It was in the Spring of 1984 that I became acquainted with Jane. I was in Graduate school working on my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. The University was in Evansville, Indiana. For my practicum (basically, a training course in counseling) I selected Jane. Jane was home bound, recently having undergone a seious heart attack with needed surgery to repair clogged arteries.
I took my recorder along to her home for our weekly sessions and week after week. Jane and I would talk and visit. Jane’s depression started to lift and gradually she began to feel her former cheerful self again. She was talking again with her husband and children. She was again cartooning and writing poetry which she had lost interest in after her heart attack and surgery. But slowly, week after week, she gradually forced herself to draw again and write one poem each week. This assignment was ongoing and by the time my sessions were complete, we had a more happy and serene Jane than the Jane that I had met on the first session. Thanks to Jane’s depression experience and her successful recovery after being so isolated, it came to me to get these alone and isolated persons together so that they could inspire each other to hope again. I wanted to model the group on Alcoholics Anonymous.
In the Fall of the year I, with the help of the director of the local mental health association got referrals from the psychiatrists, therapists and counselors to refer persons depressed to attend a 10 week pilot program that would deal weekly with each participants depression. It was a cognitive approach to how one’s thinking was directly influencing their moods and feelings. Everyone in the group, surprisingly, from the addict to the widow, to someone who lost their lifelong career, all were able to find the group to be helpful in replacing their despair with hope. With the help of a fellow graduate student we saw that a group program could assist depressed persons cope, deal and overcome their depression. Also, the participants now knew that they were not going crazy or losing their minds. They were no longer alone in their pain.
After Christmas of that year a number of graduate students and myself started a Depressed Anonymous group on May 25th, 1985 in the meeting room in the basement of St. Mary’s hospital in Evansville. The rest is now history.
In the beginning, I thought that if only depressed persons would get out of their isolation and come to a group meeting and seek help, their depression would lift. Even though many professionals that I contacted about depressed people getting help from a self-help group didn’t seem to think it was possible. Some said that they thought that depressed persons wouldn’t have the energy to go anywhere, much less to seek help from a self help group. Many could not get out of bed in the morning they felt so bad.
It is discovered that once a person comes back to the meetings week after week that the depressed gradually find their good days get more frequent and their down days occur less often. In Depressed Anonymous we call it the “miracle of the group.”
The spread of Depressed Anonymous is slow and sure. Thanks to Jane and her willingness to get better, an idea whose time has come, is now growing groups and “circles of hope“around the world.
The Depressed Anonymous meetings are upbeat and hopeful, with special emphasis on the 12 Steps and focusing on personal recovery. You would do well to read our Manual, Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications where more than thirty persons share their story about depression and how DA pulled them out of their misery,
Click onto The Depressed Anonymous Publications Bookstore for more information on depression and the 12 steps.
Please sign up for the Home Study Program where a participant can get one on one help by using the HOME STUDY KIT via emails to a Depressed Anonymous sponsor. Find out more from the DA blogs at www.depressedanon.com. Sign up date ends November 15.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to register to be a participant.