Tag Archives: Dorothy Rowe

Six ways to build a prison of depression for yourself.

“Hold these as if they were real, absolute and immutable truths these following six options.

  1. No matter how good and nice I appear to be, I am really bad, evil, valueless, unacceptable to myself and to others.
  2. Other people are such that I must fear, hate and envy them.
  3. Life is terrible and death is worse.
  4. Only bad things  happened to me in the past and only bad things will happen to me in the future.
  5. It is wrong to get angry.
  6. I must never forgive anyone, least of all myself.”

Excerpted from the book by Dorothy Rowe: Depression. The way out of your depression. Routledge and Kegan Paul. London. 1983. Page 15.

Comment by Hugh S.

I believe that the above list of the  six immutable beliefs is an accurate summation of the major beliefs that one needs to hold if they want to truly stay walled up in their prison of depression. And as Dorothy Rowe always brings out so dramatically -if you build the prison you can likewise take the walls down.

You dismantle your depression by thoroughly examining your own beliefs and how you construct your world. It’s in the way we usually think about ourselves and the world that enables us to predict with accuracy the way things turn out. If I believe my life is hopeless and that I am an evil person, that fact that someone claims that I am not that way still won’t change the way that I believe about myself. The way I have constructed my world will invariably set my life up in a way so that I will feel hopeless and evil.  It is only when I find out that others who once had the same negative mind constructs and thoughts about themselves,  but who now are living with hope that I am beginning to listen and take note. Is there really a way out of this prison of depression?

People who know the painful and deadening experience of depression realize  that they can never just Snap out of their deadness. Just as their sadness feels like it can never come to an end, so does their ability to do anything about the hopelessness seem impossible. But once the depressed person begins to  share their story and the history of their personal experience of sadness the more that can experience hope and the possibility that maybe they too  can escape depression.

Not only do I see people who are depressed gradually start to live with hope and energy but I also see this happen more quickly while they are engaged in a group of other depressed persons. In time, with a person’s   involvement with the group they sense a feeling that they aren’t alone any more and that they can make a choice to try and feel differently. In other words, they will be meeting on a regular basis  with people who will never say SNAP OUT OF IT but instead will say  I’M WITH YOU.  They will also find a new family where they are accepted, understood and strengthened for the work they need to do on  themselves to get better. Again, I can’t emphasize it enough how Depressed  Anonymous is the program  to follow if you want to start feeling better.”

SOURCE: Copyright(c)The  Antidepressant Tablet. Volume 2:1. 1990.



Dr. Dorothy Rowe, Ph.D: Helping us learn how to help ourselves.

Dr. Dorothy Rowe and I first met through a friend back in 1984 when I first became interested in setting up  a program for persons depressed. We didn’t actually have a face to face meeting at that time but a member of our newly  formed Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group, gave me Dorothy’s award winning work, titled Depression: The Way out of your prison.  I had already established elements of Aaron Beck’s thoughts on Cognition (Cognitive Therapy) into our mutual aid group’s structure and was quite familiar with  his point that it is not the event that causes the problem but how one’s perceives that event.  For a simple  example,  if a family is off for the day to enjoy a picnic at the park and it rains and their picnic is canceled, there are feelings of disappointment. And if a farmer is looking for rain for his drought stricken crop, he is heartened by the fact that the rain will enable his crops to live.  The same rain event is seen differently by different folks, dependent on how the even impacts their lives.

Dorothy Rowe and her beliefs, plus her hands on experiences as a therapist, came to me in this one book (followed later by her many works on the subject of depression). It was like the saying, “When  the student is ready the teacher appears.” Truly, a serendipitous happening!   It was this work of hers — the event — which powered my thoughts about how we humans construct the world of our individual personal experiences of depression. I also got  a  clearer and deeper insight into   how  “language creates reality.” Also, from Dorothy, I learned that it is how we talk to ourselves (our language and its meaning)  that provides us some insights into our emotional and thinking lives. From this I concluded  how  my  thoughts produce feelings, feelings produce moods and my mood produce behaviors.

