Putting power into my life.

Yesterday’s blog spoke about the “lack of power” in one’s life.  Most persons are looking for getting some power in their lives. Power to get out of bed. The power to feel better. The power to overcome the feeling of powerlessness. The power to break out of our  prison of depression.  The power to find a way to have some peace and happiness in my life.

In the beginning of the book, titled Depressed Anonymous, there  are  articles  written by two different therapists who share their views on how the Twelve Steps have helped their counselees work their way out of depression.  They are sharing how a   program of recovery, with the spiritual principles of Depressed Anonymous, modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps, are the basis of recovery from depression for the counselee.

As a therapist myself  I have found that the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship is a power that  gradually can pivot the counselee from sadness to hope. The group provides individuals with  new tools, giving power to their search for freedom and serenity.  No longer do they  feel alone and isolated.  We know that a sure-fire way to remain in a state of depression  lockdown is to isolate oneself from loved ones and life in general. By using the “Big Book” of Depressed  Anonymous  in the group  and with a therapist we discover a powerful truth that provides the impetus   for  continuing  on with our search for hope, recovery for  our own mental wellness.

 We begin to live in the present,   believing  that yesterday is gone forever and tomorrow  hasn’t yet arrived. All we have is the now. No one can promise us a tomorrow – so let’s live for today–one day at a time.

 Denise shares how  her client , “spent his time alone and many countless hours thinking of all the disappointments in his life, which continually reinforced his depression. Then he started going to DA and found that through being with other people like himself, he didn’t feel as  alone as he did before.  He started sharing his pain, and found understanding and support. Then I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. He also found help spiritually from DA, for he started working the Twelve Steps, and as a result, he started trusting God more for his healing. He is one of the many persons I’ve worked with who have found  help and encouragement through  attending Depressed Anonymous.”  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 29/ Therapists views on Depressed Anonymous, pages 26-29.

 Denise, as one of the therapists who has shared her views on Depressed Anonymous and who makes good use of the Depressed Anonymous group structure  discovers  how  a group program  can position a counselee into a fellowship with  people who are having the same experiences.  They no longer feel alone and isolated,  knowing  that they are  being provided with a program recommended by their therapist that works. By working with the therapist and the DA fellowship in tandem with each other, they find everyone is on the same page.  Not only does the powerful message that the counselee receives validate his/her recovery   experience with depression, but it will tie  in   with the  counselor’s treatment plan of recovery. It’s a win-win situation all the way!

If a therapist wants to give their clients another source of help, they might think about referring them to a mutual aid group such as Depressed Anonymous. And if the person reading this does have a therapist they would do well to advise their therapist  how much more the therapy experience would be enriched for the counselee.

Not only do we see how depression is becoming a  problem of epidemic proportions in all societies around the world, we believe that we have a positive approach to helping those who are still suffering  from depression.

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

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, 2nd edition (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

All books can be ordered  online.

 

 

Lack of power was our dilemma.

 

 “We have emphasized  willingness as being indispensable. Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things  which we have admitted are objectionable? Can God  take them all –every one? Do  we still cling to something of which we will not let go. We ask God to help us to be willing. When ready we say something like this: “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad.  I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen!”

  We know that our willpower alone can’t get us out of this prison of depression, but only a belief in a force or power greater than ourselves. So by working Step Six ( “We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character),  we continue to be in God’s will and let God help us discover and root out those defects of character that keep us prisoner.

‘So many people choose the predictableness of misery to the risky feeling of being unsure and scared over the new and faint feelings of lightness and cheer. As the depressed person gradually begins to knock down the wall of his/her denial that he/she is addicted to sadness whenever life gets stressful, this is in itself is  the starting point in the recovery process…”

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Page 55.

  Lack of power that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live and it had to be  a Power greater than ourselves.”

RESOURCES

(c)Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 65.

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

It seemed that I was living in another world.

“it seemed that I was living in another world until one of my parents gave me a phone number of Depressed Anonymous. The Depressed Anonymous meetings plus reading the Depressed Anonymous manual have provided me with the tools to live without being depressed.  Most important of all, the Twelve Steps mentioned in the book have made me understand that God (my Higher Power)  will give me strength to deal with my depression and got me on with my life and be happy with myself.

