How I Cleared My Depression with 12 steps – step 3

I used the steps from Alcoholics Anonymous to clear my depression. You can too.

Step 3 – I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him.

This is about surrender. It was really hard for me. I thought I had to be strong; I had to defeat my own demons on my own. I had tried to do this and I hadn’t succeeded. I just seemed to be digging myself in deeper. I used to be pretty independent and self-reliant. It seemed like the only way. Then after my career disaster I became financially dependent on my husband. This still didn’t help me. I had got rid of one problem that depressed me (my work) but now I had other problems – poverty, lack of self-worth, lack of meaning and purpose…I still hadn’t made the shift. I was still looking for the wrong things to make me happy and medicating myself daily with red wine.

I had a blockage about surrendering to God. I kind of worried about being a Christian. I had met plenty of Christians I didn’t like – judgemental, obsessed with other people’s sex lives, joyless, cruel. I had met many Christian teachers like this and I did not want to be like them. Christianity has a strange history and a lot of skeletons in its closet. On the Alpha course I started thinking about the true message- the words of Jesus which really are astounding. Jesus is nothing like the sort of Christians I had met in the past. My favourite passage is the Sermon on the Mount, particularly ‘Consider the lilies…’ Go and check it out if you haven’t read it. It is about surrendering to God and letting go. It really is the hardest thing but the most worthwhile thing. God clothes even the wild flowers of the field with beauty. They don’t work for it, they don’t strive yet God looks after them. He will look after you too because you mean more to Him. Notice there is no Protestant work ethic here. Where did that come from because it didn’t come out of the mouth of Jesus? Surrendering to God causes a change in your consciousness. It doesn’t mean you won’t do things wrong (sin) and mess things up. You will but it’s ok.

The plan I had for my life didn’t work. It was a rubbish plan. I was working in the education system that I didn’t believe in. In the end it drove me to break down. Then I thought I would write books but that didn’t work out either. My plans were all wrong. I accepted help from God and at this point I realised change was possible. I am still not where I want to be. I have held back from total commitment. I am not a nun or a holy person on a mountain. I haven’t made it in to Mother Theresa territory – yet. I ask God for help every day. When I feel despair I pray. I remember that I am Divine – I am made in the image of God. That helps me. I still have some bad habits. I still drink wine but nothing like as much as I used to. I am trying to phase it out completely but I keep failing. I have a daily spiritual practice involving reading the Bible, praying, meditation and yoga. I am working on myself bit by bit. I am an ongoing project. If I mess up I ask for forgiveness and start again. I can observe my emotions and detach from them. I am training as a therapist so I can be of service to others.

Accept help from God as you understand Him. It does not have to be the Christian God. It could be Ganesha or Buddha or nature or Allah. It’s up to you.



New Year’s Resolutions

I know we are all tired of resolutions and I have failed to keep many in the past but I still need goals so here are mine.


1 Read the Bible every day

2 Pray every day in English and in tongues.

3 Meditate every day

4 Find out all I can about different mental health therapies  by reading and having therapy. Choose one that works for me

5 Diligently work on my hypnotherapy training and become qualified in it.

6 Diligently work on my MSc Psychology and complete the first module.

7 Do not drink alcohol

8 Do not eat meat

9 Attend the Alive Church every week and decide if it is the right Church for me.

10 Find paid employment.

11 Do voluntary work.

12 Find out all I can about Christianity by reading and talking to other Christians.

13 Rework my second book and self publish it.

14 Start and complete a third novel.

15 Increase my social circle.

Yogi Cameron Diet Day 10

Weight: 64.1 kg No weight loss. I am becoming exasperated. I think I am eating healthily and low calorie but it’s not enough. I shall have to be ever more draconian.

