A Might of Melancholy

When I was in the second grade, I entered and won the school Reflections contest. A blue ribbon and a silver dollar. My story was called The Frost Princess and it was about a land perpetually in summer. The sun was always shining, the flowers were in constant bloom, everyone was perfectly happy. Contrary to what you’d expect, the trees and bees and flowers couldn’t take it anymore. They were exhausted by all the upbeatness of summer. They complained to their local princess, every land has one, and she said she knew of a special princess that could help them out. The Frost Princess. After much begging, the Frost Princess finally came and offered winter to the flowers and the trees. She told them they would die a little bit, that it would be cold and snowy and some of them wouldn’t make it through, but summer was so hot and happy that everyone chose winter. Winter came on all the land and the trees and flowers and grass finally got to rest in the cold, snow-covered ground.

At age 8, I believed that I won because each word (word!) was written in a different magic marker color but now I think I must have struck a nerve with some frazzled Mormon PTA mom, longing for a rest.

I’ve had a wee touch of the melancholy for most of my life. As a kid, I never knew that anyone could be any different. It was a guilt-free, gentle sadness. Around about age 19, I went through a deep religious conversion that made me both happy and pointedly aware that I was a sad one. It morphed into a shameful, burdensome sadness.

In my eyes, the scriptures and Church publications drew up a template of a kind and happy person, friend of Jesus, joyful and forward-looking. While Jesus and I were definitely chummy, I was certain that it was my sadness, my neediness that connected us together. There’s a lot of doctrinal evidence that I was fine being Jesus’ blue follower, but I zoned in on, and hated, my lack of regular good cheer.

I loathed myself for it. I contemplated why I was generally sad and linked it to sin or an unbelieving heart or a congenital spiritual defect. Then my sadness became equivalent to everything I could not accomplish as a Mormon. You’ve got your own list, it’s not that different from mine. The hatred of my sadness finally came to a head at around 25 when I had a major depressive episode.

This was different from the sweet melancholy I had known. I could hardly function, completely apathetic to things I normally loved, even dancing and peanut butter. I had a few paralyzing panic attacks and quit my job and school so other people wouldn’t have to be put out by my depression. I made a suicide plan but didn’t even have the energy to put that in motion. I started on some SSRIs, started talk therapy and after a year of a lot of sleep, I felt a lot better.

That episode was clearly a different beast than my usual feeling blue, but my continued sadness made me edgy for the next few years. Maybe I would head back down again. Maybe I’d have to quit my life again and stop caring about anything. A therapist suggested in the midst of my paranoid planning of my next depressive episode that I look at my sadness in a new way.

We didn’t glorify it. Melancholy didn’t suddenly become the Christ-like attribute that made me better or more thoughtful than other people. It had simply bloated into a feeling more significant than any other part of my humanity, so I had to diet it, let some of the air out. And you know, I learned something that day. I learned to stop caring that I was a little bit sad. I learned that sadness never lasts forever, especially when it feels like it is going to. I learned that I didn’t have to do something to distract myself from the sadness, since it wasn’t loaded with meaning, there was no reason for diversion.

Now that my melancholy is less meaningful, I don’t have to be so depressed about it, and I can finally capitalize on its blue-ribbon, silver-dollar earning capacity.

Comments

  1. I think you get another silver dollar today. You’re cheering up this tired and blue PTA Mom.

  2. Nice post. I’ve often thought about this almost absurd hunger to be cheerful. i’ve found it in even secular primers from the late 18th and early 19th century in America, and it’s certainly potent in evangelical culture from the same period. i’d like to read more puritan primary material, as i don’t know how much they urged cheerfulness as a sign of election rather than simply piety. We jumped on it whole hog, perhaps by way of confusing the ultimately potent optimism promised by Jesus with a steady cheeriness.

    And I agree with your insight, that we are at risk for making sadness/melancholy into a tumor when it may merely be part of the voluptuousness of our souls.

    Maybe you can generate new T-shirts: Don’t Worry if You’re Sad or something much catchier as a response to the Be Happy T shirts.

  3. Amri,

    You ought to write up your Frost Princess story as a children’s story. It sounds intriguing on so many levels.

