When depression feels like it is taking over, faith can make our trials worth it.
I could see sympathy in the doctor’s eyes as she explained to me, “It’s not uncommon for the medication to not only heighten your symptoms of anxiety and depression, but also to hinder the effectiveness of your antidepressant.”
I nodded and focused on making sure the corners of my mouth were upturned very slightly and my eyes were somewhat more open than normal. I didn’t want my misery to show through, and I wanted to let her know I was listening.
“You may have to up your dosage or your vitamins. Either way, I’m sorry you’re going through this.”
“It’s okay,” I said out of habit, but my rapidly beating heart and rushing mind were telling me otherwise. I wasn’t okay. My brain was hyperactive.
I took the 10 pills she set in front of me and wished her a good day. Swinging my backpack over my shoulder, I left the doctor’s office filled with frustration and hopelessness. I really didn’t know what to do at this point.
I had dealt with my crippling depression and anxiety since the first grade until I finally humbled myself enough to seek help for it. After I made that decision, my life completely turned around. I found myself actually enjoying life and feeling blissfully happy. I could deal with trials with a better attitude and with newfound confidence. I had a continuing sense of peace in my life that I knew had come not only from the help I had received but also from the Savior’s Atonement.
When I returned home from my mission, I took the recommended health tests to make sure I didn’t have tuberculosis. I didn’t think much of it as they pricked my arm and told me to return in 48 hours. So I was surprised when it came up positive.
I didn’t panic. In fact, I almost thought it was humorous. Who gets tuberculosis from serving in upstate New York? What are the odds? And so, I started the 11-week medication to treat it, which consisted of a daily vitamin and a weekly trip to the doctor to take 10 pills at once.
Sure, it was tedious, but I thought it would be simple enough. Once again, I was shocked when I woke up one morning with all of the symptoms of anxiety and depression that I had previously dealt with for many years.
I went through each day worrying about what others thought of me, falling behind in school, and not taking care of myself. I was feeling too overwhelmed to work on anything, but at the same time, I felt frustrated that I wasn’t doing what I needed to do.
A few days later, I asked my doctor if it was the tuberculosis medication that was doing this to me. I didn’t know how getting the answer would help, but somehow I thought it would. Instead, it made me more frustrated and fuzzy-brained.
I drove home and flopped down on my bed. Again my eyes filled with tears. I had lived so many years of my life in such torment—why on earth was I experiencing this again? What did I have to learn that I hadn’t learned before?
I had to keep myself busy. With shaking hands and rushing thoughts, I opened my laptop and pulled up the assignment for my religion class: “Trust in the Lord,” given by Elder Richard G. Scott in the October 1995 general conference.
Instantly the Lord answered my prayer. I could almost hear Elder Scott’s voice as I read the second paragraph. “No one wants adversity. Trials, disappointments, sadness, and heartache come to us from two basically different sources. Those who transgress the laws of God will always have those challenges. The other reason for adversity is to accomplish the Lord’s own purposes in our life that we may receive the refinement that comes from testing. It is vitally important for each of us to identify from which of these two sources come our trials and challenges, for the corrective action is very different.”
Peace filled my heart as I kept my eyes glued to the article. As I read these words, I was reminded of how much the Lord loved me. How far back in the timeline of my life did he go to ensure that I would read this article right when I needed it? How many people had he inspired to make sure these words would get to me in a desperate time of need?
I continued reading: “Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. . . . To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain.”
My anxiety was not completely gone at the end of the article. But hope filled my heart. I knew the Lord had a plan for me. Although I may not have understood why I seemed to be repeating a trial, I knew the Lord desired me to grow more and that this trial would help me grow in the way he needed me to.
A true smile spread across my face as I knelt down on my bed and thanked the Lord for providing a way for me to read this article. Pure love for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ filled my heart, and I was reminded again of how much Heavenly Father’s hand is in everyone’s life.
Read Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk on trials and adversity.
Source: General Conference
—Camilla Stimpson, Draper, Utah
This article was selected as one of four winners in the Fall 2015 Submission Contest for Mormon Insights. The work is original and is a true story from the life of the author. We are grateful for their contribution and encourage interested authors to look for another Submission Contest in early 2016.