Jesus' Feet


The despair that comes from sin and the despair that comes from depression are two different things.

Coming to that understanding, combined with treatment (in my case, medication and therapy) have made it possible for me to finally feel like I am not being crushed under the weight of depression.

Without my medicine, at least at this stage, my thoughts become irrationally negative and my emotions overwhelm me. Without therapy, simple errors in my thinking land me again and again in places of despair in my mind. Those thoughts and emotions don't occur because of something I did or didn't do, they are symptoms of mental illness. For me to take personal responsibility for them, to berate myself for having them, compounds the situation.

For me to sit in my closet and beg Him to take the madness away is like me sitting there with a broken leg thinking that if I pray hard enough, He would heal it. Could He? Of course. He can do all things. But life has taught me He probably intends to guide me through it a different and more meaningful way. While it's nearly impossible for me to accept in those moments, it is a way that is better for me than releasing me from the mental anguish. 


******

"YOU."
"HAVE."
"AN ILLNESS."
"Why would you expect that with enough faith, you could make it go away? If my husband reads his scriptures enough, prays hard enough to show how much faith he has, is his diabetes going to disappear? NO."

A peace washed over me that I think I had waited 25 years or more to know. After a childhood peppered with anxiety, and having dealt with periods of mental anguish and difficult to process emotions since I was a teenager. After spending a couple of decades secretly wondering what was wrong with me. It finally clicked. It finally made sense, here in my therapist's office.

There was a reason behind the insanity. The insanity was the mental illness.   

As I continued to process this therapy session in the days that followed, the mental and emotional struggles of my whole life started coming into vivid focus. Oh how I had wondered why I failed so at the Savior's invitation to "fear not." I did my best everyday to press forward, but I was tormented by constant anxiety, fear that something really bad was about to happen at all times.

In my head I knew He had overcome the world, just as He promised. I knew at times I had known His peace to be a real thing. So why was I so racked with feelings of hopelessness and despair no matter how diligently I tried to follow Him?

"Because," I repeated to myself, as relief washed over me again. "This is an illness. You did not create this. It is not a flaw in your character. It is not that you have not tried hard enough. You have marveled at how others you have read about or even known personally have handled tremendously difficult challenges in their lives. This is yours. This is your really hard thing. You've navigated much of this life with fractured thinking and skewed processing of your emotions. And you have done very well on your journey." Somewhere as I reprocessed what I had learned in therapy that week, I do think the Holy Ghost had taken over and conveyed what my Heavenly Father wanted me to know. 

I had an understanding that Jesus had overcome all things. I had been filled with confidence after scripture study or particularly inspiring sermons at church that all darkness, all despair could be overcome through Him. I dared believe that included the dark corners of my mind, and the sense of hopelessness that often came to stay for long periods of time. I cannot tell you how many times I prayed in my closet, please, can you take this away now? And it would still be there the next morning.

It wasn't that He was cruel or was not listening. This was not a defect in my character that I needed to find and fix before He would help me. You wouldn't lay a migraine down at Jesus' feet. You wouldn't say, "Father, I am so sorry for the flaws in my character that caused me to develop a migraine. Please take it away." Because it's a migraine.

You know what you could do? Ask Him to guide you in your efforts to treat it and to help you bear it well.


Next Chapter: I Am a Sign



2 comments:

  1. I recently said to a friend regarding depression and anxiety, "I just don't want this to be my trial. I hate it. I don't want this particular trial." Ha! Who wants any trial?? But we can make it through this--with medication, therapy---and prayer!!

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  2. I am really impressed by your strong believe on Jesus. That's called the true believer,who believe in Jesus no matter what is going wrong in his life.May God bless you always.

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