Finding Happiness in a Troubled World…

Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder. Henry David Thoreau

Recently, I eluded to my plan to write more and instruct more about depression and overcoming it. As I have written in my book, A Glimpse of Heaven, depression is a heinous monster. However, just because it is a monster, does not mean that it cannot be overcome.

We have, in our arsenal, many weapons that we can use against depression. We can identify those weapons and we can learn to use those weapons.

In my experience, just waiting for depression to go away is the most inadequate approach possible. Being proactive and being willing to work hard is the best solution!

I can hear some of you say, “But I don’t feel like doing anything, I don’t even want to drag myself out of bed.” I know how you feel and I was there once myself but I can promise you that taking the “I’m sick attitude and therefore I can’t do anything” is just going to result in your being miserable and “sick” much much longer….much much longer.

One of the difficulties that depressed individuals often encounter is that they have a misguided notion that they should always be happy.

I have found that no one – not even our most giddy and exuberant friends, are happy all of the time. It’s a great idea to get rid of that misconception right now!

However, once we get rid of that misconception, we need to understand just what happiness is, what it is all about, and how we find it.

Over this next week, I am going to be sharing excerpts from an article in the Ensign magazine written by Jeffrey R. Holland entitled The Gospel Path to Happiness. I hope you will stay tuned throughout the entire week. Jeffrey R. Holland is one of my favorite instructors of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is personally acquainted with how difficult it can be to go through depression. His article is wonderful and encompasses everything I think you need to know about Happiness. So, for this week, we will be focusing on Happiness and how we obtain it.

Consider today’s excerpt, only an introduction to Happiness. Remember, there will be more helpful information throughout the week. As you read today’s excerpt, keep a prayer in your heart. Be open to your heart and listen as it tries to speak to you. Most of all, be sure to keep an open attitude. If you are battling depression and are looking for answers, I can promise you that you will need to make some changes. (I did too) However, it is my intent to help you understand some of the underlying issues that may be plaguing you and then to supply you with the tools that I believe will be most helpful!

Oh, and before I forget, be sure to seek the Lord in prayer – both as you read today’s excerpt and as you seek to resolve your depression. Be specific. Don’t just ask for general help. Instead, fine tune your request. For example, ask that today you will find one piece of information that will help you on your path to full recovery or that you will have an open heart and that you will know when you have found information that will be a true source of help for you, etc. Let your heart guide your prayer. You might be surprised what it has to say!

Being specific with prayer is one of  best kept secrets to meaningful prayers that I know of! I hope you will cultivate that strength (being specific when you pray) and that you will find meaningful instruction with today’s piece of instruction from Jeffrey R. Holland!

The Gospel Path to Happiness

So how do we “pursue” happiness, especially when we are young and inexperienced, maybe a little fearful, and life lies ahead of us as a challenging mountain to climb? Well, we know one thing for sure: happiness is not easy to find running straight for it. It is usually too elusive, too ephemeral, too subtle. If you haven’t learned it already, you will learn in the years ahead that most times happiness comes to us when we least expect it, when we are busy doing something else. Happiness is almost always a by-product of some other endeavor.

Henry David Thoreau, one of my favorite writers from my university days, said, “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”3 This is one of those great gospel ironies that often don’t seem obvious, like “the last shall be first” (Matthew 19:30; D&C 29:30) and “lose your life to find it” (see Matthew 16:25). The gospel is filled with such ironies and indirections, and I think the pursuit of happiness is one of them. So how do we optimize our chance for happiness without pursuing it so directly that we miss it? Let me go to a most remarkable book for some answers.

I do not think God in His glory or the angels of heaven or the prophets on earth intend to make us happy all the time, every day in every way, given the testing and trials this earthly realm is intended to provide. As President James E. Faust (1920–2007), Second Counselor in the First Presidency, once phrased it: “Happiness is not given to us in a package that we can just open up and consume. Nobody is ever happy 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”4

But my reassurance to you is that in God’s plan we can do much to find the happiness we desire. We can take certain steps, we can form certain habits, we can do certain things that God and history tell us lead to happiness with the confidence that if we live in such a manner, that butterfly is much more likely to land upon our shoulder.

