WHAT CAN I DO TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY?
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HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE….YES BUT
Hurt people usually hurt themselves first and foremost by their limited ability to accept new people, new places, and new things.
What do we do if we are so hurt from our addict driven past and horrific childhood that we are unable to Love and accept others? And why is it that a lack of acceptance and the alcoholic go hand in hand? Our parents didn’t teach us healthy emotional coping skills or we would not reach for such destructive emotional survival skills like the drink and drug. The thing is as long as our using (drug abuse) and blame-based coping skills worked to keep us reasonably numb & feeling shame-free we had no reason to stop using them….right?
Why is it that the serenity prayer is an addicts most valuable coping skill known far and wide? The Big Book reads that a lack of power was our dilemma. Meaning when we feel we are not in control within and without we buck, we freak. We lack acceptance when we are sick and suffering on such a grand scale that we block new, different people and ideas out of our lives. We can’t cope with any kind of change…it’s too scarey. But again Why? (Oh I’m not supposed to know the answers to any “why’s”? that’s first 90 days sober AA jargon. If we are going to really be healed of our underlying emotional issues we must allow ourselves to seek & find some knowledge.)
Blame, criticism, and looking for the wrong and the bad in other people and their ideas is the most wide-spread destructive emotional coping skill on the face of the Earth used by addicts and normies alike. AS LONG AS I CAN PUT A “BAD” LABEL ON SOMEONE TODAY MAYBE I WON’T HAVE TO SEE THE PAIN LIVING INSIDE ME. IF I CAN JUST BE “RIGHT” AND FEEL THAT I AM “BETTER THAN OTHERS” THEN I WON’T HAVE TO SEE THE SICKNESS THAT LIVES IN MY SOUL.
I need to ask myself some questions and I have …how long have I been sober and why am I still having anxiety attacks and suffering from intense rage and depression? Why am I having repeated migraines? Why have I pushed all the people I love out of my life? Why am I still isolating and beating myself up? Have I left something out of my program? BETTER YET DID BILL W. AND THE GROUP LEAVE SOMETHING OUT THAT IS VITAL.? Could my prejudices toward religion and therapy be hindering my healing? What can I do to really overcome depression and anxiety?
The serenity prayer and twelve step work are two grand survival skills for us. When we share our story of what it was like what happened and what it is like now, if sincere & heart-felt processes out a little bit of our pain and sickness bit by bit. Telling our story builds self-worth and confidence. However it also feeds our ego and can be a deflection from our own emotional wounds. Step 12 and chairing meetings are mere band-aids covering a wound that needs far more healing and medicine. We need a deep and searching moral inventory we need to address our underlying issues or the infection in our soul will just keep hurting us and those around us. The symptoms that are screaming at me are depression and anxiety.
SO WHAT THEN? WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS TO DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY AND HOW DO I APPLY THEM IN MY LIFE? Know this solutions will go against the grain of the disease and make us feel very uncomfortable. PLEASE KNOW THERE IS NO WRONG FEELING, ONLY WRONG ACTIONS. EVERY FEELING IS BECAUSE OF A REASON, AN EXPERIENCE, A REACTION TO AN EVENT THEREFORE WE SHOULD NEVER SAY…I SHOULD NOT FEEL THAT WAY. YOUR HEART IS THE PLACE THAT FEELINGS COME FROM AND YOUR HEART DOES NOT LIE. WE WILL NO LONGER BE ASHAMED OF WHO AND WHY WE ARE OR HOW WE ARE. BUT WE CAN LEARN TO OVERCOME AND WORK THROUGH NEGATIVE FEELINGS RATHER THAN ALLOWING OUR FEARS AND FEELINGS TO PARALYZE US.
Well firstly I need to work the steps more thoroughly starting with my spirituality and lack thereof. I need to seek God with every fiber of my heart and being. Ask my Higher Power to guide my step-work and my actions. God answers the heart, every testimony of spiritual experience I have ever heard or had began with an intense seeking of God with one’s heart, mind and very depth of soul. Please, shallow prayers reap shallow rewards. Then I keep seeking, I go to churches, tent revivals, Unity God-self type temples, Mausks, Catholic church. I recommend Pentecostal church because they praise and more spiritual miracles happen there than other dry churches. Just don’t let them kidnap your life. Pentecostals are easily as dysfunctional as alcoholics. But Jesus came for the sick He said it Himself. People are not on their knees praying in meetings, people are not crying out at the alter for healing in meetings. If I am not willing to take this action to seek my Higher Power then I must not be depressed enough or maybe I have just gotten comfortable in my depression. Depression is anger without enthusiasm to that I can attest.
