In the October 2013 general conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Jeffery R. Holland, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, brought attention to the mental illness MDD, or major depressive disorder.
“It is crucial to remember that we are living — and chose to live — in a fallen world where for divine purposes, our pursuit of godliness will be tested and tried again and again,” Elder Holland said. “Of greatest assurance in God’s plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer, who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials.”
Trenton Perry, a senior studying exercise physiology, said he has found himself in very low places, but he has seen his way through those trials.
“I came to a point where I only had a shadow of a testimony,” Perry said. “I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I chose to act on that shadow though.”
He said he continued to go through the motions even though he could not feel anything.
“I made the choice to read my scriptures,” Perry said. “I chose to pray. I chose to be happy. I kept doing the things behind closed doors that happy people do, like pray.”
He said he kept trying even though he was not happy at the time and he could not see immediate results, but over time, he said he could finally see a change.
“Eventually, it worked,” Perry said. “Eventually, I was finally happy again.”
Depression affects how you feel, think and deal with everyday situations, according to The National Institute of Mental Health.
“Depressions is something repentance can ease,” said Spencer Slaugh, a sophomore studying biochemistry. “Repentance is not something that always has to involve regret and sin. Sometimes, repentance is changing to become more like God. It helps us to stop feeling bad for ourselves. It helps us to feel God’s love. It helps us to rely on God’s love and strength.”
He said accessing the Atonement of Jesus Christ is giving Christ the opportunity to change us.
“It is a change of heart, whether that’s for evil to good, or downtrodden to joyous; that’s what it’s there for, and it’s through God’s grace through the Holy Spirit that we can manage the change,” Slaugh said.
Rex Butterfield, a faculty member in the religion department, said depression is not an illness that people should feel ashamed of.
“This is like any other sickness,” Butterfield said. “There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to it, even though there generally is. Diabetics aren’t and shouldn’t be ashamed that they are diabetic, and neither should those suffering from depression.”
He said he encourages those who are severely suffering from MDD to consult a physician.
“Because (this is an actual illness), there are some physical causes, and the first thing that they needed to do is go see a doctor,” Butterfield said. “There are things that doctors can do to help to balance out those chemicals. The Lord has blessed us with that knowledge so that we can do that.”
Elder Holland said that even as people struggle through the challenges and trials of this world, there is much to be grateful for and hope to find.
“We are infinitely more than our limitations or our afflictions,” Elder Holland said.
Elder Holland said to rely on the Savior and his Atonement when dealing with depression. He said members should turn to their Heavenly Father for love and support.
“So how do you best respond when mental or emotional challenges confront you or those you love?” Elder Holland said. “Above all, never lose faith in your Father in Heaven, who loves you more than you can comprehend.”