Thursday, July 12, 2007

Difficult Confession

As a warning to those who may not want to know about my personal life, this is going to be very personal. I have been reading The Divine Center by Stephen Covey and have come to a realization. You see, I am depressive. That is the first time I have typed that out. I've never even said it before. Always before, it has been "I have depression" or "I am depressed," if that. In reading this book, I have come to see that I am depressive because my focus is in the wrong place. As much as I've tried to center myself on God, and though I believe that once I did, I have lost that center. Now, I have realized that I center myself on others' opinions of me.

My usual pattern of depression begins with a confrontation of one kind or another. It can be a fight with my husband, or it can be as impersonal as making someone on the road angry, but it usually starts with conflict. Though I can hold my own when actually in the conflict, immediately afterwards I begin to deride myself. I begin to obsess over what I should have done to avoid the conflict. I denigrate my personal righteousness in not backing out of the conflict as soon as it presented itself (turn the other cheek). I obsess over what the other person thinks of me. I convince myself that they despise me, and that they are justified in doing so. I believe that. In my deepest self, I believe that I am a horrible person with no redeeming qualities, a failure in my eyes and the eyes of my God. I believe that more than anything anyone could tell me otherwise, even myself. Even God. I want to believe I have some worth, but I don't know how.

Realizing this, however, has left me without the knowledge of how to change it. As I type, I realize how stiff and formal I sound, but I'm crying hard enough to worry my one-year-old daughter. I am not good at these things. This only makes me think I'm a worse person, harming her by my tears.

I don't know why I'm writing this, because it isn't really fair. There is nothing anyone can do about this but me. I ask forgiveness for the writing; I believe writing is a sort of catharsis for me. Before anyone asks, no, I am not receiving any help for how I am. I have tried to get help in the past, but I can't afford it either monetarily or time-wise. Besides, I don't trust going to someone else for help for my feelings. It is my obsession with someone else's opinions that is the problem.


  1. SilverRain, the beauty and goodness of your soul comes out in so many of the comments you make on blogs. Wherever you may think of yourself right now, there is an inner part of you that radiates your righteous desires.

    As you know, "All we, like sheep, are gone astray." We are all sinners. And the mercy of the Savior extends to all of us--not because we deserve it, but because he loves us, and has already paid the price of our ultimate redemption.

    A book that has has been life-changing for many of us is "Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem: Twelve Keys to Finding Peace" by Ester Rasband (Deseret Book). She gives some wonderful, scripture-based and practical advice on how to change our focus from others' opinions of us. I really think you might find Sister Rasband's analysis and suggestions very helpful.

    My prayers are with you, dear sister, that you may see glimmers of hope in the midst of your darkest moments, have the courage to keep fighting discouragement, and be inspired in your efforts to break free of your depression.

  2. SilverRain, I appreciate your comments. There are many of us who center ourselves on others' opinions, to a greater or lesser extent. "The Divine Center" is a wonderful book. I'm going to have to get it out and look through it again. Centering ourselves on the Divine is something we have to be reminded of again and again.

  3. Silver, this was such a gut-wrenching post. I'm so amazed at the insight. We are usually so blind when looking at ourselves. I have to think that this new understanding will be the opening of a door for you.

    I second Roann's book suggestion. It's a wonderful book. We read it in book club a few months ago and, ironically, it was the posting "mental health professional" who argued against the principles taught in the book.

    I was particularly touched (and surprised!) when I read "Though I can hold my own when actually in the conflict, immediately afterwards I begin to deride myself...I convince myself that they despise me, and that they are justified in doing so."

    In light of that, I just sincerely want you to know that you are loved and valued.

  4. Alison - thank you. That means a great deal to me. I admire you so much, I'd hate to think you thought less of me for any reason.

    BIV - thank you, too. I was, quite frankly, surprised to see your comment. I didn't even think you knew this blog existed!

    RoAnn - Your comments mean so much to me. I want to believe you, that I radiate a desire for righteousness. I will definitely look at that book as soon as I'm done with Divine Center.

  5. Silver Rain, I do not know why some people feel as you do. I have another friend who has strong feelings of self-loathing at times. I also have a friend who thinks she is the worst person in the world at times. Both of them are neat people and very caring.

    I do worry about what other people think about me way too much. I also had to detatch a bit though as some of behavior is bizarre and I have to laugh rather than be super embarassed.

    There are things I feel bad about too, but I am glad that such feelings are not a constant.

    In my teen years, I think I was very fixed on making myself feel bad about myself. I went through another period of depression as well. Now I only feel bad when my ocd gets really bad or when I cannot do things to help someone especially if I am a burden to that person when they really need me to help them the most due their physical pain or illness.

    I do feel that I used to have a much more personal relationship with Heavenly Father. I am not saying that I did not care about what others thought of me at the time. I really miss feeling so worthy. However, I feel my eyes have been opened in ways that may help me to progress in some ways.

    I wonder if you might be shy. Shy people tend to think that other people think a lot more about them than they generally do.

    When I have not been here, I have thought about you from time to time. It was in a good way.

    I think we need to have other people thinking about us and feeling that they care. We are here to enlarge each other.

    I do hate it when I get in a conflict when I should have turned the other check. I beat myself up some, but not as much as you.

    I take what you say very seriously. You tears indicate that you are pouring out your heart.

    But realize that these are your feelings, but they are not your reality. If people dislike you as much as you think they do, they must be very disturbed.

    I am not a black and white thinker. I know some people who really hate some people. I have had so many people be good to me when they could have taken advantage of my being so vulnerable. Maybe that is why I am able to see good in others and myself.

    I think some of the people who loathe themselves have been bullied. I have been subject to much mental abuse msyelf. However, my earliest years were good so I think that helps a lot.

    What I think regarding the correlation between bullying and self-loathing is that those dear people who were bullied internalize the feelings. It seems so wrong that they would believe the bullies. Those precious individuals who did nothing wrong would believe those who sought to strip them of their dignity.

    Rise up from those lies those who have been bullied. You are precious!

  6. Silver,
    I love you. I understand some of these feelings. What I am continually striving to learn is that the answer really is The Divine Center. The Lord makes up for what we cannot yet do. You CARE about doing what is right and that is so much of the battle right there.

    I was comforted with the realization that when the people of King Benjamin came to themselves and were reborn, they didn't have desire for sin. It doesn't say that they didn't ever sin, but that their desires for sin were gone. The fact that you CARE about being righteous shows where your heart is. The key is learning how to look to the Savior and let Him take our burdens of what we aren't fully able to do or be on our own. I have found that this is often easier said than done, but it's becoming more and more important to me, and more and more real. This is the essence of faith -- to learn to trust in His mercy in spite of and as we struggle with our weaknesses, not after when we figure out how to conquer them on our own. That's the whole key -- we CAN'T do it alone, and that's what humility does. What is hard is not letting humility turn into depression and discouragement. At least that is the case for me.

  7. Silver Rain, I hope this finds things going great for you.

    Being so open even on an anonymous blog can be hard. Sometimes the feedback you get, may not be what you had anticipated. I do not know what you have experienced in your life and hope that I did not imply that I have such knowledge.

    I have found being open at times online has helped me alot. You just have to be prepared that people may misunderstand.

    I don't read a lot of blogs though I spend a ton of time online. There are a few individual blogs that I keep going back to a lot. This is already a blog that I like to check out in a weeks time!


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