1440

1440 is the number of minutes allotted to us everyday. Every 24 hour period, one day’s worth, we are given 1440 minutes to use however we like. We can divide up the minutes so that we can work so many minutes, feed ourselves. go to a movie, exercise  or do whatever we like to do. It doesn’t seem like 1440 minutes is a lot of time but by the time we reach the age of 65 we will have been allotted 34,164, 000 minutes to do with as we choose.  That’s a lot of time to do some good.

Let’s go back to what we have today. For myself, I only have 120 minutes left in my day. And as I write this BLOG to you I realize that I am very grateful for the minutes left for me this 24 hour period. Many minutes today were spent celebrating the Birthdays of my 6 year old Grandchild and my 11 year old Grandchild. It seemed only yesterday when Leah was born. And now she is 11 years young. And Eli is six. What a age of wonderment and joy.His minutes seemed to last for ages as he expectantly waited for this, his special day, enjoying his special minutes with family and Grandparents.

I hope that your minutes found you hopeful  today. I know from my own experience that when I started on  my road to recovery my minutes always dragged on and on and seemed like hours. I felt this time warp most severely when I was in my deepest depression… the pain was forever. Everyday I had to remove the pain and I accomplished  this by sleeping. It was only when I awoke that the minutes made every one of my efforts feel  like I was in slow motion or swimming in a large vat of molasses. My  mind, my body, myself was slowly drowning and I watched myself, like a curious bystander,  powerless to give me any help.

Now with thirty years of 15 million plus recovery  minutes under my belt, living 1440 minutes a day, I am grateful that I can keep my focus on those “still suffering from depression”, and let them know that they  too have today, still have time to do what they need to do and to live with hope.

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Source: Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011).  DAP. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

THE FEELINGS OF USELESSNESS AND SELF-PITY DISAPPEAR. THIS IS A PROMISE OF DA.

Why do I continue the work of bringing hope to those still suffering?  What motivates me to continue to try and help others?  What has made the change in my life where now I  want to share what I know and how I feel? Basically, I know that the program  of recovery works. I no longer feel powerless over my depression.  In Depressed Anonymous  group meetings members speak my language. We see how useless it is to waste time to  look back over our shoulder to see if the dark shadow of my own inner fears are going to overtake me. I now have attained small amounts of hope and strength as I go from day to day. I am prepared for those moments of despair that at times overtake me and cause me to feel paralyzed and out of control.

In the First Step “we admitted we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become unmanageable.” It is a paradox that it is in the admission that our lives are out of control that we begin to take control of our lives.”

Source: I’ll do it when I feel better. Depressed Anonymous Publications.(2013) Louisville. Pages 42-43. Promise # 6.The feelings of uselessness and self-pity disappear.

I CHOOSE TO THINK ABOUT THOSE GOOD THINGS THAT I SEE IN MYSELF.

AFFIRMATION

I am making a choice now to like myself and focus in  on only the good things that I see in myself. I am imagining happy situations from my past and putting myself in the happy picture so that now I can feel happy.

“Proving yourself to be a man or woman can be a positive activity of learning, exploring and discovering who you are, or it can be the meager, self-destroying activity of trying to hide what is experienced  as essential worthlessness.” (4)

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

When I attempt to avoid my feelings and to dig in deeper to what I am experiencing in the here and now, I pass up a golden opportunity for growing and for being more human.  It is only in the here and now that I live and breathe. When I try to avoid what I am feeling and continue my frenzied feeding on all the bad things that I accuse myself of, I find that my feelings of sadness get even worse.

Now, today, I am taking the risk of being responsible for my own recovery. I know that it is difficult to change my way of thinking negative thoughts. If I change it often, in time I will cling not to the awful things I say about myself but I will hang onto the positive statements I am now making about myself.

I need today to engage in activity of the positive type. I want to start a daily exercise program.  I want to write down a list of five positive qualities that I would like to have and then imagine myself possessing these qualities. (By this same time tomorrow on May 20,  we will have our five positive qualities written down and we will reflect on what we have written down. We will have more discussion on choices and feelings tomorrow here at this BLOG).

MEDITATION

God, come to our assistance and help us discover your way out of this darkness. We trust that you will there  for sure  right at this moment. We will have courage!

SOURCE: Copyright(c) Higher thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. May 19. Page 102.  (See website VISIT THE STORE  for more DA literature.)

I DON’T HAVE TO FEEL THIS WAY!

As one person told Dorothy Rowe: “When I think of all those years I wasted being depressed, I wish  I would have listened. I’d wish I’d realized that all I had to do was say that I had enough of being put upon and put down,  feeling that there was something wrong with me. I’d like to go up to the hospital and tell everybody: ‘You don’t have to be like this.’ Up there nobody ever told me that.  I’d see those people going on and on being miserable. If I’d have seen someone like me now, it would have given me hope.”

