Simply Depression

[ 33 ] Comments

by jendoop

This essay is a part of our Peculiar Minds series.

The Causes of The Great Depression / FDR Memorial SiteI have Depression. It sounds so weird to say, using a verb as a noun. It’s like the financial blight of the early 20th century took up lodging in my gut or something. It’s an odd thing, which really goes without saying. If there is one universal about mental illness, it’s that it is odd. It is the very definition of odd: “Not regular, expected, or planned.*

Sure enough, this is not what I had planned. I planned to get married in the temple, have children and live happily ever after. While I’ve been blessed with the first two, the third is lacking. Oh my land, how it is lacking in these cloudy Midwestern winter days!

My diagnosis came in my early 20’s and was actually quite a relief. I was ecstatic (not an emotion you imagine a person with Depression feeling) to find out that the greyness which I attributed to being tired and lazy was in fact, odd: “Differing in nature from what is ordinary.*” The giddiness came from learning that my life and emotions could improve; I wasn’t doomed to feel that way forever. Since then I’ve lived through many ups and downs, and I hold on for the ups when the downs are desperate.

I go through different stages of accepting this label of Depression, and accepting it is vital to becoming who God wants me to be. Early on my husband and I agreed that simplicity is important for me, so we’ve turned our backs on a lot of the usual suburban Mormon activities for our kids, like soccer, girl scouts, and dance lessons. Part of that simplicity is being careful what I let into my mind. When I say that I’m not talking about actual viewing, reading, hearing (while that does have its importance); I’m talking about what I hear, accept as true, and then try to incorporate into my life. I think the scriptures call it hearkening.

It probably goes without saying, because I’m writing on this faith-supporting, LDS-themed website, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the things I’ve let into my mind. Through difficult experiences I’ve had to learn what, exactly, the gospel is and what it is not.

An example of something I did not let into my mind is a quote I heard last Sunday, which, despite it sounding so sweet and perfect at first, I threw it away:

“Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” –Catharine M. Wallace

My son talks nonstop about the endless minutia that is an eleven year old boy’s life, from the time he walks in the door from school until he finally quiets when the toothbrush goes in his mouth at bedtime. There is no way in the world I could accomplish anything, let alone maintain a positive mental attitude, if I listened to his every word like it was his confession to robbing a bank. My sanity demands filtering and quiet, and honestly, he needs to learn to think quietly in his own mind, to be alone with his thoughts. I’m sure his wife will thank me later for teaching him this.

Another thing, one that I hear so very often in religious conversations, that I can’t let into my mind is, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

My dear reader, there are many people to whom God has handed more than they can handle. Right this minute there are men and women, our brothers and sisters, in hospitals who have been given more than they could handle. And I’m not only talking about the mentally infirm, there are physical infirmities that are too great for us to handle. (Although mood disorders are chemically-based, and can also be seen as a physical infirmity.) Not to be overly morbid, but I assure you that there are multitudes in heaven who would say that of course God gave them more than they could handle, and it killed them.

In these situations the way a person who has been handed more than they can handle can survive is by depending on other people. Just as a person with a heart attack can’t make their own breakfast, or can’t make it to the bathroom on their own, a person with mental illness needs the help of others. Neither person looks very much different on the outside; a heart attack doesn’t make your nose glow orange, nor does mental illness change a person’s appearance. (If you don’t believe me look at the fabulous-looking people who wrote posts for the Peculiar Minds series.) Their illnesses are no less real because they can’t be seen by an outside observer; the fact remains that they need assistance. If you don’t know what this feels like, to be given more than you can handle, then you are one of the people who are called to assist those whose hands are full and hang down. (Heb. 12:12-13)

I’m grateful beyond my ability to express for those who have lifted my heavy hands by holding them in their own, and strengthened my feeble knees by feeding my soul. My family helped when God handed me more than I could handle, most especially my husband and my older sister. My extended family has played a role too, loving me and laughing with me (sometimes at me, and I laugh at them too). There are many professionals who’ve helped me carry what God has handed me: therapists, doctors, nurses, and even a cold psychiatrist that wasn’t very kind, was helpful. Friends are, and have been, very important, as are visiting teachers, leaders who lead with compassionate instruction, and teachers who teach the pure doctrines of Christ.

