Rose Colored Glasses How Gratitude helped Cure my depression

This post is a 10 min read

From the years 13 to 17, I had very deep, very debilitating depression. Because of some unfortunate circumstances I couldn’t control, my life was very dim at that young age.

My dream school was taken from me, my goals were unattainable, I was very insecure, I had no friends, and my family was going through something I couldn’t help with.

I felt that my life had ended before it even began. The future seemed hopeless. I didn’t have the same opportunities my peers had; I felt behind and stuck.

Many days I felt like a heavy blanket was draped over my chest, back, and neck creating a pressure I couldn’t shake. I felt I had no one to turn to; I had no outlet. And on top of it all, I felt as if God had turned His back on me, too. ‘What did I do?’ I would ask. ‘Why me?’

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So I turned my back on Him. I rebelled. I developed a sour attitude and peered into my world through a dark window. I only saw the negatives and the things that made this world dangerous, hateful, or lonely.

I sincerely did not like life.

One day in November of what I think to be 2015, I was slouching in my bed feeling heavy and tired. I had no motivation- the depressing memories of my unfruitful life sapped my mind until my body mimicked my brain and, sunk.

The day felt unbearably long but it was only noon. My mom was in the doorway folding our laundry quietly. My sister was sitting on her bed, talking to my mom about something I can’t remember (and probably wasn’t paying attention to either).

When I looked at my sister and mom- really looked at them- I then looked at myself. And then I looked out of the window and in that moment I decided that I didn’t want to be sad anymore.

“I don’t want to be sad anymore.”

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I can’t even tell you the surge of empowerment I felt when I said those words to myself.

I can decided that? But how? What do I need to do? How can I make this decision solid?

I turned to my mom, almost crying, and in a desperate voice asked: Mom, how can I be happy?

Now, just as a little backstory, my mother is no stranger to unhappiness. She’s had her fair share of hard moments, becoming a single mother at a young age and learning how to navigate a new culture, country, and language at a young age. She is the strongest person I know.

And you know what she said? She said,

“Diyana, you need to be grateful.”

It puzzled me at first and even frustrated me that my mom would suggest something as absurd as gratitude. What was gratitude going to do for me? It was not going to get me friends, a better education, or make my family’s problems go away.

However, just prior to this I had received a gratitude journal at church. Perhaps it was inspired? As I connected the dots I wondered, Could gratitude actually fix my tangible problems? Fears? Worries?

Did the Egg Come First Or the Chicken?

Some see the course life as a a glass of water- half full or half empty. Positive or negative. Some seasons of life may be half full and the other half empty.

Others see life as a timeline that create a list of factual events- the events of your life that make your story. And some see life like they are being controlled by some unknown Higher Being; a good example would be Sims.

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Some see life as a box of chocolates, which is one of my favorite perspectives.

And lastly, others (like me) see life as a graph, which is the perspective I’ll be focusing on today.

A graph’s sole purpose is to document progression.

Sometimes that progress goes up or forward- which is good. And sometimes your progress plummets, leaving you with 0s and disappointment.

I have a friend that first showed me an analogy about life in the form of a graph years ago. She explained that no matter how far you fall in life, you will always go back up.

You see, life is chalk full of ups and downs. But those downs will always lead you up and those ups are the peaceful moments of the ride. The hard times become the balloons that take us over the clouds.

Elder Holland, one of the modern day Twelve Apostles once said:

“…However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.” [The Laborers in the Vineyard]

Gratitude has kept me afloat during turbulent times. I have always made it through on gratitude.

I am a living witness of the healing power of gratitude. I wrote in that journal every day for a year. I was astounded to see that after all that time I felt happy. My life was somehow better.

The Healing Power of Gratitude

This week President Nelson, the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and also a past heart surgeon of many decades challenged us to give thanks for the plenteous blessings we have. The video can be found in this link. He said,

“Counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems. No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a unique, fast-acting, and long-lasting spiritual prescription.” 

Gratitude can heal our spirits and our lives. You’d be surprised what a little perspective change can do for you.

Under the hashtag #givethanks social media was flooded with people sharing what they were grateful for. I participated with a knowing heart remembering all that the Lord had done for me in the past.

Rose Colored Glasses

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I love this phrase, “rose colored glasses”. I know that it can be seen as a negative thing at times, but maybe we could all use a different lens to look through. The blessing of gratitude and also the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it helps you see through different eyes. You will not see life the same when you focus on the good.

You see, nothing actually changed that year. I was still in the same circumstance without the things I wanted and without some things I needed as well. But because I focused on my blessings I found energy to be more productive. I made amazing friends that are still in my life and I was getting a great education at the time, too. My life even calmed down a bit and started to feel normal.

The only thing that really changed was my vision. I concentrated on my blessings and chose to work with the problems. My life may have been a bit of a down turn on the roller coaster of life, but it came back up again.

I have a firm hope that no matter how many times I fall, I will rise again because of Jesus Christ. He is the author of HOPE. He made everything possible.

