Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Depressed Woman's Thankful List

Poor blog. I'm just not finding time to do this much. But here goes another quick post!

So, I've mentioned here on my blog several times that I struggle with depression. Lately I've seen a lot of blog posts and quotes and such about how being thankful will make us happy. Can you believe those lovely quotes and such just make feel feel terrible? I just start thinking, " Oh great. I knew it. It's all my fault I feel so unhappy all the time. If I was just more thankful then I wouldn't be miserable! I should just own up and admit my depression is all my fault because I'm just not grateful for everything I DO have."

Now, in REALITY I don't actually think my depression is all my own fault. I think some of it is inherited genetically and some of it is probably deficiencies or imbalances in my brain/body somewhere. Anything beyond that is just me being a whiny, ungrateful little turkey. ( :

But, it's hard not to jump to the worst conclusion- that's it's all my own fault! So, I'm writing this post to show that although I have a lot of negative thoughts rollin' around up there in the gray matter, there's a silver lining! I think I want to write this more for me than anyone, but I decided to share anyway. Maybe there's someone who needs to read it for some reason. Here I am, proving that I'm not a complete whiner:

The Complaint: I hate strongly dislike living in the Mojave Desert. It's just not my thing. I'll spare you the whole complaint list, but it's ugly. I sometimes get into some really negative thinking about having to live here the rest of my life. BUT...

The Silver Lining:

Pomegranates! My back yard neighbors have 2 large bushes of them and let me pick a whole bushel! We ate loads of yummy arils and made 13 pints of jelly. All for free! And there you are paying $2-3 for a single pomegranate. Am I right?

I'm totally grateful to live where there are pomegranates all over and especially that we have some right over the fence! It brings back fond memories of my childhood as we'd get a couple pomegranates each fall from my great-grandmother's bushes in St. George, UT.

The Complaint: Baby Z is such a cry baby! My poor baby who is 10 1/2 months just cries and fusses all day long. I can't figure out what his problem is. He screams so loud and I just can't seem to get anything done! I'm trying to teach the girls a lesson while yelling over his screaming. His tears and snot are getting all over my clothes as I haul his sad little self around while trying to do everything one handed. I think I'm going to lose my mind most days with this poor sweet baby.

The Silver Lining:
He has learned to stand and is so cute when he does it!  I just love to see that look of , "I'm so proud of myself!" He's so sweet and funny in those rare moments when he's happy. And he must wear himself out during the day because he's actually been sleeping through the night! Total bliss.

The Complaint: I wanted to freeze some pumpkin puree this fall. But I never saw a good sale on pumpkins here and when I was in UT we didn't have room in the car to fit anything else, so I didn't bring any home. I have some frozen pumpkin in the freezer, but something must have gone wrong with it because it now smells SO GROSS when you thaw it out. I need to throw it away. It was from last year anyway, so it's old.

The Silver Lining:
Looky what I found today at the grocery store! For all of $5 I got all these little pumpkins I'm going to make into puree. I was looking at the 69 cents a lb. sugar pie pumpkins in the produce section and moaning over how expensive they were and that it wasn't worth the effort when it cost that much. (Pumpkins the size of the ones in this picture would have cost over $2 each.) As I walked away from them I heard a man nearby call out, "Up by the front they have 'em for 50 cents!" I didn't have a chance to really acknowledge him or thank him, but he was right. These must have been the last of their little pumpkins and they just wanted to get rid of them. What a blessing! Having some pumpkins to put up really isn't a big deal, but I think the Lord put them in my path as a way of showing his love. It's kind of like getting a little love note from the Lord that just says, "I was thinking of you and I knew this would make you happy."

The Complaint: When we bought this house we thought we were going to have all kinds of lovely fruit in the backyard. Grapes, figs, pears, pomegranates, etc. Turns out the grapes were all so buggy they had to be torn out. The fig trees haven't produced anything edible, the pomegranate bush hasn't made a single fruit and the pear tree is dying. Wah!!!

The Silver Lining:
Although the pear tree may be on its last leg and it only produced a 1/2 bushel of tiny little pears, I was still able to get some use out of them! Last year I could never get the pears to ripen, but this year they finally did and I was able to make a dozen or so jars of pear butter! And even more amazing- the kids actually seem to like it and will eat it on a piece of bread. Woo hoo! It was fun to make as I've never done it before. You and's like some kind of strange addiction. ( :

The Complaint: I have a love/hate relationship with the community orchestra I play in. Half the time I just want to quit. I get bored, or my reeds are horrible and I can't play well, or I hate the music, or nobody practiced and we sound terrible....blah blah blah. I was not looking forward to the Christmas concert because it seems like we always play the same thing and it's so boring. Also the oboes are just doubling the whole time, and I'm doing 2nd oboe this concert, so I feel like I'm totally unnecessary.

The Silver Lining:

Guess what I get to play instead? Chimes, glockenspiel and xylophone! Yippee! I'm having so much more fun doing that for this concert. I haven't played percussion since 7th grade. After spending 1 year with a whole pile of 7th grade boys back there I quit and went for oboe so I could be all alone. Ha!   I've got a steep learning curve with playing these instruments I'm unfamiliar with, but it's a blast. And I've got a mallet playing brother who can give me playing tips. I don't even mind that the conductor has to keep getting after me for holding the mallets wrong, not playing loud enough, missing notes, etc. It's too much fun to care! I'm so glad they needed a spare percussion player this concert.

