Complete healing. Healing means to be made whole.
I have been sitting on this post for nearly a year now. Not because I'm not open about the depression that I experienced, but I just didn't think it would mean anything to anyone and you hardly need to hear about another one of my problems. However after Elder Holland's talk on Saturday afternoon session of conference I decided to finally hit publish. So here it is... for what it's worth.
For many years I struggled with severe depression. Darkness enveloped my life such that I will never be able describe with words. Bleakness that I hid or tried to hide from everyone I could. I didn't understand why I, with the charmed life I lead, I couldn't be happy. I couldn't figure out how I keep going when the world, my family would be better off if I just didn't exist. They were horrible, horrible moments curled up in a ball sobbing and pleading for the Lord to end my life.
I can't think back to that time without tears welling up in my eyes and weeping because of the pain I caused not only myself, but my tender little children and husband. The dark times were filled with prayer, searching, and counseling. When John first suggested counseling I was upset, I couldn't be one of those people who has to see a therapist. I was shocked by my prejudices and eventually went because I love my dear husband. I would love to say that I was suddenly cured by our sessions with the doctor, but I wasn't. It was many years after I quit seeing the doctors that I found healing.
It is a time in my life I never want to experience again, but I can look back now and see that I grew in ways I would have never been able to otherwise. I still have to be careful not to fall back into those destructive behaviors, but it is a fight I gladly wage.
See for me depression was a battle against the adversary. I had been given the opportunity to take anti-depressants and other medication to help with the symptoms, but after much prayer I knew that this was not the path that I was to take. I have learned that my body does not react well with medication and I didn't want to treat the symptoms I wanted to cure the problem.
I am in no way advocating my path for anyone. There are mental disorders that need medicinal answers and although my physical health was in jeopardy at times I would have never taken my own life for I couldn't add that additional burden to my children's lives.
Back to the battle, I had allowed Satan, the master of lies, to take residence in my brain. I gave him free reign to abuse me and I helped. Mean thoughts would popped into my mind over the failures however small and they would grow and spiral until a simple mistake propelled me to "spawn of Satan" status. It was a miserable place to be and the cycle would repeat itself over and over again sometimes hourly.
In the darkest of moments, when my heart was pouring out to the Lord, I allowed flickers of hope to penetrate the spiraling thoughts of failure. In those tiny moments, I knew the Lord loved me. One day while I was searching for answers I came across these words,
" Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
"And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:41-44).
I envisioned the Lord and His pain, my pain. I tried to comprehend all that he suffered and then an angel came and strengthen him.
All at once my heart opened up to an understanding that I was not alone. The Lord knew me, just as He knew the Savior. He loved me, and in a way I didn't realize or perhaps had forgotten. He reminded me that I was not alone and never would be. I would be strengthened and then like Mose I needed to say,
"Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not" (Moses 1:16)
Slowly my healing began. There were days when the negative thoughts rushed in with such force that I literally called out, "GET THEE HENCE, SATAN!" Immediately I felt relief. Through the atoning sacrifice of our merciful Savior the mistakes that I made every day, became mistakes once again and not devastating, end of world tragedies. I realized once again that as a child of God I was precious to Him. He created something of value and that was me.
I was becoming whole.
I know I will never be able to describe the depths of sorrow that I felt or the healing that took place, but I can in my own simple words testify that it can. If someone like me, basic and ordinary, can heal there is hope for those of you who are truly magnificent.
Since that blessed day I started writing down quotes and thoughts that would help me remember who I was in this battle. They don't do much good sitting in my journal so I am preparing them for download.
I also came across a talk last year, Carrie Maxwell Wrigley here: "Christ-Centered Healing from Depression and Low Self-Worth", that was given in 2005 that says more eloquently and with more authority the things I learned along the way. Another testament that the Lord was aware of me and taught me. I didn't have the wisdom and knowledge this woman, yet He took my hand and led me, one step at a time. Through the set backs and the triumphs He filled my mind, heart, and soul in a similar way she described.
"The Savior's atonement in the garden and on the cross is intimate as well as infinite. Infinite in that it spans the eternities. Intimate in that the Savior felt each person's pains, sufferings, and sicknesses. Consequently, he knows how to carry our sorrows and relieve our burdens that we might be healed from within, made whole persons, and receive everlasting joy in his kingdom. May our faith in the Father and the Son help each of us to become whole." (Merrill J. Bateman, "The Power to Heal from Within," Ensign, May 1995, 14)
I think I have found the beginning of my next Names of Christ journal entry: Master Healer.
[Transcript of "Christ-Centered Healing from Depression and Low Self-Worth" (PDF, 16 pp.) (I have no affiliation with Morning Light Counseling. They were the only source that had a pdf transcript of the talk available. Although I did look around and it seems like a great resource.]