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Wisconsin Depressed Anonymous Meets virtually – ONLY through ZOOM

The Wisconsin Notre Dame Parish Life Center is now using ZOOM online only for its weekly 12 Step meetings.
MEETING TIME: Tuesdays 6:00pm to 7:00pm (login begins about 5:45 pm) CST 6-7pm; 7-8pm EDT
For more information, or to be added to ZOOM meeting invites:
Call or text Collene: 715-456-8018
E-mail: depressedanon.cf@gmail.com

SAVOR LIFE

“if (I had my life to live over I would like to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances.. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

“You see, I’m one of these people who live sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day.. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had it all to do again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else but moments, one after another. Instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those person who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle and a parachute. If I had it to do again, I would travel lighter than I have.

“If I had my life to live again, I would start barefoot earlier in the Spring and stay that way later in the Fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.”
By Nadine Strain
[Nadine wrote this at age 85.

When will it end?

How often did I ask that question of myself. And the only answer that I could give was "I don't know." That was never a very heartening response. In fact it just made matters worse. I don't know about  you,  but I sure  didn't have a clue about my own situation. Why couldn't someone tell me, like when you get the flu or a cold, "How long will it take to get well." Not even a Doctor.  Nobody could tell me. All I ever heard was their  opinion that if you do this or do that treatment  you should start feeling better. If not, then  something else would be recommended. Most of the time it was  usually those who do this or that  treatment they should l be feeling better in a couple of weeks.

What I was hearing was that it really depended on many different factors. One size (diagnosis) doesn't fit everyone. Everyone's depression is unique to that individual who is depressed. All depression experiences even though unique still have characteristics which are common to all.

In my case, I knew nothing about depression and in fact didn't have a clue that what I was living through was actually the various symptoms of depression. All I knew was that I needed to do something with the hope that doing something was better than doing nothing. After all I was unable to get myself out of bed. After my 8 hours at work, I came home and went to bed--waking up during the night, tossing and turning in my bed. That became my daily routine. I isolated myself. I never felt wanting to call my parents or my friends. I was locked down in despair.

My day eventually began with an hour of walking. I felt like Forrest Gump who didn't know where he was going but he knew he wanted to walk. I did know that maybe I could shake off whatever was locking me down, physically, emotionally thinking all the while that I was hopeless and helpless.
Then it happened. Suddenly, my mind's mental fog evaporated and I could feel a lightness, unlike the feeling of a heavy weight bearing down on my mind, causing a continued fatigue and sadness. Immediately I felt different. Wow! This is the way I felt all the time before my sadness overwhelmed my life., I momentarily became energized and continued my walk. What happened next was predictable. The first thought that came to mind was "it isn't going to last." And yes, it doesn't last, but then the next day and in the next few days my mind completely returned to its former clarity and upbeat hopefulness that "it was all 'gonna' be alright."

Was my new feeling due because I was walking everyday for over a year, that I continued going to work, or talking to my Depressed Anonymous group on a weekly basis the reason for the change? I would say Yes, that had much to do with my life getting back on track.
The fatigue disappeared, the negative thinking disappeared, and I now was on a new playing field. I now had the tools with which to strengthen myself against negative attacks from my mind and body, I started to exercise on a regular basis, talked to people in the program of recovery, got a sponsor, read the Depressed Anonymous literature, ate healthy foods and went to regular DA meetings.

The end of your own depression will end, once you begin to tackle those fears and anxieties that once locked you down into isolation and immobilization. It might not happen today but there is a strong possibility that it can and will happen. It happened for me.

RESOURCE:

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY. (Personal Stories section relate how others found hope and a plan for leaving behind their depression.)


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This is it!

How often must I learn not to get caught up in the mania of having thoughts  and feelings and flights of grandiosity as I flee  from the depths of my sadness. I will not run from my sadness, but instead, I will focus on the fact that I have to stake out my claim and say, this is it — I am going to get well starting today – right now.  When I am manic I am panicky  and very jittery, but when I am depressed or feel myself slippimg down into the abyss of darkness I run as fast  as I can until I no longer can stop my racing thoughts, nor find an end to the obsession of wanting complete perfection in everything that I do.

