Hope: I Am Enough

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but I have problems.

Looking at Facebook, is sometimes seems like I’m the only one. But I don’t post every time I have a bad day, and I guess neither do you.

What I don’t post are days that I cry solely because my brain chemicals are imbalanced. I don’t Facebook that my husband and I already have recurring issues and arguments, something I don’t think people expect from newlyweds. You won’t find my internal battle on your home page, the “I feel fat fat FAT” versus the “I am beautiful no matter what!” All that and more, and you’ll never see a word of it (unless you read this blog, because yeah).

I have problems, and I am growing up. My birthday is coming up pretty soon, as well as the new year. Usually everyone’s gaze turns forward to anticipate the changes that the new year will bring. But right now, I’m looking inward.

Depression does this stupid thing where it robs me of energy plus any hope for the future. And I fall victim to this kind of thought pattern, letting it follow me into days when I would otherwise feel fine. I forget that I’m in my early twenties with most of my life ahead of me. I am a glowing starball of potential, but I forget, and I lose that hope.

So today I am most grateful for the desire to improve, albeit steadily. Although I still have problems and make mistakes it feels like every other minute, I hope I will not lose sight of my current infinite worth and my greater potential. Because remember, you do not decide your worth. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you and believe in you and you belong to them, so you are of infinite worth. At the same time, you can keep improving every day because everyone can learn to live and love better.

This is what hope is to me: Knowing I am good enough, and then trying to be better.

It’s hard, but I try when I can.

 

 

President Drumpf

I didn’t want Drumpf to win but he did.

That night it felt like someone had died. I have received that news late at night before, and it felt similar. About all I could do was get into bed and hope that it was a bad dream.

It wasn’t.

But I’ve been lucky. I’ve been able to hide in our apartment for the most part. Kinda readjusting to this world. Facebook has fifty thousand opinions on how I should be feeling or behaving, but none of them really fit my current internal reality. So I don’t listen to any of the advice.

God has blessed me with an illness for the past few days, so I’ve been distracted by feeling physically miserable and tired. It’s better than thinking hard about disappointment, acceptance, action. “Drink liquids, Maney,” I tell myself. “Get rest. The election results aren’t as immediate and critical as your physical health.”

So that’s been nice.

For those of you who are happy about the results, that is awesome. For those are you who are sad about the results, that sucks. I’m in the sad group. I was really excited to have a female president as cool as Hillary Clinton. :/

The most important thing is for you to take care of yourself. I feel like a lot of my readers are in the mental illness club. There are plus sides of course, like increased empathy, but the down sides can include terrible things like depression and suicide.

I love you all and I want all of you to be safe. Take care of yourself if you are having a hard time right now, whether or not it is related to the election. Talk to someone. Take a break from reality. Eat a PB&J sandwich. Whatever you need to do to feel safe and loved, do it. And if you don’t feel safe and loved, I’m so sorry. Just know that I love you.

Peace, love, etc.

My Capital-T Truth

Dear humans who read this,

I hope that the holidays treat you well. I hope they are filled with joy and love, and that all your dreams come true. I hope you look back on December 2015 as one of the best times of your life, and that you move forward into 2016 with renewed energy and hope.

But if you are struggling, if you feel alone or depressed or abandoned or empty, if darkness surrounds you and you don’t see a light ahead in your future, lift up your eyes.

There is always hope in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of Him, we never need lose faith in a better tomorrow. His Atonement will make up for every unfair thing in this life. It is with His light that I have survived some of the darkest nights of my life. I know that He loves me, and if He loves me, then He certainly loves you, too.

Don’t give up. There is always light ahead. I understand hopelessness, and the anger that can result from it. I have turned from God and lashed out at Him in prayer, blaming Him for struggles and pains that we all inevitably face in our earth life. I know that He knows me by name, and He is constantly aware of me, of my desires and my needs. He knows me better than I know myself, and still He loves me.

Hold on to that hope. Take whatever embers of light you have inside you and let His love make them brighter. I testify that good will triumph over evil. I feel it deep in my bones, an undeniable truth in my soul. He will come again, and He will bring peace and rest for His faithful children.

This is the greatest gift I can give to you, my readers: I give you my testimony of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, my Savior. He lives, He loves us, and we can choose every day to follow Him and let Him heal us.

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and an amazing new year!

Much much love,

Maney

You’re Not a Sad Story

I’m writing this late at night which is usually a bad idea, since my thoughts can be so disjointed and my writing tends to get pretty wonky. But I want to say something:

Lately I feel like I’ve been carried out of a really terrible trial, and my heart is slowly opening up to let in the future. The annoying phrases that haunted me so much in depression mean something better, like “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Instead of ripping me open, these words resonate in me, give me comfort.

Things are still hard, and some days I am empty, and I still hate reading my journal entries and blog posts from last semester because they dissolve my stomach, but that’s part of my life, and maybe your life is like that too. You and I, we deal. We move on. We carry our crosses. We stand together. And even when we feel alone, we’re not.

God is good. Living can be hard. Things are complicated. Hold on, keep keep keep keep keep holding on. Jesus loves you, just the way you are. There is always hope, even if you can’t see it. And I, dear reader, love you too.

Let’s do this life.

Feeling Better Better Better

A few months ago I expressed my concern that once my mental health started improving, I wouldn’t have anything left to blog about. Now after about a month of slow posting, mostly reblogs and Poetry Fridays, let me say one thing:

Mental health is not so bad.

