Battling Clinical Depression, “Finding the Light from Within”

Jan 3, 2011 by

Editor’s note: Ariane has created a blog where she talks about dealing with clinical depression and anxiety. She kindly consented to us sharing one of her posts here at Mormon Women.

“Finding the Light from Within”
(the first in our “Forward With Faith” series)

LDS woman dealing with depression with faith and hope

~by Ariane

As we journey through life, along the way we discover through various personal experiences, the learning and growth that is required of us to become the type of person that the Lord intends for us to become. As we experience both the struggles and the victories, we can gain valuable strength and knowledge that will add to our character an extra measure of strength and understanding. It is my hope that through sharing my experiences with clinical depression and anxiety, that I might in some small way be able to make a difference in the life of another who is carrying the same burden, and that along the way each of us will find additional faith, hope and strength as we trust in the Lord and make Him a constant part of our individual journey.

When I was a kid I went on a tour through Minnetonka cave. The tour guide lead us diligently thorough the cave along the lighted pathway. Scattered throughout the cave were these amazing stalactites and stalagmites. As rain would fall upon the roof of the cave, drops of water would trickle down through cracks in the roof and form these fascinating formations.

At one point along our tour, our guide gave us an unforgettable experience. For a few seconds he turned off all of the light that had allowed us to safely navigate our way through the cave. Without any natural or man made light, the darkness was overwhelming. It was so dark that we could not even see our hand held out in front of our face. The darkness completely engulfed us.

Much like this cave, clinical depression can turn what was once a lighted pathway into a blinding darkness. I use the word blinding because in the depths of clinical depression the darkness that engulfs an individual can become blinding. This blindness is not a physical impairment of the eyes, but rather an impairment of emotions and thought processes. These impairments of the emotions and thoughts can be so severe that it leaves one without the ability to seethe valuable and worthwhile individual that they are. Trapped in this  darkness a sufferer of clinical depression can soon forget that there even once existed a lighted pathway. The blindness that consumes them can quickly cause its sufferer to loose hope that they will ever find their way out of the darkness of the cave, where they once again can find light.

A clinically depressed person is also much like the stalactites that I saw hanging in the cave. They can be very fragile. They must cling “tite” to the ceiling of the cave to avoid the possibility of falling and breaking. When depressed, an individual too must cling “tite”; week to week, day to day, and even hour to hour.

There have been many times when I have felt so deeply inadequate and worthless from my depression that I truly believed there was something inherently wrong with me. I would try to pinpoint what exactly it was that caused me to feel so worthless. Was I not nice enough or giving enough? Was I too quiet or maybe just plain boring? Or maybe I just had an unlikable personality. These thoughts rang even more true to me, because I had what I believed to be valid reasons to prove their truthfulness.

I struggled so much with these negative beliefs, that even looking at others’ blogs or Facebook pages became another reminder to me of my inadequacies and my worthlessness, which would constantly send me spiraling down. I eventually had to make the decision to stop viewing blogs and to close out my Facebook account for my own well-being.

However, as I continued to cling tight as these stalactites do, the darkness that surrounded me began to fade.The dark cave I was trapped in, did not suddenly become illuminated with light, but I began to find the light within myself. This occurred over a process of finding proper medication, attending counseling appointments, and of course through the Atonement of the Savior. I once again have began to see my value and worth, allowing me the ability to work on rebuilding my self-esteem and confidence.

One of my favorite scriptures that has become dear to my heart as I have battled to correct this blinding darkness, is found in Doctrine and Covenants 78: 17-18.  It reads:

“Verily, verily I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.”

I am as that little child who is working on understanding what great things Heavenly Father has prepared for me. I cannot bear all things now, but I do have the knowledge that the Lord will lead me along, and that I will be blessed.

