Sep 25, 2004

Strength and perseverence

It is ironic how I know so much about psychology (from studying and also intuitively) and I know what's wrong with me almost immediately. Yet, despite all this, and despite knowing what i need to do to overcome those particular hurdles, I still find myself always fighting slipping into depression. I know it has a lot do with my genetic buildup but I also know the strength of one's spirit -- one's determination and will. I know I can overcome anything -- I have up to this point! I know some of what awaits me, and I know I will persevere through those trials too.

And I know I will overcome this one.

But, at the same time, I feel lost. I am trying so hard to remember all the things in my life that bring joy to my heart. Battling depression is not an easy task. Simply taking medications and recognizing your problem isn't even half the battle. When life throws you curveballs things just get out of control -- especially depression.

I think it's so difficult for me because somehow I'm not finding within what I need to find to bring myself out of it. I have the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is the single most glorious thing, or rather knowledge, that I have! It brings more joy to me than anything. My family is included in that -- and without them I would be nothing. But I have found myself becoming a hermit almost. My two best friends that I had here in Madison now both live in other states. I love my ward, but I do not have real good friends there -- only acquaintances with whom I do spend some time, but -- it's not the same. I am a person of passion and spirit -- I am open and warm (once I feel I can trust someone) and I completely and totally give my entire heart to those few people who I feel deserve it. I am a person who prefers close friends over having a bunch of people who I could simply "hang out" with.

I have a few other friends not in the church, and I find they tend to be the best friends I have right now, too. Yet I know I'm a stick in the mud for them. I do not enjoy the things they enjoy. I guess I'm getting to the point where I don't even know what I enjoy!

On top of this all, I am so lonely. And I hate that feeling, because I hate having to depend on anyone else to make me whole. But this empty hole in my heart is always a reminder of what I lost. I get so lonely at times, like today, when I sit there and tell myself "just respond to the guy who is flirting with you." I tell myself that I'd rather be with someone than be so miserable alone. And I know I have plenty of opportunities...and some of those are really indeed good men who would (have) treat me well.

But being a good man isn't enough anymore. Being a good man who is Mormon and does his best to live the gospel isn't enough either! Even meeting the "requirements" on those silly lists that I have created isn't enough!


I know very well why. How can you fight something that is such a part of you, and always has been? Since the dawn of time? How can you fight truth that is staring you in the face and pounding incessantly in your heart? How can you fight the knowledge that your Father in Heaven has given you? The sacred revelations received in prayer and in the temple? How can I fight a love that I have never experienced, ever, in my entire life? How can I fight myself?

It is like fighting yourself. It is that constant struggle between good and evil -- it is the struggle of the soul that every person knows all too well -- it is like fighting the knowledge of your own existence.

I think, therefore I am.

I cannot deny my heart any more than I can deny knowing that I am. I cannot fight it any more than I know that God the Father is my Father, and that Christ atoned for me. I cannot fight it any more than I can fight knowing that I have a family here on earth who loves me.

And this is the connundrum of my heart. I can do all I can to lie to it, to try to cheat it, to try and kill that part inside of me -- I can deny it and pretend it doesn't exist. Oh, we as human beings do this all the time. Not only in love, but in almost every other aspect of life. The truth lies within us, yet we always are constantly struggling with that truth! We don't trust ourselves to know better. We listen to other people and trust them over ourselves, when, in fact, the closest we will get to the truth is that still small voice which comes from within...and this is the way that the Spirit does speak to us.

I will not live my life denying truth, no matter how much I may mistrust myself. My testimony of this gospel -- my testimony of all that I know, that I hold dear and true, came from that same place -- my heart. My heart does sing when I hear the truth come from others as well -- you know the feeling you get when you hear someone speak something so profound; something you have known to be true your entire life, but have mistrusted? Then you hear it again and again from others -- speaking from their hearts...this is why I love my church so much. What it teaches to be true is what I found to be true within myself.

And because I know all the most important truths in my life have come from within -- from the Spirit...I know that this battle I am fighting is pointless. I am fighting against truth, and I will never be happy if I continue doing so.

Yet, when it involves another human being, there is only so much I can do. I have fought it and questioned it time and time again, but I have also succombed to the truth. I know what I know. I keep trying to fight it even now...every day I battle my heart...but it only makes me weaker.

Why? Why do we do this? Why do I fight that knowledge? Because I'm afraid of it. I'm afraid that it will never come to pass, and sometimes, ignorance is indeed bliss. But Heavenly Father sees something greater in me than I saw in myself. He does not want me to live in ignorance.

Ignorance, fear, mistrust...these are all tools of the Adversary.

I now understand more fully the blessings I have received, telling me to trust myself. That, in itself, is one of the toughest battles we as human beings can endure. All of life's struggles really have to do with what is within -- external circumstances affecting our hearts, our minds, and our souls. The only way to overcome these challenges is to trust ourselves -- and to listen to that still small voice. We need to learn and grow, which we gain from external AND internal resevoirs. And fear needs to be conquered, and replaced with love.

I feel better now. Writing things out always helps me to better understand the turmoil inside of me. I am trying so hard -- but I know that while my progress is slow, I'm still moving along in the direction I am supposed to.

Yes, I am lonely. I long to be held in the arms of the man I love. I crave the opportunity to start a family. But I know that I am never alone.

Christ is with me, and so is My Father.

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