Even when it feels like life is at its darkest point, we can lean on Jesus Christ to receive the strength we need to overcome our greatest battles.
When facing a seemingly insurmountable trial in our lives, it’s easy to feel hopeless and alone. One mother from Iceland shares her experience battling the depression and suicidal thoughts brought on by severe seasonal affective disorder. In “Choosing to Live: Overcoming Suicidal Thoughts,” she offers us a model by which we can better understand the importance of medical and spiritual aid in overcoming and managing mental illness.
Understanding the gospel’s power to bring joy, this mother prayed fervently and carefully heeded the commandments throughout her trial in hopes that her depression would be lifted. But it lingered still. “Depression surged toward me like a giant wave,” she explains. “So I ran faster and prayed harder, but I couldn’t always outrun the wave.”
Through her continual efforts to push away the tides of suicidal thoughts brought on by her depression, she remembered the tender mercy of the Lord. She found that turning to her husband for a priesthood blessing brought her great comfort, reassuring her that the Lord was walking alongside her through her struggles. Although she had previously kept her struggle to herself, through the priesthood blessing she found the strength she needed to open up to her family and seek medical help.
With the support of her family and the help of medication prescribed by her doctor, she began to overcome her suicidal thoughts and depression. Her struggles weren’t over, but she could see the hand of the Lord in her life. Through this mother’s fight for her life, the Savior helped her take steps to overcome her challenges. In turning to the Lord and to medical aid, she found relief.
Though not all of us have battled mental illness, we may know someone who has. By listening to the promptings of the Spirit, we may find that we can help buoy up those we know and love in their struggle to overcome such an incredible challenge. And like this courageous mother, we may experience trials in life that threaten to defeat us. Through prayer, priesthood blessings, modern medicine, and many other ways, the Lord is eager to bless us in our trials. There is hope in the Lord. His yoke is easy, his burden is light—and he will give us rest (Matthew 11:28–30).
To learn more about this mother’s triumph over mental illness and get tips for creating a suicide-prevention safety plan, read “Choosing to Live: Overcoming Suicidal Thoughts.”
—Morgan Reese, Mormon Insights
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Find more insights
Read The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ web page “Preventing Suicide” to learn how to recognize and act on the warning signs of suicide and what to do to help survivors heal.
To learn more about one woman’s experience standing by her brother during his struggle with depression and anxiety, read Keeley Austin’s Mormon Insights article, “I Became a Broken Vessel.”