What we’re about
Depressed Anonymous Group: "The No Bumming Out Hour"
Guided by the Serenity Principle, “Accept the Things You Cannot Change”
NOT a group for “venting” frustrations, “venting” complaints, “venting” about conflicts or any other kind of venting of negativity. In this group, this “venting” is considered to be immersing yourself in negativity, also known as “bumming out.” And you are subjecting those around you to negativity as well. As people recovering from depression we need to spend much LESS of our mental energy on negativity.
This is a slightly different kind of group and may not be right for everyone. The “no bumming out” rule will be enforced, but, of course, with great compassion.
In this group we learn to notice and recognize when we are living out our re-active patterns by bumming out in our thoughts and internal dialogue. The healing starts from noticing that you are doing it. It is our growing ability to notice the negativity in our speech and our minds that leads us to be able to do something about it.
What can we do about it? We can set our will, our volition, against bumming out. We can start with a conscious decision to shun the habit of immersing ourselves in negativity. Was today a “horrible day” because it was 45 degrees outside, or was today's beauty expressed in slightly colder temperatures? You can always put on a jacket and a hat. People with good recovery don't just say that it was a beautiful day. They learn how to believe it about EVERY day and LIVE IT everyday.
Definition of “complaining”: the expression of dissatisfaction or annoyance about something. (Note that dissatisfaction and annoyance are examples of negativity.) The Serenity Principle, “Accept the Things You Cannot Change,” is the backbone of shunning negativity. It involves noticing and recognizing negativity and taking a principled stand against it.
“When You Don't Get What You Want” Principle: People with good recovery are happy when they get what they want. And they are also happy when they don't. [Because (1) their sense of well being is under their control. They don't surrender it re-actively to every thing that happens, and (2) they believe that a healthy (peaceful, joyful, even blissful) frame of mind is of primary importance, and what happens is secondary.]
Personal Responsibility, Blaming Others, and Personal Growth
Recovery is a process that each individual must be ready and willing to work on to be successful. Taking ownership and having a sense of personal responsibility are both key factors of successful recovery from depression. Accepting personal responsibility for the recovery process is also one of the signs that a person is truly ready to begin healing. You may feel defensive when hearing about taking responsibility and ownership. After all, circumstances leading up to depression are so complex and have multiple causes. How can we take responsibility for things that are not our fault? Are we not victims suffering from the actions of others that triggered our traumas? Taking ownership of recovery does not mean you are responsible for events that may have happened to you. Ownership simply means that you have the power to not let those events bring you down again in the present.
#### The “Blame Game”
Why is the “blame game” so detrimental to those in recovery? Blaming transfers the responsibility of our behaviors onto others. When we assign blame, we are merely inhibiting ourselves from creating solutions that lead to recovery. For example, maybe you began drinking after being laid off. “Downsizing was to blame for my drinking, not me!” When taking personal responsibility, however, the blame game is not useful. Blame disempowers us from finding solutions because we are not correctly identifying the problems. Taking ownership of our recovery means accepting the circumstances for what they are. Even if being laid off wasn’t your fault, it still happened. It is about what will you do with these new circumstances and challenges.
#### Identifying the Problem
When bad things happen, we need to first identify how the event affected us. In the example of being laid off, our source of income was taken from us unexpectedly. Our routine was shaken up, our social relationships from work were disrupted, and we now feel like we have no reason to get out of bed each day. Blaming others, however, serves no purpose to us — it only disempowers us. Blaming takes away our time and mental energy: instead of learning from our mistakes and making improvements in the present (personal growth), we fantasize about fixing other people, which is 100% beyond our control. When we play the blame game, we begin to feel that the world is a cruel and unfair place. For those recovering from traumatic events, remember that while you cannot change what happened, you can learn to prevent it from negatively impacting the present. There is abundant hope for change and improvement.
Worrying (Source: 56+ Helpful Quotes About Worrying About The Future (kidadl.com) kidadl.com/quotes/helpful-quotes-about-worrying-about-the-future)
The thought of one's actions, image, or emotions in a negative manner repeated several times is 'worrying'. Worrying these days has almost become a regular feature in everyone's life in these hyper-active times. But at the same time, it is a waste of time and energy. While being tense is a typical part of life, stress is a misuse of our time and energy. We get involved in a pattern that makes us consider most pessimistic situations that will very likely never happen.
There are approaches to help us better deal with that stress, so we can save ourselves some time. These worry quotes might help you find that way. Worry quotes may even give you something less worrying to think about.
“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” The Dalai Lama.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.” Corrie Ten Boom.
“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” Swedish Proverb.
“Rule number one is, don't sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it's all small stuff.” Robert Eliot.
