Category Archives: Journaling

Slow down! Road work ahead!

How often do we see these orange warning signs along our highways? Sometimes it seems that everywhere we go, construction is going on. According to Murphy’s law, they only show up when we are in a hurry to get somewhere else.

In our recovery it is a necessity to read the signs that tell us to slow down. There is road work ahead. As we know or will soon find out recovery is about work, using those tools that are provided for our own healing and serenity.

We slow down, stop and reflect on our lives, examining how certain “triggers” not only slow us down but can “shut us down.” We discover how ruminating on the same negative feelings, produce a mood that continues to stifle us and prevents us from seeing it for what it is, namely a warning for us to make some changes in our behaviors. If we let these moods deepen there is a strong possibility that these negative ruminations can push us deeper into symptoms of depression. Before that happens, starting to use our tools can save us from relapsing or experiencing a recurrence of symptoms and get us back on the road again.

There are many things that can keep us motivated to stay involved in our program of recovery. You can read these for yourself here on our website (depressedanon.com) under the menu, TOOLS FOR RECOVERY. They are welcome tools not only providing help but hope.

You can also reflect on the “slogans” used by those of us in the 12 Step fellowships. I am going to list some of them and hope that you will use these as “mantra’s” or “slogans” for your own recovery and “road work.”

KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t complicate your life by over-analyzing or by placing judgments on others thinking or behavior. Don’t double yourself up with doing a hundred different things all at once.

DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING Telling yourself I’ll do it when I feel better never gets it. If you are recovering then go to meetings when you don’t want to or an appointment when you don’t feel like it. If you need to go to work go to work. That is the next right thing. Always be there for yourself and your healing. If you are doing Step work with a sponsor, then do the Step work. Do the next right thing. Put that on your bathroom mirror.

PROGRESS – NOT PERFECTION. Do what you can do and then don’t worry about it. The main thing is not that something you do is perfect –but that you are doing what you can do and doing it to the best of your ability.

CONTROL THE EFFORT-NOT THE OUTCOME. Take responsibility for you all that you do and again do your best. Make the effort. Give it your best shot. “To thine own self first be true.”

BE. HERE. NOW. Be in the present. Yesterday is gone forever. Tomorrow is not here yet. All we have is today. Enjoy the moment. Mindful that there is a God-and it isn’t me!

ONE DAY AT A TIME. We are only given one 24 hour period at a time. Use it well. Keep a journal and list three things that you are grateful for today.

Thank you for doing a little road work for yourself today. I hope that some of what I have written may have motivated you to look deeper into how you can “accept the things that you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

If you would like to read more about depression please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY

Hugh

Recovery people delight in how they are becoming more assertive

 

“Responsibility is the name of the game in recovery and it is here that we need to focus our attention. As we get into a discussion with other people who are depressed – much like ourselves – we see that they talk about feeling better while at the same time acting on their own behalf. These people who are doing better are also taking responsibility on their own behalf. Those   who are doing better are also talking about taking charge of their lives and doing things for  themselves   instead of constantly trying to please others.  In fact at DA meetings the  recovering people often delight at how assertive they are becoming now that they have gained a sense of recovery  over their lives. They are now committed to their own recovery.  People who want to change begin to swallow their pride and ask for help. They begin to   get in touch with their feelings and feel!  This is truth and this is getting in touch with one’s own best self.”

COPYRIGHT(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY 40241. (Page 91. Step Ten)

All it takes is one good person to restore hope – Pope Francis

This statement is so true. All it takes is one good person to restore hope. This is a reality that I personally experience each day of my life. I find these individuals every day – carrying the message of hope to those others who are looking for a way out of their pain and suffering. These good people who lead are sharing their own hope, strength and experience with those who still suffer alone, and without hope. These good people take it upon themselves to communicate to others how they found hope and now want to share their recovery with others. They are using the fellowship of hope by the electronic systems such as ZOOM, SKYPE, FACEBOOK and the many face to face groups outside of the virtual world. These various communication tools enable us to reach around the world bringing fellowship to those seeking hope.

