Saturday, August 04, 2012

Depression, Pain, and Needing Him

I've been thinking a lot about pain, lately. Grief, sorrow, hurt. In the last few weeks, there was the shooting in Colorado, my cousin lost her baby, and just yesterday, a friend of mine from high school lost her husband to a motorcycle accident (but her daughter lived). A dear friend of mine watched as her former boyfriend proposed to his new love, less than 3 months after their breakup. A distant friend's cancer returned. Another friend is dealing with a myriad of problems, from theft to chronic illness to watching a family member deal with cancer. Then there's my cousin whose husband walked out on her and their small children.

I struggle with my Depression, still. Yesterday was the first real "down day" I've had since the baby was born (5 months, now). I struggled because I was "supposed to be better now." I'm not sure what I was implying, except that I had been doing well. In order to make semblance of why I was so overwhelmed, I had to make a list. Lists help me make order. They help to see the what, why, and how of my life --of my feelings. I realized:
1. All of the above was taxing on me emotionally, even though I'm not personally affected by the situations. Empathy? Sympathy? My heart was breaking because I didn't know what to do for them, I still don't know what to do, and I've been very made aware that "but by the grace of God, go I."
2. I allowed my triggers to enter into my life: letting the house go completely. Letting the kids reign completely. Forgetting my meds for two days in a row (not intentional! Don't worry --I'm back on 'em. And when I say "meds" I only mean "zoloft.").
3. Stressing about my children: #1's self-worth, #2's loneliness, #3's misophonia, #4's emotional breakdowns, #5's skin problems (possibly vitiligo, instead of just eczema, but we haven't taken him to the dermatologist, yet, because we have no health insurance, blah, blah, blah), and #6 not sleeping all night, yet (but that doesn't really bother me. Just had to add him in there!).
4. Worrying about things that haven't happened yet, or will happen, or should happen.
5. Confrontations with people that made me realize I had been wrong in the strength of the relationship.
6. A really close friend of mine decided she was done being friends with me (threw me under the bus, so to speak). It was heartbreaking.
7. One of our children did something pretty awful, repented of it, told us about it (after being guided by the Spirit --so cool!) and after a good cry session, received a blessing by their father (talk about a Low and High day!).
8. I received an answer to a very heart-felt prayer, and then everything about it fell apart (after writing a post about receiving answers to prayers). It left me so confused!!

I cried almost all day, yesterday. It was cathartic, but pathetic. My kids were awesome about it (or just afraid?), and as Brandon took the boys last night to the father's/son's camp out, you could tell he was concerned about leaving me. But I think we both knew that having #3, #4, and #5 gone overnight would give me some much needed peace for a while (and it was true! My girls are not loud and crazy. We ended up having a lot of fun, going out to eat and watching a movie at home). I felt like a failure of a mother for crying so much (can't hide it from the kids!), but I made sure they understood why, and that it wasn't their fault.

There is a list taped to my mirror. It is a list of reasons why Brandon loves me --he gave it to me on Mother's Day 8 years ago. One of the things says "Never satisfied with mediocrity." Truthfully, this can be a very good trait in people. But I've discovered a problem with this trait of mine. In my pursuit to be awesome, great, good, perfect, I have left out something very important: Jesus Christ.

Now, don't roll your eyes, okay? Just listen. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is there for all of us, correct? He has suffered for our sorrows, our pains, our griefs. He has paid for our sins, our mistakes, our thoughts, our actions. He has died and been resurrected so we can have eternal families, live with perfect bodies for eternity. His Sacrifice and His Love covers all of it. ALL OF IT.

In my selfish pursuit for perfection, I have become depressed (and added to my Depression) because I'm not "fixed," yet. I'm not "better," yet. I haven't done it "on my own." But I'm not supposed to! I'm not supposed to be doing it on my own. And here I've been, for YEARS, thinking that if I had enough therapy, or if I had enough good friends who listened/cared, or if I got along better with my husband's family, or if I severed this friendship or that one, or if I fixed this friendship, or if I served more, or if I did my calling better, or if I took my meds more faithfully, or if I was a better wife, or if I made more time for myself, or if I was physically healthy enough, or if I let the housework lax a little (see my dead beetle post), or...or...or...

But the truth of it is that I simply don't know how to apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ to my life. I know how to apply it to my husband's life or my kid's lives, or my friends' lives...but not mine. I assume that if I can't do it on my own, then I must be broken.

Newsflash, Cheryl. You ARE broken. You are mortal. You sin. You suffer. You need your Savior.

I've been thinking about this for a really long time, but yesterday really forced it out and it jumped up and slapped me in the face. This isn't about attending the Temple more (although I need to do that) or about being a better visiting teacher (should do that, too). It's about trusting in Christ, believing in what He did, and choosing Him. It's about asking Heavenly Father, in Christ's name, to send the Holy Ghost to comfort me. It's about trusting that They all know what I need. It's about letting go. If I want any semblance of perfection, I need to turn it over to Him and trust the process, and trust the pain.

Because the pain is gonna come no matter what. Pain is inevitable. Pain is what we got when we signed up for mortality. It's the price WE pay for the chance to experience love and joy, but it doesn't have to last forever. Because from that pain comes knowledge and peace. The pain brings us that joy and love --it allows our relationships with each other to grow, to have meaning, to be worth every struggle. Pain brings us closer together, it draws us to God, to Christ, to charity --it fuels passion and creativity and courage. It is individualized for our own personal needs and growth. Pain is necessary.

But we don't have to experience ALL of it, you know. Again, Christ already experienced all of our pain. He did that so we don't have to, if we simply choose to believe what He says and follow what He asks of us. I could list a million reasons why following Christ has saved me from all kinds of pain (because it has), but I also can list a million reasons why I'm experiencing pain (see above paragraph). My choice, however, now, is either to keep suffering because "I'm not fixed, yet" or to let it go and turn it over to Him. Allow Him to mold my pain and help me through it, to allow Him to fix it for me.

It's not going to happen in one day. I'm going to have to do this for the rest of my life --keep relying on my Savior, keep His commandments, trust in Him, serve Him. Like Lamoni's father said, I want to give away all my sins to know Him, and in order to do that, I need to give away my ideas of what my part is in my relationship with Him. And from that, I will receive peace.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ~John 16:33

Oh, how I need Him.

How have you come to trust your Savior? How have you let Him help you through your pain?


Becca said...


yup. It's harder than it sounds, letting the Savior take your pain. And imperfection. And weakness. And every single screw up of every day that you THOUGHT you repented of.

I'm glad we're friends. I still want to be just like you. :)

Mother of the Wild Boys said...


evitafjord said...

I put a bunch of old talks (Education Week, etc.) by John Bytheway and Brad Wilcox on my MP3 player and one came up on a walk this week. Loved it and was an aha!! moment for me. Now I can't remember which one it was - either Faith, an Anchor for the Soul or The Atonement: After All that We Can Do (I think the latter??). Both are available as podcasts in itunes or transcripts via google. Both were very good, I just can't remember which one had the part that your post reminded me of. Anyway, it made me feel better, so maybe it will you too :-)

evitafjord said...

And thanks for reminding me to charge my mp3 player. It kept turning off while I was trying to copy down the titles. :-)

Cheryl said...

evitafjord, you're welcome. That's why I'm here! ;)

Michelle said...
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