Yes, all of us who are depressed or who have been depressed have said the same thing. I agree wholeheartedly. My family doesn’t have a clue as to the deep and hurting feelings that we experience. But how could they? They’ve never been depressed. I would never wish this on them or anyone, but my family needs are an understanding of depression and the power that it exerts over our lives.
As a depressed person myself., I know about the pain, the guilt, and the isolating nature of depression. Even though family members and friends are unaware of the life-threatening nature of our illness, it is a must that they begin to focus on themselves and their recovery. By getting involved in a fellowship with other families of the depressed, they learn of the nature of depression and the prison that keeps us immobilized. They also learn that we refuse to respond to their help, no matter what they say or do. In many cases, it pushes us away.
The Dep-Anon fellowship could be the depressed person’s best friend. The reason is that the family members learn how devastating this sadness keeps us in “lockdown.”
We learn that:
When one of the members of the family is experiencing depression, the family suffers. Attempting to free the depressed person from depression is of little help. They suffer but, they do not know what is happening to them; they make others suffer and, everybody feels betrayed, undefined and, abandoned. The family system is thrown off balance. Family members are conflicted about their loved one’s behavior. Conflicts and anger start to flare up – it is true that the family is the best therapist, but they must know that to be helpful, they must keep focusing on their mental health and wellness.
The point is that family members need to focus on themselves and not on the depressed. They are not able to change us. But what stands out here is that they can change only themselves. Dep=Anon will provide a program of recovery suited for their recovery, focusing on their own defects of character with a need for the support of other families who, like themselves, begin to understand the nature of depression (no more “snap out of it” comments) while gaining new insights into the power of the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps.
I can see how we are like Al-Anon, a group that has an alcoholic in the family, no longer keeping their focus and energy directed to them and their drinking, and efforts to stop their drinking behavior, but keeps the focus on their own lives, enjoying the support of their Al-Anon fellowship. The alcoholic has Alcoholics Anonymous, and I, as a depressed person, support Depressed Anonymous. Both of these 12 Step programs of recovery are on the same recovery page. I thank God for my understanding that now my family has the support of other families like mine. My family is learning so much about me and what I am facing. They are thankful that I have Depressed Anonymous, and I have a family that is focused on themself and not on me and my recovery.
The depressed person’s family plays a vital role in hastening his recovery or recovery. By understanding the nature of depression and offering the person the support he or she needs, the family can help him or her work through the depression. Together they can evolve a sounder system of relationships.
(C) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION, (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville KY.
(C) Dep-Anon: A 12 Step recovery program for the families and friends of the depressed. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.
(c) The Secret Strength of Depression. Frederic Flach. THIRD REVISED EDITION. 1988. Printed in Canada. Page 192.