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Guest JHM-in-Bountiful

Bleak outlook on church & personal life.

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Guest JHM-in-Bountiful

THIS IS A DISJOINTED SINGLE PARAGRAPH POST. SORRY FOR RAMBLING LIKE THIS.

Well it's october 2008. I was re-baptized in the church only 3 months ago. I began my quest to return to the church in June of 2007. I've have attended a baptism session at the Winter Quarters temple and have been fully restored to an Elder. In the past month something has been going wrong. I no longer feel enthused of things related to church. I don't feel the spirit nearly as much as I did. Especially at church. I continue to pray every morning and night. I find it increasing difficult to think of things to pray about. It kind of like i'm just going through the motions when praying. I have not transgressed and continue to repent and partake of the sacrament. In fact my calling is to help pass the sacrament along the the young men and missionaries. Dealing with anxiety, that calling makes me a nervous wreck when doing that duty. I try to convince myself I'm serving others on behalf of Jesus Christ. That does not help the anxiety. I've been attending my ward since July 2007. I still don't feel like I'm part of the ward. I participate in the classes by reading and answering questions. When it comes to interacting with the church members all there is the pleasent "hello." I see new members come in the ward frequently. They seem to blend right in and quickly make friends. I was never one to make friends in the first place. Attending a church function or having a dinner at a members house seems so un-natural to me. I totally hate most sports and other masculine related activities. Most people my age are already married and have children. I can't relate to the "parents" and am fearful being around the children. The missionarries still come over once a week to visit. That my only connection to anyone outside my ward. Missionaries don't stay in my area very long. I have no probems talking to my Bishop. Due to dealing with "same gender attraction" marriage is not possible until the Millennium. I have no desire to go back to that lifestyle. Thinking of the rest of my life, I really don't have much to look forward to. I'm planning on moving to Bountiful. I am on a waiting list fo an apartment. I'm 7 months into what could be up to an 18 month waiting list. This particular apt complex has it's own branch. It's consists of elderly and disabled people. I feel this is the only tpye of congregation I can be a part of. Single wards are definately out of the question. I've found that family wards are not for me either. If this branch does not work out for me I fear I may become inactive. Again I don't know when I'll be moving to Bountiful. The only people I can relate to is the elderly. I'm counting on that to help me. Another main concern is that we are in the Latter-days. So much is happening in the world now that I wish I was not living through it. The past month has been especially hard. Somewhere in the Bible there is a verse. It's something like " In the end times men will cry to God wishing they would die and not have to witness all the turmoil." I'm definately doing that. I fear if I see things worsening, I may make the most "selfish" choice. Right now, even in my prayers, I make the comment I'm waiting for a small meteor to strike me. To sum things up, I see my social life being a lonely one due to feeling uneasy around people. My activity and feelings in the church are becoming more awkward feeling. By the way my bishop is aware of my social issues. He says is there anything people in the ward can do to help. Unfortunalty there is nothing I can think of. I'm not a pocker player, but I'm putting most of my chips on this branch in Bountiful. I almost forgot doing my greeting messages her on lds.net makes me feel like I'm doing something good. However I don't really feel excited in doing that as I used to. Sorry for this rambling disjointed paragraph. I'm sure there are words that are not spelled correctly. Thanks for reading though. One last thing, I do suffer from depression and am in therapy & on meds for it. Anoter thing, I do have family that are LDS. It hard to relate to them too.

John :(

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Hi John. I'm sorry to hear you're having such a difficult time. I can relate to some of what you're saying; not being able to feel as though you're a part of something, not being accepted socially or able to connect with others. At least, I think that's part of what you're saying. I am aware of the rest of your situation too.

I'm concerned about you putting so much stock into your move to Bountiful because it may not be the green grass you're hoping for. I just don't know what to tell you. I'm sorry. I'm here in Utah, not far from Bountiful though so we can maybe become friends and get together with a group from the site sometime. There are a lot of us here in the North Salt Lake area. I think that would help you. Maybe?

I've had really good friends who were in the same situation as you so you can always feel free to email me and open up to me. I will not judge. I promise. I'm a horrible person so I am not in a position to judge. :)

I miss you coming into the chat room. You didn't come in an awful lot, but I do remember seeing you in there and chatting with you a little bit. I guess I'm rambling too. Ultimately I guess I'm trying to say, you're not all alone. I hear you and love you. *hugs*

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JHM -

Thanks for your post. We're here for you.

