Tag Archives: Hope

Depressed? Looking for a stable and secure environment?

Depressed and feeling alone? This is what many of us have felt when a combination of the many symptoms of depression shackled us physically and put our mind in park.

Some of us felt that there must be a way out of the pain of depression, but as yet were unable to find what might help us. But this feeling changed once I came into the fellowship of Depressed Anonymous, our 12 Step program of recovery. When I was asked if I would like to share with others my own path of recovery I heartily agreed. Here is my story.

“I am sharing my story here to give others a chance to read what happens when we land in this circle of friendship with its healing acceptance and support.
After ten years of repeated meetings with the depressed of Depressed Anonymous meetings, it’s clear that that the meetings create a secure base for those who in their childhood had neither kindness nor the life giving warmth and affection of a loving family.
People who keep coming back to Depressed Anonymous continue to grow and become aware of the inner change taking place, week after week, as they find not only attention to their story, but find that they are loved and and cared for at the same time. Possibly for the first time they find that they look forward to each weekly meeting and become attached to the positive feelings that emerge inside themselves as they continue to share the story of their pain. In time they share how their week is suddenly being filled with more good days than bad. It also becomes obvious to the participant that childhood behavior and experiences are carried right on into adult life. Trusting is such a hazard for the depressed, because every person is different. You can’t trust your environment because it could suddenly shift and you would be without a certainty that you were bad and worthless. The meetings gradually present to you an opportunity to be someone worthwhile and valued. Your sharing and risking information about yourself begins the construction of a new and secure you. The DA group becomes for the first time in your life a very secure and stable environment where you can share, trust and grow.”
–Anonymous

Copyright(c) Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Page 162-163. (Personal stories: #25. Depressed Anonymous provides a secure (love and acceptance) base for those who never experienced love nor support growing up.

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To read more stories of inspiration (Depressed Anonymous, THIRD EDITION. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Please click onto the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore at www.depressedanon.com. Literature can be ordered online. Ebooks are also available.

A victim in my own mind

Depression was something that I grew up with. I really had no idea that I had it until my senior year in college. It started with my parents’ divorce and ended with me totally losing control over everything in my life. I couldn’t decide what career I wanted, but hated every job that I could think of. I couldn’t decide what city or state to live in, so I kept moving, hoping that the next place I lived would make me happy. Eventually, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to live or to die. I cried at the drop of a hat but still found enough rage inside of me to push the people I loved as far away from me as possible.

I knew that I needed help. I have been to counselors on three other times in my life, but nothing ever seemed to work or last. This time, I have been in counseling for about two months. I was sick and tired of being like this. I wanted a life and I wanted to be happy. Every week someone would notice a change in me, but I still felt the same. Then one day while watching TV (thinking thoughts at 100 mph) it occurred to me that I was making myself miserable.

I had always known that I was hard on myself. I reamed myself every time something had happened. “Why can’t I find someone to love me?” “Why isn’t God looking after me?” But for some reason, when I realized that I was doing this to myself, it made me realize that maybe all I would have to do is stop doing it. All of a sudden it all made sense.

If I tell myself negative thoughts, I feel negative. If I tell myself nothing, I feel nothing. So, if I tell myself positive thoughts, eventually I have to feel positive.

Of course I’m still waiting it out, but I feel better and for the first time in 14 years, I have hope. It’s not that hard to find something positive about myself or my life now. So I remind myself of something positive every day and that’s what I’m going to do until I don’t have to remind myself anymore because I’ll know…”

Read The rest of the story tomorrow
A Depressed Anonymous Member.

(Copyright) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, KY. Pages 120-121. Personal Stories.

The Covid-19 and its effect on a pre-existing clinical depression

Updated 29 Dec 2020: The US based ZOOM meetings are no longer being held.

Since we believe that depression just doesn’t come out of the blue, but stems from our relationship to the environment, our past and present relationships and NEGATIVE ruminations and self-talk.

For instance, the pandemic is a good place to start to untangle some of those underlying conditions which keep popping up in our daily lives. The covid-19 continues to create havoc, fear and anxiety in ourselves and communities. The more isolated we are from our normal life activities the more time we spend on all the negativity that continues to envelope us.

