“The prison is the way we define the parameters of our lives. We do this in a way that we leave ourselves with only one outcome. We say “I have no choice”, when what we mean is that the alternatives are unacceptable. We refuse to accept that that there are always alternatives, because if we do accept this , we would have to acknowledge that we have made a choice. We would have to acknowledge our responsibility for ourselves.” Rowe continues, “Our willingness to hand over to other people and organizations the responsibility which is ours (just as the color of our eyes is ours) stem from our inchoate desire to sink into the mindless bliss of being totally cared for, totally supported, our original wanting and getting everything. We do not want to accept that, just as our sense of time is ordered to perceive time only as progressing, never as standing still or going backwards. No matter how great our longing, we cannot return to the womb of the Garden of Eden.” Pages 333, 336. Dorothy Rowe. Wanting Everything: The Art of Happiness. Harper Collins, 1991. London.
It’s my belief that when someone is depressed and seeks out help for their depression, the first person they think of seeing is their physician (if blessed enough to have one) or psychiatrist. They also may consult with a counselor or psychologist. This I think is the normal route one would take. These are some of the routes a person might choose. But for most persons depressed they either suffer in silence, talk with a friend, or just go it alone.
In the past (recent past) there is an alternative way to get help and this is the self-help way. Most mental health practitioners in the past would see a client or patient on a one to one basis. Possibly, they would involve them in a group therapy program directed by a therapist who would lead the group. All fine and good. But then there appeared the Depressed Anonymous mutual aid group. Not a therapy group per se, even though many therapeutic benefits would accrue to the participants. So, what we have now is a peer to peer support group. It is people who have the same disability, and need that special feedback from a group of people and a sponsor who talk the same language of those who live with the pain and isolating behaviors that have kept them depressed.
Mutual aid groups are truly an alternative whose time has come. Not only because this process of group works well, it is also a strong support for those persons who have always heard “to snap out of it” in reference to their depression and now have the necessary tools to leave the shackles of depression. “If others can get free,” they say, “then so can I.” And, now they know. They are not alone.