Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Always Need God-- last guest post by Barb

I have heard it said that some people only call upon God when life gets tough. What would that be like? My infirmities constantly remind me that I need God. And with God, I have done more than I ever imagioned. It was not congruent with my former painfully shy self to conceive of going on a mission. During the days prior to my mission, I felt that I was being prepared very much for a mission. I felt God's love so strongly that I felt there is no way that I could ever repay Him. And the Holy Spirit helped me press forward when my nonmember family was very opposed to going at the onset. I still marvel how a young woman who likes to avoid risk would embark on such a journey. And this decision felt more right than anything that I had ever done. But it was still going against my grain though I may not have focused on that as much as my desire to go. I was so shy and so afraid of a mistep that I whispered responses to the temple recommend questions. There was a lot more to my life that I will not go into now though I have in the past. I needed to draw upon God. And I look with such fondness to those days.

Soon there would be days of despair that I can recall now though it almost seems a vague recollection as I try to conjure up the emotional pain. That is when obessive compulsive disorder came into my being. And a weeks time was a painful time to wait for a meeting with a Mental Health Professional. I looked proufoundly sad at times and was. Ocd is still there in so many ways in my life though some of which plagued me know has shifted and I have improved in so many ways. I have tools to function. God helps me in ways that those of faith may understand. And I am so thankful for the love I have felt at times when I feel so unworthy. I don't know if I will ever be completely without ocd on this side of the veil. There are times when it hurts so much when I am not able to reason as well or fit it into a box where others have told me things are okay. And some things seem too vivid even after all this time and all the assurances. Yes, I am so aware of others trials that seem more than I would be able to bear. I am aware through my constant and probably morbid dwelling on death through ocd of the miracle of life.

This Fall, I had a great desire to go on a day trip to the town where I have relation and my grandma was raised. I felt prepared by God in a special way and the opportunity was there. I did things to minimize anxiety that a normal person would not do in limiting places that I went on the way to my destination three hours away. And I was blessed to do okay in the process. I also had my security person with me who is my mom and if there was a concern, she could tell me it was okay. She does not really like the role of caregiver to a grown daughter and would love me to be independent. This trip makes me think that if God really wants me to do something and I will be open to the task that I can do it.

With my anxiety, I do not feel the Holy Spirit as frequently as I once did. I do think I felt the Holy Spirit more during my darkest days of ocd. Therefore, it may be more than anxiety alone. The most spiritual times for me at one time was before I got out of bed. My Bishop said that sounded reasonable as that was before I actually started my stressful day. I do feel so blessed to generally go to sleep and sleep well as I resolve most of my fears before retiring. I remember the pain of a few occassions when that was not the case. I think I awoke a friend once after visiting his house with the anxieties that maybe something bad would happen from my visit. I wonder if not feeling the Holy Spirit as often is because I have not made it to Church for a long time. I had a lapse of going before where I still felt the Holy Spirit often. When I stopped feeling the Holy Spirit very often, that was one of the reaons that I decided to meet with my Bishop who had wanted to meet with me for over a year. That was several years ago and his kindness and counsel helped so much in my functioning. However, going to Church even to meet with him was too much for my ocd as there were often babies around or small children and I worry most about being a risk to them. I have so often felt on the brink of being well. And that is so much better than the alternative! But it is guilt-ridden as I do not take the doors that may open to me. I felt the Holy Spirit so much around the time that they had the special ceremony for Jospeh Smith in December a few years ago and so many were reading the Book of Mormon to finish by the end of the year. Maybe I was a failure in not making it to Church during that time frame. Or it feels that way. But things happen that push me back so I don't quite get there. Yet, I feel sustained. I have faith in God. I don't have a lot of faith in myself though. I know that I do pretty well most days. But there are moments when I know how very, very vulnerable I am and how close I feel to losing it all.

I worry that people may marginalize me due to my mental illness. I have been blessed to have witnesses by the Holy Spirit at times that are so separate from depression or obsession compulsive disorder or other mental issues. A Bishop shared with me what I think is a good explanation. He said that my spirit is whole and not afflicted in the same way as my temporal body and as such the Holy Spirit can speak to my Spirit. I feel a peace just writing this.

I don't take for granted anything that I can do. And while I know how dependent I am on God, I do think there was a window after being a convert and before ocd that I may have started to think that I was special and not in the debt that I was to God.

I also have come to feel that I have some gifts intellectually that I had not supposed when I was in high school or even in my early twenties though I did very well in school and had encouragement from teachers. I had so much self-doubt that failure was around the corner because of my limitiations. As I took classes that required some abstract thought more than the run of the mill courses and also as I have matured, I have realized that I may actually in a qualititive way have my moments of brilliance. Without my many weaknesses and my problems in taking care of myself and the many things that humble me and what I think are learning disabilities, I may be very arrogant. I still have too much pride in that frame where my abilities lie for someone who probably should consider myself much more stigmatized than brilliant.

I know this may not all tie together as I have expressed a lot. I just want to share how I have felt. I could have had an ocd free world at the computer as well as free from other baggage. That is how I was at my earliest days on a forum. It was nice as I thought I came across pretty normal and also well-spoken at times. It felt good to belong. When I am open, then I worry if I belong a lot of places. Then, I retract what I say also as I feel I may be out of place. I have learned that people are very open on blogs even when it is not relevant. I hope that I have improved.

If you were to see me in my normal day, you may have no idea all the crazy ocd ideas that are running through my head. You may also have no idea how close I feel to God as he helps me function and go forward in those moments. I will likely run my concerns by my parents when I see them all the same. Yet, I would not want to go a day without the strength of God to help me through. Were it not for God and also the kindness I have found from many people, I would feel shame. There have been times when I have felt shame, but I am usually blessed to have a better view of my worth. I often feel very good about myself in ways that may not come across online. I worry about being so public as I know everybody has trials and many far worse than me. And I know ocd is common and many are not so public like me. It is so apart of my identity. And yet, I feel that I am so much more than ocd. And I thank God for all the ways in which he directs me to have a life despite my OCD. And I feel blessed in so many ways ever aware that I am so dependent on God for all these blessings. I can't go it alone. And I am glad to know that.


Stephen said...

I always find it easier to pray when things are going well. Guess it is just me.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes when you are really drained, it can be hard to pray. I think it is wonderful to develop a relationship in the good times and gain roots!-Barb