Anxiety and fear, both of which are some of those feelings and moods which may have contributed to our depression in the first place. Feelings can change from one to the other while moods are longer lasting with an ability to spiral down deeper in our psyche, resulting in an emotional lockdown. We can couple this with a fear that our life is spinning out of control, as our mind continues latching onto the worse possible scenario for our future, throwing more fuel on the fire, believing that life will always be this way for ourselves. We continue to live in total hopelessness.

And then the pandemic. Here we are, away from all the normal activities that once provided us with some temporary distraction from our fears and anxieties. It’s not as if we didn’t continue to feel the pain of living a life of isolation, holed up in the darkness of our own paralyzing moods, day after day, but now that we are cut off physically from friendships, co-workers, close friends or family members, our isolating pushes our negative moods further down. All this comes with a strong possibility that the virus may have claimed the life of a family member or grandparent or close friend or co-worker.

My own feelings, are the same basically of everyone else. Here we are, gradually realizing that this is now the “new normal” for each of us. We come to realize that we need to step back, and look at where we are today – and face our fears and anxieties. The question arises as what do I do now? Let me share with you my own experiences as my own life is turned upside down.

Because of my involvement in a mutual aid group, Depressed Anonymous, I am able to leave some of the pain of my isolation, join with all those others like myself who together are giving each other hope. All of us can share – not just our own pain of isolation – but ways to deal with and encourage each other with the successes we have experienced in facing our own fears and anxiety now and in the past.

As we try to navigate this “new normal” as best we can, we discover together how we are helping each other, day after day find a real lifeline – even though a virtual one. I am making this path work for myself, actively participating with the rest of the group, finding that my anxieties have diminished. By being in the now and being part of this mutually support group I am finding that there is a way out. I no longer am going to stay isolated.

“There is hope…and we do recover.” Please join us on SKYPE AND ZOOM – there are meetings on SKYPE every day at 11:30AM CST / 12:30PM EST. See Home page menu for DA meetings for more information). This is located at our website depressedanon.com.

Finally, one of our resources is the Depressed Anonymous Workbook that we use at our meetings, helping us to uncover some of our “underlying conditions” that existed prior to the present pandemic.

Presently our contacts with family and friends are stretched thin. Everything that makes us a human being, those live social encounters that provided us with joy, comfort and hope. We all have lost that shoulder to shoulder feeling and the hugs and smiles that gave us hope. Now the new normal is social distancing six feet apart. People older-stay home. Wear mask. I agree with all those solutions to staying safe.

It is here at our virtual online Depressed Anonymous meetings where we share and strengthen our resolve, uncovering those areas of our lives (thinking, feelings, moods, behaviors) that prohibit our personal growth and happiness. Now we are replacing our hopelessness and helplessness with hope and help everyday online.

The Depressed Anonymous fellowship is a potent provider of self-discovery as we move from one Step to the other at our meetings using the Workbook format. It is here in this virtual environment where we not only can take the time to listen to others in the group about their own issues, but listening as well to their many responses to how hope and healing have given them a new freedom, a new self-confidence while being provided a self-discovery tool, the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. This tool, with the Depressed Anonymous manual is used at every meeting.

If you are interested in a HOME STUDY PROGRAM OF RECOVERY you can learn more about this process of recovery from our website.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook and Depressed Anonymous manual are also both available online as eBOOKS from Depressed Anonymous Publications.

YOUR HOPE IS OUR HOPE!

Hugh for the fellowship

Depressed or unhappy?

 

Depressed Anonymous bases its healing and recovery on the  premise that once depressed persons admit they are out of control, even to the extent of attempting suicide, they 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 and wills over  to the care of God, as they understand God,

The God, as we under stand God, is what appeals to more and  more persons as we admit our helplessness over our compulsive, depressive thoughts, actions, or behaviors. We feel we have lost all control over everything including our thinking. The depressed person is aware that their unpleasant thinking is a cyclical and spiraling process where there is never a respite.  This obsession,   driven by one’s one feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness is the fuel that that continues our own isolation.  This experience is not so much a psychopathology as it is a  way for the human spirit to comfort itself. The depression  is more of a disease of isolation and being disconnected than  a biological disorder.

