Category Archives: Meditation

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters


1. I walk down the street
There is a Deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost..I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe that I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still a long time to get out.

3. I walk down the same street.
There is a hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5. I walk down another street.

NOTE
This poem appeared in The Antidepressant Tablet.Volume 2.4. Winter, 1991 Edition, P.3
Portia Nelson, 2001 This poem is copyrighted. Please credit the author.

Graffiti Wisdom

“Here is a poem that I found graffitied on a wall recently. It was signed “Hank”:

“your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank
submission
be on the watch there are ways out
there is light somewhere
it may not be much light but
it beats the
darkness
be on the watch
the gods will offer you
chances.
be on the watch
know them, take them
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life
sometimes
and the more often
you learn to do it
the more light there will
be
your life is your life
know it while you have
it
you are marvelous
the gods wait in delight
in
you.”

Quotation from:

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, Pete WALKER. Copyright by Pete Walker
An Azure Coyote Book /2013 www.Pete WAlker.com First Edition
ISBN 14972871842 1SBN 9781492871842 All Rights Reserved
Printed In the United States of America

Protecting Yourself From Toxic People

As a depressive I feel that I am more sensitive than other people. Sometimes I need to determine if it is me being over sensitive orif it is the other person toxic and harming me. Toxic people come in many forms: narcissists, sociopaths, predators, etc. Truly deeply toxic people probably should be avoided completely. How can you recognize toxic people in your life? I found a list of characteristics of “human predators” which can be a proxy for any type of toxic person.

The characteristics of a “human predator”:

  • Human predators are mean.
  • Predators are utterly selfish.
  • Predators pretend friendship and love but they feel absolutely nothing for others.
  • Predators are charming and good at flattery, but they don’t mean a single word of it.
  • Predators brag and boast and make up outrageous lies. When challenged, they blame others.
  • Predators don’t feel anxiety or fear.
  • Predators are impulsive and easily bored. They demand thrills and take dangerous risks. They enjoy pushing others into taking dangerous risks, too.
  • Predators are bullies with explosive tempers.
  • Predators enjoy humiliating people.
  • Predators hate it if anyone else has power or is praised. For the predator, life is a competition and they want to win.
  • Predators weaken people with insults and putdowns.
  • Predators are cunning and manipulative.
  • Predators lie easily and think nothing of breaking a promise.
  • Predators are without conscience: they do not feel remorse or guilt.
  • Predators often boast about the harm they’ve done to other people.
  • Predators are parasites. They are lazy and live off others, giving as little as possible in return.
  • Predators are control freaks, stopping others from taking control of anything if they can
  • Predators force petty rules on others – rules that are impossible to follow.
  • Predators boast about tricking other people.
  • Predators boast about breaking the law.

Jon Atack
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1076831346096293&id=283133205466115

If a person has most of these characteristics – avoid them. You are not being over sensitive, the other person is toxic.

If a person has one or a few of these characteristics they may be able to be managed through clear, firm and mature boundaries. However try not to fall into the trap of hate. Maintain a small amount of love for that person – even if that is just that they are a creation of God. The behavior can be hated but try not to hate the person. It’s been my experience when I hate someone I hurt myself.

If the other person doesn’t have any of the above characteristics I need to be open to the idea that I may be over sensitive regarding this. I need to pray and meditate on it. I need to talk to other mature, serene people who can help me discern my part. I need to own and take responsibility for my part of the problem.

Yours in recovery, Bill R

MISS MY SAD THOUGHTS

MISSING MY SAD THOUGHTS

Some days I miss my sad thoughts. They are addictive. They fill a space in me and meet a requirement of comfort and familiarity. Humans require and seek a level of comfort and familiarity. The depressed human is no different. Sadly, it’s the sad thoughts that provide the deep level of comfort. When I remove the sadness, I have to work to replace that big open field of nothingness left. It feels hard. It feels like work. Pressure and effort. I want to fall back into the sad thinking because, I know very well how to form those thoughts and how to feel them. How to make use of them, strangely. They serve a strong purpose. They validate my depression and vice a versa. They have lived in me for so long that to have to fill the void of their space feel so hard. It feels like big shoes to fill. I feel pressed, just trying. My mind is having to accept this new training I am putting it through. It doesn’t want to change. It is not welcoming of these new positive thoughts at first. It is a struggle. My mind wrestles back and forth: ‘I just want to go home and go to my bed. No, no! You want to keep grocery shopping…! No, please, I just need to lie down, I’m leaving this group!! I am so depressed. No, no! You are going to do your task today, because, it will make you feel better.’ The better part of me wins and I refuse to be held captive, a victim to this negative dark thinking that is killing me. So, I continue on doing the grocery shopping with an internal mind struggle going on. The whole day seems to continue like this. The back and forth tug of war in my mind! It takes time to truly train the mind to accept the incoming positive thoughts. Affirmations are a needed daily medicine for the saddened mind for sure. It takes consistency. I ask myself how bad do I want to feel better? I continue to retrain my mind every single day. Slowly, I miss my sad thoughts less and less. I feel the need for the positive affirmations more and more. This is the process of healing the depressed mind and thus, my feelings. I look forward to a time where I will not miss my sad thoughts and the struggle between the positive and negative thoughts will not be such a big part of my day.”
Debra NC

