Essentially, this is remembering that healing can come through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As Elder Jeffery R. Holland said, “Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed.” However, that healing may come in different ways. For some, it may be a removal of the illness. For others, it is continued strength to deal with it and healing from the scars that can come with having a mental illness. But I can testify that Christ can heal us as we are obedient to His commandments and laws and seek His help in our lives.
Remember who you really are
One of the first songs most young children in the LDS church learn in Primary (Sunday School for children) is “I am a Child of God.” We are the literal sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father and as such have a divine potential and worth. Depression often distorts that view and causes us to forget who we really are. We need to see ourselves as God sees us: as His children and as a person who has the potential to become like Him and become our best selves. He wants to help us do that. It’s essential that we remember this no matter what is facing us in life. We are children of God!
Have a realistic view of life
Life is often going to be hard. There will be heartache, disappointments, and trials. There is no magic pill or program that will make our life be absolutely perfect all of the time. There will also be joy and happiness. We will learn and grow and progress. If we have an unrealistic view of life, we’re going to be easily discouraged. Be realistic as you approach life.
Do what you can and let go and let God
There are things we can’t do and things that we can’t control in our lives. Trying to control the uncontrollable or do the things we simply can’t do is a sure path to frustration and disappointment. Doing what we can do and focusing on what we can control, on the other hand, helps us feel empowered. Turning everything else over to God and trusting that He can and will take care of it is frankly liberating. As Dr. Clyde Parker, clinical director of counseling and therapy once said, “One definition of good mental health is the ability to give up control— to trust in God, ourselves, and others— and to know that things will work out.”
Don’t take counsel from your fears
If we focus on our fears and live our life according to them, we will be living far beneath our potential. Depression often magnify and expands our fears to the point that it’s hard to see much of anything else. But as we focus on Christ and place our faith in Him, our fears will fade. As we live our lives according to His words, we will reach our full potential and live our best life while becoming our best self.
Recognize the Lord’s tender mercies
In essence, watch for the hand of God in your life. Be grateful for what He has given you rather than focusing on what you don’t have. Remember how the Lord has blessed you in the past. One thing that helps me is writing these things down so when I have days where I truly can’t think of anything to be grateful for or any ways the Lord has blessed me, I can read what I wrote and remember how he has blessed me and trust that even though I can’t see it, He is still blessing me.
Forget yourself and serve others
Mental illnesses often cause us to turn inward, focusing our ourselves constantly. Finding ways to help others helps us get out of ourselves and see a bit of the bigger picture. We remember what it is to care for others and it can help us pull ourselves out of the pit our illness has put us in. I know for me, when my depression was at its worst, one of the things that helped the most was the fact that I was visiting my grandmother twice and week and picking up groceries for her. Focusing on how I could help my grandma and help brighten her day gave me something to focus on other than how terrible I felt and how much of a failure I seemed to be. It works. I don’t know exactly why serving someone else ends up helping me so much, but it does.
And with that, that wraps up this three-part report on the presentation. I hope that it helped you as much as it helped me. I thought much of what was presented was too important not to share.