SOURCE: Depressed Anonymous. 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications,. Louisville. P.72.

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How often do we present this message to those who enter into our world.  Our world is one of hope, possessed with the awesome reality that I am different. I have changed.  I can use my tool kit of the 12 steps to gradually dismantle and replace the negative features of my life with new directions, new behaviors and continuing to put into action those positive beliefs about who I am. The Depressed Anonymous fellowship helps us meet others who were depressed and  who now are living a full life.  We are grateful for coming into contact with those who  have a  story of hope to share. So, if you are feeling miserable and helpless, just know  that what you read here will definitely make a difference in your life. We don’t have a magic wand that will take away your pain but we do have a step by step recovery process that can  lighten your load and give you courage to live one hour, one 24 hour period at a time. You are no longer alone. No “snap out of it” from our group. You can make your decision today to join us and  begin a journey that can  lead you eventually  to say,  “I don’t have to be like this.” I did!

Hugh

LIFE IS UNPREDICATABLE

” Yes, life is unpredictable. Every living organism operates with a certain amount of unpredictability and uncertainty. The uncertainty of life creates in us a desire for predictability. If we did not believe in the possibility of change, we would all be hopelessly  lost and forever bored. Hope would be lost. Potential for a better life would never exist. When there is hope  change is possible,. The experience  of depression is much the same. Depression is so predictable and unchanging that we lose hope for the pain of our isolation ever coming to an end.”. (Source; Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.,)

When I finally knew that I had a serious problem facing me (sadness. ) I eventually became  proactive in doing something about it. I used my experience with the 12 steps and I   gradually was able to find hope and recovery.   I also found a lot of other things, such as  people who were willing to live  with hope and   taking  one day at a time. If they could make it thru  one 24 hour period, and face whatever life threw at them — then chalk up that day as a good day.

HAVE YOU HAD YOUR HIGHER THOUGHT TODAY?

Every day of the year I have a Higher Thought for my day. Everyday I turn to my  Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. I continue to keep mindful that the more my prayer and meditation time is filled with Higher Thoughts the more serene my life is becoming. I have this quiet time every morning; the same time every morning; the same place every morning. It is a time when my home is still, the world is still and here I am,  just my God and myself. This is my time to pray and listen for that  still small voice, that slight nudge that prepares  me for the day ahead.     It’s a fresh start, the 24 hours ahead is a new beginning. A miniscule slice of my whole life to do with as I wish. What will it be today?

AFFIRMATION

I hope to do all I can today to remember the positive things I have done for  myself today.

” Those of us who cope with life have put up some barriers, have made some disconnections but maintained many connections. Those people who become depressed have disconnected  themselves completely, and the barriers they have built are the walls of the prison of depression.” (5)

REFLECTION

One of the many good connections that arise in taking charge of my life again is the many fine people that I meet at meetings. When I am depressed, it is true that I tend to disconnect and withdraw away from family and friends.  But my admiration is for those who come to the meetings of the fellowship and who successfully connect with other members who are also trying to get better.

Now since I have groups that meet specifically with the needs of depressed people in mind, I am hopeful that these new connection with others can provide me with diverse weys to escape depression.

MEDITATION

We are all connected to the life force of creation.  This life force we call God., No matter what many cultures have called this force, we all know it is the source of all life. Right now, we want to ask God, as we understand Him, to help us start anew,  reconnect with others who can help us grow, so we can begin to live with hope.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION  ABOUT DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS LITERATURE CLICK ONTO VISIT THE STORE.

Today, the Higher Thought is taken from  Higher Thoughts for down days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. (1993, 1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Pgs.38-39.

A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON.

A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES: OUR GO TO PERSON

The more time that I spend in daily prayer and meditation the closer I feel to this Power greater than myself. Now, let’s be honest, it isn’t everyday that I feel this or think this way, but for most days I feel energized by my time in quiet listening. It was when I first joined a Twelve Step recovery program that I I knew that I was truly home. I had always been looking for a home where I could feel acceptance, nurturing and fellowship. It was at my first meeting, 32 years ago, that in all my brokenness, guilt and shame, that I felt I had made it home. It was here that I could reveal who I was, who I thought I was and get a plan for my life, just one 24 hour period at a time. My own feelings of being totally accepted in this new fellowship created in me the belief, without  doubt, that  sanity would be restored to me. How did I know this? What made me a believer? Simply the fact that the members of the group had pretty much the same story as my own. But for all of this, what stood out was the basic belief among all of the members, that there is a Power, and it is greater than me. And that this Power, whom we understand as God, is my GO TO person every day of my life. And the two things this group taught me early on,  is that THERE IS A GOD, AND IT IS NOT ME!