Breakfast: fried egg, two slices of sourdough bread

Lunch: nut roast, roast potatoes, broccoli

Dinnner: two boiled eggs


So it’s Sunday today so I don’t do exercise. Total rest day. I did do dog walking for an hour but that’s it. I have eaten too much. Next week my plan is to cut the wine out completely. Then I will be free of stimulants. I woke up in the night again with the same headaches and leg aches. My legs were still aching in the morning. Ibuprofen is my new best friend. This caffeine withdrawal is going on for longer than I hoped. I still feel tired and have no energy. There isn’t much improvement so far. I must be patient. As far as the Yogi Cameron ethos goes I have not eaten meat or fish and I haven’t had processed food or caffeine. This is an achievement. I have been eating my main meal at lunch time instead of evening. This is all in keeping with his principles. The next big push is the alcohol. I know I have been self medicating to bear the pain of the caffeine withdrawal. I have had crazy nightmares. I really hope to feel better soon. I was lazy and watche politics and a French film. It was beautiful sunshine today so the walk was lovely. I hope I am stronger soon. There are so many things I want to do. I feel like an elderly person who needs to be pushed around in a bath chair and covered in a plaid rug. Please God can I have my energy back.

Yogi Cameron The One Plan Reboot Day 1

I have started the One Plan before but I gave up after a few weeks. I can’t now remember why. I am going to give it another go. The One Plan is a book by Yogi Cameron who is a holistic therapist. It promises to change your life in a year with a week by week plan. I have been feeling so ill, tired and hopeless recently that I really need something. I have decided to persevere this time and not give up like I usually do.

The One Plan applies the principles of yoga and ayurveda to the realm of the body, mind and spirit.

Week One is about remembering not to eat late at night and to practise non-violence on yourself and others. This means verbal as well as physical.

I am going to blog about my progress through the days. I hope it is helpful to people. I am going to keep broadly to the plan but also mix in other ideas from Buddhism and health sites. I will be broadly vegan with a few animal products from time to time. I allergic to milk and gluten intolerant.

Day 1

Wake 8 am

Weight: 64.5 kg. Heaviest I have been for a long time.

Exercise: dog walking

Meditation: 15 minutes Concentrating on the breath. Observing my thoughts.

Yoga: 30 minutes.

Mindfulness: mantra of I can statements. I can write. I can write my novel. Visualise myself as a famous novelist.

Breakfast: smoothie consisting of almond milk, peanut butter, strawberries, banana, flax seeds, chia seeds, cocoa powder, avocado, cod liver oil. All whizzed up in the blender. Coffee.

Hypnosis tape.

Lunch: 1 pm salad. Yogi Cameron does not approve of salads but it is what I have in my organic veg box so it’s what I’m eating. Lettuce, cucumber, brazil nuts, tomato, avocado, French dressing with garlic and mustard. Green tea.

Dinner: 4 pm three quinoa rice cakes with marmite and peanut butter

One glass of red wine.

Social interaction: virtually none. Greeting neighbours while dog walking. Husband is at the gym until late. Not in yet.

I am pleased with myself today. I am easing in. I had a sense of well being. I had a slight headache in the afternoon. I am still drinking coffee which I will have to stop but I only had one. I didn’t eat any processed food and I didn’t eat late. I did lots of reading and I wrote this blog. I looked at some social media which I am trying to cut down. I have realised a lot of my problems stem from negative self thoughts. I need to do more tomorrow. I kept grabbing at the thoughts to make them go away. I have just recovered from a cold so feel slightly woozy though the nostrils are a lot less blocked than usual. I also have negative self thoughts against other people. This is something I need to work very hard on to eradicate. I need to meditate on forgiveness. I had one glass of wine which will need to come down.

A good day.


Taking Control of My Mental Health

I have had delicate mental health for a while. I have taken lots of self help steps to try to make myself better with some success but somehow I always relapse.

This year I have suffered with sinusitis and chronic tiredness which has made me depressed.  I don’t know what comes first, the illness or the depression or that they both feed on each other in some horrific symbiotic relationship. At points all I could do was lie on the sofa and drink wine. I was spiralling downwards.

I decided I was sick of all this and took charge of myself. First the sinusitis had to go. The doctor had given me a steroid nasal spray which did nothing. She said it would take twelve months to work. So basically it didn’t work.  I read up online and came across someone saying dairy caused their sinusitis. This felt right to me. I gave up dairy, bread and eggs two weeks ago. The results were quite something. My sinusitis got better almost immediately. Two weeks later I would say it is almost gone completely though not quite. The eczema on my finger has also cleared up. I think I have been allergic to milk and not realised it. I also felt that my digestion was better and I didn’t feel bloated. I had more energy.

