without the presence of these remarkable individuals and the unwavering support they provide, I would have struggled to rebound and advance despite the daunting health news I received.  I consider myself immensely blessed and secure in the knowledge that I have discovered this fellowship.

Lisa P., California, June 2023

So, I admit that I am depressed? Now what do I do?

“The first thing that I would do, would be to check out our Depressed Anonymous website @depresedanon.com. It is Here that you will be able to participate every day, with people just like yourself, who are seeking hope, and healing. This mutually supportive fellowship will lead you out of the prison of your depression and open your life up to hope, healing, and lasting friendships.

Even though we have a need to be by ourselves, and stay apart from human contact, we also have a need to be in contact with others. For to be in contact with others means that we will have to take some risks to make some choices. But when I am depressed and alone. I don’t have to make as many choices or take any action except to keep isolating myself and staying apart.”

Copyright (C) Depressed Anonymous Publications. (2002) Louisville, KY

The Three Needs and Storytelling

“In an article on AA’s Third Step (Richard Rohr) counsels that spirituality involves the “letting go” of three needs.

  1. The need to be in control.
  2. The need to be effective.
  3. The need to be right.

For alcoholics (and others) in early sobriety the last point may be the most important, for detachment from the need to be right, surrender of “demand to have the last word,” seems a prerequisite to the kind of listening that allows participation in the healing power of storytelling.

Source: The Spirituality of Imperfection. Kurtz and Ketcham. Bantam, NY, Page 173.

Quoted in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET. Fall 1996. Volume 8. Number 1. Page 8.


Comment: Control, I believe plays a big part in our own recovery. We tried to control others, manipulate our relationships, so that we came across as someone that we were not. We needed to have control of others, as only I knew what was right for them. We corrected others when we felt that we knew more about what they were talking about than they did.

As to my own recovery, I discovered that most of what I learned about recovery from depression was from others, like myself. who had weathered the depression darkness, by sharing their own story. By doing so, the deflation of my ego, took me out of being the center of the universe, to having this new belief that it was no longer I who was in control, but in fact, it was this power greater than myself who is now in control.

Amazingly, it was not only a story of my own brokenness and restoration, but was chiefly a story of how this Power put me back together. I now follow a path of serenity and hope, with the author of my new life who guides me every day of my life. My God always has the last word. BELIEVE!

Hugh S., for the fellowship

My mind has a mind of its own

One of our family’s favorite camping areas, is a small park that provides many positive experiences for those who love the outdoors. In fact, just the name of the park, brings to mind the days of the past. The park’s name, Buffalo Trace, let us know that thousands of buffalo roamed through this area, years ago, following a beaten path, that led to the open plains of the Dakotas. Even today, there is a physical trace of the path that once saw the presence of these large and majestic animals, crossing the continent of the United States.

Just like the physical trace of those many buffalo, moving along their annual travels, our human brain also creates familiar mind paths. All living beings are creatures of habit.

For example, because of a construction detour, I was forced to take a different route home from work. Guess what happens? My mind’s GPS is confused, everything looks different. Our mental map has changed. This new route to get home, has now been turned into a labyrinth, making a familiar way to return home, now becomes a major problem.

I like to think of our mind as the executor of various tasks, mental, emotional and physical, motivating us to accomplish the need at hand. But, if the human mind, continues to bombard us with those negative thoughts telling us how worthless and hopeless we are, over time, it becomes a veritable impossibility to make a change. Our continued negative thinking, has created a pattern of thinking about ourselves, which holds no hope for change. It is like our mind has created a neurological rut, where the mind has no choice but to stay the course. That is, to stay in the rut, to stay depressed, as there is no way out.

For any of us, to even think of changing one’s mind and behavior, can in itself, be frightening. The motivation and energy needed to change is no longer available. To change our hopeless thinking has reduced us to feel like a robot, losing our autonomy and all formerly meaningful relationships. A false belief has been created in our mind that there is no way out. We begin spiraling downward into that abyss of darkness and annihilation.

What we are describing here is a metaphor for all addictions, be that of a mind altering drug or a process addiction where the mind follows a thinking pattern, which fills our mind with painful thoughts, that we are hopeless, unacceptable to ourselves and others. We are initially unaware that this negative and self-bashing addictive form of thinking and feeling, is potentially a life threatening trap. This mind of our own, which now has become our misguided fellow traveler, tells us there is no hope and that we are powerless! We take this as a truth. We now feel like the hole in the doughnut. Empty, alone, and living as a prisoner of one’s own mind.

