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My dear friends,
Yesterday I was full of sorrow. For the past few weeks I have been experimenting with replacing complaining thoughts with the thought, “The Lord will help me,” and trying to be upbeat, look for the positives, express my gratitude to my loved ones and my God, and mostly just try to pretend like everything was all right. Well, that didn’t happen yesterday. After hearing stories from friends and loved ones whose lives have been shaken (some literally from earthquakes) with so little that I could do for them, becoming a homeschool momma (aka superhero mommas!), being given extra workloads from my doctoral program because all classes have been converted to an online format and we don’t get to meet at the class time except, oh wait, we are also still meeting remotely during class time (What?!), oh and you still have to do all your research, interviewing for some interesting companies, and being asked to help serve from so many different directions that I simply have had to say, “No,” too many times despite wanting to help; I just don’t have excess free time right now. In fact, I have precious little time!
This feeling of overwhelm with just so many things to do was not helped when a concerned community leader sent an extremely long email to our community, apologized for its length, and then stated, “But hey, what else are we going to do right now, right?” Um, you mean besides homeschool my kids, serve my neighbors, support my friends and loved ones, try to make sure we always have enough food and essentials in our home, and attempt to somehow keep on top of an ever-increasing workload?
It’s so easy to succumb to anxiety and fear right now and to feel like life is on hold (like our community leader), however, we still gotta live our lives! So after allowing myself to break down last night I came to a realization that I feel I need to share.
As the sorrow overcame me, I wondered if I was a failure if I’d really overcome my sorrow and depression when I was feeling so low, low enough to wish I was dead despite God’s wonderful blessings and promises. I felt like an imposter. I wondered how could I claim to have overcome depression when I felt so tempted to succumb to self-harm. It took me the whole day (probably because most of my immediate attention and energy throughout the day was focused on the aforementioned list of things), but I had a realization. This sorrow is not a norm for me any longer. Today is just a bad day when a lot of little, medium, and big things all just came together, and today was the day I had to face them down. And I did. Perhaps not with grace, or joy, or peace, and definitely not with confidence, calmness, or patience, but I still faced them and I won.
Overcoming nearly a lifetime of deep depressive sorrow does not preclude the possibility of days full of sorrow. Many days I carry my sorrow with me in my heart. Sometimes I envision embracing it and loving it the way my mother would love me. In his talk “Consistent and Resilient Trust,” Elder L. Todd Budge said:
“In a paradoxical way, afflictions and sorrow prepare us to experience joy if we will trust in the Lord and His plan for us. This truth is beautifully expressed by a 13th-century poet: ‘Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.’”
It’s okay to have a bad day! It’s okay to feel how you feel! It’s okay to ask for help when you need it! It’s okay.
Christ taught to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. God will provide when we seek him first and take what action we can in our lives. I know He especially loves when we reach out to others with open hearts and uplifting hands, and when we extend that love to ourselves as well.
So give yourself a break. These are stressful times even for the most positive amongst us. Take a bubble bath (a highly recommended form of self-care, much better than self-harm), have some hot chocolate (for those of us in areas where it is still snowing!) or lemonade (for those in warmer climates #ThatSoundsNice), or whatever healthy beverage you prefer (water always being a good option), and take a moment to love yourself.
Each moment is a new life. We can learn, grow, find healing, and become whole through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ promises us healing when we come to Him not only for sin but also for every sorrow. So turn your sorrows over to Him and trust in His almighty goodness.
This is me giving you a virtual hug. 🤗
I love you and stay safe,
Nancy N. Blackburn
P.S. If you’re struggling…
If you are struggling with suicidal and other self-harming thoughts there are resources for you! For instance, you can reach out to local community centers for counseling. If you are in immediate harm you can always call the free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You are important! No one can take your place. Please be safe, take care of yourself and loved ones, and know that you are loved. Don’t suffer in silence.
P.P.S. Let’s start making your life blossom and your heart flourish!
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I look forward to supporting you in creating your new life!