Wednesday, April 13

Pressing Forward in Pain

It started four days ago, when life began to run me ragged and left me physically smashed. Then my mind began to go numb, and I found it hard to think or do anything at all... even to respond to emails asking for help. And then a hundred things all happened at once in life... each one battering at my already bruised self... and now I'm left feeling like my emotions and spirit and life itself have been drained from me. All the feelings are too familiar... and only partly influenced by the outside world and the usual topic here at (Gay) Mormon Guy. They're the precursors to depression.

I have a list of coping strategies I've developed over the years - things that I can do to try to offset it. Go play sports. Write. Pray. Find someone to talk to who I can lift. Find someone to talk to who I feel understands. Give service. But I really have no desire to do any of those things. I have no desire to do anything at all.

In my life though, habit and duty rank higher than desires... which means that I force myself to try even though my tears aren't dry. I find people that can temporarily distract me from my woes. I write and try to find meaning in the feelings that I face. And I kneel in prayer, asking God for understanding and for peace.

It's days like today when I wonder what else I'm supposed to learn from my trials. What messages God is trying to send me, what lessons He is so anxious that I understand. I know that some trials can go away through Christ once I've overcome them... but I wonder if I'll ever be able to learn the things I need to in this life... or if one of the lessons is enduring to the end - something I can only do as I strive to grow in the face of pain.

I'll be ok. God loves me. I'm doing my best and I am keeping His commandments. And with Him at my side, I'll come out on top, better understanding Him and others for my experiences here... whether in joy or sorrow, happiness or pain.

15 comments:

  1. I don't know you, but I am oh so familiar with depression. I am pulling for you. Eventually is gets better. Just use your tools. Force yourself to until it gets better. Much love!

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  2. (From an outside perspective of someone who does not know you personally, so it's not worth much) You seem to spend a lot of time focusing on helping others as a way to feel better and cope with your own struggles. That's excellent and Christlike. But may I also suggest that you find someone that you can lean on as well? It seems like we all have a hard time accepting help for ourselves but we are most willing to give it to others. I remember having a lung infection, sinus infection AND congunctivitus at the SAME time and refusing a blessing because I was afraid to get them sick. But if my friend had been in the same situation I would have braved their home anyway with soup from me and brought a few priesthood holders to give a blessing. Sometimes it's hard to be the person who RECEIVES service instead of the one who GIVES service.

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  3. Autumn:

    I agree wholeheartedly. But realize that there are other circumstances in my life, largely unrelated to this blog, and far more impactful, that stand as a permanent barrier to relying on or drawing strength from others. God is my strength, and He will always be there for me.

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  4. I agree with Autumn. You're way too hard on yourself and while I can't imagine what you must go through, I know in the end you're still gonna be a good person because that is just part of who you are. When my uncle was shot, I remembered my mom telling my aunt something that I believe fully: God deals the toughest cards to the toughest of his children. You're a tough person. Not a lot of people can go through everything you've gone through and turn out as well as you have. You should be proud of yourself as I am quite sure God is proud of you.

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  5. I don't know if it would help you or not, but St John's Wort sometimes helps me. :) I realize that there may be a cause which has nothing to do with the body, but this chemical body of ours, does sometimes need a little help dealing with those causes. Another thing that is immensely helpful for depression is exercise; which is, in fact, a requirement for all patrons of Depression Institutes. Exercise affects the spirit in an amazing way! And my suggestion is to find something that you really enjoy doing. Sometimes exercising with a friend can make the experience more fun. I really hope this helps. :)
    ...praying for you.

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  6. Thank you for recognizing your divine potential, and for sharing your strength with the world. I love the idea that as children of a divine Father in heaven we can connect without even seeing each other. You’re ability to freely give of your soul to others so that we may grow is beyond admirable; it is impacting the world, and saving lives. Thank you just doesn’t seem sufficient enough for the work that you are doing.

    As I’ve been reading the New Testament this year I’ve been amazed at all of the healing that Christ did during His ministry. Today I was reading in Luke 6 when Christ heals a man with a withered hand, and I thought to myself “This man already had the faith to be healed; he is there in front of the Savior, waiting patiently, with his ailment, for his turn to feel the Master’s touch.” Then I wondered what it would be like if we could actually see the ailments that the Lord has healed in those around us; our friends, family, mere acquaintances. How differently would we treat them if we only knew their struggles? I personally have struggles with depression, and have had to rely on the Savior’s hand many times to pull me out of the darkness. I’ve had those moments when His touch was the only thing that could retrieve me from my own thoughts, and bring me back to light.