Recently, individuals in Poland decided to set up their own SKYPE meetings. Just recently in America two ZOOM group are operating, with one more about to get up and running. There is also a phone – in meeting operating. in America.

We are here at depressedanon.com (Depressed Anonymous) offering hope to those who come to our website. A Blog is offered a number of times a week. There are those good people who are not members of Depressed Anonymous who use their resources and talents to keep our websites, our ZOOM and SKYPE online programs operating with a myriad of technical skills. All in all, good persons continue to find hope and share what they have with others. so that they too can experience the hope that is real and offered freely to them.

Depressed Anonymous website at depressedanon.com will lead you to the places where you can go and join up with others at a 12 Step Depressed Anonymous meeting.

Like Francis tells us “All it takes is for one good person to restore hope.”

Won’t you be the next “one good person?” Will you join with us on this great journey where we all discover the hope of recovery and personal serenity?

The Fellowship of Depressed Anonymous

The 12 Step program of recovery is helping me learn how to love myself

AFFIRMATION

I have hope that I can accept myself today and just let fly  by all the old messages from old tapes of childhood.

“You desperately wanted people to love you, but you became very wary of giving your love to others. You reasoned  that the less you loved another person, the less it would hurt when the inevitable rejection came.” Dorothy Rowe

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I have been so holed up in my own little world of feeling hurt and rejected that to attempt to love someone else seems the greatest challenge of my life. I desire so badly to be loved by someone else,  that this lack of another’s love makes my isolation from others so hurtful.

After witnessing the miracle of the group of Depressed Anonymous, where depressed people come with their feelings of being hurt and rejected, I find that other’s love and nurture challenges me to hope once again. I can share with the group the fact that I haven’t measured up, that I am angry and that I want to just lay down and die.

I am open now to let the light of love from others, who like myself, realize that I am not alone and that I am beginning to  affiliate and give of myself fro someone else’s good. In the program  of recovery I am starting to love myself.

MEDITATION

We are going to make a mental decision right now to let God, as we understand God, guide us and instruct us on how to love ourselves.

(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365  daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.  Pg. 38. March 3rd.

Did I create my own prison of depression?

You know,  that’s a  great question for us who have been , or who are presently depressed.  My own reflections about my own experience with depression wasn’t a question that I  asked myself. Actually, that came later in my recovery.  I  really didn’t care who or what  created it – all I knew was I had to get rid of it.  In fact, the experience was much like Noah’s  in the belly of the whale.  I was just walking along one day minding my own business, and suddenly bam! physically feeling swallowed  up by some  invisible  creature who  was devouring me. And that was that. From that  moment on, the feeling continued to overwhelm  me for the next year and half.

Because I had no label to pin on this “whatever it was,”  and I thought nothing important to talk to  anyone  about, but only that the  feeling of helplessness had me locked down.  Oh, I still went to work, trudged through Graduate studies and continued my relationship with others, never revealing my interior mysterious  sense of isolation and despair.

My only distraction was to get up early every morning( biggest challenge of the day) and walk for miles, round and round,  thankful I was still able to function.

Long story short, during this period,  I gradually felt   small lift’s in my spirit but they never lasted. So I continued walking until I managed to walk out of the fog. I was feeling hopeful again,  able to face life with hope. Finally feeling fully freed from the  hopelessness that had isolated me from my world, disconnecting  me from everything, everybody, even myself. That was then.

Now reaching back into the past, looking at my life before ”  whatever it was” that had me,  I began  discovering that I’d unconsciously constructed my own prison and confinement. My ruminating on fearful scenarios of losing my job, not able to handle     negative life issues and constant  frightful thinking plus the  continuous feeling deep painful moods, all grinding my body, mind and spirit into the ground. The feeling, best described this  is  like  someone scraping  their  fingernails on  a blackboard all day  without end.  If you are old enough to remember this particular feeling, (or even a blackboard)  then you know it was that painful knife-like  feeling thrust through your stomach that echoed throughout your whole body. Well, that was the way I felt all the time, particularly in the morning each day.  I wanted never to get up. Here is where motivation  follows action . Move the body and the mind will follow.