So, our mind does have a mind of its own, and when it veers off the path of sanity, of honesty and a willingness to want to change, we discover sadly that we have been led to a place where thriving is not a personal option. The good news for us is that my mind can choose a road that provides freedom and restoration. In time, and with help, I have come to the absolute truth, that our minds do have a mind of their own. I am grateful that I have made the right choice–a choice that says, “I Came to believe that a power, (an eternal MIND) greater than ourselves, that could restore us to sanity.”

“Hope is the oxygen for the soul.”

Hugh S., for the fellowship.

Please join with us at our daily program of recovery at: depressdanon.com. You will be happy that you made the right choice!

When you’re depressed all you’re interested in is survival – Dorothy Rowe

 

THE ORIGINS of MISTRUST

I want to share with you how Dr. Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist, provides examples how our lack of trust can originate in early childhood. Patterns of isolating behavior and negative thinking, grow strong in a home environment where the child is not loved and nurtured.

Dr. Fitzgibbobs, tells us “that the seedbed of mistrust resides in childhood. Many times this lack of trust, of others and ourselves and the world around us, may have begun with the loss of a parent, sister, brother, or a close friend. A serious illness in a parent, sibling or oneself can be the cause of depression. Many times mistrust comes about because of an alcoholic parent so that a child never knows if a drunken loved one is coming home, or in an angry drunken stupor. Anger and rejection by caregivers and/or peers can also have an effect on the ability to trust. Parental divorce or separation can have an effect on a child. Also a cold distant, and unloving parent can have a negative effect on a child. Add to this, a legacy of mistrust and fear in the family will negatively influence a child. Finally, poverty may also be a cause of mistrust”

Brenda, (not her real name ) shares with us some of her own story:

” I have often reflected on how a lack of trust in myself and in others, had a crippling effect on my early childhood development. It was only until I began examining my own childhood, later in life, that I discovered reasons for my mistrust of others. I accomplished these discoveries by getting in touch with those early negative feelings that constantly bombarded my everyday thinking. Most of these early feelings remained unconscious and hidden, until I started to examine my childhood relationships, especially with those significant others who were my caregivers. ”

By utilizing the Depressed Anonymous Workbook with its’ 12 STEP COMMENTARY, and questions, directed toward one’s early life experiences, special attention was centered on those caregivers and significant others in one’s family, who, charged with caregiving, to provide the child with the love that a child deserves. For many children, who grew up in a home environment, filled with anger, parental arguing, and violence, made it impossible for a child to defend themselves against such abuse, including mental, sexual, and physical abuse. Some children create fantasy worlds, some with imaginary friends, with whom they can confide in and feel secure in a home environment where chaos reigns.

In our Depressed Anonymous fellowship, we can begin to open up to group members, giving us that opportunity to share and trust,\

others, who are like ourselves. We happily discovered that we are now no longer alone. Most of us come to our program of recovery, looking to find help, and that welcome relief from the daily crippling burden of depression, which has forced us to isolate from others, believing that we are not good enough.

Earlier, Dr, Fitzgibbons has listed some of the major causes of our childhood depression, and we can resonate with them within our hearts and minds. And in your moments of personal quiet and reflection, celebrate who you are and not who others say you are.

So get a notebook, and begin to write down your answers to those questions in the DA Workbook, which hold meaning for your own personal life and recovery, to which you can relate. Share your DA Workbook with your therapist, sponsor or friends in Depressed Anonymous at the ZOOM meetings online, and/or face to face meetings.

So now, not only will you be a survivor, you will no longer be a victim of those circumstances, which made you believe that you were worthless, unlovable and unacceptable. Progress, not perfection.

By completing my Fourth Step inventory, it became possible to uncover those areas of my early life which made trusting an impossibility. As mentioned earlier, and later into my early adult life, it was my own spiraling downward, into the darkness of depression, the only thing that I could think of was my survival. I was desperate to stop the descent into the darkness and physical pain. I knew that I must get active, preventing my paralyzing desire to take comfort in sleep and shut out the world.

My life is very different now. I continue to take inverntory of my life on a daily basis and I finally believe in myself and the Higher Power that has helped me believe that I have a purpose and a meaning for my life. I also believe in a power that is greater than myself and who continually leads me, everyday, on this wonderful journey of hope! Progress and not perfection.

TRUST IS A FEELING OF BEING SAFE IN RELATIONSHIPS AND IN LIFE.

