Sunday, July 27, 2008

Depression and Personal Revelation

When I first descended into the pit of depression, one of the most striking and alarming changes I noticed was that I no longer had ready access to the Holy Ghost. I felt literally cut off and alone, spiritually. A great many fervent prayers were sent heavenward, pleading for help and comfort, anything, something please Lord give me something to hold onto! Where was the Comforter when I needed Him the most, like all the faith promoting stories I'd heard in church? I felt cast adrift in a black sea, with no compass nor oars nor wind for my sail.

I teetered for a time on the edge of faith. What was the point of going to church, taking the sacrament, praying even, when all was hollow and bleak? I was just going through the motions. The temple brought no relief. Nothing brought relief. It was a black time.

Attending church was excruciating--having to keep a "I'm fine" smile on my face for three whole hours was almost more than I could manage. But every time I considered quitting church, as much as I wanted to, I couldn't do it. And the reason always came back to the same thing: I had four children I had promised -- no, covenanted -- to teach the gospel to. And even though I couldn't currently feel it, I remembered the times when I had felt direction by the Holy Ghost. I knew the gospel was true. It was all true. I didn't know how I knew it, but I. Did. Know. And I knew that if I stopped attending church, if only due to apathy, my children would be more likely to fall away sooner or later. I knew I must not allow that to happen. And so I kept going.

Discovering that I really did have a solid testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the most treasured lessons I gleaned from my experience with depression. Even now, years later, I still don't enjoy the clarity of communication from the Spirit that some people do. I rarely "feel" the Spirit as strongly as the people around me at the usual times, like baptisms, testimony meetings, etc. I've learned that comparing myself to others really doesn't accomplish anything other making me feel like a loser. I've come to accept the fact that this may be one of my "thorns of the flesh", so to speak. It may be that the heavens will remain silent for me for the rest of my life. Perhaps one day I'll experience the miracle of hearing God's voice in my heart again. Perhaps not. But I know that whatever happens, I will stay faithful. When the Lord comes, he will find me waiting. And that's enough for me.


  1. I hear ya. I have had times when the spirit is so strong and even times when I feel it for other people (baptisms, etc.) but still can not receive answers to my own struggles. But I too have covnanted and knowing that I have felt it for myself is enough. I don't need Heavenly Father to prove anything to me. At this point I just want him to solve all my problems and he is not going to do that. For now he seems to have sent me you to help with some of them. You are an answer to my prayers, so Thank You for being in tune with the spirit enough to recognized where the Lord has need of you.

  2. Time and time again I find myself back in the pit, going through the motions. Sometimes I attend my meetings only because it is easier than trying to explain not attending or I go for my kids. Of course when the depression lifts I am grateful that I stuck it out, but sometimes I get so tired of the cycle.

    Like you, I don't seem to feel the spirit on the same level as others do, I had never connected it to the depression until this morning. I have always just assumed that I am doing something wrong, or not trying hard enough.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  3. I am right there with you. My biggest challenge is teaching the Laurels every Sunday and trying to get them to feel the spirit, that I can't seem to feel. It is horribly overwhelming. And I fear that I am failing and they would be so much better off with someone else.
    I have been thinking about this for a while, but wasn't really sure it was the depression either. Thanks for letting me know that I am not the only one who feels this way.
    I am impressed that you are keeping up your posting, long distance. Is that the beauty of having a lap top?
    Oh and apparently many of my friends are reading and loving your blog. Friday night I went to a game night thing at the church, and I told everyone to go home and read my blog because it was funny. Someone said "Oh, is it like Caught in the act" I have to say I was shocked. But you are so witty and they love to read you posts, so I am glad to share you with them.

  4. Even though it's an old post, I want to comment. I had the same problem with my depression. I couldn't feel the spirit. I did stop attending Church for a while, because it was so hard. It's bad enough to watch a toddler melt down during Church - I thought a grown woman sobbing uncontrollably would be even more distracting for people. So I quit going for a while.

    It was impossible to talk about the loss of Spirit, and how spiritual things were so disappointing, because everyone assumes that if you're not feeling the Spirit you're either a sinner or you're not trying hard enough. I'm relieved to hear other people say they had the same problem with the Spirit that I had. Not that I want anyone to have that problem, but if we do have that problem, I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

  5. It's 3:30 and I'm in my office getting ready for my class so I can't spend as much time on this as I'd like RIGHT NOW. But I really loved reading this story and also the comments because it reminds me that we all have the same struggles. And we often don't talk about them. My sister feels bad all the time because everyone else seems to be having these profound spiritual revelations and she doesn't feel anything. Her baby died when he was 12 hours old and she always says, I can't even feeeeel him! It depresses her and makes her think something's wrong with her.

    You're so brave for sharing. Thanks.