If today you are feeling alone, lost and frightened, please join me here everyday, as I speak about spirituality and the Power greater than myself,  and what it has to do with my recovery, and how it impacts  on our search for  that serenity that we are all seeking. Remember what you seek, seeks you!

I WILL NOT MAKE A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION FOR 2015.

It is no wonder that after all these years that I have finally got smart. How many times have I made  a resolution to do this or do that and most often as not I couldn’t make it past the first week without falling on my face. So is NOT making a resolution, in fact making a resolution? Well, I think yes it is. I Can’t win!  But don’t you think not doing something is easier that trying to do something that could be challenging and even uncomfortable. And I say to myself, “myself, yes, right on!”

For instance let’s say that I make a resolution  to get up out of bed and do an exercise activity to get my day started. I am making a resolution to do this three times a week. So far so good. I just know from what I read and from other folks who exercise how helpful this is to  put some of our depression symptoms in the back seat. And then we decide that Monday is the day we start our program of exercise.  And Monday comes and we decide that today is too soon to start and we tell ourselves we’ll do it when we feel better. Right now,  we tell ourselves, I am just to tired to do any activity at all today. So there goes the resolution.  So, now we wait for Wednesday to get started.  And on and on the resistance to do anything to overcome our depression symptoms goes by the wayside.

Another scenario is from my own past. When I became depressed I really didn’t have a clue what was going inside of me but I knew something wasn’t right. I could hardly force myself out of the bed in the morning–couldn’t wait to get off work so that I could go to bed–before 5PM. Most unusual for me. I was gradually losing any purpose for my life.   Work.  Bed. Work. I was scared and thought that I was losing my mind. Could not retain a thought. Could not remember a paragraph that I had just finished reading.  What to do? No answer popped  in  my mind. But I knew one thing–I had to get out of bed and go to work or there would be no way to take care of my bills.  So I made a commitment to exercise. One day at a time. A resolution?

I just knew I MUST force myself out of bed…sneakers at my bedside — alarm clock across the room in which I had to get up to turn the awful sounding thing off. In time , by forcing myself to get up, go exercise, I gradually found the fog lift. I learned a great lesson.

Let’s put it this way if you will. I knew something worse would happen if I didn’t get moving. For me there was no “I’ll do it when I feel better,” and putting off taking care of myself. Nothing can happen unless you make the choice to do something today. Is your life at the same point as was mine?  If it is, then force yourself to do what you don’t want to do and watch as feelings, moods and behaviors all begin to change.  For the better you! Happy New Year! One day at a time. All we have is this 24 hour period. Treat yourself kindly!

HOW DOES A PERSON CHANGE? THINK ABOUT IT AS A FOUR STAGE PROCESS.

In order for us to escape depression we need to begin to be aware of the process of how people change. That process for change is of the nature of a spiral instead of a straight line. In other words, now that we are willing to risk feeling differently we have been gearing up to improve our situation. In other words we are making a very important decision right now about our lives.
1. AWARENESS STAGE: We become conscious that we can’t go on feeling the way that we do. Something has to give.
2. MOTIVATING STAGE: I am going to prepare myself for needed change in my thinking, acting and feeling.
3. DOING STAGE: I am going to take charge and be responsible for positive changes that have to be made by me if I am to feel differently.
4. MAINTAINING STAGE: I will continue to seek out and sustain my recovery with people, concepts and my personal working of the 12 step program for recovery.
Now apply these four stages which serve as antidotes to our character defects and which cause us to stay imprisoned in our prison of depression…The first is the character defect of BLAMING.
(1) AWARE. Now that I have admitted that I am powerless over my depression and that it serves no purpose to blame myself for my depression an d bashing myself with daily reminders how bad and unacceptable I am. And now I am: (1) AWARE of my need to discover what there is about myself that I do find acceptable, good and wholesome.

(2) I am MOTIVATING myself now that I am aware how I have depressed myself by the faulty beliefs that I have held about myself over the past years. I now know that part of the way I feel is due to the way I automatically talk to myself throughout the day. Without ever being conscious of it I now realize that my feelings about myself are very negative and emotion laden.

(3) DOING. I intend today to replace all negative statements that I make in my head and replace them with positive statements –positive affirmations. I am going to alert myself –like a red flag waving –every time I call myself stupid or put myself down mentally. I will use affirmations such as “I will build a new life.” “I am strong.” “I have courage to go through this experience.” “I no longer blame myself or others for my sadness.” “I do not have to wait for someone to make me feel differently.” “I can do it myself.”

(4) MAINTAINING. I am very hopeful that I can feel differently just today, for this 24 hour period. I am going to tolerate my imperfectness while at the same time refusing to feel sorry for myself. I am going to make myself accountable for how I feel –not blame it on another, the weather, parents or whatever.
SOURCE: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (Pgs. 41-43)- Depressed Anonymous Publications – Louisville
Continued tomorrow: BEING A VICTIM