The impatient patient

 

It was not too long ago when I was an impatient patient. Have you ever been an impatient patient? If you have ever been admitted to the hospital for any length of time, as was I, then you know a little of what I am talking about. This was a few years back when I underwent open heart surgery. It was quite an experience to say the least. I got excellent care. The   staff said I was a very good patient.  Not much I could do to be an annoying patient. I had wires, tubes, and everything else hooked up to my anatomy. I felt that I must have looked like one of those huge electrical grids that we see alongside the road, all with a large chain link fence circling  them.

Because my numbers weren’t right (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level,  etc.)  the doctor told me that I would have to remain in the hospital another day. I had already spent three weeks, watching an  outside world,  all beginning to look like ne big beautiful garden.  Everything was coming alive.   I was coming alive too, but not fast enough. I did thank God that I was even alive: thanks to a great team of doctors and staff.

But gradually and with a new intensity, I had this strong desire to  to free myself from  whatever kept me from getting free. I know what it was: it was the numbers. Always the numbers. So, the day came, finally, and the doctor tells me that if the numbers were right I could go home. Home! That word spoken by the one who had the power to free me. Yes, I could  go home– tomorrow! (That was like the big sign behind the bartender  which read in big red letters “Free Beer tomorrow!” Tomorrow comes and yes, Free beer tomorrow!). I knew from past experience, that that  “tomorrow”  always came with a conditional “maybe”  tomorrow.

That was it. . . I was suffering from what I felt was a terminal case of “cabin fever.”   “Cabin fever”  can only be cured by  getting out of the cabin. We all know that. So, I asked the doctor how I could go home today (the day was Friday) as there was no use staying the weekend waiting for my numbers to come down. The doctor told me, because I had to have a certain medicine over the next 48 hours to keep my numbers at the right place, I must  give myself some  prescribed shots , and then come back the following Monday for a check on my numbers. Other than that, I was good to be released.

The nurse came in and with a few practice shots– on an orange no less, and then  I was good to go! Halleluja! By this time, most of my tubes and  wires had gradually been removed, one after another.  Another patient told me that this was a good sign when they started removing wires from one’s torso. My mind went to another possible reason, but I won’t go there now.

Home. And all it took was just to give myself two shots a day. No problem.  My numbers finally returned to where numbers need to be for a good recovery and so it all worked out. Thanks to the medical team, first of all, that gave me my life back!

Fast forward to today,  as I look back over  life before my experience with depression.  The sadness, the lethargy, my whole body seemed to want to go into hibernation. Sleep. And more sleep.  And when I could hardly get myself out of bed  in the morning. reality hit me in the face. I had something that I didn’t have a name for. I was immobilized. So, I started walking. Walking. Walking. I knew that I was continually feeling very sad. Sometimes like weeping.

My life before was a life of “hurry” for this and a “hurry ” for that.  I couldn’t stuff enough  of life into my daily schedule.  And then my discovery that I had clogged arteries and need open heart surgery as soon as could be scheduled. But what about my planned vacation, my clients, my books I was working on ?  I couldn’t just sit by and let things slide.

OK. I said. Obviously I was in denial. We are talking about saving my life here and I was worrying about nothing really.  That was  before my numbers helped me face the truth about myself.  The talk with the heart surgeon definitely grabbed my attention. I got it! I needed open heart surgery!  No denial now.

I got it that my life, the “hurry” and the “impatience”  that  had produced the stress, a diet filled with all sorts of food that was bad for me as well as a life without exercise.  I couldn’t relax. I couldn’t slow down.  I was always in a rush–a hurry to get to the next important   thing, a meeting or whatever pushed me into serious health problems.

Today is different. Once back in recovery, both from a physical standpoint as well as from a mental health standpoint, I have learned how to relax, how to spend  time alone  with my God as well as to set small goals which are attainable and healthy for each new day. My prayer time and my meditating on the spiritual principles of the 12 steps,  plus taking time out for my Depressed Anonymous meetings on a regular basis. I also have a regular sponsor who helps me over the times when I am in a “hurry” and shoving too much activity into a life filled with activity. I have the tools to slow down and live. These are  a musty now in my daily life!

