The human experience of depression

“It is my belief that the experience  that we call human depression, can very much be like the early designation of alcoholism as partly an allergy as well as being a mental obsession. And depression is very much like alcoholism, in that it very much causes the sufferer much the same symptoms, namely, feelings of being isolated, lonely, angry and  in a   deep dark pit, hopeless and helpless. Also, the depressed who decides to become more isolated and alone likewise digs a hole just a little more deeply. The fellowship of the program is combined with a belief that a power greater than oneself is ultimately what is going to save the person depressed from killing themselves  or floundering in a morass of self-will, resentments and self-pity. Many depressed basically are afraid of people and so tend not to trust others. They also hold a negative view of themselves and think themselves unacceptable to others and to themselves. (P.3)

In primitive human kind there was a system in one’s physical makeup that helped a primitive relative of ours flee or fight when danger approached.  In those days the person faced with a mortal danger got the adrenaline flowing that enabled the pursued to evade his/her captor. It also gave the pursued victim  the energy  to fight and overcome the adversary. In today’s world the days of being pursued by some ferocious tiger or beast is not our problem. But we are still pursued and the fear of the consequences of being caught by whatever is pursuing us  shoots the chemicals  into  our blood stream just as it did in our ancestors – with one major difference — our fears, anxieties, continual worries keep pumping those juices through our system until we are too tired to flee or even to fight. However it happens, the result is that our bodies suffer the damage of the stress of continual unpleasant emotions and feelings coursing through our veins.  We are at war with ourselves and depression is the last wall of defense in which the body says I need to take a rest from all this stress and so I surrender. I am closing down. I don’t want to fight any longer. And when one begins to feel a little better and the energy of one’s spirit starts to flow back into us again and we start  to feel renewed and it is here that our old ghost of fear starts to feel renewed and it is here that our old ghost of fear starts speaking to us saying “Hey, don’t trust this feeling of beginning to feel better. Stay with what you have — at least it’s predictable. At least you know what you have. Don’t try to change anything as you might get something far worse than what you have now.”  (P.5).

SOURCE:   Depressed Once -Not Twice: The  autobiography of a spiritual journey out of depression.  (2000) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (Pages 3, 5).

Comment:  In this important work, the founder of Depressed Anonymous the author shows us that even in the midst of the pain, isolation and a mental paralysis of will, the 12 Steps provide a plan,, a program of recovery. The author shows how by using the Steps himself in overcoming his own experience of depression that these same Steps  can now be used by those “still suffering from depression.

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