Prayer in the midst of despair

Last post, I talked about struggles with mental health. When I have struggled, I have often prayed, sometimes in desperation, asking over and over for help. And there have been often times when I didn’t feel anything.

I wanted the peace of the Spirit so many times, and I couldn’t feel it. Recently, I read the book Silent Souls Weeping, by Jane Clayson Johnson, and in the beginning of the book it talks about how people who are struggling and afflicted with depression and other issues sometimes can’t feel the Spirit. The book mentioned an analogy where there was electricity coming in, but the switch was off. The Spirit is like the electricity. And it is still there, but sometimes I have been unable to feel it because the switch was off.

I think sometimes it’s like noise: my brain gets so incredibly noisy sometimes with racing thoughts and overwhelming emotions that I literally can’t hear anything else. I can’t hear or feel the Spirit, even though it is still there.

Sometimes I have felt like I was all alone. But I was never really alone. And the Lord has helped me in the ways that I really needed it, through very small and simple things.

Now, I don’t have all the answers. Sometimes I wanted help that wasn’t there. I simply wanted healing and peace that didn’t come. It was really hard without a reason.

But other times, people have called or texted at the exact right time. My children have been protected from harm. I’ve been able to do things beyond my capabilities.

I’ve received priesthood blessings that have not only provided comfort, but have literally calmed my mind. I know that others have prayed for me as well when I have been struggling. My mom and my husband especially has been a huge support. One time, my mom came and helped clean up the cereal that was spread across my entire house. My husband has fixed meals and put the kids to bed and even taken time off work to help me.

And throughout this all, I am so grateful for the commandments that have helped me live my life without further complications. I had a happy home growing up. I have never tried alcohol and drugs. I always knew my values and the direction I wanted my life to go.

And I have relied on my Savior, Jesus Christ, knowing that he can heal me, and he can heal those that I have hurt along the way, especially my children and my husband. I know there is always hope in him.

I used to get in downward spirals of despair, thinking that there was no way out, that there was nothing I could do and I was worthless and beyond saving. Things just hurt sometimes. But when I remember the atonement of Jesus Christ, it shuts down those downward spirals and helps me come up again. Because I am never beyond saving. I am never beyond hope.

I know that know, more deeply than I did before. I can return to my Lord over and over again, and he offers healing and peace.

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