"With conscientious and strong women, depression is the tool he uses to make us feel powerless. And it’s always a lie. . .
"Your life is full of potential and this darkness you feel is just a cross that you must endure for a short time. Or a cross you must bear for a lifetime, but, you will not let it rob you of that life. Instead of letting depression be a tool that is used against you, allow it to make you stronger as you fight on and seek the Light of Him who saves."
“Please read, important,” the email in my school inbox read. It was a from a dear, sweet student I had and who I had sensed had been wanting to talk to me for some time. I opened the email, and inside found her long and difficult story, detailing this girl’s history with depression, suicide attempts, cutting, and anxiety.
That afternoon, at a collaboration meeting with my fellow teachers, we discussed how we are seeing a vast and exponential increase in the number of girls who are struggling with some sort of emotional or mental turmoil. Later that week, a friend of mine in a different state told me how at that Sunday during church meetings, it was brought up that many, many of the young women in her church are dealing with depression and anxiety, and as such, are crippled with social anxiety and incapacitating depression.
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Every time I get up in front of my classes when we are discussing psychological disorders and I tell my own story of struggling with anxiety and depression, I look around the classroom to see tears, to see similar stories written on so many of their faces.
I think about this stuff a lot. Probably because I see it a lot. I see it everywhere I go, and not only because I see hundreds of teenagers every day and am friends with many women who struggle with mental illness as adults. I probably see it more because I myself have gone through it; anyone who has survived a trial knows that it opens your eyes to the plight of those who struggle through similar circumstances. Also, I am very open about my depression, and that openness, I think, emboldens people to be more open about it with me. So, I see and hear about it a lot. Probably a lot more than the average person.
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So, to the average person out there, I just wanted to let you know: depression and anxiety is a plague that is destroying the happiness of many, many of the girls and women you know and love.
And here is something that I know: Satan rejoices over this.
For additional reading on this topic, check out:
Written from a uniquely LDS point of view, this informative and inspirational book offers important clinical information for dealing with depression, including an overview of the symptoms of depression and suggestions for choosing a therapist, considering the use of medication, and finding hope to move forward—one step at a time. In addition, it explores the spiritual healing that is essential to overcoming depression, showing how we can use the Atonement of our Savior to help us forgive, heal, and move forward.
This inspiring guide portrays the experience of the Vandagriff family, which struggled under depression for more than 25 years before relief came through the grace of Jesus Christ. G.G. Vandagriff and her son, Gregory, suffered the physical and emotional effects of depression while David Vandagriff endured the deep difficulty of trying to support his wife and son during the turbulent years of their illness. Yet in the midst of great strife, the family saw the hand of God revealed in the form of inspired physicians, effective medications, and, most importantly, the direct influence of the Spirit. Written in turns by mother, son, and father, this poignant and uplifting account shows how to rely on the Spirit during times of adversity and draw on the Savior's blessings of peace, hope, and healing.