Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Life Changes: Part 2

I just want to preface the ending of this story with a word of caution and my own testimony. I know that the Lord points to where we need to go always. It's really up to us how we're going to make his pointing more apparent in our lives. Sometimes life gets in the way of that and it needs to be cleaned up and fixed so we can see his direction more clearly. That even means seeking medical professional help.

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!"

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Life Change: Part One

First off.  I'm not a blogger.  Sometimes I want to be and then reality sets in and I realize I have just about enough time for the essentials of life and that's about it.  But occasionally I get the prompting to write and not just in my journal but in a blog.  In my blog.

I'm not a professional writer.  That's obvious.  But I do have my own story and that's what brings me here.  I have a total of about 15 started blogs over the past year and I figured it's finally time to buckle down and press the "publish" button.  I'm not writing my story to get "attention" or "likes" but rather for someone who can relate that needs to hear some words of encouragement.  Because about a year ago I could have used those words myself.

As you can see, or maybe you haven't, I haven't written in my blog for over 4 years now.  Before that I wasn't much into it either.  I've made excuse after excuse after excuse why NOT to write.  Letting strangers in your personal life was one of those.  I warn those who've already come this far in reading- Please don't judge me.  I'm only sharing my story to help others who maybe have gone through the same experience or GOING through this experience to seek hope.

Enough jib jab, just get to the point!  So a little over a year ago I finally graduated college!  I say finally because I graduated high school in 2006.  Now you do the math.  Yes it took me a long time but I did take some personal time in there, ie."figuring myself out" and some time for the Lord, ie. a mission.  But I finally buckled down and I finally graduated.  I guess it took getting married and having a child to finally put that diploma in my hands.  I am ever so grateful for finally making it and finally getting through to the end.  (That whole "education story" is for another time!)  But as I grabbed my diploma and as the next semester started it hit me that I wouldn't be joining the thousands on campus that morning.  I would be at home.  At home with my almost terrible two year old and pregnant.  I found myself a little bit lost.  Okay let's be honest people- a LOT lost.  What was I suppose to do with my time?? And how was I suppose to be "a mother"??  I didn't go to school to get a "mother degree"!  I knew that this was going to be the goal though.  This is what my husband and I talked about was our plan.  My plan.  I wanted to be there for our children and watch them grow up.  I didn't know what that meant.  I still don't fully know what that means.

Our plan was to have Jeremy finish in the end of July, take the GRE in the summer break, work in the fall, have Jeremy work on campus in the winter while we waited to here to what school we were going to next.  I was ready for that journey.  In fact I was excited about it!  After all with my many years of school you'd think I'd want to be done with it but it was life I was comfortable with, one that I actually really enjoyed.

July came around and so did the birth of our new baby boy Timothy, Jeremy's school was done and the blessing of Timothy had just happened.  Jeremy's family was in town and that's where the conversations began.  "Why don't you work with your dad Jeremy?"  For whatever reason this question was coming up more and more!  It wasn't even from Jeremy's family -it was from the Lord.  It was from Jeremy.  So discussions were being made and plans were being put into place.  The GRE was cancelled and literally less then a month we were moving to CA to have Jeremy work with his Dad for his Uncle's company.  I was leery of the idea, however I felt enough of a push that what we were doing was okay and right.  I knew I needed faith to just accept and move forward.

That's where our story really begins.  New baby, new career, new friends, new area, new ward, new surroundings, new. new. new.  Well you get the idea.  I was not really ready for new.  I accepted this "change" but I was REALLY emotionally ready for the change.  And looking back, there was really no other way.  It's what needed to happened and how it needed to happen.

There is something you need to know about me, if you don't already.  I have had a lot of last minute life decisions after high school that have lead me to some pretty amazing circumstances including school in Hawaii, new friends/job in Utah and a mission in Oregon.  All of which followed the same pattern of the Lord just telling me to go for it and me stepping completely into the dark.  There is no exception to that same pattern as this was at this time for me and our family.  I guess I just assumed that this time would have been different, I also expected that every other time.  I've learned now not to expect certain things from the way the Lord SHOULD work with you.  He's your Father after all, not the other way around.

So here we are in CA with a lot of "new".  My little Idaho bubble was popped and suddenly I'm very much in the world.  Again, I figured the transition would be easy.  I got a calling in our ward pretty quickly, felt very welcomed by some family and new ward family.  It should be comfortable after all.  But you guessed it! It was not.  It was not an easy adjustment.  I think the hardest adjustment of it all was the fact that my husband was out working almost 60 hour weeks when I was so used to seeing
him half the day everyday.  I felt disconnected and really alone.  I think my hope was starting to drain.  My happiness was numb.  I had an infant and toddler who depended on my every move and I didn't even feel like the Lord was walking with me in my new journey.