When I focus on those pure doctrines, the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ, life is simple. To me it sounds as simple as the testimonies I heard in the Spanish branch I attended years ago, “Jesus vive!” Because Jesus lives and his followers act as he would act, with compassion and without judgment, I have hope and still feel giddy with the knowledge that I can progress, including one day giving up this odd body to receive a resurrected body without this silly verb used as a noun, Depression, trapped inside.

*definitions from online dictionaries


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About jendoop

Jen writes, reads, paints, walks, prays, eats and sleeps. Paul is her co-conspirator in teaching these skills to 4 children.

33 Responses to Simply Depression

  1. Jen,

    Thank you for sharing your own, very personal, walk with dealing with Depression in your life. It breaks my heart to think of how many among us might be dealing with similar challenges, privately within families, without the needed support that could be so helpful.

    Just a thought: I believe others could somewhat relate, as many have experienced the effects of depression to a minor degree; although not to the extent of one, like yourself, clinically diagnosed, who must struggle on a near day-to-day basis. I can think of a few episodes throughout my own life, that were devastating at the time, where truly I had lost all feelings of hope. In particular, after the birth of my second child; which lasted nearly 3 months and seriously affected our family and caused great concern at the time. (in each case though, no one ever knew)

    My point being: many of us have had such experiences, more or less, touching on depression from which we can draw from, becoming a beginning space from which someone, like myself, is able to find a deep compassion and respect, when coming to discover that a friend, or family member, has such a challenge in their life, that must be managed on a daily basis.

    You’ve raised a red flag today, about the fact that there ‘are’ things in this life that are too much for people to handle, which do not make them unworthy, or lacking in faith, etc. (my interpretation) I’m with you on this, all the way — and it’s called mortality!

    The sooner we can get to non-judgement, when it comes to those diagnosed with Depression, the better we can support individuals and families who really could use our love and compassion. Let’s keep talking…

    Bravo for you, Jen!

  2. Jendoop says:

    Well put Kathryn, I think most people can find someway to relate. For me, getting to know a person, the complexities of their life and their hopes and dreams, prevents me from judging harshly. Often it’s like CS Lewis said, I’m in awe. Especially in light of how well they are doing considering all of their challenges. Too often we hide though, and don’t allow others to see us in that light because we’re too afraid of being judged (me included).

    My heart goes out to the young mother Kathryn. Don’t you wish you could go back and show her what great people those babies have become? Part of what can make depression, especially post partum, more difficult is the expectation of how you should feel. I think the altered brain chemicals put you at a disadvantage to ward off those negative thoughts.

    I’ve thought a lot this week about why medication and therapy and exercise, and eating well, and all those doctor recommendations are worthwhile if its really only a brain chemistry issue. Looking back on my years without medication- I made a mess of some things in my own head in an effort to cope, so although medication can moderate chemical imbalances I need to re-learn healthy ways of thinking and interacting. I need an outside observer to be honest about those issues to enable me fix them. I need to make efforts to eat healthy because for too long rich sweet food was the best way to have positive feelings, if only for a moment. While at the same time a way to punish myself for feeling bad. Exercise is my brain telling my body that it is in charge, that this body is useful and strong.
    Recovery in all its forms is a great blessing, light and merciful, but also layered and difficult- also totally worth it and part of my progression.

    • Thank you, Jen. And I agree, too many of us are hiding for fear of being mis-judged.

      As I think back on the “young mother Kathryn” I am now in a loving place of knowing that she was doing the best she could, with where she was , and what she knew at the time to do, with what she had to accomplish — and that, was more than acceptable to the Lord. It’s just too bad that when young mothers’ are in that place, as so many are, they are persuaded from seeing it clearly.

