Category Archives: Service

Do not ask what the world needs

“Do not ask for what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and do it. For what the world needs is people who are fully alive.”
Howard Thurman

This thought got me thinking. I have asked myself the very question many times over. I always had an answer to the question. For many years, the same answer continued to take me down the same path. It was a gentle path. It was like going to work in the morning. You know, getting on the bus, or driving the car to the same place every day. There it was the same faces, the same tasks. After a days work it was back home again. End of story.
It was a good life. I felt alive doing what needed to be done. And yes, I think I was fully alive. But then at a certain point(I can still feel it) life started to spin out of control. If you have had this experience you definitely know what I am talking about.

Long story short. My life was falling apart. I started isolating from friends and family. All I needed was to get away from the world and try figuring out what ws happening to me. I did not need a world that looked so gray, forbidding and threatening.
I only wanted to live in a world of which I could control. Now, I was moving slowly in a world that gave me no promise of direction. I was a walking zombie.

Then gradually, a light went on in my dull and darkened spirit. I discovered a new and exciting path. It was a new world for me. I was no longer alone. It was my gradual awakening to a new reality. I was no longer alone. I was part of others who are on the same journey. It was a journey of hope. I had a direction. It is called recovery.
My depression was gone. The fog had lifted. I came alive with the help of the group. It is better called a fellowship.I am needed. My experiences of recovering from depression is needed. I am called to give hope. My life’s ultimate concern, my purpose is to walk with others just like myself–once wounded –now wounded healers. I am fully alive.

I believe that the world truly needs me–needs you. What once made me think I was worthless and useless, now I am alive. Depressed Anonymous helped me come alive. Now I have no doubt what makes me fully alive. It’s those others, just like me at a time in my own life, who said, we need you. We need you to help others become fully alive. Now we know what the world needs.

With a gratitude that I am alive.

Hugh, for the fellowship

I need to get prepared for a new me today!

I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way that I feel. I have the option to feel content and even smile today if I so desire. I will act like I want to smile again even though I don’t feel like smiling.

“If you have made yourself a martyr to your unappreciative family, remember the principle of partial reinforcement and apply it to your family. If you are always at their beck and call trying to meet their every demand, they will not appreciate you, but once they see that they cannot rely on you to to meet their demands, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (Breaking the Bonds, D. Rowe.Fontana, 1991).

REFLECTION
i Know that so often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need to remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for me — not for everyone else. I think that reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to DA meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery over anything and everyone else. I am going to begin to be a pleasant person. I will want to learn how to be pleasant to myself.
Now is the time and this is the program where I start to detach from other people’s opinion of myself and start to reflect where I start to detach from those people’s opinions of myself and start to reflect on my own opinion of myself. When I am depressed, I know that I haven’t been able to get angry, not to forgive anyone, much less forgive myself. I feel cheerless. I meet my own demands and continue to work the steps so as to get in touch with what I need to do to reinforce those positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new me today.
“We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God, our Higher Power. We trust an infinite God rather than our finite selves. Just to the extent that we do as we think he would have us do, and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (As Bill sees it.p.265).

MEDITATION
When we gradually work our way to the real self we get closer to the God who made us.

RESOURCE
Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Hugh Smith. Pages 14-15.

Depressed? Looking for a stable and secure environment?

Depressed and feeling alone? This is what many of us have felt when a combination of the many symptoms of depression shackled us physically and put our mind in park.

Some of us felt that there must be a way out of the pain of depression, but as yet were unable to find what might help us. But this feeling changed once I came into the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, our 12 Step program of recovery. When I was asked if I would like to share with others my own path of recovery I heartily agreed. Here is my story.

