Tag Archives: childhood

Re-membering

Thoughts from the Depressed Anonymous Workbook

The healing comes in the telling of the story, the literally painful ‘re-membering.’  As the story is retold and some of the old feelings which were denied and cut off are gradually remembered  and received by a supportive and empathic listener, healing starts to happen. The re-membering of the story, particularly if the trauma has been severe and deeply repressed, can be extremely painful, accompanied in some instances by sleep disturbances, nightmares, anxiety or depression. It is critical to let the individual loosen his or her defense of repression at a pace which feels safe, especially as trust is gradually developed.

What are some of the losses of the adult child? He or she has lost childhood in some real ways. Very often the growing up in a dysfunctional family means loss of trust and love in some cases and even loss of provision for basic survival needs such as food, shelter and physical safety… Sometimes this chronic depression is masked and defended against by compulsive activity and perfectionist kinds of striving. Becoming “tireless” and “limitless caretakers of others defends a person against his or her own neediness and yearning to be cared for.” (See: Adult children of alcoholics. Ministers and Ministries. Rea McDonnell and Richard Callahan,CSC.)

Regarding Self-concept and the Fourth Step  (  “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” )

Most of our lives we are involved in relationships of one kind or another. It is these relationships that set us up for being the trusted individual who sees the world either as a safe and secure place to live or we learn to see the world and the people in it as a place to be feared.

Dorothy  Rowe, always at her best at helping the depressed develop personal insights asks pertinent questions:

What kind of meaning do you need to find which would enable you to master your experience and to allow you to get on with your life?

What have you learned from your experience of depression which you feel would be helpful to other people?

Are you aware that your own program of recovery using the Steps can be a great source of help to that person who comes into the Depressed Anonymous Program of recovery.

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SOURCES:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook. (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

We are what we repeatedly do. – Aristotle

“It is our own real, lived experience which leads us into the prison of depression. It is not a gene, or own hormones, or our dysfunctional and illogical thinking, our lack of faith, or our complexes and inadequacies which have brought depression  upon us, it is what happened to us  and, most importantly, what we have made of what has happened to us: it is the conclusions  we draw from our experiences.

That sort  of conclusions which lead us, finally, into the prison of depression was not drawn illogically or fantastically, or crazily, but were the correct conclusions to draw,  given the information we had at the time.

If, when you were a child, all the adults whom you loved and trusted were telling you that you were bad and that if you  didn’t mend your ways terrible things would happen to you, you wisely and correctly drew the conclusions that you were bad and had to work hard to be good. If, when you were a child, all the people you loved and trusted left you or disappointed or betrayed you, you wisely drew the conclusion that you must be wary of other people and that you should never love anyone completely ever again.  You were not to know that if we grow up believing  that we are intrinsically bad, and that other people are dangerous, we shall become increasingly isolated, the joy will disappear  from our life, and that we shall fall into despair….” SOURCE: Dorothy Rowe. The Depression Handbook. Collins. London.

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I believe that in my own case what Dr. Rowe points out is so true. Our childhood experiences are so important because they set us up for how we think about ourselves as we mature. I remember vividly when I was in the 3rd grade, a teacher shamed me in  front of the whole class because I couldn’t get something right. She told me that I  would never  be like my brother whom was brilliant or my uncle who was also brilliant. For many years after when I thought about that moment in the 3rd grade I could still feel my face getting hot with shame. The worst part is that what she said that day I believed. As I grew into middle age it became important to me that what she said had no bearing on me really, as I was not my brother or my uncle. And that that was OK.

I HAVE CHOICES

Depressed Anonymous bases its healing and recovery on the premise that once depressed persons admit that they are out of control, even for some to the point of having attempted suicide, they then come to believe that a Power greater than themselves can restore them to sanity, while  at the same time making a decision to turn their minds over to the care of God, as they understand God.

The important thing is not so much whether depression is or is not an illness or a mental disorder, but that people have to take responsibility for themselves and their feelings.  So many people think that since they are patients of a doctor, they must just sit back and wait for the medicine to kick in.  The doctor will be doing these people a great favor to ask them what has been going on in their families, their work, or with those whom they love.  The depressed consumer of medical and mental health services might then get it that maybe they have a choice on whether they stay depressed or not.  The consumer might also begin to work on themselves, knowing that everything they can do to take care of themselves will gradually eliminate the symptoms that we call depression.

So often, those depressed are living out of step with their own expectations or the expectations of others, sometimes stemming back to early childhood.  It would be great if the many people on antidepressant medication would start talking about why they depressed themselves in the first place. The pain might disappear with the medication, but the experience is still part of their lives and memories. Unless one talks about the experience then the depression symptoms will indeed re-appear.”:

SOURCE: Copyright (c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd Edition. (2011)  Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville Ky   Page 168.