      I also believe that mothering is an art that continues into the adult lives of our children. And so even today, as my own children are now adults, I continue to teach and take opportunities to make these connections with my children as they are now raising their own children. We have a family motto: Every Generation Better!

      In hindsight, as you have pointed out, I can now see the “tender mercy of the Lord” in action, as I was invited by the RS to teach an aerobic swim class that summer, forcing me to get outdoors and exercise — which also prompted me to get the extra baby weight off. Who knew back then, that perhaps that particular combo likely affected the hormones that pulled me up and out of the postpartum depression?

      Lastly, since I left my last comment, I have discussed with a few individuals, the idea you raised in this post, of which I support challenging the thought, that there are some things in life that , perhaps, are too much for people to handle.

      I have to say, I have been quite surprised at how resistant some members have been to the mere suggestion of this idea, and I’m not sure what to make of it? I’d very much be interested in your thoughts, as I’m sure you’ve considered it at much greater length. My initial thoughts here were, as I mentioned in my comment, had to do with judging and worthiness being used as a barometer when members try to attach faithfulness to our ability to conquer our trials and challenges. There just seems to be so many variables if we were to do so, when considering the world at large…

      • jendoop says:

        I’ve been thinking more about this too Kathryn. While it’s difficult to discuss every aspect of this idea the biggest one that stands out to me is that we are imperfect people making choices that effect us. Therefore, in our imperfection and weakness we make the best choices we can, but they are still often flawed or wrong. Those choices then impact us in a negative way. While Christ’s atonement does cover our weakness and sins, they don’t take away all of the consequences (The Miracle of Forgiveness points this out well).

        We learn from those experiences, but sometimes we miss the lesson and continue to make mistakes which can build to the point of overwhelming us. In a similar way other people’s choices can effect us to the point of overwhelming our abilities.

        Here’s a simple example: I deal with some anxiety and dropping my children off at school becomes a very stressful undertaking. There have been times that I have dropped them off not with a loving goodbye, but barely acknowledging them as I worry about how to get out of traffic. This effected my children in their day, it also effected me and anyone else I treated badly in the course of driving. What to do? How to handle these two conflicting issues- taking my children to school and my anxiety?

        For two of my children I arranged a carpool so that my husband does the drop off in the morning and our neighbor brings them home in the afternoon. For my older daughters I asked them to be ready early, and I now drop them off 20 minutes early before the traffic backs up, and pick them up 15 minutes later than everyone else. These two solutions have reduced my anxiety and made for better relationships with my children. But I had to get to the point of being overwhelmed before I would face the situation with determination – instead of praying that others would change, or God would cancel school, or my children would ride their bikes in 2 feet of snow. I was able to do this because others helped me, my husband, my neighbor, and my daughters. It was efforts by all of us that solved MY problem.

        Another example, a very drastic one is codependency. People who are codependent try very hard to make everything right, but in the end they make many things wrong. When things continue to go wrong, they continue to try and fix it, which breaks it more. Which is extremely overwhelming, especially if the codependence is paired with depression or other MI. (Codependency is often found in a family member of someone with addictions/alcoholism.) The solution for this is often prolonged counseling to help the person sort out the unhealthy habits from healthy ones and renewing relationships in a productive way. (If you want more info about Codependency see or where their workbook has a good section about codependence.)

        I hope this answers your question somewhat Kathryn. In the end I think it is up to each person to decide if this phrase works for them or not. We can’t truly judge how much another person can bear, only God can do that. Often our unfair or harsh judgments are what rob us of compassion. So I err on the side of believing that everyone at one time or another deals with more than they can handle. Whether this happens because we bring it on ourselves or if it’s placed on us by God is inconsequential. As a follower of Christ I’ve covenanted to serve and bear others’ burdens, so that is what I will do, regardless of their origin.

        • Thank you, Jen. Yes, this does help me to see this consideration from your perspective.

