My Battle with Depression Brought me Closer to Him

It has been a very long time since I have posted anything on our blog. Taya has encouraged me many times to write something, but I haven’t felt like I was in a position to do so. 2019 has been such a difficult year for me in more ways than one. I have often felt like I was just struggling to survive, let alone live with purpose. I finally feel like I am ready to write something of value to someone else. I have to say that I a grateful for the opportunity to put my thoughts and experiences down in written word because sometimes it is just too hard to vocalize them.

With my diagnosis comes so many challenges. I won’t even attempt to write them in any particular order of importance or severity because it seems like they are all just as weighty. There is the uncertainty of each and every moment. We have learned that our life is so unpredictable because I could be having a good day and then find myself in the ER that same afternoon. We also know that I have passed this health condition on to three of our children. We have already seen a few rough situations for our children who have vEDS. My condition is not just my condition; it impacts the whole family. When I don’t come home from work at my normal time because I stopped at the ER, Taya has to somehow explain to our children what is happening. Oftentimes we don’t really know. The nature of vEDS is so unknown in many respects because each person’s experience with it is so different. Because of this, there are so many doctor’s appointments, often with little results or direction. All of these reasons, and more, have made life difficult. I have felt the weight of that so much this year.

I Thought Things Might Get Better, But They Didn’t


Near the beginning of this year, I was struggling mentally and emotionally. We had a family humanitarian aid trip to Mexico planned and I was looking forward to that, but I wasn’t very excited about anything else in my life. The trip to Mexico came and went so quickly. It was so fun to experience a new culture and to try to forget myself for a few days. I didn’t expect to return to Utah feeling sorry for myself because of all the poverty that we experienced, but that is exactly what happened. I feel like I sunk into a deep hole that I couldn’t get out of by myself.

I felt like things were so bad in my mind that I decided to get some help. I scheduled an appointment with a therapist. As with any good doctor, I needed to wait over a month to finally get in. There were some days that I didn’t feel like I could wait, but I knew I needed to, so I did somehow.

Getting Help

Finally the day of my first appointment came. I was nervous, not knowing anything about my counselor. As the hour of my appointment got closer and closer, I found myself wanting to cancel my appointment because I was so uncomfortable. Instead, I stuck with it and went to my appointment. I was glad I did. I wouldn’t say that the first visit was earth-shattering or anything, but it was a start down a path of healing. My therapist works with people on a spiritual level, involving the Gospel in each session. After the groundwork was done in the first session, my therapist and I dove deeper into my thoughts.

At this same time, I was struggling in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. How could He abandon me to this life of pain and grief? How could He just stand by and watch my family and me suffer with the life sentence of vEDS? I have had other moments in my life in which I felt abandoned. This was another time, another huge time, of abandonment in my mind. I had been feeling like God wasn’t listening to my prayers. He wasn’t there for me and never would be because I was just destined to live my life in misery. I tried to listen to uplifting music, tried to read my scriptures, but found myself not believing that the messages of peace applied to me.

I talked about all of this with my therapist. She and I talked about my feelings of being abandoned by my Father. I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about at the moment, but there came a moment when I felt an absolutely overwhelming feeling of love. I felt like arms were being wrapped around me. It was such an unmistakable feeling that I know from other times in my life can only come from my Heavenly Father. It was such a wonderful experience that I wanted to bask in it forever!

God Only Knows

My therapy session ended with multiple soaked tissues and me feeling 50 pounds lighter spiritually. I got in my car and took a deep, cleansing breath. For the first time in months, I actually felt like my Heavenly Father was there and that He loved me. I turned the car on and began to drive home. I had the radio on like I usually do. In an effort to bring the Spirit into my life, I listen to Christian music most of the time. This was no exception. However, I believe it was no coincidence that the song on the radio was playing at the exact right time for me. I had heard it so many times before, but this time it meant so much more. The song is “God only Knows” by For King and Country. Here are the words to the song (in part):

Wide awake while the world is sound asleepin’
Too afraid of what might show up while you’re dreamin’
Nobody, nobody, nobody sees you
Nobody, nobody, nobody would believe you
Every day you try to pick up all the pieces
All the memories, they somehow never leave you
Nobody, nobody, nobody sees you
Nobody, nobody, nobody would believe you
God only knows what you’ve been through
God only knows what they say about you
God only knows how it’s killing you
But there’s a kind of love that God only knows
God only knows what you’ve been through
God only knows what they say about you
God only knows the real you
There’s a kind of love that God only knows…
See the entire music video here

He Understands What I’m Going Through

This brought tears to my eyes again. I tried to sing along, but all I could do was listen to the words and hear my Father speaking to me, letting me know that He does know me, He loves me, and is watching over me. He didn’t have to do that. He could have just left me with the wonderful experience in my therapist’s office. But He didn’t. He showed me that He truly does care about me and I am valuable to Him enough to give me a special experience like this.
This song means so much to me now every time I hear it. It will never get old to me because of the unique way in which my Father used it to speak to me. It reminds me of a scripture that I was introduced to when I was in the first few days as a missionary at age 19, now more than half of my life ago. It is Alma 7:11-12. It reads:
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
This is talking about how Christ knows each one of us personally. He is the only one who knows exactly what each one of us is going through. I don’t understand how exactly He did this, but I am so glad that He did. I am so glad that I can go to Him for peace and comfort when all other sources just don’t cut it. It takes faith. Sometimes it takes extreme amounts of faith to get past all the doubt and fear to even reach out to Him for peace.

Finding Peace

Sometimes, even when we muster up all the faith that we can possible muster, the peace doesn’t come right away. Sometimes it takes more struggling and more grief and pain than we think it requires, but I know that the peace comes. I know that because I have seen it so many times in my life. The peace simply comes because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us and they love to bless us. We can trust that the peace will come and that the timing will be perfect and unmistakable.
One thing I have become sensitive to over the last couple years is that we are all struggling with something or will at some point. If you find yourself struggling right now and can’t see a way out, please don’t give up hope. Keep praying and searching and just watch and wait. The peace will come and it will be so delicious and refreshing. If you aren’t struggling, know that someday you will and that you will get through it. It may take so much longer than you expected or wanted, but your Heavenly Father will be there to help you through. Sometimes you will feel like He isn’t; that he has abandoned you. Remember that He doesn’t do that. He allows us to struggle so we will turn to Him. When we do, He will take care of us and make sure everything works out for our good, whether in this life or in the life to come, it all works for our good.

One Reply to “My Battle with Depression Brought me Closer to Him”

  1. Oh, Greg, I pray often for you and Taya and your family. When bad things happen to good people, we all want to shout, “Why?!” The spiritual growth is evident as you both navigate this Life 999 course you have been enrolled in. Thank you for teaching us all. Hugs and prayers. Love you both. Aunt Bette

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: