Category Archives: Mutual Aid

Depressed Anonymous is and has been my salvation

I attend Depressed Anonymous meetings quite regularly. I have found that I can attend the meetings regularly.(Depressed Anonymous Meetings are on SKYPE everyday and ZOOM offers meetings online four times a week ) I get the support of the members who I have found to have about the same kind of problems as I have-maybe not as bad as mine. But I guess each of us feels that our problems are worse than anyone else. I know mine are. But with the regular meetings and my friends support, I find that I am able to manage pretty well from week to week. I have more faith in myself since I work the Twelve Steps the best that I can and trust the Higher Power (God Almighty) with all my heart. I pray to the fullest extent that I will continue to have faith in myself and others. I have become a more whole being than I have ever been. I work a lot. I volunteer a lot and have a far better outlook on life that I have ever had. I attribute all of these good things to Depressed Anonymous.

…I cannot begin to explain sufficiently the support the meetings can give one who is depressed. Depressed Anonymous has been and is my salvation. I know the Twelve Step program is the only way to go to get one on the right track and it takes the meetings to keep you there. They are a “Godsend” for me and I know for a lot of others who are depressed.

I thank Depressed Anonymous and my Higher Power for a life worth living.

– Frances

Copyright © Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. (Personal Stories, page 116)

All literature can be ordered online at The Depressed Anonymous Bookstore.
Click onto VISIT THE STORE at our website www.depressedanon.com

I can make it through the next 24 hours. We will show you how

AFFIRMATION

My best chance of surviving and living through this sadness that is worse than death is to hold on to the conviction that it will not last forever.

REFLECTION

I now can see how the Depressed Anonymous group program changes people from week to week. The longer a person attends DA meetings, online or face to face, I can see  a change in their physical features as they seem  not so brooding and preoccupied. The people who work the 12 Step Program of recovery begin  placing  their trust in their Higher Power which gives them the courage to resist falling back into that old  familiar and comfortable pattern of saddening themselves. Each new day brings with it a stronger sense of hope as living becomes less restrictive and harsh.

My sadness began so long ago that the interminable feelings of hopelessness and despair seems to me so much of being human that is, until others tell me that this sadness is not their own experience. Then I knew I was different but that with  time and help, I would be feeling better about myself as I discovered some of the ways I got the way I am. The more I hear the stories of  others recovering members of Depressed Anonymous  groups (See Depressed Anonymous book/Personal stories section)  , the more hope I have. I now believe  that  in time I will begin to feel better.

MEDITATION

Seeds with proper nourishment grow strong and healthy. Some plants grow well at night and in a cooler environment. Some in daylight. We pray that God will let us go through our present darkness   completely turning  our will and life over to its purpose.

RESOURCES:

(C) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville,. KY.

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

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.

 

Sharing your story is to save your life!

 

Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has at least one book inside of them that needs to be written.  In her award winning book, Depression: The way out of your prison, Dr. Dorothy Rowe tells us how getting our story told can be  life- changing, and for some life-saving. Below are  her thoughts on the importance of sharing one’s story with that person who is willing to listen.

Help comes in two ways -from yourself and from other people. But help cannot come from other people unless you are prepared to find it and accept it. You have to find the people to confide in and you have to overcome your habit of keeping things to yourself. Perhaps you are ready to confide in someone, but there is no one available. Your family will not listen, and your doctor prefers to write you a prescription rather than give you his listening attention.

So you need to find someone who will listen. Someone outside the family and, possibly, outside work, is usually best—someone who has no vested interest in keeping you as you are or who has no reason to feel guilty about what you might disclose. It need not necessarily be just one person. On your journey out of your prison of depression you will meet many different gurus, people who throw light on your darkness. A nurse might listen to your fears about your health and the drugs you take, and may find the words to calm your fears. A friend may share with you the burden of family responsibilities. A pastor  or priest might listen and acknowledge your religious doubts and fears and impart the courage and trust which enables you to deal with these. Of course, not everyone you hope to confide in will respond in a  helpful way. ..”