One of the blessings that I have been given is the knowledge I’ve gained through cognitive behavioral therapy. The focus of this therapy is to learn how to challenge the negative and distorted thoughts that consume the mind of individuals suffering with clinical depression. The key to successfully responding to this therapy is to find positive thoughts and reasons that prove the negative thoughts and perceptions to be untrue. Going through this process of challenging the negative thoughts allows an individual the ability to better see the positive proof, which in turn broadens their ability to not only challenge the negative, but to also more fully believe in the positive. As I have worked on incorporating these principles as a part of my healing process,  believing in the positive, has been a vital part of rediscovering the light within myself.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
our deepest fear
is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?
Actually who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people
won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And when we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson

This quote hung on my fridge for several months. It has served as a reminder to me to learn to love the person that I am, and to let my personal light shine. My faith helps me to know that we are all children of God and as we more fully come to recognize that, the light within each of us will radiate. We will be more fully capable of challenging the negative thoughts and perceptions and believing in the positive and valuable qualities that allow us to love and believe in the person that we are.

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28 Comments

  1. Colleen Poole

    Good job sharing! It has been over 20 years since my journey with clinical depression began. I have learned much and I have been able to assist many of my friends through their paths to getting help. My symptoms were not emotional pain, but physical pain; but I clearly remember the feeling of the lights coming back on inside my head as the medication kicked in for the first time. I was fortunate to find a doctor who understood depression on my first try; and I was fortunate that medication gave me back my life. I view it as our opportunity to teach others how wrong the myths about depression are.

  2. I too suffered from clinical depression. I found many of the same answers suggested here. This is a great article. Something that I found was an absolute necessity for me was adhering to a morning routine. It was an absolute need to start each day with prayer and scripture study and meditation. I had to re-establish my true identity as a child of God everyday. I needed to experience a “Mighty Change of Heart” every morning. After I completed that, I did my exercise routine. How important this is to help balance my brain chemistry. Talking about brain chemistry, another major factor I have recently come to understand is the role of nutrition. It turns out that my brain chemistry is particularly sensitive to refined sugar and white flour. Eliminating these elements from my life has made a dramatic difference in my ability to remain positive and happy. When you are not battling your body as well as your mind, a whole new world opens up. You can finally become who you were meant to be. As an outgrowth of my experience, I wrote “The Twelve Week Challenge,” a life balance program based on prioritized values. (Published by Cedar Fort) It is really a manual on how one can lift their life out of depression. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for helping me to overcome this terrible monster. There is HOPE!

  3. Catharine Reeder

    Great blog. I suffer from chronic depression and my biggest hurdle has been the “just get over it” attitude from many people. My campaign has been to teach people to treat depression like diabetes. I knew I was scoring a victory when I finally convinced my dear husband that I could no more “get over” my depression than he could “get over” his diabetes. It only took 15 years and our oldest son being diagnosed with depression also. I still have bad days, but leaning on the gospel and the good people in my life has eased the burden considerably. Also finding a good doctor, correct medication and counciling.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  4. kris bridge

    I suffer from depression along with PTSD. I have always felt I was the only one suffering from this disease and I feel that there is hope. I am not mormon but I have learned to rely on prayer to get me through the hard parts of the day. I lost my son in 2010 and he also has depression. thank you for the ideas.

  5. Neil

    People say they care but few do. I go to church, I sit alone. People mostly just ignore me. Most people who suffer depression have a spouse to rely on. The church is so marriage and family oriented we just assume everyone is married and has children. Singles are always left out. Who wants to go on a ward campout and be the only single adult there. I have gone through two divorces and never had children of my own. Women think there is something wrong with me and that I don’t want children. Mostly I just feel bad because of so many lost opportunities.

  6. I have gone in and out of clinical depression since I was a teenager – some episodes much worse than others. It wasn’t until this past April 2010 that I finally recognized it might actually be depression, and acknowledged that I needed help above and beyond what prayer and scriptures were providing. Until then I just thought it was a trial to be endured until death – and oh how I wanted life to end, sooner rather than later. Because of depression (and negative distorted thoughts) I felt “cut-off” from God – with my prayers seemingly bouncing off a very low ceiling. Thanks to a wonderful Bishop, counseling and medication (along with a few supportive friends) I am doing much better now. It is still an everyday journey, and might always be so. I can still remember the day this past summer when I noticed there was actually light in the world, and how beautiful life can be. Thank you for your insights – it is always reassuring to know I am not alone.

