by Marsha Ward
Creative people seem to have a gene that predestines them to live on the edge of madness. Many authors, musicians, artists have wild mood swings or battle the impending doom of depression.
I've been dealing with depression lately. It's not fun, and sometimes I just want to drag myself into a hole and pull it closed behind me, shutting out the world. These feelings are crippling, both to the mind and the spirit. They can be triggered in me by--among other things--events, powerful emotions, electrical spikes in the brain, or imbalance in brain chemistry. The trick is recognizing the onset of the condition. I'm probably a little late in that recognition, but I hope not too late to prevent a full-blown depressive period.
Folks who have never experienced depression or mood swings have no understanding of these conditions. They tend to think depression is just a case of the blues that can be turned around with a fun outing, thinking positive thoughts, scripture reading, or fervent prayer. While I don't discount the positive effects of such actions, sometimes only medical intervention and medication will help, just as a type 1 diabetic needs insulin.
The upside is that God loves his creative children. He has given them immense powers of expression in a variety of media. He also holds out hope, though priesthood power, the Gospel, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. These vital elements have been available to me to help me keep the darkness at bay.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently gave a General Conference talk called "The Infinite Power of Hope." As I read and pondered it, and participated in the Relief Society lesson today that was derived from it, I felt the stirrings of greater hope.
I've never doubted that God loves me and has great blessings in store for me, but external pressures, spreading myself thin, and taking on too many duties and responsibilities have almost tipped me over the edge into darkness. I'll always have to guard against that, but for now, I have hope to get me through until the darkness fades and I once again walk in the sunshine.