The Final Complaint: I can't seem to get a handle on my calling as Primary President in my church. I really shouldn't be a big deal, but it is for me! What is my problem? Will I ever figure this out? And why do I have a calling that is so difficult for me right now when I have so much else going on? Whiney, whiney whiney. Sometimes I even get so low as to complain that it's not fair that so and so has a much easier calling or one I'd rather have. Or so and so has a lot going on in their life, so they are given a less time consuming calling or something. What about me? What about my difficult life? Why can't I get a break?

The Silver Lining: The Lord is helping me get it through my thick skull that I should actually be grateful for my ability to do this calling at all! Would I rather have health issues, some kind of family crisis, multiple jobs and school things between me and my husband, or whatever to deal with? No of course not! Would I rather not have the education, experience and people skills I DO have that allow me to function as a Primary President at all? (Not that I have a vast amount of education, experience or people skills, but enough to be able to limp along with I guess.) Or course not.

So, the silver lining is just that I'm starting to see more reasons to be thankful that I have the capacity to fill this calling, even if I fall short and feel completely inadequate. Even if I'd rather be teaching Sunbeams or directing the choir. And what a blessing it is to have that. And what a blessing it is to have been raised in the church and have all those years of gospel instruction and experience under my belt. As we've had new converts join our ward recently I've considered how much there is to learn when you suddenly join the church in the middle or later part of your life. That would be so overwhelming to me so I'm grateful I got to take it all a bite at a time throughout my youth.

So, there you have it. A depressed woman's thankful list. Yes, I may go around with this cloud over my head and a load of stuff weighing down my mind, but at the same time- I DO see that little silver lining. I think it's what keeps me going when I just want to give up on life.

What are you thankful for despite your complaints about it?


  1. I really love this blog post, Holly. And wow, that pomegranate jelly looks amazing! My grandma used to make pomegranate jelly and syrup and it was delicious.

  2. I was really touched by this quote from President George Q. Cannon - thought I would share it with you today:

    “Now, this is the truth. We humble people, we who feel ourselves sometimes so worthless, so good-for-nothing, we are not so worthless as we think. There is not one of us but what God’s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are children of God and that He has actually given His angels … charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping.” (Gospel Truths, comp. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, 1:2.)

    Although I do not know you personally, I have been strengthened by reading your blog posts. Thank you for striving to do your best, keeping it real, and being a great example to me.

    Wishing you the best from Seattle

  3. Holly,

    I am sorry you struggle with this. I like the fact that you are trying to see the silver lining in things that you struggle with. You are so genuine. It is difficult for me to comment on this because I “see” such a different side of you. You are such a strong individual and I hope you are able to give yourself all the credit you deserve. I see all your strengths and the many virtues you possess and share with others. You really are quite talented in so many areas one being leadership. I hope that you are able to someday live life without depression.



    P.S. I loved your little Halloween poem.

  4. Thank you for sharing! I think you are AMAZING, and am so grateful for the wonderful job you are doing in primary! My children love going and always come home excited about what they learned at you must be doing something right! I struggle with the baby blues for a few weeks after delivering my babies, which has given me such great compassion for you who struggle with depression day in and day out. I really do think you are such an incredible lady, who has definitely made your weakness into your strengths, and I know a lot of that has come from you great testimony and faith in the Savior. You are such a great mother, which is the most important area for a woman to work at in this life. Even if you don’t care to live in this dry, desolate desert town, I am grateful the Lord sent you and your family here. I have learned much from our time together, and look up to you in so many ways! Thank you for your service to me, my family, and our ward!

  5. {{{Hugs!}}} I love how honest and inspiring this post is. Thank you for being willing to share your innermost thoughts with us. It helps to know we're not alone in our struggles!


  6. Knowing that you struggle with such sadness made me love your list of silver linings even more.

  7. Love this post. I struggle just like you do. This post made me smile.

    My complaint is that we're moving our of our sweet home of 11 years, leaving friends, familiar streets, and favorite grocery stores behind. And we're going to have 2 house payments for an undetermined season ahead! I'm scared, scared, scared.

    I'm thankful that Heavenly Father has opened the doors to this new home with more space and that He has whispered that He will "consecrate this home to our good." I'm thankful that I can trust Him to take care of us.

  8. Holly, I've been thinking about you a lot lately. I love reading your blogs to see what you're doing and how you're doing. Although I don't struggle with clinical depression I have struggled with it fro time to time- mostly hormonal so it's up and down with the monthly cycles. But, I can relate to how you feel a little. I wish we lived closer. I miss the long conversations we used to have in high school. Love you! Jessica

  9. It helps to clarify things if you make two lists What you enjoy and What feels a burden. Make an entry whenever something pops into mind. It's ok to repeat something. When you've made about 50 entries, sit down and read it. When you do make an entry it needs to be spontaneous, no editing. It's amazing how clearly you will see what's working and what isn't. You feel being President is a calling but you're not enjoying it. The calling comes from within and we all make mistakes. Don't let you ego keep you doing what you don't enjoy.

    1. Anonymous, I really don't understand your comment. Are you saying you think I'm sticking with my calling as Primary President because of my ego? Because if you are, you are SO SO wrong.
      I do this calling because I believe the Lord wants me to right now. It's hard, it's the most challenging thing I've ever had to do in my church, but I think the Lord has some lessons for me to learn. I've learned many in my first year and hopefully the next year or two will bring more.

      I'd be happy to be the building organizer/ closet cleaner or the hymnbook passer-outer or a teacher for the 3 year olds. I'd be happy hiding out in the nursery where I'd hardly have to see anyone. It's definitely not my ego keeping me in as Primary President. I do not want this calling and never would have seen myself in it. All I'm trying to do is humble myself and be willing to do what the Lord asks. I hope to someday even be happy about it!

      So, maybe I misunderstood your comment, but hopefully this clarifies my end of things a little bit.


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