I also share Tamrajh's concern for you. I'm not sure that being around elderly and disabled people would be all that much better? I would find that more depressing, but that's me.

Your bishop shouldn't "ask" you what he can do. He just needs to decide what to do for you and do it. This isn't a question that can easily be asked by the person who is feeling like they aren't fitting in. In this case, action (any action) speaks much louder than well-intentioned words. Even if there WAS something you could've thought of, you'd just dismiss it as "another way for them to get me active again". Just my opinion.

I'm here for you. You also admitted to suffering from depression... so just admit this to yourself and recognize it. Bountiful (the way you're describing it) might not be all that great compared to what you have now.

One of the biggest challenges in life is this: "Be content with what you have while in pursuit of what you want." - Jim Rohn

If it were me, I'd be looking for ways to enjoy life NOW and enjoy life LATER.

There's no time to be miserable... so make the best of it all!

We're here for ya!

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JHM,

You're not alone. Most people in the world including most people in the LDS Church can make a list of their sorrows, fears and things that make them feel helpless. Everyone carries secret burdens. I admire you that you share yours so that others don't feel so alone. I love that you greet people on our website, I really noticed that. I have no easy answer either. When I was a youngster, I had a simple faith in my prayer life. When I got older, I prayed but I think I didn't get it. After a while, especially after a period of being brought low due to some sin choices and mental illness, each and every prayer was an excruciating experience for me. I dreaded kneeling and I still felt heavy when I rose. This lasted for well over five years -- probably like eight. But I still prayed at least twice daily, sometimes more if I needed help. Why? Because I chose to. It's what I wanted. It's who I wanted to be. Even God couldn't make that choice for me. I did. Over the last year, maybe 2, my prayer time is different. I know that I have reached the throne of God and he and I speak together. Point being -- your experiences, while quite heavy for you now, are well within normal. I'm glad you felt that you could share with us. We do love you JHM, and you belong on lds.net, okay? :)

For the rest of it? Simple, corny, but true: Dont. Give. Up.

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Hello John,

I want to let you know that I think that you are a very courageous person. You are dealing with a situation in your life that most of us can't relate to. I admire your strength for choosing to follow the narrow path, even though it meant having to change your life around.

John, there are hundreds of members that feel the same way you do, for different reasons. I think that it would be better if you find your peace and happiness where you are right now and bring it later with you if you need to move to bountiful.

People aren't going to make it better for you. You are the only one that can do that. You need to find your inner peace. if you don't feel the spirit, that's when you should pray even harder and read more of the scriptures.

Have you received your patriarchal blessing? It has help me a lot through very tough times. It

gives you an insight of what is in store for you, if you are faithful to the end.

I will pray for you and I hope that you keep us posted,

Whenever you feel you need to talk to someone we are here for you.

Take care,

Rainofgold

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Social anxiety and depression sure do make it tough to get into the swing of things and find the connection and sense of belonging that we need as human beings. I know. I also know that the only answer is to learn to deal with ourselves, where and when and how we are. It's impossible to really connect with others when we aren't okay with ourselves. We keep ourselves hidden from them because of our fear of being rejected. If we don't share our real selves, then only the surface presentation can get rejected outright. But even though that's safe, it isn't fulfilling because our real selves never get the chance to be accepted or loved either.

Have you heard the saying, "bloom where you are planted?" If you wait to start living and being yourself and connecting until you are somewhere else, you will get there and find that it isn't really different. That's because you will still be the same you. Another one is that fixating on either the past or the future keeps us stuck. Life isn't there. Life is here in the present. We have to start living in the now. Sometimes that's hard too. It is fine to have goals, and to look back and figure out what got you to where you are, but you have to apply it to where and when you are right now.

So, here's a question for you. If you woke up tomorrow and your life was changed for the better and the problems you are dealing with were gone, what would be different?

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Hello John,

I think your depression is understandable as you have a very difficult challenge, and yet I hear your conviction.

I am no longer a member, so I don't have anything really helpful to say.

I will tell you I always enjoy your posts, and the perspective you bring.

You are a kind person, and in my opinion, there is not a lot of kindness in the world. I value kindness above anything.

I'm so sorry you feel so alone. I struggle with that myself. I know I'm a chatty kathy on the board, but in real life, I'm not. Long and boring story.

I can't say for certain I understand, because I don't. For all I know you're lonliness is much worse than mine, or vice versa. And I think that matters. I think it matters that someone comprehends just how painful it is.