    I, however, am a cluelessly, idiotically cheerful person. I must be annoying to many people, as I have never been given to more than the occasional sad thought, or odd moment of feeling down. That doesn’t mean that I am an obnoxious extrovert, or that my life has been one long trip through the funhouse. I have learned to be sensitive to the moods of others around me, who are more “normal”, I suspect.

    Interesting to note that you feel your sadness and neediness was your connecting link to the Savior. No question but that difficult times in my life, in spite of the seemingly foundationless cheer, have been instrumental in my spiritual growth. I am reminded of Isaiah’s observation that the Savior was “a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”

    Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  4. Great post.

    When I was at BYU, President Kimball challenged Mormons to produce great art but so far the output has been fairly unimpressive, IMO.

    There’s nothing like depression to spark creative output. It’s not that Mormons aren’t depressed. But maybe, too afraid to express our real souls. (If I’m flawed, then others will think me unworthy and I’ll be stuck with this Primary calling until the Second Coming).

  5. I’ve wondered a lot about similar issues, and I’m not a model of cheerfulness either. I too have found it more productive to see the virtues in this tendency toward the macabre rather than the seeing it as a fundamental flaw.

    For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. (Eccl 1:18)

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    A beautiful little essay (and I loved your summary of the Frost Princess story!).

    Kevin “I’m only happy when it rains” Barney

  7. Johnna–just keep saying I’m sad and I’m okay. If you look at yourself in the mirror while speaking it’s even better.

    smb–sadness doesn’t feel good for sure but I’m also mystified by how important it is as Christians to be happy. Maybe it’s partially fueled by our wanting to show others how good life is as a Christian, a Mormon and we feel like the only way people will be tempted by our way of life is if we are really cheery.

    Kevinf–if you are annoying, I doubt it’s because you’re cheery. I wouldn’t worry about putting anyone out because of it. And to be honest, I don’t think my melancholy is obvious to people around me. I feel and keep it to myself mostly. I’m not being fake about it, it’s just that the more I talked about it the worse it became.
    Also, your thoughts on Jesus are right on, that’s why it’s odd that reading about him made me think I had to be happy. Maybe it had to do with my age. 19-21 year olds are wa-cky.

    MR–I know a good writer who can never write anything when he’s happy. I wonder if he fosters his sadness for the sake of his art. My sadness only made the Frost Princess.

    Robert C.–it’s the only way. Otherwise it becomes too much, right? Letting go of that angst over my sadness helped me get over a lot of guilt I was carrying around too.

  8. That’s why I love ya Kevin Barney!

    I’ve still got the Frost Princess, though slightly tattered, the blue ribbon and the silver dollar in my hope chest. Hope chest, indeed.

  9. Proud Daughter of Eve says:

    I’m intrigued by your short story and would be interested in seeing it published as well. :)

  10. Kristine says:

    Amri, do you think there’s a difference between sadness (melancholy) and major depression? For me, at least, they are qualitatively distinct. I can live with sadness, even appreciate it as a weird but vaguely lovable personality quirk, but depression is something else altogether–not sadness, but a grotesque absence of feeling and a sort of weightedness of brain and body…

    Anyway, I love your post, and I can totally get behind the idea that less Romantic absorption with one’s melancholy is a good thing!!

  11. Kristine–I absolutely believe they are different. When I’m sad, I feel sad, but in my depression I was hard-pressed to feel anything at all. That was terrifying to me. The only reason they are linked for me is because the guilt over my sadness played a role in the beginnings of my depressive episode and that I could give up my sadness over being sad as a result of working through that depression. Otherwise they are entirely different. I live life just fine when I’m sad, but when I’m depressed it’s hard to live at all. That sounds dramatic but they feel that starkly different.

    PDoE-The Frost Princess isn’t that great. It’s just funny that I came up with that idea when I was 8. I have no memory of the plot construction but I remember the day I wrote it with the markers and I was ticked half way through that I had committed to the rainbow effect. It was so time-consuming and maybe altogether too bright and friendly.

  12. I can see how depression might strike at latter-day saints a little harder than it might with others, because we’re supposed to have information regarding who we are, where we come from, why we’re here and where we’re going, and all this knowledge is supposed to render us, well, maybe not insanely happy, but a little more on the joyful side of life (men are that they might have joy, after all).

    Yet, some days, maybe even most days, all that extra information we’re given doesn’t seem to give us a leg up on anybody else; in fact, it may help us to feel a bigger failure than we might otherwise.

