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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

From Depression to Joy and Consolation

Depression is the "blue-eyed monster" that for some reason God has given me--in waves of varying intensity that come and go--to learn the specific life lessons I need. I have been asked how I deal with it and find happiness in those especially dark times when it feels like there is none to be found. I'd like to share an essay I wrote that was originally published on (and links below to) www.DaughtersInHisKingdom.com.

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"Most of us experience some measure of what the scriptures call “the furnace of affliction” (Isa. 48:101 Ne. 20:10). Some are submerged in service to a disadvantaged family member. Others suffer the death of a loved one or the loss or postponement of a righteous goal like marriage or childbearing. Still others struggle with personal impairments or with feelings of rejection, inadequacy, or depression. Through the justice and mercy of a loving Father in Heaven, the refinement and sanctification possible through such experiences can help us achieve what God desires us to become." (Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, October 2000)

Depression is a topic that a lot of us feel uncomfortable talking about. Even those of us who struggle with it can wonder: Is it my fault? Is it a chemical or hormonal imbalance? Am I just not trying hard enough to feel good? Why do I have to endure this?

This is a sensitive and very personal topic, and I don't claim to have all the answers. Many books have been written about causes, effects, and treatments of depression, and this isn't the place for those discussions. I can only speak from my own experience--that what keeps me going each day is my faith in Jesus Christ and my knowledge that He knows the plan for my life and that there is a purpose for all of the refining pain we go through--that we come to know the Lord through our trials.  I pray that something I say might speak to you as I honestly share a little of how I deal with this ongoing struggle in my life.

This last spring I found that the effects of my antidepressant medication were wearing off. This has happened to me before and usually it means trying new medications and waiting and trying to figure out if I feel better or not. It can be a time-consuming and difficult process. I had been thinking a lot about the atonement and wondering if I was truly relying on Christ and His grace and trusting Him like I should. In answer to my prayers about what to do, I felt like instead of trying a different medication immediately that I needed to step out onto that ledge of faith and trust that the Lord would be there for me and carry me.

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