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Friday, July 10, 2015

Why is Life So Hard?

Dear Bro Jo

Hi, my fiancé introduced me to your website when we were discussing the bounds of kissing.

I appreciated your insights and thought I could ask you some questions that are tearing me apart.

And please be really thoughtful in replying, I am looking to you as a mentor because I do not feel like I have anyone else to go to.

If that's ok with you, here I go.

1. Why I life so hard all the time?

I suffer from depression and anxiety and I am on medication for ADHD.

I feel like every time I start trying to do everything right, the world blows apart like glass.

I am always wondering if this is me paying for my past sins, which I have a lot of in regards to immorality, which I have taken care of with the Bishop.

Often times I feel like the exception to the atonement and that God is laughing at me.

Usually I feel this most when I am depressed.

The only thing that keeps me from downing a whole bunch of bleach or putting a bullet in my head is that I know that Jesus Christ lives, I don't feel like he is laughing at me, and so I try to do what’s right because I love Him.

I have been to therapists but they always make me feel like I am such a burden to them.

2. What do I do if I feel a Bishop is really in the wrong?

I have looked up in the Handbook of Instruction #2 anything I could find on this subject.

I feel he is in the wrong because no other priesthood holder has treated me so poorly within the confines of their office.

I felt so terrible and hopeless after meeting with him that I felt there was no redemption for me.

So not only did I return to prior sins, I began to harbor resentment for my priesthood leaders, because of this Bishop I have not confessed recent transgressions because right now I am not sinning and I fear if I go to him I will feel terrible again and become depressed.

(I know I am in charge of how I feel, it is just so hard to change the way I feel when I am depressed because I have a voice in my head whispering and sometimes yelling how utterly worthless I am.)

I have served a mission and I have the endowment, I know that I am never to ridicule or murmur against priesthood leaders or any of the Lord's anointed.

I don't want to be mad at him (the bishop) but I don't want to talk to him because I want so badly to stay away from sexual sin.

Like I said, I am engaged, my fiancé is wonderful, perfect, and just loves me more than anything. I feel like we have a fairly healthy relationship. I know I don't have to be perfect, I do want a clean hand and a pure heart.

3. How do I truly get rid of pornography?

The feelings are still there to view it and to sink into that filth.

I hate it so much.

I want to truly have a change of heart and become clean.

Like I said, I know the Lord Lives, I believe in his atonement, but all too often and since I met with my Bishop, I don't just feel like I am the exception. I know I am the exception.

(Which I also know is false) I am so frustrated and I do just want to be clean. I do.

When I die I want to say, "I really tried, I’m sorry for being weak," and I want Jesus to hug me and say I love you. I know it was hard. Come with me."

I used to feel like that’s exactly what will happen.....but since I have been at BYU-I and since I met with that Bishop, I feel it will go like this. "I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I know I don't deserve to be in your presence" and Jesus will look at me disappointingly and say, "I did everything I could. You just didn’t do your part." then he will leave me.

So those are my three questions.

I feel like a crazy person ... I’m not depressed right now, this is just how I feel normally.

Thank you for listening and I hope you have a nice day.


Sad and Confused at BYU

Dear Sad,

Depression is a very real thing, and you may be suffering more than one Old Guy can help via email . . . but I'll do my best.

While I'm not a therapist, I can certainly be a friend.

Here are my initial thoughts:

1. I think of life, sometimes, like a workout at the gym.

It takes work to improve, and keep improving.

And work is hard.

Sometimes work is fun, too, and sometimes we can enjoy the benefits of our hard work, but much of the time it's just work.

And that's okay.

The sweat and the pain and the struggle, although they may seem unbearable at the time, often are actually making us stronger.

I know that Heavenly Father isn't laughing at you.

That's just not what he does.

There are no exceptions to that.  He loves all of his children too much.

I understand from talking with some folks who've suffered depression that the feeling of being a burden is common for them.

You're not a burden; feeling like you are is a symptom of what troubles you.

2. No one is perfect.

Not even a Bishop. 

Most Bishops are kind and loving and trying their best to do the best they can.

