Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"believe in miracles"

tonight, i'm sitting quietly in my room. the house is full of sleeping people. my window is open and a gentle breeze is blowing. i am calm and at peace. which is where i need to be to write about such a difficult subject.

depression. more specifically my depression. when i wrote my christmas post last year i talked a bit about my faith. it is a huge part of who i am and what makes me me. i will again return to my 'roots' by referring to my beliefs in reference to a talk i heard this past weekend in a conference my church held. you can learn more about what i believe here.

this talk was given by a man named jeffrey holland. he spoke about mdd - or simply depression. i have taken quotes from his talk that really struck me which are in blue and written my response to them in red.

These afflictions (mental and emotional) are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor. if i had a nickle for every time a therapist told me this exact thing i'd be rich! especially in the beginning. i was told over and over - would you blame someone who has diabetes for needing insulin? then why are you upset with yourself for needing medication? there is something chemically off in the brain and it is ok - good even - to get the help you need. it took me a year to become comfortable with the idea of needing medication and allowing myself to say, my mental illness is real. it is real. and i need real help for it. it is not something i make up for attention or because i'm bored. i do not need to feel ashamed of it or hide it. it is a part of me. and you don't need to feel ashamed either. we all have struggles.

Today I am speaking of something more serious, of an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person’s ability to function fully, a crater in the mind so deep that no one can responsibly suggest it would surely go away if those victims would just square their shoulders and think more positively. he was transitioning from speaking of mental illness in general to specifically depression. i love the words he uses - crater in the mind. if i could smile my blues away, i would. if i could walk out into the sun and have it lift my burdens - and if you've been a reader of mine for long you know how much i dislike the sun - i would. if there were a way to 'get over' depression on my own, don't you think i would've done it? but it's not something that goes away with a smile and a pat on the shoulder. it wears you down, wears you out, and leaves you lifeless. then you have to get up and do something. there have been days where i have - and i almost use the word literally here literally - literally seen the world in grey. there were no colors. i slept all night and most of the day and walking up the stairs was more than i could handle. i wouldn't go to the bathroom - it was too much work. i was so sad. i didn't shower. this was after my visit to the hospital. the depression became a cloud.

Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. i love this! never lose faith that god loves me. he is there. he is real. he cares about me. he knows me. and while he may not have caused this depression - he allowed it for his greater purposes. some purposes i know - most i don't. but it's ok. i'll try to patiently wait.

Try not to be overwhelmed with the size of your task. Don’t assume you can fix everything, but fix what you can. If those are only small victories, be grateful for them and be patient. Dozens of times in the scriptures, the Lord commands someone to “stand still” or “be still”—and wait. i have often written about my apartment on here. it was 'my place my space' and i named it 'the quiet place.' in my room i had the scripture psalm 46:10 "be still and know that i am god" in vinyl letters on my wall. i saw it every day. it was a constant reminder to be still and let god work in my life. lately i have been overwhelmed with getting better and learning dbt and doing all the dbt skills and using them all every day and getting back to work and on and on it circles in my head. the task seems more like tasks and they feel impossible. but i rest in his words "be patient - stand still - wait." these are things i can do while doing my best one day at a time. how do you eat an elephant? one bite at a time.

stephanie clark neilson - is an incredible woman who he talked about. check out her blog : nienie

 Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it! Trust in God. i can honestly say - looking another person in the eyes - that there was a time in my life when i wanted to end my life. it was a dark time. i was mercifully blessed with friends (a and s in particular) and family and a dr who recognized that i wasn't myself or well and got me the help i needed. but when someone says to me in all seriousness 'i want to take my life' my first instinct is now not to convince them otherwise but to hear them out. to listen. ask questions. give advice. empathize. i've been there. i know how rough and real that feeling is.

Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. i think out of all he said this gives me the most hope. i know jesus can heal me. my favorite story in the bible is when jesus heals the woman who had the 'issue of blood' for many years. he says to her 'thy faith hath made thee whole.' to have those words spoken to me by the savior would be amazing. i know he has the power to heal my broken mind. i just have to wait for his timing. there is a moving video of this biblical account here.

the whole talk was wonderful and if you're interested in hearing it or reading it just click on this

here are a few final thoughts.

s always tells me that my future is bright. she tells me to believe in brighter days. there are days where i don't. but most days i can see the brighter future she is talking about. a future where not every day is laced with sadness. there is light at the end of my dark tunnel and it's the light of christ.

in writing all of this tonight i have exposed one of my greatest weaknesses : my depression. but i have to say that as i have written it has come clearly to my mind that it is also one of my greatest strengths. it is funny how god does that - turns our hardest things into our greatest victories. i'm not ashamed of my depression. it's hard and challenging and i don't love it but it's part of me and my journey. so i'll walk in my peace and beauty believing in better days ahead and trusting in god.


  1. i loved his talk - it was awesome to hear the subject of depression addressed like that! and i had very similar thoughts - the "crater of the mind" is a really good description. the commandment to "be still" is in sight all over my house. love the talk, love elder holland (i just named my baby after him!), and love you!

    1. i totally agree with you! it was so amazing to hear depression talked about in such open and honest terms. mom thinks it will become a 'landmark' talk. i think it will. thank you for your kind words, love and support. i'm grateful for your empathy and understanding. xo

  2. Rachel - you have beautifully captured Elder Holland's address. Thank you for your courage, honesty and bravery. And for not giving up. I love you!

    1. thank you so much for your sweet words :) i love you, too!