It’s our first day of social distancing and we went for a walk with the kids. There’s only so much energy you can get out of them inside the house. While I was walking my sleeping one month old around, I pulled up Spotify and listened to All In, an LDS Living podcast for the first time. The episode that caught my eye was featuring Courtney Rich and is titled Courtney Rich: My Recipe for Depression. You should go and listen to it if you haven’t already. Courtney talks about her struggle with depression and the things that have helped her live with it.
Mental health is something that people are talking more about but we could talk about it more. Especially within the church. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager.
And I felt very alone when I was in the thick of it. I remember opening up to my closest friends at the time but they couldn’t truly understand how I felt. I know that my depression was part of what led me down the path of leaving the church. I couldn’t reconcile my depression and a loving and caring Heavenly Father. How could this trial that made me so sad I couldn’t eat, that I harmed myself, that made me lose interest in everything and made me feel so utterly empty be a part of my journey?
How fair was that?
I asked all those questions and I lost my faith. I lost faith in the gospel and in my Father’s love for me. I lost faith in our Savior’s ability to comfort us no matter the hardship.
Courtney said something on the All In podcast that I loved, that really grabbed me. She talked about how during her dark times she was waiting for Christ to come to her when really, she needed to go to Him.
Matthew 7:7-8 reads:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
We need to do the work and ask. We need to continue to have faith. And let me tell you, it’s so hard in the deep darkness that is depression. It’s hard to feel even the smallest amount of light peek through that fog. But we need to try. And try to remember that, as Courtney talks about, your trial, whatever it may be, might be something you need to learn how to live with. I, like Courtney, wanted a big pillar of light to shine down on me and release me from the chains of my sadness.
But that didn’t happen.
I struggle with anxiety and depression to this day. That sickly, empty feeling still creeps into my chest at times. But I’ve figured out how to live with it. To push through and persevere during those really hard times.
I’ll warn you, some of these things will sound really familiar to you.
Reading my scriptures helps me fight that darkness away.
Getting down on my knees and saying a prayer, or saying a prayer while I’m in the midst of my busy life helps me feel the Spirit.
Being around other people, even though that feels so backward when you are struggling with depression. All I want is to be alone during those times but that makes it so much harder to pull myself back out of those feelings.
Maybe you haven’t figured out how to weather the storm yet. That’s okay. It took me many, many years to spot that tiny stream of light down in the deep dark cave I used to be stuck in.
If you haven’t found that light yet, hold on.
Don’t give up. Reach out when you have enough energy. Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. And try with all your might, to remember that you are not alone. Heavenly Father is there if you’ll just ask for him to come in. If you’ll just let him in.