“Slowly, I found the positive affirmations more and more and more.”

Copyright(c) Debra Sanford. A Medley of Depression Stories. First edition. (2017) PP> 30-31.( Used with permission.)

You may email Debra: thedepressionstories@gmail.com. She would love hearing from you.

Stick to the plan. A prescription for change today.

It took me awhile to put into practice a simple idea. That idea is to do the same thing, day after day, in the same place and at the same time. If you have trouble following through on ideas or commitments, then you might feel better about reading the next few paragraphs.

With different situations in my life, some upheavals, some turning points, changes in my life goals, plus trying to do to much at the same time. It was somehow never easy to do what I knew needed to be dome. I used as my mantra “I’ll do it when I feel better.” In fact, this idea seemed to express perfectly, what I was doing, so I titled one of my books after it. Gradually, procrastination, I sensed, would not fit into my recovery program. I had put off for too long to knuckle down and start to do the work that I needed to do.

Here is my plan. I know it can work for you as well. There is no particular time limit on how long your prayer time is to be.

1. Everyday, I have found that morning works for me, I go to the quiet place that is best for my time alone with God, and start with a daily reading of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowships. This reading begins with an Affirmation, then a reflection, and a final meditation. I have my notebook handy and I write down a positive thought that I want to carry me through my day. Most of the time this is a simple single sentence.

2. I then read and reflect on a paragraph or two from our Depressed Anonymous manual.This is coupled with the accompanying Depressed Anonymous Workbook, where personal reflections, in the form of questions, help me clarify how I think about myself. These questions continue to uncover issues which I might have never encountered, becoming the positive basic building blocks, helping with an understanding of the nature of my own depression experience, and developing in myself strategies, the 12 spiritual principles of growth, for my personal recovery, day-by-day.

It’s not complicated. It’s a plan. This time of prayer and meditation is a powerful way to make “conscious contact” with the God of your understanding. (Check out Chapter 10 in “I’ll do it when I feel better.” This chapter discusses more fully the topic of prayer and meditation.

Resources

(c)Hugh Smith. Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.
(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY
(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications.Louisville, Ky.
(C)Hugh Smith. I’ll do it when I feel better. (2020) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky.

+ These works can by ordered online at www.Depressedanon.com. Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

The ways we can make a “conscious contact” with our God.

For many of us, this might be the first time that we have run into information on how to make a “conscious contact” with God. In our program of Depressed Anonymous this is what we actually accomplish as we work through the 12 spiritual principles of recovery.

In Step 11 of our mutual aid group, our recovery program, Depressed Anonymous, has a clear and succinct method for making this a strong possibility for those of us who are willing to follow God’s path to freedom.

In Step 11 we learn how to get in touch with the God of our understanding.

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.”

The major words that stand out in this Step are prayer, meditation, doing God’s will for us and the and the power to carry it out.

On pages 95-96, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition we read

“That when we are especially depressed, it is hard to keep our mind on things such as prayer, but with continued effort and practice, we can come to believe that whatever we are doing just might be better than sitting in our pool of self-pity. If we haven’t ever been big on ‘organized religion’ we have a good chance that this new approach in being with God is much less judgemental, and that this God of the Twelve Steps is much more accepting than other concepts of God that we might once have held. Sometimes we have found that our religious background has filled us with a large amount of crippling guilt, shame and hopelessness rather than the complete acceptance that we will receive from the Higher Power.”

By now, here at Step 11 we have made some great strides in not only understanding the nature of our depression, but also to spend some time on what brought us to this point in the first place.

Our journey of hope begins with Step 1, where we admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable. This admission is what brought me into our fellowship, Depressed Anonymous. It is here that my life began to change for the better. I became part of a fellowship where I learned that it was my belief that this Higher Power, who greater than myself, could finally restore me to sanity.