I am sharing my story here to give others a chance to read what happens when we land in this circle of friendship with its healing acceptance and support.
After ten years of repeated meetings with the depressed of Depressed Anonymous meetings, it’s clear that that the meetings create a secure base for those who in their childhood had neither kindness nor the life giving warmth and affection of a loving family.
People who keep coming back to Depressed Anonymous continue to grow and become aware of the inner change taking place, week after week, as they find not only attention to their story, but find that they are loved and and cared for at the same time. Possibly for the first time they find that they look forward to each weekly meeting and become attached to the positive feelings that emerge inside themselves as they continue to share the story of their pain. In time they share how their week is suddenly being filled with more good days than bad. It also becomes obvious to the participant that childhood behavior and experiences are carried right on into adult life. Trusting is such a hazard for the depressed, because every person is different. You can’t trust your environment because it could suddenly shift and you would be without a certainty that you were bad and worthless. The meetings gradually present to you an opportunity to be someone worthwhile and valued. Your sharing and risking information about yourself begins the construction of a new and secure you. The DA group becomes for the first time in your life a very secure and stable environment where you can share, trust and grow.
–Anonymous

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 162-163. (Personal stories: #25. Depressed Anonymous provides a secure (love and acceptance) base for those who never experienced love nor support growing up.


To read more stories of inspiration (Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com. Literature can be ordered online. Ebooks are also available.

I Wanted To Get Well

NOTICE: Whenever a blog post mentions an online meeting be sure to consult the page Online Depressed Anonymous Meetings for the most up to date and correct information. If the blog post is more than a few days old there is a chance it could be incorrect.

The following is part of the written testimony of Helen who found a solution to her life problems.

The title of her story is: ‘I have to take responsibility for my own life.’ You can read her whole story, one of many personal stories of recovery from depression in Depressed Anonymous, Third Edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.Ky. Pages 145-148.

Helen knew that she needed help after two yeas of sleepless nights. She knew that someone had to help her. She tells us that she found a card at the back of a phone book which read “Depressed Center”. It had a phone number and that was all. I talked to the man on the other end of the phone. She made an appointment with the man and made herself go see him. “I thank God that I did. I thank God that I went for help. She tells us that it was a new beginning for her. I wanted to get well so badly. I do think that people do want to change. I went in with the attitude that I have to get well. I heard things about counselors that scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in. I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thinking. I began to feel better and continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous a few weeks later.”

I remember Helen very well, as her story is so much like so many of our own stories. She was very sure that by her wanting to get well she was willing to do all it took for her to get well. She had to eliminate her negative thinking and by doing so she began to feel better.

I highly recommend that you read this story as it is an inspiration. Helen illustrates a way out of depression that really works. Her life is a living example of what you do and what you believe is the key to recovery. She shows us that you first have to take the key, put it into the door and turn the key. When you you accomplish this feat, you are on your way! You will recover!


For those of you who want to turn the key in your own life, please check out the HOME STUDY KIT at depressedanon.com website and get started on your own recovery. You can also join a Depressed Anonymous online Skype meeting. Check out Meetings at the DA Homepage menu section for the link that will take you to these meetings. The books which are needed for your recovery can be downloaded as eBOOKS from our online bookstore.

Hugh, for the fellowship

#6. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous

#6 Promise: The feelings of uselessness and self-pity disappear.

“One of the major areas that changes quickly by our attendance at the group meetings is that we pity ourselves less and less. We begin to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are. We begin to see that once we start getting connected to others like ourselves on a regular basis through our Depressed Anonymous meetings, we are now listened to by others and we are validated. We don’t hear “snap out of it here.”

Suddenly our years of self pity, isolation and desolation have ben cashed in for a currency that buys us a new competency, a new identity, an autonomy and a burgeoning inter relatedness with others just like ourselves.

We now can speak about our experience with depression in the past tense. We can now share how we have the tools of self care whereby we can dig out and begin to construct an edifice of hope that will last the rest of our lives. As long as we continue to use the tools of the program we are bound to feel different.

We know that feeling sorry for ourselves promotes a greater attention to and for the problem, while attention to how our experience can help others promotes not only our own well being but that of others as well.

As we learn how the program works – and this only happens primarily by attending meetings. The solutions and ideas help us all to become more active in the pursuit of our own serenity, as promised by the fellowship.

When we were depressing ourselves, we felt not only useless, but unacceptable to ourselves and to others. It seems that the harder we pushed to fight against depression the sadder we became. When we began to feel differently we also began to believe differently. We learn how to be more helpful and hopeful.