    And then they pile on with the “where much is given, much is expected” stuff. Ouch.

  13. I find that whenever I’m feeling like life is blah, I try to figure out how to be happier (usually involving getting more sleep). Before my Grandma died, she requested that her grandkids sing “This Life is the Test” (I think by Janice Kapp Perry). When I paid attention to the words to figure out why she liked it so much I thought, “What a crappy song! It’s basically saying, ‘life sucks, but if you endure to the end you’ll get your reward later.'” Now, my Grandma had a really hard life, but I thought it was so depressing for her to have chosen that as her theme song. I decided that no matter what life threw at me, I wanted to be able to say that I enjoyed life. So, not to negate the right of anyone else to feel sad, I tend to try to fight it.

  14. Hannah G says:

    I was once asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting about “Happiness.” As someone who has struggled with depression, I just couldn’t bring myself to approach the subject in a “Obedience Makes You Happy” or any other pat-answer way. Instead I talked a lot about how the culture of happiness that we see in our church is not the same as the joy that the gospel can bring us. I talked about how Christ’s example (as he is perfect) shows somebody who was somber, reflective, sorrowful, and otherwise “unhappy” throughout his life, though surely he had constant access to the joy of knowing God’s love and plan. I suggested that true happiness and joy is not just cheerfulness or optimism or perkiness, but is instead a deep feeling where both happiness and sadness coexist. My friend spoke at the same sacrament meeting, and though we gave two of the most serious and heavy talks that have probably ever been given on Happiness, I think a lot of people appreciated it.

  15. Amri,

    Well, God isn’t “happy” either, so you’re in good company.

  16. I can relate, Amri. I loved feeling sad as a kid. I used to mope around singing sad songs. I remember distinctly once when I was five, sitting dejectedly on our swingset, making up a song about my older sister and how sad it was that she had to be apart from her husband. Because he was in jail. (I didn’t know at the time that he was also a heroin addict and an escaped criminal, and it was my parents that called the cops on him.)

    I still do love a good tear jerker.

    Other than some occasionally severe PMS and blood-sugar-related depression, I’ve never suffered from full-blown depression. But I’m not generally a “happy” person. I don’t have the energy to be cheerful, I guess.

    There’s a line in a Husker Du song I’ve always loved. It says, “Is it only happiness you want?”

  17. Oh, I meant to add—I heard the best Stake Conference talk ever today. It was on depression. And agency, and prayer. The man who gave it talked about his own experience with depression. He mentioned that when he was in college he had a sign above his bed that said, “I may rise, but I’m not going to shine.”

    He later said there are people out there who wake up in the morning energetic and excited to start their day. Then he said, “We hate those people.”

    It was awesome.

  18. Great thread! Sounds like the time is ripe for a book titled “I’ll Rise, But I Won’t Shine: The Spiritual Dangers of Competitive Cheerfulness.”

    All my life, the word most commonly used in describing me (at least within my hearing) has been “enthusiastic.” It’s a valid label: I AM enthusiastic about many things; (some people would say I’m just loud, or long-winded. Both also true.)
    Few people would use the term “sad” about me, or “depressed.” But these words,too, are appropriate. As Amri points out, though, depression is a separate state, and my depression was long ago, and, I hope, far away. I’d like to make a couple of points about sadness per se.

    Once I asked a very wise and hugely over-educated friend (with degrees in clinical psychology, law and, for all I know, astrophysics) how I could be so genuinely enthusiastic about so much of life, and yet so frequently sad. She said that a jeweler displaying a diamond sets it off against a black background. (I never saw the applicability of that metaphor,I’m sorry to say.) She then said that people who keenly saw the glories of life were also achingly alive to its deep griefs. That made sense, and still does, though it smacks a bit of excessive Romanticism.

    Recently I read two additional bits of insight that seem reasonable. The first made the point that in our generation, we are so awash in news of the horrors large and small that occur all around us and all around the globe that we are in a kind of post-trauma state most of the time. If there is empty space–free time, time alone, time without commitments, travel time between one locale and another–many of us begin to feel a sort of looming danger, a generalized sense of “impending doom,” without any specific referent or even conscious awareness of it. What then fills the space is sadness, or its cousin, anxiety.