Throughout the process of living with the 12 spiritual principles in my own life and becoming part of the life of all those who are the DA fellowship, I gradually learned the more I placed my trust in my Higher Power,and kept in contact with his will, my life, thinking, feelings and behaviors changed dramatically for the better. The closer I stayed in contact with God, took part in my fellowship meetings, talked with my sponsor on a regular basis the more serenity became big part of my life.

THE YEAR 2022
How to continue CONSCIOUS CONTACT with God and making your life a daily retreat.

In 2022 my daily life will start with prayer and meditation each morning. I will sit quietly, get my mind quiet, start at the same time and be in the same location every day. This regular schedule helps us stay focused on our time with God.
The following is my plan and I hope it might be yours as well. You can use those prayers and meditations that best suit you.

1. I will read my HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS: 365 DAILY THOUGHTS AND MEDITATIONS FOR 12 STEP FELLOWSHIP GROUPS.
2. i will focus on a paragraph or two from reading our DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS MANUAL,THIRD EDITION.
3.Answer a few questions FROM THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK

Following the daily retreat I will make an entry into my Journal about any inspiring thought that I can carry with me throughout my day.
Hugh, for the fellowship

ALL DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS LITERATURE CAN BE ORDERED ONLINE FROM OUR DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS BOOKSTORE.

Having had a spiritual awakening …

Step 12 is about having a spiritual awakening. Remember, Step 12 is the last Step of our 12 Step recovery program. The 12 Steps are the 12 spiritual principles, the core of what we believe and what our lives and daily actions are based. The following remarks are mine and express the belief that has carried me personally through a time of darkness and hopelessness. Until, I had a “spiritual experience…an awakening.” I woke up to a new way of living my life. My old way of living brought me to the edge of personal disaster. That is, until I walked into a meeting of people who were just like myself. Let me explain. They WERE like me. They welcomed me. They shared how the God of their understanding gave them a new way of looking at themselves and others. They had an experience that changed their lives. They had a “spiritual awakening.” Their lives were no longer consumed by the devastatingly presence of fear and aloneness.

The text following is found in the Introduction to Depressed Anonymous, our 12 Step recovery program where the author extends an invitation to be part of this fellowship.

We now have a solution to offer those who want to reach out and grow into the new way of life, a life that is now focused on recovery and a feeling of hope. With this offer and solution daily before our eyes, we are beginning to see that the depressed have to depend on a spiritual experience to really be free from that debilitating scourge of depression. It is this spiritual experience, coupled with the power of the fellowship of those who like ourselves where we neither need to explain of excuse ourselves or apologize for being depressed that is the basis for our recovery.
You must want to begin this journey seriously enough to actually begin the recovery program of Depressed Anonymous. Someday I hope to know you as a kindred spirit in recovery.
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition, p. 23

Again, I would like to share a quote from A Meister Eckarte (c. 1260-1328) who shaped his insight for us about the nature of knowing God and how our knowing, comes from God himself. Here are his thoughts about the Spiritual awakening that comes to those of us and are “willing to turn their lives and wills over to the care of God as they understand God to be.”

This work then when it is perfect, will be due solely to God’s action while you have been passive. If you really forsake your own knowledge and will, then surely and gladly God will enter your own knowledge shining clearly. Where God achieves self-consciousness, your own knowledge is of no use nor has it standing. Do not imagine that your own intelligence may rise to it, so that you may know God. Indeed, when God divinely enlightens you, no natural light is required to bring that about. This (natural light) must in fact be completely extinguished before God can come in with his light, bringing back with God all that you have forsaken and a thousand times more, together with a new form to contain it all.
Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition, p. 161

In Depressed Anonymous, you can read the stories of those who have had their lives changed by letting go, letting God, and willing to do what it takes to recover from depression. Please join us.

RESOURCE
Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition, (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY

#4. THE PROMISES OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

Promise # 4: We comprehend the word serenity and know peace.

Agitation, anxiety and jitteriness were all part of my life as I muddle my way through – day after day, one foot in front of the other. Serenity was not a part of my life.

As with any attachment to negative behavior, serenity and peace were the farthest thing from my life. The new beliefs and thoughts which I heard at Depressed Anonymous meetings started to help me change the way I thought about myself, my world and my future.
I believe that it takes work, time and prayer with meditation to achieve the peace and serenity that we are talking about here.