I started hypnotherapy. I have had two sesssions and have received an audio file that I am to play at night. I did not feel instantly better as some people report but I am perservering. It is like a guided meditation focusing on positive thoughts. I have been eating healthily, avoiding alcohol and doing yoga, meditation, jogging and walking. I do feel somewhat better. The hypnotherapy is deadly expensive so I am holding off for a while for the next session.

I scoured the local mental health services and self referred for a well being course. I have four sessions of CBT therapy for depression. It doesn’t start until October. It’s in a group so I am not sure   if it will be effective but I am giving it a try.

I have also decided to take control of my life in other ways. I have signed up for an MSc in Psychology at the Open University and I have signed up  to learn hypnotherapy. So that’s two part time courses. I am paying for them with a student loan from the government. I still neeed some kind of job to pay my way. This is proving tricky. I need to get on it though. I am winding down my business as it makes virtually no money.

I am not cured yet by any means but I feel that I am more in control of events. I have got better before and then slid back down. I must not let that happen again. I know a lot of it is negative thoughts. It’s like there’s a tape in my head that puts me down. My awareness of it is the first step to getting rid of it. I am hoping the outside agencies will help me.

I am toying with asking for antidepressants though I have always resisted this. I am still not sure. I also think about having private therapy though the cost is horrendous.

I have realised that I will never be able to go back to what passes for a normal life. I can’t just have a quiet drink without it turning into an enormous session. I can’t just eat what I like because certain foods just don’t agree with me and I get fat and sluggish. Every day I will have to take time for self care. I am treating myself as a project like an elderly, delicate maiden aunt who needs lots doing for her. I am being gentle with myself. I am turning off the critical voice. Every day it will be an effort but I am going to do it. I have made the first steps.

And I will finish my novel.


Yogi Cameron Diet Week 6 Review

Week 6 of the Yogi Cameron diet is the same as Week 5. The spiritual emphasis is on not stealing.  The diet is the same. I have kept to it about eighty per cent of the time. I have still been drinking alcohol which I am still annoyed with myself about. As of today I have eradicated all alcohol from the house so as of today I haven’t had any. I have taken the pledge. Food wise I have been doing pretty well and eating healthy whole foods. I notice when out and about how difficult it is to get healthy food in town. Most choices seem to be really unhealthy and don’t fit with ayurvedic principles.

I haven’t been feeling well this week. I don’t think it’s to do with the diet. Maybe I am coming down with something. I am not sure if it’s mental or physical or a  bit of both. The week has been full of minor irritations. I am facing up to a lot of my demons and I know this means I have to make changes in my life. I need to change the way my mind works. It is a  lot of work and sometimes overwhelming. I am hoping I will be better when I get through to the other side.

I have been reading more about ayurveda. There are a lot of conflicting opinions as the diet comes from ancient Vedic texts which are thousands of years old. Some ayurvedic diets allow meat and fish but Yogi Cameron does not. I am doing the more strict type. The emphasis is on fresh foods that are grown locally and organically. Eggs are almost never mentioned. I have read this is because they are considered dirty and low because they come out of a chicken’s bottom. I have still been having the odd egg. Most Indian recipes with eggs in them stem from the Raj and the British influence.

Here’s hoping to a return to health and well being next week.

Week 3 – Yogi Cameron Diet

I am now in Week 3 of the Yogi Cameron diet.

The focus this week is on truthfulness. It is not only about telling the truth but finding your authentic self. This is something I have been working on for a while.  I still haven’t found my true purpose. I don’t know what I am meant to be doing. I am going to continue to search. I need to try different things until I find a fit. When you are doing something that is right for you things should flow. They should feel easy rather than a chore. This is a challenge. I find lots of things a chore. The search continues.

I am gaining clarity as I move through the programme about many aspects of my life. I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I behave, how I react to things. I know there is a lot wrong in my life that I need to put right. I do feel that I am making progress though in small steps. The new home has made me feel much better about my life. The connection with nature is really important. As I sit here I can see a blue tit pecking at the bird feeder. This makes me feel really good.

