Sunday, October 28, 2012

Angels

**Word-heavy, emotion-laden post warning. Proceed with caution, but please do proceed.

Just for the record, I would like to point out that this post began at 4:04 a.m. on October 26, 2012 and I expect that I won't have it finished for at least a few more days.  But who knows.  Given that a large portion of this post will be devoted to the fact that I can't sleep (more on that later,) I may just have it done in time to get out the door by 8 a.m.

First off, I would like to apologize for the presence these "heavy" posts have had on this blog as of late.  If you stopped by Birdie in Paris for a quick "what sort of Provo tomfoolery is she up to tonight?" update, I'd save this particular post for another time.

Second, I would also like to apologize for the number of LDS (Mormon)-specific terms I will use here.  If you are confused, I highly encourage you to click the "I do believe" tab above or e-mail me with any questions that you may have.


via pinterest

Where to begin? I guess we could start at the fact that I have been trying relentlessly to calm my racing thoughts since I laid down at 1:30 (a.m.), hoping to get a less-than-average, yet adequate amount of sleep before going to the temple at 8 a.m., which I have been looking forward to as all of my a.m. classes have been canceled tomorrow. 

Or I could start on Saturday night, when the weight of the world which has been hovering just over my shoulders finally crashed down upon them, and even though I couldn't take it anymore, I still woke up the next morning and lived life as usual.

Or I could even go back further and start when once again, like clockwork, in the third week of January I didn't sleep a wink for three nights straight.

Or even further back, when my family, dating and friendship life all saw fit to fall apart at the exact same time during my freshman year in college.

Or yet further, when the panic attacks started.

Or when, as a thirteen-year-old, I was one of THE only (as far as I knew) eighth-graders being treated for depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

I don't remember too far beyond that (at least, nothing that I'm comfortable enough to disclose here), but I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's no real defined moment when all this began, but in my 20 short years, I know that I have had several significant, defining, heart-shattering experiences that have all stemmed from or resulted in the same symptoms (depression, anxiety, and insomnia); symptoms which have been, more-or-less, present throughout the majority of my life. 

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what I would like to tell you, hands down, without question, is my life's greatest trial.

Some suffer from addiction, some have eating disorders, some live in a broken home....
I have suffered from anxiety and the insomnia associated with it for as long as I can remember, and have experienced what surely seems like more than my fair share of depressive periods of time in my life. Throw this on top of the fact that I was born without a thyroid and have had to deal with the annoyance of four pills a day, consequential physical weaknesses that are largely beyond my control , and hypothyroidism's own special contribution to insomnia, and there are some periods of time where I've literally just....had it...with the body I live in.

I've heard the following said once or twice, so I'll briefly address this: If you're thinking that, among all the millions of possible trials that could have been selected for me, these are the relatively "easy" ones...perhaps you're right.  I guess I wouldn't really know any different.  But I can assure you that I have personally experienced significant and destructive effects in my family life, my friendships, my dating relationships, my testimony, and my overall morale and quality of life. So, yes, my parents are still happily married and love me very much, I have never taken unhealthy measures to control my weight, nor have I suffered the pains of addiction (not in any way to undermine that those are very real, very painful trials as well), but by that same token, nobody has experienced exactly what I have either.  And as I can only truly relate to pain through my own lens, I can and will very adamantly claim them as true sources of anguish.

Now, before leaving you thinking I'm some sort of walking zombie, or that I'm jumping at the next possible opportunity to throw myself in front of a train or something, allow me to reassure you that I am definitely not. I'll explain. I am fully capable of having unbelievable amounts of fun among friends, being the life of the party, and truly enjoying life. In fact, being truly, 100% happy with a genuine smile on my face is what most days of my life consists of!

So if this is true, why do I bring this up now? Because as this blog documents my life as it happens, I would be lying if i said the past three or four months have been this 100% happy state.  I really do try as hard as I possibly can to not make it known to anyone other than my absolute closest circle of friends and my parents, but...I don't know how to say it other than that lately I'm always just a little bit sad.  No matter how hard I've tried, I can't seem to get myself to 100%. Like I said, I genuinely have fun when I do fun things, but I don't handle "alone time" very well. I never know what insecurities or fears are going to jump out of the shadows when I am not busy with something or surrounded by people.  The best way to describe it is that I just feel heavy. All the time.  I know, and my Heavenly Father knows, that I have a plate more full than I've ever previously experienced this year, with being the Relief Society President of my ward, a full load of classes and a job...but countless of other women in my position, at my age, do it, so why can't I? Why can I not be strong and just fight through my personal pains and afflictions to be able to feel truly happy?

Which brings me to the true point of which I am writing to you dear readers tonight. For those of you who are just tuning in, I received the absolute shock of being called by Heavenly Father to lead the women of the Provo YSA 64th ward as Relief Society President. This call did not initially sit well with me, and I have worked, prayed, and fasted  more since June of this year to make the changes necessary to be a worthy leader than I ever have in my life. All this time, though I have been behaving and becoming better, I strangely have been feeling worse and less confident. But when our beloved Prophet made the historic announcement regarding the new missionary age, which fully renewed and solidified the lifelong desire I've had to serve, that is when my mood truly took a downward turn.

But I find great comfort in the fact that this time, I know why this is happening to me. I know very specifically the reason why my personal trials have returned. 

