an ‘okay’ day with depression

The nights linger on but sleep still evades, people ask if I know how to silence my mind. It’s not the noise or thoughts keeping me here in the dark unable to rest… it’s a white noise that no one else can hear that pulses not just in my ears the through my veins and swirls around in my head as though trying to wash out something that is not there. The exhaustion builds and my body can only handle so much.
some days or nights are a cold black coma where even after twelve hours of apparent rest, trying to wake me is near impossible. laying there with a body like cement and a fog over my mind that will. not. lift. The hours have passed, yet no energy has been granted. A thirst nothing quite quenches.
I roll out of bed and sit on the floor, I am not sure what is really going on. There is nothing, no emotion, no desire… I am just here. I bow my head to speak to Father in Heaven, I know here is there. I just cannot feel it, this disease separates us. The words are hard I’m not sure what to say.  I get off my knees and try to start my day.  I walk aimlessly around the house, but with no purpose.
I sit to try and organise my thoughts, things to be done today seem like a lot, but at the same time, there isn’t much. By this time it’s almost 12’o clock … I haven’t eaten yet. I should probably start with this.  I look for food but I am not very hungry.
I must eat. Eating is important. The Idea of food makes me feel rather ill. a hand full of sultanas is at least a start.
I sit in the bright sun filled dining room, aimlessly scrolling through my phone. not particularly reading anything, mindlessly gazing outside to the blue skies. It’s probably warm out. I should feel like going outside. but I don’t, so maybe later I’ll go out. maybe fresh air will help me focus, maybe I’ll enjoy it.
Eating these sultanas is taking way too long so I will finish them as I study.
okay just this page, just start with reading this.

” despite
the
above
counter –
arguments
to
challenge
the
Alfred- myth ” *

Crap… what was the first word again… okay read the sentence again…

“despite
the”

crap what happened in the last paragraph. The brain can you please retain something.

” to
challenge
the”

I can’t remember what I just read. my head is pounding and words are swirling

“despite”
“Vikings”
“great”
“failing”

I want to do this. But it’s not working. I am trying, brain, please.
Please just work!!!
The tears are wetting the book making it impossible to see what I am attempting to read. Head swirling and hotly frustrated with my own lack of ability.
I flop on the floor trying to clear my mind.
It’s now 3′ o clock, I’m not sure how long I’ve sat here.  I’m still not hungry, I don’t feel like cooking but I should. I don’t exactly feel like sitting here either. I don’t feel like anything. the white noise still courses through my veins, numbing fog. unable to connect to the reality surrounding me even when I try.
you can do this. Just get up. simple.
one foot at a time.
okay good.

I’m not quite sure what I am eating, but I’m sitting and I have some food in front of me. Just eat it. You need to.
I shovel the food down so I don’t have time to pick at it. I feel like I over ate. But It must be a normal portion.
phone buzzes

” you coming tonight? ”

Oh right, we have a family home evening tonight. I don’t feel up to going. I should want to, but I don’t. Being around people just doesn’t draw me in. However, I don’t want to sit here all night either.
Do you really have the energy? you are a mess. you have under and hour to look decent. make your choice.
You don’t want to be here, but you don’t want to be there…. what do I even want? why don’t I want anything. I should want something right?

” sorry I think I won’t be able to be there in time” 

See no problems. but why do I feel guilty? maybe it could be fun. you aren’t doing anything better. common stop being useless.

okay fine… I’ll try.
I shower, makeup…. okay I  am barely going to make it.

my heart beat is growing louder, it is throbbing in my ears… each step along the road feels like I’m going to fall.
maybe this was a bad idea. you can’t even get there. you are stressing over nothing. you’re fine.

But I’m late, well I feel late. that’s rude. If I’m late I shouldn’t go at all. you haven’t seen them in ages so what if it awkward. okay, you’re over thinking.
great you are crying. Calm the heck down. too late to back up now.
thoughts swirling, but nothing is coherent, head dizzy and heart echoing in my bones.
you are on the train. play with snap chat something. distract yourself.

cool so just a short walk. I got this.
sing hymns.. and walk.

no … no, I don’t got this. It’s not too late to go home

phone buzzing. crap.

hey do you think you will make it at all?”

you still have time to say no and go home. it’s gonna be fine

“hey yea I’m almost there”

crap.. okay breath and walk.
people are probably late anyway. so you are fine

oh yea.. I am the second person here.

small talk. please let me disappear.

more people. I feel sick.

this looks like fun, but why do I feel like I am participating through someone else’s body. This isn’t me, why am I not laughing? they are. this should be fun right? My chest is tight.
you cannot cry here. not now.
okay, talk to someone.

okay .. I can’t sit here any longer. I’m exhausted. I’m going to break if I can’t leave.

fake call?
text someone?
just leave?
bathroom and not come back?
lie?

okay…. just say you need to go.

