Category Archives: Journaling

I have found persons who understand me and my problems

#FOUR/ BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.  (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
”  No longer am I alone in my depression. I can now see that it is up to me to form new friendships with others in the fellowship of the Depressed Anonymous Group. I have found persons who understand me  and my problems. I also learn coping skills and new positive behaviors from my fellow group members. ”

Below are listed some of  the advantages of belonging  to the Depressed Anonymous fellowship.

  • Receive acceptance  and support from the fellowship.
  • The fellowship of DA places no judgments  on those who join the group.
  • No longer isolated and alone.
  • No “snap out of it” comments from persons who have not experienced depression.
  • Learn how to gradually remove depression from our lives by utilizing the tools provided by the fellowship.
  • Gain new friends who actually “do know”  how we feel.
  • Learn  skills in taking full responsibility for their feelings, thoughts and behaviors.
  • Learning how to be with others in a mutual aid group while simultaneously  developing our interpersonal and social skills.
  • By being part of the group, with persons like oneself, have an overwhelming BELIEF that since they are all getting better, they tell themselves “so can I.”
  • Depression symptoms grow best in  isolation and the withdrawal from others. Healthy encounters with others like ourselves and by using the spiritual principles of the 12 steps, we begin to feel better and gain   hope for ourselves.

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Ray’s  personal testimony, #20. The Power of Depressed Anonymous  is found in DEPRESSED  ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. pgs.133-134.

           “So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous?  For me, it’s just like attending the first meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go where there were other depressed persons just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going through. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy. I WAS ACCEPTED.

Ray tells us how “the most important power of Depressed Anonymous is hope.”

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The fellowship makes available a HOME SELF STUDY KIT comprised of the Depressed Anonymous Manual and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.  Both of these books can be purchased together.  For those who might desire some further support for issues in their recovery  that may arise from the Self Study KIT can contact us at depanon@netpenny.net.

For many, a Depressed Anonymous  group may not be available in your community and so the reason for the Home Study Kit. Depressed persons who feel isolated and with no group available can  profit  from this Home Study and gain insights into their own depression symptoms plus learn  how to deal with them.

Being depressed means isolation

How do I know if I’m depressed?

“Being depressed means isolation – and being cut off from everybody and everything.  It is like being in prison, like a pit where the walls are like soft clay and I cannot climb out. To me the isolation is pre-hell and often I feel so dead inside.  There is an awful feeling, that hole in my soul which is like a clenched fist.   I don’t know where to turn with all the pain and hurt. I can’t imagine anyone hurts the way I do and I hope no one does. I would never want to inflict this pain on anyone, so I tried to hold it inside and it seems like it’s too much to bear, especially alone. This is where Depressed Anonymous comes in – this is where powerlessness and God come in. There was no one to help, even to try to understand before Depressed Anonymous. No one wanted my pain  and others started  to avoid me.  I understand better now, especially since I’ve been around Depressed Anonymous via Hugh and the book Depressed Anonymous,3rd edition and the journaling I’ve done. My hope is that I will be more at peace and will try to use the  specific tools which continue to be  great helps in overcoming depression while  giving me  hope —  just for today.”

Source:  Mary C, Sterling Heights, Michigan.

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

Visit the Store for more information on Depression and the use of the 12 Steps.

DEPRESSED? LEARN FROM LOIS HOW TO BECOME A SURVIVOR!

Two days ago,  quoting from her piece in the Personal Stories section of Depressed  Anonymous (pages 111-112) we continue to read what she has to say about being a survivor of depression and not the victim.

Step Three (“Made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I unstand God”) required much time, thought, and daily meditation. My Higher Power no longer was a permissive parent whom I begged would give to me what I thought I wanted. All the love, the caring, and the intelligence was there. I just had to accept it for myself. Today, the God of my understanding is different than when I began the journey. As a professional educated woman, spiritually I was in kindergarten. I badgered my counselor for a guide to assist me in taking my Fourth Step inventory. I wrote for months and then quickly moved to Step Five before I could rationalize it all away. The therapist who is responsible for beginning Depressed Anonymous in our area became another human being from our Fifth Step

During my recovery there were times when I would begin to interfere and I would remind myself of what it was like when I was attempting to run the show.  Aloud I would say: “Oh, I turned that one over to you and I trust you. I don’t need to take it back.”

Today I view the situation as “unfolding” and my spiritual journey is unfolding with it. My Higher  Power is in charge.”

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SOURCES:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. (Personal Stories/Pages 111-112).

