Sunday, April 14, 2013

Down in the Dumps

Today's sacrament meeting was JUST FOR ME!  I know you have all felt that way.  But I know that today really was.  Everyone who bore their testimony was sharing something that would help me.  I really know that I am not "The Only One".

I have been dealing with depression for the past 12+ years.  It is something that is quite a trial for me.  I really started off thinking that if only I was a better person, or had enough faith, or kept my house cleaner, then I wouldn't be feeling this way.  While I was trying to figure out what I needed to do to improve my mood, I came across an article in the Ensign magazine that helped me so much.  I was able to realize that this wasn't because of anything I had, or had not, done.  It was a chemical imbalance that needed to be fix, and I wasn't alone.
Depression: A disorder in which an individual experiences feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lethargy for an extended period of time.
 That first summer after my husband left, I lay on the couch, not doing anything.  The kids had to fend for themselves.  Luckily they were 8, 6, and 3.  So they could get each other the things they needed.  I first realized I needed to do something when I lost over 10 pounds in a week.  I was already super thin, so this made a major difference.
One of the members of our Bishopric was a doctor, so I made an appointment with him, and he helped me decide what to do.  I knew I needed to do something, before school started and I had to get my classroom ready.  (I was teaching at a charter school at that time)
This made me feel like a total failure.  I had prayed and read scriptures, and I knew that what I was doing was the best for my family, but those feelings of inadequacy wouldn't go away.
Once I read the article, I felt so much better!  I knew that I had done all I could, and it was okay for me to be on medication.

This past winter has been really hard for me.  I'm not sure why.  A few thoughts I've had:  The sky has been cloudy, it's been super cold, I haven't been able to go running, I haven't had much adult interaction, my grandma passed away.  But all of this negativeness started in December.  It's just been a down hill slide.  I have felt that I can't do anything right, no matter how hard I try.  Everyone is against me.  Everyone thinks I'm dumb, or incapable, or they need to help me with everything, or my ideas are lame. I don't have any energy.  I either can't sleep, or can't get enough sleep.  I don't even want to sew, though I want to sew!!

There are things I can do!

Let the Sun Shine In

 Open the curtains first thing.  If the sun isn't shining, then turn on all the lights for the areas you are in.
Thursday afternoon the sun was shining.  I went out and started raking and cleaning up the flower beds.  When the kids got home from school, Miss K wanted to help, but I had finished what I was planning.  She started raking some more, then went in and brought out a blanket.  She decided to set up a picnic for us.  I took out my book, and she grabbed hers, and we all sat on the blankets eating snacks and reading.

Get Active

 Friday I decided that I didn't care how late I was, I was going running with my friends.  Luckily Miss K left for school only 15 minutes late, so I was able to get there not much time after that. (I can't even get ready while she is still home, or she will not go to school) We ran 4 miles.  The sun was shining.  I HAD ADULT CONVERSATION!  I also was able to ask them for ideas that will help me.  And there were many!

Find Hope

One friend suggested that I study the word "hope".  Find all the scriptures and conference talks about hope.  So I after I showered I got the girls busy with a game, and pulled out my scriptures and laptop and kindle and started a new scripture journal.  I labeled the first page HOPE and went to work. I also followed all the footnotes. (I only got through the first 2 references in the TOPICAL GUIDE)  I went to and, under prepare a talk, I searched for HOPE.  I printed out the talks, lessons, scriptures to look up, everything. I am so excited to have a new focus after the "Book of Mormon in 100 Days Challenge"!

I will leave you with a quote by President Ezra Taft Benson:

If I immediately start tormenting myself for my weakness when I find myself dwelling on an unworthy thought, I don’t have enough strength or determination to resist the next temptation. If, instead, I thank the Lord for showing me that the thought is unwholesome and helping shift my mind away, I leave the situation closer to the Lord, grateful for the strength I have, and praying for greater strength in the future.
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