My new self with an awareness of staying out  of the “hurry” has helped my being patient with whatever negative situations  life throws at me. I think before I act. I think before I make decisions and do not rush into anything without first “looking both ways” (as I learned in Kindergarten) many  years ago.

And BTW  my numbers are great: 120-130  over 80. Heart rate 70’s.

Check out the TOOLS for Recovery here at this website  www. depressedanon.com

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

 

 

It takes hard work and faith to free oneself from depression.

MY AFFIRMATION FOR TODAY

I believe that with time and work I can feel better about myself.

“But don’t expect that one psychologist can tell you just what the trick is to get out of being depressed. There  is no trick, just hard work.” Dorothy Rowe. The way out of your prison. 2nd ed. (1983, 1996). Routledge. London.

The first three Steps of the Twelve  Steps are about faith and the remaining nine Steps are about action. One has to have faith that there is truly something bigger in this world than  one’s own depression and one’s perspective. I formerly used to believe  that I was stuck forever in these moods where I just didn’t want to live anymore. I was sick and tired of being sick  and tired with the feelings of despair. But now my program is a spiritual one and the spiritual way is the way out of my depression.

If I truly want to be free of my fears and anxieties, I will have to have faith that the God of my understanding is not going to  let me down.

My energies and commitment used to be directed toward finding ways to live always with the predictable and secure feelings that my sadness provided. I am working another program, one which will help me find a way to live a lifer filled with serenity and hope.

MEDITATION

God, help us know your will so that we may start today filled with hope. (Personal comments).

SOURCE: (c) Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of Twelve Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

CODE BLUE! CODE BLUE!

If you have spent anytime at all in a hospital or nursing home you know what these two words mean. Basically they mean, drop everything your doing and go immediately to the area (patient)  that needs immediate assistance. There is no waiting around. You go!

I personally believe that our country’s mental health system is in a state of Code Blue. I also believe that  with all the old and new antidepressant  drugs now available  to resolve this epidemic, (yes, an epidemic) there are more depressed people now than ever before. It would appear that  there would be less depressed persons because of all the medications available, specifically  designed to deal with this national mental   health emergency of depression.

In 1985 I was able to do something about the emergency when I founded a mutual aid group called Depressed Anonymous. The group is modeled after the successful Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery. The emphasis was on mutual aid and a group  focused solution for those depressed.  Persons who came to the group were many times in a Code Blue situation and needed immediate help. Most times they needed the help of other persons depressed who were speaking the same language as they were.  In fact, when they  did attend meetings they gradually knew that they were not alone and that others were  going through the same things as they had experienced. And  by attending meetings week after week they felt the strength  of hope  and began living their life  with a renewed sense of purpose and meaning.

The following is Lena’s story and how she began to live a life filled with hope and purpose.

“During my first night in the hospital, a member informed me of a support group known as Depressed Anonymous. I decided to give it a try. By telling me about this wonderful, miraculous, and very spiritual program, this person had not only worked the TWELFTH STEP, but had also given me a key, a key which would open many doors  for me. Walking through these doors was like admitting defeat.  I was playing first base in a ball game in which I would eventually win.  If I struck out, I was back on Step One. By playing ball with a positive attitude, I was allowing my Higher Power to walk the Steps to recovery with me.  With the help and the positive sense of fellowship that I enjoyed in the group, I began to understand God’s will for me. With the love, support and true friendship of three faithful members in the group, I began working on my driver’s license, which had been another step toward independence for  me. Within a year, I earned my license when two members of the group took me for my road test. A new sunnier life had begun for me. The worst was finally over.”

The account of her recovery is just one of many stories that one can read in the Depressed Anonymous manual (Depressed Anonymous, (3rd ed.) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page 113.  )

A total of 31 stories, in the Personal Stories section of the book,   are powerful testimonies of how  members of the DA   group who are living out the Steps in their individual and  group life.  No more Code Blues

 

For more information about the Personal Stories and Depressed  Anonymous literature click into THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS  BOOKSTORE

 

 

I am learning how to reinforce my own worth!

