Tips for living: One woman's journey through mental illness

By Misti Stevenson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

People suffering from mental illness often feel alone, like there is no way out and that there is no point in trying to find a way out.

For years, I struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression.

I felt shame that came from suffering with OCD, at times felt that I was beyond help and that I needed to hide my suffering.

Here are a few things I wished I had known while going through this struggle:

  • There is nothing wrong with you — meaning your spirit — if your brain is not working right. Think of it this way: If your car breaks down, do you assume something is wrong with you? No. It is just your vehicle that needs to be fixed. Losing the shame is half the battle.
  • Emotional and mental illnesses of all varieties are covered under the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
  • Answers to all questions, even mental ones, are in the scriptures when the Holy Ghost is your guide.
  • Because of the limitations of the body, at times it may be hard for someone struggling with mental or emotional illness to feel the presence of the Holy Ghost, but this does not mean you are unworthy.
  • God gives us each talents to use to help one another. It is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength to prayerfully seek out those persons who are best equipped to help us.
  • Managing and overcoming mental illness is hard work, but as you use your agency to make progress in healing, you allow the Savior to bless you in amazing ways.
My journey included an almost excruciating stretch of faith and endurance and, overridingly, the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Misti Stevenson is the author of "He Delivered Even Me, He Will Deliver Even You" and lives near Salt Lake City with her husband and five children. Her website is at evenmeevenyou.com.

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