And then Rowe continues to say that “you might like to consult a professional listener of some sort. You may find someone in the Health Service, or you might go to a private therapist. Talking to people who have been depressed and are now coping is tremendously helpful.”   Pages 199-200.  (Copyright)  Depression:The Way out of your prison.  (1996) Routledge. 2nd ed. London.

Our Twelve Step program  tries to ensure that everyone who attends our program of recovery and who shares their story will be given a sponsor, a listener if you will, who too has experienced the pain and anxiety of depression. They are sponsors because they too have been able to share their stories. They know that  powerful freedom that comes when someone really listens to us and our story. People  often say to me “Doesn’t listening to all these depressed people get you depressed? ” And I can honestly say that it does not  get me depressed.  In fact, I know that by listening to someone else’s story, I  find many areas which are  similar to my own. Besides the fact that I myself experienced the chaos and pain of depression,  I know how difficult  it is to come out and share one’s own struggle. But it can be done!

If you are looking for someone or others to listen to your story with compassion and without a judgmental attitude, our group Depressed Anonymous is the right place to come. We are all storytellers. We all have been heard. We all continue to tell our story. Not only the personal account of our  own depression but also the story of how we have recovered from depression. In our program there is always the “before ” and “after” story that we share.  The ” after’  story of all of us is that important account of what we did to recover, how we did it  and with whom we did it,  made all the difference in the world. Out of the darkness into the light.

You  can read the stories in Depressed Anonymous, which contain heart warming  stories of how persons young and old, have come to our fellowship, shared their story and   who now listen to  those new members who share their own story. They want to share that hope, so that others depressed may know that there is a way out and a life to be lived without depression. They are no longer alone!

It takes trust to share our story. Finding the right person or the right group of persons is what we are looking for. There are persons waiting to hear your story. There are    those persons  who have recovered from depression and who are now sponsoring other people and forming other groups. If there is no group in your area, know that we have a long distance group learning program, called the Home Study Recovery program.  This program can be done at home and all it requires is the willingness  to work the Steps with a sponsor through emails.  All one needs is   the Depressed Anonymous manual and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. There are no fees or dues for this Home Study Program.   As in all our groups, sponsors can accompany new members as long as they like. In time, attending the DA groups our new member can choose their own sponsor.

Please go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at this site and examine the material that is used for this program.  Again, in the event that you would yourself want to start a Depressed Anonymous group in your locality, these two books are our main resources used in all groups, here   in the USA and internationally. If the purchase of the books is a hardship, contact the DA Publisher and they will make it possible for you to receive the books regardless of payment.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd ed., Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Email address is Depanon @Netpenny.net.

Got too much on your plate?

 

Yes, I have too much on my plate. So, now what can I do to make my plate lighter? How can I slow down, smell the roses and deal with  all those pressures coming at me at the same time?  Even before I get out of bed   I get depressed just thinking of all the things which are facing me today.  I just want to take the bed covers, pull them over my head  and say goodbye to it all. I keep telling myself “I don’t want to do this anymore.  My life is  a metaphor for a roller coaster. I just wanna get off!”

Ok, my life is out of control. My life is unmanageable.  I feel like the clown in the circus,  who has  dinner plates all spinning around at the same time  – all zipping around at top speed and not a one crashing to the floor. Amazing!  Today we call this multitasking. Yes, I  multitask  and it’s killing me! But I want to know how to keep life simple? How to  gain control of what is on my plate and how to rid myself of those things which I can live without.

In Higher Thoughts for Down Days, I read how ” I can learn to keep my life simple. I plan to do that by first of all admitting that I am powerless over my depression and that my life is unmanageable. I also believe that I can get out of this mess by focusing on respected and workable solutions rather than keeping focused on my ever present difficulties.

The word simple comes from the Latin word “simplex”  meaning one fold. Also, it means to just have one part. I think to keep it simple means to be single-minded and keep the focus on the solution and practice that particular solution in all my daily affairs.”