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering? What motivates me to continue to try and help others. What has made the changes in my life where now I want to share what I know and what I feel? Basically,I know that the program of recovery works.

I no longer feel powerless over my symptoms of depression, that I can do nothing about my depression. I have seen that the major solution for my symptoms of depression is in the doing and in the feeling and the expression of my feelings with others in the group. In DA people speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time looking back over my shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears is going to overtake me. I now have attained small amounts of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that can overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the first Step “we admitted that that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Self-pity is that feeling where we continue to go over and over again of all the hurts that have put us where we are today!

We waste hours and days in our self-wallowing.”

RESOURCE
(C) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous, (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Lpuisville, KY. Pages 13-14.

Promise # 5 of the Promises of Depressed Anonymous.

Promise # 5 : No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we see how our experiences can benefit others.

“Some of us have attempted suicide. A few of us more than a few times. We had despaired of ever finding peace or hope. We believe that we had no future and that our yesterdays were as hopeless as our today’s.

It was hard to attend our first Depressed Anonymous meeting. We felt horribly alone. We just know that no one in the group has been through what we have been through. But as we listened and watched the other members of the group speak – we saw ourselves in their stories.

Personally I believe that whatever you give out to others is the amount that comes back to us. Our experiences can usually help another. An experience such as depression is so isolating, so predictable in its misery that it is bound to have had an impression upon us that it changed our life. And then when our life is changed for the better – thanks to DA and the fellowship that we have to share it with those still suffering.

Ironically, it appears that the farther we have gone down in mood– and up again in our recovery -the more powerful is this experience. They see the after and hear how it was before we got involved in the fellowship.

The fact that we have recovered so completely is in itself a message of tremendous hope for those who are newcomers to the group.

Isn’t it amazing that those who can do the most for those still suffering are those who have worked themselves out of the pit of isolation and depression.”

Copyright (c) The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. (Page 12).

What is your middle name?

No one ever calls me by my middle name. How about you? The only person that used my middle name, which happens to be Louis, was my Dad. And when my Dad used all three of my names, with emphasis upon Louis I knew I was in trouble. Big trouble. Well, that is another story. I haven’t the time nor the wish to go into that at this time. It really has nothing to do with depression. You’re right.

What I want to share today with you is something about who we are as a 12 Step program of recovery. As you may know, people and their families have coat of arms with some fancy pictures of shields, words etc. Here at Depressed Anonymous we too have our coat of arms, let’s for simple sake call them Logo’s. It’s our brand name if you will. Our logo shows footsteps. At the bottom are the words

  • HOPE
  • SERVICE
  • FELLOWSHIP

These words are our mission statement. They tell others who we are and what we are do. First of all we provide hope for those still suffering from depression. That’s what we do. Secondly, we provide service as members of our fellowship. We sponsor ZOOM and SKYPE meetings everyday. When someone calls and is hurting we respond. We have sponsors who help others with their Step Program. We have books and literature for those who are seeking more information on how to help themselves. We provide an email address where we can also be connected with anyone night and day. And finally, we are a fellowship, united in an effort to help others who are depressed and want an online and f2f program of recovery for their own recovery. We are here and we all in the fellowship and are no longer alone. Depression? We get it! We know. We’ve been there and done that. No more. With all of the services that we provide there are no fees or charge. We are all serving others because we ourselves have been served. Served with the opportunity to have HOPE.

So, now you know what middle names are important. They reall give an added dimension to who we are as people. You can call me by my middle Louis if you choose. That will make me feel like family. ūüôā

M. Louis S.

Stepping out of hopelessness

 

One of the greatest feelings  I experienced in confronting my depression was that I began to have hope. I began to believe   what others were saying about the Steps. They were telling me that the plan that they followed everyday of their lives was giving  them a positive feeling that they were going to step out of  the  swamp   of sadness and hopelessness. In fact,  those who spoke these encouraging words already  were  manifesting the strength and power of the 12  Steps in their own lives. I was one of these people.

A question that continued to cross my mind¬† during my period of pain and isolation was basically “is life worth living.” Many folks depressed still debate this question in their minds. And far too many have provided us their answer that “life is not worth it.”

