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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photo by mi

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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The Secret to Happiness in a Hapless World

This article is a 7-10 min read.

Nearly 1700 years ago in ancient America, a young boy was called to do a very serious and sacred work for his people, and for us.

This boy was a descendant of the Jews, having grown up a believer of God and Jesus Christ his entire life. At this time, there was so much evil that he stood out from many as a “sober child and [was] quick to observe.”a His name was Mormon.

The man who entrusted Mormon his calling was one of the few good and righteous men at the time and he went by the name of Ammaron. Ammaron instructed 10-year-old Mormon to write down everything he would witness in his lifetime concerning his people, much like the prophets of old. His people were called the Nephites. Mormon may not have known it then, but his words and testimony would benefit hundreds of thousands of souls many years later.

Well, this boy grew up to be a strong young man. And when his nation needed him most, he led the army as a General through many wars. Under his command, they faced many losses and few wins. His people, who used to be a God-fearing populace, soon rejected their faith in Jesus Christ and acted in open rebellion not even 300 years after He Himself had visited them. They couldn’t win without the Lord’s strength, and yet they didn’t want it. This lack of faith and wickedness retracted God’s influence over them, making them weak when against their enemies.

You see, Mormon’s people had divided into two main groups known as the Lamanites and the Nephites long before he was born. A division so ancient, that it stretched back nearly a millennia from his time. Their enemies, the Lamanites had once been family, friends, and neighbors. But he was asked to lead an army against them because the Lamanites had one intention-and that was to destroy the Nephites off the face of the earth.

A sibling rivalry between good and bad (Nephite and Lamanite) that millennia ago, stirred sincere hatred toward God on the Lamanite’s side. This hatred fueled their thirst for Nephite blood and submission.

Mormon led the Nephite armies as best as he could. He was able to find time to raise a family and have the only child we know of, named Moroni.

As the wars increased, the bloodshed grew more fervent amongst both sides. Mormon and his army were forced to flee from city to city for decades as the Lamanites hunted them like beasts.

I imagine that Mormon must have felt like a vagabond, forced to fight for his family and nation working with men who didn’t care about anything more than their pride and satisfactions. While the Nephite army would flee from their enemiesb, they left behind the women and children whom were almost always the Lamanites prize for conquering.

This must have all been so incredibly frustrating!

The nation was full of countless accounts of carnage, stealing, hatred, witchcraft, adultery, abominable actions, and many morec.

As horrible as this all sounds, it rings a bell, doesn’t it? This sounds a lot like our time.

We live in a world where nation hates nation, where stealing is common, where relationships are treated as disposable, where money is a tool for greed, where pride is rampant in the hearts of many, and where murder is pronounced from a news anchor’s lips almost every 2 seconds... the list goes on.

You could say that Mormon knew what it felt like to be living in a world that seemed to be going crazy. There were corruptions in government. There was hatred for those who were different than them. There were people who began to deny God and His matchless mercy, miracles, and power.

I’m amazed at how similar his time was to ours. He seems like he could relate very well to us.

What this meant for Mormon and Moroni

Mormon Abridging the Plates, by Jon McNaughton

Mormon eventually fulfilled the wish Ammaron had for him. While fortifying a city called Jashon, he realized he happened to be nearby the city Antum where the record of his people was hidden. He took his chance and dug them up from the hill in which they were deposited and began to write the things he had seen.d

Within this time his son Moroni grew and became much like his father. You can imagine that Moroni grew up seeing the horrible things his father had seen. And yet, these two men, father and son, wrote some of the most hope-filled messages of Jesus Christ in the entire book of the Book of Mormon. With melancholy and despair at every turn, they had hope.

What was their secret?

The Unaccounted for… Account

There are pockets of time where Mormon and Moroni don’t write in their respective personal records and I wondered to myself, ‘What happened in those times?’ How did they go from despairing to rejoicing? They were strangers to a nation filled with peace.

And although they may not have kept a detailed diary of their conversion, their hopeful moments, or their how to’s during these extremely hard times, what we see as a result of their hidden growth is miraculous.

I made a timeline below to show the big events of both of their lives:

  • 321 AD. Mormon receives his mission from Ammaron.

  • 327-362 AD. Mormon leads the Nephites into battle. Many die in battle due to their foolish ways. He prays for them often, to no avail.

  • 345 AD. Mormon obtained the plates and desires to help his brethren come unto Christ, but they don’t listen.