Okay done. just to get home.

….
….

where did the past hour go? what was I doing?
well, I guess it’s time for bed.

I flop on my bed exhausted. I can’t focus on anything.
But the white noise. the numbness courses through my body…
How can one be so beyond exhausted and not fall asleep?
how useless I didn’t even cover half of what I was meant to do today.
crap. how am I going to do this?

Self-annoyance and guilt are sickening to my stomach, the pain makes me curl into a ball and try hold the pieces together as I feel them fall apart. Can someone please show me how.  why can I not keep up?   I want this to stop… please Just stop

I should be better than this.
I need sleep, I need rest.

I need energy if I expect to do this again tomorrow.

I roll onto my knees. ” Heavenly Father. I miss you”


Thank you for reading this.
I know mental illness can and will be different for each person who experiences it.
Mental illnesses are complex There are bad days, meh days. okay days… and there are good days. we cannot Judge everyone according to one experience we have or one person we know.
If you feel like you are struggling with any of these things, or you don’t feel okay. I encourage you to turn to someone you trust, to medical professionals, and your church leaders. Life can be easier and better!
It is something worth fighting for.

Love ,
391570539593422220117

Sunshine in Sydney, Sunshine in my Soul

Well somehow another week has been and gone!
For me it has a been a wonderful week, probably the laziest yet most relaxing I have had since returning. I know for others this has been a week that will have leave a memory on the rest of our lives. I hope we all choose to do something weekly that will impact our future selves for the better!

The week started for me bright and early about 2:40am monday morning, getting dressed, eating, and bustling into the car to the air port for a 4:30am check in! It was a wonderful flight, I enjoy Flying with Qantas airlines. Their fruit platter breakfast option is honestly my favourite thing I ever eat on planes along with orange juice and water. As the plane first lifted into the crisp monday morning air we were greeted by the most gorgeous sunrise.  One of those breath taking moments, where if only time would stand still. Where in that moment you can feel  the Love of the Lord whispering ” I created this for you” wellington sunrise
I love these moments, natural, unchanged by man, the Glowing deep orange of the sun sending playful rays along the purple and blue sky. Reflecting and bouncing off the deep green of the mountain ranges. The lakes as though liquid gold nestled among the emerald forest floor. No camera could ever fully capture the beauty of this view.
I arrived to wonderful 33 degree Celsius weather,  not crazy sunny but nice and warm. The first view I had of this wonderful country made me insanely happy! just the cliffs all around vaucluse, watson’s bay, and malabar. the city sky lines and even the industrial areas! first after going through customs. I went and got myself an Opal card for all of the public Transport in NSW. Now I love the Opal card system… unless you want to access the airport, then the price is ridiculous! (seriously $16.50 for three stops is pricey) Well after a train from the international air port to Central station, transferring to the T1 line form central to Hornsby. I finally made it to Thornleigh station. Where my wonderful friend Rachel was. That hug of finally being reunited without a serious 5/10 minute time limit was the best. We went to her house and just sat on her bed for a bit and talked. Ate lunch and laughed. Followed by a trip to the mission Office!
It was almost like i slipped back through into another reality, climbing between two worlds. That of home life and the things that New Zealand holds, and the of the rest of the world. Into my place and the city the became my playground. I may not know all of it yet, but these streets feel like home!  It was great to stop by the familiar temple grounds, see the wonderful office couples that I was so blessed to serve alongside. The blessed opportunity I had to stop by and visit President and Sister Checketts!
Then when leaving the grounds I saw none other than the Bishop of my last Area who came up and hugged me. not going to lie this was the strangest thing ever, we always saw Him there as missionaries so to attempt to shake His hand and to be greeted with a hug, almost felt like I was breaking rules… But hey I am not a missionary. How lovely it felt to be back!
Family home evening was great, we all talked about General conference! then Played a quick round of UNO… guess who lost, yes that is me!

