Monday, October 28, 2013

"Like A Broken Vessel" By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: Part 2

In speaking on mental disorders, Elder Holland stated:

"However bewildering this all may be, these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor."

Let's break this down:

"However bewildering this all may be..."

The dictionary defines bewildering as: "extremely confusing." I love his word choice. Mental disorders are so very confusing. As you struggle mentally, at times you may wonder why. You may be confused about why someone else is depressed or facing other mental challenges. Their life may seem perfect from the outside, but on the inside they feel like they are falling apart. Mental disorders confuse us by picking randomly who and when they will strike. It sounds a little crazy, but one of the best ways to understand mental disorders is to realize they don't make sense. They are bewildering. 

"...these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life..." 

My favorite word in this phrase is "realities". Depression and other mental disorders are real; they are a reality. You may try to convince yourself that you are just crazy or that you are making a big deal out of nothing. The truth is, mental disorders are real. While that can be scary, it is also comforting. Once you know what it is, there are so many things you can do to help yourself. I remember when I finally realized what was going on in my head. It had a name. The name was depression. Once I understood what it was, I felt like there was a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.

"...there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor."

Because depression and other mental disorders are "bewildering," sometimes we may feel embarrassed to talk about them. We might think people will judge us. The truth is, we have no reason to be ashamed. Some people have physical weaknesses or sicknesses, others have mental struggles.  

I am so grateful to Elder Holland. He reminded me that the things I go through mentally are confusing, but very real. He also reminded me that I don't need to be ashamed of my struggles. 

To read his full talk, please click here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"Like A Broken Vessel" By Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: Part 1

"Like A Broken Vessel" was a talk given in the October 2013 General Conference. General Conference is an LDS (Mormon) conference that happens every 6 months. During the conference, Prophets, Apostles, and other church leaders speak to us. The conference spans over two days and is about 10 hours long (This may seem like a long time, but it goes by fast!).

The leaders talk about a variety of subjects. They aren't assigned, instead the leaders pray and ponder over what they choose to speak on. This conference Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a whole talk on mental disorders.

Right when he began to talk I was riveted.

It felt like Elder Holland was speaking directly to me. His words went straight to my heart. I thought of others I know who struggle with mental disorders and hoped they were listening too.

I knew this talk would be one I would need to read over and over again. The other day, (during class, it was a bit stressful and I just kind of checked out...don't tell my Professor) I read it again. I took notes on things I thought I could write about on my blog. The list went on and on. I hope you don't mind, but I am gong to write a sort of series about Elder Holland's talk. To read his full talk, please click here.

One of the first things that stuck out to me was when he said, "I wish to speak to those who suffer from some form of mental illness or emotional disorder, whether those afflictions be slight or severe, of brief duration or persistent over a lifetime." I liked this statement because it makes this talk apply to basically everybody. There are times I have thought, "Why am I blogging about this? I am not suffering as much as so and so, they are much more qualified than I am to talk about it." You may suffer from it severely or a little bit. Either way, you don't need to compare yourself to other people. God wants to help you on your journey. And, this talk is for YOU.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


This sign is above you when you enter the magical world of Disneyland:

"Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy." 

We visited Disneyland last week with my family. When I read and walked under this sign, I took it very literally. I set aside all my cares and worries. I didn't think about school and all the stresses that it is currently causing. For my current courses, I have to several (like seriously, a ton) of volunteer hours. When I walked under this sign, I said (out loud), "No more student teaching hours!" Anytime the thought of school would start to creep into my mind, I would quickly push it to the side reminding myself that right now I was living in the present.

It was the most wonderful vacation ever.

I got to be with my husband, my sisters and brother, my brother-in-laws, my parents, and my darling niece and nephew all day every day. It was a small taste of heaven to be with them and feel so care free.

Then, reality hit. As soon as I got home. I was excited to come home, kind of. I was excited to see our kitties, but I knew all the cares I had left behind would be here when I got back. And sure enough, they were.

The first night home, I cried. I missed having my family right next to me. I missed getting to be with Jordan all day. I missed laughing at silly things with my sisters, the boys trying to find something to watch on the TV (ninja turtles entertained us one night), and kissing my niece and nephew good night every night.

The second night home, I cried.

The third night home, I found out I didn't understand a certain assignment for one of my classes. This meant I needed an additional 26 hours I didn't realize I needed before. I cried.

I woke up the next morning with so much anxiety running through my body I couldn't fall back asleep. So, I went to work a little bit early. I got things figured out with my schooling a little bit.

Through it all, Jordan is his amazing supportive self. I like him a lot.

Today, I got my schooling situation all figured out and feel a lot better about it. I still wish I could be having fun with my family all day everyday, but I am doing much better.

Still, sometimes I close my eyes and pretend that I'm still there with them.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


"I don't think I can do this Jordy"

This is the text I sent to my husband on the second day of my new job. I started my new job and on the second day I was ready to be done. This job involves working with some junior high students who have been placed into a program I am in charge of. This program will either help them to transfer back into school with their peers or to an alternative placement. There are a variety of reasons they may be placed in the program. It suffices me to say they weren't in class ready to learn so the privilege of being a part of the regular school day has been taken away from them for a time. 
The second day of school was a bit rough. I figured I wasn't going to be able to do any good. I felt terrible. After I let them out for a five minute break, I went into the bathroom and cried. 
My anxiety was taking over. I was convinced I couldn't do it. I never wanted to step into that room again. 
I finished the day and cried as I drove home (wearing sunglasses so those in the cars around me couldn't see). 
I got home and laid down on the couch. I called Jordan.
Jordan was sweet like he always is.
I decided I needed to go see Karin.
I talked with Karin and cleared my head a bit.
I went home.
Jordan came home.
We talked.
We went and visited my family.
My mom and sister helped me.
My mom suggested reading books to the students.
I felt stronger.
I felt a desire to be a positive influence in the students' lives.
I prayed.
I went to work the next day.

With some help, it went very well.

Now, I would cry if I had to leave this job. I love the kids. Holy cow. I love spending time with them. 
I love being their teacher. I love making them laugh or think I'm a little weird. I love it when they make me laugh.
I love reading to them. We have read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (I told you I was on a Harry Potter kick). I am now reading them "Gifted Hands."
I love when I can connect with them on something. I love getting to know them.

There are still difficult times. Sometimes they think it isn't very fun to do what I ask them to. Sometimes I think they are going to drive me absolutely up the wall, but I care about them so much.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to work with these kids. They mean a lot to me. 
Who knows what tomorrow will be like, but I know it will be an adventure.