The book with its Twelve Steps, has taught me that I am not alone. And that I am not  the only one who is suffering from depression. It has taught me to believe more in my Higher Power and let it handle my depression.”

It absolutely  feels that we are living in another world when depression takes over our lives. We believed the our  immediate reality of  this fog that takes over our mind  is the only reality that we can ever know. It’s  like driving with one’s  car lights  on low beam. What lies ahead is hidden. Our driving becomes cautious until we are forced to stop. We are hesitant to move further. Fear and anxiety grip our every thought. What danger can lie ahead?  We believe there is no escape.

For me, this is my best analogy for  my own depression. I too, like the author of the above sentiment (see Depressed Anonymous manual /Personal Stories) who felt completely alone and helpless.

But that is not the end  of our stories. Our feeling alone, adrift and living in constant fear comes to an end.  By learning about the fellowship of a mutual-aid group that we call  Depressed Anonymous and becoming an active member   I found new ways to live with hope. 

“As these new tools have helped me and will continue  to help all those many others who are looking for help out of their own fog.  They have taught me not to dwell on my past, to live one day at a time, and to look forward to the future, but  not live there.  It will take me a long  time to deal with depression, but I’m glad that these tools are available. Life can be good for a change. Please don’t give up.”

You are not alone.  I am not alone. Those who have shared their own stories of recovery in the Depressed Anonymous manual, (quoted here) all have the same story; I was depressed and now I am not. If you would like to know more about these persons who have shared their stories of hope and serenity, please check out  their stories of how they used the tools of recovery to live again with  hope.  They know that they do not  have to feel alone again. 

Besides the groups, there are those who may want  to use the Home Study Recovery Program kit, comprised of the Depressed Anonymous Manual  and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook.

These two books, written by those who were depressed and  now have  made these useful tools available  for others like themselves. Recovery means that we  can now   gain critical self knowledge   plus continuing to be  motivated  to devote  personal time and study for our own recovery.

RESOURCES

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

(c) The Depressed Anonymous Workbook, 2nd edition  (2002)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. 

I get depressed for no reason at all.

  

  “Sometimes persons  tell us that they get sad for no reason at all. All of a sudden they just feel down and don’t know why. Many times after reflecting upon this sudden rush of sadness, they realize that it has come from somewhere and they might as well take responsibility for it and deal with it. One of the best ways to deal with a feeling, especially the unpleasant ones, is to stay with it, and see what it is trying to say to you. When we run from it we lose.  Granted, this won’t be easy and you might not find the source of the sudden sadness at first glance, but in time you can feel  it and deal with it and then discard it.  The more you ruminate about how sad you are and then how bad you are for feeling so sad, the more you have begun the downward spiral into physically feeling weak and hopeless. This is the time to call a friend or member of the Depressed Anonymous group. Just say: “Hey, I’m feeling sad and  here is the reason why I am feeling sad — what do you think?”  More times than not, your sad feelings will melt away.”

   Low moods, if not faced promptly can sometimes spiral into deeper moods,  filling us with a sadness  that  slowly paralyzes our thinking and immobilizes our motivation to perform the most simplest of activities.   These low  moods carve out a beachhead in our psyche and have their own destructive  way with our thoughts and behavior.

In my own case, I would be thinking of nothing in particular when   suddenly, like a wave washing over me, I would be drowning in the darkness of these feelings, unaware of their source or able to predict  their duration. Seeking relief I would escape to taking to my bed and sleeping.

These feelings, as unpredictable as they are, come from somewhere.  Just like the rain, the snow and wind, they all come from somewhere. In truth, there is no mystery here as there source is contained in feelings connected to an event in our recent life and more probably have their origin in  an earlier period of our lives.