  7. Colleen, 20 years is a long time. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to take opportunities to shed some light on the myths of depression; I think that is very important to those that deal with depression. I’m also glad to hear that youv’e been able to help others along the way. Keep sharing your light.

  8. Sidne, thank you for your additional insight and suggestions. I found your book on Cedar Forts website, and it looks wonderful! I think it’s great that you’ve taken the opportunity through writing, to share with others insights that you’ve gained through your battle with depression. Thank you for reminding us of HOPE!

  9. Catharine, it is a hurdle to help others understand that depression is not something you can “just snap out of.” It is a difficult thing for someone who has never dealt with it, to understand why you think and feel the way that you do. I too have found that even having just a small group of people around me who are there as a support system, can make quite a difference in helping me to find additional peace and healing. Thank you for your insight.

  10. Kris, I’m so sorry about the loss of your son. I hope that you will be able to find some peace and understanding as you are coping with this difficult challenge. Thank you for being willing to share your experience with us. I too on many occasions have felt like I was the only one suffering with depression. That’s why I’m so grateful for opportunities like this, where we have the ability to share with one another our own personal story and know that there are others who are experiencing many of the same difficulties. I’m so glad that you mentioned relying on prayer. I know that God hears us, know us, and loves us. We are his children, and He will always be there to help us and watch over us. Sometimes the answers come in unexpected ways or at unexpected times, but I do know that He is very aware of us and loves each of us unconditionally. Thanks for sharing your courage!

  11. Neil, I am sorry that you have been in this difficult position. I know of others who are in a similar situation and my heart goes out to them. One thing I have found in common with all of these individuals is that they are some of the best, most loving, and spiritual people I know. President Gordon B. Hinckley said this concerning members of the church who are not married:

    “Though you are so diverse in your backgrounds, we have put a badge on you as if you were all alike. That badge reads S-I-N-G-L-E-S. I do not like that. I do not like to categorize people. We are all individuals living together, hopefully with respect for one another, notwithstanding some of our personal situations.

    I assure you that I feel at home with you because you are all Latter-day Saints. In your hearts you know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ and that this Church is the creation of the Almighty and the Savior, whose name it bears. I know that you pray, and that is a wonderful thing. Sometimes you pray to the Lord with great earnestness for help, for companionship, for relief from your struggles. You wonder why your prayers are not answered as you would like them to be.

    We have all had that experience. But we come to know as the years pass that our Father in Heaven does hear our prayers. His wisdom is greater than ours, and we come to know that He answers our prayers even though the answers at times are difficult to discern.

    My heart reaches out in love to each of you. I think that in some measure, at least, I know something of your problems and your desires. You reply, “You have never been through what we go through, and so you really do not know anything about it.”

    There is a measure of truth in that, but I hope you will not deny the feelings of my heart for you. I do not sympathize with you because I know you do not want pity. Rather, in a spirit of love and of understanding I simply talk with you in a dialogue.

    …When all is said and done, we should not be classified as married or single but as members of the Church, each worthy of the same attention, the same care, the same opportunities to be of service.

    In conclusion, please be assured of our love. Please be assured of our respect, of our confidence in you. Insofar as I have the right to do so, I bless you that if you will walk in faith and righteousness you will know much of happiness, you will have the temporal blessings you need, you will have friends with whom you can share your thoughts and your feelings, and you will experience the love of the Redeemer of the world.”
    (You can find the whole text of this talk on the LDS.org website, “A Conversation with Single Adults”)

    If you are not currently seeing a counselor, I would encourage you to do so. I have found great healing in finding a wonderful counselor through LDS Family Services. She has been an angel for me and has had a great impact on helping me through some very dark times. If there is not an LDS Family services near your hometown, check into other local counselors and don’t be concerned about switching to a different counselor if you need to. Your Bishop also may have the financial resources to help offset the cost of counseling appointments, if needed.