I DON’T NEED TO BE PERFECT

AFFIRMATION

I have hope that I can accept myself today and just let fly by all the old messages from old tapes of childhood.

“You desperately wanted people to love you, but you became very wary of giving your love to others. You reasoned that the less you loved another person the less it would hurt when the inevitable rejection came.” (3 )

REFLECTION

I have been holed up for so long in my own little world of feeling hurt and rejection that to attempt to love someone else seems like the greatest challenge of my life. I desire so badly to be loved by someone else that this lack of another’s love makes my isolation from others so hurtful.

After having witnessed the miracle of the group in Depressed Anonymous, where depressed people come with their feelings of hurt and being rejected, I find that other’s love and nurture challenge me to hope once again.  I can share with the group the fact that I haven’t measured up, that I am angry and that I just want to lay down and die.

I am open enough now to let the light of love from others, who like myself, realize that I am not alone and that I am beginning to feel better already now that I no longer need to be perfect.  This means to be willing to affiliate and give of myself for someone else’s good. In the program I am starting to love –myself.

MEDITATION

We are going to make a mental decision right now to let God, as we understand him, guide us and instruct us on how best to love ourselves. ”

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Source: Higher Thoughts for Down Days: 365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 step fellowship groups.  (1993,1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. (p.47).

Please Visit the Store for more information about literature  specifically geared to the subject of depression and the utilization of the 12 Steps  for recovery.

For a further clarification of thought, do yourself a favor and read the Depressed Anonymous manual and the Depressed Anonymous Workbook.

Listen To How You Talk To Yourself – Do You Like What You Hear?

AFFIRMATION

I will let go of the negative thoughts about myself as soon as I am conscious that I am experiencing them.

“…try to live one day at a time.. We know from experience that our sobriety , our disappearance from sadness is due to letting go, admitting our powerlessness  (Step 1) and coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity (Step 2).

REFLECTION

I know that I have to continue to work on myself and the way that I speak to myself on an ongoing and daily basis. My letting go and letting  God take over my life doesn’t mean that  I’ll just sit back and let it do all the work, no, it means that I will work on myself and leave the outcome up to my Higher Power. I know that my life can be lived differently if I just make an effort to choose to be conscious of the thoughts  that I let myself ruminate and think  about during the day. The more I monitor my thoughts, the more I am able to filter out the negative thoughts and have them replaced with positive and constructive thoughts. We call them SUNSPOTS (Depressed Anonymous).

So often when I am depressed I continue a thinking style that was learned as a small child. I am not even conscious as to how I would  always select the negative attributes about myself to reflect upon instead of attempting to think positive and hopeful thoughts about myself and relationships. The more I believe that I have a choice as to how I am to feel, the more I become conscious of the thoughts that influence the way I feel.

Going to a mutual aid group, which focuses on depression, enables us to share with others how we talk to ourselves and what we tell ourselves, day after day. Do we like what we hear when we share with others our continued negative thinking? I would think not.

MEDITATION FOR TODAY

God, let us just for today, dwell on your mercy and kindness. Your are not the harsh judge of my childhood. You are the God who loves us just the way we are. God is like the Mother who continues to love the child of her womb.

SOURCE: HIGHER THOUGHTS FOR DOWN DAYS(C) December 14.

I am not perfect–so what?

Copyright(c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications Louisville, Kentucky
An excerpt with some modifications and additions from Higher Thoughts for today, November 15.
AFFIRMATION
NO LONGER WILL WE ACCEPT OUR PAST THINKING THAT OUR WORTH IS BASED ON OUR ABILITY TO PRODUCE.
REFLECTION
I am going to be alert to those times during the day today, when I give myself the message that I could have done something better. These messages are from an old hypercritical tape from my childhood. Guilt rides roughshod over us when we fail to live up to the expectations we have of ourselves or those held by others about us. ( My 3rd grade teacher compared me to my brother, who was very smart, and said that I would never be like him, meaning brilliant. She was right, I am not brilliant. But it was only until I was in my 30’s did I realize that I had other qualities. Like it really didn’t matter anymore what she thought.) Since I have admitted that I am depressed, (Aware, motivated, doing, and maintaining positive behaviors) I am able to change certain old ways of thinking and behaving.
Our worth comes from the earliest childhood memories. The more we are able to get in touch with early images and feelings that we hold about ourselves the more clearly can we see that what we feel as adults is many times based on early childhood emotions. I am depending more now on my Higher Power to get me safely to those early days and those feelings. I will also talk to a friend today about my childhood experiences. I am not perfect–so what?
MEDITATION
With God on our side, we can’t fail. God loves us just the way we are.