AFFIRMATION

I am getting healthier the more I realize that I don’t have to feel the way I feel and I have the option to feel content and even smile today if I so desire. I will act like I want.  I will  smile 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 find that they cannot rely on you to meet ther demands, they will appreciate what you do for them.” (7)

RELECTION/CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I know that so often those who are codependent and live all the time in everyone else’s feelings need remember that the real maturity and happiness lies in being there for me not for  everyone else. I think that this reflection points out the fact that I need to reinforce my own worth by going to meetings, actively getting involved with my own recovery and putting this recovery over anything or anyone else. If 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 want to detach from other people’s opinions of myself and start to reflect on my own opinions about myself.  When I am depressed, I know that I haven’t been able to get angry, nor able to forgive anyone, much less to forgive myself. I feel totally 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 positive concepts that I am forming about myself. I need to get prepared for a new day today.

“We are now on a different basis: the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust God rather than on our finite selves, just to the extent that we do as we think God would have us do., and humbly rely on him, does he enable us to match calamity with serenity.” (As Bill sees it, p.265).

MEDIATION

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

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of the 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 14, 15.

 

The gift that just keeps on giving!

 

“These Twelve Step;s work for those who work the program and who try to live one day at a time.  Many times we have been so scared of being rejected once more that we have withdrawn deeper into  the anguish of our shame and hurt. We need to to air our hurts, our shame, and let others hear our story.  There is something healing  about hearing ourselves speak to others about  our own journey in life and the many emotional potholes that we have fallen into from time to time. We have felt our lives were jinxed. But now we can begin to feel hopeful when other members of the group shake their their heads in knowing approval of what we are saying when we tell our story. Most have been where we are now. And the more we make an effort to come to meetings regularly, the more we will find members of  the group telling us how they are seeing a change in the way we act, talk  and look.  We will accept the group’s comments as being true and honestly expressed. These people speak our language and they all have been where  we are now. You gradually begin to see yourself as healer instead of victim the more you work the program and get excited about the possibility of helping others. When you start reaching out to others in the group, it is at that point thay you are carrying the message of hope to others. You have a future with Depressed Anonymous. ”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2014) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 105.

The last Step of the Twelve Steps of Depressed Anonymous says it best for those of us who  now want to be that “gift that keeps on giving.” and become bearers of HOPE.

STEP TWELVE of   the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS FELLOWSHIP

“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we  tried to carry this message to the depressed,  and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I need a manual on how to live life!

The other day I noticed that one of my head lights was out. I thought why spend good money and have a mechanic fix this thing?  I will just find a manual that fits the make and year of my car and do it myself. So that is what I did. It worked perfectly and I saved my self some grief from a mechanic’s bill.

Before this situation I was visiting my mechanic about a problem that I knew I could not fix and so I went into the garage and found him under the hood peering intently into the car’s engine. At the same time, he was  reading carefully from a manual, spread out over the engine  illustrating the engine parts with pictures and text. I thought, wow! just like my wife when she is cooking up a new dish. Her new dish was illustrated with pictures and text,  giving step by step directions for giving her  latest creation new life.  Many times at a 12 Step group meeting how many times that I  felt I needed a manual on how to live life successfully. When you  are born, your Mom didn’t get a manual from the doctor telling her how her  new creation was to live his/her life.

Fast forward to adolescence and young adulthood or even as an older adult in retirement. In the midst of living out our life there may come a time when we are baffled, surprised about a personal condition that we find we have no control. In our mind we try and figure out what is wrong with  us. What is happening to us.  And for the sake of an example, which I personally know best–been there done that–I painfully discovered I was depressed and getting myself deeper into the dark pit as I continued to ruminate   uselessly on what I had and how to escape this terrible pain.  The more I ruminated and worried the more I isolated myself. I wanted to know if  I was losing my mind, had a brain cancer or some new and incurable disease.

