WHAT IS DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS?
Depressed Anonymous is modeled after the 12 Steps (principles) of Alcoholics Anonymous and was founded in Evansville, Indiana in May of 1985. It uses a group approach where members mutually support each other.
In Depressed Anonymous the depressed person admits that he/she is powerless over his or her depression. The depressed person admits that the various areas of his/her lifer are controlled by depression, and that he /she needs help from one’s inner resources, combined with a faith in a Higher Power to help work through one’s time of hopelessness and helplessness.
At Depressed Anonymous meetings, we do not pry into people’s personal lives. We also do not give advice at meetings but instead tell our story and how the 12 steps are releasing us from the tight grip of depression. Meetings are normally upbeat and the focus is positive! Each of us set small concrete and positive goals for ourselves and begin to learn how to gain some mastery over our lives and feelings. Each of us has time at meetings to share our experiences with other member so f the group. As a new member you are ready to make a commitment to quit sadding oneself, and that’s when results begin to happen.
This 12 Step recovery program can be a great healer of personal wounds and provides the depressed with a new start in life. It also provides hope for people like yourself who have been where you are. Hope now resides where once there was only darkness and despair!
SOURCE: (C) I’ll do it when I feel better.(2013). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 22-23. Chapter Three: What is Depressed Anonymous.
Please VISIT THE STORE and discover the many exciting chapters, which will outline hope for the depressed and how the group can provide essential tools for unlocking the prison of one’s own depression.
I couldn’t believe a recent review of our Big Book Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition, claiming the book blames people who are depressed. What nonsense. The book states explicitly that we are NOT in the BLAME GAME. What we are saying is that once we discover the origins of our depression experience we can begin to take responsibility for this devastating experience. Many folks do think that, somehow depression just comes out of the blue and one doesn’t have an idea how they became depressed. I felt the same way. It was only until I began to look at my life through the lens of others, in the Depressed Anonymous group, who just like me, were looking for a way out of their hell of pain. They quickly learned that it was not their fault that they are depressed (like hey, who wants to live in hell every hour, day, year?).
We learned quickly that we are NOT VICTIMS –but survivors. We now have the tools to work our way out of this prison. I am responsible for doing all I can to release the positive energy that is inside me for regaining my emotional and physical balance. I do this by following the recovery program of Depressed Anonymous, Step by Step. For many this all takes place in the context of a non-judgemental and accepting group such as DA. In all my years, I have NEVER heard anyone blame another for their depression. How could they? All of us who have experienced this hell know and believe that if we did not do something, take responsibility and find out how to deal with the symptoms of our depression (DA shows us how), the whole matter may spiral into a life threatening situation.
Finally, please let me say that the reviewer of our work obviously had not read the book.
Sue, tells us how working at a local Zoo got her out of the house and focused on a new volunteer position at the zoo. She found that she loved it. It gave her a purpose and a self dignity that her depressed lifestyle had taken from her. The following is her own account of what this volunteer position brought into her life.
“Action does precede motivation and I began working at a local zoo. It is a beautiful place (and safe from muggers too). I began talking with people and learned about classed there to become a docent (a volunteer teacher). I enrolled and graduated. This gave me a new purpose in life. I get great joy from working there doing outreaches to schools, nursing homes and hospitals. I have made friends with both animals and humans. There isn’t a day that I go there to talk that I don’t get thanked by someone, a visitor, or employee (or sometimes an animal).
My family hasn’t changed ( although my mother commented on the change in my face), but I have. In this the Serenity Prayer really helps. I know that I can’t change them but I have new friends and a real support system so this doesn’t matter so much now.
Whoever you are, you who are reading this. Believe! The first Three Steps are the most important. Walking or other exercise is important. Staying with it is also important. Going to the meetings and participating is important, but above all else, faith is important. Faith will truly move mountains.”
SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Pages 142-145. Personal Stories: Sues story: Faith does move mountains.