Peace of mind is the result of:
1) A clear conscience
2) Living in the present
3) Gratitude everyday
4) The belief that the God of my understanding will get me through the problems of my life.
5) Forgiveness of myself and making amends to all persons I have harmed.
6) Hope
7) Doing God’s will- Neither grasping but instead “letting go.”

I also believe that my own serenity is constantly being assaulted during the day by all sorts of problems and situations that cry out for my immediate care and attention.

I am firmly convinced that in order to continue my semblance of peace and serenity I will have to structure a daily quiet time into my life. This is an essential part of the prescription for getting well and staying well.

Also, I believe that when I am quiet, God will give to me all that is mine to have. My will and my life have to be attuned to God’s presence and love. We will know that in order for God to make itself present to us and to demonstrate its love we have to be still, be quiet and listen with a purity of heart. This is an important part of the formula where we will find success.

It is a belief of mine that God does speak to those who remain quiet and have a desire to listen.
Peace is defined as a “quality or state of mind of being serene, calm and tranquil.”
The quality or state of being serene all takes time and I might add work and discipline. What possibly might have taken years to accomplish, remember we have built a fortress with our defensive thoughts and behavior to reject any force that is deemed harmful on our path. We always sought the prison of isolation over the risk of doing something different.

I believe that the Big Book of AA says it best: ” When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new employer, being all powerful, he provided what we needed, if we kept close to him and performed his work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We’re reborn.” (Alcoholics Anonymous. Page 63.)

The particular section following Step Two which declares that we “came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” (Depressed Anonymous.Pages 39-45). This is an important part of our getting re-centered and renewed as we let the power flow into our lives.

“…We may have had certain spiritual beliefs, but now we begin to have a spiritual experience. We feel that we are on the Broad Highway walking hand in hand with the Spirit of the Universe.” (Alcoholics Anonymous.Page 39).

“Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist –remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances, Alcoholics Anonymous. Page 100)

RESOURCES
(C) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 39-45.
(C) Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York City, 1955. Pages 39,63,100.

There is a direct linkage between self-reflection, meditation and prayer

“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related an interwoven, the result is an unshakeable foundation for life.” The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions.

In Step Four of the Depressed Anonymous program of recovery, we read from The Depressed Anonymous Workbook the following encouraging statement:

“By our daily conscious contact with God as we under stand God, I believe that my daily efforts at listening to my Higher Power’s word will help me focus in on where I need to change. I hope that my depression will always be examined the moment I feel down and blue for no apparent reason. If I slow down, take a pencil and write down what I have been thinking of lately, I do believe that my sadness will slowly evaporate – slowly like the early morning fog.

I will cast away my fears, guilt and resentments by getting them down on paper in front of me. On black and white.

Copyright(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2009) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 27. STEP FOUR

This Workbook can now be downloaded as an Ebook for $1.00 from the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com.

Offer lasts until the end of May. After that it will resume its price of $12.00.

Depression gradually dies in the light of day….

The best way to live TODAY is to be fully conscious of the present moment and create that strong desire to be part of it. Let’s not live in yesterday -the rent can kill you.

How often do I spend time in tomorrow and so miss the joy of today? I think one of the more serious occupations (aren’t they all serious?) of the depressed is just to sit and think , and think some more about how bad life is and what awful people they are. The self-bashing makes one’s ability to change even more difficult, as  continued depressive ruminations promote a great sense of unworthiness and confusion. We feel that we have no control over what happens in our life. Actually, we are not so sure   that we should care.  Everything seems hopeless. Living in yesterday is to pay some high price rent – and when you are done paying the rent, you still have nothing to show for it.

I want to be responsible  though I feel it’s difficult to face the fact that one of the ways of getting out of my prison is to stay and feel the pain of my sadness. I have to live in the here and now – I can’t run and hide in the unknown of tomorrow or disappear into the gloomy fog of yesterday. We begin to get mentally healthy when we take it upon ourselves to admit 1) I have a problem, and 2) secondly, I need to change the way I think about myself and my world.  Again, no one need to blame us for that that we got ourselves depressed – but once we know and believe that we are depressed – we learn that we need to take full responsibility for our recovery.  And one of the best ways to break our dependency on our sadness is to share and admit our depression to members of our Depressed Anonymous group. We know how depression flourishes and grows in the privacy and solitude of our minds.

Depression gradually dies in the light of open sharing and frank discussion. We are only as weak as the secrets we keep and strong as the secrets we share.”

Copyright(c)  Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2020) Hugh Smith.  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pgs. 39-40.