Wednesday, June 1

For Better or Worse... In Sickness... and Depression

I had a history teacher who was incredibly passionate in high school. He seemed slightly crazy and would bring up incredibly random facts and ideologies, then find ways to convince us of their application to life. Amid recommendations to read "The Last of the Argonauts" and attend obscure, questionable theatrical performances, he introduced us to biorhythms... and gave us each a chart with the task of mapping out our own individual biorhythm and corresponding highs and lows.

I remember my curiosity being piqued... it makes sense that the mind and body follows discrete patterns... but is there an actual way to track them, outside of the stuff that girls do? I definitely wondered if there was anything real about biorhythms, and tossed myself headfirst.

The first problem I ran into was inherent bias - the placebo effect. If I chart my own biorhythm, it's much more likely to become true if I think it's a plausible explanation for mental, spiritual, physical, or emotional health. And it's more likely to be false if I disbelieve it in the first place. Unfortunately, I've never had the opportunity to have someone else track my moods and performance over time and match them to my "official" biorhythm according to the normal equations... but ultimately that's not totally relevant. What my teacher was trying to explain was the importance of understanding when to fly and when to fall back - the natural ups and downs of life and how to best use them.

I hit a massive down this week. On a bunch of levels. All at once. It would have been the bottom of all my biorhythms - the day that the charts told me to stay inside and plan nothing important. It was Memorial Day. So I found myself feeling like my head would explode, my brain turn to mush, and my whole body would freeze (wrapped in a dozen blankets), while simultaneously having to cancel holiday plans because I couldn't stop crying. Craziness. My depression has ceased to really be detrimental on my overall attitude, but it still makes me wonder about it all. The thought was more than a little absurd - here I am, able to tell my body to do pretty much anything I want, and yet I find myself crying for absolutely no reason and totally unable to stop. And when I've been crying for hours, posting and responding to comments is no longer at the top of my list.

Something this had made me wonder about is the huge amount of uncertainty that will come when I eventually find a wife. I probably won't find someone as messed up as I am (since the blog here at (Gay) Mormon Guy doesn't even scratch the surface of my problems)... but everyone faces trials. Everyone has difficulties. And everyone has things the Lord has or will ask them to consecrate beyond their personal will. I guess I just wonder what those things will be like for the girl I'll someday marry. What's her story of learning to trust and rely on God? Of coming to know who He is? Of finding peace in the doctrines of the gospel as they bring perspective to everything in life? How did she realize that all things, even potentially complicated or hard things like same-sex attraction, can be for our good and give us experience if we "endure it well," "love God... and serve Him"?

Someday I'll find a girl to marry. And we'll promise to each other and to God to love and support each other - whether or not health comes... Whether or not our dreams come true. We'll make the commitment, and rely on the Lord, finding peace and hope and happiness in the truth that the gospel brings each day.


  1. Hi! I, too, suffer from crippling depression. I feel for you! I'm glad that you are usually able to pull yourself out of it by working out. Unfortunately I don't have time to work out with having a toddler to take care of. I'm so sorry that you're having such a difficult time. I hope it hasn't been caused in part by some of the comments left here. The internet is a strange beast-- you can say whatever you want because it's usually anonymous. Just try not to let people get you down! I find your blog to be very inspiring. I don't suffer from same-gender attraction, but I know other people that do and I'm sure your blog does an enormous amount of good. Keep up the great work!

  2. I feel like I can commiserate with you on the feeling of genuine surprise when the body and spirit seemingly erupt with intense pain, sorrow, and angst. It comes as a shock when we feel that we've got everything "under control" and are successfully juggling all the emotional and cognitive balls that come with the experience of being Mormon and homosexual.
    I can recall numerous moments over the years where the littlest thing hit me in just the wrong way and the flood gates would open. Just this last Sunday I felt quite in control and optimistic and then read an op-ed in the Des News regarding same-sex issues. I followed the stream of comments and felt my heart sink as the level of vitriol and thoughtlessness of the readers increased. I felt as though the readers had completely forgotten the human beings who were at the heart of the issue. As much as I thought I was above it, the overwhelming sense of antipathy expressed by the readers of the op-ed got me and I finally succumbed to the bed and hid under the covers listening to classical music for five hours. All the while I was both surprised by the depth of sorrow and frustrated by how overwhelmed I was.

