We might …discover that depression has its own angel, a guiding spirit, whose job it is to carry the soul away to its remote places where it finds unique insight and enjoys a special vision.
– Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul
I can relate to “A special vision” as it fits so well into my experience with depression. I realized that I could only find that unique insight and special vision, which Moore spoke about, in the remote place where prayer and meditation became the front and center of my seeking.
My guiding spirit, my angel, accompanied me as I journeyed in and out of the pit of depression. And, as my times of prayer and meditation lengthened, these provided me with a holy energy to serve others, who like myself, are seeking that remote place, where God’s vision for their lives will begin to be lived out, one day at a time.
Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step Three of Depressed Anonymous
The following are some of the ways that we can cope and deal positively with panic and anxiety.
- Remember that although your feelings and symptoms are very frightening, they are not dangerous or harmful.
- Understand that what you are experiencing is just an exaggeration of your normal bodily reaction to stress.
- Do not fight your feelings or wish them away.The more that you are willing to face them, the less intense they will become.
- Do not add to your panic by thinking about what “might” happen. If you find yourself asking “what if?” Tell yourself “So what.”
- Stay in the present. Notice what is really happening to you as opposed to what you think might happen.
- Label your fear level from zero to ten and watch it go up and down. Notice that it that it does not stay at a very high level for more than a few seconds.
- When you find yourself thinking about the fear, change your “what if” thinking. Focus on and carry out a simple and manageable task, such as counting backward by 3’s or snapping a rubber band on your wrist.
- Notice when you stop adding fearful thoughts to your fear, it begins to face.
- When th fear comes, expect and accept it . Wait and give it time to pass, without running away from it.
- Be proud of yourself for your progress thus far, and think about how good you will feel when you succeed this time.
Reprinted courtesy of the Mental Health Association. Understanding panic disorder.
I have found this statement, by James Baldwin to be as true as day is long. I also know from my own experiences. When fear comes upon us like a dark cloud, we are tempted to run. When an obstacle prevents us from reaching a goal, we stop. But when we make that decision to face the problem, good things start to happen.
Today, I am going to choose to face the problem-whatever that might be. I am choosing to use the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous to make this happen.
“I believe that for me to finally integrate the spiritual program of the 12 steps into my personal and relational life is to believe that I can live without depression, drinking, gambling, overeating, and whatever else might take all my attention. I can overcome my “stinking” thinking.
One doesn’t tell people at DA that they’ll have to go to meetings for the rest of their lives. But if you really feel that you have learned something about depression, and how to overcome it – one way to continue recognizing the “red flags” in one’s own life, is to give away how it is nowthat you are beating the urge to sad and isolate oneself.
This really seems to be the secret of most good mental health efforts, whether for groups or individuals-namely, give others help and out of all of your own experiences. This will help you from relapsing.”
Hugh S., for the fellowship
(c) The Antidepressant Tablet Volume 4, Number 3, Spring 1993. Louisville, KY. Page 5.
“Being addicted to the outcome I came to realize after deep examination of my character defects that I am still being addicted to the outcome of situations in my life. Which means I am trying with all my might to control the outcome. I don’t want to accept what God has planned for my outcome in certain situations. I want to steer the situation and control iT into my absolute vision of what I want and needed it to be. My addiction here is the projected outcome of the situation. My character defect is control. Control is a very hard character defect to change and one that I strongly believe needs God’s help to see it clearly and be granted the willingness to change it. Most humans want and deeply desire control of something in their life, so much so, that they would do anything to sway the matter, thus control things deeply to obtain their desired outcome. But there is another serious character defect in this equation. Far more important to examine than our desired outcome to the point of being controlling. This is an amazing spiritual arrogance that we know better, than the highest power knows, what is the right and proper outcome for us. But there is another serious character defect in this equation. Far more important to examine than our desired outcome to the point of being controlling. This is an amazing spiritual arrogance that we know better than the highest power knows what is the right and proper outcome for us. We are essentially saying we don’t believe your outcome, God. We don’t believe you could possibly be as good and perfect as are our chosen outcomes. This is a serious mistrusting of God.
The next thing we must look at is acceptance. Because once we are able to let go of the strongly desired outcome, which we are addicted to, we must stop and allow ourselves to accept whatever God has lined up for the outcome. This is sometimes difficult. It takes a good close walk with our higher power every single day, which is exactly what develops the needed trust in God. Once we begin to move into a place where we accept that our higher power loves us and wants good things for us, it then becomes easier to let go and let God in all the outcomes. This is where the step 3 prayer, taken every day, is so helpful with acceptance of God’s will in our life, instead of our own will and dominating the outcome that we insist upon. We can’t possibly know more than God, so who are we to think that we know exactly what the outcome should be to the situation days from now. How arrogant to think that we know everything. Letting go and letting God and acceptance, are the keys to the overcoming of the defects of control and arrogance.”
Debra C. NC
Copyright(c) Debra Sanford. A Medley of Depression Stories. #35. Pages91-92.(First Edition) 2017. ISBN 978-197 4499601. This book can be purchased at Amazon.com.
1. Appraise yourself: Identify strengths and problem areas.
– Check out the Depressed Anonymous Workbook for a 12 Step self-study of one’s strengths and problem areas.