What this means is that I am going to believe that I am about to be released from a terminal illness. My sadness has dogged me throughout my life. I no longer am willing to give in  to it, this Black Dog  of sadness once labeled as “melancholia.”  I have tried all the pills to rid myself from the angst  of my soul until there were no more pills, no more solutions and no more avenues of escape. I could escape the pain from time to time, but not a lifetime of hurtful human experiences.

MEDITATION

God, you call each of us by name. Give us the power to name anything that is blocking us from growing in the wisdom of your will for us  today. Lead us home to your peace.  (Add your own personal thoughts here.)

RESOURCES:

(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step Fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. November 20th.

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

Go to the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore to order online.

Help is on the way!

Many times it is difficult for persons interested in attending a face to face Depressed Anonymous meeting in their community, sadly discovering  that there are no DA meetings available.

Our Fellowship has developed tools to help  those who have no support groups to utilize our Home Study Kit of Recovery. The Home Study Kit includes a Depressed Anonymous Workbook and the Depressed Anonymous Group Manual( 3rd edition).  Both books used together provide information about depression plus personal enrichment.

You will find that the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, with questions pertaining to each  of the chapters in the Manual   are coordinated by page and paragraph with the Manual.

Our approach to depression is based on the 12  spiritual principles of Recovery. Your answers to the questions are your own and gradually move you one step after another until all the 12 Step are personally assimilated and examined based on  your own life experiences. The whole Home Study process will let you go at your own speed so that you have an in depth awareness of how depression can by overcome by learning  how you got to where you are today.  Following this learning experience you will  gradually acquire  tools for facing  and overcoming  those areas of your life which     previous to the study, had you imprisoned in pain plus  isolated from others. In fact, after moving through all the Steps and learning how depression has negatively affected your life – you will gradually have   tools to dismantle those various thoughts, behaviors which have kept you immobilized.

For every person who uses the Home Study a sponsor will be available to you (just like in any 12 step program) as a mentor, per your choice, and walk with you through this recovery process. If you choose to take this healing path and make a decision to do so, you will find that you not only are feeling better but that life has meaning for you once again. You are hopeful!

An example from  The DA Workbook on Page 83, Question 11.18 states that:

“We conclude that since our depression and sad thoughts are getting progressively worse  over the course of time, we then have to admit that our feelings are out of control and we need help.” (M116). And it is here that the question prompts a solution from the same person. Here is her solution and one that you could use as well.

M116 refers to the Depressed Anonymous Manual where we find  the personal story of Frances who shares with us that “I just hope that I will always be able to attend Depressed Anonymous meetings regularly and wish more people had the opportunity to do the same. Depressed Anonymous has helped me so much. 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 Steps 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 also  a “Godsend” for me and I know for a lot of others who are depressed.” Page 116.

Finally, if there are no meetings in your community  this process of using the Home Study Recovery program will provide so much for you that it will enable you   to lead a support group in your home community now that you have worked all of the Steps – and that with the support of a sponsor.

Resources:

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

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

Both books that make up the HOME STUDY KIT can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. These two books are also in eBooks format  and are available for ordering online.

You can get started today.

Me: I don’t like the way that I talk to myself. Recovery person: Then change it!

Made a searching and   fearless moral inventory of ourselves . (Step Four).  When I speak of the 4th Step of Depressed Anonymous this means that we are now ready to make a moral and fearless inventory of our lives. It also means that we are ready for action and choose to change the way we live out our daily life. Fearless means brave and courageous.

By now, most of us are aware that because of our depression our lives are unmanageable and out of control.  They are  out of control to such an extent that we may have even thought about ending our lives.

We have admitted that there is a power out there that is greater than ourselves. We are willing to turn our minds and our wills over to the care of God as we understand God.

If we just take a little time and look at the way we talk to ourselves we may discover the reason for our depression. So often we turn  and run when the old feelings of sadness appear in front of us. What we want to try and do now is to look the beast in the face and deal with it.  Accept it. Don’t run from it.  