          As I mentioned in my response to Cory — I had not previously ever considered such an idea, until I was forced to question it. So when you submitted the possibility it resonated clearly with me and I knew there was a place for it, somewhere, in the scheme of life. I stand by that clarity, still, and am slowly coming to a better understanding of how this works, and will all work out through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

          One piece of the puzzle that I’m beginning to see a fit for, is how charity works into the picture, alongside of our baptismal covenant to bear one another’s burdens. Somehow, for those who are unable to do for themselves, those of us who have made such a covenant, will make up the difference. I feel this in my bones, that somehow, we are connected in this work, of carrying the challenge for our brothers and sisters as we keep our covenants.

          • Jendoop says:

            You’ve hit on something key in this discussion! If we believe that God never gives others overwhelming challenges, where is our motivation to help? Hidden behind the statement is sometimes a misplaced idea that those who struggle should be “self reliant” while at the same time soothing our own conscience for not reaching out in real ways (beyond platitudes). Sometimes the advice we give others is more about what is going on inside our heart and mind than it is about aiding them. Our covenant is to serve, regardless of where the trial comes from or how intense it is.

  3. Bonnie says:

    Jen, your comment about altered brain chemicals putting one at a disadvantage to ward off negative thoughts resonates deeply with me. For years I’ve had a theory about this that I continue to consider, then put back on the shelf, then take down again later and consider some more. It’s central to my feelings about agency and grace and atonement and healing. It’s central to why we can never judge one another, as others have also mentioned. It complicates our interactions with one another and refines us in powerful ways, this business of being compromised and dealing with each other when others are compromised.

    My thoughts and feelings about whether God gives us more than we can handle are also complex. On the one hand, we have Paul’s words, which I take very seriously:

    “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor 10:13)

    On the other hand, what he means by bear may be different than what I mean, or someone I love means. I’ve long said that every time in my life I drew a line in the sand and said, “I can’t go one step further than here, God has drawn another line a little bit further. And I was able to go there. What I think I can’t bear and what I can’t bear have repeatedly been shown to me to be different things.

    And then there were the times we agreed, and he lifted my burden, just enough that I could bear it. I remember when we were living in a house that probably should have been condemned. The windows could literally be lifted off from the outside. The plumbing didn’t work in the kitchen, so I had a 5-gallon bucket under the kitchen sink that I emptied in the toilet. And there were mice. Everywhere. We would hear them scurrying around at night. I had to wash all my dishes again so that they could be used for the next meal. After 5 months of this, and after a train of continuing, heart-rending disappointments, I told the Lord in honest prayer that I. could not. stand. the mice. one. day. longer. I was serious, and I’d had it. They disappeared that night and for the remaining seven months we lived there I never saw nor heard another one. The plumbing wasn’t fixed, the windows weren’t fixed, and the multitude of other problems weren’t either. But the mice were, and I was grateful.

    So I believe Paul. But I also understand that we are given great burdens to bear. He has faith in us to be able to bear them. But that certainly doesn’t mean to embrace them, to be free from harm from them, or to bear them alone. That trite poem about footprints in the sand comes to mind. Perhaps the chemicals that inhibit our ability to ward off negative thoughts also inhibit our ability to see how we are strengthened to bear and given a way to escape.

  4. momJulee says:

    I appreciate this so much as I struggle with depression for a variety of reasons stemming from the recent death of my brother. As you state so well, we are routinely given things that are more than we can handle. That is the whole point of mortal existence – to see if we will turn to the Savior for help and avail ourselves of the Atonement when those moments in life come, as well as to those around us. To believe that we will always be able to handle what life throws at us, on our own, only leads to further depression and a lot of useless questions like “Why did this happen to me?”

    Bless you for sharing!

    • Jendoop says:

      Thank you momjulee, my condolences on losing your brother. Your comments about Christ are spot on. I wonder if I didn’t mention him enough in the original post. The atonement sets everything right in the end, and God looks at things with an eternal perspective. He knows that whatever we experience in this life will be overcome in the eternities through Christ. Bless you in your ongoing efforts to overcome depression.