  • 362 AD. Mormon refuses to lead the faithless and wicked Nephites in battle.

  • 375 AD. Mormon decides to help the armies again after their many losses in battle.

  • 385 AD. The Nephites and Lamanites arrange their final battles by the hill Cumorah. More than 130,000 Nephites were killed in battle leaving only 24 survivors including Mormon and his son Moroni.

  • 385-400 AD. The Lamanites hunt down the remaining Nephites, killing Mormon among them, leaving Moroni alone to finish the record of his fallen people.

  • 421 AD. Moroni finishes the record and bids us farewell with his last testimony. He buries all of the plates in the hill Cumorah.

As you can see, there were plenty of years to ponder for these two- especially in the years of 400-421 AD after Mormon was killed and Moroni was left alone.

I’m convinced that the time that is hidden to us, is when they were growing the most. I believe they were testing their faith and becoming the men we needed them to be. And as a result, they shared very inspirational and uplifting testimonies of Jesus Christ that have helped many come unto Him.

Because of their words, I myself was inspired to come back to Christ several years ago. I too, was at a very low point in my life when everything seemed over before it even began. I was so grateful for their words during this time. Especially Moroni’s words.

Mormon and Moroni testified of the truthfulness of faith, hope, charity, Jesus Christ, His Atonement, and the grace of God. They spoke of the lovely fruits of the Gospel; all after seeing heinous acts and abominations their entire lives. Their hope pierced through their circumstances. This hope was deeply rooted in them.

The question is, how did they do that?

The Healing Power of Christ

“When sore trials come upon us, it’s time to deepen our faith in God, to work hard, and to serve others. Then He will heal our broken hearts. He will bestow upon us personal peace and comfort. These great gifts will not be destroyed, even by death.”

-President Nelson-

Painting by Youngsun Kim

In her most recent talk given at the October 2020 General Conference, Sister Cristina B. Franco shared about her thoughts on the Healing Power of Jesus Christ‘. She said:

“…As we come unto Jesus Christ by exercising faith in Him, repenting, and making and keeping covenants, our brokenness—whatever its cause—can be healed. This process, which invites the Savior’s healing power into our lives, does not just restore us to what we were before but makes us better than we ever were. I know that through our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can all be mended, made whole, and fulfill our purpose, just like a beautiful-sounding, brand-new piano…”

As beautifully stated by Sister Franco, you can be healed! I have had some serious trials in my life. You have probably had serious trials, too.

Just like cracks in vase these trying and sometimes traumatizing circumstances can stay with us forever.

However, it doesn’t need to be that way! Mormon and Moroni had very hard trials and I don’t doubt they were affected greatly. But they were able to find happiness in the quite moments with their Savior in prayer and fasting.

They achieved something that so many people search for their entire lives and they found it in the most dark of times.

They studied the word of God in the scriptures, they experimented on their faith, they trusted God, and they were able to leave us at the end of their lives saying, ‘This is all real. This changed me, this helped me. And if you come unto Christ you will be healed.’

To conclude, I’ll share one of my favorite scriptures in all of the Book of Mormon in Moroni chapter 10:

Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how amerciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and bponder it in your chearts.

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not btrue; and if ye shall ask with a csincere heart, with dreal intent, having efaith in Christ, he will fmanifest the gtruth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may aknow the btruth of all things.

And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.

And ye may aknow that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, baccording to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.

Moroni was sure of the truthfulness of these things. I mean, he had to in order to bear such a powerful testimony hope coming from where he’s been! And I want to let you all know that I know for myself that this is true, too.

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I bear testimony, that as someone who is taken up in the clouds looks down on the world they left behind, you will also gain this same exaltation if you embark on the journey to the summit that is Him.

If you’re looking for peace and happiness in today’s crazy world and are trying to navigate the never-ending obstacles, I invite you to read these chapters in the Book of Mormon:

  • Mormon 1-9
  • Moroni 1-10

They were the chapters I used to illustrate the journey of hope Mormon and Moroni took us on today. I know that if you do as they did and come unto Christ with all of you heart, mind, might, and strength, you will have joy. You will have peace. These are the valuable things the world can’t give you in the same abundance God can.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

REFERENCES:

a: Mormon 1:2

b: Mormon 2: 3-8

c: Mormon 2:18; Mormon 4: 11-12

d: Mormon 1-2; Mormon 6:7-22; Mormon 7

Continue reading “The Secret to Happiness in a Hapless World”