Thursday, November 13, 2014

Depression is a Blessing

I've been really wanting to write about this for awhile. And by 'this' I mean living in my head while struggling with depression and anxiety. Words really don't do it justice, but I am going to try and explain what goes on in my head, so maybe, just maybe, someone can understand.
There are days when I feel absolutely unattached from by own brain. I feel disconnected. I don't know how else to describe it. I feel crazy. I  don't know how to handle things, I feel emotionally uninterested. It's like I know it's my mind, my brain, but the feelings and thoughts inside don't seem like mine. I don't feel like me. It's very disconcerting. Daily tasks are burdensome, lying on the couch seems much more interesting than even watching t.v. Sleep becomes priority, eating falls off of the list. Forcing isn't a strong enough word to describe what I have to do when I need to get something done, like going to work or having responsibilities. You know those old 'depression hurts' commercials. It does hurt, physically and emotionally, mentally and spiritually. On my mission, there would be days that I would wake up and my body would ache. My head would pound. Headaches were a daily occurrence.  I couldn't get a grip emotionally. You know when you get that 'Oh NO' feeling in the pit of your stomach. Times that by ten. I would wake up with this heavy feeling in my chest and the melancholy ache in the pit of my stomach. I would try to shake it, ignore it and get out of bed to keep going. But it lingers. Mentally you berate and belittle yourself because you feel like it's 'all in your head' and it's not real. Your self esteem drops dramatically. You feel paranoid that everyone is judging you for what is going on. I remember trying to explain to my companion what I was feeling and when I was hearing myself talk, I felt even more crazy. I felt like a failure. And then, talking to people, being social, and having a life all disappears. You just don't want to deal with anybody. Being lonely is the way we try to suffer through. Depression is real. I know many people who read this won't quite understand or even get a glimpse at what I am trying to portray. Just know that sometimes we don't even understand what is going on in our own heads. It's frustrating, embarrassing, and annoying.
Anxiety is hard too. I remember the night before my first day at work. I was sobbing because I was so terrified I was going to do awful and that I couldn't do it. Once again, it's like all control is gone leaving you to your own devices in your messed up brain. I wish I didn't have these problems. I get nervous, hyperventilate, cry, and even get physically sick. People say calm down, but hey, it's hard. When you don't always have full control of thoughts and feelings, it is hard to calm down. Thinking logically flies out the window. The simplest of things seem like the hardest. Happiness seems unobtainable. But, there is hope. I promise.
As I struggled more than I ever had before, I received several blessings that would aid me in understanding my own struggle with this terrible mind disease. Multiple times I was told that I 'was blessed with the gift of depression.' When I first heard that, I wanted to scream. What kind of blessing is depression?? Not a blessing at all. But as I continued my fight, talked to trusted leaders, and really leaned on the Savior, I realized it was blessing me to see how strong I really was, what tools Heavenly Father had given me, and what I was capable of becoming. I was able to really use the Atonement of my Savior. Healing, enabling, and understanding come with using the gift of the Atonement. Depression and anxiety gives us the opportunity to become more one on one with the Savior. It helps us realize our strength, potential, and ability to overcome trials, troubles, and hardships. It gives us a reason to get on our knees and pray, to rely on our Father who loves us more than anything. Depression sucks, but God and Christ are greater than depression.
I still have days when I feel absolutely crazy, when I don't want to talk to anyone, and when I don't even want to live. But Christ makes up for all of that. If anyone who reads this has struggled or is struggling with some of these same things, I'm always here for you. We are to never fight our battles alone. "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Angels Round About You

You'd think it'd be easier getting answers and choosing what you should be doing in life, especially being a returned missionary and all. But, in fact, it is harder when surrounded by uncertainty, doubt, and worldly desires. Unfortunately, I am guilty of letting those things in the way when trying to do and listen to the will of Heavenly Father. But as I finally humbled myself and knelt down to talk to Him and then acted by studying and looking for His words, I came upon several different things that I have been missing altogether.

  1. Life and experiences, in my case dating and marriage, cannot be rushed. It is NOT our timing, but His and it always will be. (Even though we are told that again and again, it takes learning the lesson for it to sink it, doesn't it.) I'm not ready for marriage yet, as much as I would love to be, I don't want to miss out on life as a young adult, even as a young single adult. Dating is a great opportunity to meet so many new people, create friendships, and find out for yourself who you are searching for and who YOU are.
  2. In Ether 12:6 in the Book of Mormon, it says, "... ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Quoted hundreds of times by many of us, I think we fail to read what is directly before that. "... wherefore, dispute not because ye see not..." Ooops, once again I have been disputing and complaining about what has been going on in my life. Being a whiner, downer, and pouter. But, if I had just let the Lord guide me, letting my trust be put in Him, I would have seen much sooner, and gone through less heartache that the end result is and must be more glorious than I can even imagine. 
  3. Life is about learning to dance in the rain while waiting for the sun to come out. Yes, life sucks. We all know we will experience huge roller coaster rides, bumps, pits, and altogether stops. But hey, enjoy the bump. Scream as you ride that roller coaster. Put your arms up and feel the wind on your face. We can't plan every little detail or event in our life, but we can definitely learn how to live in the moment. This builds character, faith, trust, happiness, and joy. How? Because it gives us a chance to become one with our Savior and our Heavenly Father. And therein lies the rainbow, the sun, and the pot of gold. The Atonement covers those pits, bumps, stops, and downs. The dark allows us to use the enabling power of the Atonement, take Christ's hand, and let HIM lead us through. He knows where He is going. Choose to take His hand and hold on. It'll be a much smoother ride. 
  4. Forget yourself for a second. Serve others. Get to the temple, it's a perfect time. There are people waiting for YOU to be an answer to THEIR prayers. Yes, it is ok to take a moment for yourself, we all need it. But in the end, we all know that serving others will take the load off of us and off of those we are serving. Cool, right? Break those chains that you have put on yourself, and go help someone else. I promise, you'll feel great.
  5. Speaking of prayers, have you been on your knees lately? I have failed monumentally at this. Prayer, the act of communicating with God. Not to God, but WITH God. Talk to Him, let Him know all that is in your heart. And then LISTEN. He hears. On my mission, I remember praying one morning, and as I was on my knees, I had this amazing feeling and thought that even though thousands of other people and missionaries were praying, Heavenly Father hears my prayer. My prayer. Me, Carlie Stewart, 19 years old, and struggling to serve Him. But He heard. I testify He hears, even when we don't feel worthy of it. Get on your knees.
  6. When you get on your feet from your heart felt prayer, go to work. Study the scriptures, attend the temple, serve others. This is where those actions take part in our life. Seek out the Spirit. Trust His will. We must be moving in a direction, and even if it is not exactly the right direction, God will help us change our course if we rely on Him and are doing what He has asked us too. He will not forget or forsake us. 
Keep pushing on, yes, I am talking to myself and you. You aren't alone, I can promise you that. "...for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."