There is truth that our body remembers  situations from the past that we have not consciously thought about in years. It’s much like the deja vu experiences we have while at a certain place or life situation  and it feels like we have been there before. We might think that we have been there –done that

A client once shared with me how he always felt sad when the cold winter season rolled around and he would become begin to feel sad and  alone.  As he told his story of growing up he mentioned how every February his mother would hole up in her bedroom and tell  them  “I am  sick. I am afraid I am  going to die.”  Resultant from this personal experience  of his fear that  his mother  was dying, every February or around that same time, his body would connect him with the sadness and fear felt when he was a child alone with his  own fears, and  would repeat in his body the same fears he had felt then. It wasn’t about the cold of winter but it was about those sad feelings coming to life at this particular  season of his life. The body might remember everything while the mind and feelings remain submerged and hidden.  Like a plant which bloom year after year.

In The  Depressed Anonymous Workbook we read how early childhood memories  connected to our deepest feelings can resurface as we gain adulthood. Because of a painful  and  meaningful  loss of a loved one that was never discussed or talked about as we grew up, the feelings continue to remain and fester, like a wound that doesn’t heal.

     ” Is there someone who was close to you  as a child who died but whom you did  not grieve or shed  a tear for because you were still too young to say that you missed their love and their presence. All of a sudden they were gone and you got on with your life,  but your body remembered that this person  was once a meaningful part of your life. This might take some investigative work on your part,  but we would well to  talk to family and friends and see if there were deaths around the time that you were growing up and which you are now  unaware,  but might have effected your parents or guardians perceptions of life and so affected you.” 

To discover more effective ways to handle and deal with our feelings, please consider these two books written and published by members of the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship. Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more details on ordering online.

These books can be a great source of help in dis-mantling our own depression and providing the tools to get our lives back on track. Please click onto www.depressedanon.com for more detailed information on ways to find the help you are seeking.

    (c)Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky  Step 10. Page 90.

   (c)The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Workbook. Louisville, Ky Page 75. Step 10.1

Mary will do one activity today that can give her hope.

Today, Mary,  a member of the Depressed Anonymous fellowship shares some of her  personal thoughts about  her  recovery.  In one of the personal  stories from Depressed Anonymous (2011)  she  shares  

         “Today I can experience hope. I will believe I can live this day with pleasant thoughts. I will do one activity that will give me hope and light for today.”

  Mary continues to make her  remarkable recovery by  being part of a fellowship where all members have an opportunity for learning  how to use  the tools which will  deliver them from the pain and isolation of their depression.

     She continues  to tell us that “today I will not dwell on the past and the losses that have occurred.”

Of the many areas of her life that she   reflects on in her story, she shares   that instead of thinking about the past and the harm that her losses   have cost her personally, she now examines the possibilities which  her new program of hope is providing   for healing and a  new way of looking at life and her role in it. 

In the Depressed Anonymous fellowship Mary is learning to accept the fact that she doesn’t have to stay depressed. Now, today, her group is encouraging her to be part of a hopeful journey shared by all its members. One of its main messages is to live one day at a time; to live with the belief that   as other members of the group tell their stories of how they escaped the trauma and pain of depression, so too can she.  It is a fact that by following and incorporating the Twelve Spiritual principles  of the Steps in her own life — this is what has brought her to the point of recovery for herself and many others.

Mary now has a plan that works. She wants to tell others about how she has been willing,  open and honest about having that great need to believe in something so much  bigger than herself or her depression. She has had a spiritual   awakening,  releasing  in her a new peace and a new purpose,  not only for her own recovery but for those many others like herself who are seeking a solution,  focused on a new depression-free way to live.

She now believes that living out the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous in her own life is what has brought her to this place of freedom from fear and despair.

RESOURCE

For more information on Depressed Anonymous and the Twelve Steps please click onto depressedanon.com and learn more about the program that has given Mary life. You can also order online.

(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Personal Stories. Pgs.134-135.

Linda’s compulsive overeating took her to the edge.

Read Linda’s solution to her compulsive overeating as she explains  below in her Personal Story. 

At one point in her compulsive eating,  suicide  came to be a welcome thought. No more pain she thought. Eventually she realized that no amount of food could fill that hole in her soul. When she weighed more than  150 pounds in ten years,  she was terrified. She was  scared. But as she said, she really wanted to live. So what were her choices? What could she do?