When I speak of the pain that threw me to the ground and ended the familiar  life that I knew,  the members of the Depressed Anonymous group know exactly what I am talking about. Depression is physically  painful.  Usually when I tell someone I was depressed, they normally  don’t understand, unless of course, they have been depressed themselves.

In my case, I unconsciously  caused and created  my depression, and allowed the symptoms to grind me down until I took steps to feel differently.  The steps that I took   was to attend the “miracle of the Depressed Anonymous group ” where  I could share my own experiences, strength and hope, make the 12 Steps a daily part of my life, and to share this message of hope with all who feel the same way as I did.

Believing in a Higher Power greater than myself  continues to keep me sane and living one day at a time. It works. It can work for you as well.

For more information contact us @

Depanon@netpenny.net and read  what we are about @ depressedanon.com.

Resources:

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publicatiuons. Louisville, KY 40241.

Home Study Program of Recovery  (See DA literature here at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore).

 

How to work the 12 Step program of recovery and put them to use in your everyday life

When someone new comes to a Depressed Anonymous meeting they will hear    about people  in the group working on the 12 Steps. What this means is that since the group of people are into working the 12 Steps  they intend to live out what the Steps mean.

The first Step that all of us make when we walked through that door into our first DA meeting was our admission that we were helpless over our depression. We needed help.

We need to admit that at the present time our will power is powerless over this constant sadness and emptiness that we have been carrying around most of our lives. We just need to talk to someone who will understand us and respect us and not tell us to “snap out of” our depression.

Working the 12 Steps means reading all we can about the Steps and  how these Steps relate to my own sense of aloneness and sadness. The manual, Depressed Anonymous is specifically designed to help the depressed person learn about  each Step  is treated with it’s own chapter in the book.

In order to have a change of feelings we have to work the Steps, which means putting them into practice  in all our daily affairs. It means that we have to try and live out the message of the Steps one day at a time.

A person needs to take each Step and reflect on how that particular Step speaks to our own life. If a Step that we are  studying is unclear as to how it applies to us then  we need to bring that up in a group discussion so that other members can share how that Step has been applied to their own lives. Sometimes persons who have been in recovery for a long time have more experiences with the Steps and they can share how this or that Step has helped them. We know that at the DA meetings there are people  who are each  at different levels of the understanding of the Steps.

Steps Four and Five really have to be faced head-on if our depression is to go away. Step four and five are all about cleaning house. We must square off with ourselves and begin the rooting out   processes that will in time free us from our sadness and our “feeling less than”  as a depressed person. So often a person depressed is afraid, panic stricken really, in facing some issues that were never their fault in the first place.

It is possible that our anger hasn’t as yet been released over some things that have been done to us as children.

Step Twelve speaks about practicing these principles in all of our affairs – that means exactly what it says – we have to practice these Steps day by day. We have  to say I’m sorry as soon as I am aware that I have said or done anything that is out of the way. We again need to study each Step, tear it apart and get every ounce of truth from the Step  as it relates to ourselves. We then write down how each of them has  a special application for my life. We also have a practice of finding quality time everyday of our lives for making room to listen to our Higher Power, or God as we understand God and how that power is going to operate in our lives today and everyday. It is like we must learn  to let go and let God operate in our lives.

For all of us who have had a dependency on depression and sadness, it is hard to let go of the sadness and thinking that somehow gave us an identity to our lives. Depression can serve as a safe defense  and haven againt the uinpredictableness  in our lives.