The diet is the same as the previous weeks. No meat, no fish, no processed food, no frozen food, no microwaved food, no caffeine, no alcohol. I have been eating fresh fruit and vegetables with some butter. A small amount of dairy is allowed.

Five minutes in the morning should be spent in thinking about how to act truthfully.

In addition to this I have added in my yoga practice, jogging and meditation. Unfortunately I have cheated on the alcohol and already had a couple of glasses of wine this week. This is a real problem for me and something I need to work on. Giving up all the other things was easy and I don’t miss them at all. Wine is some kind of comfort blanket for me. I need to work harder on getting rid of this addiction.

On the topic of truthfulness like most people I have told lies in the past. I have a tendency to embroider the truth. Why do I do this? I think one of the reasons is a need to impress or please people. This tendency has lessened in me as I have worked on self-development. The only person I need to please is myself. I have definitely made progress here. Sometimes I think I have been too honest and it has got me into trouble. Often people don’t want to hear the truth. I am not sure what to do about this but I can see spiritually honesty is the way to go.

I had a darker mood yesterday which explains the reversion to wine drinking. Some dark experiences from the past came to haunt my dreams. Today that feeling seems to have gone. I am feeling more at peace. It is raining again today but that is good so the focus can turn to indoor activities.

The best thing about this week is I have started to write again. I worked on my novel yesterday and I felt positive about what I have written so far. Maybe writing is my  purpose though I am still not sure about that.


Notes from the Old Chapel – Tractorameggodon

So I am settling in really well into the Old Chapel. Harvest is in full swing so tractors are rumbling by the house every five minutes. They have cut down some of the wheat and made the straw into bales. The rest is still ripening in the sun.

I seem to have been buying lots of wooden furniture as we don’t have enough. So much for trying to live simply. There seems to be an endless list of things I need to buy. I will have to look at more eco friendly options. I have bought an oak desk for me to do my writing on. I have set up my computer in the conservatory and my writing nook is looking pretty professional. I just need to get on with it now.

I have been pretty healthy, keeping to my diet, doing yoga, jogging every day and walking the dog for hours. I am finding it really easy to avoid caffeine now. I haven’t had any for weeks and I really don’t miss it. The headaches and leg pains have stopped so I feel pretty good. My energy levels have definitely improved and I am much more active than I used to be. Maddeningly I haven’t lost any weight so I will have to cut down again next week. I was annoyed with myself for weakening on Sunday and having wine. I also had rhubarb infused gin. Bad, bad, bad. This was because we went on a day trip to Sandringham. We just went in the country park and had a walk through the woods. My dog Didi had a great time. Woodland is his favourite habitat.

The weather has been amazingly warm and the sun has been out quite a bit. I love the sunshine. I have been sunbathing a little each day to get my vitamin D and I am now quite tanned.

Work wise I have updated my CV as I am tentatively having a foray into the world of work again. The very thought is scaring me. I have finally opened up my second novel on Word and I am working my way through what I have written so far. I really need to finish it.

My cat Monty has for some inexplicable reason decided he doesn’t want to go outside any more and is staying in the house all the time. This makes it difficult as he doesn’t get on with the dog so I have to keep them separate.

I have tentatively begun to garden. So far I have deadheaded some roses and cleaned a lot of green something or other from the surface of the pond. I found a dead baby bird in the pond. Poor thing. Samsarra.

I have kept my meditation sessions quite short but it is wonderful to be able to meditate in such a beautiful garden. A real feeling of peace descends.

This week I really need to get into a routine and write every day. I think  I need to treat it like a job and give myself breaks but otherwise write all day. It’s the only way. I also need to apply for jobs so I can feel like a productive member of society. I need to get over my fears.

The news has been awful with all these terrorist attacks. I feel more able to detach myself from it now so I don’t get so upset. I wish somebody knew what to do. I think on a personal level we just have to remember to be kind to each other. If everyone did this the world wouldn’t be in the state it’s in. I am working on myself first. Then I can help others.


