In A Depression With Chronic Illness

Question: “I suffer from chronic illness and depression and was put on disability because of it. In other words, I get sick very easily. A couple years ago I had endometrial cancer and the illness has grown worse this past year and 1/2 and the depression too. I recently lost my brother in November which hasn’t helped and living in Alaska and a non-supportive family and ward. Sometimes I don’t even dress until about 2 o’clock and do my housework then! I used to have all kinds of energy and be very social. I also have a bad foot and it hurts to even walk. I was hoping to move to Oregon so I could be in a climate with a lot less winter. The rent is so much cheaper than Alaska and I thought I could at least get a small house with a yard and a bicycle. I know a lot of my depression is from living in Alaska in a remote area with no a lot to do. Plus, I’ve had some people in the ward and area where I live who’ve not been so nice to me, including women living me stranded along the side of the road on the way to the temple, being super rude to me in my callings, etc., etc. Sometimes I don’t even want to go to church anymore. I lived in an awesome ward where I lost a lot of weight, had a very supportive bishop who loved me, and I felt good about myself. Now all I get from my family is–“we can’t stand you, get a life, etc. which doesn’t help at all.”

Answer: I am sorry to hear that you are struggling so. It must be so overwhelming to have the physical challenges and feel like you also don’t have the emotional support from others. It does not sound like you have a lot of support from others. It sounds like you need to lean on a support system that you create; yet the difficulty is that when depressed you likely don’t have the energy or hope to create such a system. My guidance to you is three fold.

Spiritually you’ll need to start reading and praying daily. Getting a good dose of spiritual worship and a clearer sense of who you are and your relationship to God is key. This is first and foremost.

Emotionally you’ll need to begin to deny and not allow your mind to entertain the follies and rudeness that comes from others, family or friends. Don’t allow that to further your depression. When others are ‘off course’ and rude don’t put up with it. Don’t allow your mind to consume and ruminate on their comments. You have to much living to do to allow yourself to deal with their issues and baggage.

Physically you’ve got to get into a structure and start having dailies. Dailies are things you do each day no matter what. Get into a routine that includes dailys that stretch your mind, your body, your spirit. Follow a pattern that gives you stability and ability to predict your day.

Clinically you’d be best served by seeing a therapist. I realize you are in a remote area. I’d recommend a solid book that will help you work through your issues. It would be well worth the purchase, but only if you are serious about leaving the depression behind. The Feeling Good Handbook – David Burns, M.D.

Also, here are some articles you may be interested in reading.
http://tiny.cc/nxDEp , http://tiny.cc/oF8GY, and for a long list of LDS articles go here. You can locate the article list then list of articles. Then go to top of page and go to the official LDS site and obtain the articles.