Therapy, I need to open up my deepest and most vulnerable self to me and a therapist or a friend who won’t shut me down, who will let me show my pain. I need to share my fears that I am ashamed of, I need to share my feelings that I think are wrong, stupid, weak and I am ashamed of. I need to share my shame and guilt. Not just in my journal but also out loud to a human or in group. I need to let down my emotional protection in a safe place and tell people who I really am. The child within needs to be heard. If I was abused I need to talk about it. If I was neglected and rejected and need to share it. If I was sexually abused or abused others sexually I need to share it. First write it down that makes saying it outloud much easier. My deepest darkest shames need to be exposed to the light. I need to get real about who I resent. I need to put myself and God (most likely) on my resentment list. My fourth step should have “The cause” or what happened to start the resent ment and delve into what my fears are behind the resent me. Do I think I am unlovable, ugly, stupid, not good enough, that the person who accused me is right? There is always an insecurity and fear of some sort crouching behind the hate for mankind. I need to get at my own insecurities and express them on paper and then out-loud. I need to accept my weaker-self and make myself vulnerable to others. This isn’t part of the fourth and fifth steps it’s part of a honest and thorough fourth and fifth step. Notice the “(fear)” and “(self-esteem)” that was written in the fourth step grid in the Big Book? What I am explaining to you…the shame the feeling of not good enough that is what’s meant by self esteem and fear in that fourth step grid. If we can’t address this stuff we most likely will not heal from depression and anxiety.
STEP 12, I need to allow the steps to work in my life. I need to open up and say what’s really going on with me in meeting. If I am depressed I need to share it, If I am happy I need to share it, if I am angry I need to share it, I should confess all my resentments not leaving out organizations and groups of people. People with certain appearances. And the big one I need to write down and confess anything I am ashamed of and am keeping secret. I should work these 12 steps in an orderly fashion with a sponsor that will not shut me down. I should attend step-study-meetings. I should regularly go to jails or institutions of some type to tell my story of what it was like, what happened and what it is like now. I should do a very thorough step 6 & 7. Out of the problem into the solution. Every day I should shower, put on my shoes and do at least TWO things towards my recovery. I should clean my house and do my dishes. I should get sober phone contacts and call people. If I have an emotional upheaval and think I have been wronged I call someone and talk about it. And of coarse if I want to drink or drug I confess it in a meeting and or call someone.
I keep doing what works, I don’t stop, I don’t slow down. I am relentless. Four meetings a week, Church of some sort (meetings are not church) one day a week.
I learn and practice real meditation. I lay down, I get quiet, and I do a mantra by trying repeatedly over and over to concentrate on only one thought. When my mind drifts I reel it back in and concentrate on only the mantra. I picture each sentence in my mind. If my mantra is the Lord’s Prayer I picture each line, I see my father in heaven I think about his/her sacred name. I picture his kingdom-coming etc. etc. I practice meditation daily for at least a half hour a day. I begin my meditation with a prayer. I can use crystals or props, candles, and incense I make it a ritual. My mind will wonder but eventually I will train my mind to stay on one thought. After practicing for quite some time my mind will naturally empty…and I will hear God. I will be more patient, self-aware, more tolerant, more likely to think things through rather than being sporadic and impatient. Sometimes in the beginning it’s necessary to just moan during meditation. When trying to lye till and quiet because of the negative energy living inside it’s hard to be still. I remember feeling like there was an alien inside of me trying to get out so I moaned like I was taught to do to release that energy. Then I can better concentrate on the mantra and meditate.
Release guttural sounds from your body on a regular basis in private in your car, alone at home. Guttural sounds come straight from core and underlying issues of the emotions and the soul. Moaning, Screaming, shrieking, and sound that needs to come out. Try it, it will feel weird and insane but it works to get out the very energy that is causing the depression and anxiety. Do it for years as long as needed. It releases the poison from our bowels that we have stored there by pushing down our anger and hurt until it makes us sick.
Diet, exercise, and nature. These are self explanatory stick to natural foods as much as possible and to to the beach or just take walks in the woods but get outside and exercise. Get fresh air daily, drink lots of water. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. Sometings exercise alone relieve a huge part of our anxiety.
And remember “OUT OF THE PROBLEM INTO THE SOLUTION”
Don’t stay in the problem spinning around.
REMEMBER NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________The next article works too.
Anger & Wrath “Out of the problem into the solutions.”
“It’s not what goes into the body (food) which pollutes it but rather what comes out (my hurtful words).”