The Twelve Step program helps people to become God conscious. It is in working the  program while making no excuses for the spiritual nature of our recovery. We can begin to attribute our new found sense of hope and peace to the Higher Power. For the active member of Depressed Anonymous, there begins to glimmer in the distance the bright light of hope.

By recognizing how it feels to be depressed, more people will have the help and guidance that will get them through their depression. Lives  will be saved as well. Besides reading the Twelve Steps at each meeting, the group learns on a firsthand basis about the “miracle of the group.” It is in the sharing and getting connected with the other members of the group where one’s recovery begins.

RESOURCES:

(c)  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY. Pages 162-163.

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

Please click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information on Depression, spirituality and recovery.

The prescription for sanity in one’s life.

This idea of choosing sanity  is   what we desire.  Who would ever choose insanity? But, believe it or not,  people choose insanity all the time. You  remember the saying, “doing the same thing over and over again is insanity.” If you are honest with yourself, I think you might   remember a time when you yourself  kept doing something that was assuredly insane. Today, if you   can honestly say that  you  always choose sanity,  then my response to you  is that   is a good thing.  I am happy for you.

In our 12 Step program of recovery we  learn about the   2nd Step, “Came to believe that a power greater than myself can restore  me to sanity.” Now for most of us, like it says in the 12 &12 and 12 Traditions, written by Bill W., co-founder of AA,  sanity “means soundness of mind.”  Now here is the point, when I was in the throes of depression, I was scared and I really did think that I was losing my mind. I could not concentrate. My feelings and emotions were flowing through me like a river overflowing its banks. My thoughts always circled back on themselves, making a tight grip-like  on every thought that flowed from   my mind. I was in a circular round dance – without a partner.  I would   try to think my way  out of my depression. What was happening to me I thought? The more I thought,  the more I got tangled up in my own mental fog.  After the mental wrestling which  went on in my mind, hour after hour and day after day, I begin to wonder if there was any  way out of this  labyrinth. The paths led to places which indicated that there was no exit. I began to believe   there was no way out and so my daily recourse/solution was to sleep. Sleep was the only thing that would deaden the assault on my mind.

Many times my own mind goes back to the time when as a therapist I tried to help others break down their life choices into  small pieces. When I was depressed,  all I could think of was a wall, a huge wall that would show up,  every time I wanted to go  and try to figure out a solution for my problem. And it was here that I would continue the insane banging my head against a wall that would not let me gain entrance. But when I began to break the  symptoms of my depression into smaller parts and take a closer look at where the solutions might lie.  I discovered a way out of my own prison by  this method and   it  gradually provided  hope for me. I  discovered that what I needed  to do was to utilize some of these ” tools ” as a way out of the prison of depression and gave me a gradual  exit out of my prison. Instead of going over and over in my mind on how bad or worthless I was, I began to cut off these self-bashing thoughts with hopeful designs on making a new me. No more was I engaged in that insane circular thinking that provided no solutions, but instead, always sent me right back to square one from where I started. Insanity! It was like a dog chasing its tail.  Doing the  same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sorry, it doesn’t happen that way when we are with a group of people at a Depressed Anonymous meeting.  We all have experienced the type of thinking that puts us deeper in the lowest mood possible. It is the group experience and the spiritual principles of the Steps that help us to spiral upwards into wholeness and sanity.

One of the great lessons that I have learned over the years is listening to those persons who share their stories of hope. They tell the stories of their own recovery sharing with us how they used all the “tools” at their disposal for their own recovery

.(See Tools of Recovery at our website Menu where you will find a list of many of the effective tools for extricating oneself from depression. You will be able to use  ” sane” tools as a means of rejecting the insanity of our own lives and making sense out of how to live a life without depression. A life with hope. It happens.)

Also read the many stories in our Depressed Anonymous “Big Book”   Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY). Personal testimonies section.

More information at the Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore.

Order are accepted online.

 

 

 

Staying on the balance beam.

