I’ve made no secret that my life has been one riddled with mental illness. My own, my brother’s, and other members of my family and their variable degree of mental illnesses has made me no stranger to the mild to the devastatingly severe. I’ve known two people that have lost their lives to suicide. I know the friends and family they’ve left behind.
I know that this life was meant to challenge and teach you something. That an arrow needs to be pulled back with great force to be able to fly strait forward. A bow is also weighted so now only is an arrow being pulled back but its also being pulled back weighted. So with great force and weight is it being pulled. It’s going against most physics laws.
I was raised in the LDS church, and due the mental illnesses that I personally suffered I was numbed for a very long time to the good. I felt that going to church and participating was a duty rather than a desire. As I grew and my mental illness became worse to the point where I had to go into the hospital for the first time to get on medication and to keep myself safe, I felt very alone and very broken. I didn’t understand that in those moments I was the arrow being pulled back.
I believed what people said about me, that there was something wrong with ME. That I needed to pray more and read the scriptures more. But the bottom line was, that I failed as a person. I began to doubt. I began to get angry. And bitter.
The anger and bitterness grew and those emotions pulled me back and kept me there. For years I was being held back with this negativity and this feeling of abandonment and being lost. I didn’t know what I was doing, or where I was going, but I rebelled and did just about everything that the Church said was bad to do. I began to drink, party, get tattoos and be careless with my self worth. The more out of control I became the more unstable my mental illness was.
Finally I’d broken myself and decided to fix my physical health, I started on a journey of self healing. I was beginning to get smarter and have a change of mind. I realized my party days were done and I wanted to live to be old and grey. I went through the process of getting gastric bypass and got healthy.
I fell in love, with my best friend, and had two amazing children. I almost died. It was after I almost died and had to claw my way back up to being healthy, that I understood a lot more about prayers. I had a lot of people praying for me. I reflected a lot about unanswered prayers and finally realized had been happening in my life that looking back, there was a plan the whole time. God’s plan. I just rebelled a lot.
Midsummer my life fell apart so much more than it already was. A simple knock on the door began a hell that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And it shook me to my core and I fell to my knees sobbing. And for the first time in ten years I prayed. I had a change of heart. In my desperation for peace and answers I finally said my own prayer. And I felt tingles and felt this stillness and peace. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to go back to church. I needed the courage to become unstuck and let my arrow fly.
I walked into the ward I was raised and baptized in, and it wasn’t like the ward I’d left. The older ladies that made me doubt and feel like there was something wrong with me were gone and new families were there. I was still scared. I was still outcast and shunned.
The ward was no longer of the mindframe that you had to be perfect to sit in the pews of the church but that we are all divine works in progress and I let out a sigh of relief. As the classes went on my fears eased even more. I remembered so much at once about the lessons I lived and taught myself when it became my turn to teach… I brought a fresh look to things and they loved me for it.
My past didn’t matter, it mattered that I was there. It mattered that I’d found my way home. I kept going back and my last day before the surgery was fast and testimony day. For LDS people that’s a loved and hated day since Mormons are basically a bunch of foodies. If you want attendance to be mandatory just say “refreshments and or food will be served after the meeting.” and you’ll have perfect attendance. (True story we love our pot lucks!) I didn’t think people would want to hear what I had to say, but I nervously went up anyway.
And the people that thanked me, and welcomed me home was insane. I didn’t think what I had to say would touch so many people. But people thanked me for being so honest. That I wasn’t trying to hide behind the perfect label that’s often times imaginary. I was just me.
We have hit some bumps in the road since my surgery. And I can’t wait to go back to church. I no longer feel it a duty to go but a desire to go. I want to build a relationship with my Heavenly Father and the people in my ward. I want to devour the scriptures and find my purpose. I have no idea what my purpose is and the most peace I have found lately is when I’m reading the scriptures and I’m behind my camera.
Of course my children bring me joy and I want the best for them, including the best version of myself. I want to parent with love and discipline not just with an iron fist. I love my children and I want them to be strong in faith and in spirit. I want them to take responsibility for their actions and be able to work hard, and smart.
I’m flying strait for the first time in my life. My journey has just started and I can’t wait to see where it goes.