My hope had gone numb. My testimony, my happiness and in reality "kendilyn" had gone missing.  I was lost and I didn't know how to get back.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Things as They Really Are



This week for my family foundations class we've been asked to track our media time online for two weeks. We had to set a goal for ourselves too. I decided I would do a facebook fast for two weeks. So far I've been facebook free for two days. Being facebook free has really been a blessing! I've been able to accomplish a lot more. I've spent just as much time on the computer however, due to homework and projects. It's been amazing however to be more consciously aware of the time I've been spending online.
Computers seem to consume our lives these days. If we aren't on the computer, we're on our phones, if we aren't on our phones we're on our ipods. What would a day be like if the world didn't have ANY technology connected to their ears, fingers, or eyes? What if we put it all away and just stopped and looked at the people around us and had heartfelt conversations with strangers more? How would this impact our souls? I would challenge each of you to just try for a day if you're walking to and fro places to put away your technology and look around you. Who needs a friendly smile or a simple hello? Maybe you need the time to ponder and rest your brain from all the radio waves you just put in your brain.
Our teacher shared this clip with us and I realized how grateful I was I didn't have an iphone. :) Don't get me wrong, technology can do us a lot of good but like all good things come a good balance. I am grateful for these next two weeks I'll have to track my media time and to use my time for something else good.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

True Friendship.




Last week... We got a little intense in FHE. The loser of spoons had to have a bad posted picture on facebook for the week. Unfortunately, Marrisa Lewis lost. (See picture to the left.) But we love her.

In fact, I just wanted to say how much I love every single one of my roommates. Okay, not just my roommates this semester but last semester as well.

(That picture is of us roasting marshmallows in our room over a toaster. YUM! -OH. homemade marshmallows, EVEN-BETTER!)

I have been so fortunate to have such wonderful people in my life. Looking back I've needed all my roommates for a reason at that time. I've grown so much from every one of them. Of course I would include my companions in the same boat. These girls (companions/roommates) have taught me everything I've needed to learn. Everything from the power of a good workout to the true meaning of charity. I've had roommates that have come from every background possible, outside of the church and in and each one of them have shaped me a little bit better. I just wanted to express my love for my roommates and friends around. I can't express enough gratitude to them and to my Father in Heaven for sending good people in my life.

Today I was bearing my testimony in Relief Society and as I glanced around I thought, "wow. you are my sister." Of course I don't know everyone by their names or even what's in their hearts but they are my sisters.

I've just been feeling very blessed lately in life. There have been some intense trials since I've been home from my mission but not anything I haven't be able to overcome by help of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I believe the Lord helped a bit too, by sending me wonderful people while I've had the chance to adjust back to the college life.

While we are on the note of true friendships. I am reminded of the scripture, "No man hath greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." The Savior is the truest friend we could ever have. He lives! & He loves us. He has provided his life as a sacrifice for our return and an example to follow. The gospel of Jesus Christ is very real and is the tool to help us return home someday. Thank HEAVENS for the scriptures because they indeed help us on this path. They are true in every way possible. As we read from them we can learn more about the Savior and about how to pattern after his life. The power of prayer is very real. He hears us when we pray to Him and listens. He loves us and wants to hear from us.

Oh gosh! It's just great to be alive on this earth at this time and to experience these blessings in mortality!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mundane Mondays




New week.

I got off the phone with my sister, whom I feel I haven't talked with in ages tonight and realized tomorrow is Monday. How do the weeks and weekends just FLY by?? I am so sad that it's another week tomorrow but anxious at the same time. As this new week begins I have a lot of thoughts already about my newer surroundings.





SO many mixed emotions can make any child's head pop....off. But I'm keeping it together. Sadly this semester of classes is not what I want it to be. There have been so many opinions thrown at me about my major and it's making me insane. The best advice I got was from my bishop a couple weekends ago. He told me to do what I love to do. I am excited because I realized the only thing I REALLY love doing is designing; basically I love anything with art. I've decided to go back to interior design so right now I'm waiting and finishing up my application process for the program. UNfortunately I won't be able to get into the program until the fall and then it will be 4 years until it's done. Any practical person might be thinking that this is the worst idea yet. BUT I've decided to chase my dream and passion, no matter how long it might take. I want to do what I love.

Another evaluation I've observed about myself lately. I keep taking everyone else's advice instead of listening to my heart and mind and the spirit more. I'm trying this out more lately. I know I've been given this special gift and I just need to use it (agency that is!). I think I'm so nervous to test the waters that I don't even take a chance at times. How do you know if you don't even try. So I'm taking a chance with different experiences right now... ie. dating, friendships, school, etc. I'm excited to see where my path will lead this semester. I know if anything I will learn and grow more and that's all I hope for! :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Case of the Ticking Fan.


I feel a bit a bit melodramatic tonight. It's been a LONG day! Good day but long day. I start my days at about 630. I have work at 8. Then I have classes until about 630. That's not including the time for homework. "Back up plans" are lunch and dinner lately. I feel a bit drained. Someone asked me this question the other day: "what do you do for fun?" FUN!?? I thought in my head. There's no time for fun! haha. One word: PATHETIC! Something has GOT TO change.