In short, your best chance for being happy is to do the things that happy people do, live the way happy people live, and walk the path that happy people walk. As you do so, your chances to find joy in unexpected moments, to find peace in unexpected places, and to find the help of angels when you didn’t even know they knew you existed improve exponentially.

Today’s excerpt is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

 

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Joy & Sorrow…Overcoming Depression

Weeping may endure for a night but Joy comes in the morning Psalms 30:5We all want Joy and we will all experience loss and sorrow. More and more of us seem to be adding the experience of depression to our life resumes.

I have been through depression – the very worst form. I never want to go there again and I have learned that depression does not have to be a life sentence. With the right ingredients, it can almost always be overcome! The catch is the right ingredients. You can’t do the same things you have been doing – there will have to be some changes. Remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result! We don’t want to be guilty of insanity, we want to overcome depression!

I believe that more people need to know that anti-depressants are not always effective (for me they made no difference) and that answers do not always come in a prescription bottle.

Today, I share the story of another woman that experienced depression. She now works to help others overcome depression. I hope you will read her story and if you are suffering from depression, I hope you will commit to taking those steps to overcome and defeat your depression!

Depression Story

There is hope! You are worth it!

by Merri Ellen Giesbrecht

I remember not so long ago sitting on my couch unable to form any words with my mouth. My husband asked me questions and I could only muster up enough strength to look back at him with a look of “why don’t you just kill me now?” I couldn’t speak. I was so emotionally exhausted and mentally burnt out from suffering from depression. I could not sleep and would get up in the middle of the night to stare out the window in darkness. I was completely lost in depression.

I was 25 years old and I had suffered a traumatic work related experience that left me in emotional shock and disbelief. I went through anti depressant drugs which didn’t work for me and only made things worse. In fact, they brought on thoughts of suicide instead.

My world had crumbled due to the recent loss of my job thanks to the betrayal of mentors whom I had admired and sought for advice. Problem was their advice got me in hot water. Perhaps I wasn’t strong enough to make my own decision and listen to the warning bells going off in my own head. Now I was devastated.

The ones I admired and trusted had abandoned me. My life was now in pieces and my career as the department’s head stripped away from me thanks to another’s selfish ambition. I forever played the events over and over in my mind and I grew in anger, bitterness and depression.

Their words and actions cut threw me because I had put those leaders on such a high pedestal and when they let me down, I was deflated and incorrectly thought God was unhappy with me. I put those leaders in the place of God and so I thought surely God did not love me to allow such a thing to happen to me.

My family managed to get me outside to walk and get exercise. My father in law and I were walking alongside each other and we looked down and saw coffee cups littered on the ground. He asked me if I thought it was the fault of the coffee shop that their litter was on the ground. I looked at him strangely. Then he reminded me that even though God-fearing people had betrayed me, I should not attach them to God.

Amidst all of this, my husband and I were also expecting our first child. It was hard to feel any joy over the event at the time of my pregnancy. But, I now realize it was God’s perfect timing. My depression was so horrible that I would easily have committed suicide but for some reason could not bring myself to harm an unborn child. It was the child within me that kept me alive.

I tore myself up inside, attacking myself for trusting the wrong people as my leaders, I remember one early morning around 3am not being able to sleep with all the anger, bitterness and depression. I got up and yelled at God through my window looking outside as the rain poured down. The tears flowed alongside the rain. I got my Bible out and started reading in the Psalms where David is crying out wanting an answer from God as to why his enemies surrounded him. A familiar cry came from within my own heart, “Where are you God!?”