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

The Home Study Project, includes both  WORKBOOK and the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS can be purchased together. Please VISIT THE STORE on  how to order the HOME STUDY PROJECT  on  our secure line.

Clarification of thought through journaling

AN AFFIRMATION

I see myself better when I write  down who I feel I am today.

” The simple act of writing something down is tremendously helpful, because to do so we have to bring something clearly to mind. Instead of having half-formed thoughts and confused emotions crashing and  fumbling around inside of us, we crystallize these thoughts and feelings into sentences. Once we put these sentences down on paper we have taken something from inside and put it outside.  Now we can look at it, judge it, and master it.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am making every effort to get in  touch with who I am and I am taking the opportunity now to focus on what gets me down and what keeps me up. I am seeing, too, that the more I associate with people like myself who are following and working their program of recovery, the better I feel. I intend to journal or keep a diary of my good progress.

I know that the more I stay in my head the greater the confusion. It is only when I begin to see on paper my expressions of hope and confusion that I can begin to change some of my thoughts  which I find I am repeating to myself, day after day. I now can write down a new positive thought about myself. I can choose to feel whatever I choose.

MEDITATION

Our guiding love, our God as we understand God, is doing for us all that it desires to lavish on us today. I am hopeful that I can find my new path and grow stronger in learning the various ways to hear our Higher Power’s promptings.

 

SOURCE:  Copyright(c)  Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily  thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups.(1993, 1999). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  April 19th, pages 78-79.

How do people change?

People change by facing themselves and discovering a process, a step by step process, where we begin to be aware of why we are the way we are. In THE  DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK, a companion volume to DEPRESSED ANONMYMOUS,  3rd edition, (HOME STUDY PROGRAM)  we  will  find  answers on how to change.

We learn that depression distorted us from the truths of life, namely, that life is to be lived with hope and serenity. Nursing along a good habit can in time wean us from old and debilitating  habits of thought and behavior. We want to daily fill our day with the gratitude that we are indeed getting better and that the trust we have is indeed placed in the Higher Power.

In order for us to escape depression we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. That process is of a nature a spiral instead of a straight line. In other words, now we are willing to risk feeling differently and we have been gearing up to improve our situation. In other words we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.

  1. AWARENESS STAGE: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way we do. Something has to give.
  2. MOTIVATING STAGE: I am going to prepare  myself for needed changes in my thinking, acting and feeling.
  3. DOING STAGE:   I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changed that have to be made by me if I am to feel differently.
  4. MAINTAINING STAGE: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working of the 12 Step program for recovery.

Now apply these  four stages which serve as antidotes to our character defects (ideas and habits which continue to make us feel sad). These defects of character cause us to stay imprisoned in our prison of depression.

In the days to follow we will examine  THE FOLLOWING THREE  issues which confront the daily lives of most of us when we are depressed.

(1) BLAMING ourselves and/or others for our problems.

(2) BEING A VICTIM.

(3) ANXIETY AND INNER JITTERINESS.

For those of you who desire a more complete approach to finding what depression is, what it does to our self esteem and ways to overcome our isolation and sadness, persons  depressed  have utilized the HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORBOOK, with its question and answer format,  provides a pathway leading  to the road to serenity and community. You find that others just like yourself started where you are starting and found answers to why we have become depressed in the first place.  By the time you have worked out answers to all the questions posed by the author in the WORKBOOK you may discover your best self. And, isn’t that what we all are looking for?

With the WORKBOOK, there is the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS Big Book, 3rd edition., which is coordinated with each Step in the WORKBOOK and provides a recovery process which will complement one’s own progress in working the program

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

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

VISIT THE STORE, which lists all literature from DAP.,  and order online if you wish, the HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

We Trust Our Newfound Beliefs

THE THIRD WAY TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION : AN EXCERPT

“We trust others by sharing our recent episodes of loss/sadness while at the same time sharing our hopes and strengths.  We trust our newfound positive beliefs for getting  ourselves out of the prison of depression.

Many of us won’t allow ourselves to trust anyone. We are so distrustful of ourselves that we cannot trust ourselves to feel. The painful hollowness of depression is such that we can’t allow it to be felt.  It is only among our brothers and sisters in the 12 step group that we can share our hurts and deep pain of being isolated. When we hear other members share their stories of hurt and isolation we know that we are not alone. We gradually begin to trust ourselves to touch our own nerves of pain and hurts. We trust the nurturing and accepting atmosphere of the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous to take part of our hurt and help carry us along. Every time we share a hurt from our own past we remove one more brick out of our prison wall of depression. The more we find that our trust is validated by the continual acceptance from the group, the more energy we muster up for ourselves to continue trusting our deepest thought and feelings to others. No longer do we take refuge in the numbed comfort of our isolating sadness. Now we walk upright and begin making choices on how we want to feel, think an believe.  We no longer live our lives in isolation and disconnected from others.  Now we join in the mutual  fray of battling depression with all our new friends on the broad road of healing.”