Just let’s say that you always took path A home from work everyday. You passed the same old signs, the same old building, the same old malls  -you feel you could almost drive home with your eyes closed. This is of course boring and also deadening to our thinking processes as we do everything out of habit. The saying is true that we are creatures of habit. But let’s say that there is a detour along our old familiar path – we become disoriented – we become confused -we say to ourselves -where am I? Now where do I go? Good questions.

Since we may presently be depressed and   in that dark deep pit of depression we may decide that we don’t have anything to gain by reading on at this point in our discussion. But I know and you know that you want out of the darkness. Many depressions lift by themselves but many don’t. Because of the way we were brought up as children many of the negative ways we think about ourselves have been with us since childhood. Old ideas about ourselves die hard and so do old impressions from the early days of our lives.

Our personal attachment to feeling isolated, alone and worthless is like a road from which can’t exist. Our attachment to our sadness is a comfort in a strange sort of way – almost like a person who is addicted or attached to a chemical, behavior, way of thinking or even to a person.

But as we have figured out,  even though my path home is very predictable it is  still a path that is   making my ability to keep a focus on my hopeful outcome almost impossible.

Working the 4th  Step is like coming home a different route. It is a path that is filled with signposts that point us in a different direction from where we are used to going.  And for many of us this is the first time that we are really intent upon taking  a hard look at who we are. This taking inventory of  ourselves has much to do with our loving ourselves and making ourselves open to a new path and feeling different.

To actually get started on working a good Fourth Step we need first of all to sit down, get a pencil or pen and begin to ask ourselves some questions. As soon as the answers come we then write these down and begin our inventory. It’s always best to look at ourselves through the black and white characters that translate our thoughts and feelings down on paper. Remember the inventory is about strengths as well a our character defects. Character defects are ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that keep us isolated and in pain.  

NOTE:  The inventory is not to make us feel bad but to help us understand what is keeping us in the pit of sadness.

For more information on how to discover insights of  our depression  and how we got to where we are today, namely depressed, THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKBOOK will be your tool for coming home a new way. 

To order this Workbook click onto VISIT THE STORE at homepage menu depressedanon.com and this will take you to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.  All Depressed Anonymous literature can be ordered online.

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

Is depression contagious?

This week we are going to take the reader, you, back to some previous issues from our Depressed Anonymous  blog.

This article, Is depression contagious, was first published on December 3rd, 2018. (You can scroll back through the Blogs and find it at this date.)

I am asked this same question many times and many times the questioner is surprised when I say that, yes, depression can be contagious.  If you are asking the same question,   discovering that you are   feeling helpless as you try  to pull a friend or family member out of the quicksand of depression without  success. Nothing that you try works!

When all your best efforts and   desire to be  free   from the dark valley of hopelessness fail, you gradually begin to pull away from the relationship. Now,  feeling   sucked into the whirlpool of  the melancholia yourself , you begin to withdraw and head for the higher ground of safety.

So, please look at the article (12/3/18) and see if there is something there which may be of help to you on how to be present to someone  depressed–without yourself getting depressed.   There ARE ways to help.

 

The paradox of our time…

The more we are able to communicate with each other, it seems the more isolated we have become from each other. The number of people depressed is of epidemic proportions. How can this be, we ask. There are many of us who are connected via the Internet, email, and online  social media groups, with all the other sophisticated forms of communication.

This brings me to the point of this essay, that if the world needs anything, it needs a world  where people can get connected, network, form real communities, where people know us and truly care about us. We all want a real live community of face to face community where we can share, we can cry and we can laugh and where we can actually touch one another.  Even though these modern ways of communicating are tremendous helps in moving past our isolation and into the real world they cannot end there.

A prisoner once mentioned in group how he considered depression not as a chemical imbalance but more of a living balance

“Our willingness to hand over to  other  people and organizations the responsibility which is ours (just as the color of our eyes is ours) stems from our  inchoate desire to sink into the mindless bliss of  being totally cared for, totally supported, our original wanting and getting everything.  We do not want to accept that just as our eyes are organized to see only part of the spectrum of light and no others, so our  sense of time is ordered to perceive time only as progressing never as standing still or going backwards. No matter how great our longing, we cannot return to the womb of the Garden of Eden. ” Wanting Everything. Dorothy Rowe. (1994) Harper Collins, London.

