I Hated Myself
Have you ever been depressed?
Not a, “Man I don’t want to go to school” kind of depressed but an, “I literally can’t get out of bed and have no desire to see anyone ever again, I hate my life,” kind of depressed?
I struggled for YEARS with a mental illness (OCD) that left me feeling really, really alone and depressed about my life.
I was so afraid and I had so much anxiety that I lost all of my friends and gave up all of my hobbies. I just couldn’t handle anything more than surviving the basics of each day.
I would also get really mad at my family members- I would yell at them for the stupidest things- because I was SO stressed out that I was always on the brink of crying. Anything anyone else did to make me more stressed just made me snap.
And so I snapped.
I felt like such a horrible person- like no one could really love me unless they were required to by the law of eternal families.
I felt useless, and like I was making the lives of everyone else around me worse.
It got bad enough that I finally agreed that I should go to therapy. I didn’t care if my mental illness went away, I just wanted to feel good about myself again. I wanted to have some sort of self confidence again. I really hoped therapy would help. But it didn’t.
I prayed to ask Heavenly Father if He loved me. But I didn’t get an answer.
I read a million self-help books and they really didn’t help.
I became more depressed with every failed effort. Maybe I really was worthless and that’s why nothing was changing.
Every Sunday in Young Women I said, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.”
But I didn’t feel loved or important at all.
No matter how many scriptures or quotes I read about God’s love, I couldn’t feel His love for me. I knew logically that He loves all His children, but I doubted His love for me personally.
The Power of a Patriarchal Blessing
Then one night I sat in my bed, reading my patriarchal blessing. The depression was overwhelming. The feelings of worthlessness were overwhelming. I had been praying each day for help in feeling God’s love for me, for the feelings of worthlessness to magically go away. But they never did.
That night, however, something almost magical happened. As I read my patriarchal blessing something strange began to happen. It was honestly like a scene from a movie; certain words of my blessing seemed to stand out in bold print and almost come off the page and stand right in front of my eyes so I couldn’t possibly ignore them. They were words like, “loved,” “important,” “powerful,” “willing,” and “bright.”
All of these adjectives that God had used to describe me in my patriarchal blessing became suddenly clear to me. I’d never even noticed them before, but here they were right in front of my face, telling me EXACTLY how God sees me and feels about me.
For the first time in months I felt a glimmer of hope: maybe I did have worth.
I immediately grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil. I wrote down every single word and phrase I could find that Heavenly Father used to describe me in that blessing. I went over the blessing multiple times to make sure I hadn’t missed a single one. That night, I fell asleep with a feeling of hope for the first time in months.
Putting it Into Practice
When I woke up the next morning, the feeling was gone. I woke up with a weight on my chest and the thought running through my head, “You’re worthless.” But I quickly grabbed the list I had made the night before. I picked a single word from my list, “loved” and decided that I would repeat it over and over to myself throughout the day: “I am loved. I am loved. I am loved.”
The next day I woke up feeling worthless again, and so I did the same thing with a different word: “I am important. I am important. I am important.”
I did this every single day until I got through my list of words, and then I started all over again at the top.
Over hours, and days, and weeks, and months, I slowly began to believe what I was telling myself. I began to see that, in God’s eyes, I really am loved, important, powerful, bright, and so much more.
And when I started seeing myself the way God sees me, things began to really change.
Suddenly those feelings of worthlessness, those thoughts of what a waste of space I was- they weren’t coming anymore.
Because, what did it matter how others saw me, or even how I saw me, if God saw so much good in me?
It was a slow process, but I began to not just know that God loves me, but to feel it. I began to feel my own potential, my own power as a girl for God.
Your Value is Known to God
Now I don’t know what your story is. I don’t know what struggles you’re dealing with. But if you are depressed, if you feel worthless, or if you feel hopeless I want you to remember that Heavenly Father knows exactly who you are and what you are capable of.
“I testify to you that God has known you individually … for a long, long time. He has loved you for a long, long time. He not only knows the names of all the stars; He knows your names and all your heartaches and your joys!”NEAL A. MAXWELL, “REMEMBER HOW MERCIFUL THE LORD HATH BEEN,” ENSIGN, MAY 2004, 46
If you ever begin to doubt who you are and what you are capable of, I hope you’ll remember that God has given you a gift so that you can always remember; he has given you a patriarchal blessing.
You and I are more powerful than we know, but God knows.
So trust Him.
It will make all the difference.
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