BTW, it was great to see a picture of you!

I'm rambling too. I was touched, and saddened, by your post. So many of us have a lonely hole that needs to heal. But so many of us also just can't "do it right."

I actually understand you wanting to be with the elderly now. It's safe, and you can interact with them, and they will be glad to have you in their lives.

In fact, I wonder if perhaps you need to be in an emotionally safe place for a while, and if it might help you heal a bit?

I do know that I'm so grateful to the people on this board who have been so kind and loving to me. That's not my experience in my "real life," but my friends here are my real life, and I'm so grateful for them.

Okay, I'm REALLY rambling. Good luck to you, and know you touched me deeply. I wish I had a magic wand, for all of us.

Elphaba

Edited by Elphaba

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I can relate a little to what you are saying.. I'm single and while I have married friends with kids there's a lack of commonality there sometimes. However kids grow up and while they're pretty invested in what they're doing and I don't have a lot to contribute to conversations though I enjoy that they share this part of their lives with me ...this too will change. Difficult at the moment though because of all the feelings involved in that.

I think it's a great idea to get involved with the elderly and the disabled. Sometimes our life experiences lead us to different callings. You know, you can do this know through volunteer work...and there's also volunteer visitors in hospitals and you don't have to do stuff you feel uncomfortable doing through this. My mum is involved in it and she's gone from one day a week and being very housebound to becoming friends with other workers who also have life difficulties: some on medication, some with disabilities themselves, some who find social situations very anxious...it works for her..though it has taken time. I nearly died the other day when she said she had gone out for coffee and then gone to a footy match with some of the volunteer workers...and she ENJOYED herself. I don't think people realise just how much stress others can feel under certain situations.

Another thing to look at is visiting people in aged home who never get any visitors...so many. I think it's great that you feel happy doing this. Like others I feel sadness for the limitations people have with age and disabilities and that it can be depressing at times...I've done a little of it. You have a gift. You see the person you are reaching out to not the boundaries...that's a great thing.

Can you work things out with your bishop so that you break down the passing the sacrament duty into little steps where you are not maxing out as much for long periods...you know...help prepare...stand at the front for five minutes or just little parts of it...where you help out. People don't realise what the panic level is. And if you explain that the panic is keeping you from feeling the spirit ...you know what gets you to church and is not something you worry about all week. There must be other roles you can take on. Not everyone is called on to be a public figure...in fact...some of the happiest and most helpful people are doing the behind the scenes work without a public thankyou but people love them for it. You know if you talked to your Bish about wanting to reach out to people and help others who you have so much empathy for and tell him about this...I'll bet he knows people who need your help.

I'm wondering if running a board games home evening type thing would work for you..less pressure than dinners ...and anything to get an outlet that doesn't involve SPORT LoL.

Expressing our feelings through compassionate acts for others is a very healthy approach to working through anxiety...because for that small time we forget our own problems and focus outwards. When we look forward to the small joys of others we learn how to do that for ourselves again. I think you are on the right track.

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Hi John, I hope you're feeling a little better from reading the replies you've received already.

I can only empathise with how awkward you sometimes feel around people at church, and the difficulty you have approaching them and trying to make friends.

I actually returned to this church, partly, because of the community spirit and support that I'd felt from the members 30 years ago..It was like coming home to me, however 30 years is a long time, many of my old friends had left, and new families appeared.

I stayed very close to the one member with whom I had contact on the 'outside', sat with her and her family and the missionaries every Sunday, and really longed to be able to just take myself off to another part of the chapel, and introduce myself to the others sitting there. I still feel that awkwardness from time to time now, especially at Ward gatherings: parties etc. where everyone seems to know each other already, for years, and they even know the invited guests from other wards! I panic inside and cannot approach anybody, then I start to feel depressed because if I'd only smiled and said hello, and asked how somebody was, I might have got more than just a hello in return.

So, what's the solution? Well I'm not completely cured of my shyness in public yet either, but I have found myself forced to reach out to strangers (other people in church whom I don't yet know) and others at church in my role as Single Adult Rep. Believe me, I had such high expectations of myself when I first received this calling that I cried when only 2 people turned up for my first 'Meet and Mingle', I felt so disappointed. Eventually, however, I managed to start ringing round the singles in my ward, inviting a core group of around 7 people to events which we all had in common, and tried to find ways to entice the others to some events too..I'm taking really small steps, but I'm improving, I have to speak to the Bishop and his counsellors to ask for help with some of the SA activities issues, transport and whatnot, and it's amazing how much closer I now feel to others at church since taking up this calling. Hopefully, the next time there is a ward event I will feel able to stop and say more than just hello to those people I don't already know very well.