    Please know that you are being thought of and that you are not alone in your struggles. Thank you for your example of strength and courage.

  12. Rebecca, I’m so glad that you’ve been able to find some help and hope. I know what it’s like to feel as if your prayers are not heard. One of the characteristics that makes depression so difficult is the impairment of your thoughts and feelings. It is also through thoughts and feelings that we find anwers to prayers and feel and recognize the love of God. When these things are distorted because of depression, it can make it more difficult to recognize God’s hand in our lives. During some of my most difficult times I learned to recognize the love of our Father in Heaven, in small and simple ways; the wisdom of a great counselor, friends who knew just what I needed, loving guidance of church leaders, a smile, a hug, or a complement. This has served as a great blessing in my life.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I hope you will continue to find hope and healing.

  13. Lonnie

    All:
    As I read, I was struck by how timely for me this was! I have been dealing with deppresion and related issues all of my life. My father continued horrible family traditions throughout his life of abuse both mental, emotional and in my case physical. Later, it became sexual involving many of my 10 siblings. Thru my struggles to really understand my self worth and develope my personal values and testimony, I traveled many paths. Vietnam vet, hippy associations, searched for low friends in all places for years. Finally found my “home” was in the gospel and started a family but HepC and many illnesses complicated that and PTSD, Drepression, and sickness from treatments have intensified those conditions to the point each of you have described and even tho I have the Melchezidek Priesthood and served in the Temple and been sealed to an Xwife, there are many days of despair that I struggle mightily to overcome. I have felt much physical pain and constant loneliness and have wondered where God is in my life. I feel my leaders can’t relate for they and good fellow High Priests say “get back on the horse” and we’ll help, but they can’t talk with me about it because they think It can be left behind by a decision. I want to, but it doesn’t work like that and blesssings and prayers haven’t cured this affliction. Interferon and Ribavarin treatments 3 times in 6 years have labelled me a non-responder, disabled me, and caused additional damage to my liver which caused my depression to deepen, a heart attack with permanent damage, onset of Diabetes II, and generally poor health that scares off all potential Eternal Companions (my wife left me before I started “chemo” the second time to go have fun since I was too sick to have fun with. I was devastated but finished my I & R chemo (3rd go around) and finally got custody of me sons for the last 6 years. It has been extremely difficult, but worth it! It is not over! I am struggling especially right now as my daughter just returned from her mission and my 2 youngest sons are preparing leave on theirs. My 3 oldest sons are married with children and 1 has served a mission. For me it is a great struggle to rise up to the challenges of each day. I find limited energy to meet those challenges and have had to just say “No” too that daunting task and rest and reserve my limited resources. Some days I don’t want to see any one or only a select few who understand and won’t question or comment about why I don’t do more. I wish my Bishop would understand and my Home Teacher had a better feel for my circumstance, I love them but find no relief there. I can;t rely on anyone but the Savior, many days he doesn’t seem to talk to me. In depression, it’s so difficult to find the Spirit, yet I must. A wife would possibly help but how can I subject her to my misery? I am not feeling sorry for myself, just no-takers so far, not even dates in 8 years. So I endure as best I can.

  14. Lonnie,

    You have been through a lot. I admire your ability to keep pressing forward against difficult circumstances. I too have experinced the overwhelming lack of energy, motivation, and social interactions. Sometimes it was a chore for me just to get myself out of bed in the morning. I have had to work on recognizing that it’s okay to say “no.”

    Sometimes saying “no” can actually be the healthier choice for us, in any given circumstance, to reserve our energy for other things which are higher priorities.

