Monthly Archives: October 2015

Getting to know Paul…

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One thing I love about being a student at BYU-Idaho is that we have religion classes too and learn so much about the scriptures. I am learning about the New Testament this semester and find it so interesting to get to know Paul. He truly was an amazing and important disciple of the Lord. I had heard his story many times before, but never in this kind of depth have I gotten to know him and really learned about him.

Romans 12-16. Live as Saints Should Live

Paul speaks a lot about salvation and the things we must do to accomplish that. In Ezekiel, for example, he explains that if we don’t live righteously we will die in our sins. In Doctrine and Covenants it says that if we keep the commandments and endure to the end we will have eternal life. We are probably closer to salvation than we think, and so we must do what it takes to be blessed. God gave us commandments and guidance so we can return and live with Him again, but we have to do our part. We need to work for it and follow Him in everything. “Faith without works is dead”. We actually discussed that in our group meeting today how living the gospel and working towards our salvation requires action.

In Romans 12-13 Paul gave much counsel that leads to salvation. Here are some of the things Paul taught that would help lead to salvation:

o       Romans 12:1 = present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.

o       Romans 12:2 = be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That way we can prove what is good, acceptable and perfect and the will of God.

o       Romans 12:9 = Love needs to be the key to everything. We need to stay away from evil and focus on the things that are good.

o       Romans 12:13 = We need to be hospitable to the saints.

o       Romans 12:16 = We need to be of the same mind as saints and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

o       Romans 12:21 = We need to overcome evil with good and not let evil overcome us.

o       Romans 13:1 = God is the only power we need to be subject too. He is in charge of everything.

o       Romans 13:3 = We need to do what is good and if we do that we will be blessed.

o       Romans 13:8 = We need to love one another and that’s the only thing we should owe each other.

o       Romans 13:9 = Keeping the 10 commandments is the key for working towards salvation.

In Romans 14:1-13; 15:1-3 Paul gives more ideas, counsel and advice.

o       What cautions did Paul give about judging? He cautions us to leave the judging to God. I love what it says in Chapter 14:8 = “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” It’s true we belong to the Lord and He is the only one who can truly judge us because He can see the whole picture and he can see into our hearts. How can we judge someone else if we don’t even really know the reason and motivations why they do certain things?

o       People may have different opinions and practices, but what is most important to remember? I think it is important to remember that we are all different and that the only thing that matters is that we follow Jesus Christ, have faith, are righteous and listen to the Holy Ghost. Only God can judge us because He can look into our hearts, but we need to be kind, forgiving and just especially if we want Heavenly Father to be the same way to us. With love for those around us and faith in our Savior and the gospel we can truly make a difference and be a good example of Jesus Christ.

o       What additional insight comes from reading Doctrine and Covenants 38:25-27? The additional insight here is that we need to be just and that we need to treat everyone equal. We need to treat those around us the way we want to be treated and we need to remember how Heavenly Father views each and every one of His children.

One of the terms Paul frequently uses in the scriptures is saints. He calls members of the Lord’s church saints and so that means we need to live like such and truly become saints. I looked up the meaning of saint and it says: a person acknowledged as holy or virtuous and typically regarded as being in heaven after death. I think a saint doesn’t have to be someone who is dead, but we can work towards being a saint by being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. We need to be holy and virtuous.

What can be done?

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I have been writing a lot about depression (and anxiety) lately, and have been trying to be open and honest about it. As I was thinking about that today, I came to the conclusion that some people will not understand and maybe even don’t want to understand what it means to go through a depression – a real depression, not just feeling depressed because there is a difference. It is clear to me that there are more around us than we think, who just don’t see it as an actual illness and therefore don’t really believe us either. It’s a sad yet very clear fact. :/