    As I kept reading I noticed the small things the Savior asked this man to do, and realized that in all of His healings He gives a small command to the person being healed. In this case He asks the man to “Rise up, and stand forth in the midst,” and the man followed. Then, the Savior says “Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.” For each of our individual trials, struggles, and ailments – whether they are emotional or physical – the Lord gives us small commands, which bring us to the moment that we will be restored whole, complete. But we must prepare for this moment of perfection, because ultimately it is through these small acts of obedience that we attain it. It is in each of these individual moments that we reach out to the Savior, and seek to feel His touch, even if it is simply the hem of His robe.

    I commend you for all of your work. You spend each day reaching and seeking to touch the Master’s hand. Your faith is strong enough to carry you through, and your understanding of the atonement will be what brings you out of darkness. Thank you so much for sharing your testimony with the world, and for bringing me each day, just a little closer to our Savior.

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  7. Aw Mormon Guy.

    That really tears at my heart.

    I don't know what to say. I know the drill. I say what I think. You retreat into your solution. We both walk away sad.

    I refuse to do that today.

    Instead of telling you how to fix it, I'm going to share: THIS and point out a few things.

    When my little girl was losing the ability to feed herself, to walk, and to call me mama, that was a difficult trial. This cannot be taken away from her. It is genetic. I have great faith. But I know that healing a deletion in her DNA is not going to happen. Not for a good long time. I must continue to live.

    It is not taken away from us.

    However. I firmly believe that God strengthens us. I am stronger directly because of Him and what He has led me to do. Because He led me to blog, I am now able to sing to my children again through the depression of earlier times. Because I can talk to my community here, I have reached out as I never have before.

    I am humbled, but it has not left me weak. I am still clutching at the torn places in my soul, but find I can still stand. Suffering is not glorious, nor is it sanctifying. What IS cleansing is the gentle lift of the Master's Hand.

    And taking a deep breath.

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  8. " 'Ah,' said Rabbit, who never let things come to him, but always went and fetched them." - A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

    "Well-behaved wo[men] rarely make history." - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, historian

    "Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about." - Unknown

    "Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." - Marie Curie

    "If you can't get out of it, get into it." - Quoted by Susan Zimmermann

    "You have to play the ball where it lies." - Bobby Jones, US golfer

    "Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see further." - Thomas Carlyle

    Still thinking of you. <3 JBS

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  9. I understand. It's like walking in a fog though the mud with no energy or interest. Just keep walking, even if you don't want to. Keep up with the motions of life. If you can, change your environment for a couple of days. Leave town and allow yourself to drink in your new surroundings. Give yourself permission to run away for a weekend and explore where ever you end up. Go where there is sunshine and spend time outside...lots of time.

    God bless.

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  10. I've had some of those moments when everything you and others do just don't help. When you really have to rely on the Lord to pull you through. I find that exposing myself more to things the Lord can speak through brings me out of the depression faster.

    For example, simply listening to this song by Jon Schmidt - http://youtu.be/LyVecREC6rw - touches me and makes me feel... loved I guess. Other things I do is read specific scripture chains that I've made that have helped before. One specific chain I really like is D&C 58:2-5, 78:17-19, 98:1-3, 122:7-9, John 13:33-14:4

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  11. I think you would benefit greatly from getting some professional therapy. I struggle with depression and anxiety and went to a therapist for a year+. You should definitely check it out. You need an outlet, someone you can trust, someone to listen to you and help you as you struggle. Believe me it totally helps.

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  12. I like your attitude. reminds me of what Dori says on Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming..." I'm pretty sure that what saves a man is the ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other even when you don't want to or don't think you can. I've been in some wonderfully low places in my life and it seems like it comes down to a choice. Choosing despair or hope. I've tried despair and it sucks. Hope is what keeps me going in hard times. I know that what I'm going through is just a temporary pain filled moment in the grand scheme of things. So I just feed my mind the most positive perception of life I can. I happened upon this blog by accident but am so glad I did.

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  13. I can't help but think of the talk from General Conference - I think by Elder Christofferson http://lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/as-many-as-i-love-i-rebuke-and-chasten?lang=eng I find much comfort from these talks, and could not help but think the words "...I am the gardener here, and you are the currant bush." -you are quite an incredible tool the Lord is using sir, and I don't know what it is like for you exactly (each one of us is stronger and weaker in different ways and times) but all of us your readers come here because you give us strength, hope, and comfort in our low and depressing moments. It's understandable that you also have your harder days too. You're in my prayers. God bless.

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  14. you can get priesthood blessing can't you? Sending you more love.

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