So I challenge all of you to share something you’re grateful for either on social media (using the #givethanks hashtag) or in any other way you see fit. I also invite you to give a prayer of gratitude every day, telling God how grateful you are for the blessings in your life and the miracles you’ve witnessed.

What is a positive experience you’ve had with gratitude and overcoming challenges with it? Comment below! I would love to hear what you guys have done and post some of your responses on my social media!

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Everything Within your Power

This post is a 8-9 min read

‘Women are strong. Women are selfless. Women are charitable. Women are caring, kind, and courageous. Women are patient. Women are game-changers. Women are lovely. Women, are capable of doing anything.

You are capable of doing anything.

These and many other encouraging words on behalf of my amazing parents created a confidence in my sisters and I all my life. My parents would say, “You are strong because you are a woman. You have the power to do anything you set your mind to.”

I believed them so wholeheartedly! And still do. I was raised having no doubt of my potential as an individual with individual skills and talents or my potential to be a good future mother and wife. My rights as a daughter of God were made clear to me and it brought me joy. I just knew that I was meant for something more.

How grateful I am for their teachings! As a result, all of us grew up with an innate sense of empowerment in our abilities or endeavors. My parents knew that the characteristics and experience I was developing and building would eventually be used to serve another and change the world around me.

However, I haven’t always believed this. When life got rough I forgot my value, potential, and worth (drastically) compared to what I believed before. Why was that?

Well, I have a few quotes today that I hope will answer this question for you.

Truth and Error

Since the age of 0, you have learned many lessons. These lessons taught you how to think, how to act, how to communicate, express, and interact. They taught you what to live for and what to dream of. Every mother and father in every culture or society under the sun teaches these essential things to their children. National and local leaders encourage many different mediums of education in many countries, helping their people become more well rounded. Many may have learned to become educated in different standards than you have.

My point is, we’ve all learned.

Well, with those lessons, you also learned to discern between truth and error, right and wrong. For example, it is true that you smile when happy and it is false that the sun is cold. These are just universal truths.

Imagine to yourself then, that something you perceive to be true about yourself, your purpose, or your worth may be false.
What if you believed that you weren’t meant to achieve a dream you had? Or that you wouldn’t ever be good enough for a certain person, significant other, or mentor? What if you thought that you didn’t deserve good things? What if you felt you needed to earn someone’s love? God’s love?

Honestly, I’ve felt all of these things and more.
But what if I told you that these things that you may think to be true, would be wrong?

Sheri Dew, the Chief Executive Officer of Deseret Book, said:

“Our spirits long for us to remember the truth about who we are, because the way we see ourselves, our sense of identity, affects everything we do. It affects the way we behave, the way we respond to uncertainty, the way we see others, the way we feel about ourselves, and the way we make choices. It affects the very way we live our lives. So, today, I invite you to ponder in a new way not just who you are but who you have always been.”

Knowing Who You Are- and Who You Have Always Been

As divine daughters of God, we all have the power to do something meaningful and impactful! We are daughters of Heavenly Parents who know and care about us dearly- who watch over us and are involved in the very details of our lives.

Many women in the World’s history have already done much to contribute to our nations, communities, government, families, morals, to our artistic or social circles. Think the Sister Suffragettes, Esther, or Marie Curie. Think Mary, Mother Theresa, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Think of how much YOU have done to change someone’s life through love, service, and your example.

You are enough. You are doing SO well. And you can do more.

Though we are sometimes far too casual about our spiritual lives; though we sometimes get distracted by the world and live beneath ourselves—the fact remains that we have always been women of God. We have repeatedly made righteous choices, on both sides of the veil, that demonstrate our faithfulness… We have been and are so much more valiant than we think. We have so much more divine potential than we yet comprehend.

Knowing Who You Are- and Who You Have Always Been, Sheri Dew

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The truth is, you were sent to this earth for a reason. You have a purpose. You have a divine heritage. You are meant for MORE.

How to Discover Who You Are and Who You Have Always Been

First, learn about who you are now. What are your likes, dislikes? What do you desire out of life, who/what do you want to be [like]? What is your passion? What are your strengths or weaknesses?

Second, learn about who you have always been by reading the article in this link. Sheri Dew does a fantastic job of teaching our spiritual heritage.

Third, follow the Spirit of God. “There is nothing more vital to our success and our happiness here than learning to hear the voice of the Spirit. It is the Spirit who reveals to us our identity—which isn’t just who we are but who we have always been. And that when we know, our lives take on a sense of purpose so stunning that we can never be the same again.” (Sheri Dew, again)

Fourth, take that leap of faith and start your new life in new perspective.

I know that women are special. I know that you are special. I know that you have the power within you to do good and be an influence for good. I pray you attain the blessings I spoke about today or that they are put in your path. I pray you come to learn even more about who you are and who you have always been. I know that Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ have a purpose and plan for you and that you are worth more than you can comprehend. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Much love,

Diyana

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