Whenever I am struggling with something I usually go to my mom and talk to her about it because she knows what it means to feel the way I do. She’s been there, done that and can definitely relate. As I was talking to her today, trying to make sense of the thoughts I had as well as the frustrations I felt (over a few different reasons related to my illness) she told me about a person we both know who discovered a few years ago that he was struggling with depression too. He was a great advocate for the addressing of the issue, very outspoken and direct. He would lead meetings to raise depression awareness and to do his part in trying to help those, who weren’t suffering from it, understand what it meant to deal with this illness. He actually used a very interesting approach. He would introduce himself, and then say: “I had a heart attack”. Then he would introduce himself again and he would say: “I have cancer.” And he would introduce himself again and say: “I have depression.” After that he would explain that he didn’t have an heart attack and cancer, but he wanted people to understand how serious this is. What a great way of raising awareness. 🙂

I will never

That being said, I have realized myself how hard it is to get understanding and empathy from those who have no idea what it feels like. A “normal” every day task that everyone can accomplish without a problem, can become a giant obstacle for someone who is in a depression. You can sometimes make yourself function to a point, but that’s about it. You are so empty and unmotivated that you just don’t really have anything left to give, but if you have a family you sometimes have to push yourself to a breaking point simply because they need you. What people don’t get is that this type of functioning doesn’t mean you have to now push yourself with everything. We’ve already reached our limit and can’t handle anything else. We are trying to deal with the tasks we have to deal with and everything else has to wait.

Today, as I was picking up my kids from school, I stood there looking around, thinking how awful I really felt but how I had to put on a face to make those around me believe I am okay. I smiled at those who smiled at me and seemed calm and fine. Nobody around me realized how difficult it was for me to stand there, how hard it is for me to even do this today and how it really looked inside of me. Nobody knows! Unless I break down crying in front of you or I trust you enough to open up to you, you have no idea how badly I am doing sometimes. YOU JUST DON’T KNOW!

when you have

And because people don’t know and understand, they expect things from us that we just can’t do because it is too much. And yet when we try to explain why, we get people being unhappy, offended and frustrated with us. Now if we had a broken leg or something like that it would be a completely different story, but since you can’t see the illness (and we oftentimes hide it too because we don’t want to be mistreated) it seems to be okay to pretend we are just making it up and you can just make us feel worse by guilt-tripping us. If those who do that truly knew what they are doing to us, and how they put us in a horrible position, I think it would make them stop.

Luckily I have never felt or thought about suicide, but I started to understand why some people think it is their only way out. (It is no solution because I am convinced we will get to the other side and remember what we’ve done and we will also see how much heartache we caused those we left behind.) I knew several people who ended their life because of this horrible hidden illness. Some did it because they just couldn’t live with this illness anymore and some did it because on top of the illness they felt completely lonely and misunderstood, maybe even bullied by those who made them feel like liars because “the illness is just made up” and because they thought they wouldn’t be missed. It makes me so sad that anyone could feel that way, but as the years go by and I am going through depression on a regular basis, I can see how the already hard to deal with emptiness and hopelessness can push you over your limits especially if you feel that those around you don’t care and don’t believe you. I admit, I’ve often wondered how people could even do something like that, and yet I am starting to understand their thinking as the feeling of worthlessness is very real, add unkindness and rejection and life might feel as too much. 😦

I hope that by writing about it and sharing my thoughts and experience will help those who are struggling with it and shows them that hope is never truly lost and that there are people out there who do understand. We are never alone, no matter how this illness makes us feel and how much Satan adds to it on top of that. Some might ask what they could do to help, but there is not much they can do. You can’t take the pain and struggle away from a person, you can’t go through it for them and you can’t live their life for them. What you can do is being understanding and patient. It sometimes takes some time for a person to make it through a depression, but they will get there. Just show them you care and that you are there for them when they need you. Show them you love them. Advice and pushiness don’t help at all and just push a struggling person further away. This illness can’t be rushed. You can’t just say: “Go away”, and it will disappear. I wish it would work that way, but it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s a quick visit, and sometimes it takes a long time, rushing the person or making them feel bad about themselves surely doesn’t do any good. If you are a person who doesn’t understand depression at all, or believes it isn’t even an illness, the best thing you can do is stay away from them until they worked through it and don’t address it all. You can pretend all you want that you understand and believe us, but trust me we know if you don’t. We can feel it and oftentimes we can hear it in your choice of words too. As I said above, it only makes matters worse. Any type of guilt or pressure can lead to another crash, worse than the one before. Let us handle it and we will return to our normal self as soon as we can. Just be patient. 🙂 Once again I want to share the words of a man who inspires me in so many ways. I love how he worded this quote and the reason I love it is because he understands.