One of the major dilemma’s most of us face when depressed is the immobilizing isolation that is ours while being intellectually  aware  that we need to move our bodies and get out of bed and face our world.  

In Chapter Six of I’ll do it when I feel better,  the author describes how the addictive nature of the depression experience keeps us spiraled down into that chasm of negativity and hopelessness.  Basically we begin to think there is no way out.

    “It’s our addictive thinking, our compulsive way of processing negative information, which means that we habitually  store the negative and   dump the positive influx of information and that gets us  wanting to fall back into the old habit of staying isolated and avoiding others. We might fool ourselves and say that people have nothing to offer me so that I distance myself from everyone. Part of my nature when  depressed is to avoid and distance myself from whatever I feel is threatening, like a child afraid of the dark.” (Believing is seeing. Hugh Smith. (2018) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Pg. 23.)

At one time in my life I  was a part of this epidemic of depression. In order to counteract my isolation and   continuing a free fall into hopelessness, I moved my body, got out of bed and started walking–day after day.  My daily morning mantra was “I am going to beat this thing!” Was it a cake walk–no way! But if I was to survive from whatever had me by the throat I had no choice. That was yesterday – this is today. Today is all that I have and I intend to help others move their bodies, go to a meeting, learn about the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps and get busy putting them into practice in their everyday lives.

For more information about this program of recovery and the tools that are available for you, and your own recovery  click onto our website www.depressedanon.com. You will find a wealth of information  about depression and the choices that you will have  to choose a life lived with hope and  peace. That is a promise.

RESOURCES

(C) I’ll do it when I feel better. Smith, H. (2016) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.

(c) Seeing is believing. Smith. H. (2018) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

Changing negative addictive habits is possible. It’s called biting the bullet!

William James the author of the classic work, Principles of Psychology shares with us “that  changing habits requires conscious attention, deliberate choices and recurring behavior. “

In The Depressed Anonymous Workbook we find that the same process of change  is submitted to us for changing negative habits. It takes work, time and attention. Conscious attention. Deliberate choosing is a critical part of  changing our addictive behaviors.  Ruminating on negative  self bashing thoughts,  circling  around  and around in our head, must  be interrupted and stopped.  Knowing the difficulty that this poses for any of us who are depressed, we chose a workable plan developed by individuals who were  living out their lives with active life threatening addictions.   Since their attention was drawn repeatedly to their insane thinking and behaviors, they  decided that they must  do something that was sane and had the power to stop the hemorrhaging. Some call it “biting the bullet.”

Many times, when we are depressing ourselves with our negative behaviors, our thinking and spiraling  downward  negative moods, we tell ourselves that if I just  act like they are not there, they’ll go away. We hoped.

But that is not the way it works. In my own life I tried that route.  My motivation was gone. My body lost its power to make any  positive moves toward facing what it was that was slowly imprisoning me. 

In our Workbook, we are faced with the question/statement   stating that “Even though  I may be faced with difficult tasks, it is better to try  to face them than trying to avoid them. Avoiding a task does not give me any opportunities for success or joy, but trying does. Things worth having are worth the effort. I might not be able to do everything, but I can do something.

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

1.Awareness Stage: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way we do. Something has to give.

2. Motivating Stage: I am going to prepare myself for a needed changes in my thinking, acting and feeling.

3. Doing Stage: I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changes that have to be made by me if I am to feel differently.

4. Maintaining Stage: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working of the Twelve Step program of recovery.

As an example of how to use this four stage recovery format, as presented by the Question and Answer format of the Workbook, one is able to have it serve as an powerful antidote to the progression of one’s depression and isolation.

Let’s say that your dependency needs are keeping you bound up in unhealthy dependent relationships. The real you is now merged into whoever and whatever your dependent need happens to be at the moment. You have lost your self!

Each of the 12 Steps take the participant through the Workbook one Step at a time. The power of each Step will provide a roadmap, with your own depression experience and personal and unique input giving   courage for you to live out your responses in a positive and thoughtful  manner.  You can do it! You will be happy that you did!

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

You are able to order this Workbook online from the website www.depressedanon.com. Go to The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information on Depression and 12 Step books.