Friends, I struggle with depression.
Not like the, "Blech, I feel depressed today."
But the clinical depression. The one where the chemicals in my brain make it hard for me to think straight and make good decisions.
For example, non-depressed me thinks clearly and has motivation to follow through. I need underwear? I'll do the laundry! What? No dishes? No problem! You spilled eighty gallons of milk? Meh, I can handle that.
But then the chemicals in my head meet to go over this years fiscal earnings, and they get all uppity and upset and wonky and then suddenly, going to the bathroom seems like a chore. "Why me? Why do I always have to get out of bed to go to the bathroom? Why don't I just call a spade a spade, and wear depends?"
Depression is a real problem. It is for me, even if I do deny it really well.
When I'm depressed, everything is exacerbated. Being a mom is the worst burden. I feel like a disappointment to my kids and to my husband. They have to pick up my slack. All those little nagging thoughts we usually can just push to the back of our minds, come running to the forefront and become my only reality.
I've failed. I'm a failure. Just give up. What's the point?
Basically, Satan just gets to have his way with my thoughts. My guards are down, and any and every bad feeling becomes the only feeling.
But I do know one thing that does help.
My faith. I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and it's pounded into my brain every day that Heavenly Father loves me. We're advised to do certain things every day: pray and read our scriptures. Pray and read our scriptures. Pray and read our scriptures.
Some people think this is a ridiculous thing. They wonder, "How on earth is that going to help you, in any way? See a doctor, not an imaginary God. Take drugs."
Well, I'll tell you. When soldiers are trained in drills, it isn't for their health. It isn't for fun, they don't get kicks and giggles out of it. They don't LOVE doing it. People wonder and may even ask the, "Why? It's so pointless." But they do it. Because they know when they're in a war, under attack, being shot at by enemies, watching their friends die, and probably feeling the pinnacle of fear, they know what to do. They know what maneuvers to make. They know how to fall down, crawl, dig a trench, aim, fire, hide, run, fight. These things are a part of them now because of their constant drilling and training. Under the barrage of fire, they don't have to think. They act.
And that's how it is for us.
Read our scriptures.
Even in the depth of my depression, when I wonder why I ever made the decision to come down to this earth, to get an imperfect body, and to be under the constant onslaught of Satans' power, I know what to do.
Read my scriptures.
Like a soldier trained to reach for their gun, my arm naturally reaches out and grabs my scriptures. My legs naturally bed and my head automatically bows and suddenly, I'm no longer completely alone. Suddenly darkness doesn't sound so appealing. Suddenly I feel like I can do one more day.
He doesn't solve my problems, He just helps make them bearable.
He doesn't take away my chemical imbalances, but He helps me manage the side effects.
He doesn't remove the obstacles, He just helps lift me over them. Sometimes, all I need is that encouragement.
Heavenly Father is real. He knows us. He loves us. He waits to help us. I'm grateful I've been trained like a soldier, because I am living through a war. A literal war where Satan runs rampant, and a very personal war...where Satan runs rampant. In my brain.
My body is heavy, my mind is cloudy, and my house is a disaster. Most people don't understand this. But I'm not alone. We are never alone.