In the Foreword (c) to  our work, Depressed Anonymous (1998, 2008, 2011) Dorothy Rowe tells us how she discovered a truth  about how persons deal most effectively with their depression experiences. Basically, it’s in the sharing of their story with someone  who cares and will lend a loving listening ear. Let’s look at what she has to say:

“When I first began reaching depression, back in 1968, the only treatments that depressed people got from psychiatrists were pills, ECT and psychosurgery, where incisions were made in the frontal lobes of their brain. My research required that I should talk to depressed patients, and lo and behold, many of these patients got better. This was  not because I had some magic cure, but because for the first time, the people were able to tell their story to someone who was concerned and interested. (My italics) By telling their story, they found that their lives gained in significance, and by explaining the whys and hows  to someone who was not always sure that she understood , they worked out better choices for themselves, and went on with their lives.”

So, in the Foreward (c) to our work Depressed? Here is a way out! which was published in 1991 by Fount paperbacks, a division of Harper Collins Publishing Group, Ltd., located in London, UK., Dorothy points out how those of us who “by engaging the depressed in dialogue, and getting depressed people to do what they least want to do: to come out of their isolation, to share their experiences  with others, and to become concerned  with and involved in the lives of other people.”

SEE:   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (1998, 2008, 2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Final note. It was  with Dr. Rowe’s and Bill W’s ., great influence on my thinking that helped make Depressed Anonymous what it is today. Thank you Dorothy.

In 1995 Dorothy came to the US and presented the major address at the 10th Anniversary celebration of Depressed Anonymous.



Our Relationship With Other People Improve: Promise #9 Of The Promises Of Depressed Anonymous

Why wouldn’t our relationships with  other people improve?  After we have begun to put into place our daily program of recovery, through prayer and meditation we now are expectant and hopeful. We reflect upon each Step, and we complete a piece of the structure that in time will be the new me. I think that one  of the more critical areas to mend in our lives is the thinking part of ourselves.  Depression appears to start with the way our minds react to and perceive events outside of ourselves.  So, from the start we need to promote to those persons depressed to get involved in as much physical activity as possible, namely., walk, express personal feelings to others, go to meetings, talk on the phone with supportive people, in other words, get connected as much as possible.  Most importantly we discover at our  group meetings that there are many persons, much like ourselves and at the same level of recovery. We know we are not alone.

One of the immutable truths, according to Dorothy Rowe, who wrote the mental health award winning book, Depression: The way out of your prison. is “that other people are such that I must fear, envy or hate them. ”  If we believe that we are bad and valueless then it follows that we must  fear other people because they can find out how bad we are and so reject us.

Once newcomers hear  the before and after of our lives it will make it easier for them to believe us when they  experience our own enthusiasm and cheerfulness.”

SOURCE: Copyright (c) I’ll do it when I feel better. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Pages 46-47).

Spontaneity is the opposite of depression.

Dorothy Rowe once said that trusting  oneself   is an essential part of creativity. And why wouldn’t trust of oneself be an essential part of creativity?  We all recognize how spontaneity is the opposite of depression. The symptoms of depression not only paralyze us into inaction physically but likewise freeze our cognitive facilities so that not another thought can move forward so as to connect with another thought to form some meaningful sentence.

So to trust oneself can bring to one’s life a new dimension of hope that there might be a possibility for a positive change. But we need to take the road less traveled –not the road that is worn and rutted with the traveled  path of hopeless journeys and dead ends. The road less traveled is the one that joins with fellow travelers who are filled with hope and purpose.

Rowe  says that by listening to  our inner voice  and so trusting that quiet inner voice is the beginning of getting help for your self and serves as the key out of depression.   Bill W., says that as time passes and we begin to “:get” the program of recovery that we are  better suited now to follow those intuitive hunches which come with our renewed trust in self and the god of our understanding.

SOURCE: Copyright(c) I’ll do it when I feel better.  2013. 2nd Edition.  Smith, Hugh. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Kentucky. 40217  (Pgs.  77-78).

Many depressed people will say, “I don’t know why I am depressed. It just happened suddenly…”

“Many depressed people will say, ‘I don’t know why I am depressed. It just happened suddenly, like a black cloud coming down.’  They say this because they do not want to look at the terrible events which threatened to destroy the way they saw themselves and their world.  These events might not seem very significant to other people, but to the person concerned, they are very important. It is not the events in themselves which made them important,  frightening, or overwhelming, but the meaning which we give to these events.” Dorothy Rowe, Ph.D., in the Foreword to the DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS book. Page 12.