A few months ago, I read the scripture Moroni 7:45, and this part of it struck me:
What does it mean to endure all things? Will we ever really endure all things? And how does enduring all things relate to charity?
I sat and pondered this for several minutes before I had a brilliant moment of realization-- when we have charity, we really do endure all things, because we endure others' trials with them. For example, I may never lose a child, but when I feel pure love toward someone who loses a child and endure it with them, then it's almost as though I have endured the loss of a child too. The same goes for divorce, sickness, disability, infertility, etc. Now I'm not saying it's the same as going through it myself, because I recognize that there is a very real difference, but our pure love and longing to help gives us the ability to endure our trials together and never have to face them alone.
Ever since having a new light shed on this scripture, I have thought of it several times. My life has been forever changed by the charity of others enduring this trial of mental illness with me, but it has especially been changed this last week.
This last week was tumultuous to say the least. Thankfully, the mania was much less severe than the week before, but my mind was stuck in a dark, ferocious storm. Every single morning, without fail, the first thought that came into my mind when I woke up was that I wanted to die. Every morning. And then I would think about getting up, getting ready, and doing the things I had to do that day, and I couldn't help but think that I would rather die than do those things. And then all day as I would try to get myself to do the dishes, do the laundry, read my scriptures, etc., I continued thinking that I wanted to die. The thoughts were unrelenting and so distressing.
A few mornings, I skipped showering, because it seemed pointless, and because I just wanted to stay in bed all day and do nothing. One morning, as I got up, I wondered how anyone found the strength and motivation to do anything when all they wanted was to die. It seemed like it had to be a normal thing, but for some reason, I wasn't handling it as well as everyone else.
I hardly cried, because I was sucked dry of emotion. I just wanted to be done. That's all I wanted. But little-by-little, I was able to hold on through the absolute darkness because of the kindness and charity of others.
One friend sent me a message telling me how part of my blog helped her.
Another friend sent me a song to listen to that had a beautiful message just for me.
Two friends took the time to remind me that it is NOT normal to want to die every second of every day and that I really wouldn't feel like that forever.
An old teacher from BYU-Idaho reached out to me to share his similar struggles and what he has learned through them.
Friends invited me to do things and helped me get out of the house.
Someone put their arm around me in a church lesson as she saw the tears escape my eyes.
My husband listened to me and held me tight, when I simply hurt.
My daughter told me she loved me every day and that I was the only one she loved.
Most of these family members and friends have not personally felt the pain of bipolar disorder, but their charity, compassion, and selfless service has given them the opportunity to endure it with me. They may never have to face these struggles themselves, but they are one stop closer to truly enduring all things, because they are enduring with me. And their charity brings me joy through devastating darkness.