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The Promise of Joy: My Journey with Depression

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

By Heath Morby

Depression. It is tragic, misunderstood, trivialized, romanticized and stigmatized. But it is real, and it is a disease that is too common, and its victims often live in quiet desperation. Simply put, depression is a soul that is breaking, silently. Said the poet:

“If I'm on my knees, I'm begging now If I'm on my knees, groping in the dark I'll be praying for deliverance From the night into the day

But it's all gray here But it's all gray to me

I recognize the walls inside, I recognize them all I've paced between them chasing demons down until they fall In fitful sleep enough to keep their strength enough to crawl Into my head with tangled threads they riddle me to solve Again, and again and again.” - Natalie Merchant

And such is depression.

“Adam fell that man might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). This

sentence encapsulates the essence of this life and of the hope of eternal life. (See Plan of Salvation). The depth and breadth of these words are immense. Men are that they might have joy. It is beautiful. It is inspiring. It is true.

But what is this joy? Where and when does it happen? What if you don’t feel joy? What if you haven’t felt joy? I understand it intellectually. I understand it from the perspective of not feeling what I think joy is supposed to be. But I know more of what it isn’t. Despite this I know that the power of Jesus Christ and His infinite love for us will allow for reprieve. It gives hope when hope is fleeting.

I love my family. I love our life together. I have a couple of lifelong friends whom I love. By all accounts I have an ideal life. But I mostly feel outside looking into that life. I have never felt fully connected to anyone or anything. This is hard to admit out loud or in a blog where others can read it. But I was asked to write about my experiences with depression, how my faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and mostly, my testimony of the Atonement of the Savior, has carried me when, at times, I couldn’t walk forward on my own.

I wouldn’t undertake to write a blog post on this topic on my own. It is painful and deeply personal. But I suppose I am uniquely qualified to write about depression because it is so ingrained into who I am as a person. It is an uncomfortable thing to talk about a major defect of brain chemistry and function. I have an illness you just can’t see it. Some days the only thing that allows me to keep it all together is my belief in Jesus Christ. Sometimes it is only blind faith that keeps me functioning and gives me a resolve to endure until the pain is swallowed up in the mercy of the Savior.