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We need to listen with our hearts…

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Today I am sharing some thoughts and words related to my faith. It might be difficult, for those not of my faith, to understand it, but it is still very important to me. As I am sitting here enjoying the peace and quiet and listening to videos from different General Conferences, I am filled with immense gratitude for my Savior Jesus Christ. I am grateful that even though I go through difficulties and disappointments at times, my faith in Him is still strong and I can feel His love for me. I know that even though I have times when I can’t go to church because of my struggles, I can still feel close to Him and learn about the love He has for me.

Listening with our hearts is so important. I think because we don’t really listen, we oftentimes don’t hear what the other person is trying to tell us.

the biggest

Isn’t the above quote absolutely correct? We listen with our ears, but we don’t listen with our hearts. This is something I have been learning a lot in my life because people did not really listen to what I was trying to tell them, but were very willing to reply. It is also something my husband and I work on because sometimes all the other person needs is a listening ear and HEART! We just need to get things of our chest and are not looking for advice and solutions, just want a caring person to truly listen to us.

The good thing is though that it doesn’t really matter if the people around us listen, the Lord is always there and He will listen no matter what. We just have to learn to listen back, especially when He is trying to tell us something. I feel comforted today, and know that I can always count on my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. They love and accept me the way I am and will continue to guide me through life as long as I am willing to make them part of it.

As I was thinking about the importance of listening, I listened to hymns from my church, sung in the conference center during General Conference. This first one is one of my favorite hymns. I wish we would sing it in church more often because it describes so perfectly what I am thinking and feeling: I Stand All Amazed 

As I was singing along, I felt so loved and grateful just like I expressed earlier. It was a feeling of total peace and I could feel the Spirit testifying to me that this was true. He loves us and that will never change. When I listened to a second hymn and sang along, I was suddenly overcome with emotion. It was hard to get back to singing because I was just so touched by it. This too is one of my favorite hymns: I Know That My Reedemer Lives

What a touching and remarkable hymn that is. It goes right through me to my heart. My favorite parts of it are: “He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears.” “He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend. He lives and loves me to the end.” And of course this: “Oh, sweet joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!”

the atonement

This hymn and video is not only something nice that I wanted it share, but has a personal special meaning to me. Together with my husband, I was in that very room, singing along with everyone else when we had General Conference in 2011. It was an amazing experience singing something so touching with 21,000 other people. The feelings I had during that special moment are not easy to describe, but I remember how grateful I was to be part of it. It is an experience I will never forget and so coming across this video today, definitely helped bring back those memories.

I do know that Jesus Christ lives. We will go through trials, tribulations, hurt, struggles and even temptation by Satan, but nobody can take such knowledge and belief away from us. Satan will try to confuse us and will try to get us off the narrow path, but He can not take those special feelings away from us unless we let Him.

Letting the words above sink in leaves once again a warm and comforting feeling. I am not alone and I never will be. The fact that He sacrificed His life for me so I can return one day, is something I will never be able to repay, but that didn’t stop Him from giving me such a gift. He loves us and that’s it. All He wants is that we try our best, accept the gift he so freely offered to us and love and believe in Him with all our heart. So yes, I want to say it again loud and clear: “Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives!”

Mental illness is real!!!

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I have to say, not using Facebook at the moment is very nice. This is my third day and I only opened Facebook today because one of my German friends wanted to skype with me and we were communicating through Facebook to set up a time. Just those few Facebook moments were enough to stress me out again, and so I was glad that I was able to leave. I really don’t want to deal with all that fakeness, drama and bad news right now. It’s depressing, and so no wonder I am enjoying this break. The one thing I am missing is the contact I have with some of my friends. I miss seeing their posts and updates, but right now I need to focus on my health and finding my balance again.

