For me the Lord had been there all along. He always is. His atonement didn't just happen so many years ago and died when His mortal body died. No He lives and with that the atonement is a living and breathing thing; a pure love that can lead us back to our Father in Heaven. No matter what pit we are in in life- we CAN get out of it. We can be rescued. We can be helped.
I was in such a pit. I will have you know I wasn't in a pit of deep sin but rather a pit of depression. Yes it took months to finally label it and put a description on what was really going on with Kendilyn. But- just as real as the rain falling from the sky so is depression for the average person, even for me. It took a long time to discover that I had it. I didn't think I'd ever have such an illness and in fact, embarrassing enough as this is to admit, laughed at the fact that people claimed they even had such an illness. I genuinely felt as though mental illnesses were just an excuse for a bad day. Now I know. Now I've been humbled. Mental illnesses ARE real and can be life altering. Something that our finite minds can't fully comprehend but something that is definitely felt. As heard before from another with a mental illness- broken bones can be healed but a mental illness is your core, who you are.
Before I discovered I had depression, perhaps postpartum depression, I would read scriptures after talks and be praying- what was wrong with me? Why isn't the spirit as abundant in my life as it had been? What was I doing wrong? What sin have I committed that was causing this? I could not get answers but more questions after questions. My husband gave me blessings all the while our arguments would increase. What was happening to us? What was happening to our relationship with each other, our family and the Lord? I'm sad to say our arguments never really had an end they just built on top of each other. We didn't really know what the root of the argument or negativity was or where it was going. One thing was for certain- I made a covenant with my Lord and I was going to hunt it out to figure out what was happening. In the midst of studying scriptures and talks and really hunting I stumbled across a talk by Elder Holland entitled, "Like a Broken Vessel". It was this talk that for a split moment I felt something? Was the problem with me even deeper then I imagined? I started to study and study his talk. He was talking to me!
Like a Broken Vessel
I had turned to my husband and exclaimed, maybe I should go talk with the bishop. That was the first step. Jeremy was extremely hesitant with it. I can't say I don't blame him. I too was once incredibly skeptical of the whole idea of mental illnesses. My claim to possibly having a mental illness was completely from left field. After all it was me we were talking about! It could never happen to me! More scriptures and prayer would be his advice towards me. Which in the past had fixed the majority of any issue. Finally after some prayer and a little bit of fasting and a lot of discussion it was time for me to set up an appointment with the bishop. With a formal setting with the bishop he sent his deepest regrets, told me I was to be released and immediately referred me to a therapist. Jeremy again received confirmation for me and this path as he began to see my progress. We were both humbled that this was a real issue.
On my first meeting with the therapist I was asked to fill out a questionnaire. The last question asked me what I liked about myself. I remember tears gushing out of my eyes as I couldn't think of one thing! It was in this moment that I finally realized I was genuinely unhappy with not only life but myself. I felt like I couldn't go anywhere, like I couldn't breath. Something was genuinely wrong and I felt as though I was in the bottom of a self dug pit. What had I done to myself and my spirit?
The truth of the matter is if you are faced with depression or any other mental illness you didn't "do it to yourself". Sure there are some things that can be applied and somethings that can help you "square your shoulders" but ultimately you didn't put it on yourself. You need to know that! I needed to know that. I didn't cause this to myself I was faced with about 5+ life alterring changes at once and unfortunately it affected who I was.
As therapy progressed and some things were applied it was suggested that I go see my family doctor to be perscribed for an anti depressant. I again felt put off a bit. I thought I was doing great without the medication and although I was perscribed refused to take it for a bit. "pills are a bad thing. They make you a bad person!" Those were the thoughts in my head and to admit I was taking them to anyone would make me less of a person. I was about to throw them away when I literally had the worst week yet. There was no hope that week and I found myself watching a little TOO much TV and not motivated to do anything. I digressed and needed help to get back on track. After a little prayer and self talking to I decided I needed to go ahead and take them. It was the best choice yet! It took a lot of humbling and a lot of faith but I am so glad I did. Results came within just a few weeks. Many weeks and a couple months later I finally felt happy. I haven't felt this "at peace" for almost a year. My husband turned to me about a month ago and said, "You're Kendilyn again!" I felt it too.
I met with my therapist for the last time this past week and as I got to her office she said, "you're glowing! You look great." Our meeting was shorter and ulitmately we both decided that I was back on track. I did not schedule a return appointment and as I left that day I never felt happier. I've reached some resolve in my life. I was back on track! I was me again.
This was a long journey and often when we're faced with a trial we receive some type of reassurance that things will be okay. My reassurance didn't come until almost 10 months later but it did come. I almost gave up hope a couple times. I wanted to crawl in a corner and give up everything in life. I felt as though someone could play "me" better! I remember feeling useless and unworthy and extremely unproductive. I was just going through day to day and there was nothing to get me to the next day. It was an awful feeling and doing any small task seemed almost impossible. What gave me hope in the end and even just to go through those awful days was that I did have a family, a family who loved me and cared about me and a family who depended on me. I had to remind myself of that often. It wasn't until the end of finding a resolve that I again felt the hope of the atonement in my life. And it was okay! I needed to understand for myself that mental illness was a real thing. This was a real thing people go through. This is something that people need to seek professional help for! God was guiding me through this healing process and although he wasn't as visible in times past looking back now I realize He had been there every step of the way. He helped soften my husbands heart about the idea of a mental illness, he gave time for me to sit down and have a legitimate conversation with my bishop. He guided me right to a therapist who was trustworthy and faith promoting. He led me to a doctor who was personal and helpful. Most importantly he had helped me feel joy again in my life and allowed my testimony to increase in charity, compassion and helped me realize the ultimate healing power comes from the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I feel for those who struggle with real mental illnesses. I advise you to seek help! If you are LDS go to your bishop, counsel with him and he most likely can guide you to a professional who can help you. Most importantly- get help! It's not worth feeling lost everyday. We are all loved by a Father in Heaven who cares for us and need to feel that love in our lives. Afterall "Adam fell that men migh be and men are that they might have JOY!"