1/22/14

The perks of being depressed.

So, I've become very good at complaining. I'm excellent at looking at negative things and diving into them and reveling in them. Well, not today, kids!

I have found a big perk of having depression: because of the experiences I have had in dark places, I appreciate light. Because of my illness, I recognize  the contrast between light and dark more than maybe your average person.

"And I, God, said: Let there be alight; and there was light. And I, God, saw the light; and that light was good. And I, God, divided the light from the darkness." Moses 2:3-4




God created both dark and light. The contrast between the two makes beauty--both physical beauty and metaphysical beauty. Having depression and being in a dark spot isn't fun, but just as it is blindingly beautiful to come out of a dark room and into the sunlight, it is beautiful when I find the "light" at the end of the tunnel.

So what is light in a metaphysical sense? My metaphysical light is a day where I can put a smiley face on my calendar. A text from a friend I haven't heard from in awhile. Finding a Dr. Pepper in the back of my cupboard. The little things. These things probably wouldn't be considered "light" to most people. But they are. They are the light from the flame of a match, throwing shadows against the wall. They are a naked light bulb in a dark basement. They matter, and they are beautiful bits of light.

So, the perk of being depressed? The darkness makes it easier to notice the light, no matter how little the source.




1/15/14

Depression Behind Perfection

Yesterday I was walking quickly through campus, dodging people here and there as I headed to class. As I walked, out of the corner of my eye I noticed the newest copy of "The Universe," BYU's student newspaper, on the stands. It's headline caught my eye and a closer look confirmed that I saw what I thought I saw: "Battling Depression."

I am so grateful to see the dialogue about depression increasing, especially at BYU. It has been incredibly awkward to try and explain to people how I am a returned missionary, yet still nineteen years old. As bravely and as cheerfully as I can, I tell them I was sent home to deal with depression. To see the headline on the newspaper made my heart literally leap with joy. It's time that we start talking more openly about depression, especially in the Mormon community. (Elder Holland proved that during the October conference.) Depression is not a weakness or a punishment for a sin. It isn't magically cured by scripture reading and other pious acts. It is a physical illness and it affects millions. There are resources all around to help, and perhaps the greatest resource of all is faith in the healing power of the Atonement.

In the article, "Depression Behind Perfection" it is illustrated that perfectionism often leads to depression. I have seen this all too often in my own life and battle with depression. In the church we all too often expect perfection from ourselves when we are clearly taught that perfection will only be achieved after this life. I keep having to remind myself that. If we take a look at the scriptures, we see that not even prophets were perfect. The only perfect being was Jesus Christ, and He understands our imperfection. He knows that we will fall short. He experienced this fact when He spent that long night in the Garden of Gethsemane. All He asks is that we come unto Him, and become perfected in Him. 

Through the past few months as I've traversed deep pits of despair, my greatest peace came from sharing my own Gethsemane with the Savior. I testify that He has been here with me. He always has been and always will be. In my moments of darkness, I know that none of it, no darkness whatsoever, can compare to the Light of the World.




Here's the link to the article in the Universe: http://universe.byu.edu/2014/01/14/depression-behind-perfection/