Depression is anger without enthusiasm. Depression is a final succumbing to the relentless feelings of anger. When I am angry I still hold some form of control of my situation even if it is an illusion. When my feelings switch to depression I have emotionally given up. These additional solutions are a mix of therapy and the 12 steps. I have added an example form of a mini fourth step. Well actually now it’s a Fifth step. “Better to save my ass than save my face.” I am past shame of who I am and my human condition.
Anger is a feeling which produces a reaction in us emotionally. Wrath is an action produced by rage that usually hurts people. One thing sure if I am angry it’s most likely myself and God I am angry with primarily. People and circumstances are rarely at the core of my anger. I use people and circumstances as a way to blame and vent. I usually have a choice who I want to hang around and whether or not I am going to argue, scream, yell, or fight. Walking away is a great solutions to wrath.
Recovery is the time for me to take responsibility for my own feelings including anger. Even if I am wronged no one can process my feelings of anger to work through them and get them out except me. So when I accept that I am responsible for all my feelings I can then take charge and start the endeavor toward the solutions to negative and intense feelings. As long as I blame people, places, and things for the way I feel and can’t begin to consider the solutions. Staying in blame is an old survival skill which I know all too well.
Exercise is a great solution but it’s a generic one, meaning it doesn’t address the core. It’s more of a distraction that does help. Start out with some journalling and see where it takes us. I may find that I get the answers to what I am angry at in the words I write. I am usually surprised at the result. If I have deep resentments toward myself or others I do a mini fourth step on them.
My Anger/resentment List
I am angry at myself because I have not accomplished the things I know I could if I was focused. I am angry at me because I don’t get enough exercise, I don’t eat right, I am overweight, etc. I spend way too much time on the computer and don’t get out enough. I neglect my spiritual exercises. I don’t do what I know is good for me.
What is my part in my resentment toward me?
Perfectionism, critical, fear of people(isolating), sloth.
I am angry at God because of the circumstances of the human condition. God won’t give me what I want. I want money and I want to be a success in a new career and I have tried so hard and worked to the point of obsession.
Self-pity,playing God, I think I know better than God.
MY FEAR LIST
I am afraid. I am afraid of getting old. I am afraid of being homeless. I am afraid of not getting what I need. I am afraid my car will break down. I fear allot.
My part in the fear list
I don’t trust God, I lack sufficient faith, (God will supply my needs He always has. And even though times are hard sometimes God has given me so much). I lack gratitude. I lack Hope. I lack Love/charity/Faith.
Oh wretched man that I am who shall deliver me from this body of death? Praise be to my Higher Power Jesus Christ and The Most High God whose name cannot be uttered by man.
My writing has helped me realize that under my anger was hurt. It helped me cry. I honor my feelings by crying which is a healthy emotion. I ask God to remove the fears and character defects I have listed. I am separated from God and I do feel that separation. But there are people out there who are in a much worse place than I. I believe God has trusted me with His Vineyard it’s my job to be of help to mankind. I revisit my Step Three and If I have not said the Third Step Prayer I say it now. I promise you it will help. The Higher Power hears even our weakest prayer. And it doesn’t matter how long or how short your clean time is. There is always room for emotional and spiritual maintenance.
I remember that beating myself up doesn’t help anything. Self abasement is not a solution. I get up I put on my shoes and I go help somebody. I openly praise my Higher Power aloud. If I have deep trauma issues from abuse I write a “fuck you ” letter to those who have hurt me. (don’t send) I write every little thing that I want to say to them. I do not mail the “fuck-you letter “it’s for me to help heal. Then I cry, I beat the bed, I beat a tree with a plastic bat or a whip. This is the best kind of anger processing when I am in touch with the core reason for my anger. Core anger is usually from a childhood event.
What I am saying is if I have a focus on the core issue instead of “my husband called me a bitch” or “I got cut off at the green light” when I do my anger exercise I will get the core issue attended to and begin healing. If it’s just a blame type distraction from the present I am not processing the core trauma. That’s why writing works so well, the pen tends to carry us to the root of our pain.
If you were abused, put the bastard in the empty chair (literally an empty chair pretend your abuser is in it) and scream out everything you were too afraid to say to them when the abuse occurred. There are some seriously wicked people . Or maybe you were neglected and deprived of emotional nurturing. Being ignored as a child is trauma as well. We are raised often by people who have no idea what it is to nurture a child’s soul and spirit. But you have walked into the sunlight of sobriety. God has It’s hand on you and will not let you go. God, I promise will protect you even from yourself. You are a beautiful child of God. You have suffered a lifetime and now is your time of peace. The peace which surpasses all earthly understanding is at your doorstep. All you need do is pick it up.