One of the more difficult exercises in gymnastic sports is the balance beam. Now, that is only my opinion. And when the gymnast performs a somersault   on this narrow beam and manages to keep their balance,   this is really a feat to behold.

When I was depressed I felt like  the gymnast who missed their somersault and came tumbling off the beam. And it hurt–big time. In fact,  it hurt for many months later. For some depressed, the hurt  lasts a lifetime.

The point I want to make is that we have to make choices. We want to make a decision that can make us feel differently and better — not  worse.  We want to get back on the beam, make a decision to  change how we do things.  We will correct what got us where we are now and go forward with new strategies for  living a life with hope and faith in a power greater than ourselves. Our new habits of thinking and feeling positive will definitely change our behaviors.   We can  continue to be on the beam.

“One makes a choice when making a decision. One of the hard things in a depressed person’s life is making a decision. The indecision is what really gets to a person continually  to  remain off balance. Usually this indecision is the result of an emotinmal war going on inside, and both sides war over who will have their way.  The more depressed we become, the less able are we able to muster up the necessary energy to make a decision that will benefit us. I believe that this moral type of inventory is not going to be detrimental to our recovery because it is all about our recvovery. We are not intending for it to make us feel ashamed, but to help us see that if we want to feel better, then we have to start to make some changes, which  are gradual at first.  Changing old habits and ways  of thinking will with time and work make our personal world a better place to live.  Just as the Third Step states that we made a decision to turn our wills and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God, we can believe that our recovery is about decision and choices. We have to decide a hundred times daily that we are going to turn our wills over to care of the God of our understanding. In time we will feel secure enough to put our depression behind us.  In other words, our depression  will no longer serve a purpose in our life.”

(c) Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. KY.  Pg.73.

(c) I’ll do it when I feel better. Hugh Smith (2017) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville,Ky.

It takes one to know one!

And so it goes in life that God often uses those of us with a certain experience to help others who are experiencing that same hurt and pain.” Debra Sanford in her recent publication: A Medley of Depression Stories.

Without a doubt, the statement  “it takes on to know one, ” is right on target. The truth of this   statement is verified by the increasing number of mutual aid groups that  keep cropping up in our communities. The fact remains, that if anybody can understand my situation or my particular  physical or mental condition, it most likely  will be that person  who has  experience the same condition.

During  my experience with depression, I found myself isolated and alone. I also found myself asking questions about what was happening to myself. I was  not coming up with any answers. I was scared!  I was living a lie.  There was a smile on my face  with others, but inside I was also  fearful of being found out.  Without any exterior evidence on my body that I was in  pain, every day turned out to be a momentous challenge for me.

Not until I discovered that all my pain, mental and physical had to do with being depressed, did I start to deal with it.  It was then that I became proactive in my own personal recovery. What did I do?  I started walking five miles a day. The only way I could chase the pain away was to walk.  And walk some more. Every day.

During this time, just getting out of bed was an overwhelming  chore. At this time in my life, I had to have a job to support  myself. Calling in sick  at work wouldn’t get it.  I kept walking. And after months of  exercise, I gradually felt my mood begin to rise.  Of course, because of my familiarity with negative thinking and bashing myself unmercifully, I told myself that  this calm in the storm, would not last. I was right. It didn’t last. Eventually, because I persisted with my walking , I  eventually was able to live  my life   without depression. I could live with peace and hope.

Also, because of Depressed Anonymous and sharing with others in the group, I got stronger, found more tools to stay depression free, and helped others start their own  Depressed Anonymous group. One of our members   pointed out to the new members how  our own “feeling better”  could be attributed to the “miracle of the group.”  It was in the group where  sharing our struggles and experiences   made it possible to have hope and a gradual  from depression.

As Debra C., tells us in her account of persons who tell their stories     (A  Medley of Depression Stories) and experiences,   as being part of the Depressed Anonymous group.  She states a fact  about the members of Depressed Anonymous that “The sheer healing obtained from the group is immeasurable.”  A Medley of Depression Stories. (2017) by Debra  Sanford.  ( ISBN 978-1974499601). Her book can be purchased at Amazon.com/Books. I highly recommend it. Her book is filled with those personal and powerful testimonies of how people joined together for the same  purpose can find the help they need. Why wouldn’t they? We all have come from the same experience and isolation and now find kindred souls in our life who not only speak the same language of hope but continue to offer it to each other.