Tuesday consisted of a nice quick get ready for the day and out of the door by 7:40am to catch the train into Central, get lost trying to find the address for a Job interview and find ourselves down the dodgiest looking alley way! Just completely dead and empty except two men chilling having smoko! After running late and getting in contact with the company. Having everything sorted we decided to make the best of our situation.. laugh, have fun p1100996and then find our way back to the station. I love this, getting lost and find my way to the insides of the city. Not the clean polished streets of the CBD or the busy building lined streets of people in impractical fashion and the suits, where the pace involves a hidden Jog and the hum of the streets become ingrained into you veins. But the back streets, the naked undressed up side of a city, where people seek solace from the pace, to become an enigma. This is backstage, the side of the show that others don’t often see. Without what happens here, the show would never perform. The pace would break and things may possible stand still. (Heck maybe occasionally this could be a good thing)
We made our way through the concrete jungle back to the station and headed out towards one of my favourite places for finding whilst a missionary. Bondi Junction!
Bondi Junction;p1110020
Here I introduced Rachel to the Mall (somewhere I had only been briefly) and the outside shopping area. We Picked up a few Items, browsed and had Lunch in the food court over looking the water and the city. seeing in view the Harbor Bridge and the Opera house.
We spent time just enjoying that which we had, and doing those things we haven’t done in a long time.. Like fussy Jean shopping 🙂

p1110016After a nice lunch and obtaining all that we wanted we caught the 333 bus to Bondi beach!
Where I had sorbet and Rachel had a savory scone! I enjoyed the fresh ocean water for a lovely refreshing swim, I may have got wiped out by a solid wave, much to Rachel’s enjoyment as she watched.

p1110055
We discussed many things from missions, the Gospel and just how great God is throughout the day! we read emails from those we love and we laughed. We enjoyed the side of Just living and having a friend to share it with!
Then the nice hour and a half journey home began. Arriving a little before 8pm to find the missionaries having correlation … Elder Bush whom I served with out in penrith Zone looked around to say hi and i swear He saw a Ghost “Hi! wait?!? what?! how?!” hehe
funniest moment, so after eating and them finishing their meeting I got to say hello to all four missionaries  that I had been blessed to serve alongside.
Rachel and I then sat on her bed with food and watched The errand of Angels and the beginning of the fellowship of the ring! stopping at 2am realizing we should probably get some sleep!

Wednesday Rachel, Her wonderful Mother, and I all went and did the 10am temple session! How wonderful it is to be in the temple with those we love, to be blessed to take through some of their family names as well was such an honor! I wish I could just talk all about this. But just the Joy of being there again, not Just at the temple of the Lord but at one I love so dearly with people I love as family is an absolute blessing.
We all then had lunch at home, went to the mall to pick up a few things. followed by dinner together and Then getting ready for institute.
I have never been to institute outside of the Wellington region. So it was almost a giant culture shock! A huge amount of YSA all gathered together. We talked about prophets and their role and how we follow them, it was amazing ot be somewhere where the YSA  engage and respect their teacher. It felt so good, it felt like the first lesson in a while where i was able to enjoy and ponder personally on a fer aspects of the Gospel.
Afterwards we Just hung out till about 10:40pm I met a lot of lovely people and enjoyed it very much. On the way home Rachel and I decided we were hungry so drove by Maccas to grab a snack. so we sat in the car and ate. Discussing different experiences we’ve had on missions and even a rather lengthy discussion on specific Gospel topics.
The feeling of complete peace I felt in the car home that night was amazing, the feeling of being in the right place with the right people. Another one of those raw moments, where it doesn’t need the catchy background music or even sound at all, no makeup covered photograph moments. Just those pure raw special moments where it feels like everything finally has aligned and the puzzle pieces are coming together. It just feels … GOOD!

