Choose Life!

You Are Never Alone

I am still continuing on with my journey to become healthy. As it moves forward I continue to eat clean, go on my walks (jogging a bit too), head to the gym, work on clearing my mind, continue to pray for the strength needed to move forward and among many other things. As I continue to move forward in clearing the mind I am remembering things from my past I had forgotten about until recently. This last month has had its an ups and downs, but I am pushing through it. I now wish to share with you what I feel is important to you (the reader) and others.

Most importantly, I want people to know and understand You Are Never Alone. There will be those who will read this (or hear this) and in their mind they will hear a voice telling them, “this is not true – you are alone – no one understands what it is you are going through – who cares about me – why would someone care about me – I’m not special!” The list can go on and on and can go even deeper into depth – I do not wish to go into those things at this time but I may write about them at another time. Others will know that they are not alone and have many people they can turn to for help. I wish to share and touch on what people go through, especially what I went through starting about 18 years ago. This is part of why I put on so much weight. I mainly write this so people are able to read it and do what they feel they need to do with this information as it may help a loved one, a friend, a co-worker, or even yourself.

The scary thing about going into a deep depression is you don’t know you are even there. It’s a subtle and gradual way of thinking. Sure, you see the signs, but you chose to ignore them. For example, say you are doing something you really enjoy doing, like reading a book, working on a project, playing a game, etc. The event you are doing is so enjoyable you lose all track of time. Say it was a Saturday and you set time aside after you morning chores to get to that new book or play a game you got the other day. Say it’s now 1:24 PM and you just had lunch. You dive into the event you’ve planned to do – next thing you know it’s midnight! You were engrossed into what you were doing, you never noticed the changes going on around you. It was out of habit you turned on a light if reading a book. You may have even read your book while making a snack or dinner (unless you completed skipped out on eating). If playing a game you may have finished all your snacks and drinks and without realizing it got up and got more. Do you remember turning on the lights when it got dark? Did you completely miss those 5 calls coming in because you didn’t hear the phone or ignored it because you were at such a good point? The mind goes numb and habits kick in.

In this depression you may be aware of what is happening, but the mind becomes numb at some point and then simply doesn’t care. People reach out to you, but you ignore them because you may be putting yourself down, telling yourself you don’t deserve any help, if they only knew what was going on with me they wouldn’t want to talk to me or even be with me… All you want to do is put yourself as far away from everyone and everything and immerse yourself in your deep depressing thoughts. At this point some of those people in this depression will start doing something to numb themselves even more. For me, it was eating more then I needed, not exercising and not being social. Others will turn to alcohol or a substance – it can be anything. When I started eating more then I needed to eat I had no idea I was doing this – all I was thinking and telling myself was I needed to eat to survive. As I look back I was eating to fill some kind of void I felt in my life of not belonging, of being alone. Most of the foods that I ate at that time were fast foods. Driving anywhere I would first stop to get food and a drink (more then I needed) and drive to my destination eating something. I am still a bit fuzzy on remembering all the details but I as time goes on I may remember. Most importantly I will continue doing what I am doing now and pray for help from Heavenly Father as I move forward on my journey.

The Mind and its Power of Thinking

The mind is so very powerful – especially in believing things are happening when they are not happening. For example – say you made plans to meet someone for lunch. You arrive and you do not see them you start to tell yourself why they are not there, “they never liked me, they are meeting with someone else instead of me, etc.” In reality you got there early. They are now finding a parking spot and someone just took the spot where they were going to park since they had to drive around to reach this spot now they need to park further away. As a few minutes go by your mind starts to believe what you are thinking about yourself is true – now they are 1 minute late but you’ve created this whole new reality you believe and know is true so you get even more depressed and leave. As you are leaving your friend is walking up and just missed you by 30 seconds (you went out to the right and they are coming in from the left). They don’t see you so they try calling your cell phone – you see them calling but you’ve now got this ‘story’ in your head and don’t want it to be come true that they don’t like you and don’t want to meet you for lunch so you let the phone ring and go do voicemail (you do not hit ignore as this will alert them that you saw the call coming in and just didn’t want to talk to them). Had you just answered the phone you would then learn they were at the meeting place waiting for you. This deep into the depression you believe only what you think and whatever others may tell you is just not true. Now to take this a bit further – this person you were going to meet for lunch runs into you a few days later, they start telling you they didn’t see you at lunch and inquire if you are okay. As the conversion goes on you learn they were there but deep in your mind you’re feeding yourself the story your mind came up with, that they are just saying this to be nice now. So we let the mind alter our way of thinking.