    The second point is very different. As best I can understand it, the proponent says that our nervous system is overloaded and has so many crossed wires because of the insane times we live in that sometimes we feel something sharply and intensely without knowing what it is, what the emotion actually is. Being more familiar with sadness than with happiness, or joy, or even contentment, we are actually apt to label our nebulous feelings as sadness rather than identifying them as that stranger, happiness. This, too, seemed worth considering.

    Again, thanks for all your good insights into this fascinating topic.

    Elouise

  19. Seth–God isn’t happy?! Crap. What have I been thinking?

    Mark N.–I think it’s more our human guilt complex and sense of inadequacy that makes us crazy in the face of Mormon expectations. Or any expectations really.

    jab-I generally steer clear of JKP songs but This Life is a Test is a doozy huh? Also, I’m not saying I get excited about sadness or want it all the time, just that I feel fairly regularly and have had to figure out that I don’t care so much. Rather than feeling stressed or guilty about.

    Hannah G–maybe not everyone feels like we do, but I bet many people were happy about your talk that day. One time I gave a talk on depression in sacrament meeting and the bishop’s wife came up afterward and said, you’re okay right? we don’t need to put you on suicide watch? Clearly I was a lil too honest in my talk.

    Susan M–I’m right there with you. And I even seek tear jerkers sometimes, like when I’m PMSing and I really want a good cry. Maybe I should be ashamed but Steel Magnolias was/is guaranteed to make me cry. And what else? Shadowlands. That image of you on the swingset is amazing. You should write a song and snatch that Husker Du line (but maybe lose the flute).

    Eloise–I feel equally complex. I’m downright peppy sometimes and I love to dance. Am sometimes caught spontaneously dancing in random situations. Dancing usually means happy not sad right? But I feel it, mostly a subtle kind, every once in a while a more poignant sadness. Anyway, it used to STRESS me out. And now I don’t so much. Thanks for your great thoughts Eloise.

  20. amri, you remind me of the Jimmy Buffett song I heard yesterday that contains this line –

    In a world that needs more dancing, she’s a hula girl at heart.

  21. Peter LLC says:

    Kevin “I’m only happy when it rains” Barney

    Yay for Garbage!

  22. Amri,

    Sorry I’m a bit behind here; read your post when it was first up but didn’t have the time that day to thank-you for saying things that not only needed to be said, but verbalizing things that many of us identify with.

    GBH has said that since we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Mormons should be among the happiest people in the world. I very infrequently feel this way; unfortunately know I don’t have that extra helping of seratonin that I see others possess. Not that many others but others nonetheless.

    Hooray for the talk in SC (Susan #17) where someone had the guts to tell it like it is. Once many years ago when I was seeing an LDS therapist who was a Bishop in my Stake at the time, he told me of his PPI with our SP (a close friend of mine). The Bishop began to give a detailed account of the hard things in his ward and how it was depressing to him to deal with these things. The SP’s reply was, “Well, you’re the Bishop and you’ve got to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get back in there.” One more query from the Bishop as to how he should deal with discouraging feelings (he had had his 1st counselor released and x’d for adultery). The reply this time was no more sympathetic. The SP said, “I really can’t understand what you’re going through; I’ve never had a bad day in my life.”

    When our melancholy feelings are equated to sin, lack of faith or worse, by those around us, I guess the only thing to count on is that the Savior understands us. If He doesn’t, then everything about the Atonement that I have come to understand, must be false. And it isn’t.

    I too appreciated your comment that feelings of sadness aren’t forever. It certainly isn’t doom and gloom 24/7. But no, I don’t wake up in the morning ready to play Curly from Oklahoma and say how wonderful it is that corn is as high as an elephant’s eye.

  23. anonymous says:

    I have never posted on a message forumn before, although I have been a lurker on many before. I have only started reading forumns with lds themes recently (mostly this one). But this thread caught my interest because of the struggles I too have had with sadness and sometimes depression.

    I connect greatly to Mark N.’s thoughts of sometimes the extra knowledge of the gospel may not lead us to happiness but more to a feeling of failure.