Practicing these principles in al our affairs or as we say  “walking  the talk and working the Steps”  means that we have to be ever mindful through our times of prayer and meditation, which is a way to find out  what God’s will for us is for my life. Hope appears on the horizon.

Practicing these Steps, for me,  means they will promote an ever growing awareness that the Higher Power is leading me  according to its will and promise.

RESOURCE:

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

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Ordering online is possible through this website  at www.depressedanon.com.

 

That which doesn’t kill you will probably make you stronger – Nietzsche

 

Stress  put me in the hospital two years ago. First, pneumonia  put me in the hospital for a week.   Then, following  a diagnosis of clogged arteries with other assorted problems,  open  heart surgery.  Cardio/rehab for 24 straight weeks gave me my life back. But this was not my first experience with stress and /or depression.

Nietzsche had it right. In my case at least.  What made me stronger and saved my life was not only heart surgery but my new way of  dealing with stress. I now see stress for the trouble maker that it really is. The  stress in anyone’s,  continues to impress me how dangerous living under stress, of any kind, can be.

I know that the daily stress that I  had put my mind and body through every day,  every month, gradually destroyed my immune system’s ability to defend against  constant fear, worry and anxiety. Because of the environment  with which I was living in, day after day, finally caught up with me: pneumonia and then open heart surgery. So you might wonder  how can stress do all this damage to your mind and body?

THEN

This takes me back to my first  experience with sadness. It didn’t kill me, but it did force me to look  at my lifestyle, staying in a bad  situation and the ongoing ruminating which poured adrenaline into my veins, hyping up fear   and anxiety day after day.  Finally, all this  weakened not only my body but my mind  as well. My thinking started circling  around  and around as I tried to figure out exactly what the problem was  knocking me off my feet.  Not only that, I couldn’t concentrate. I would read a sentence or so  and then would forget what I had just read. I was always tired.  I always wanted to sleep. I never laughed anymore. My sense of humor went out the door. I started to isolate. I pushed friends away. I always had an excuse for cancelling meetings and appointments. Every morning I woke up, dead on arrival.  No energy. No purpose and nothing to look  forward to. I was losing all spontaneity and replacing it with boredom. I gradually was being sucked down intro the quicksand of futility and hopelessness.

After a year and half of this    pain filled  life I gradually walked out of the fog. I walked at least five miles a day-like a forced march looking forward to regaining my life. That was 1985.

NOW

Now,  I am stronger because I know all the red flags that pop up in my mind, wanting to  suck me back down into that environment which almost killed me in the first place.  I am definitely stronger now that I have a sponsor, a  12 Step   program (Depressed Anonymous) and  a daily plan   for my ongoing recovery.

My heart is stronger now. My commitment to taking good care of myself with proper rest, good healthy food, and physical activity at least three times a week or more. I also know that keeping in touch with those “still suffering from depression” by email, Home Study, website BLOG (depressedanon.com), phone and reading Depressed Anonymous literature.  What we give away comes back in countless ways. For me, continued sobriety and hope!

Resource: (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

Online Depressed Anonymous International Skype meetings ( Check website Menu for listing and links).

Order online :The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

 

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.

I can’t do anything to remove my compulsive behavior until I choose to live without it!

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 let God take over my life doesn’t mean that I’ll just sit back and let God 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 make the effort to choose to become conscious of the thoughts that I let myself ruminate and think about during my 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.

So often, when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even counscious as to how I would always select the negative attribute about myself to reflect upon, instead of   thinking  positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and my 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.

BECOMING MINDFUL

God, let me just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness that you desire to bestow on us. We pray that our awareness of your love for us will free us from our sadness.

Resources:

(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous  Publications. Louisville, KY  December 14th.

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

Put a HIGHER THOUGHT in your life every day. A spiritual vitamin will increase your spiritual metabolism so that you  begin to replace negative thinking with thoughts of hope and serenity.

You may order online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com

Can I think my way out of depression?

