At any hint of a mission call there is one sentence a future missionary will hear about A million times (okay not really, but it feels pretty close) “SO WHERE ARE YOU GOING?” now depending on the answer there is either gushing excitement, confusion, or the dreaded “Oh…. congratulations.. I guess”
No I was met with almost none of these, except confusion and “wait really?” Now before I explain why this is, I may quickly mention this is a post I’ve been meaning to do for 7 weeks now. One I’ve thought about, drafted mentally and made notes about. So for now it is is story time.
I was born and raised in the Kapiti Coast of New Zealand. I still live in the same house we built when I was 5.
Kapiti is a 45 minute drive north from the capital of New Zealand. Wellington City. Thus we live In the Wellington mission boundaries.
So obviously the one place I won’t be sent is the Wellington mission.
When I submitted my papers back in February, the waiting seemed like forever. March came, expecting a letter in the mailbox any day. Instead a month after submission I got an email saying they were missing a blood result and couldn’t forward it through to salt lake until they had that. Same day I raced out got the blood test and went home. I the next day my doctor emailed me the results and I forwarded them on.
So now the real wait began right?
March ended. April came, and with that so did my access to my mission email address (what only can be accessed once your call has been sent) a month passed and after weeks of nothing I contacted stake president. He called me.
So I guess my circumstances have never been considered normal. But normal is boring right? (I mean as I type this I have a cat happily curled up on my lower back kneading and purring)
I mean my childhood is probably considered not so normal, raised by parents who worked in/on movies. Living in a small down. Competitive gymnast at a young age. Also doing many other sports. Dedicating a huge part of my life to horse vaulting (I did gymnastics on a horses back) and aerial circus work. My love interest with writing started before I even knew how to tell stories, and I still love writing to this very day. But looking back through school books, it’s hard to notice the point when a bubbly happy child becomes depressed. Because as they grow up, the preteen and teenage years are pretty moody in general.
However there are some signs starting from the age of 9.
So when I was diagnosed with severe depression at the of 15 makes me wish we had known earlier. The shocking one wasn’t even the severe anxiety disorder. It was the social anxiety, however in hindsight it makes perfect sense.
That mixed in with the bullying from my peers and the loss of the thing I defined myself by (horse vaulting) life became progressively a struggle In many forms. Including the way I viewed myself. Satan had got in and I was miserable. It took almost two years of feeling constantly miserable, unsafe and suicidal before I told anyone. I was then removed from the public school system and then diagnosed with mental illness. By this point I had developed a horrible addiction to self harm. A very real and very dangerous addiction.
I never expected it to get worse than it was. But I was wrong, it did. Mind really does win over matter. I became unable to do anything. I essentially was slowly dying in my bed. It got worse till I in decided that it was enough and I had to end it. Almost dying did something for me. I should have, no one thought would make it through the night. But in came two amazing men. My wonderful stepdad Steve, and the most amazing man my granddad. They gave me a priesthood blessing, and I pulled through. The Lord did not want me to leave here yet. I had work to still do.
Months following were hard. But with amazing people around me, they lifted me up and helped me see my heavenly father. See the sacrifice the savior made for me.
Now two years completely clean.
It is hard to believe where I once was.
I am a living testimony of the healing power of the atonement.
So when I answered the phone to stake pres I was nervous. What was I about to be told….. I’m not suited to serve? I have to wait and reapply?
What was it?
When he said “you have been called to serve for two transfers in the wellington mission, and if all is well a new call will be assigned to you. Then at the end of the second transfer. You will transfer to the new mission”
I was shocked.
Today, June 6th 2015, 2 years proudly clean. my call information arrived. including the letter to my state president clearly stating that people with similar history as i own are honorably excused from service. However due to the strong recommendations of both My stake president and Bishop they are allowing for me to start with two transfers and go through an evaluation process.
So I am beyond happy to serve in my home mission and beyond excited to find out where I may next be called to.
I am so blessed to have this opportunity.
The Gospel doesn’t completely cure clinical mental illness, but it lessens its hold over me. I am genuinely happy, and yes I have occasional bad days. But I am here today. Exactly two years after being in hospital.
A living testimony of the healing power of the Gospel