    On my mission, I had times of sadness. It seemed to originate from the diffuclty in obtaining a desire for the work. I did not like missionary work. I felt like I had a strong testimony of the gospel, but this somehow seemed to make things worse. Any type of suicidal thought I had reminded me of my testimony that death does not end things. My soul would live forever, and if I remember right, the BOM teaches that whatever things that we are struggling with here would continue in the afterlife. How depressing is that. This led to thoughts of non-existence. In my worst of times I just didn’t want to exist. Through prayer, I was able to receive great comfort at the time that Christ knows me and understands these struggles. This helped me to fulfill my mission although I never obtained that desire for missionary work. Coming home from my mission seemed to be a great release. I had fond memories and learned great lessons but never had desires to remain on a mission like so many missionaries. Afterwards I often had dreams that I had to return for some reason and it wasn’t a happy dream.

    Its been about ten years since I have come home, but it has not been until recently that I have realized that the desire difficulties I had in relationship to missionary work did not end by coming home. I have the same difficulty with church/gospel work. Its just not as obvious because I don’t deal with it on a daily/hourly basis like I did as a missionary. But as I think about the law of consecration, I am deeply troubled. What if I were called to be a Bishop or Stake President or something really demanding? I don’t think I could agree to that. I’m sure I would be told its because of my lack of faith. That may be right, but what if I take it a step further. What is the end goal of the gospel? To be like God or to be a God and have your own worlds. That does not appeal to me. Maybe it is because I just don’t understand what that means or maybe it means my faith and testimony are slipping. At any rate, this thought creeps in my mind when I am feeling my lowest and it seems to suck much of the meaning from the gospel especially the effect that the gospel is supposed to have on you: bring you happiness.

    I know many of you may never see this since this thread is a week old, but have any of you ever had similar thoughts?

  24. No, but I had a very close friend who felt the same way for a long time. He had a perfection complex (“I can’t measure up to the expectations.”), and he was overwhelmed easily by what was required of him as a result of the complexity of his life even outside of the Church.

    He told me once that he finally put it behind him when we realized that “enduring to the end” was much more real to him than to many people – which gave him a practical understanding of the Atonement that many can’t feel in the same way. The recognition that his fear and lack of confidence would disappear in the hereafter brought him great peace. He still struggles with the same feelings on a regular basis, but each time the panic recedes he can put his feet back on solid ground again and start again. He has stopped expecting his condition to go away and has come to accept it as the biggest part of his individual cross.

    I don’t know if that will help, but it’s an interesting perspective that works for him.

  25. Anonymous, welcome to blogging! We hope you come back often.

    So I actually really liked my mission, liked the work, liked most everything (I’m crazy that’s the only explanation) but still contemplated death while I was out and about. I can’t explain it except that some days were so overwhelming that it would cross my mind speeding down a busy Tokyo street on my bike that I could just turn into traffic. Graffic, I know, but thoughts like that would flash in my head all the time. They still do I just never act on them. Missions shouldn’t be the judge of one’s devotion or belief in God and the Church. They are too many factors in my mind that can make a person have a difficult experience. If you’re private, introverted, hands-off, big picture etc kind of person then missions are NOT going to be great. Plus there are companions, and no matter how much you like them they’ll never be another time in your life when you have to spend 24/7 with a person. 1 person 24/7 = rough times. All that rambling to say I hope you give up any sadness you feel over your lack of desire on your mission.

    Secondly, along with my depression I’ve had some weird views of how the Atonement worked that are depressing. I thought for a long time that I had to present a perfect gift to God and since it was a mortal gift (though still my perfect gift) Christ would have to make up the difference, on top of my perfection. Like one of those United Way funds thermometers. Christ was the $200 I just couldn’t raise after my $9800. I felt guilt and shame over everything. And with my natural inclination towards sadness to boot. Anyway, I had to write down all the doctrines that I believed that were killing me and then I treated them like temptations, you know you think something and then put it out of your mind with a hymn or something. I didn’t always have correct doctrine to fill it with but I was trying to remove some of things that I believed that really kept me sad. Anyway, that process helped me a lot. I have a wholly different view of Christ now and what the Atonement means in my perfection.

  26. I said God isn’t happy and I meant it.

    We read the account of Enoch who was amazed to behold God weeping. It’s probably one of the most profound passages in the entire Pearl of Great Price.

    If God is perfect, why would He ever be sad?

    Once you think about it a bit, it’s a radical concept that challenges our traditional assumptions about exhaltation and perfection. Sorrow and happiness are both a part of perfection and our capacity to feel both deeply are a measure of our own inner godliness.

    I have plenty of bitter memories from my own mission. But I treasure them just as much as the happy memories, if not more.