Thursday Morning We woke up and Rachel and I headed off for another temple session, stopping by the mission office yet again to say farewell to the couple in there.
This session again was just lovely being with my best friend within those walls. Know what although 3 years have past, we’ve lived in different countries. served different people and spoke different languages. There is Joy in being united as Sisters, as Daughters of God! The friendship that although was once built upon mutual ground has grown deeper as our love o the Gospel has grown. our Friendship now has more of a base upon the important principles of eternity than that of the World!
Afterwards we went home, packed my luggage all up, had lunch and headed off!
However sitting at Thornleigh station a tradey came and sat beside us, so out of habit I ask how he was, he had the thickest accent I had heard in a long time, clearly from by liverpool England area … So we started talking, all three of us, asking about all my luggage and explaining  about how i had served a mission here and was taking it back home. So conversation grew and changed, He asked what is different about our church… GOOD QUESTION! SO next thing we know we are explaining prophets and who Thomas S Monson is, The Book of Mormon and inviting Him to read it. testifying. The flow was pretty good and the ability having never taught together in our lives to fall into a good pace was incredible. As we departed ways at central station we even obtained His contact details!
Accidentally claiming a new investigator as RMs? oops why not! we made a friend 🙂
Getting on the next train to the Airport and saying “see ya” so soon and yet again made me feel as though my heart was getting torn yet again. When you dont see someone for a long time you learn to live life with just the online contact you almost find it hard to remember any other way but you remember the fun with fond memories! But when you finally are together you realize how much you missed it. You realize when face with separating again how life maybe was missing an important person from it. Let alone the country itself I love and the place I feel at home!
I cried, no denial!
Then arrived nice and early for my next flight, waited and checked in. Hung out in duty free for about an hour and got there perfectly in time for boarding!

Thursday morning after being p14724414_542021089330905_8970125121781464311_nicked up by my wonderful mother and driven home. I cut off about half of my hair length, due to a series of unfortunate events! That lead to it needing some serious health fix!  fell asleep around 3am and slept through mostly until almost 10am. feeling rather sickly. i unpacked luggage and did the things in needed to.
Saturday again feeling rather unwell slept in and did chores before taking the niece and nephew down to a sports activity at the stake center, followed by an epic ward Quiz night, where our team was just our small family… guess who won!!! woohoo familia!

Sunday, well happy Sabbath!
Seriously this is by far my favourite day of the week every week. However it is competing with an amazing time in sydney!
But the talks in Sacrament were wonderful, I found myself asking and reflecting on how i can improve spiritually and again continue to further consecrate myself to the Lord, to refine who I am and become more of who He want’s be to be as His daughter. The woman He needs me to be as a future wife and mother, to aid my family and the community around me!
My CTR lesson went great! and I committed them all to do something special for someone else this week.
After Church we had ward lunch, where I was claimed by one of the cutest 3 yr old’s ever at church who ran up and told me she had been looking for me so she could talk to me, then she proceeded to sit on my lap and tell me about nursery and what she did at church. Honestly these small moments make my heart so happy, the sweet pure love of a happy little face running to hug me makes my soul literally soar, the cuddles, the hand holding the fun little games. They are priceless moments!  As Jesus Christ said “Behold your little ones”
They are precious! But then if we turn that relationship between Heavenly Father and ourselves, we are his little ones and we are so precious in His eyes, every bit of interaction between us and Him is pure treasure to Him, He Cherish’s those moments . However unlike this wonderful little girl at church we may not run and hug Him physically or sit and talk face to face. We kneel before him and talk, we pour out our heart and in return sit and listen. He does speak to us! through our feelings and thoughts. We can feel His embrace and all encompassing love encircle us as we turn to Him and strive to not only know of Him, but come to Know him!

I pray we all will be able to strengthen That relationship with our Heavenly Father and our Saviour Jesus Christ, through sincere prayer and study! Paying attention to our feelings and being ever grateful for all that He does daily!

I love you all so very much, I don’t say this lightly!

~ C.A. Priston-Turner xx

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mental illness an invisible war

Dia dhuit!

I hope we are all well and pressing forward. Because sometimes this isn’t easy.
I’ve thought about this post, and discussing this openly for a while. But unsure on if it will sit well with people. I want to discuss the daily effects of living with mental illness.
we will often hear about the crippling stages of depression or the all consuming effects of severe anxiety. But often I haven’t seen much aimed at those who have maybe fought their way out of those depths. Those who think they have mastered the illness and learnt how to be well healthy. But in reality they still suffer from the effects of it in their daily life.

I would in reflection of my own personal experiences  joyfully say I have come leaps and bounds in happiness and recovery compared to where i was 3 years ago. But am I truly 100% ?  well to be honest I may have never been. not until the Resurrection. Clinical mental illness can be things we may struggle with for a life time. Just as any other disease. Some may be born with diabetes, some develop it later in life, others may eventually beat the diabetes to be fine, others may not. So it is with Mental illness. No matter when, where, or why we struggle. It is real, it is hard and we cannot do it alone.
So although I was diagnosed with such illnesses at the age of 15, I had very clearly been seriously ill for at least 2-3 years already and with in hindsight years before. First clear signs probably before the age of 10, specially as i go back and review the things i used to write in journals or just the way i felt. Now in my early 20s I see what has changed and what hasn’t. Having spent time with counselors and psychologists, having been on medication. I’ve made massive progress, I am a completely different person compared to whom I once was. However this illness it still remains.

