I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young adult. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, followed by Borderline Personality Disorder a few years later. I don’t think it matters the title or the events leading up to it. What matters is what I've learned. How I've learned to “see” things I can’t feel.
For the first 2 years after diagnosis, I took meds that changed my life. I didn't feel empty. For the first time I didn't feel constant angst. It was a total wake up call. I didn't realize how different I really thought and felt than the “norm” until then. More importantly, I could feel the spirit. It was easy and natural. My Heavenly Father was my friend. But, of course, after those couple of years “I was fine”. I stopped taking my meds. I will probably regret that decision for the rest of my life, because then one day I wasn't “fine”. So went back to meds, which then caused awful side effects that I couldn't live with. Over the course of the next 18 months or so, I tried them all. All gave the same side effects. So here I am, living with it. Trying to deal, day to day, hanging on to the memory of when I could feel anything other than sorrow and emptiness. Trying not to be angry at Him for taking away my life line, and along with it the ability to feel His spirit. Trying not to think He left me. It’s been over a decade, and I know I have a million more things to learn, but through it I have learned a thing or two on how to recognize Him. I’d like to share them, because if it can help even just one person, then maybe I can put a reason to all those days that I just couldn’t understand where He was, and why He’d leave me.
First, I had to accept what I had to work with. Accept that though I know He can take this away, He won’t. Why? Honestly thinking about that still makes me a bit angry. As I said, I still have a ways to go. But, alas, I am here. And begging Him to take this weakness away hasn’t worked, so all I can do is work with what I have. I have the ability to think, and process information, and learn. I have the ability to change a prayer to “If I can’t feel you, than let me see you.” I have the ability to change perspective. Secondly, I needed to integrate what I have to work with and a growing testimony. I have to trust my eyes and ears. Trust others when they say “I feel the spirit so strong after that lesson.” It’s hard to hear that and not think I’m invisible to Him. Just like deaf people use sign language, and blind use brail, I have to learn the language He uses to speak to me. I’ve learned that the thoughts that enter my head over and over are Him telling me to do something. I’ve learned He’ll give me the desire and energy I need to do what He needs me to do, usually on days that start with no energy or desire to do anything but sit on the couch. Often I have no idea why I just “have to call that person” (whom I haven’t thought of or heard from in years) but I can’t let it go. Sometimes I do things without much thought, like a marionette. For a while that would make me bitter. “I don’t even know why I’m doing this for that person, why do they get a visit when all those days I needed one no one was there?” I don’t think I recognized His need for it. We are all here to help one another, and be instruments in His hands. Our day, our turn, will come. Humans are imperfect. Therefore our ability to “go and do” isn’t always perfect. Just because we didn’t get a call, or a visit, or whatever we are desiring at the time, doesn’t mean He didn’t try.
Sometimes I have a hard time believing. Sometimes I spit out words that I know people want/need to hear but I don’t feel them. Sometimes I believe He cares about others more. This blog is about honestly telling experiences I have the show me He's there. It may not always be pretty, but it will be real. I had a hard time writing those last few lines in the last paragraph, because I have a hard time believing He tries for me personally. But, I hadn’t planned on writing it before I started, He had a hand in those words. So whether I want to believe the actual words or not, I can start by believing He is at least there. I see the words He put in my head, and after all, seeing is believing, right?