    I love this quote by Elder Dallin H. Oaks. He said:

    “We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”

    Everyone is a little different in their response to various treatments for depression. For me, it took finding the correct medication, faithfully attending counseling appointments, and of course relying on the Savior. As I began to find relief in response to my individual treatment, I was again able to feel the peace and comfort of the Spirit. I now have a much deeper understanding of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice for us, and the unconditional love of our Father in Heaven.

    Also, a wonderful book that is very insightful, especially for other members of the church who may not understand depression is a book by Elder Alexander B. Morrison titled, “Valley of Sorrow: A Laymans’s Guide to Understanding Mental Illness.”

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and for your example of strength. It is a reflection of your faith and courage. Keep shining!

  15. Mary Silver

    Thank you for your wonderfully perceptive article. I have been fighting clinical depression for about 30 years, and my grandfather and his son (my uncle) both committed suicide. I attempted suicide once and have thought about it many, many times. I have finally arrived at the point now, thanks to medication and therapy, that I know when I drop back into deep depression that I must simply ride it out and suicide is not the answer.

    I am grateful that as a country, and as a church, we are more open to discussing the realities of depression as well as the modes of treatment. All of our 4 children suffer from depression. Hopefully, gone are are the days when people tell you to just “buck up” and stop feeling sorry for yourself. I think our Church has made great progress in recognizing how many members are victims of depression, many of which can be beaten down by the overwhelming expectations they feel the Church places on us- real or perceived. We are realizing that “be ye perfect” isn’t going to happen while we are here on earth and will be attained little by little.

    I am glad that the stigma of taking meds is reduced. I know from experience that were it not for help from medication, I would not be here today. The poem by Marianne Williamson and the scriptures you referred to are most helpful. Thanks again for sharing.

  16. Yes, depression may be a disease, but just maybe it is a curable disease. Could that be a possibility? (“With God nothing shall be impossible.” — Luke 1:37) The Doctrine and Covenants tell us that, “And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.” (D&C 42:48) No one is appointed unto death by suicide, I am confident of that. So if there are answers, a healing process what is it?
    Brain research has discovered that our brains can grow and change at any age! What a wonderful discovery. Yes, it is true that some of us are blessed/cursed with lower levels of critical brain chemicals that predispose us to depression. Others who are not so endowed have a difficult time perceiving how we feel. Sometimes we have a hard time understanding how they can be the way they are also. The point being, if nothing is impossible with God, there must be solutions. If we are not appointed to death, which we are not, there must be a healing available.
    Here is what I have found that works:
    1. First of all, start a daily morning routine that includes scripture study, prayer and meditation. It doesn’t matter if you feel worthy to pray, do not enjoy studying the scriptures or know how to meditate. JUST DO IT! This is the most important thing you can do each day. This way you start the day with victory. If nothing else goes right that day, at least you know you did something right! And you can refer to it again and again as other forces try to tell you you are a failure. Not true, you have a victory today!
    2. Next, think of something you need to do for your health. Everyone knows something that they need to improve in that way. I would suggest making this a matter of prayer. Those of us with delicate brain chemistry may find that this is a critical decision. I know from experience that sugar and white flour play havoc with my brain chemistry. This may be true for you. Once you understand this and see the difference eliminating these things from you diet can make in your life, they are no longer even a temptation. Overcoming depression is so-o-o much easier when you are not battling your body chemistry.
    3. List 5 things that you are grateful for today. I mean some things you have heartfelt gratitude for. Not just one word, but a sentence or paragraph about what you are grateful for. Having gratitude, looking for the Lord’s hand in your life, even in small ways can change your life.
    4. As I mentioned before, the brain can change. Repetitive negative thoughts literally create grooves in our brain. Eliminating those repetitive thoughts closes those grooves. We can create new positive grooves in our brain with repetitive positive thoughts. This is true. It may seem impossible when you first begin to be conscious of your thought process and try to blank out or reverse negative thoughts, but it really isn’t. Scientists have shown it only takes 30 days to eliminate old neural pathways and create new ones. Just 30 days! So what seemed impossible on day 1 could be easy by day 30. Worth the discipline, focus and effort.
    5. Find someone who loves you and understands your struggle that will keep you accountable. When you start out it is important to have someone out there you can report back to daily. They can celebrate your successes and help you analyze you set-backs. (Figure out what you did wrong and help you plan a better strategy so you can meet your goal next time.)
    Sometimes I think depression is given to those with the most potential. What better way to keep them incapacitated so that they can not fulfill their mission here on earth. I know that each and every one of you has a special mission to fulfill here on earth. Who is to say “whether thou are come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)

