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Friday, October 31, 2014

Depression

Dear Bro Jo,

For many years I have really struggled with depression.

I made it through high school with the help of a very good friend and thought things would be so much better when I went to college.

And at first they were.

It was a whole new experience and I loved it.

I had made a really good friend and I knew he liked me but I thought he was a little weird so I wasn’t interested but he started liking me more and more and I got depressed so at the advice of my friends I stopped talking to him.

From there my depression got so much worse.

I felt so lost and I had thought getting rid of this guy would fix things but it didn’t.

So I talked to him again.

I realized I had feelings for him and we started dating and everything felt right and okay again.

Last semester was my off track I moved away to work and felt very alone and sad a lot of the time because I was stuck in a small town with no friends and no singles group.

My boyfriend got his mission call and I realized I would be going back to school completely alone because all of my friends would be off track at this point. (Or on missions.)

I contemplated going to see my boyfriend before he left but didn’t at the advice of my family.

Eventually we came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t wait for him and we would see where things are at in 2 years.

I came back to school and he left on his mission 2 days later.

Since then I have been an emotional wreck.

I have tried to be social but I feel very alone.

None of my old friends are here and my roommates are never around.

I did college level work in high school so I am now in higher level classes and so everyone around me is older and married and the material is difficult.

Sometimes the teachers tease and make me feel incompetent. (Today one of them said that nothing I ever said made sense) I just hate feeling dumb.

None of my friends from high school talk to me anymore.

No one I went to school with talks to me anymore.

I feel awful because I invest a lot of time and energy into relationships with people and they haven’t been there for me at all.

The other day I got called all sorts of mean awful names by kids I was friends with in high school and it hurt.

A lot.

I also just feel like my life has been off lately. Something just isn’t right despite reading my scriptures and regular Temple attendance.

On top of all of this my older brother is here this semester and he has a lot of emotional problems too (it runs in the family) and he is always calling me depressed and freaking out and I can’t help him and it makes me even more stressed on top of my course work and emotions.

I break down all the time and I can’t predict when it will happen next.

I am afraid of what I will do when I break down and I feel like I have no one to turn to.

My best friend is now on his mission (and I can’t talk to anyone about how much I miss him because my parents didn’t want me to date a pre missionary) so I can’t talk to him.

All my other friends are gone.

I don’t have a great relationship with my roommates.

I don’t want to bother my parents and I feel awkward talking to them and I don’t want anyone to see how weak I am.

I have always been so strong willed and determined and I don’t want to show that I can’t do this.

What do I do?

How do I deal with this?

Who do I go to?

Thanks

- S.O.S.




Dear S.O.S.,

Depression is very real, and like many troubles it's not something we can easily overcome on our own.

Christ will, of course, always be here for you; the Savior's love and Atonement can help us overcome many things.

When we realize what he did for us was done out of love and consideration for how much he cares for us, it can make our trials easier to endure.

Remember when Joseph Smith was imprisoned and was complaining about how awful his life was going and the Lord rebuked him, saying that surely he didn't even have it as bad as Job did?

In that moment, despite the tremendous trials and difficulties that he was enduring, Joseph found things for which to be grateful.


1.  A starting point for you might be to list all of the things for which you have to be grateful and posting that list somewhere you can see it at the start and end of every day (perhaps on your bathroom mirror).


2.  A second thing is that you're going to have to admit that you're just like the rest of us; we occasionally need help from others, and allowing ourselves to be helped not only blesses our lives but theirs as well.

Set your pride aside and allow others to be of assistance.


3. Third, you're obviously a good friend, so get out there and make some new ones.

Please realize that you're not the only one out there who has bad days, gets bummed out, or feels down. Other Good People, just like you, around you need to be uplifted, too.

It will make you feel better as you lift and sustain others.

Cheer your day by brightening someone else's. Rather than focus on your woes, help them to overcome theirs.

I promise it will make you feel better! (Sister Jo says that nothing makes us feel better about ourselves than serving others.)


4. Fourth, consider getting professional help.

There are help lines and crisis centers everywhere that help with depression, often for free. Your Bishop, school, and community can be resources for helping put you in touch with experts who can help you.


You may need to reconsider telling your parents; I promise that those that love you will want to help you.

You deserve Joy, and I pray that you'll feel the Love of God in your life.

- Bro Jo





Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you so much for your advice and thoughts. I am trying to do what you have suggested. It’s a work in progress. I will talk to my bishop this Sunday.

I will keep you posted.

- SOS




Dear Sos,

God bless.

- Bro Jo

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