Stuck in park: The paralysis of melancholia/depression.


It was frightening. I found myself stuck in park. And felt  as if I was paralyzed physically. I found myself like a dog chasing his tail. My thoughts went round and round in my head like a merry-go-round. And each of the little horses on the merry-go-round  were named   fear, shame, guilt, hopelessness.

Each day that passed my  merry-go-round speeded up  and found myself jumping from one horse to the other. I was “white knuckling” the reins trying  to keep from being thrown off. Finally, it came to me that I needed to get off this merry-go-round. It  was painfully clear that if anything was to change in my life,  it was up to me. Each day   I discovered  that my biggest challenge  for that day was  just  get out of bed.  I was prepared to use that last ounce of energy  to save myself from whatever had me circling in my head – always ending up at the same place – nowhere.

I had an urgent feeling to escape the cycling effects of riding this  merry-go-round but at the same time  I was too afraid  to let go. It was my  fear that if I let go I would get something worse than what I had. The problem was that my certainty of  annihilation  (reduced to a nothing)   presented me with a false belief that whatever was chasing me would never catch me.

It was only when I started to do something about this  ongoing  and unceasing paralysis which this  melancholy  had me by the throat did I attempt what once I thought was  impossible.  I knew that if I stayed “stuck in park”  and not move forward or backward  what was happening to me now would only get worse. I was right.

Bill, another survivor of this interminable melancholia,  writes about his own experience with depression and calls it “swamp mud” which like quicksand,  sucks  one  down into its murky darkness. This choking  sadness   can take away all  hope  for the possibility of a rescue. He felt that it was fate, DNA or some other intergenerational  curse that brought him down into this nothingness.  It was, he thought,  fate.

My own experience with the addictiveness of the melancholia experience has taught me and others in our Fellowship (Depressed  Anonymous)  some  life giving and important lessons  for survival.  It taught me that if you are riding a dead horse, the best way to stop riding it,  is to get off.   True.

My days on the  on the merry-go-round of misery  would come to an end as soon as I realized that if I did nothing, nothing would change. But if I did something, something might change. And so this is what I did.  I began  each new day,  forcing myself out of bed  and getting in my car and driving  a couple  of miles  to a mall and walking every day.  I did this at the same time,  same place, same mall.  And every day  I ended up by walking that same  5 miles, but still feeling the  deadly hollowness inside. The anxieties which I kept alive by  riding one horse  after another on my merry-go-round.   But  by a that walk in the morning I distracted myself  from what ever I felt was eating me alive. Not until  I was serious about taking care of myself and using  my daily walking, this  physical exercise,  was  I not only affecting my body in a positive way, but it also made a positive effect  in how I was feeling about myself.

After a few weeks of this daily practice of walking, and walking a lot, I began to feel like the fog (yes, fog) was lifting from my life. I was beginning to seeing and believing that staying in park not only contributed to my paralysis, due to the effects of the melancholia  ,on my whole body, but I learned a very important lesson about recovery from depression/ melancholy.  This lesson can be learned   by most of us because it’s a simple lesson and  stated simply “get out of park,”   means moving,  start writing in the Workbook/journal,  get with others like yourself at a group meeting, call a member on the phone or online  and quit isolating yourself. Quit  riding the dead  horse.  A  breakthrough will come for you as it did for me. The most difficult thing in recovery is to keep at it, day after day, and do those positive things that not only might in time produce  a good feeling but also  produce  a freedom   that will enable you to get off the merry-go-round of misery.  You will get off the merry-go-round, because you want to get off the merry-go-round.  You now have hope.  You believe you can make a difference  in your own life.

Over the years of being a member of  Depressed Anonymous,  a 12 step program  of recovery  I have found that there are many questions which go unanswered.  For many of us,  either because of shame, guilt or fear, we isolate and crawl into our own little secure  corner of the world and feel we are forever abandoned to a life of pain, continually paralyzed by obsessive negativity,  which not only affect our feelings, which affect our body  which have an effect   on our body, but continually slow us down into complete inactivity. We feel like we are drowning in molasses. How often do we hear people who experience melancholy  pull the sheets over their head  and just sleep their lives away. We believe that thoughts produce feelings, feelings  produce moods, moods  produce behaviors   and behaviors can produce  life or death. Which one do you choose today?


So finally, yesterday in our blog we pointed out the importance  of finding answers to our questions concerning depression/melancholia. We pointed out that we have a  way out, and that as we get out of park and  into gear and start moving is   to start doing something for ourselves.

Depressed Anonymous provides the answers to one’s questions  – these answers are your answers which fit you personally. When you write them out in your notebook you can see solutions on how to get out of park. In the Depressed Anonymous Workbook, the questions all pertain to one of the steps of Depressed Anonymous. There are 12  Steps, based on the recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous.  You might ask why Alcoholics Anonymous?  ” I’m not an alcoholic. ”  In reality,  any addictive behavior are any attachment to a particular behavior our thinking makes one a good candidate to use our program effectively and with success.

The merry-go-round that you been riding on and the horses that you been  to riding on, like shame, guilt, hurt,  resentments all have their negative effect  in our  lives,  to the extent that  in time  it  can paralyze us to think  that there is  no stopping and getting off of our  of our merry-go-round.

We know that the best way to stop any addictive way of thinking, behavior or feeling,  is to stop doing it. Simple? Yes.  but it all takes work, time and it takes effort – the effort  to get in touch with others like ourselves who been there– done that. Takes one to know one. Like this writer.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook and the Depressed Anonymous Manual, 3rd edition together provide a meaningful way and  challenge to gradually (no magic pills in our magic potions) release oneself from the grasp of depression.  Remember, the questions that you will answer in the Depressed Anonymous Workbook will provide you with a map showing you where you are now with a challenge of providing you with the solution for freeing yourself from the  sadness that has prevented you from living life to the full. A life filled with hope. A life free from despair.  A life in fellowship with others,  who like you,  now will have the solution and the answers to the questions that we all can ask of ourselves, based on the spiritual 12 steps of recovery used by thousands  of persons in every kind of anonymous group around the world,


Don’t stay in park. Get in gear. Get active in your own recovery. And just because you feel paralyzed by your  depression/melancholia doesn’t mean that like many of us  you feel you have to go this alone.  We each are grateful that we have found hope. We have found hope in the stories of members of the fellowship and continue to try and give hope to those, possibly like yourselves, who are still struggling with  the life-threatening illness  of depression.

If you want more out of life and are seeking  a way to have the serenity of a life spoken of here,  please write to us at  [email protected].  If , like many persons depressed, you would like more information on the Workbook please click onto our website  and find out more of who we are and what we  offer for those persons depressed. We also have info for  families of the depressed.

We hope to hear from you.

Hugh for DA



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