It would not seem like a big deal to share our experience with depression at a Depressed Anonymous mutual aid support group. But the surprise comes as we share our own personal journey with others. We discover that no one drops out of their seats as they hear a new member tell of their suicide attempts, or the shame and guilt over the crazy things I have done in the past.
There is a freedom that accompanies our story telling because we are hearing ourselves share very personal things about our past. Once we get started sharing our story we may feel that we are letting ourselves be vulnerable.
In our Depressed Anonymous Big Book, 3rd edition, we hear the author tell us the following.
“Many times we have been so scared of being rejected once more that we have withdrawn deeper into the anguish of our shame and hurt.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 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 jinxed.”
And here is the surprise I referred to earlier: there is no criticism of what we share. Everyone in the group thanks us for sharing our story. We now know that most of the fellowship have experienced some of the same behaviors and feelings themselves at one time or the other. In fact, their stories and mine have much in common. They have no difficulty in seeing themselves in my account of a lifetime of depression. I feel affirmed. I no longer feel alone. I know I am among friends and among those who are walking the same path as myself. We are all in this recovery effort together.
In the Depressed Anonymous Workbook we read the following:
“Have you noticed that you are spending less and less time alone and more time with others in the fellowship and the fellowship grows among you and others that you have met in Depressed Anonymous?” Let’s just say that our thoughts and feelings are now solution focused – whereas all we could think about before was how awful we feel. We believed that we are at the end of our rope. If there is no meeting in your community, you can use our HOME STUDY KIT which will take you through each Step and it’s commentary (Big Book) while the Depressed Anonymous Workbook asks some very valuable questions for you to answer as you move through your recovery program.
For more on this HOME STUDY KIT, please visit our Literature store at this site. You can also order Depressed Anonymous material online.
SOURCES: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
Depressed Anonymous Workbook, Depressed Publications. Louisville.
These two works form our HOME STUDY KIT and can be ordered as a single unit.