Here at our site (depressedanon.com) we have listed a number of tools which each of us can use for our own personal recovery.  (See Tools for Recovery at Site Menu). I guarantee that if you begin to use these recovery tools, on a daily basis,  you will begin to   free yourself from being overwhelmed and your life  will no longer feel out of control and unmanageable.  Each of the tools  describe a particular action to take which can give you more control over your life.  You will in time be able to  take issues off your plate, which  once immobilized you,   providing  you  with a sense of hope.

I recommend that you take one of the listed tools, read up on how to  put its action into your daily   life. Take one at a time and get good at doing it on a daily basis. This will form a habit and habits determine what  course our behaviors will take.  Please write to me and let me know how you are doing with this exercise of hopefulness.

I will leave you today with this riddle:

QUESTION

How do you eat an elephant?

ANSWER

One bite at a time!

==================================

SOURCES:   Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. June 26. pg. 128.

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

Copyright(c)   I’ll do it when I feel better! 2nd edition. (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

VISIT THE STORE at  Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information available. Ordering online is available.

The protective wall of the community

 

I do believe the term “protective wall of the community ” is surely an apt and meaningful description  of those who are messengers of hope in the 12 step Program of Depressed Anonymous. The program and suggested principles of Depressed Anonymous serve as  a protection against the frailty  of us all producing  in each  of us a solidarity with other’s sense of futility and isolation.  We then  become  a wall against which our addiction(s) attempt to overcome and divide us. It is on the ramparts of struggle that we gain access to hope again. We, the group, now serve as a protection against despair. We know now, thanks to our active participation in our 12 Step program, that we no longer stand alone, isolated and vulnerable. We now stand together with those “others” who  are aware and conscious that some Power greater than themselves is to restore us all to sanity today.

Only by gaining an insight into my addiction to sadness and misery that I can be free from  this need to numb myself from the feelings of hurt and despair.

In recent   retreats many of the participants gathered there were in agreement that they could do something about their depression. In fact, one of the participants said that she was surprised and pleased that she could in fact take  responsibility fir her self and begin to work herself out of depression.

This was a revelation for her  that she could be an active participant in her own recovery process.

I think that too often people depressed mistakenly think that they had nothing to do with  their depression – and if they had nothng to do with it, then they think that they have no power to undo it. And like other problems in life, we have to consider our habitual attachment to those thoughts, behaviors and actions which continue  to keep us isolated  with the comfort of not making a decision on our behalf to escape the prison of our depression. We are NOT helpless.

Now that I am willing to assume responsibility for my depression I have begun to take a closer look at my life and the way in which I was living it. It now has become clear that I have to make some changes in the way I think, feel and behave.

I had to become conscious  that with the help of God, as I understand God and my recovery group called Depressed Anonymous, that I could in time free myself from my depression.

So often we want someone to take away our pain, our hurt and our grieving with out any effort on our part. Of course –life doesn’t work that way.  For more information about our program of recovery click onto the Depressed Anonymous menu and discover how you to can find hope .

Hugh

“Help is on the way!”

 

Learning some creative ways   to deal with depression, based on one’s  own personal experiences utilizing the   power of the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous.  Our program is modeled after  the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Many times a person depressed will look for help from our website,  hoping that we have something that will give them relief and present for them  a positive solution.  We  do our best to help them with our solution focused approach to overcoming depression. Most are thankful to know that we are here and have developed various avenues for one’s own  recovery from depression.

To understand who we are and what we do, we always advise that the seeker read each   of the items listed on our website menu. We also  point them to past issues of our published  Newsletters in the Newsletter Archives.

Our readers are treated to timely posts at our website  center (www.depressedanon.cm) which include those topics which are most helpful to a person depressed as well as for one’s family members and friends.