  5. MaryC says:

    I just want to say thank you for sharing this. Depression is an almost constant companion and there are days when I have to look at life one minute at a time or I don’t think I can go on. We never know who is dealing with this. Thank you.

    • Jendoop says:

      Mary, I’m sorry that your days and minutes are currently so difficult. I keep hope that things can be better and that good moments can peek through the clouds. Keep going! I hope you are also receiving the help and support you need.

  6. Ray says:

    Bonnie, I look closely at words and try hard to limit my interpretations only to what the actual words mean.

    In the case of 1 Cor. 10:13, we are told that there are no “temptations” that we will not be able to escape and bear. It does not say there is no burden or trial that will be too much to bear. I don’t see suicide, for example, as a “temptation” in the case of someone who is suffering from depression. I see it as more of an alternate reality – the result of forces outside “temptation”. Seeing it that way allows me to place such things outside the arena of sin and move them firmly into the field of transgression – those “wrong” actions done out of ignorance or lack of capacity (the result of “Adam’s transgression”), covered fully by the Atonement.

    That is a critical distinction to me, since I can’t look around the fallen world in which we live, with all the depravity we humans inflict on each other, and classify those trials as “temptations”.

    • Bonnie says:

      Good point, Ray. The Greek word that is translated “temptation” (pierasmos) can be translated “an experiment, an attempt, a trial, or a proving” as well as “adversity, affliction, or trouble.” It enlarges Paul’s meaning to consider the connotations. We know that nothing here can ultimately damage us, because the atonement can heal anything, and as soon as we are not bound by the mortal, we look with different eyes. The judgment is less concerned with what we did, I think than with what we did with our experience. God knows how to weigh the challenge in our balances. We are having an attempt. I don’t believe we are given any proving that is beyond our ability to learn from in the eternal sense, and to connect with and begin to understand grace. The depravity that humans inflict on one another ends firmly at death. The experiment always has an end.

      • Paul says:

        The related question is what it means that we can or cannot bear those infirmities or trials. I do not believe it suggests that we should think we can bear them ourselves. The very thought strikes out against the covenant we make at baptism.

        And the other question is how we bear them. Do we do so with the aid of medicine? Of counseling? Of other medical intervention? Those are all worthy methods of bearing those burdens. We know that there are those who are not accountable for their sins, not just those who are under the age of accountability. They surely have a different standard against which their “bearing” shall be judged.

      • templegoer says:

        This comment was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read on the internet. I’ve given this a lot of thought of late, and I think this is entirely correct. I believe that ultimately we will see this as ‘all grist to the mill’. That thought does not in any way diminish the reality of human suffering that can feel like we are about to cease to be entirely and lose our faith completely.

  7. Jane says:

    I wrote a response to this – somewhere – at 5am in the morning. That’s early for me. It’s now 5:30pm and I have spent time on and off through this day discussing this article with various people. My days of deepest darkest depression are well behind me now; and may they stay there. However the memories & lessons linger. I’ve decided at this end of the day that it doesn’t matter if we are told think or know we can bear what comes into our lives. Most of us simply do. Some days we do it well and other days not so well. We all need love and support no matter what we struggle with. We need Christlike tolerance and acceptance. Thank you Jen for sharing, for causing discussion. I love you for your courage and honesty.
    Jane in Australia

    • Bonnie says:

      Jane, this has been exactly my experience as well – that we do bear it. We survive things, and on the other side of it we have a different perspective. I was told during some of my darkest days of abuse that if I were strong I would just bear it, but I learned that bearing my experience meant ending it by ending my marriage. Bearing is a big word with a lot of meanings.

    • Beautiful, Jane. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? And yet, it’s really how it is.

      I don’t have the perfect answer for each individual, and I suppose not a one of us will know it for ourselves either, until our days are complete in this life — and so, as most of us often do, we take what comes and we deal with it in the best way we know how.

      For those of us blessed to have the gospel in our lives, we cling to Jesus Christ and through Him reach for our Heavenly Father.