It’s amazing what difference it makes when you ban as many stressful things as you can and just try to keep yourself calm and contend. I never thought it would be such hard work to get anxiety under control again, but I am learning too.

One thing that stunned me this week is the fact that there are still so many people out there who don’t understand what it means to have depression, anxiety or any other mental illness. I really had thought we were moving forward, and society was at least trying to understand, but we are still long ways away from that.

do not confuse

I was talking to someone the other day and he actually made a really good point. He said that just like mental illness, addiction is not accepted at all either and people don’t understand that you can’t just snap out of it or you just need to pray harder or that you need more faith. Yes praying and faith definitely is part of dealing with it, but those things don’t just go away. It is a constant battle and comes and goes however it pleases. I think if people truly knew how horrible the feeling of complete sadness, hopelessness and numbness feels, they would definitely think twice before they say something that is not helpful at all. (And again that goes for addiction too.)

i had people

The above comment is so true. I mean nobody would choose to feel the way they do, especially not when they know what it means. I wish I could help those around me to understand that the silly advice they like to give just makes the sick person feel worse… it is definitely not helping. I wonder if we ever get to a point when people, even though they are not effected by it or have someone in their family that is going through it, will at least accept it. If they could just respect the other person enough to know they are not making this up, and there is something to it, I think that would make a huge difference already. Mental illness is something you wouldn’t wish on anyone and yet it is the only way to truly understand it. Even when you have a loved one struggling with it already, you can empathize with them and understand it to a point, but you won’t understand it completely until you are going through it yourself. I grew up with a mom struggling with depression, and I felt bad for her when she was going through a depression, but now that I know what it feels like, I can definitely relate more.

I do believe though that those who don’t understand the illness need to become more compassionate and accept the other person the way they are. Advice really isn’t needed because usually the people effected are already in medical care, therapy or on medication, depending on what they need. All we need is compassion and kindness.

When you don’t get anywhere by trying to explain, you can always go back to humor and sarcasm. 😉 When I found the following picture quote I had to laugh because I had used the exact same words before (minus the kidney part). It’s so silly to even say that (if you think about it) and yet there are some who will say exactly that.

the next time 😀

I think we all speak before we think sometimes. 😉 It reminds me of situations when someone tells us what they did or experienced and we ask: “Really?” It’s so dumb because why would that person tell us something that is made up? (Unless it is a politician of course. :P) The “really” thing is something I am still working on too though. As I said sometimes our mouth is faster than our brain.

Anyways, but back to my original topic, mental illness is real whether people like, understand, or accept that or not. It won’t go away, if anything it gets worse. Kindness, compassion and reaching out in a loving way is the key to help those who struggle with mental illness. I mean think about it, if you were sick with an illness wouldn’t you rather receive kindness and compassion instead of lectures and advice that doesn’t even change anything? Steve Maraboli said it best: “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”

I am not there yet…

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“Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed. While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.” (Jeffrey R. Holland)

Don’t you just hate that feeling inside of you that pushes you to do something you don’t want too but know you should? Something that urges you to do things you are afraid of or you simply just don’t want to do? For the past weeks I have had that feeling and I am finally giving in by sitting down and writing this blog post. This nagging feeling can be really persuasive. 😉

Anyone who has read my last few blog posts knows I am going through a personal crisis right now and it isn’t over yet either. I have been hurt and disappointed by people before, and usually move on super quickly and just go to my own normal self, but this time it is different. I am really shaken this time and I am not quite sure yet how to put myself back together. It is so hard for me right now to believe anyone. I guess when you’ve had a few bad experiences close together, it just destroys so much trust in you, that you can’t just move on and yet in the meantime you doubt everyone around you. Right now I just don’t believe people when they tell me they love me and care about me or that they want to be there for me. Even when they do nice things for me or are actually there for me, I feel like they are doing it for the wrong reasons. I don’t think I ever had such extreme trust issues, but right now that’s just how it is. I doubt people because I know when some people can mistreat you and hurt you others can too.