Recently, we initiated an ongoing program of recovery for those persons who would like to start their own Depressed Anonymous group This program is one in which our DA members (SPONSORS) work collaboratively with those who choose this HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY.  The program enables the person desirous of learning more about depression and their own unique experiences,  to  communicate with their sponsor  by email. The participant   answers  questions from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook and reading  from the Basic text of Depressed Anonymous.    Each of the Twelve Steps is    reflected upon as it relates  to one’s life past and present. The participant’s responses are then emailed to the sponsor and a return mail by the sponsor  answers   those questions which the participant may have during the  course study of  their ongoing Home Study  Program. The best part of the Home Study is that you can go at your own pace and  get feedback from someone who has lived the program in their daily life!

If you choose to start a group that is entirely up to you and there is no obligation to initiate a group in your locality.

So there you have it. You may discover  things about yourself that you never know existed. And  whatever questions you might have about the origins of your own experience may come to light during this program. The best answers are there in your own life experiences and your taking the time to reflect upon them by using the DA WORKBOOK and the DA BASIC TEXT.

A participant will need the two books  mentioned above for the program of Home Study and these are used in the group program.  You can purchase both books as a unit   from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore as well as purchase the books as eBooks from the Depressed Anonymous  Publications Bookstore onsite at www.depressedanon.com.

If for whatever reason you are financially  unable to purchase these  books, please send me  an email (depanon@netpenny.net)   and we will contact you privately about the matter.  Our main concern is to get these positive materials in the hands of those who want a way out of the prison of depression.

For an explanation of the HOMNE STUDY PROGRAM in more detail please click onto the Website Menu and click onto the drop down menu labeled HOME STUDY PROGRAM.

 

 

Drinking Depression: One Man’s Story Of Recovery From Alcoholism And Depression

 

DRINKING DEPRESSION:  One man’s story of recovery from alcoholism and depression and the parallels between the two. 

By Steve P.

“I have had experiences with alcohol abuse since childhood. I have also struggled since childhood with depression. I quickly learned to rely on both.

I call  this paper “drinking depression” because that’s exactly what I did when I no longer had the alcohol. The following thoughts will express my feelings and the parallels that I have seen between these two addictions.

RELIANCE

There was always an excuse to drink, mostly I was upset with something –I should say angry, for it was anger at the root of my depression that I was trying to suppress in medicating myself with alcohol. Later, I learned to do the same thing with my depression except to be in a depressive state high.  I didn’t even have to leave the house and after awhile I didn’t want to break the cycle of reliance that dependency had begun. Where I was absorbing alcohol into my blood stream  I was now   injecting the depression into my soul and absorbing it like a sponge

FAMILIARITY AND COMFORT

As a recovering alcoholic, I can look back on my drinking and see where I took comfort in being drunk because   eventually   the numbness became the only way I could feel better.  When I was drunk I could retreat into myself and not have to deal with everyday life.

The same escape tool was used in the form of depression. I could ball up like a wooly worm and the outside world was not going to hurt me. However, the more I wallowed in the darkness of my depression the deeper I got stuck  in the mud of despair and hopelessness.

DESPERATION

In order to deal with alcoholism and depression I had to hit rock bottom. I had reached a point in both that I had to call out for help or drown in my addiction.  I called on my Higher Power to help  deliver me from alcohol and he led me to a counselor  to  also help me with my depression. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit I am harnessing my talents now and I am seeing incredible results. My recovery has not been overnight but it is a day by day and step by step recovery process.

THE PHYSICAL

After some time had passed,  the drinking affects the physical body breaking it down. Once I saw a film in which the brain of an alcoholic was compared to the brain of a heroin addict and they were very similar. The depression I  experienced also had physical implications. For over twenty years the way my body would respond from too much emotional stress was to pass out. Instead of blacking out from alcohol I was using depression to numb myself and my brain.

THE SPIRITUAL

When I was drinking I felt alienation and guilt. I felt professing Christians did not drink. The more I drank the more guilty I became. I felt  much more distant from God the more I drank and spiraled further down into a cycle of despair.

In my depression,  I felt God had no time for  me and that I was unworthy of his love. Again,  it was a carousal filled with guilt and anger going round and round so that I couldn’t get off the merry-go-round.

