10 October 2013

"... However bewildering this all may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them, than acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure." -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

This blog has never been intended to uphold high expectations of me or to put myself on a pedestal in any way. It has been written with one intention, and that is to possibly help relate to someone else, which is why I'm publishing this post. 

As someone who has felt "held-hostage" because of a term referred to as medical depression, I listened intently to Elder Holland in the Saturday afternoon session of Conference as he vindicated and validated each and every last person who has felt less of a person because of a misunderstood and unwarranted stigma attached to mental disorders. 

Medical depression is something I don't openly talk about, other than with a select few who I trust, but Elder Holland offered his voice, which gave me a voice, and I believe gave every victim of an emotional disorder a voice.

For me it started at a young age - the residing sadness that seemed always to continually linger. Without making this a terribly overdrawn story, I was diagnosed with medical depression in my young teenage years and it has been a struggle I have lived with ever since. 

I believe I was always confident in who I was, secure enough to know my depression didn't define me. However, there have been, and unfortunately probably always will be, a few people in life who for whatever reason attempt to hold one liable for it; even to belittle or demean one for it. I'm so grateful the Lord seemingly single-handedly took me out of such a situation so recently. 

This blog post isn't intended to point fingers. It is certainly not to call anyone out for their misinformed notions. It is not to differentiate people with their differing disorders. It is simply to say this: I struggle with depression. It is not who I am, but it is what I am going through. It is a mortal illness I agreed to take on in the pre-mortal life. It doesn't make me less of a person; in fact because of the strength I have gained from it, this struggle has only refined me and, in essence, made me more of a person. Emotional disorders, mental disorders, physical disorders, call them what you will, are just like any other sickness, and just like any other sickness we will be healed again, we will be made whole, and, if worthy, we will become glorified resurrected beings, in a total and complete perfect state. As Elder Holland put it so perfectly, men of the caliber of Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Elder George Albert Smith (and Elder Holland himself) were and have been sufferers of this very thing, and to be given a trial that those men were given, well my goodness, I will take that in stride.

We are all sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven. If it wasn't depression, it would be cancer. If it wasn't cancer, it would be a victim of abuse. If it wasn't abuse, it would be a mental handicap, or a limbless body, or a death of a loved one. We are each given trials, trials that may not seem personally chosen, but trials that are perfectly and completely tailored to our plan here on earth, to return home to our perfect and all-knowing Father and Savior. I love this gospel with every part of my being. I sustain and support these men who lead this church and who are so evidently called of God. And I am not ashamed, of any trial, that the Lord in his all-knowing goodness has given me.