    Let the healing begin. There is HOPE!

  17. Sidne,
    I love the notion of how we can retrain our brains — that is something that has helped me as I have dealt with some depression and anxiety in my life. To know that there are thoughts that aren’t truth and that I can challenge them and try to replace them with truths — that is powerful stuff. (And something where a good counselor really helps.) To know that I’m more than my trials and can make choices in spite of them–that to me is healing in and of itself! We are here to act and not be acted upon and there is much we can do even when we have limitations and weaknesses.

    I did want to push back just a little on some of the thoughts about healing in your comment, though. I think that healing doesn’t always come directly or linearly the way we expect or want. I say this for those who really feel they are doing all they can and still have not had their depression (or other ailments, be they physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental) removed. Faith is not always about getting the results we want, but is about facing whatever we may have with our eye always on God and our willingness to keep moving forward, to seek God’s guidance about what our part may be, and to trust in Him and seek His will. We can learn and grow and find healing and power and God’s love and strength even if and when our trials are not always removed.

    I’m reminded of this quote from Pres. Kimball:
    “Some become bitter when oft-repeated prayers seem unanswered. Some lose faith and turn sour when solemn administrations by holy men seem to be ignored and no restoration seems to come from repeated prayer circles. But, if all the sick were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the Gospel, free agency, would be ended.

    “If pain and sorrow and total punishment immediately followed the doing of evil, no soul would repeat a misdeed. If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil-all would do good and not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, no Satanic controls.

    “Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and or limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death; and if these were not, there would also be an absence of joy, success, resurrection, eternal life, and godhood.”
    Spencer W. Kimball, “Tragedy or Destiny”

    And I think that is what you are getting at — that we can build strength and character with faith by taking control of what we can control. We can choose to feed our spirits every day. We can choose to challenge the “voices in our heads” that insist we are worthless and nothing but failures. We can use our agency to act and not be acted upon. We can exercise our faith and find the healing power of Christ to help us face our trials with greater patience and grace even if they are not completely removed.

    I just know how much I have struggled with the notion of faith and healing and coming to realize that healing is much broader than the way we often think about it — that we are sick and then have faith and then ‘get better.’ Sometimes it’s so very multi-faceted and sometimes our illnesses and weaknesses can be the very springboards to healing in ways we didn’t even know we needed it.

    ~Michelle

  18. Mary,

    Thank you for your kind words and for your courage in sharing with us your story. I’m so sorry that your family has dealt with such a great deal of the devastation of suicide, as a result of depression.

    I’m so glad that you are still courageously fighting your battle and that you’ve decided that suicide is not the answer. I’m happy to hear that you’ve found some relief through medication and therapy. Those both have been a vital part of my treatment and even life saving for many who have fought this battle.

    There are others who find relief through different types of treatment, but I think the most vital part of this battle with depression is to keep pressing forward and to do the best we can, within our ability to help ourselves and to trust in the will of the Lord.

    Elder Dallin H. Oaks applied this idea very appropriately in a General conference address titled, “Healing the Sick.” He said:

    “Latter-day Saints believe in applying the best available scientific knowledge and techniques. We use nutrition, exercise, and other practices to preserve health, and we enlist the help of healing practitioners, such as physicians and surgeons, to restore health.

