Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label prayer. Show all posts


If You Pray Hard Enough, Your Mental Illness Will Go Away

I found myself on my knees, tears streaming down my face, hands clenched so tightly together that my knuckles turned white. My room was dark, and my legs were starting to ache from how long I'd been kneeling. I kept repeating the same thing, "Please take it away. Please take it away. I can't do this anymore." The darkness of my depression felt unbearable. It seemed as though gravity had taken it upon itself to work extra hard on me that night. I felt dragged down, futher and futher. I grasped for God, begging for my burdens to disappear. But they didn't.

This was not the first time that this scene had happened. Quite frequently, I found myself in the same position, doing the same thing. I kept telling myself, "If you pray hard enough, your mental illness will go away." It has been almost four years now of highs and lows, panic attacks and despair. I've gone through a dozen medication changes, two doctors, three counselors, and a lot of sleepless nights. I am often exhausted from it all, and at times it feels all too much to bear. Needless to say, my illness has not gone away.

I think that often we blindly rely on prayer to solve everything. We expect answers to come packaged up nicely, exactly the way we want them to. President Monson once said, "Heavenly Father does answer prayers in His own time and in His own way."

As I have gone through what I have, I have come to say a different prayer. Instead of asking for my mental illness to go away, I ask for the strength to face it. God gives me strength through angel friends and family to comfort and uplift me. Words of church leaders edify and encourage me. (Like a Broken Vessel by Elder Holland for example) Books and resources for mental illness sufferers educate and inspire me. Strength to face my challenges comes in so many ways that it is hard to name them all.

I am still struggling. I am still trying. I fall down lots and it sometimes takes awhile to get back up. Praying hard has not made my mental illness go away, but it has given me the strength I need to carry on.


How to Talk to God When You're Crazy

Call me crazy, but sometimes I feel like I can't talk to God. 

It's like being on a phone call that keeps getting disconnected. I dial again and again and again, but to no avail.

The way that God talked to me in the past was through thoughts. It was impressions and ideas that felt important and right. But, when I started struggling with my mental health, all of that changed.

When I'm depressed, I feel numb. Praying seems meaningless, and so does reading my scriptures. No matter how hard I try to talk to God, nothing seems to get through because I can't feel anything. I can't seem to connect with Him at all. I become apathetic and lonely because of this disconnect. I talk into the receiver, but I don't hear anything from the other end.

When I'm manic, I think thoughts are from God when they really aren't. I've had a situation or two when I felt like He gave me an answer to a big life decision. The answers made perfect sense to me. The "prompting" was perfect and there was no need to question it, even though the decision itself was questionable. And when I got stable again, I was completely torn apart about the decisions I made that I thought had been prompted by God. I talk and talk to Him, but somehow I still misunderstand what I hear.

So what do I do? When I'm depressed I can't feel God talking to me, and when I'm manic I think He is telling me things that He's really not. It's hard not to feel discouraged. How can I trust myself to know what God is saying if I can't even sort out what thoughts are mine and what thoughts are caused by my mental illness?

What I'm starting to learn is that God is still speaking to me. The way I talked with Him before my mental health challenges is not necessarily how I'm going to now. It's still a work in progress, but I've found two things that have helped me talk to God when I'm feeling crazy:

1. Trust what I already know and go from there. If it was true once, it's still true. When I get overwhelmed by my thoughts I stop and start from the beginning:

Okay, what do you know is true?

     God exists, and so does His son, Jesus Christ.

What did Jesus Christ do?

      Christ atoned for my sins and died that I may live again.

Sometimes, those are the only two things I can believe and cling to. But that's what I do. I cling to them and use them as an anchor until the turbulent sea of my mind is calmed.

2.  Trust my loved ones. I've never been one to lean on other people. I hate it. I like being independent and doing things my own way. This is especially true of my testimony. I've always done things on my own. But now, I sometimes have to rely on my loved ones to help me with my connection with God. When I don't know whether or not I'm hearing God or if I don't hear Him at all, I lean on those I love. I trust their testimonies and tell myself that if they know it and believe it, I should too.

Like I said, things are still a work in progress. I still am struggling with my communication line with God. It is really, really difficult at times to hold onto the faith that I have. It would be so much easier to give up, and sometimes I do. But when I do, I feel a little tug at my heart. A little something telling me that it's going to be alright. You know what that little something is? It's God talking back.