      And yet, for those who struggle with mental illness, Depression, even that simple act can see so far way when life gets dark and dreary; which is why, again, we need to be mindful of one another and make sure they are not left a lone, too long, without making sure they are doing okay, spiritually.

    • jendoop says:

      Thank you Jane. I’m sorry if this has stirred up things in your heart or caused discomfort. Sometimes those are the paths to greater understanding. I’ve been largely quiet on this because I don’t want to force anyone to see it the way I do. My comment above in response to Kathryn is my best summation, but this part especially applies to you:

      “In the end I think it is up to each person to decide if this phrase works for them or not. We can’t truly judge how much another person can bear, only God can do that. Often our unfair or harsh judgments are what rob us of compassion. So I err on the side of believing that everyone at one time or another deals with more than they can handle. Whether this happens because we bring it on ourselves or if it’s placed on us by God is inconsequential. As a follower of Christ I’ve covenanted to serve and bear others’ burdens, so that is what I will do, regardless of their origin.”

      If nothing else I hope we can all agree that talking about these things helps us recognize the great need for compassion and understanding, even if we disagree about specifics.

  8. SilverRain says:

    Thank you for this post, especially debunking the “more than you can handle” ridiculousness. One of the reasons singles’ ward was so difficult for me was the chipper women parroting this trope about being single. There I sat, happily, THANKFULLY single, knowing the depths of not being able to handle the things one is handed. I hate almost everything about my life with a passion mitigated only by rigorously not thinking about it…simplifying, as you say. Especially when something comes along that robs my sleep, it feels like one more grain of rice added to my plate will cause the whole thing to come spinning down.

    One doesn’t have to be clinically depressed to know what this feels like. All of us are depressed at some time or other in our lives, especially when we are given more than we can handle and have no one to rely upon to make up the difference.

    Take courage, Jen. You’re amazing. And I think learning how to focus on the most important things is one of the more impressive lessons to be learned in mortality, where we are by definition limited in our abilities.

    • jendoop says:

      Thanks SR. The very nature of God’s plan surrounds the basic fact that we are weak and limited. It is the reason we need Christ, why we need each other – and I think God set it up that way on purpose. We can do very little, really. What is possible is through God, Christ, the HG and the other people he’s placed around us. It is when I focus on simplicity that I feel his help the most, it is how I am trying to be humble. Those choices towards simplicity seem to limit my temptations, keep me safe physically & mentally, and increase his influence in my life. Enabling me to do many good things as prompted.

  9. Linda says:

    As a psychiatric nurse, I have seen many wrong diagnoses. Sometimes a mood stabilizer works better with or instead of antidepressants.

    • Becky L. Rose says:

      what is a mood stabilizer? Can you give me an example? I’m on Effexor and Lamotrigine. I recently added Welbutrin, but life is still hard and you can’t take that away! I have a brother who is bi-polar and a neice and nephew (different siblings) that are diagnosed as well. I know you can’t diagnose, but advice would be nice.

  10. Becky L. Rose says:

    I dislike that quote about God not giving us anything we can’t handle, because what people miss is that some times we give ourselves things we can’t handle. For instance, I too deal with depression and I have not been reading, praying, trusting God so I have made my trials more difficult because I have not turned to him who will strengthen me. Instead I flounder on my own.

    Do other people give us things we can’t handle? Are there times when we should of said no, or I’m not accepting that gift (guilt). I overhead a sister in my ward tell another sister that if we say yes to everything, our yes’s don’t mean much. But if we say no to some things, then when we say yes, people are grateful and it’s a positive experience for us as well.

    I think you simplifying your life is a great idea. It’s one I need to implement. It’s hard because I am a keeper of papers, and crafts and decorations and …. Oh and I don’t have a husband or kids or even a good job that gives me an identity. Staying up is difficult. I’m 40 and dislike my situation greatly. I want a magic wand! I’m on meds too!

    Also prozac only works for 10 years.