    “The use of medical science is not at odds with our prayers of faith and our reliance on priesthood blessings. When a person requested a priesthood blessing, Brigham Young would ask, ‘Have you used any remedies? To those who said no because we wish the Elders to lay hands upon us, and we have faith that we shall be healed,’ President Young replied: ‘That is very inconsistent according to my faith. If we are sick, and ask the Lord to heal us, and to do all for us that is necessary to be done, according to my understanding of the Gospel of salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow, without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed. It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and [then] to ask my Father in Heaven … to sanctify that application to the healing of my body.’1

    “Of course we don’t wait until all other methods are exhausted before we pray in faith or give priesthood blessings for healing. In emergencies, prayers and blessings come first. Most often we pursue all efforts simultaneously. This follows the scriptural teachings that we should “pray always” (D&C 90:24) and that all things should be done in wisdom and order. 2

    “….From all of this we learn that even the servants of the Lord, exercising His divine power in a circumstance where there is sufficient faith to be healed, cannot give a priesthood blessing that will cause a person to be healed if that healing is not the will of the Lord.

    “As children of God, knowing of His great love and His ultimate knowledge of what is best for our eternal welfare, we trust in Him. The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith means trust. ”

    As was stated above, the Lord expects us to apply any appropriate methods within our knowledge to help ourselves, and then to put our faith in Him. According to Elder Oaks, “faith means trust.” When we put our faith in the Lord we are essentially putting our trust in His will. Sometimes His will is one of healing and sometimes His will is one of enduring.

    Thank you for sharing with us your personal example of learning the importance of pressing forward, searching for proper treatments and then learning to put your trust in the Lord, even when you are asked to endure.

  19. Sidne,

    Thanks for sharing with us what you have found works for you. I think your suggestions fall in line with what Brigham Young said:

    ” It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and [then] to ask my Father in Heaven … to sanctify that application to the healing of my body.”

    I think any individual that is struggling with depression wants to find methods of treatment that work for them personally, and we appreciate any applicable suggestions.

    I appreciated this comment from you:
    “I think depression is given to those with the most potential. What better way to keep them incapacitated so that they can not fulfill their mission here on earth. I know that each and every one of you has a special mission to fulfill here on earth. ”

    To add to that, I think by the very nature of how depression affects an individual’s thoughts, emotions, etc, that those who struggle with this adversity for the most part are very faithful people. When an illness such as depression can so severely affect an individual’s thoughts and emotions, for many it becomes more difficult to be able to feel the Spirit and to feel the love of the Lord. When this happens, not through any wrong doing of the individual, but because of the affects of depression, those individuals are displaying a great deal of faith. Because they are exercising such great faith and trust under such difficult circumstances, I think these individuals can come to recognize as never before, what a vital role the Savior plays in their life.

    Thanks again for your input.

  20. Thanks again to all who have commented and willingly shared their experience and their insights. You are all wonderful, faithful people and I pray that each of us will continue to find peace and strength through this trial. I’m very grateful for having had this opportunity to share with you part of my journey and in turn be strengthened by each of you as you have shared your experience with me. I hope that we can all continue pressing forward in faith, and remember that we are not alone in our struggles.

  21. Pam

    I also havebeen dealing with clinical depression. Fortunately, the suicides in my family were two generations back and one of my mother’s cousins. I was diagnosed abt. 20+ years ago. I believe the symptoms were there but raising nine children causes “looking through glass darkly”.
    I wouldn’t trade those years for money or even for “perfect” mental health, whatever that may be. Be that as it may, the symptoms became worse at abt age 42.
    I am not sure about the possibility of healing genetic depression. If anyone can give references on that subject, please do. I believe the medications now available are gifts from a loving Heavenly Father. In the early time of my suffering I also considered suicide. Medication & counseling stopped that plus the quote “suicide is just a change of scenery.”
    I just found this website today. This will help me tremendously to stay on track.

  22. Shelby

    Thank you for sharing Ariane! Beautiful article! You are an inspiration to me!

