The past few blog posts I've written have been about how amazing it is to be a mother, and while I fully stand by what I've previously written, I feel that I should write about something that I've been dealing with this year as I've transitioned into motherhood.
I have been struggling with a deep sadness, something underlying, something that is always there, regardless of how happy or upset or excited I am at a given time. I don't know if I could classify this as "depression," and I don't mean to offend anyone who truly struggles with chronic depression, but what I have been dealing with hasn't just been caused by a bad day or my feelings getting hurt.
What I've been dealing with is ongoing, it doesn't really go away. It's something that I really do not understand because I've never felt like this before in my life. It's something that is extremely frustrating to me because I don't know exactly what to do to get rid of it.
It all started after I had Katherine. I had what they call the "baby blues" a few weeks after her birth, and then it seemed to get better. I felt more confident with being a mom, and so I started feeling a lot better. But then it came back, and this time it seemed worse than the first time. And I didn't understand what could've triggered it.
I started blaming other things for the way I was feeling. I would tell myself that I just feel like this because motherhood is such a huge transition. Or that I don't get out of the house enough. Or that I don't have enough friends. Or that I don't talk to people enough. Or that this past year with all of the craziness has just been catching up to me. The list would go on and on. And while many of these things were true, I knew that just fixing those problems probably wouldn't just make this sadness go away. It was something more.
I wasn't a very fun person to be around when I was at home. I'm sure Greg struggled being around me because I was upset or sad or annoyed or whatever. I felt really bad. I knew that I had nothing to be sad about, that I have an amazing life (I really do). But I tried to explain to Greg that it wasn't as simple as just thinking happy thoughts or having a positive attitude. It was definitely something harder to overcome than that.
I had a hard time understanding exactly what it was that was happening to me. I wasn't sure if I was depressed or just in a really bad mood all the time or my hormones were going crazy. I was open to whatever it was that was going on; I wasn't going to sit back and be in denial if I truly needed help. But I was so confused as to what exactly was going on. It wasn't like I was really really sad all the time. In fact, I have had a lot of really fun and happy times with people I love. But when the dust cleared and I was at home laying in bed, the sadness would return. And sometimes, it seemed encompassing.
I realized that I needed to do something about this sadness. I couldn't go on with the way things were. I knew that I had some choices. I could keep blaming other things or people for how I was feeling. I could let the sadness envelope me and take over. Or I could choose to follow God with my whole body, soul, and heart.
I chose God.
I began to pray to find out what God wanted me to do. I asked God for help. I evaluated the things I wasn't doing that God wanted me to do. I decided to try harder every day to do what God wanted me to do, including doing the little things day by day. I was happy that I was really trying my hardest, but it seemed that the sadness was still there.
One night, I told Greg that I felt like I was trying my very hardest to do what God wanted me to do. But it seemed like God didn't hear me. Or at least, it didn't seem like He was answering my prayers just yet. Why were my problems seemingly getting worse while I was striving to do what was right? Through our conversation, I knew that God was there, listening. I knew I needed to have faith.
I turned to the modern day apostles for help. I stumbled upon an amazing talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (here's the link: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/10/like-a-broken-vessel?lang=eng). The talk is called "Like a Broken Vessel." In his talk, Elder Holland addresses people who have any type of mental or emotional illness, especially those with depression. He gives hope and counsel as to what to do when you or someone you love is afflicted with any degree of mental illness. It is an amazing talk; I strongly encourage you to read it.
This talk gave me strength and encouragement. It gave me a little bit more understanding. It gave me comfort to know that I was not alone, that Christ knows exactly how I'm feeling, and He has the redemptive power to heal me.
My struggles have not gone away. They still hover over me. But I have faith that God hears us. He understands exactly what our struggles are. He has the power to heal us. He WANTS to heal us. Sometimes it just takes patience and endurance on our part to be healed. We must have faith. Everything will be made right in the end.
I love God, and I love that I get to have a deep relationship with Him. I know He is listening, even when it seems like He isn't. He is there, always. I love Him with all of my heart. I love my life, even with the struggles I've been going through. I love my husband, I love my beautiful daughter. I truly do have an amazing life.
If you are struggling with any sort of mental or emotional illness, please talk to God. Find out what He wants from you. It might mean that you should seek professional help in addition to spiritual help. God can heal you.