          “Then a friend told me about Depressed Anonymous and I was so desperate that I went. To my surprise, these wonderful people accepted me, all of me, for myself. They  encouraged me right from the start. They were open and honest about their pain and consistently reassured me that I could make it. But I would have to work very hard, because you have to really fight depression – negative thoughts replaced by positive thoughts -action to create motivation. Most of all, I had to surrender to God, quit controlling everything and everyone, including God. Let go and let God. So I started reading the Twelve Steps. At first I was really rebellious, so much so that  I didn’t go back for two weeks. I was too depressed, but inside  I knew the Steps had the key to get me out of this prison. They pointed me to my Higher Power, which unashamedly  is Jesus Christ. Now I attend every meeting, sharing the things I learned and the times I fail (which are still quite a few) into depression. But it is working, and I could not be writing this right now if it was not for the love and the support of these very special people. As a matter of fact, I told them once a week was not enough for me. The leader suggested that I start another one, which is just what I have done. I now attend the meetings twice a week–twice is nice.”

To sum it up, Depressed Anonymous has pointed to the only hope there is – our Higher Power is the only way out. Our Higher Power is the key, the life, and the hope. And once I have been able to admit that, every one in the group has been very loving and supportive. After all, they have all been where I am today.” 

Linda

Resource

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Personal Stories. Pages 116-117.

Barbara comes out of the closet.

One of the major concerns of persons depressed is to tell someone that they are depressed. Sorry to say, but somehow being depressed is not ok. This feeling, though real and painful, sometimes  precludes   these same people from getting the help they need. All this is because of the shame and guilt that is part of living with depression. And no one wants to have the  label  “mental illness” attached to their feeling depressed and alone because of the stigma attached to depression.

Barbara was very fortunate in that her psychiatrist recommended Depressed Anonymous. Here is what she had to say about her experience.

     “My psychiatrist recommended Depressed Anonymous for depression. I began going to these meetings and obtained immediate support and acceptance. I cannot say enough for the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous (and my weekly therapist concurs). Neither can I say enough about the unquestioning acceptance I felt at my first meeting. They kept saying to attend six meetings before making a final decision. Well, I didn’t need six meetings before making a final decision as to whether or not the meetings were for me.

I have found the community as a whole is very supportive of this group. Individuals are a little reluctant to “come out of the closet” because of the stigma associated with depression.  There is a tremendous amount of gratification that comes from helping someone that would not have otherwise known of this help.

Encouragement from someone else is essential …I highly recommend this to anyone who has a strong desire, determination, and perseverance.”

For more about Barbara’s story of recovery and many more  stories of restoration please check out (c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY.  Personal Stories section. Pgs. 104-152.

Please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore to order  online.  Go to www.depressedanon.com for more information about the Depressed Anonymous Fellowship.

Sue “gets it.”

In Sue’s  account of how Depressed Anonymous has helped carry her through a tough time in her life, she tells us that “if we stop struggling in the water and just give up and lie on your back, you will float.” 

Earlier in her story she tells us  that “It was  no trouble for me to realize that I was powerless over depression and that my life was unmanageable(Step 1). By looking at the faces and talking with the other members, I could see that they had obtained peace (Step 2). From there, Step 3 – turning my will an life over to the care of God-was easy…”

And in her sharing her own journey out of depression   she wraps up her testimony with this invitation: “Whoever you are, you who are reading this: Believe! The first three Steps are the most important. Walking or other exercise is important. Staying with it is also important. Going to meetings and participating is important, but above all else, faith is important. Faith will truly move mountains!”

Sue and so many others are eager to share their stories of recovery from depression. They have wanted their own personal stories of recovery   included in the “Big Book” of Depressed Anonymous and to encourage others who are still suffering from depression. Help is available. You will be happy that you did.

For more about how to leave the prison of your own depression, please go to a Depressed Anonymous meeting near you or click onto   THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE  and discover how you can find the help that can set you free. The Twelve Steps provide each of us  with a plan, a map if you will, that if followed,  will provide the stepping stones to set you on your new life path!

All the books published by Depressed Anonymous are actually written by those who have been depressed –been there and done that.