  27. anonymous says:

    Thank-you for the comments. I don’t think I have a perfection complex. I feel pretty good about myself if I’m just putting forth the effort and it doesn’t have to be a perfect effort. Sometimes I just don’t care to put forth any effort and only do the minimum to keep my life intact. Maybe that isn’t serious depression because I care enough to keep my life intact. I just know that if I let my life fall apart than it will be much more difficult down the road to put it back together, so I don’t let it fall apart. So I don’t think I have ever felt any sadness from not being able to do it all. I feel good when I’m trying. Maybe its disappointment in myself when I don’t try all the time.

    I used my mission as an example of how I could feel a strong testimony and yet still struggle with my depression. The desire issue still gets me though. I used to struggle a lot about that scripture in Moroni 7:

    6 For behold, God hath said a man being aevil cannot do that which is good; for if he boffereth a gift, or cprayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real dintent it profiteth him nothing.
    • • •
    8 For behold, if a man being aevil giveth a gift, he doeth it bgrudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.

    I understood this to mean that my motivations for doing something was more important than the something I did. This was troubling to me since I struggled with my desire for church (missionary) work but still did it more out of obligation. This is still a struggle to me.

    Do I desire church service? Do I desire service to God? Do I desire to do the dishes? Can my desires change? Do I want them to change?

    Is this a big part of my “enduring to the end” or my “personal cross”. Maybe I don’t understand well enough how things will change after this life and how that can give me reason to hope for better things. Maybe I haven’t given enough time and effort to allow scriptures, prayer, service and the atonement to work on me.

  28. Anonymous,

    I posted earlier that I am generally pretty optimistic and happy, yet very sensitive to the emotions of those around me. Your mix of testimony and not feeling that you “measure up” or lack the correct motivations is not all that uncommon.

    Changing our outlook on life is not often an easy task. I would recommend two things to do. First, have a discussion with your bishop. As I said, your feelings are not that uncommon, and the bishop can at least lend a sympathetic ear, and guide you through the next steps.

    As much as we would like to think we are always in control of our emotions, we often suffer from depression and a sense of unworthiness for reasons completely unknown to us. Most areas of the church in North America have the option of LDS Family Services for counseling. I am well acquainted with the these folks here in the NW, and have had some of those very close to me take advantage of these services. These are professional counselors, certified, and generally members of the church with a solid foundation in our doctrines and culture.

    Cost is also generally fairly low, and the bishop has the ability if you can’t pay to pay some or all of those costs for you. It’s a worthwhile option. This is not to say that I can tell what you need, but one or two visits could help you decide if it would be of value to you.

    You say that you feel good when do good, but don’t always have the desire. I think I can echo that I feel that way sometimes, but have built upon the good feelings to try and do better. The Lord’s hand is always out for us, and He is the perfect judge.

    I’ve known people to whom that desire just comes naturally, like breathing. For most of us, we have to work at learning to love to serve. It doesn’t come so naturally to me either, but when I do, I feel good. It makes my life better, and I think I am getting better at the desire part.

    ANd don’t worry that desire is more important than action. If you choose to serve out of a sense of obligation, that’s a step in the right direction. Faith is all about doing things we maybe don’t want to do, or don’t yet believe, but just hope. Your posting indicates that you have the hope. Hang in there, and you can build that desire to change, and to serve, and to love others.

  29. anonymous says:

    Thanks Kevinf. I apreciate the confidence and encouragement. This blog certainly does provide an interesting avenue for discussion, especially personal things that one might not feel comfortable discussing with others. I find it quite refreshing. Of course I am doing this under the anonymous tag. After rereading my comments, I do sound pretty bleak. I think anyone who knows me would never even guess. But this may be the case with most.

    Its interesting thinking about the possibility of talking to the Bishop or to a counselor. I don’t know if I am ready for that. I guess I am still too concerned with what others think. I had a PPI recently with the EQ pres. He’s really great. You can tell that he really cares. I was close to disclosing somethings, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I know talking to the Bishop or a counselor is supposed to be private, I still have a hangup with talking to a counselor or even going to a bishop. You know, “only people with major issues talk to counselors or psychiatrists.” It probably would be a good thing for me though. Its been nice just to talk about things here and read others’ experiences and opinions. Thank you all for your thoughts. I may be back to add to other threads, hopefully under a real username.

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