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SOURCES: Copyright(c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 15-16.

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

VISIT THE STORE for more literature on the subjects of depression and the 12 steps of recovery.

 

“…you always expect the worst.”

 

AFFIRMATION

I will use a notebook to chart my course, list how ech day goes, so that I can repeat the feelings or thoughts that have allowed me to feel I am becoming responsible for my activities.

“…there is one great advantage  about seeing yourself as helpless and in the power of others. You don’t have to be responsible for yourself.  Other people make all the decisions and when things turn out badly you can blame other people. And things always turn out badly.  You know this. That’s why you always expect the worst.”

 CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

Truly, I know this is where the great scrutiny lies, being  responsible for myself.  If all I did was sit around and say poor me, and woe is me, I am not only making life tough on myself but I am also making life miserable for those around me. This is why I, as a writer and therapist, and one who has been depressed, knows that it is only when I get moving, even though I felt like death, that I began to feel better. No one will make me feel better. I will now make myself feel better.  I want to enjoy this world. I am tired of the pain of feeling worthless. I don’t want to blame anyone for my problems because no one is making me live in the problem. I will live in the solution from now on. The solution for me is working my Twelve Step program of recovery.

Blame helps  me to never have to look inside myself and ask myself how much  of my present state of depression is due to the way I have learned to think about myself and my life?  I am not in the blame game and so now I am  willing to face the enemy and start the changing process.

MEDITATION

Faith can move mountains. Ask and you shall receive. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. I believe this. Personal comment?

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SOURCE:  Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999). Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville. Thought for February 6th. Pages 28-29.

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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

Service Gladly Rendered…

Carrying the message of hope to those still suffering from depression.

“Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted with God’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world outside we are partners in a common effort, the fact that in God’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self constructed prisons, the surety that we can fit and belong in God’s scheme of things –these are the satisfactions of right living for which no pomp or circumstances, no heap of material possessions, could possibly substitute.” Twelve and Twelve, AA World services. Page 124.

Also, in The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) we read

“The part about carrying the message is so important if we are to remain out of the clutches of depression. It is important to keep in touch with the newcomers and others in the program. It is in this carrying the message that reminds us that we once needed help and it was through the unselfishness of the older members of Depressed Anonymous that got us through our depression.” Page 85.

“We soon discover in the program that no compulsion can be controlled by will power alone. It must be surrendered to the Higher Power or to the care of God of our understanding. It alone can remove in time the burden from our backs. This is the spiritual awakening that keeps us free from sadness as we take the message of healing to others in the group who are new to the program. We admit that we make no promises to anyone and that there will be no magic answer and quick solutions to their saddiction.  No, it all takes time and this is the message of the group. Such slogans as: “Take it easy,” “Keep  it simple,” and “Easy does it” are all meant to help you and me to live one day at a time and continue to try and live with serenity. When we practice these steps on a daily basis, starting our day with asking the Higher Power for guidance for the rest of the day we can then be  assured of God’s presence and help in our lives.”

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 106.

Stepping Up To Hope

In Depressed Anonymous I have heard members of the group say what works for them is not to fight depression but instead do the dead man’s float — just let go and feel the sadness –don’t run away from it with lots of activity and doing — this can lead to mania — instead, admit our sadness, our despondency and face the feeling.
Don’t fight it and push it down but DISCUSS it –talk about it and see it for what it is. Since depression is a dependency issue it is only when we begin to surrender to the Higher Power or God as we understand him that we make it possible to recover from this experience. We choose to live, feel and think differently.
THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET
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This approach to depression really works, as the many testimonies in our “Big Book” Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition illustrate. Yes, we know that running away from any difficulty or problem just digs the hole of our sadness deeper. Once we give up our shame or guilt for being depressed–basically our feelings powerless and being isolated –and start to share our story with others, we find our sense of mastery begins to return as our feelings of uselessness begin to evaporate. How often do members of the group, after coming to the group for some weeks, begin to look different–that is, they seem calmer and their faces become softer. The hardness disappears.
Hugh