Because  I already was a member of another12 Step program of recovery, it was  obvious, that the Big Book of their fellowship, outlined step by step the nature of our illness and gave a detailed program of recovery on how to live with the interminable effects and symptoms of my illness. The manual worked whereas before  I was powerless to get anything to work  for me that could change my life.

And then Depressed Anonymous was founded and I soon discovered there was a manual for this illness that was working for other persons depressed so why couldn’t it work for me. It was depression  that seemed to have me by the throat with its innumerable symptoms.  Just as those who put out cook books with hundreds of   recipes, I found the perfect recipe, or detailed instructions, on how to leave the prison of my depression.    And the best part of this Manual,  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, was that there was a group discussion meeting that talked about these helpful and healing instructions.  If you were experiencing depression  these steps would work for any one else as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not want you, the reader,  to think we are minimizing the “life threatening “ issues that go with the depression experience by using the mechanic and cook book analogies. But if I had not had access to this Manual with its detailed information on how to get well and to feel better ( by the way–all our material is written by people like me–depressed and in recovery), I probably would have struggled longer and who knows what would have become of me.

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Our recipe for wellness  can be located at The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore. Also go to the Website Menu (depressedanon.com) and check out our  HOME STUDY  PROGRAM. Anyone can use this Manual, Depressed Anonymous  and The Depressed Anonymous Workbook together if a Depressed Anonymous group is not in one’s area.

 

 

Being depressed means isolation.

How do I know if I’m depressed?

“Being depressed means isolation – and being cut off from everybody and everything.  It is like being in prison, like a pit where the walls are like soft clay and I cannot climb out. To me the isolation is pre-hell and often I feel so dead inside.  There is an awful feeling, that hole in my soul which is like a clenched fist.   I don’t know where to turn with all the pain and hurt. I can’t imagine anyone hurts the way I do and I hope no one does. I would never want to inflict this pain on anyone, so I tried to hold it inside and it seems like it’s too much to bear, especially alone. This is where Depressed Anonymous comes in – this is where powerlessness and God come in. There was no one to help, even to try to understand before Depressed Anonymous. No one wanted my pain  and others started  to avoid me.  I understand better now, especially since I’ve been around Depressed Anonymous via Hugh and the book Depressed Anonymous,3rd edition and the journaling I’ve done. My hope is that I will be more at peace and will try to use the  specific tools which continue to be  great helps in overcoming depression while  giving me  hope —  just for today.”

Source:  Mary C, Sterling Heights, Michigan.

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

Visit the Store for more information on Depression and the use of the 12 Steps.

“We’ve got work to do.”

 

When my grandson  was  3 years old  and older he would always say “papa, we ‘ve got work to do. ”  When he would see me with a hammer in my hand or a can of paint and ready to work on some repair project around our house,   without fail he would always be willing to pitch  in and do his part. As a little guy he always seemed so much older than what he was because of his strong desire to help his papa. He is 19 today and now he is doing his own  work. But not surprising is his continued willingness to help me when he can. Now that I am in recovery, thanks to our Depressed Anonymous program of recovery  and  after these many  years,   I am still free from depression.  I attribute that  this freedom is due to what I did learn  when I was depressed and continue using these tools on  every basis. I have found  that it does take some work to get through the darkest periods of the depression. It also takes a supportive group of men and women who know what we know,  and feel what we have felt when depressed.

Every meeting that we attend, and every step that we take on the road of our recovery, we find the fog lifts, the desire  to live again returns. Not all at once–but in short spurts – the fog lifts and we feel the hope churning in our hearts and minds.  And at every Depressed Anonymous meeting we hear the following words read from HOW DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS WORKS.

“You are about to witness the miracle of the group. You are joining a group of people who are on a journey of hope and who mutually care for each other. You will hear how hope, light and energy have been regained by those who were hopeless and in a  black hole and tired of living.