Satan knows he is losing me for good. And because he is no longer able to drag me down physically or behaviorally, he is doing everything in his power to ensure that I don't have control over my emotions or my mood. 
I won't go into specifics, but like everyone else I have made mistakes.  During times when I would allow my illnesses and self-doubt to let me lose hope, I've even made serious mistakes.

But for the first time in my life since I can remember, I am making an active effort to do everything right. I have removed so many bad habits from my life, changed the way I speak, the way I dress, the way I interact with people, I attend the temple every week....and you know what?

It feels so good to be good.
I am so comforted knowing that I am able to recognize that this time, it is the adversary playing on the emotional turmoil I am already intimately familiar with, but unfortunately, that doesn't make it hurt any less. Every day feels like an uphill journey.  I see a light at the end of the tunnel, but until I find the solution, the farther I run, the farther away the light gets. 

So here is what I KNOW:

  • Deciding to serve a mission is going to make life a lot harder before it gets easier, but
  • I am SO very fortunate.  Heavenly Father has placed true guardian angels in my life to lift me up and guide me through these dark times.  I would be truly lost without righteous Priesthood holders who are ready at a moment's notice to give blessings of comfort whenever needed, and without my mother and nearest and dearest friends, who have all graciously and unselfishly provided literal and figurative shoulders to cry on.
  • I am above my past trials.  My life has improved so drastically from the way it once was, and my major sins and issues of the past are completely removed from my current self.  I am 5000% on the Lord's team today, and I know as long as that's true that this current storm is not a result of my own personal shortcomings, and that with His help, the Lord will have blessings in store more perfect and incredible than I can possibly imagine today. There will be a way out. 
  • That way out is this: Heavenly Father is more aware than I can possibly comprehend as to how I am feeling right now, and through His Infinite Atonement I can literally overcome any adversity. 
  • I have felt the sweet blessings of this Infinite Atonement several times in my life in regard to sin, but Christ's sacrifice was intended to cover all adversity. Every sadness, sickness, fear, lack of confidence.....everything.  He suffered every last moment.  So I know that after I've done all I can do, I can surrender this sadness to Him and know that slowly but surely, with His help it will subside.  My testimony has never been more sure and my faith more strong regarding this.
So in the meantime, don't worry about me. This post was by no means a call for pity or concern, but a very long and wordy way of saying that this has been my struggle as of late. But I am, with my Heavenly Father's help, definitely on the mend.  I have a strong testimony that when I finally reach that light at the end of the tunnel, I won't look back.  But if I were to look back, I would see twists and turns that though difficult, made me spiritually, physically and mentally stretch and grow into the person I am at that point, and I will feel nothing but relief that the trial is over and gratitude for the opportunity I had to learn, to become humble, and to draw closer unto my Savior. 

I hope you feel the love of the Savior, and His complete and perfect understanding of everything you may be suffering as strongly as I have been.  He is real.  He loves you and me beyond comprehension, and He has incredible things in store for us.

In closing, my mother is coming into town in about 5 hours, and we're going to see my favorite sites in my favorite place, Salt Lake City!  I just can't stay away :)  In light of everything that's been happening, how perfect is the timing of this visit? Let's just hope I get better rest while she's here. 

All my love, B.

6 comments:

Ashley said...

Thank you for posting this. I love it so much. And I love you so much. I so appreciate your strength and your testimony. You are an example to me every day of kindness, hard work, and endurance.

Aliana said...

Thank you for sharing Birdie. You are seriously one of the most inspirational people I know. I miss your contagious positive attitude and smile. You are a beacon to many who feel their own forms of pain from life's heavy storms and I thank you for being that to me as well. Love you beb and hope to see you again soon <3

SarahJane Miller said...

You are such an incredible woman. I am so impressed with your confidence in posting things straight from your heart. I loved reading your testimony, you will be a great missionary! Such a happy time for woman of your age that want to serve!! YOu go girl!


sjdmiller.blogspot.com

Amanda Diane said...

Sweet Birdie,
Firstly, I love you and admire you. I'm sorry that I haven't been as good of a friend as I ought to have been these past months, but I hope you know that I haven't stopped caring about you or considering you one of my dearest friends.
Secondly, you are stronger than the adversary is letting you think right now. I know that my Birdie can handle these things. Look at yourself through Heavenly Father's eyes, you'll be amazed at how amazing you really are. :)
Thirdly, this post made me cry.
Fourthly, I know a certain relief society president (we both may have lived one floor below her) who hid her true emotions so well that most of the relief society didn't even know she was struggling. And yet, she was going through many difficulties and struggles--even depression at times--as well. She's now in Russia, serving the Lord in His work. I know you are and will continue to be the same light and beacon to your ward as she was to hers. Even more, I know that you will be an amazing missionary and will love serving the Lord and will be blessed from your trials.
Fifthly, hang in there, Birdie. We all love you and are here for you!
Love,
Amanda Diane

The Cantrell's said...

What a powerful post! Thank you for sharing your testimony. I am seding prayers your way. I'm a new follower. :)

www.southernsunflowersandcoffeebeans.com

Kenna Christensen said...

well, my dear, i love you already! how did i not know you and ashley existed!? you both are like peas in a pod. i'm so excited i discovered you too! your writing is seriously magical. and from what i can tell, you are the strong one. i'm so excited for you to serve a mission. words can't really explain it. you have such a strong spirit and i am so happy for this new found friendship.