Hugh

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

(c)  Debra Sanford A Medley of Depression Stories. (2017)  @      Amazon.com/Books

Today I am going to be active in my own recovery.

 

”  I believe that our involvement with people like ourselves in the  group  (Depressed Anonymous) can gradually broaden our perspective in the area of hope. We have to utilize new found tools that help us live with hope as well as enable us to learn that we have to be active in our own recovery.  ”

Copyright(c)  I’ll do it when I feel better. 2nd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Ky.

A  person who wants to get active in their own recovery would do well to go to the Main Menu at depressedanon.com  ( here) and check out the drop down menu  at TOOLS OF RECOVERY. It is here that one can find many  recommended ways  and activities to begin the journey to freedom out of the prison of depression.

If not today, then when?

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PS   For more Information about Depression and the 12 Step program  of Recovery go to DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS PUBLICATIONS BOOKSTORE @  DEPRESSEDANON.COM

The only person I can control is myself.

 

 

The only person I can control is myself. I will keep the focus of my recovery on myself.

AFFIRMATION

“Admitting our helplessness, we can abandon our desperate attempts to control everybody and everything and simply ‘go with the flow,’ taking life as it comes. Many people emerging from depression or from a major trauma, do this when they  decide to take one day at a time.

CLARIFICATION OF THOUGHT

I am more convinced than ever that one of the best ways to get out of my depression is to live one day at a time. and to spend that day thinking thoughts that reflect hope rather than thoughts that spiral us deeper into sadness and despair.  I am much more in need of admitting that I am depressed instead of denying to myself and to others that everything is all right when it isn’t.

My recovery is a step-by-step process and I try to live one day at a time. My best recovery occurs when I am conscious how my depressed thinking distorts the way I look at the way I live out my life and I have to make the effort to think differently.

MEDITATION

We thank God for our lives and the opportunity that we have to come into conscious contact with this Higher Power who is now providing us with his love and his hope.

Source: (c) Higher Thoughts for down days: 365 daily thoughts and meditations for members of 12 step fellowship groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.KY.  October 30.

My moods began to spiral upwards once I regained control of my life!

 

Is it that simple?   Gaining control  of my life  didn’t happen overnight. I did  know that most people’s depression usually lifted after a year’s time. Mine did.  The catch is,  that for me,  it took some work and patience. No magic wand waving over my head and no silver bullet automatically killing the demon of despair that continued to beat me down. But what  gradually happened was  that my mood  came back providing me with hope and a plan for my recovery.  I began to feel some control over how I was feeling and the new mood of cheer gave me the courage to keep on doing what I was doing. In my case, my mood began to be lightened the more I continued my daily walking.

Just my determination to take of myself physically paid huge benefits. For once, in many months I felt some control over my mood and the direction where my life was heading.  I was beginning to be in control instead of my life being out of control and unmanageable.

I remember in Graduate school I gave persons depressed a questionnaire  determining  how  much control they felt they had over their lives. Interestingly, the person who felt they had less control over their lives, or none at all, these  more depressed  persons felt less in control over their environment and the way  the direction of their life was taking.

Those who were less depressed answered that they were begin to feel more in control of their lives. These persons  were experiencing more hope and   the direction of their lives was providing purpose and meaning.

What to do?

First of all, get a plan that will work for you. My plan was this Step by Step program of recovery we call Depressed Anonymous. The best part of the plan is to find friends who, just like ourselves, are working the same plan.  This fellowship, this non judgmental approach and support of the group provides us with our marching orders.  When members of the fellowship share their story–we hear our own story. We know that just by admitting that we need help  it is at this initial starting point, where we begin to spiral upwards instead of continuing   the spiral downward.

If you  want to take control of your life and your mood, it would do you well to join us and  discover how others gained control  over their lives just as it is possible for yourself.

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