  23. Rachel Staib Gordon

    Hey Ariane! It’s Rach. I suffer from the same. I have loved reading your blog and responses. I know the Lord walks with me each day, which is one reason I avoid suicide… I am a child of God. I can’t see me setting the example of killing myself to my family. I don’t know if u heard, but my Dad died 2 years ago, on my 4 wheeler. Since my Dad died, I have been a depressed basket case. I fight with it every day. My mission is to live the life my father wanted me to live. I am on 3 medications for depression and insomnia, I try to get better, the best I can be, with what I have. Thanks for your insight

  24. Judith

    Today, I am finally feeling peaceful. So drained, though. Try hard to be a devout Mormon, but find LDS culture confusing. Noise sensitive. Find church members can deal with some pain but not my emotional pain. I can’t leave the church because I’ve had too many spiritual experiences. Bishop is good man…can’t understand me, though. Was chastized by Bishop and Counselor yesterday. No forewarning. Said I can’t talk to anyone or write any more e-mails. I’m single. Who do I express my feelings to? Can’t talk to sister. One good friend–non LDS. Don’t trust LDS priesthood leaders–find many of them verbally and emotionally abusive. Not believed–that’s the worst part, I think. I make lots of mistakes and try to do better, but not enough for my Bishop. I’m glad I’m in my 60′s and life is nearly over… Too much pain in church for me. Heavenly Father, though, is kind.

  25. Janelle

    Hi Judith, so glad you found us. I hope the peace you feel today continues.

  26. I love this conversation and wanted to encourage anyone suffering with depression to take a look at the research that Martin Seligman has been doing. http://www.ppc.sas.upenn.edu/ It is grounded in some great science and the bonus is it makes spiritual sense too. His research shows that Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. Many of Seligman’s findings support gospel ideals. I love the hope that I think his work can bring. I have a blog where over the year I will be posting short quick tips that can make a difference in how we feel. http://findingfrecklesblog.blogspot.com/.

  27. Beth

    I too struggle with the hell that is depression. No-one would know. I feel so alone, trapped in a loveless LDS marriage, trying so hard to balance work, family, church, whilst daily facing the reflection in the mirror of a woman I barely recognise. No dreams, no hope, no feelings, empty, overwhelmingly sad at the deep disappointment that is my life. I truly believe in the Atonement but can’t seem to feel it. God bless you, my sisters.

  28. Jessica

    Beth, sweet Beth. I don’t know you but my heart aches for you. You are not alone. I often feel trapped, like I am in a cage. I also feel at times hopeless, no feelings, empty except for a terrible sadness and fear that I will always feel this way. You are not alone. It is so painful to look in the mirror and not recognize yourself, not like yourself, hate your life. Your post strikes at the heart of what vexes so many of us who are depressed — What do you do when you feel this way? What do you do when you are in a loveless marriage? What do you do when life becomes so overwhelming? What do you do when you feel out of control? What do you do when scriptures and prayer and church meetings not only don’t help but make your feel worse?….ASK FOR HELP! Keep looking up Beth, don’t let go. If you can’t feel the Atonement in your life then reach out to others who you can feel — reach out to people who you know love you — ask for their help, let others help you. Find a counselor. Take medicine and meanwhile, keep digging deep. Don’t give up even when you feel like it. Look inside and listen to your heart. God is there. He is always there. His light is inside you. He is talking to you. You will hear his voice and I pray whatever He tells you to do that you will have the courage to do it. As you do, step by step, little by little the darkness will fade.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Diabetes And Depression | - [...] On the same note diabetes must also be effectively managed to make sure that depression will not come out …
  2. Mormons and Depression / Mental Illness / Anti-depressant Use | Mormon Women - About LDS Life and Belief - [...] Personal story about facing clinical depression: Battling Clinical Depression, “Finding the Light from Within” [...]
  3. More than Just Blues -- Facing Depression | Mormon Women - About LDS Life and Belief - […] Battling Clinical Depression, “Finding the Light from Within”  by Ariane […]

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