On that early morning and through the tears, I looked up and I saw a vision of God opening His arms out to me and I heard a voice say, “Trust me”. I then remembered Proverbs 3:5-6 which reads,

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.” (The Message)

Then my mind went to the story of Joseph in the Old Testament who was betrayed by his brothers and thrown into a pit and sold as a slave. Later, his master’s wife accused him of doing wrong to her and he was thrown in jail. I could definitely relate. I read the entire story again of how God was still with Joseph and God used the evil that was done to him for good. God somehow took Joseph from slavery and into the position of governor of the land of Egypt under Pharaoh to save the people from famine. Joseph’s despair later enabled him to bring hope to many.

When my son was later born, I gave him the middle name of Joseph, for my son was my hope child and a constant reminder that God could use the evil that was done to me and turn it into good. I hung on to that hope that perhaps my hardship could one day prevent other people’s hardship just like Joseph did.

My doctor at the time, offered little help other than drugs. Well-meaning people made comments like “you’ll get through this” but that did not provide hope. I soon realized that if I was going to get out of depression, then I had to take the steering wheel and do something about it myself. I couldn’t leave it to time or only to my doctor to help me. I couldn’t blame others for my state of mind. So, I set out determined to find an answer and the answer I found was different than what I heard on the commercials for anti-depressants (no kidding). I started to research medical journals on my own and discovered what truly cures depression.

That seems like ages ago…

However, it was only a few months later that I was able to find joy again. I came out of my pit and these days I look out of my window excited about life. When my husband talks to me, I am excited to answer! My passion is for life. My joy is found in living and in helping others find joy out of depression!

This is where God began to turn the evil into good…
After having coffee with a friend and months after my recovery, she asked me,

“Wow, you’ve come a long way! What exactly do you think helped you get out of depression?”

She had been a loyal friend giving me strength throughout my journey back to joy and had been there through it all. I shared with her the discovery I made of 6 major ingredients that the medical journals reveal to cure depression better than any antidepressant.  They are all ingredients that can easily be implemented. There are some specific guidelines that originate with general lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, supplements, sleeping routines, social cirles and your self-talk (how you talk to yourself).  The website below explains them.

The more we talked, the more we realized that many of our friends and family members were going through the same thing and needed to hear my depression story and what helped me. Perhaps my story could help people around the world!

So, I started out doing research on using the internet for sharing my story. I had no formal training in this whatsoever but that didn’t stop me. I went to work. Soon I was interacting with thousands of people in over 80 countries. I absolutely loved the emails I started to receive from people sharing how their lives became changed after reading my own story and my research on my website.

One woman had been on antidepressant drugs for over twenty years but became depression-free and drug-free after going through my compiled story and research.

Another woman wrote…

“I just want to thank you. These tips have really changed my life in less than a month. I honestly believe that God has brought this website over my path for recovery. The work you done is wonderful and a true inspiration. If I think where I was a few weeks back, I can’t believe I am out of that hole. God will bless you for this wonderful work you are doing. You have inspired me so. Thanks again.”

The act of putting my website together to help others has only helped me further in my moving beyond depression. I am more aware of what to look out for in my life and I am having great joy helping others!

I’ve even found it in my heart to forgive what was done to me. It’s the only way to survive. Do I still feel angry? Sure, from time to time. But, I have learned that anger gets me nowhere. I am now stronger because of what I had to go through; and perhaps smarter. No longer do I put others in the place of God either. That role is only for God. He is the creator of the universe and only He is perfect – no person; only God. The best thing is, not only is God all powerful, He is also personal and wants to know me. Psalm 139 reads,

“God… I’m an open book to you;
      even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
      you formed me in my mother’s womb.
   I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
   You know me inside and out,
      you know every bone in my body” (excerpted from The Message)

Once you fall into a pit of depression, it can be very hard to get out. But, it is possible and you need to be shown the way like a guide with a flash light through a very dark tunnel. I had friends, family and my hours of research to guide me. If my research and personal experience could help you along your own journey, you are welcome to read about it at: www.cure-your-depression.com

There is hope! You are worth it!

Story is shared from the following website: http://www.thoughts-about-god.com/stories/giesbrecht_m.html

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