Friday, November 11, 2011

The exquisite pain of living...

My mother once sat at my bedside and told me "Dying is easy; it's living that's so hard."  At the time, I didn't believe her.  Now, here I am standing on the cusp of another long Michigan winter, dreading the cold and dark. 

A long time ago, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I have come to understand that while that opinion may well have been incorrect, I do suffer from debilitating depression that creeps up on me in the late fall and throws me into mania come spring.  The only season where I really feel like myself is summer. 

I have been trying my hardest to keep hold of all things good and calming.  I have been reading my Scriptures, trying out new crafts and hugging my husband. 

I have also been gritting my teeth, crying a lot and considering throwing massive tantrums.  Sometimes notebooks I was just writing in take to flying through the air and smacking into the wall, and I come to and find myself killing a poor, hapless pillow that got in my way. 

There is definite pain in healing from mental illness, and the road I chose is not right for everyone.  I have been medication-free since 2007.  Occasionally, I will go to see a counselor if I feel the need, but most of the time I rely on my faith and my family to keep me afloat.  It's hard to look over the past few years and see that I have not progressed as much as I had hoped.  Sometimes I am still afraid; sometimes I am still depressed, and I can safely say that the mental torture I subject myself to is an awful price to pay for being lucid.

But there is a healing power in the Atonement of Christ.  It doesn't make everything better all at once; I can attest to that from where I sit this evening, having been sick and in pain for most of the day.  It does, however, give me something to hope for.  Someday, I will be completely well.

I get a glimpse of what this will feel like when I sit in the temple in the presence of God.  My worried soul is calmed; my harrowed mind is quieted.  I am not paranoid or depressed or upset.  I am my best self.  This winter, I am going to try to go to the temple more often.  I know that as I go there in  faith and prayer, I will find the strength I need to deal more effectively with my illness.  I will be at peace.

It is this peace, the peace of Christ, that I wish for all of you this holiday season.  Open your heart and let Him heal this pain that comes from living day to day.  I will be right there with you. 

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