I do want to touch on and say had I not been religious who knows where I would be today. By growing up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, even with the experience I went through, I had a will to live. I had a will to live even if it meant that it would be very difficult. We all go through challenges in life. Looking back at this, I know there is a reason I went through this experience. If I share and reach out to just one person and lift them up out of the darkness it will all be worth going through what I went through.

I am reminded of a friend who helped me when things started to get dark again in my life about 9 years ago. They told me to look at the world and describe to them what I saw. At this point I saw a city with tall buildings, dark, gray with storm clouds darkening the sky. They then said now add color to this picture. (Being an artist I was able to really visualize this next part that happened and it made a huge difference) First, the clouds parted revealing the sun shining down on the city in front of me. At the same time the sun started to shine on the builds, the storm clouds behind the city evaporated leaving some white puffy clouds. The buildings were now showing their majestic colors, red brick for smaller ones, golden brown for one, blue gray for another one, and vibrant gray tone colors for others. The sun also revealed I was standing in a park. The trees had all shades of green, while some other trees had all shades of oranges and browns colors adding to the beauty of the park. The grass was a deep green. Off in the distance there was a cart with floating balloons of all colors. A merry-go-round was off to the right just behind the trees (which was not running at this time), but still quite colorful. This changed my entire prospective on life when I started to go into those dark places. It wasn’t till many many years later I started doing something in my life to change the fact I was getting depressed. I had the tools given to me, but I only worked on the first part. Even after learning this I would still go to those dark places and not even think about changing the picture till later. It would be when I was reading the scriptures or praying I would be reminded of what I learned. Only then would I make the change to view things ‘in a different light!’

I can now honestly say these last 9 months I’ve been much better at loving myself and not putting myself down. Also, if I do see a dark tunnel ahead I do all I can to turn off the road before entering or if it is something I need to face I am able to bring along a flashlight to help guide my way thru. Challenges still arise, but I am now able to work through those without thinking badly of myself.

For those who are going through any kind of depression I know what you are going through. There is a light at the end of tunnel! Until you reach that light please take this flashlight! People care for you, people love you! Jesus Christ loves you and knows what you are going through as He went through all those emotions himself. Lift up your head, pick up your feet and pick up the pace to reach the end of the tunnel sooner. Believe in yourself! Love yourself! You are special! Life will get better! Everyone has the opportunity to be happy and enjoy life!

Until next time, get a piece of paper and a pen to write a letter to someone. Mail them the letter (not email), since it is nice getting mail. In your letter, explain why you feel grateful for knowing they are in your life! Let them know you care about them and are thinking about them! Let them know you are there for them if they ever need to talk! Everyone goes through their own battles in life. Some choose to talk about others hold it in. A little note/letter will help lift their spirits by making the day go better.

Pictured: ‘A Sea of Umbrellas’ which were used for shade at an event in a park near where I live.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Michael. Thank you for sharing such dear feelings of your heart. Anyone who has felt dark times will relate to what you have written. I am sure that your experiences and your journey through them can inspire those in pain to have hope and seek support. I am also grateful for your testimony of looking to Heavenly Father to keep going – most of us have done that at one time or another and know that His loving hand is there at all times. I am grateful to have you as a friend!

  • Beautiful. Positively beautiful.

    The spirit carries your message to the heart and soul of the reader. Any form of depression, including functional depression, is dark and many times it is incredibly difficult to claw your way out of the hole it digs. Bringing a flashlight with you while you learn to change your perspective back to a truer reality is excellent advice.

    I love you dearly! I am grateful you are my older brother. You have always been an example and an influence in my life. You are a peacemaker. You are generous. You are gracious. You are always willing to lend a listening ear or a listening hand. You make people feel good about themselves. You definitely helped me more than you realize through my junior high and high school years {and even more recently as I have faced my health challenges}. It was comforting to know you were on campus with me. Thanks for taking me under your wing.

    XOXO

  • Awesome post. Thanks for sharing. {{{hugs}}} Keep carrying that flashlight and pressing forward with a steadfast faith in Christ.!

  • Thank you for your deep, honest post. It takes a lot of courage to process thoughts such as the ones you shared as well as sharing with others so we can all benefit from your healing experience. Thanks for the flashlight. Keep making progress on the road of recovery of clean living.

  • Dear Michael,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. As Holly said, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to be so honest and transparent. Your words are beautiful and inspiring and are already reaching more people than you know. Your story, ‘You Are Never Alone’, reminds me of a time in my life when I was on a very dark path and even though my faith at that time was less than marginal, the biblical phrase that literally saved my life was: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”. You’re so right my friend, even in our darkest hour, we are never alone.

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