breaking someones

“You are too hard on everyone.” “It’s your choice, whether you let others hurt you.” “Keep your chin up it will all be better soon…” Just a few of the advice and comments you get from those around us. That kind of response is not helping because I know all that already. To me there is a difference though between someone hurting your feelings, usually happening through a misunderstanding anyways, and someone seriously hurting your trust. That isn’t something that can just be fixed and put back to normal. It’s like how it is with the sharpest weapon this earth has, the tongue. Once you said something, you can’t take it back anymore no matter how much you wish to do that. It’s a done deal! Yes I know it is our choice whether or not we move on and just let it slide, but sometimes it can’t be done that easily. Words can be hurtful for sure, but hurtful actions are worse, at least for me.

the foundation for a stable life

One thing I know is not changing is the love Heavenly Father has for me. I feel like this is a big learning experience for me to completely rely on Him. I know I can trust Him no matter what. He will never break our trust and He will always be there for us. He loves us more than words can express. Again I know all that already, and yet I am fighting it. I can’t even describe it, but I feel like that there has to be a way that I don’t have to “bother” Him with my little problems and that people can become truly honest and trustworthy. I know I am kidding myself there and yet I cling to it for some odd weird reason. I know all the answers to my problems in my head, but my heart is not ready yet to accept it. My heart is still trying to heal.

I am aware that we as people will never be perfect. None of us! Yet something inside of me wanted me to believe that true honesty is possible and that finding true friends is a reality. I love my family and my friends and yet I am beginning to wonder what friendship even means. I am not talking about perfect friends because none of us will ever be that way, but there are some that come pretty darn close.

I am not kissing friendship goodbye. No way, as I said I love and need those around me, but I will be more careful. I am not sure how open I will be once my heart has healed, but I appreciate those who have been around me (in one way or another) with understanding and a listening ear. Due to my mental illness it is hard for me to always physically be there for those I care about, but I try to do little things, and yes giving those who need it a listening ear can be huge for someone struggling. Just a few weeks ago I met with someone and that person listened and made it clear she understood. I even got emotional at times because this is really a trying trial for me right now, and even that she understood. It meant the world to me. I also have made new friends through social media and there I found kindred spirits who seem to perfectly understand many things I am going through or struggling with and yet we never met.

kindred

Writing all of this down made me realize that I will never stop believing the good in people. I will be more careful of course, but I will continue to be how I am because there are some out there who understand and they love you just the way you are. I am not sharing these thoughts because I am seeking attention or expect those around me to step up and be there for me. No I don’t want that because the way I feel right now would make me think that it was not truly meant but only done because of this blog post. (Reaching out to me should only be done when truly meant, not because you felt obligated to do so.) I am grateful for those who have done that and others probably had no clue that I am going through this right now. I wrote this mostly for myself (and others who are struggling like that right now) so I can continue to heal. I wrote this so those who live close by, and wonder why they haven’t seen me in a while, is because I lost my testimony of Jesus Christ and the gospel. My faith is still strong, but my faith in people is hurting right now. I also wrote this because actually speaking about it is not possible right now as I get emotional every time. I also don’t want to have to lie to you when you ask me how I am doing. Please be patient as I am working through this. Nobody can do this for me, I have to go through this myself and I know I will get there, it just takes time. I also wrote it so we remember that being true to ourselves is the most important thing. I might not share my struggles and such as openly as I did before, but I will still share about my thoughts, trials and life in general with those kindred spirits.

I also know that I need to face my struggle with completely relying on the Lord. I am not there yet and I am worried because that might make me an emotional mess even more, but I can’t avoid it. I know He is there for me and just waiting for me to come to Him. I will when I am ready and I know in the meantime He will wait patiently, still making me feel loved. I might have my doubts about humans, and how honest they really are, but I don’t doubt Him. I know once I am ready to let go and tell Him everything that I am struggling with right now, He will be there every step of the way and will be the reason that makes true healing possible.