    • jendoop says:

      I am a big believer in “no”. It is essential for simplification. A friend, who happened to be serving as RS president, told me that she never answers her phone. It drove me crazy as her counselor, but she pointed out that half of the time that she doesn’t answer the phone, but later calls back, the issue has been taken care of without her. In this way she encourages people to seek out their best solutions, instead of depending on her. It also allowed her to have a chance to think things over and muster the strength to say no if she needed to.

      I think saying “No,” also allows more people to be involved. We have a tendency to ask the same people to do the same sorts of things, but if they always say “Yes,” how will another person ever get the chance? Saying “Yes,” to everything that comes along short circuits our agency, when you say “Yes,” really mean it and then go to it with gusto!

      • templegoer says:

        We have a RS president who works full-time for the first time ever, and so she is unavailable. It’s amazing how the ward manages perfectly well without her, the constant availability of the RS president has always been a given in the past. There is so much that simply is not necessary that we fritter away our energy upon, and some of those things are unnecessary ‘service’. Most grown up people can find their own solutions to their problems. The price of endless busy-ness is often the mental health of those constantly called upon.

  11. cory huff says:

    I have always taken for granted that God will not give us more than we can bear. I suppose what “bear” means can be questioned. I would agree with the idea that some people are definitely pushed beyond what they are accountable for – clinical depression and mental illness would seem to fall into these categories.

    I was actually thinking about this yesterday when I wrote a blog post about the poor. There is a great deal of acrimony around how we as a society treat the poor and homeless. Many people seem to think that people are poor because of something that they did, or failed to do. My experience tells me that many, many people are victims of circumstance or mental health.

    • MSKeller says:

      In my studies Cory, that is definitely the main reason. Mental health issues are far-reaching and expansive. There is a delicate line between what we can, and what we ought to do.

      I wrote elsewhere, but I think that very often the phrase, “God won’t give us anything we can’t handle” – leaves “GOD” out of the ‘HANDLE” part. It is that he doesn’t give us anything he and us together can’t handle. So many just try to tough it out themselves, and leave God out. It isn’t meant to be that way. Or they will seek other men, exclusive of the divine, or other avenues like drugs or such. Together is the operative word.

      Also we forget that our ‘handle’ may not be the same as God’s knowledge. Perhaps just functioning is enough for some. Perhaps getting through it without giving up is ‘handling it’. There are a hundred possible examples. Sometimes I believe our vision is much too narrow.

    • So had I, Cory, until I was forced to apply the principle to a recent suicide in my extended family and the issue of mental illness. And here, you have brought up more thoughtful reasons to continue to challenge the totality of individual responsibility to exercise faith in God and expect His intervention on their behalf. Not that it is not always available, under proper conditions, but rather the conditions are not either known or sought after due to many factors — many having to do with, in the cases of which we are discussing here, mental illness which oftentimes may leave, or disable an individual less accountable than someone else not affected by such a challenge.

      In such cases then, It seems reasonable, at least to me, that we should be particularly careful then, in how we apply such a barometer to our brothers and sisters who struggle with mental illness.

      I enjoyed reading your article with this perspective in mind.

    • jendoop says:

      You bring up good points Cory. Poverty and mental illness are often found together, sadly. There is someone I love who is currently unemployed and can’t pay for medication. It really pains me to see them up and down and everywhere because of the inconsistency their unemployment causes, which only makes it more difficult to get a job.

      In the comments of this post – – there is some mention of the difficulties of insurance and finances also.

      • Becky L. Rose says:

        If this person is a member of the church (that can’t afford meds) he needs to see his bishop. understand that the church can pay for that sort of thing.

        I also am taking part of a program where the price of meds is REMARKABLY Low. You need to find the right Dr. to prescribe, go to the right place to fill it and meds that are over a 100 dollars a month can be bought for $16 for 3 months. I’ll find out more and see if I can share this info with you all.

  12. Kelly Christensen says:

    I got completely choked up as I read your article. Thank you for sharing ‘our’ story for those who have suffered with depression. I have enjoyed this series and all the honesty, wisdom and truth I’ve found. Thank you for sharing your story and your journey….and especially your talents!

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