Saturday, November 2, 2013

Letter to a friend

There is no easy way to express my feelings, If I did it verbally, I wouldn't say it right. I would have trouble finding the right words, and give all sorts of examples that point out my problems, which would probably just confuse things. So I have decided to write them down.
I am grateful for your friendship and do not want it to change. But I know I cannot perform in this current calling. From the very first meeting I realized that I would not be able to do all that was required.  I have tried to explain in the least number of words and examples. 
Everyone becomes depressed at some time in their lives. Stress and anxiety are just part of life. We might become depressed because of some circumstance, when a loved one dies or a relationship fails. But we pull ourselves out of it. Or we don't let it stop us from doing the things that need to be done. We just pull ourselves up by our boot straps.          
Sometimes depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. If this is the case, depression, stress and anxiety occur at a different level. If you are not aware of this chemical imbalance, there is no apparent reason for the way you feel.  Your life changes. Functioning on a day to day level becomes more difficult. An inordinate amount of time is spent trying to understand what is going on.
With me, there was a terrible darkness. It seemed to surround me making life almost unbearable. It robbed  me of my personality, self worth and so many of the things that I thought defined me. Just as physical illness robs us of our physical abilities and what we once could do, mental illness robbed me of who I once was and what I could once do.
Because of the stigma associated with the possibility of Mental Illness, I put off seeking medical help.  When I finally saw a doctor, medication was suggested. That meant trying different drugs in combination until some combination helps to correct the chemical imbalance. It took several years to find the right combination of drugs.
The darkness finally lifted. It occurred just before Bob Katt died. The darkest time was in December 1999. How many years was that? Today there is no darkness, but external stress tends to trigger many of the symptoms associated with the worst time of the darkness. Things that once would not have given me a moment's stress, now bring on great anxiety.
My depression is at least ten years old. Over that time I have disappointed many people. Bishops, a Stake President, the Temple, and many friends. But mostly myself. I fail a calling, and then called again, to fail again I warn of my failures, but it makes no difference.     I have found that most people have no idea of what depression is. Some might think I'm lazy, or have no testimony, or have a lack of faith, or that I am guilty of some terrible  thing that I am hiding.
In the darkest times of depression, all of these things are looked at as a possible explanation for these terrible feelings that you have. You literally tear your life a part looking for the reasons for the way you feel.
During this time, I have found some things that I can do that cause me little stress. For a while I recorded peoples life stories. Now I am finding and compiling genealogy for anyone that will let me. The stress is in approaching people with the idea of doing it for them, and convincing them that I don't want any money to do it. I hope that what i am doing is worthwhile, and in some way makes up for the things that I can't do anymore.

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