Moms sure have power…

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It always amazes me that no matter how old I get, the power my mom has will never change. She is the first one I will call whenever I am struggling with depression because she understands. When I was younger and would come home from school, and later work, I always checked for my mom first to see if she was home. I just needed to know that she was there in case I needed someone to talk to because nobody listened the way she did. She just always knew what to say and how to reply.

the influence

Now that I am a mom myself and live my own life, I still need my mom. I have times when I want to talk to her so badly, but I don’t want to call her (or skype with her) because I know the moment I see her or hear her voice, my bravery will fall into pieces and I will lose it. That is something that bugs me and I love it at the same time. I try to stay strong so many times and sometimes when I think I have my emotions under control and nothing will happen, I will call her and yet I break down immediately as I start talking. Weird, isn’t it? I think I am an adult now and it shouldn’t happen to me anymore and yet it does and there is nothing I can do about it either. She knows right away when I am struggling and not myself and just try to hide my emotions from her. She hears it somehow in my voice.

no language

I am very open with my mom and so she knows what I am going through. Whenever I talk to her and do start crying, she encourages me to let it out and yet I always try to fight it. I don’t know why I am like this because I have noticed how crying makes me feel better and yet I fight it every single time. It’s weird how I am perfectly okay with others crying in times of struggle and trial, but when I am going through something and should let it out, I hold it in because for some reason I see it as weakness in myself. I am so weird sometimes. 😉 A lot of the time when I start to calm down again, I jokingly blame her for this emotional outburst and tell her that she makes me cry just by being my mom. She always laughs about that.

Today was one of those days when I called her and immediately ended up in tears. She knows how hard it is for me to let it out and she knows the things I am going through right now. Still, every time I experience this with her and know she already knows beforehand that I am not doing so well, I still am surprised how well she knows me. And yet being a mom myself, I too see when my kids are struggling with something because it does show in their faces and their behavior. There is something about this “momness” that makes us just know. I will always be grateful that I can always go to her no matter what. She is there for me and always will be and it doesn’t matter if I am 5, 36 or 70…

mothers

Finding that balance again…

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Going through a tough time is never easy, but it is bearable when you know there is an end to it, when you know these struggles will be over soon. When I first started with such intense anxiety, I thought this won’t last too long, a few days perhaps, like it has in the past, but that’s it. It’s been three weeks now and even though I get little breaks now and then, (now that my medication is kicking in) I still have horrible feelings of stress and being overwhelmed just by thinking of having to tackle another week very soon. It’s so hard to describe how that feeling really is. It seriously sucks all the happiness and energy out of me, and all I do right now is functioning somehow.

when you start

I don’t like feeling this unhappy and hopeless. I don’t like how on top of the anxiety my depression is also adding fuel to the trial I am going through. I know it is important to have trials because it helps us grow and it also helps us draw closer to our Heavenly Father, but I just want to be happy again. I have said in several of my other blog posts that the good thing about this is that I do appreciate good times so much more and I look forward to it because being stuck like this is just not fun. Mental illness is not easy to deal with because no matter how much those who care about you want to help you, they can’t. This is something I have to go through alone.

telling someone

I know I am not alone though. Heavenly Father is by my side and Him and Jesus Christ know exactly how I am feeling and how I am struggling. Just thinking about it makes me emotional because deep inside I can suddenly feel the love they have for me. I am grateful to have this outlet by writing about it. During this trial I’ve also noticed that there aren’t many who truly care, who want to know how you are doing and a truly interested in what you are going through. I’ve had to learn who are not true friends, which makes me not want to share with anyone because I don’t want to bother anybody. Maybe all of that is a good thing though because it makes me have to rely on the Lord. I love Him and I know He loves me. I know I am a daughter of God and no matter what, He will always be there for me. As much as other people can disappoint me, God will never leave us and will be there when we need Him the most. I am grateful though for my family and few friends who do care and reach out to me, maybe give me a listening ear and let me vent. It truly is all they can do right now.

And now I will put on my brave face again, pretend all is well and post pictures and quotes on Facebook that don’t really tell how incredible sad I really am feeling. The show must go on, right? But no matter how hopeless I might feel, I will continue to find my balance again, to find my happy self again. It won’t be gone forever.

god didn't make a mistake