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

 

I no longer have to endure like a passive victim.

Victim or survivor? Which shall it be? How can I be a survivor when I can hardly motivate myself to do anything, just anything positive  to kick start my recovery. What is the first thing that has to happen for me to get on the road to recovery.

For my own life, the motivator was to face the fact that something  physical was happening to me as I was finding myself  in a continual funk. Since we are of one piece, the fatigue that came from just the simple process of thinking began to affect my whole body. I found that my thinking became obsessive and compulsively totally centered on my life’s  losses plus the shame and guilt that accompanied  them. I felt like the guy who is walking around with the sign on his back saying “kick me.” In my mind there was no way out.  I was in lockdown. I was down on my luck and flat on my back.

It was then that I knew I had to make a decision–get up and move or stay down and die. I got back up on my feet and decided to move.  I really had not a clue where I was headed but I knew that doing nothing was not the answer. It was then that I went to a Twelve Step meeting, developed by persons like me, depressed and flat on their backs. But there was  a major difference between them and myself. These folks had a solution. They explained how their own way out was to get connected with those like themselves (depressed), flee their isolation and start using a plan that promised hope and freedom from the prison bars of their own depression.

These folks wrote a book, it is called Depressed Anonymous and presents us with a plan that works.  The plan is filled with hope. And if there is no Depressed Anonymous  in your community you can use the Home Study Kit for your personal guide.   

You will discover that your recovery commitment to yourself has placed you on the recovery road. The Promises of Depressed Anonymous as outlined in our program will bring you to a new place, an horizon where your life appears filled with the light of hope. You will become a survivor. If you want to learn more about who we are and what we can achieve as part of the fellowship,  you will find the tools that will bring a change about in your own life which will bring you in contact with others like ourselves but also will bring hope and serenity. For information that will inspire you and guide you for what works for us, and for you, is to go to  our Homepage at depressedanon.com  where you will find a list of articles and info, plus books written by those of us who have been depressed, but now live to help others like ourselves. We’ve been there –done that. Now we live one day at a time with hope and freedom.

Resource

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

My problem is that I always want to please others.

“A member of our Depressed Anonymous group said that her father was very authoritarian  and strict. She said that she was always trying to please him and do the best she could with everything he wanted. She said that she could never do things well enough to please him. Even today, she still tries to please others, but because of her perfectionistic nature finds herself always inadequate and never satisfied with her self. This produces a feeling of loss as she feels guilty over losing control over those situations in which she wants to excel. She also feels resentments towards other people as they never seem  to notice all her outstanding qualities.”

Pleasing others goes nowhere for many of us, usually the results that we hoped for don’t happen. We think that if we please others they will automatically like us more.  One result of  trying to please others is   how we lose something of ourselves in the process. The result here is that we just want to kick ourselves  because the person we want to please could care less how we feel. In other words we gradually begin to feel belittled. We don’t measure up to  what we had hoped others would think of us.

  What  results are  resentments. We resent others because  they aren’t able to see the great person we think we are. Again, the cycle gets repeated, please others, and nothing positive happens  as to  how others see us.

We feel we are not perfect enough, good enough or unable to measure up to others expectations of us. Which may not be true at all. So, in time, we might be fortunate enough to see the connection between trying to please Daddy and never quite gaining the affection and support from him that she had desired. What we learn in childhood gets amplified many times over as we carry these perfectionistic feelings into our adult life.

In the final analysis, we find ourselves feeling dependent on others for our self worth and value. Our value is only proportionate to the amount  of acceptance that we receive from someone else.

For more insights into how “pleasing others” may continue to plague us into our adult lives and  spiral us down into those dark moods we call depression,  it is in looking at ourselves from various vantage points that we will learn how to prize ourselves as well as learn the many different ways that we can feel empowered instead of weak and worthless.

The way out of these feelings which  imprison us  can all be dealt with in the context of learning and living out the   spiritual principles of the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous. Also the Depressed Anonymous meetings, regularly attended,  will  give you the positive  feelings that will gradually help you to learn how to please yourself, instead of trying to please others.

Resource

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY. Pages 92-93.

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