Part Ten of the Series: Exploring Options for the Treatment of Depression
This series has explored many options for preventing, diminishing, and treating depression. Peggy said, “Our thesis was that “all things are spiritual,” (D&C 29:34, 34) and every article has been “spiritual” in nature, with the purpose of helping us to increase the vibration or degree of light and intelligence in our thoughts, beliefs, diet, and emotions.”
As a brief review, here is a list of the title of the entire series:
Part I: Exploring Options for the Treatment of Depression
Part II: Learning to Know Our True Nature
Part III: Series Overview and The Transformative Power of the Mind-Body Connection
Part IV: “Be Still and Know:” Changing the Internal View Through Breathing and “Mindfulness”
Part V: Light or Energy Based Therapies for Treatment of Depression
Part VI: Let There Be Light: Applying the Emotional Freedom Technique
Part VII: Increasing Light in Our Mind-Body System with Nutrition and Supplements
Part VIII: A Palace of Possibilities- We Create Our Lives With Our Beliefs
Part IX: Putting the Pieces Together: True Stories of Overcoming Depression
Part X: The Atonement and The Power of Deliverance from Depression
When all is said and done, our foundational premise has been that the balm in Gilead is the Atonement of Christ and His promise to heal the broken hearted. All the light and intelligence which we receive in this life comes through the grace and power of His Atonement. Moreover, He is the ultimate source of our healing, the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1,2). Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Yet no matter what the source of difficulty and no matter how you begin to obtain relief–through a qualified professional therapist, doctor, priesthood leader, friend, concerned parent, or loved one– no matter how you begin, those solutions will never provide a complete answer. The final healing comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and obedience to His commandments.” (Richard G. Scott, Ensign, May, 1994, p. 7)
I am not one whose depression is strictly physically based. I am one of the many who find physical solutions only part of the puzzle. I discover most of my other puzzle pieces in continual repentance and spiritual refreshment.
The Atonement Heals Emotional Wounds
Whenever I start again on the downward spiral toward depression, one way I recover my perspective is through remembering quotes such as the following: “The Atonement not only pays for our sins, it heals our wounds—the self-inflicted ones and those inflicted from sources beyond our control. . . It is the ultimate source of our forgiveness, our perfection, and our peace of mind.” (Bruce C. Hafen, The Broken Heart, Deseret Book, 1989, p. 29.)
When trials seem to be connected to my own shortcomings, I find comfort in Elder Hafen’s words: “It is natural to assume that when we don't appear to be doing ‘excellently’ the perfection process is not working. But the exact opposite may be true. Our moments of greatest stress and difficulty are often the times when the refiner's fire is doing its most purifying work.” (Broken Heart, 97)
I’m currently experiencing a new level of refiner’s fire in regard to my health, and am recognizing the emotional and spiritual components. It helps to remember that I will someday remember this current challenge, as well as the years that lie behind me, only as the path that led to a new life. My inability to “do” is compelling me to change most of my "Do-ing" goals to "Be-ing" goals. I’ve simplified those goals to two basics: seek to love with true charity and take the Spirit as my guide.
When George A. Smith was very ill, he was visited by his cousin, the Prophet Joseph Smith. The afflicted man reported: “He [the Prophet] told me I should never get discouraged, whatever difficulties might surround me. If I were sunk into the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged, but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I should come out on the top of the heap.” (George A. Smith Family, comp. Zora Smith Jarvis, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1962, 54)
The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 121:7-8). President Benson said, "There are times when you simply have to righteously hang on and outlast the devil until his depressive spirit leaves you . . . Pressing on in noble endeavors, even while surrounded by a cloud of depression, will eventually bring you out on top into the sunshine." (Ezra Taft Benson, “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Oct. 1986.)
I can't count the number of times that I have found my only solace in pressing on in spite of the cloud of depression, believing, knowing that it wouldn't last forever. I have so often found solace in the scriptural words "It came to pass." Hardly anything "comes to stay" and fortunately, discouraging feelings are in that category. I know that if I do my part and ask for the Lord's help and endure, these feelings will surely pass. Feelings are not facts, and the fact is that God and right will ultimately prevail.
We Can’t Do It By Ourselves
All of us face emotional and spiritual Goliaths which we can't conquer with our own power. When David was about to fight Goliath he said to him, “The battle is the Lord's and he will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17). In Doctrine and Covenants 105:14 we read, “I will fight your battles.” D&C 104:82 summarizes this principle well: “Inasmuch as you are humble and faithful and call upon my name, behold, I will give you the victory.” And finally, in Moroni 7:33, we read, “And Christ hath said, If you will have faith in me you will have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.” God doesn't expect us to win our spiritual battles by ourselves, because it is impossible to do so.
Steven Cramer tells of his battle to fight the Goliath of pornography in his life. He said that, not understanding this basic principle of getting the Lord to fight our battles, he was ashamed to admit to the Lord that he would fail on his own, ashamed to admit his utter dependence on the Savior's grace and mercy. He felt he had reached his lowest point when he admitted to the Lord that he simply couldn't conquer this Goliath in his life by himself. He thought he had tried everything, and still failed miserably. But he hadn't tried everything--he had not yet turned his life over to the Lord.