This has been my mission over these past years to show by example of other’s recovery (plus my own) that with appropriate¬† faith, work and¬† the spiritual tools, life can be good again. There is a faith, a strong¬†¬†indomitable spirit ¬†at the¬†core ¬†of every human being, that hope is available to all who seek it.” What you seek, will seek you.” It’s almost akin to the¬† belief in Karma–as you give out so will you receive back–in some way, at some time in¬†your own¬†¬†life¬† ¬†experiences. I don’t know how or why, but I do know that it just works out that way.

When I was first introduced to the 12 Steps, I came to my first meeting, willing to learn what I could to  recover fully from my addiction. I had to have hope that something would work. It would have to work for me. And members of this 12 Step group presented me stories , facts and situations where persons completely down and out, physically, mentally and spiritually found hope in the confusion and despair of their own hopelessness  and became free.

No longer did we feel hopeless of finding a way out of what was killing us.¬† Yes, “we” found a way out. The plan was before us and the group was behind us as we plodded along , each of us supporting the other til we finally completed our Steps.¬†We ¬†now share how our stepping into hope continues to be the North star¬†for me ¬†these past thirty plus ¬†years for my own life.

Is life worth living?  For many years now   I discovered how a faith, a strong belief in my Higher Power, and a bonded group of men and women have continued to travel the same  path as my own.

If you want more ¬†information¬† about our group Depressed Anonymous please check out our website at www.depressedanon.com for a¬† ¬†full explanation¬†of ¬†who we are and what we do. You’ll want to step out with us.

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

Some depressions are followed by thriving. We honor the strength of those who achieve recovery. It is possible!

 

“One obstacle to a more affirmative national conversation is that depression has lacked a unifying public symbol¬† that could¬†¬† bring it¬† out¬† of the¬† dark, and¬†Livestrong(c) bracelets did for cancer or the rainbow flag did for LGBT. When most people think of depression, their first associations are to unfortunate images, such as a dark cloud, the color black, or a noose. One reason why depression stigma lives is that depression has a serious bumper stick problem.

But this is essentially an issue of failed marketing and messaging. It should be possible to develop a unifying symbol, and it is presented in a compelling way, many might rally. Conservatively, thirteen million US adults are currently in an episode of depression, more than twice that number have had depression in the past. When we add  caregivers , millions more are indirectly affected by the quality and the quantity  of our national dialogue about  depression.  Have no illusions.  Even with a strong  public education  campaign, stereotypes that have been decades in the making will  resist change.  Still with  so much to gain, it is high  time that we  try.

But in my view, finding more humane ways to discuss the predicament¬† of depressed people is not just good marketing, it’s also good science. The mood science perspective tells us that depression, deep or shallow, is a natural product of the mood system. However a person gets there, facing deep depression is a supremely difficult trial. Rather than weakness or defectiveness, we should acknowledge that getting through depression requires considerable strength. Rather than assuming permanent debility, we should recognize that some depressions are followed by thriving. Writing these words fourteen years after my episode, I recognize that I am not broken. Getting beyond the disease model will require us to honor the strengths of formerly depressed people, to see their potential for rebirth after depression and the ways that, once reborn, they can help others build enduring recoveries from depression. It is possible.” Copyright(c) Rottenberg,¬† Jonathon. The Evolutionary Origins of¬† the¬† Depression Epidemic. (2014) Basic Books.¬† New York,¬† Pages¬† 198-200.

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Hugh’s comments

This work of Jonathon Rottenberg is one that everyone need to read. Not only does¬† it provide us with a insight into “mood science”¬† it also is a positive statement on the depressed person’s strengths.¬† And then it promotes the fact that once a depressed person recovers they will go on and help others rebuild their lives.

If you are fortunate to be a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship you will¬† understand this statement completely: helping others rebuld their lives completely. In fact this is where our Twelve Step program challenges the person recovered “having¬† had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps. we tried to carry this message to the depressed, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.”

SOURCE:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.  (Personal Stories).

Our Big Book has more than 30 personal stories of how  these stories of the recovered members of Depressed Anonymous  have had their lives rebuilt and now are thriving and strengthened and reaching out to others depressed. It is possible.