Lately I've been feeling a bit stagnant and wondering why. Perhaps all RM's go through this phase. Where they've experienced this mighty change and then they have to go back to life and the daily mundane things. Perhaps when we get down on ourselves we're dwelling too much on the past regrets and not enough on the future and what we could be and what we can do.
There's this quote from President Monson," The past is behind, learn from it; the future is ahead, prepare for it; the present is now, live in it."

I think I'd like to set a new goal for myself: try to have more fun. Start living life and enjoying it!

I'll just end on this story tonight:

Speaking of enjoyment... tonight our fan has been ticking pretty loud. My roommate and I are both getting ready to lay down in bed and the noise just gets louder. We both
perked up and stuff starts falling down from out of the fan. We both screamed and turn on the light and stare at this fan. The first thought that comes to our minds: "Must be a bat!" Yup! That's right.
There's a bat in our little fan. Must be. That seemed like the most logical answer for both of us. The fan ticking got louder and I looked over to notice Chelsie had tucked herself a bit more underneath her covers. "Are you worried that something is gunna come fly out at you?" Her response: "‎Have you ever thrown a sock at a fan? I used to do that all the time."

After some careful study... DUST. Dust was falling from out of our fan. Now we can safely
go to bed. ((except Chelsie is now googling bat pictures and will now have nightmares...))
I'm glad I could end my night with a laugh.

Monday, January 23, 2012

wow.

Here's to taking off a heavy brick and...
Shaking the dust off this old thing and trying to put it to use.
I'm living in Idaho now! I'm back from my mission, but if you are my friend... which you are if you're reading this, then you already know that! :)

I've been in Rexburg for almost a month now. Lots of new things are happening. I love my new roommates and I'm already getting to know so many people. Our ward is super nice and I feel like one of the older ones but I am learning so much from everyone. oh. My roommate Amanda took Chelsie and I for a little "photoshoot" last weekend and so here are some of the pics from that...




I have had a lot of confusing choices since I've been home from my mission, I feel like an adult being reborn. Lots to learn all over again I feel. It's mixing the new things from what I learned on my mission with the old things what I did before my mission. To name a few... dating, talking to people, SCHOOL, managing time in a new kind of way.

School has been one of the hardest. Not because the classes are hard, although not the easiest, BUT I have been so confused about what to do. I think I changed my major 5 times since I've been home from my mission. I feel SUPER pathetic when everyone kept asking me what I'm doing with my life. I had never felt so lost. Possibly because I just miss my mission so much that I would just want to teach the gospel the rest of my life. I vote they give you a degree for missionary work. :) Wouldn't that be nice? Art Education, Interior design, nursing, health science. Those are just a few of my top majors I want to do. Hmm. To make a LONG story less boring... I decided the health profession wasn't for me. I like staying healthy, and helping others that can't help themselves, but it's not my passion. I love art. I love creating and I love making others happy in the process. After talking with my bishop last week I realized I wasn't REALLY happy doing health science. Although good and practical I needed to follow my passion and my dream. -No matter how long or tedious it may be to finish-. Although dreams and passions are never really satisfied, right? I think they just keep getting fulfilled the more we learn about them.
Okay stay on topic kendilyn. -Rambling is something I'm good at these days!-

Well I changed my petition and signed it up for interior design. At first they were telling me I couldn't do it ...at the beginning of the day. At the end of the day I had my petition signed for and now it's just a matter of getting into the program. I pray I do! I am excited for this change. The whole day I felt so much joy. I'll get to create in school! I know it's going to be hard and will probably eat my life away but SO worth it. Most may say this is the dumbest idea they ever heard of, for me to start over basically in school but I think in the long run it'll be something I enjoy doing. I guess I'm just meant to stay in school.
Dating. Another topic we single mid 20-year old's hate discussing. There's so much pressure on us these days that I think we avoid it all together. However. I have been dating quite a bit since I've been off the mish. No big fireworks yet, And no. No proposals or anything crazy although there's been a lot of memorable experiences... some of the best dates. I had my first date in Rexburg tonight. Suprisingly it was a lot of fun. My roommates had been teasing me all week because... well I'm not sure. It's just what girls do. We went singing at stadium singing (tons of people get together to sing under neath the bleechers), had hot coco and then walked around near the stadium and then back to my house. Not to get too deep here but I told him it doesn't matter what you do with a person, as long as you're in good company. I want that to be my theme, not just in dating but in life. Doesn't matter the place or the objective, but just as long as you're in good company! He asked me out again... so stay tuned.

I got a calling today: ward compassionate service leader. I'm really excited for it. I felt a prick in my heart when I got the calling. I knew it came from the Lord. I'm excited to serve and to have an excuse to do it. I think it'll be good to help the girls break from their shells and get to know each other a bit more. :) I hope I can fulfill the calling well.

I'm looking forward to all these new experiences this semester. I pray I can press forward with faith.