By your involvement in the group we are feeling that there is hope – there is a chance for me too – I can get better. But we are not the people with the magic wand and the  easy formula for success. We believe  that to get out of the prison of depression takes time and work.

And so at each and every Depressed  Anonymous meeting the group listens as we hear  what it will take to escape  from the prison of depression. ”

Also, at every meeting of the fellowship we hear how by using the spiritual tools, our Twelve Steps, we can gradually find the path that will that can lead us out into the light of freedom. We come to believe that a power greater than ourselves  can restore us to sanity. And then we make a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God as we understand God.”

SOURCE:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky. Page  67.

PLEASE VISIT THE STORE for more info on depression and ways to free ourselves from the agony of sadness.

Go to Groups on Menu to see if there is a DA group in your State or LOCATED  outside the USA.

 

 

 

Making “gratitude my attitude” helps keep Robin out of depression.

 

A personal story/ testimony from Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition by Robin.

“Through the Depressed Anonymous program, which utilizes the Twelve Steps, I have been on a  journey of transformation from the familiar life of drudgery and gloom and desperation to discovering a new freedom and a new happiness – something I didn’t know existed. My entire perspective is changing.  Other people who I once thought were   judgmental  are now considered as all being a child of God–all created equal. What a peace provocative tool this is. Really! It helps me lift those negative attitudes and replaces them with affirmations. This is certainly the most  valuable technique offered in Depressed Anonymous to acquire an optimistic attitude towards life itself, or simply “making gratitude my attitude.” So many of us were only familiar with the sham and the drudgery of life, but even with all the sham and drudgery in the word,  it is still a beautiful place to live.  We learn to change not the world, but how we view the world and all its intricacies.”

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

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It is truly a remarkable fact, that  by going to one meeting you may hear someone  share  their own personal story and you think they are talking about you. It is amazing how this works, but not really.  What happens  is that all of us who come to the Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first  time, find that members of this mutual aid group speak the same language … hope and support. It does take one to know one, which is true. I guess the point here is that if we all feel pretty much the same thing when we are depressed, even though my depression experience is unique to me and how it effects my life, that this awareness is a great thing as it helps to produce those many strategies for recovery which can be applied across the board for most of  us in the group. The Twelve Steps are  strategies that in time and  work can   give us a  fresh and healing perspective for  our individual lives.  To read more about the recovery experience   of  others who have used tjourney of transformation

he Twelve StepsVISIT THE STORE and continue to find other literature which can   provide you with hope  plus  a way out of your depression.

Hugh

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The latest offer by the PUBLISHER is the KINDLE edition of Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 daily Thoughts and Meditations for Twelve Step individuals. Take a Higher  Thought with you were ever you go!

May the Force be with you!

The Force (in Star Wars movie) is that Power which guides, protects and surrounds those who believe in it.

For those of us who crawled(figuratively speaking) into our first 12 Step meeting of recovery,  Depressed Anonymous, we too were hoping that there was to be found a Force that would protect us, and eliminate forever the pain that we felt 24/7. We just knew that we were “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and wanted relief and help…now.

When we heard members of this group tell us how their lives had begun to change, with hope  being part of their new  way of thinking about themselves, we knew they were onto something big. We felt a spirit of hope as we listened to their  stories of how they to came into the group feeling  beaten and despairing.

And as we wrote in our book  I’LL DO IT WHEN I FEEL BETTER (2013)  we shared how Newcomers to the group reminded us of our selves when we stepped into the group for the first time.

“They struggle to keep back their tears as they speak, possibly for the first time  trusting that they are with people who have been where they are. This is what provides the beginning of hope and healing. People in the group speak the language of hope and possibility. They hear how recovery is possible. They want these tools to use in their own recovery. ”

Now we  can all  share our stories of our own personal recovery. The Force is with us!

Please read all of the 30+ stories of how persons coming into the group and using the steps of recovery, led by the Force, find  a daily source of hope and happiness for their lives. These stories can be found in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

PLEASE VISIT THE STORE HERE AT THIS SITE.