Antidote: “A remedy to counteract a poison.” This is the definition as given by Webster’s dictionary. Fear is truly a poison in some ways and in others it is a gift. We need to fear only that which will keep us locked in the prison of depression. Sometimes our fears are of what tomorrow might bring or might be the fears from the past. One of the better antidotes to fear is trying to live, just for today. Today is all I have.
So often I hear others say that they have been depressed all their lives until – let me repeat- until they hear other stories as to how with work, time and belief in a power greater than themselves that they did and are feeling better now. I need to trust that once I have made my conscious decision to turn my life and will over to the care of God as I understand him, that my life will indeed begin to change.
“I am no longer alone in my suffering depression. I believe that by getting more active in my recovery that my life will begin to brighten up.”
“We of (AA) and Depressed Anonymous find that our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening.” Bill W.
Copyright (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 Step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. May 10. Page 95.
Copyright (c) Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015 ) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2013) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
“As a person that has suffered depression since childhood, I can say that until you start to open up, share your hurts and feelings, listen to the members of the group, watch them as they grow from the support of the group, you will not be able to get out of the prison of your depression. I have been going to Depressed Anonymous for four years and only until recently have I realized that I was addicted to the self. Only then did I start to take a good look at myself and start to ask God for his help and truly mean it. I am learning to trust in God and do His will and not mine. I feel better about myself. I can tell you it is a lot easier to be depressed than it is to work on yourself and admit to yourself that there is a problem. It is God’s will for us to live each day to the fullest because of our time on earth is limited. Live each day, not yesterday or tomorrow. Share with the group and your friends and you will be surprised who will be glad to listen if you would give them a chance. Accept the fact that all of us at Depressed Anonymous are here to listen to you and not make judgments on you or give advice. Even if you don’t want to share, come to the meetings because you can always get something out of them. Eventually, you will want to share and the group will listen.
In conclusion, trust in your Higher Power – God as you understand God. Support groups are the way out of our addictions. We may have given up on God, but God hasn’t given up on us. Start your day out by asking God: God I pray for the knowledge of your will and the power to carry it out. ”
-Starr writing about her experience with depression and the healing support that she receives in the Depressed Anonymous 12 Step mutual aid group.
Read Starr’s whole story in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Personal Stories section/Pages 129-130 ).
“I had good friends at work – I am well educated – two degrees behind my name. I wasn’t fulfilled. My world was falling apart. I left counseling after things went better. I had a major loss about two and a half years ago. I lost a job and then another job. I purchased a home. I lost my job and I lost my girl. Bills were too much. I wanted to be left alone. The burden was too unreal. Stress and anxiety were beating up on me. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. I just wanted to be left alone to be isolated and bored. It was tough. I was nasty and mean.”
How many of us have felt the way Bill felt? I bet most of us have felt this way. I have. But when you read the next part of Bill’s story tomorrow, you’ll find out what he had to do to feel differently. And as you might suspect–he did find a way to feel better.
I remember how it was when I was depressed. Getting out of bed was the biggest accomplishment of my day. I had to force myself — I couldn’t afford to lose my job.
In time I discovered a way out. My recovery took time, work and support. I had the full support of my fellowship group, Depressed Anonymous. And now, 30 years later I still have the fellowship and all the necessary supports that I need to stay out of the prison of depression. If you are looking for an “easier and more comfortable way” out of the quicksand of your depression–I hope you can find it. Most of us know it is not that easy. It’s a total body pain. It is analogous to having a tooth ache all over. A pain that won’t let up. For some, it turns into a life-threatening situation and ultimately the taking of one’s own life.
If there is anything that I am most grateful for today it is the fact that I have found a powerful program with its 12 Steps and spiritual principles of complete recovery. Our program comes with a complete set of “tools” provided for each and every one’s use. I have found, as does Bill now, that these “tools” are at my disposal every day of my life. By trying to live each day at a time, I have found my life is lived in the now. My life no longer is lived in the yesterdays or the future tomorrows.