The Yogi Cameron Diet – Week One Review

I have been on the Yogi Cameron diet for nearly a week now. I am determined to stick with it as  a complete lifestyle change. I want to live according ayurvedic principles in order to gain good health and higher spiritual awareness.

It hasn’t been easy. I have had headaches and leg muscle pains. I think this is mostly due to the caffeine withdrawal.

The diet emphasises fruit, vegetables and grains. There is no alcohol, cigarettes or caffeine allowed. I have stuck to it pretty faithfully. I am working on the principle it is going to get worse before it gets better.

I mostly had fruit in the morning, a vegetable curry and rice for lunch and a light dinner such as fruit or more rice. So far I have only lost a pound over the week. My weight fluctuated but this morning I am still 58.8 kg. I am disappointed that I have not lost more but I am determined not to give up like I have so many times in the past.

Today was Sunday so I had a treat and went to my favourite curry house, Orissa. I had pineapple curry and rice with dahl and saag paneer. It was very gorgeous. As it was such a big blow out I have not had any dinner.

I have been thinking about how to lose more weight next week and have decided to cut  my portion sizes down and introduce more exercise as well as yoga.

My mood was very good today and my energy level was medium. This is the best I have felt all week.

Food and exercise:

On waking at six: hot water

Dog walk for an hour.

Breakfast: banana

Lunch: Pineapple curry and rice, dahl, saag paneer. Two fruit juice non-alcoholic cocktails.

Dog walk for an hour.

Dinner: none

Meditation and yoga.

I drank hot and cold water throughout the day.

Spiritually, I was thinking about non-violence and meditating on the question: Do I call people names?



How I almost cured my Depression

Over a year ago I really thought that I had conquered my depression. I had been feeling low for a while after leaving my teaching career, writing a book which didn’t find a publisher and feeling like a general failure.

I made a big effort to try to cure myself. I did all the recommended things. I embarked on a radical diet (the Dukan) and I got down to my ideal vanity weight. I exercised every day: I did yoga and HIT circuits. I meditated and prayed. I did feel better. I dyed my hair blonde and felt glamorous again. I threw out old clothes and bought new ones.

I did feel better. I really did. I thought I was cured. Then I started to do voluntary work. I wanted to edge myself gently back into the workplace. Then I landed a job in a bookstore: the big chain. This is where I started to unravel again. All the old patterns returned. People were extremely unpleasant to me. There was a bullying culture yet again, not from the management this time, but from the other staff. People talked about me behind my back. One of them said, “You are a nightmare.” Why do people behave like this towards other human beings whatever they think of them. I had done nothing bad to these people. I was trying to work hard and be friendly. As usual I found it difficult to deal with. My healthy diet disappeared. I started to drink wine in the evening to anaesthetise myself. I left and used the money I had earned to start the CELTA course which I have blogged about elsewhere. I got bullied again, this time by one of the trainers. I fell completely apart.

The depression came back almost as strongly as before, but not quite. So I hadn’t cured myself. Why? My depression must have deeper roots than I thought. It cannot be cured through glib healthy lifestlye tips. But I was fine until I tried to start work again. So work is the issue. It’s not even the work but the people at work, the downright nastiness in people that I no longer have the skills to deal with. Yet I have to work. I have to make some sort of contribution.

So I still haven’t figured it out. A year later I am still trying. I am using the healthy lifetstyle techniques again but they are only partially working. I have a rescue dog who has helped me a lot. I go on long walks and spend a lot of time in nature. I do yoga and I meditate and pray. I try to eat healthily but I keep relapsing. I try to give up drinking and I keep relapsing. I overthink everything. My mind plays back incidents over and over again.

I still haven’t figured out how to make an economic contribution to the world. I need something like my own business though I can’t think what to do. I could try to find like minded people to work with but I am not sure they exist. I need to commit to my writing again and see if I can make it as an author. I need to keep hope burning. I need to figure out how to manage my depression and see if I can get help for it. I need to do all this on a shoe string. I need to keep working on myself and hope things get better. I need to keep toxic people out of my life. I am better every day little by little. I will keep trying and if I find things that work I will post them on my blog and maybe that will help others.

“I must go on. I can’t go on. I must go on.’ Misquoting Samuel Beckett