This is a wonderful talk, and important to me. I've just broken up with the man I was dating for four months, and I'm realizing that I'm having a hard time right now, and that I've been having a hard time for a while. I don't consider myself to have a consistent disorder, but some situations affect me pretty deeply, and I have some work to do. So I hope to use these things talked about by Elder Holland, and I hope it will also help anyone who reads it.
The first bullet points are my own words, and the second, or further-indented bullet points are Elder Holland's words, quoted from his talk.
So, without further ado...
- Remember that Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ suffered more than I ever have, and They did it to save me. They love me deeply.
- Of greatest assurance in God’s plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer, who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials, even though the cost to do so would be unfathomable for both the Father who sent Him and the Son who came. It is only an appreciation of this divine love that will make our own lesser suffering first bearable, then understandable, and finally redemptive.
- So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love? Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend. As President Monson said to the Relief Society sisters so movingly last Saturday evening: “That love never changes. … It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there.” Never, ever doubt that, and never harden your heart.
- Realize there is no shame in depression or other mental illness. It just happens. It's part of the mortal condition.
- "These afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor."
- Keep up the devotional practices that bring the Spirit into my life. Scriptures, prayer, temple attendance, church attendance, blessings, serving, family history, and so forth.
- Faithfully pursue the time-tested devotional practices that bring the Spirit of the Lord into your life. Seek the counsel of those who hold keys for your spiritual well-being. Ask for and cherish priesthood blessings. Take the sacrament every week, and hold fast to the perfecting promises of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Believe in miracles.
- Trust that things will get better.
- If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior’s own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead.
- Watch for stress indicators, and rest, either preemptively or as recovery.
- In preventing illness whenever possible, watch for the stress indicators in yourself and in others you may be able to help. As with your automobile, be alert to rising temperatures, excessive speed, or a tank low on fuel. When you face “depletion depression,” make the requisite adjustments. Fatigue is the common enemy of us all—so slow down, rest up, replenish, and refill. Physicians promise us that if we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill.
- If things are still debilitating, seek professional help.
- If things continue to be debilitating, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values. Be honest with them about your history and your struggles. Prayerfully and responsibly consider the counsel they give and the solutions they prescribe. If you had appendicitis, God would expect you to seek a priesthood blessing and get the best medical care available. So too with emotional disorders. Our Father in Heaven expects us to use all of the marvelous gifts He has provided in this glorious dispensation.
- Work on fixing one thing at a time. Celebrate small victories. Don't be overwhelmed with the size of the task.
- If you are the one afflicted..., try not to be overwhelmed with the size of your task. Don’t assume you can fix everything, but fix what you can. If those are only small victories, be grateful for them and be patient.
- Be patient.
- Dozens of times in the scriptures, the Lord commands someone to “stand still” or “be still”—and wait. Patiently enduring some things is part of our mortal education.
- Focus on the positive things in life. Even though there is negative, there is still a lot to be happy about and grateful for.
- Also let us remember that through any illness or difficult challenge, there is still much in life to be hopeful about and grateful for. We are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions!
- Don't give up or commit suicide.
- Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it!
- Remember that God will make everything right in the end.
- Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are “like a broken vessel,” as the Psalmist says,10 we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter. Broken minds can be healed just the way broken bones and broken hearts are healed.
- I testify of the holy Resurrection, that unspeakable cornerstone gift in the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ! With the Apostle Paul, I testify that that which was sown in corruption will one day be raised in incorruption and that which was sown in weakness will ultimately be raised in power. I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally “free at last.”
- Don't worry about what other people think. By judging, they are currently doing the wrong thing, and God will teach them that eventually. They don't see things the way they truly are.
- While God is at work making those repairs, the rest of us can help by being merciful, nonjudgmental, and kind.
- Until that hour when Christ’s consummate gift is evident to us all, may we live by faith, hold fast to hope, and show “compassion one of another.”