Put some sanity in your living today and read Bill’s whole account in DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (See Personal Stories).
“I believe that by working the 12 Steps of Depressed Anonymous, the more my Higher Power can release in me the serenity that I seek. While not giving up hope – I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.” The FOURTEENTH WAY out of the prison of depression.
The following is an excerpt from Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
“As long as I have a belief that somehow, someway, I will begin to feel differently and I can believe that Depressed Anonymous was developed to bring the ‘sufferer’s of depression together. By this gathering of like-minded folks, it resulted in individuals being empowered to find a support which slowly leads them out of the hole. I have always believed in the power and the uinfluence of the group — either serving as a power for good or a power designed for destructive ends. But as for our group Depressed Anonynmous, I know that it truly builds, enhances and strengthens anyone who gets involved with it on a regular and consistent basis. Those who do interact with our fellowship eventually come out of the pit of their depression and start feeling hopeful about their lives. They are feeling hope instead of despair. This is actually happening all the time as those involved in the fellowship begin to see personal changes occurring in their lives.” Pages 65-66.
“Our Depressed Anonymous program of recovery is one of hope and peace. The more active I become in my efforts to think and act positive the more confident and free I become.” The TWELFTH WAY to leave the prion of depression. An excerpt from Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression.(2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
“It is recommended that if you want to be helped by our program of recovery it is best to go to at least six meetings before you make any long term commitment to whether or not the group is for you. Just as it has taken time to get ourselves depressed, in some cases it may be a lifetime…There is a Swahili saying that states
“to live is to participate.” How true this is especially if you happen to be depressed. One of the things we want to do when depressed is hide and isolate ourselves. We don’t want anyone to bother us. We want to be left alone….You will start feeling different about yourself the more meetings you attend. In time you will be taking the focus off yourself as you listen how others are showing improvement of mood and behavior and you will discover that they are much like yourself. You are not alone. You begin to hope again.”
Give yourself the opportunity to attend a meeting and hear how others, much like ourselves, are feeling better. Gradually, for those who keep coming back to the meetings, week after week, will begin the journey out of the prison of depression . Wouldn’t you like to try it?
The NINTH WAY out of the prison of depression.
The following is an excerpt from the book, Believing is seeing: 15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2014) Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
“Withdrawing from friends and other social contacts is the first clue that you are slipping back into the isolation and pain of depression. Move toward a friend, get a sponsor, and go to a 12 Step meeting. Ask your Higher Power for that nudge that can guide you onto the appropriate path.
There are two times that we need to go to a 12 Step meeting, 1) One, when we don’t want to attend a 12 Step meeting and 2) secondly when we do want to go to a meeting. From my personal experience I can share with you that it’s when I go to my meeting that I am able to come away from it with something positive to think about. I can honestly say that I feel better after a Depressed Anonymous meeting. I know in my heart that when I just want to sit at home by myself, isolating and ruminating within my head about all the horrible things that have happened to me, or are about to happen to me, that is when I depress myself even more. Get connected. ”
It’s not complicated.
The FOURTH WAY to leave the prison of depression: An excerpt.
No longer am I alone in my depression. I can now see that it is up to me to form new friendships with others in the fellowship of the Depressed Anonymous group. I have found persons who understand me and my problems. I also learn coping skills and new positive behaviors from my fellow group members.
One of the best things about belonging to a Depressed Anonymous group is that a person will find support and acceptance there. Frequently those persons who begin to work the 12 step program begin to realize that instead of wanting to stay isolated and sad, it’s the acceptance that they receive in the Depressed Anonymous group that keeps them coming back to the meetings. Another reason people keep coming back to the group is that members of the group place no conditions on you or judgments when you join the group.
They love you and accept you just the way you are,. That’s pretty neat I’d say.
For more on the FOURTH WAY to leave the prison of depression is to read further (Pages 21-28) in BELIEVING IS SEEING: 15 WAYS TO LEAVE THE PRISON OF DEPRESSION. DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS. LOUISVILLE.