2. Try changing in small ways. Keeping it simple and manageable.
3. Emphasize your positive skills, talents and strengths. A sponsor will be most helpful in leading you to discover your hidden strengths. When we are depressed and in lockdown, it is hard to see the light. In the beginning, you will let the Da fellowship group serve as the key to unlock your potential.
4. Take what others say at face value- Free yourself from the burden of figuring out others motives.
5. Choose role models you respect. It’s possible that your presence at a DA meeting will discover others who are making the 12 Steps recovery program work for them, finding serenity an hope.
6. Stop activities you don’t like or have an aptitude for. Examples: People pleasing, isolating oneself from friends and family, catastrophic thinking, having negative thoughts about self, not trusting others.
7. Accepting yourself without judgment. Use the “SUNSPOTS” or the “Rule of Threes” to discipline oneself to use what works for you and leave the negatives behind. (See Pages 47-48 in DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS. 3rd EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. 2011.)
Please read the story of Margie, a charter member of Depressed Anonymous, as she shares her story. Personal Stories section.#31. Page 131. Depressed Anonymous.
8. Talk to your friends. This is an avenue that leads you to finding who you are. The DA fellowship, which meets every day.(Check out Website for meeting information). Here in this group, your friends will share how their Journey of Hope gave them a most valuable gift–namely, a choice to work their way out of depression or to continue to live a life of misery and hopelessness.
9. Choose one particular task and do it. Just one task. One small baby step. Keep it simple. Stay in the now–one day at a time. Walk and get out into nature. Walk around the block. Use the TOOLS of Recovery. (See Homepage at depressedanon.com and click onto TOOLS of Recovery menu. You will find an array of ways to begin your own life journey, with a commitment for your own personal wellness and fitness.)
10. Take charge of your life and set goals. Make decisions. Take some risks. Reach out to others for help!
Depression thrives and grows strong in isolation where the depressed individual can spend time ruminating over past defects and self-alleged wrongdoing. The very worthlessness can grow in this darkened environment. But if the solitary confinement is to end, the depressed person has the right and the responsibility to examine the various ways to fight back the isolation, immersing oneself in a supportive and healing environment. If there is no environment where they feel safe and secure, one will have to buildup their courage and get one. You cannot think yourself out of depression. You hold the key that will unlock your prison of depression. We recommend that you start using it now.
(C) Copyright. Shining a light on the dark night of the soul.: A personal experience for healing the darkness of depression. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
(c) Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd Edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 47-48.
(c) The Depressed Antonymous Workbook.(2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.
Please visit the DA literature store for more information.
I make a decision to continue to improve my listening skills and asking questions.
Many times we are so interested in our own story, our own narrative, which continues to be a habit, gradually impairs our ability to listen to the stories of others.
To concentrate on what someone is sharing with us, is basically what listening is all about. A good listener, has learned this skill and is focused on the other. If a person listening, wants to learn more about a person’s story, they ask questions.
Sometimes we look forward to the time a speaker pauses in his comments, so we can talk, preferably, about ourselves. By doing so, we usually don’t have a clue about what they had to say. It’s like we’re saying “I got something to say that is more important, so listen to me.”
Now, if there is something that has been said, that you don’t understand, we ask questions. By doing so, this sends the message that I am listening and I really want to know the meaning of whatever you said.
When we feel sad, it is in sharing this feeling, that can help the other person identify with feeling sad. We all have felt sad. You might even ask a question “like, what is making you feel sad?”
We can see how listening is such a very important skill.
TOMORROW: Decision 6: “I WILL BE SKILLED IN LISTENING TO ANOTHER’S POINT OF VIEW.”
Today I’m truly grateful to be able to do service in my 12 step fellowships. Especially in DA, which has done so much for me. But I didn’t always feel that way about service! At first, I was very scared to make a commitment to chair a meeting. How could I, someone suffering from depression, someone unable to function successfully in daily life, someone who didn’t know if I could get out of bed or not on a particular day, how could I possible make a commitment to chair a meeting? Well, the group supported me and said “we’ll be here if you can’t make it. Just let us know! And we applaud you for being willing!” So I agreed. I also faced technology challenges. At the time the DA meetings were using Skype and I didn’t know how to use that platform (or any online meeting platform, for that matter). So on a day and a time when a meeting was not going on, I logged on and pretended to chair a meeting. I went for a practice run to learn the technology. I asked someone for help, and they helped me. I faced my fears and I showed up for the first meeting that I volunteered to chair. I stumbled. But the meeting went on, and no one died! I made a mistake and it was okay.
I had feelings of anxiety, but I walked away with an inkling of a sense of purpose. So I kept chairing, and that sense of purpose increased. I started going to business meetings, and they needed people to do service there too. So I volunteered. As I continued, I felt more useful and my confidence grew.
The point I’m trying to make is that doing service has greatly helped my recovery! I learn lessons here in DA that I’m applying to other areas of my life. I’m growing. That is one of my goals – to stay green and growing. Doing service gives me that opportunity. And the icing on the cake is that doing service allows us to help DA as a whole and ensure that DA will be there for others who need it, just like I needed it and still need it.
In closing, the Responsibility Statement, revised for DA:
“I am responsible – when anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of DA always to be there, and for that: I am responsible.”