Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shouldering pain

Something weird happened.

Last week was overall pretty amazing. I was happy, and my pregnancy sickness almost completely disappeared. It was like I was living a completely different life. Almost.

I talked to Ben about it on Saturday night. I expressed how happy I had been and my fears that it wouldn't last. I'm really trying. I'm really trying to live to my fullest potential. I'm really trying to turn my hurts over to the Savior and not let the pains I experience bring me to a complete downward spiral. I've been a lot closer to the Savior, and I have felt strength and progress in the way I handled an extremely hurtful situation that happened last Wednesday and how that strength carried me through every day as I battled my depression.

Last week was like a dream. I felt depression coming back on Saturday night. As I talked to Ben, I said, "I think I remember it always being like this. I think I remember being a generally happy, loving, and forgiving person. But I don't really remember. My memory is foggy. It's like, I know I can live like this because it was that way once. If that was reality and not just a dream." He kindly reminded me that I did live a joyful, loving life once upon a time and that I could have that again. The Savior was showing me the light in the darkness. It's joyful weeks like last week that keep me going.

I reached a really high point.

But then, on Monday, the weird thing happened. I woke up and threw up almost all day (among other pregnancy awfuls). It was one of the worst pregnancy sickness days I have experienced. In the morning, I was doing pretty good. I had a positive attitude and every motivation to make it through the day with joy even though my body was trying to tell me it was experiencing anything but joy. However, by mid-afternoon and especially early evening, I was a complete mess. My sickness got worse throughout the day, and in what seemed like the flip of a switch, I was bitter and angry.

I begged God to have mercy on me. I expressed how much I was hurting (my body was hurting everywhere) and how hard it was to go on. I cried and pleaded, and nothing. No pain was taken away. I tried for so long to have a positive attitude, and when my body went to complete crap, I gave up and allowed myself to be bitter and angry at God for throwing that hell day at me when I had been working so hard to make big changes in my life.

After I explored the bitterness for a while, I finally humbled myself enough to pray and dig deep within myself to ask for help through the Atonement. I had voiced to Ben, "I know the Atonement will help me feel less alone and that God hasn't abandoned me. But I'll still be in pain. I don't care if I'm alone. I just want to have less pain. He may give me strength to bear the pain, but I don't want that. I want less pain." [There was probably some swearing in my head].

I honestly didn't know how the Atonement would help me in that moment. I almost didn't believe that I would feel any different. However, I changed my prayers from the begging for mercy and asking for help to asking for help understanding how the Atonement could change me through this or how the power of having the Savior by my side could really help me bear the pain.

Relying on the Atonement to bear the pain, rather than begging for the pain to be taken away, changed the whole situation. It's hard to explain, but I really felt some kind of physical lift of my pain. The pain was lifted just enough that I could think a little more clearly and know I wasn't going to die because of the pain. Ben stayed by my side, holding me and offering comfort, but I felt the presence of angels around me and lifting me up as well. And whenever I took my heart away from the Savior and focused too much on the pain, I lost focus on the Atonement. Thankfully, we have a picture of Christ on our wall, which happened to be in my direct line of sight while I was bedridden. Looking at Him and searching for understanding of the Atonement helped me feel lighter when I felt too weighed down.

It's amazing how light and happy I felt last week to the huge switch in my physical health that caused me to fall into bitterness. But it's also amazing how I can learn time and again lessons about the Atonement. I don't want to ever forget that experience because it really showed me how Christ can help shoulder my burden in a way I haven't experienced before. It's something I can carry with me in all my pains.

I really hate physical pain. I've experienced so much physical pain in my life that it's starting to take a huge emotional toll on me. And physical pain combined with emotional pain seems to hurt exponentially more. But I know that no matter what, I can bear any pain with Christ by my side.

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