I’m no longer desperately clinging to, and then dejectedly hanging from, one last thread of life. There are bad days, of course, but now I can distinguish between my emotions, all my feelings spread across a palette from the lightest yellow to the deepest indigo; tears over past horrors, hours of inexplicable contentment, bursts of energy, and more and more. I am so consumed by this diverse spectrum that I can hardly even remember when all my emotions ran together in a blackish, hopeless mud.

Life is actually and really and truly okay. I am moving forward. I’m making plans. I am learning about myself–learning to love that girl for who she is. I’m learning where I want to go in life, not just physically, but emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

Things are definitely still hard. It hurts to remember what I’ve been through, to think about all the sadness and pain in the world. But things are beautiful, too. I’ve been patient; allowed myself to just heal slowly, months and months passing until I can’t even recognize myself anymore. And I have a loving family, medication, and a supportive counselor to thank for that. Not to mention the many prayers that have been offered on my behalf.

Yes, that’s right, prayers. Maybe you’re noticed, readers, but I’ve haven’t mentioned much of God or religion for a few months. I guess that was part of the healing: learning to trust God again and let His love heal me. Great, I’m tearing up as I type this. I’m so grateful that I feel deep within me that the doctrine I’ve been taught my whole life is truth. That doesn’t mean I don’t get to ask questions. There’s plenty of room for that. But the beauty is, I don’t want to trouble with questions right now. I’m just soaking in the beautiful feeling that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into my life. I love Him so much. Not as much as I should, of course, but I’m working on it. He’s patient with me.

So anyway, I don’t know how much I’ll be posting in the coming months. Maybe I’ll go back to three a week again, or we’ll just stick with Poetry Fridays for a while. Whichever, please know that I’m doing better. I love and appreciate you all for being a part of my crazy journey through life. Keep being your wonderful selves, my dear readers.

And because I have had this song stuck in my head for several days, here is Regina Spektor’s song “Fidelity.” Do the lyrics pertain to this post? I don’t think so. The music just sounds like turning a new page to a “better better better better better better better” chapter in life.

What We Need

(Obviously many of you are spending December in different ways. I wish I could be more politically correct with this blog, but I’ve celebrated Christmas my entire life, and I can only write about what I know. I’m sorry.)

I feel a constant pressure to be better. It’s partly my mental illnesses and partly my environment. Wanting to be better is good in healthy degrees; however, it must be kept within a realistic perspective. Mental illness can mess with that. My mission these last few years has been to love myself with all the flaws and strengths that make me unique.

During the holidays, there seems to be an increase in the mood of those around me, while symptoms of my depression and anxiety cause me to appear Grinch- and Scrooge-like in comparison. Everyone seems to run around in a blur of candy canes and sparkling ribbon–it makes me want to decrease the surplus population, if you know what I mean.

It becomes too much. The normal buzz of inadequacy is enhanced to torturous noise noise noise noise. Where is the heavenly peace the songs talk about? How do we average and lonely and anguished folks find the promised joy?

I try to focus on what uplifts me. I tune out the laughter and chatter if it becomes too much to bear. I watch the twinkling lights and think of somewhere safe. I tell myself the red and white wrapping isn’t just a mark of consumerism, but a symbol of something deeper. It’s possible that this holiday still centers around Jesus Christ, my Savior. Even if none of what I tell myself is true, and I believe it is true, it gives me peace. He gives me hope. So I choose the better story.

However you’re celebrating (or not celebrating) this time of year, I hope you get from it what you need.

And it’s possible that you need Him.

Love you all and merry Christmas! If you don’t celebrate Christmas, and I know many don’t, I wish you a wonderful and magical and happy time of year anyway. 🙂 Be kind to yourselves.

Puzzling to Peace

*trigger warning*

(I should probably go back and add that warning to like half my posts…)

Maney is a puzzle that I’m trying to piece together. It’s like I am separate from Maney, and I need to get her back in gear to live and hopefully someday desire life.

One thing I like to do is read. I recently received a plethora of my favorite books, used and cheap, the way I like my literature. So far I’ve consumed Peter and the Starcatchers, and I’m inching my way through Life of Pi (a favorite) and I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” by Brené Brown, which is new to me. Books are like friends–safe ones I don’t have to worry about thinking that I’m mental, since our entire relationship is mental. Who says money can’t buy happiness? If money can buy friends, then I wonder what it can’t buy.

Another thing I do to piece myself back together is play guitar. It became a hobby over this last semester, as I’ve explained before. I’m not the best at playing or singing, but I love it. I love hearing my voice intertwine with the strong, reverberating chords, or the gentle, rhythmic pluck of my fingers. I love finding songs on the internet and then playing them within a few minutes. It makes me feel beautiful. It makes me feel desirable. It makes me feel worthy of love.

The final and hardest thing I’ve been trying lately is talking to people. It’s almost daily that I want to run my wrists over shards of glass, or cover my ears and scream in a corner, or bash my head against something until the stupidity of life ends. I often long for the peace I associate with death. Peace, and reunion, mostly with Jesus Christ, because it’s hard to imagine that meeting being anything but wonderful.

But anyway, talking to people. It’s hard. I get distracted. I start to feel guilty for things I don’t have any right to feel guilty for. And the guilt usually morphs into shame–I ask myself why I even exist if I’m so pathetic and depressed and awkward. It’s exhausting. It makes me want to go to sleep and never care about anyone or anything again. (I’m doing better, though, because at least I can separate these feelings from other, happier ones. Better than moving from bad feelings to numbness.)

Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, this being alive thing. It’s so hard. It’s His love that keeps me going. He gives me a flicker of hope to move forward, to take another step, to hold on a little longer. So, Team, hold on, if only because I am holding on. If only because He loves you, and He wants you to have joy.