My left side presses heavily against the floor, and my arms clasp my legs to my chest. Everything is falling apart, and I feel I should be able to fix things. I should be well enough to stand up and continue my life. Instead, my face contorts as my jaw stretches open, and I finally let out a hoarse scream. I hurt too much to keep all the pain inside, and the scream echoes my agony. My voice is nearly gone when the screaming dies, and as I bury my face into the coarse brown carpet, I whisper.
When no other sound comes, my thoughts plead to the heavens, let it stop.
I wait, and eventually my arms relax their grip on my legs. I inch out of the fetal position and my breathing begins to slow. My mind grows weary, and I welcome the respite. I lie on the floor a while longer, grateful that the pain is, at last, beginning to fade.
In this world, many people believe that depression is an illusion of the mind and can be cured through willpower. Not many understand that depression is real, and not a matter of choice.
I didn’t choose to be abused by a “friend” in elementary school; I didn’t want to start medication for my diseased mind in sixth grade; I didn’t want to be so suicidal that I had to be restrained and locked up in a hospital six times; I didn’t choose to writhe in fear as I tried to keep track of my hallucinations, shadows darting across the room, touching me, burning me. I didn’t plan on trying 32 different, unhelpful medications. I never wanted my temple marriage destroyed by an abusive husband with one of the most serious pornography addictions I’ve ever heard of. I didn’t want to be strapped down, knocked out and paralyzed for Electric Convulsive Therapy. I didn’t want one of the best psychiatrists in the nation to drop my case after I attempted suicide. I didn’t choose to be sick. No diabetic wants to prick their finger and give up carbs. I don’t want to give up happiness, but that is what my illness forces me to do, time and time again.
Those who have never suffered from depression can’t fathom the never-ending pit of despair with which I have constantly struggled. While most people fear death, and have not seriously considered it as an escape from pain, I have tried to act on suicidal ideations. I’ve cut myself. I thought that maybe I could “bleed out” my sickness. Maybe my blood would make the pain go away. Then my mother told me something I’ve treasured ever since.
“Jill,” she said. “Jesus already bled for you.”
This important truth changed my life. I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose to rely on the Lord. It hasn’t been easy. Part of this mental illness is feeling alone. While I’ve always known that God lives, it’s often hard to reach out to Him when I feel stranded, wading through this dark abyss called chronic depression. But I know that Christ has been here. He bled from each pore and trembled in unimaginable agony so He could carry me through my personal Gethsemane. Relying on the arms of Jehovah has brought me more relief than any other treatment, though those treatments have been necessary all the same. Sometimes, just living day-by-day is overwhelming, yet with everything I have gone through, I’m grateful that God loves me enough to keep me alive.
So I turn to the Lord. Nightly scripture study, constant prayer, asking worthy priesthood holders for blessings, and attending the temple helps me stay strong. People are surprised that I get up each day. Those who see past my walls and catch glimpses of the awful pain I somehow endure are amazed that I work, go to church, and write novels. How can you keep going, they ask, when you are so miserable? They say it’s because I’m strong, and they think I have courage. I say it is because of the Lord.
Still I am plagued by doubt. I have frequently thought that I must have done something wrong to be going through this. Maybe, I think, if I was not depressed, I would be a horrible person. Maybe I am just bad.
But if I allow myself to listen to the voice of my Savior, I am reminded of these words:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God…I am the light that shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. Verily, verily, I say unto you…cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart… Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God? 
My eyes are blurry from the tears that have streamed down my face. I am so very tired, but I’m glad that, for now, the pain has finally stopped. Slowly, I lift my head from the floor. My body complains about moving; I have been tense and still for too long. Eventually, I manage to sit up. Exhausted from the emotional attack I have just survived, I lean against the table. While I’m grateful no one saw me break down, I don’t feel ashamed about what I just endured. Despite the intense pain, I’ve learned a great lesson. My God has just reminded me that He loves me enough to send His Son to bleed for me. I close my eyes, and a small smile flickers across my face.
I am not alone.