HUGH S., FOR THE FELLOWSHIP

Personal Stories: DA and Yoga proved a powerful combination …..

My family immigrated from Kharkiv, Ukraine to the USA in 1992 as refugees. When I came to the United States, it seemed like I came from another planet.  Everything was different: language, mentality, and environment.  It seemed like I lost my identity and I did not belong anywhere.  In New York, I went to college.  However, I became severely depressed during my second semester and was hospitalized for depression.  When I got better, I returned to college and obtained my BA in Liberal Arts and MS in Education.  I wanted to become an elementary school teacher but became interested in school psychology and became a school psychologist for New York City, Department of Education.  The job was so stressful that i was hospitalized for depression and finally quit the job and went on disability.

One day I saw a yoga studio near where I lived.  I didn’t know anything about yoga.  I absolutely loved yoga after the first session.  Yoga helped me tremendously with my depression.  I did yoga in the hospital for myself and the other patients and the nurses.  Then I promised to myself and to God (even though I am agnostic) that I will be teaching free yoga to anyone who wants to learn.

I always searched for a cure for my depression and felt the need of a support group in addition to my psychotherapy and medications, so I was happy when I found DA online.  My first DA meeting was on September 22, 2020.  It’s my first Twelve Step program and I decided to give it a chance.  I thought “I don’t have anything to lose except my misery.”  I was very skeptical at the beginning, because nothing seemed to help my depression.  I couldn’t share anything during my first DA meeting and didn’t have my camera on.  I didn’t purchase DA literature for about a month because I didn’t have money and wasn’t sure if DA would help me after everything I had been through.  To my surprise, after being in DA for two years, I felt I became less depressed.  I didn’t get hospitalized during this time, I made friends by attending daily DA meetings, I was reading DA literature, working the 12 Steps, got a sponsor and joined two co-sponsorship groups.   I found my purpose in life by sharing my story and offering yoga to DA members twice a week.  I still feel anxious and depressed  sometimes but I know that I can use the tools of DA, reach out to my sponsor and DA friends, and count on their support.  I can see a tremendous difference in myself.  In a sense, I “love my depression” now because through it I found the DA community and feel like I finally belong.  I am so grateful to be a DA member and I hope my hard work in DA and my Higher Power (power of DA group, yoga and universal love) will bring me peace and serenity, and I will be able to say one day that I am completely recovered from depression.

Irene S., NYC, October 2023

Depression is a process addiction

Depression is a process addiction, just as alcoholism is a substance addiction.

A process addiction is when a person is addicted to a particular behavior. When we speak about one addiction, like the process addiction of depression, we can include them all. We are learning that the Twelve Step program of recovery can be used to overcome negative thinking and compulsive/addictive behavior for the person who sincerely wants to get emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy.

Our Depressed Anonymous fellowship is based on a hope that no matter how bad we feel, no matter how isolated we are, or how painful we feel, we do recover.

We discover that all our negative thinking, feeling and behaviors will no longer keep us captive, isolated and in the prison of our depression. We gradually begin to change the way we think and feel, learning how to motivate ourselves, using the Spiritual principles of the Twelve Steps, and begin to get active in our own recovery. Motivation follows action!

The main positive effect of making the Steps an integral part of our daily Lives is that people can come together and find the support of their Depressed Anonymous fellowship. They in turn will find the emotional nurturing acceptance of their group and learn the social skills that can help them gradually enter life again; with hope and a heightened spirit. Once people realize that they are not alone and that they hope that they too will feel better. The beauty of a self-help group is that a person feels acceptance from the group. No one is there to tell them to “snap out of it” or that depression is all in your mind.

Finally, we see our closed system of depression, with its negative addictive thinking, feelings of despair, coupled with those behaviors which keep us afraid and anxious, gradually are being dismantled. We discover that we have choices. We don’t have to stay isolated. Our positive thinking begins to show us a way out of a system that has had us bullied into submission. Our minds are now processing hope and possibilities for a new life of freedom.

Hugh S., for the fellowship

Foundation For Life: Self-Examination, Prayer, Meditation

“We discover that we receive guidance for our lives to just about the extent that we stop making demands upon God,to give to us on order, and on our terms.

In praying, we ask simply that throughout the day, that God place in us the best understanding of His will that we be given for that day, and that we be given the grace which to carry it out.

There is a direct linkage among self-evaluation, meditation and prayer. Taken separately these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven they result in an unshakable foundation in life.”

(c) As Bill sees it, page 33. Hope, service, fellowship March 1, 2014.