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Don't Worry be Happy

"Don't worry be happy".... sounds simple.  It reminds me of the well known cliche from Disney's The Lion King."  'Hakuna Matata!"  Timon and Pumba, characters from The Lion King, adopted this phrase as their motto, which means "no worries."  For them, it was a "problem free philosophy."

We all know and recognize that life typically isn't quite that simple.  All of us will have times throughout life's journey when we will be faced with adversity which will make Timon and Pumba's philosophy seem completely unrealistic.  We can decide how we will handle each struggle that we are faced with, but it is sure that we will all have experiences that will stretch our patience, hope, faith, and capabilities.

For me, my struggle has been fighting the battle of anxiety and severe depression.  This is something that many people deal with to different degrees of severity.  But it still carries with it a stigma, which many times will keep people from talking about it and treating it properly.

Elder Alexander Morrison, a general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has great insight into the suffering experienced by those with mental illness, specifically that of depression.  He has a daughter who has struggled with depression and panic attacks for half of her life.  Elder Morrison describes very well the adversity that individuals face who are suffering from mental illness.  He said:

"Among the most painful and often protracted ordeals an individual or family may face is that of mental illness.  One of the central characteristics of the cruel constellation of disease groups under the general rubric of mental illness is the suffering involved.  Its intensity cannot be described.  One perceptive sufferer, William Styron, has pointed out, for example, that "the pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it, and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be borne."  And yet there is hope.  Many mentally ill people find their suffering greatly reduced once they are properly diagnosed and receive the proper treatment.  In addition, although those who are suffering may feel unable or unworthy to experience God's love, they can be assured that nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our lord" (Romans 8:39).  They can come to know, perhaps as never before, that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7)

As one who has suffered with severe depression, I understand that sometimes you don't believe there is hope.  The pain of what you are feeling and experiencing is at times unbearable.  Because I have experienced depression and anxiety, I know how devastating it can be and I want to be able to help others who are suffering similarly.  It has been a journey for me as I have taken steps that are leading me to a discovery of a new me, a better, and more healthier me.  My hope is that others might find peace, hope, faith, and courage as they strive to overcome this silent battle and discover healing and happiness in their lives.

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1 Comment about "Don't Worry be Happy"

 
Steven
said this on 28 Oct 2010 2:26:44 PM CST
Dear Ariane:

Thanks for bringing up this important issue. It seems that even in the church, there are some challenges that are more "popular" or "acceptable" than others. For example, if you have a physical illness or you get laid off or you get in an accident, it seems that people rally around you, bring casseroles, and are generally supportive. But, if your particular challenge is not as popular, such as a family member struggling with an addiction to alcohol or pornography, or having financial/legal problems,or a child who chooses a gay lifestile, or, as you have mentioned, mental/emotional struggles, you often have to suffer alone and bear those burdens in silence because of the negative stigma. The good news is that these issues are being talked about more and more. Your blog is excellent. Thank you!




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