If it sticks around long enough, something as small as a nagging concern in the back of your mind can affect your heart. It can make you more likely to have high blood pressure, a heart attack, or a stroke. Higher levels of anxiety can trigger those stress hormones that make your heart beat faster and harder. If that happens over and over, your blood vessels may get inflamed, which can lead to hardened artery walls, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and other problems. (Source: WebMD How Worry Affects Your Body (webmd.com) www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/ss/slideshow-worry-body-effects)
Your consciousness is never negative. Only your ego is negative.
“What is the ego? (Source: How your ego is affecting your mental health | iHASCO www.ihasco.co.uk/blog/entry/2206/get-to-know-your-ego)
Everyone has an ego. There are many definitions of the ego, but to put it simply, it's your sense of personal identity or feelings of self-importance. It helps you to identify your 'uniqueness', to stand up for yourself and to put plans into action. It is, however, incredibly important that you notice how your ego impacts your decisions as it can be a negative influence. If you can think of a time when you've done or said something that had negative consequences, this was your misguided ego at play. Having an awareness of your ego plays a large part in improving your relationships with others, as well as your ability to manage yourself and others. I have found that becoming more aware of my ego has made me happier.
## How the ego works
## Your ego’s job is to feel important. Its survival depends on it. Unfortunately, this translates to your ego needing to fight and defend itself. It seems counterintuitive, but the ego needs negative situations to arise so it can have something to do, something to worry about, or something to change. So if you're happy, and everything is perfect, your ego will already be looking for an issue to cling to or a drama to create.
The ego does not live in the present. While it is a fact that only the present moment exists, and the past and future exist only in the mind, your ego wants you to be thinking about the past and future. This means thinking about things that have gone wrong in the past, or things that may go wrong in the future. As a rule, every single time you take something personally, this is the work of your ego.
This means if you think back to when someone was rude to you and you feel offended - or you feel superior to them as a result - it’s your ego talking. If you worry about an event coming up, it’s your ego talking. If you receive some feedback you don’t like, regardless of whether it was just or unjust, it’s your ego talking.
## How the ego can cause harm
Your ego takes you away from the present moment. Imagine living your whole life thinking about the past and the future, and then realising at the end that all you ever had was the present moment - but you were too stuck in your head to fully engage your senses and enjoy the world around you. Here’s how you can identify when your ego kicks in (I have done all of these things):
- Have you ever disliked someone succeeding?
- Do you compare yourself to others?
- Do you look for attention?
- Do see yourself as better, cleverer, or nicer than others?
- Do you like talking about people’s imperfections?
- Have you ever noticed that you’re ‘virtue signalling’ (showing off how moral you are)?
- Have you ever looked down on someone for not trying as hard as you?
There is nothing wrong with having an ego - there is nothing wrong with feeling important - but the ego needs to be regulated. The problems arise when it affects your decision making, your mood, or it turns you into a victim, an underdog, or it makes you feel superior to others in order to justify your behaviour. These things make you miserable. Your ego will fight this fact though, it wants to look at the past and the future to find trouble so it can defend itself. It wants to fight. It doesn’t want you to be at peace. Your ego needs an enemy - a situation or a problem to feel bigger or better than. This stops you from enjoying your life and accepting things as they are. You can, however, learn to accept how things are by simply noticing when your ego is interfering and gently bringing it back into line.
## You are not your mind
Most people fully identify themselves with the voice in their head. Have you ever considered the idea that this is not you, but just one part?
You are not your mind.
Over time, you can redefine who you think you are, and how you see others. This will help you make better decisions. This is the difference between “I’m stupid” and “Sometimes, I make stupid decisions.” The distinction between these two viewpoints is massive. And with others, for example: “He is a lazy person” and ‘He is not very engaged’ are very different. This is essential in management. Good managers believe that everyone is a potential winner and that some are just disguised as losers. Bad managers look down on people.
When you get upset, or sad, or angry, or worry, or fear the future, this is not you. It’s just your ego - just your mind. Our society idolises the mind, without an awareness of its imperfections and traps. If you respond badly (on instinct) to someone’s advice, or to a particular situation you’re in, remember that it's not 'you' with the problem, but your ego. If you make this small but crucial separation you will be a lot happier, and more level-headed. Your ego is just a part of you. Your mind is just a part of you. Your subconscious makes decisions before you know it. You don’t have to think about feeling, breathing, the beating of your heart or the digestion of your food, your presence in the universe, and your sense of smell, touch, taste, sound. These are all you too. You are a lot more than your ego - than your mind.
## You are not an island
In western culture, a child might ask how they came into the world. In eastern culture, a child may ask how they came out of the world. This highlights the problem we have with how we see ourselves in the world. You are NOT just a brain in a skull in a bag of skin that will be gone in a few decades. You are part of an intricately connected universe that only exists because of all its parts. The atoms that make up the neurons that allow your brain to think were once in a star and will one day be in a star again. Your mind is a small part of the universe that has become self-aware.”