Maybe there's a reason for why he said what he did or the way he said what he did . . .

I'm reminded of a coach I know who often yells at his players. Some guys get really upset about it and even quit the team. While he never shows it in public, it really breaks his heart.

Some guys figure out that the reason he's yelling is that he cares for them, sees their potential, and is trying his best the way that he knows how to motivate them to improve.

For the guys that understand that he yells because he cares, they have a totally different experience than the quitters.

Rather than get upset, they love him for all the effort he puts in helping them to be better.

Is his method perfect?


But it's the attitude of the individual players that make the difference in how the coaching is received.

I'm not saying that's the case with you or this Bishop necessarily . . . but perhaps it will change how you feel and how you feel about him if you give him the same forgiveness you're seeking.

What I mean is: none of us is perfect, and I'm sorry he didn't tell you what you felt you needed or wanted to hear . . . but if you look at it as he was doing the best he could to try and help you, then maybe you'll feel better.

The truth is, Brother, sometimes on the road to repentance we're going to feel a little worse before we feel better.

It's like anything, really. When you get a cold you know that you're going to feel worse than the day you first think you're coming down with something. It gets worse before you feel better.

Now, you also have other avenues than talking to this Bishop. You could move to a different ward (at a Church school that's pretty easy to do), or you could schedule a meeting with your Stake President, telling him what you've told me.

You could also go talk to this Bishop. Not necessarily about your problems, but about how being in his office made you feel. I know, were I in his shoes, I'd want to know that I hadn't helped, and I'd want your advice on how to do better at that which the Lord called me to do.

3. As for pornography . . . you're right: you're not the exception.

It's a struggle for many people.

As I'm sure you've felt and as you know, it's a very powerful addiction.

Unlike other drugs it's more readily accepted by much of society and it's easier to get.

Your stake has an addiction recovery program.

It's free.

And it's anonymous.

I think you should start meeting with them.

Everyone there will be struggling with things in a similar way to what you're struggling with; no one there will judge you; you'll realize that you're not alone; and I promise you'll start to feel better. 

Loneliness, as I'll bet you can attest to, is one of Satan's most powerful tools.

And you, Dear Brother, are not alone.

Here are some other things you can do to help you get the pornography out of your life:

a. Know your triggers, and avoid them. Up too late. Alone at certain times. Watching certain types of media. All of those can be triggers. 
b. Find an activity to replace it. Something physical can be good. Walk. Run. Skate. Lift. Play a sport. Something that gets you doing something else. 
c. Change your location. If the problem is that the computer is in your room, move it into a more public place. If you're tempted most often while you're at home alone, when you feel the temptation coming on, get to another place. Another room. Another location altogether. 
d. Sing a hymn, read a the scriptures. I know it may sound cliché, but it works. Evil loves a vacuum, so when you feel evil creeping in, replace it with something else, something wholesome. 

You mentioned that you're on medication. It sounds like you should meet with your doctor as soon as possible. I don't know everything about ADHD, but I think part of what you're going through could be related to your meds.

Make an appointment. It might help a lot.

One last thing: it's okay if you don't believe this all the time, but I want you to know that I Truly Know that, no matter how things work out, Jesus will hug you and love you and call you "brother".

I know that he will never leave you. That's just not his style.

I know with the Savior's love you can overcome these things that ail you.

Get some help.

Don't give up.

You can do it! Feel free to email anytime.


- Bro Jo

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a fellow LDS who has dealt with depression and suicidal tendencies, may I recommend praying for opportunities to serve. It's not at cure, it doesn't fix everything, but if you sincerely pray for the chance to take your mind off your own faults and genuinely help someone else, be it big or small acts, it will help point your mind in a direction that will allow the Holy Spirit to better influence you and help you fight those dark thoughts - which are coming directly from Satan, by the way. If you can identify what exactly is Satan (anything NOT good), you can also actually tell him out loud to go away. As an order. In Christ's name. It takes practice, and it should not be the only way to battle the depression at all. I agree with Bro Jo, you should see your doctor. But it is an important step in order to allow the Spirit back, too.