Depression

Like our Heavenly Parents and our Savior, we have a physical body and experience emotions. My dear sisters, it is normal to feel sad or worried once in a while. Sadness and anxiety are natural human emotions. However, if we are constantly sad and if our pain blocks our ability to feel the love of our Heavenly Father and His Son and the influence of the Holy Ghost, then we may be suffering from depression, anxiety, or another emotional condition.

Reyna I. Aburto  |  Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide with Me!

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It is important to recognize that depression is not the result of weakness, nor is it usually the result of sin. It “thrives in secrecy but shrinks in empathy.” Together, we can break through the clouds of isolation and stigma so the burden of shame is lifted and miracles of healing can occur.

Reyna I. Aburto  |  Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide with Me!

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“At first I objected. What I felt was spiritual in nature, not mental. But the more we discussed the symptoms of depression, the more I realized they perfectly described my condition. I knew I’d felt sad, but I hadn’t recognized my sadness as actual depression. The more we talked, the lighter I felt. My mind cleared. A great weight lifted and the first real peace I’d known in almost a year washed over me. I was not worthless; I was depressed.”

Rebecca J. Clayson  |  Depression

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Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what pow’r it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind.

Joseph Smith  |  Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, Page 62

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“I soon discovered that medication and cognitive therapy were effective at bringing relief. But the one thing I didn’t find in any of my research was mention of the spiritual repercussions of mental illness. This surprised me, since so many of the symptoms I’d experienced seemed spiritual in nature. I came to realize that while the medical texts rarely acknowledged the spiritual effects of depression, I had initially gone too far the other way—I had misconstrued my depressed feelings as spiritual unworthiness. Indeed, I had been so sure my feelings were manifestations of spiritual weakness that it had never occurred to me I might have a chemical imbalance. I had read pamphlets about postpartum depression and viewed television commercials for anti-depressants that described my symptoms, but I hadn’t seen myself as depressed because I had thought my spirit was primarily under attack, not my brain.”

Rebecca J. Clayson  |  Depression

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Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.

“The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf  |  Ensign, November 2008

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Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the LDS church

“The first words Jesus spoke in His majestic Sermon on the Mount were to the troubled, the discouraged and downhearted. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit,’ He said, ‘for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ Whether you are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or among the tens of thousands listening this morning who are not of our faith, I speak to those who are facing personal trials and family struggles, those who endure conflicts fought in the lonely foxholes of the heart, those trying to hold back floodwaters of despair that sometimes wash over us like a tsunami of the soul. I wish to speak particularly to you who feel your lives are broken, seemingly beyond repair.

To all such I offer the surest and sweetest remedy that I know. It is found in the clarion call the Savior of the world Himself gave. He said it in the beginning of His ministry, and He said it in the end. He said it to believers, and He said it to those who were not so sure. He said to everyone, whatever their personal problems might be:

‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland  |  Broken Things to Mend

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Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the LDS church

“…Depression. When I speak of this, I am not speaking of bad hair days, tax deadlines, or other discouraging moments we all have. Everyone is going to be anxious or downhearted on occasion. The Book of Mormon says Ammon and his brethren were depressed at a very difficult time, and so can the rest of us be. But today I am speaking of something more serious, of an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person’s ability to function fully, a crater in the mind so deep that no one can responsibly suggest it would surely go away if those victims would just square their shoulders and think more positively—though I am a vigorous advocate of square shoulders and positive thinking! No, this dark night of the mind and spirit is more than mere discouragement.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland  |  Like a Broken Vessel

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Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the LDS church

“So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said to the Relief Society sisters so movingly last Saturday evening: ‘That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.’ Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart. Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles. I have seen so many of them come when every other indication would say that hope was lost. Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland  |  Like a Broken Vessel

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There is an old Spanish proverb which says,

He that loseth wealth, loseth much. He that loseth friends, loseth more. But he that loseth spirituality, loseth all.

It seems to me that there is a depression on spiritual things. We are in a worldwide “spiritual depression.” As I go about and observe the conduct of many men and women, this seems all the more convincing.

ElRay L. Christiansen  |  A Sure Foundation

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