 That very question is one which I myself have asked. It would have been neat if I could have just  set my mind to it and   deciding not to pay any attention to  those never ending  ruminations about my life and all those  crazy thoughts and  painful feelings that came to roost in my mind.  They were unending.  You know, sort of dig a hole and bury your head in it. Hoping against hope that all the noise would just stop. It got worse. I told myself–it’s only going to get worse. It did!

It was strange  how the more I didn’t want to have these thoughts  live in my head, day after day, the more my mood continued spiraling  down into that abyss where no kind word, no positive thinking, nor pleasant future for myself   dwelt.  My thoughts turned angry and my mood was  at a   ground zero. 

Now what do I do I thought to myself? What can I do? All these thoughts were accompanied with an anxiety that seemed to envelop my whole body and turned  my insides into  to what felt like a shaking bowl of jelly. At this point,  my mind was  not thinking of anything, but being  fixated on how rotten I was feeling. Again, what can I do? How to get this constant agitation  and jitteriness  removed? And how did it get this way in the first place. No answers.

  I told myself. Nothing can help me. I might as well give up– throw in the towel. Even my thinking was changing. I couldn’t read with any comprehension or even   wanting  to do the most common of my normal  daily activities.  All my thoughts seemed   like sand slipping through my fingers. I was losing my grip on reality. Was I losing my mind?

I knew that I couldn’t lie in bed all day and do nothing. I knew that my mind was not coming up with any solutions that would ignite my motivation to move. “That’s it”  I said to myself. I got to get moving. And so that is what I did. I started to move the body–and gradually my mind began to work, but I had to prime the mental machinery to get it operative once again. I made up my mind that I must walk myself out  of the  mental and physical mess that I was in. I knew that if I just moved the body my mind would follow–at least that is what I was hoping would happen. And after a year or so, my mind did began to work. My thoughts gradually became clearer  and by taking care of my body’s physical needs (exercise) my mind welcomed this healthy change. I also had my support group Depressed Anonymous help me at our meetings. I could call them anytime and get some help. I WAS NOT ALONE.

I noticed that gradually my low mood was spiraling upwards and my mood  began lifting  the fog that had me confused and dazed and immobile. 

Did I think my way out of depression? I don’t think so. What did happen  is that over time I learned how to create my own  “red flags”  alerting  me when I discovered   my thinking was getting off track. Now these “red flags ” pop up in my mind when old negative thoughts, negative behaviors and irrational thoughts want to start their cycling around in my head.  The old habits that create depression die hard. Now I  use  my many tools (see Tools for Recovery at site menu)  that defend me against  relapsing and spiraling out of control. In other words, I have brought a new and sane balance into my life and my thinking.

Before, when I was depressed, my mind was filled with horrible  thoughts,  suicidal thoughts and  my thinking was getting more and more erratic. In fact, the mind was telling me all sort of negative lies about myself–which I believed. I felt worthless and helpless in the midst of this  negativity,  an unyielding, relentless, and pounding me down tsunami-like, till   I was flat on my back.

My mind has learned a lot since those days when I was a prisoner of my own fears. My thinking no longer focuses on what is negative  about myself. Now I am  focused on what I like about myself and ways that will help me grow and be of help  to others just like me.  Now it’s all about the progress I am making on a daily basis and not worrying about  being perfect.

One of our best tools is to use the Depressed Anonymous Workbook where I can go through each of the 12 Steps and relate my own depression experience to myself, my past and discover reasons  how I got depressed in the first place. Questions in this book prepare us to make discoveries about ourselves and our lives which we never gave much thought previous to our getting into reovery.

I cannot think myself out of depression. I know that now. I tried that route. Funny thing though, is that I always came back to where I started with no more answers than when I started. It’s like a dog chasing its tail.

  (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) Home Study Program of Recovery. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.

          For more information on  Depressed Anonymous Fellowship publications, please check out the Depressed Anonymous Publications  Bookstore. Ordering online is available.