SELF-ESTEEM

When I was drinking,  I was sure that no one cared or could understand what I was going through, so I had many pity parties and I was the guest of honor. Why should I care if no one else cared? This was my way of thinking.

From painful experiences in my childhood I felt  I was of no worth and just taking up space. It has taken therapy and the support of family and friends to finally look in the mirror and begin to like what I saw.

HOPE

I have been sober over two years although I often have the desire to drink I daily call  on my Higher Power to help me and march on one day at a time experiencing serenity and a release from my need to take that first drink.

I have been in therapy for almost a year off and on, although in order to recover one has to stay with it. I have to take my emotional and spiritual healing, like my drinking —one day at a time knowing   I can make it.  It is only by opening the door of the past that   the light of the present can get rid of the darkness  today,  providing  hope for the future.

It is my hope and prayer that this has helped you,  in some small way.  It has helped me by writing about my experiences. May God put walls of protection around you so that the way ahead for you may be crystal clear so that today may be your first step towards recovery.”

God bless.

Steve P.

+This article first appeared in THE ANTIDEPRESSANT TABLET, Spring 1994.

 

 

I want to believe

 

AFFIRMATION

I can do most anything to feel better and more alive. All I need to do is believe that I can do it. I want to believe.

“Through this 12 step program   I have been on a journey of transformation from the familiar life of drudgery, gloom and desperation,  to discovering a new freedom and a new happiness –something I didn’t know existed.”

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

This is the real  world-the Twelve Step program for healing and a gradual abstinence from hiding the pressure that builds from inside and pushes me to want to withdraw. I am more sure today than I was yesterday the more I work my Twelve Step program,

I know that like the others who work their program, I will begin to feel better. I also believe that the more I begin to take charge of some area of my life, like exercising, getting a hobby and moving about, the speedier will be my recovery.

From childhood, I had a sparse amount of love and nurturing. I know that I can find the freedom to live and feel differently than I did in the past. Today presents me with a clean slate and a new beginning, if you will. Granted my yesterdays are always there ;  my today is what really counts like the exciting part of living with hope. Life is a challenge and I need to forgive myself for all my yesterdays and live right now as if it is the first day of my life.

MEDITATION

God, make peace and serenity the operative word of our lives and efforts. We know that you are here- closer to us than the light that is in  our lives. We again trust you to help us to live unpredictable lives with your hope and trust in us now. (Your own personal comments).

SOIRCE:  Copyright (c)  Higher Thoughts  for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. April, 30. Pages87-88

I will face my fears!

I will take another small step in my own recovery  and face any uncomfortable  fears that arises. I will face it and let go.

“I had to surrender to God, quit controlling everything and everyone, including God.  Let go and let God.” (8 )

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

To think of letting go of my depression is like telling a drowning man to let go of his life jacket. When we have been depressed for so many years and this is all we know, we don’t know what to make of someone telling us to let go and surrender this experience to God.

I also know that for me to be in control, either by my sadness at home or my attempts to control every member of the family, I know that this keeps me from having to face all the pain in my own life. My thoughts don’t flow the way other peoples’ thoughts flow. My thoughts continually flow in a stream of heavy blackness. The blackness has always been part of my life and I feel that there is no way to escape it.  The only way out for me now is to “admit that I am powerless over my depression and that my life is unmanageable.”

I know that in the program there is much talk about giving over one’s life to a Higher Power and letting it guide us.  It’s somewhat like we are going down the road of life and we see a large narrow bridge which is spanning a river before us. We see the bridge and  can even see the other side but instead of crossing over we get out of our car, go down the embankment and begin to swim across to the other side. Depression and our own feelings of unworthiness won’t allow us to risk a way out of our sadness. Like so many life situations, the answers are hidden there in plain sight.

 

MEDITATION

We used to believe that our God was a God of wrath. We needed to believe that,  because we were feeling so bad, evil, worthless and unacceptable about ourselves. Now we believe God’s supply of love is endless. (See Step #3).