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TRUTH AMONG THE CONFUSION

Cathy Carmode Lim

May 15, 2012


While I have always tried to depend on guidance that comes from the Holy Spirit, that still small voice that teaches and directs both mind and heart (Doctrine & Covenants 8) it hasn’t always been easy.
Challenges with mental health over the years have sometimes thrown wrenches into that process, in various ways. I’ve struggled for 25 years with more than the “normal” ups and downs of life that everyone experiences. The extremes I’ve gone through have led me and health care professionals to conclude I have a form of bipolar disorder.


Depression, irritability and anger have at times blocked that positive flow of messages from a loving God that I’ve always depended on, leaving me to feel adrift and cut off. I've sometimes felt that no answers to prayers were coming, and I've given up asking. I've even gotten angry at the heavens for leaving me in that isolated state, with no communication coming my way. All of it leads to me feeling that I'm alone and undeserving of God's love.


Even medication I’ve been prescribed to help me feel more “myself” or “normal” has hindered that flow of Spirit to my mind and heart. One medicine I tried for a few months left me feeling numb. I didn't feel bad anymore, but I didn't feel good. I didn't feel peaceful or Spirit-filled; I felt as if my emotions had just been wiped off the slate of my soul. It was a strange feeling to go to church, where I would normally feel happy and inspired, and just feel ... nothing. A black hole had sucked out the spot where there would normally be gardens in bloom with all colors of gorgeous flowers of faith, watered by the Holy Ghost speaking through talks, music, and lessons.

 

What got me through that empty period was remembering all the times I had had spiritual experiences. My brain had stored the memories of knowing that God had answered my prayers, and I could recall intellectually the Holy Ghost had usually been in my heart. I couldn’t feel it then, but I trusted in my head that it had happened before and would come back to me, no matter what wacky tricks this medication was playing. 


A dear friend of mine told me she was able to talk to a speaker after a Time Out for Women session. She wrote: "He suffers from depression and told my mom and me that being faithful means that you remember the Lord is with you and mindful of you even when the depression doesn't let you 'feel' it. He is still there!"
Mental illnesses can do all kinds of damage, some visible to others and most unseen. But I know in a part of my brain that's not affected somehow that God is still there, still aware of me and my particular set of trials. That knowledge helps me to have faith that the flowers will bloom again in my heart.

Cathy Carmode Lim is the founder of RatedReads.com, a website that gives ratings to books similar to ratings assigned to movies and TV shows. She also blogs about books, mental health and other topics at LifeandLims.com. She is a wife and mother of four daughters who lives in California.

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