Dep-Anon, a 12 step Recovery program for Families and Friends of the Depressed, is now being formed here (US) and other places where Depressed Anonymous is active.
Here is a passage from A Medley of Depression Stories where the author, a member of Depressed Anonymous, provides us with positive guidance. She tells us that.
“Depression is not my fault and your depression is not your fault. God knows we have been beaten up enough over being depressed and not being able to “suit up and show up!” Blaming the person with depression is harsh and cruel Would they blame a cancer victim? It has always amazed me that when it comes to mental illnesses, it is so often judged harshly. As though it’s one’s fault that they were sick or had a breakdown. It reminds me of people screaming at an alcoholic who has lost his job, but his family and lost his house! Exactly what good will come from that? Often loved ones think they are helping “pound some truth” j their alcoholic husband or wife’s head! If we just scream enough and say the most hateful and derogatory things then they will stop drinking and ” wake up” to their poor behavior.” Medley, p.73).
Writing Dep-Anon is why I feel a pressing concern, organizing and helping families of the depressed understand the nature of depression, what it is and what it is not. The family of the depressed needs to fix themselves and not try to fix something in their loved one which they knew little or nothing. From reading the above quote, we can feel the anger directed at those who were depressed.
The Dep-Anon family group uses the same 12 steps for family members who gather together, forming their groups helping each other learn the best ways to help themselves and deal with their issues instead of trying to change their depressed loved ones. The Dep-Anon manual provides a forum where family members can share their strengths, experiences with each other.
The Dep-Anon family group and the depressed have a symbiotic relationship in which each group is helped by the need to be addressed so there may be unity and healing. Dep-Anon provides a resource of discussion points and a commentary on the 12 steps for reflection and group discussions.
Support for the Family is indispensable.
“But for us the person is not a mere patient with specific depressive symptoms- he or she is family. They suffer, but they do not know what is happening to them, they make others suffer, and everybody feels abandoned because the DSO (depressed significant other) seems to prefer not to have anything to do with their family. When this occurs, family and friends withdraw, feeling the hurt of rejection. The DSO continues to be sad, unable to define the reason for this.” Dep-Anon. 2021.
Smith, Hugh. Dep-Anon. A 12-step recovery program for families and friends of the depressed, recently published by Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. 2021
This newly published work can be ordered online from the Depressed Anonymous Bookstore at this site. Visit the Store.
A website will be available in the coming month with its email address and information about upcoming Zoom and Skype meetings. We will continue to help you stay connected with info concerning Dep-Annon happenings online and f2f.