I want to focus specifically on two things I have personally struggled with, ones that are more common than we often want to Admit. Both depression and Anxiety.
I remember the moments when I was almost crippled and held down by the dense mist, unable to make connections mentally at the speed I had used to, the empty weight in my chest that slowly felt as though it was consuming me. To randomly be replaced with such intense panic as though my pulse swirled in my own head. where my Body would literally forget how to function for periods of time. Through much assistance, of medical professionals and the Lord I have overcome the severeness of the illness. For those who are still in this place it is possible. It may seem like it is not. But as it reads in Ether 12:27 :

 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

We cannot do this alone, this is where humility comes in. We need to accept the help we need, medical and spiritual. We can however follow the counsel in Alma 37: 35-37:

“Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
     Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” 

Give it to the Lord, pray unto Him for everything. Put your trust in Him, there is strength here. As we do so, we can make it through.
However we may wonder why sometimes when we do all that we can, we try our hardest and keep the commandments. That we may not feel the Joy or Happiness we have often been promised. We may question why, or what we did wrong to cause us to become that exception to the rule. we may ask ourselves if this promise was for everyone else but us. That maybe we have failed God and He doesn’t love us like he Loves others. This however is false Doctrine. He loves you and He want’s you to be happy. With mental illness, our brains do not let the correct messages to be passed, making it hard for us to feel these things. Or maybe they do pass through but not as completely as a healthy person. This is not your fault!
This is something we need to Pray and find ways to push through, learn to express these emotions with those around us so they can support us. It worries them. You are not being a burden on them. No they may not understand perfectly. But Jesus Christ does.

As is reads in Isaiah 53: 3-4 :

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

He has gone through every heartache and pain we have, He knows how to understand, He does. He went though all of this so that we Hopefully will turn to Him and draw strength from Him. As we apply his Gospel, all of those beautiful teachings into our lives.

There is a beautiful Promise in the 38th chapter of Alma in the Book of Mormon, found in verse 5:

 And now my son, Shiblon, I would that ye should remember, that as much as ye shall put your trust in God even so much ye shall be delivered out of your trials, and your troubles, and your afflictions, and ye shall be lifted up at the last day.”

This promise is for us also. He never said “as soon as you do this, things will be easy”
The key thing is it will happen, in this we have an essential principle; HOPE. we can try look forward, no it isn’t easy. But this promise is sure;
In the Last day we will be free! and we shall be lifted up among the righteous to meet our beloved Saviour and Redeemer!

But even if we aren’t in the deepest depths of despair we still live a life different to that of others.  Sometimes I feel as though because I was no longer where I once was that I have no reason to feel as though things are hard. I would be hard on myself and try push myself.
However through attendance to the Temple I have discovered a crucial thing about myself.

although I thought I was free,  that the illness had left. The moment I step through those beautiful doors I experience something. This may not be the same for others this is a wonderful tender mercy I receive and I live for.
I walk through those doors, and those things that I have been bound by on earth cannot have any hold. I feel the mist lift and my spirit lighten and I experience for the time i am within those walls a glimpse of is to come. The freedom that I long for, and thanks to the goodness of God will receive.
However I realize upon leaving those sacred walls That I am not yet free. That I still rely daily upon Grace (the Enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ) to strengthen me through this. I don’t have the same energy levels as others because I am daily fighting against this to Just live a normal life. It’s like walking through water compared to walking on a track course.
Each day is a new day and every hour can sometimes be a small step to focus on in itself.
People often forget that Just because we may not show that it is hard because we manage to live normal or to hold a Job, or even get out of bed, that maybe, Just maybe it took us a world of effort. Some days it may seem absolutely impossible to even fathom moving out of Bed.
But there is Hope, it is possible, even if at the current time it may seem like it isn’t. You can do this.  One of my favourite scriptures is Doctrine and covenants section 24:8 it contains one of my all time favourite promises from the Lord:

“Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.”

we are not in this alone,  take each day, each hour, and each minute as it comes.
One day dawn will break and we will be free, until this time we must hold onto hope and do all we can and seek the Help of those around us!

I can promise you the Lord will strengthen you!

I love you! But more Importantly the Lord loves you!

Sister Priston-Turner xx