Thursday, March 1, 2012

One Little Word 2012: Light

Delta Ponds

I originally was going to choose the word 'trust' for this new year. It is something that has been on my thoughts for quite some time. I even have a quote on my wall by Elder Holland that says, "Trust God and believe in good things to come." Trust is something that I need to work on: trusting others but more importantly trusting God. I felt good about having trust be the focus of 2012 for me until the beginning of December when it seemed like Heavenly Father was letting me know that I needed to change my focus from trust to something entirely different.

I came across a song called "The Light" sung by Sara Bareilles at the end of November and found myself listening to it over and over again. The chorus seemed to really speak to me and how I was feeling at the time.

"And if you say, "Be alright"
I'm gonna trust you, babe
I'm gonna look in your eyes
And if you say, "Be alright"
I'll follow you into the light"

I had just gone through one of the hardest months of my life and I was exhausted. I had been to a friend's baptism, been there for my mom during a hard week for her emotionally, made it to Utah for my grandmother's funeral, had some heart-to-heart talks with my sister, worried about two close friends and all that they were experiencing, and then experienced the craziness that Thanksgiving can bring when family gets together. But even amidst the hard times there were times that I will always cherish. But I felt burned out with nothing left to offer, though at the time I didn't realize how burned out I was. I just always gave the excuse of being tired.

I always love when December rolls around. I love the traditions, the music, the lights and the feeling that the month brings. Tom and I have the tradition of going to the local Creche Exhibit and then listening to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. I loved all the talks, but Elder Eyring's stood out to me the most this year. He talked about the gifts of Christmas and how one of them is Light.

"One of the most beautiful symbols of the birth of Jesus Christ into this world is Light. The appearance of the long-promised Messiah brought Light to a darkened world."

It was after hearing Elder Eyring's talk that I started to seriously think about choosing Light to be my one little word for 2012. It seemed that wherever I went I was reminded of Light in some small way. I really feel like Light chose me. I definitely did not go looking for it. But little did I know that my life was already slipping into the darkest, deepest pit of despair that I have ever experienced.

Depression is no stranger to me, but the last time that I had felt its wrath was over seven years ago though it has been over eight years since I first came face to face with it. At the age of 21 I came to realize that I had some weaknesses that I had never really given much thought to or realized that I had. A weakness for depression was one of them. That realization altered a path that I had started down and I came to realize that Heavenly Father wanted me to start focusing on turning my weaknesses into strengths. I met with a therapist for about eight months. He taught me many things and I came away a stronger person. I also walked away with tools to work with which, lucky for me, I remembered not too long ago.

It was beacause of a good friend's concern for my well-being that I started to take a closer look at how I was feeling and coping. I had noticed one sign that I was heading towards depression (lack of appetite) but didn't know when I would get the chance to keep it at bay with a trip to Utah for Christmas looming near. It was later that night that it hit me that I was already depressed. I immediately had a panic attack. I had forgotten how horrifying those can be. Here is where I remembered some of the tools I had been taught. I focused on something in the room and started taking deep long breaths. But even so, for the next week my anxiety levels were at an all time high, and I feared that I was always on the verge of having another panic attack. This was my first time dealing with a long lasting high level of anxiety.

That took place the beginning of December and it is now the beginning of March. I am thankful that Heavenly Father guided me to chose the word Light for this year because it is something that I am greatly in need of still. With depression it is hard to feel anything but darkness, despair, fear and anger. So how did Heavenly Father give me Light? Through the support and love of those around me. I came across this quote just yesterday that says it best:

"There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark." -Helen Keller

I can guarantee that I would not be here today if it weren't for a loving Heavenly Father guiding those helping hands that have lifted me up over and over again. That have held me as I've cried out in anguish. That have kept me safe. That have wiped away my tears. That have brought me thoughtful gifts. That have written me words of encouragement. That have clasped in prayer in my behalf. That have reached out to me.

Even amidst these hard times I still have much to be greatful for. Thank you for being those helping hands that have showed me that Light can be found even in the darkest of places.


Janice said...

you really write beautifully and straight from the heart. Thanks for sharing. We've all been a little worried about you and praying for you. Glad things are looking up. Glad you have so many who love and support you! you are amazing!!!!

Brandon and Jennifer said...

My dear Melissa. . . . I love you and am so grateful for you in my life. You have always been and will always have a special place in my heart. You are wonderful and beautiful and your heart is pure. Thank you for sharing and for your great example of enduring to the end. Your gift is priceless and I love you even more. Next time I see you can I please have a big hug? Your whole family is very dear to my heart. I love you.

Kathy said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post, from a beautiful heart-filled lady. Thank you for sharing. When I am feeling those dark days, I am drawn to a song by Michael McLean, "Hold On, the Light Will Come." Hold on, dear Melissa, the Light will come. Hugs to you.

Christina said...

I love you Melly! Its good to be able to hear what your going through because I really miss talking with you every week. I think Light is such an appropriate theme for you this year. Sawyer and I pray everyday that you will find peace and joy.

The first song on the Forward With Faith CD is about Light. It helped me during some dark times too.

We love you so much!!!!

Thomas said...

Melissa, this was very brave of you to post this. I have been very impressed with you these last few months. I know times have been hard, and I know this is still not over. However, I know that you will get through this, and I know that there are reasons that you have had to go through this. I love you very much and will always be there for you. I am also very grateful to all those who have helped support you in these very troubling times. I believe that I have grown from this as well.



Brittany said...

Love you melissa! You should listen to the song Look to for the Light by Benton Paul!

Sandy said...

Dear Melissa,
It has been difficult to watch you go through these heart-wrenching experiences and feel the pain of your anguish in my own heart. I have felt from the beginning Heavenly Father comforting me and I trusted that in the end you would be a better person for what you have suffered. I now see and know you will be able to share what you have learned with others who will also experience the darkness that you have felt. You will be able to comfort and lift them in ways that others who have not experienced this can not. You are a very special young lady and I feel honored to be your mother.
I know your journey toward the light is not finished yet. I will be praying for you with all my heart.


Ariane said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I'm sure this was hard to write, but I think it is good to talk about as so many people struggle with depression. Good luck with holding onto the light that you have found.