My depression has become worse again lately. I keep hoping that someday that affliction will finally be gone for good in my life, or at least stop rearing up to haunt me (because of the use of carefully prescribed medications from a great doctor). But even with excellent care, for the last 15 years I haven't had very long breaks. Isn't that long enough to learn the lessons I need from this health challenge? Couldn't at least that part go away and I could simply struggle with my several autoimmune diseases and that would be enough? Apparently not.
Singing has most often been my coping strategy:
When the days are gloomy,
Sing some happy song;
Meet the world’s repining
With a courage strong.
Go with faith undaunted
Thru the ills of life;
Scatter smiles and sunshine
O’er its toil and strife. (Scatter Sunshine Hymns 230)
The darkest of my thoughts is that my family doesn't need me anymore-- that my illnesses have made me unable to help and care for them, so it would be better if someone else could take over for me. But the encouragement I have received from others helps me listen to my strong heart telling me there is no way those thoughts are true and that I am still needed in whatever capacity I am able to give. Today those depressing thoughts are lifted. I am going to take advantage of that!!
President Hinckley who is one whose influence was greatest during my defining teenage and college years said:
Believe in yourself. Believe in your capacity to do great and good things. Believe that no mountain is so high that you cannot climb it. Believe that no storm is so great that you cannot weather it. … You are a child of God, of infinite capacity.
Stand a little taller, rise a little higher, be a little better. Make the extra effort. You will be happier. (Teachings of Presidents of the church: Gordon B. Hinckley, chapter 3)
I have found that the decision to follow those words throughout my life and decide to be happy in my heart even when my mind can't feel any of it, and to write down the happy things, has made all the difference in turning even depressing days into joys as I read about them later. And remembering how depressed I was on a day that has a list of so many happy things, shows me that I really do make a difference even when I am sick.