    This evening I took a walk with a friend how is also Mormon and homosexual and is currently at what feels like his lowest point of depression ever. His heart is hurting so much, he genuinely feels the pressure bearing down on his chest. The sadness consumes most of his energy to survive the day.

    Moments like those and the one you experienced this week, do make it especially hard to face the uncertainty of life and the future, no matter our intent. Moments like those and the one you experienced this week, do make it especially hard to accept the uncertainty of life and the future, no matter our intent. And yes, there are hopeful ideas and gospel principles to have faith in, but in moments like those it seems best to just help one another feel understood and not alone. Take care of yourself.

  3. All I have to say is about my worries. About you. I've typed out and erased messages for fifteen minutes. Twenty minutes. Researched back posts to find patterns. Thirty minutes and more. Fretting. Ultimately I don't think any of it would help the you that I have gotten to know here.

    Please take good care of you.

  4. Journey -

    Thanks for your concern. Sometimes that's enough. And realize that you're not alone in your fretting about how to help. Most people in my life feel that way. Stressed, but unsure what to do about it. You're welcome to stress, but I'll suggest not. But you already know that. Thanks again - hoping that you're doing well yourself.

  5. I have suffered from depression in different forms off & on from years.Some I can attribute to life events(reactive depression) & others to numerous various things including hormones.
    As I get older & maybe wiser I can chart the progress{??} of my downward spiral-other days it's like a bolt out of the blue & I am laid low with tears & feelings of worthlessness & hopelessness.
    There is always light at the end of my tunnell though- a phone call from a loved one,a funny e-mail or a visit.
    My main comfort is knowing that our Saviour knows how I feel-He felt this pain a billion times magnified-willingly,lovingly & devotedly in order that we could be free from the pain & He was innocent of all wrong doing.
    Sometimes my downs are because I know I'm not doing what I should or doing what I shouldn't.Oh how that tempter loves to whisper
    "Just give in it's hopeless".
    I'm so glad I know that it's not that because of my Saviour's love I can live to fight another day.We all fight different demons-I am so glad that I have mine it has made me strong & appreciative & more patient with others(what once was a weakness is now a strength)
    Good luck in your demon slaying in whatever form it takes.

  6. You poor thing. I'm sorry.

    (Not sarcastic, though I know it could be read that way.)

    I have a friend who, like you, is staying with the church in spite of his attractions. He's in his first long term relationship with a woman right now. He's finding it very hard, but he's also happy about it. I imagine you're a lot like him, which is a good thing, and that you will, like him, be happy in spite of sadness.

    On a different note, a small story: An old friend recently came from America on a business trip (I live in Japan) and we shared a hotel room one night while we were being tourists. We got to talking about church and such, and she bore her testimony to me. (I've been inactive for the past two years or so.) It seemed empty to me, as so many testimonies do, because I know she has not had a challenge comparable to SGA--because I know that she is nowhere near as "messed up" as I am. (You'll have to trust me when I say I know.)I find I can't respect her and can't feel understood by her.

    So I'm curious. You say that you probably won't find someone as "messed up" as you. Okay. But how will you deal with the difference in experience? Do you not feel that it would be a barrier, like I feel my friend's lack of messed-up-ness is? If not, why not?

  7. Matt -

    My definition of being messed up is probably a little different than yours - I'm not talking about emotional baggage or the sum of past experiences, but actual day-to-day difficulties that are a part of who I am. I'll need to find someone who has had at least similar experiences coming to Christ, but I'm not sure that she'll have the same everyday difficulties that I face. If so, or if not, I think that'll be okay. But she'll need to have the emotional connection that I do so that we can communicate on the same level.

  8. Perhaps you'll find a woman who can't have children in a church all about the family. Perhaps someone who also suffers from severe depression and attempted to kill herself. Perhaps someone who has been spiritually prepared for many a year, schooled by the hand of the creator himself, to be your helpmate.

    She may not "understand" everything you go through, but you don't need to understand to have compassion. She may just be a very strong, unwavering support for you. The point is that she will be yours, and the Lord will send her to you in his appointed time. You just have to stay strong on your own until then, yes?


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