I'm sorry, this has turned into my story, and I didn't want it to do that..I just wanted you to know that I can empathise with part of your difficulty. I would suggest asking your Bishop if there are any opportunities for you to have to reach out to members of your ward, so that eventually you can break thru your shyness too, and get to know more people that way. Ask the Missionaries if you can go out with them sometime to teach investigators, or just to sit in with their lessons.

Good Luck, and I hope you feel much better soon :)

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Thankyou for sharing your feelings with us. You come accross to me as having such a kind heart. I love the way you greet new members on their profiles. Having suffered and in fact still suffering with depression and anxiety I can relate to some of what you say. I'm not very good at socialising and mixing with others which is very difficult as a member of this church. I still have not yet found the answer for how to overcome it. I know it holds me and my family back. I have a strong testimony and strong faith in my Saviour and know He truly understands how we feel. I also understand what it is like tio struggle to pray and communicate with my Heavenly Father because the depression stops us from 'feeling'. At times like this I find writing prayers / letters to my Heavenly Father helps, being honest with Him about the struggle I'm having communicating with Him. I can't give any answers on how to make things better I wish I could find my own answers but urge you to hang in there. I too am willing to be your friend. I really struggled when I joined this forum because even talking to people anonymously filled me with fear but I feel people here ( both LDS and non LDS) have a genuine love and concern for others. Its made a huge difference in my life coming here. Please don't give up, you are of much worth. I will also pray for you.

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Maybe this will make you feel better:

“I bet a fun thing would be to go way back in time to where there was going to be an eclipse and tell the cave men, "If I have come to destroy you, may the sun be blotted out from the sky." Just then the eclipse would start, and they'd probably try to kill you or something, but then you could explain about the rotation of the moon and all, and everyone would get a good laugh.”

- Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts

:)

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Guest tomk

Not sure if there was a question in there.

Sometimes depression is not curable without medication. Go see a doctor.

The Gospel is about focusing outward, not inward. If you are miserable, you may want to take a look at your life. You are a stranger to me. Ask God what He would have you do to serve others. You will find yourself cheering up after a while. Go rake somebody's lawn. Bake a batch of cookies and leave them on somebody's porch. Whatever. Your prayers will improve also. Currently I am studying and trying to apply in my own life the following 2 talks by Elder Bednar:

First half:

Ask in Faith

Second half:

Pray Always

Good luck. Return and report!! We're anxious to find-out how it's going!

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Guest SisterofJared

John,

I think you should know that many of us have high admiration for someone who struggles with SSA and lives worthily. You know, if you don't have temptation and therefore don't overcome it, you don't necessarily have any great strength. Those who face temptation and conquer are spiritual giants.

I wonder if you might want to think about the idea of actually marrying and having a family. It would be a unique woman who would want to do this... but I believe they exists, and the best marriage is built on a rock solid friendship, and I have heard many women say that gay en make the best friends... so perhaps that is a possibility??? Sorry if I am out of line to suggest it, it just is a thought that came to me. I don't believe the Lord condemns you to a life of loneliness. There is joy to be found in many different relationships.

May God bless you!

Sister of Jared

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Guest JHM-in-Bountiful

I want to thank you all who have read and also responded to my post. First of all, I want to mention I am on medications and do recieve professional counseling services. This past week has been interesting. I may due to the power of prayer. It seems like my depression has been lifted. Or in my own words a veil has been placed over what has been bothering me. It's like I can not feel the strong emotions I was feeling about a week ago. I still remember the issues but they seem less important. the advice given to me has also helped. I had some missionaries come by and let them read my post. They sugessted i go out on a limb and do things out of my comfort zone. They are right. That's the only way one can learn and progress. Again thanks for your input.

John:)

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I know exactly what you mean, John...a veil coming over our problems. They seem somehow less. Still there, just not as horrible as we thought before.

I am very happy this change has come about you, and I give you my promise that this will be for your good, my friend. I always enjoy every chance I get to talk to you, and I hope to be able to continue that.

Stay true, John, and always walk with Him, and your trials will get less and less, as you draw closer to Him and as you go higher than you thought you could. :)

Best wishes, and I will keep you in my prayers.

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