Feature Friday: Hailey

I apologize for not posting a feature in a while. Life has been a little crazy lately and I haven’t really had stories to share. So if you know someone who is struggling who would be willing to share their story here then please let me know! I would greatly appreciate it and I know others would benefit as well.
Hailey is a student at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying Marriage and Family Advocacy and Policy. She loves God, her husband, and her cute little Instax camera. Her philosophy in life is donuts and even though it doesn’t make sense, it’s worked well for me! I actually met her when my friend asked me if I would be a second photographer at her wedding. So I took her pictures but I don’t really know her personally. The same friend asked if I could share her story and she said yes, so here it is!

COPING WITH MENTAL CHALLENGES

Life has a tendency to throw up on you. Everything is so good and then all of a sudden these icky trials are poured all over you and it’s impossible to make sense of it all. Has anyone else felt this way before? I sure have! Especially the past year. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

Ever since I got engaged, I have become very emotional. And not just the monthly womanly mood swings. I’ve experienced a constant battle to be happy and positive which has been so frightening because growing up I was always happy and positive. I used to have no problem facing the day. But starting about a year ago I would wake up and the only things that would cross my mind were all the things on my to-do list, all the things that might possibly irritate me that day, and how I am incapable of handling it all. UGH. Definitely not how I wanted to start my day. At first, I thought, “Oh, I’m just stressed with planning a wedding and a tough school load.” But then, school ended and it was still there. Then I thought, “Oh, it’s simply the birth control.” But a year has passed and it hasn’t simmered down.

This semester has been extra trying on both Sam and I. I am not myself when I come home and am not distracted by a busy day of classes and work. I’ve had many mental breakdowns and have dumped tears on hundreds of Sam’s shirts. I’ve felt stressed and overwhelmed; I have been easily irritated and confused; I have felt broken and weak. And I have not enjoyed it, not one bit. To make everything worse, Sam has really had a hard time too. Don’t get me wrong, he has done an excellent job at supporting me and he is one of the major things that has gotten me through the long months. But, of course, it has become taxing, especially when he doesn’t know why I am acting like this. Thankfully, we have great family members who are in the medical field and he was able to talk to them about what was going on. One of the suggestions offered was that I might have depression.

Depression.

A few days ago, on a particularly hard day, he told me what he had learned. Holy cow. I had no idea how to respond. I felt weak, confused, surprised, sad… but most of all I felt so relieved and hopeful. I kept thinking in my head, “I MIGHT NOT BE CRAZY!”

One of the hardest parts of the past year was my inability to explain all of this. Imagine you’ve hurt yourself pretty bad internally and someone finds you and asks you what’s wrong but you can’t speak. You can’t tell them why you are in pain. And it turns into a big guessing game. That would be so frustrating right?!? That is how I have felt when Sam tries to understand how I’m feeling. Usually, all I can say is “I don’t know.” I resent that answer but that’s all I can come up with because nothing makes sense.

But now things make sense! Huzzah!

Of course, I can’t know for sure if this is what it is. I’m going to see a counselor next week to get a professional opinion. But it gives me hope to know that all will be well.

Now, you might be wondering, “Hailey, why did you write this random post about your struggles?” Good question. In class, we talked about “coping”. Families face hundreds of trials and a few of them tend to be extreme. So what do we do when we face these trials? Some people say they just cope with it. But what does coping really mean?

To a lot, including myself, coping has a negative connotation to it. It means just pushing through whatever is happening and hoping for the best. But I learned in my class that coping is much more than just pushing through something. It includes our outlook of the situation and using the resources available to you.

For a year I simply tried to push through everything. But now I’m trying to use the resources I have, like family, priesthood blessings form my husband, scriptures, and the counseling center on campus, and oh, the difference that has made! It has brought my husband and me closer together because we are working as a team to cope with this trial. I also feel more in control. Rather than outside forces pushing against me, I have tools to help me push back.

In Chinese, “crisis” is the combination of the characters “danger” and “opportunity”. Coincidence? I think not! In this crisis Sam and I have faced, we have seen the danger of a struggling marriage, but we have also seen the opportunity for growth and increased love. The same goes for any crisis you and your loved ones might face. Instead of simply pushing through, try coping. Sit down and write down all the resources you have around you. You’ll be surprised by how many you have!

Then, after writing them down, take action.

If you can’t think of any resources, I know of one that every single person has. His name is God.

God loves you no matter if you are black, white, purple, polka-dot, or invisible. He loves you even if you have messed up. He doesn’t keep a “favorite children” list. We are all His favorite. If you are struggling, simply petition Him for help. Pray. If you don’t know much about God or prayer, I invite you to go to www.mormon.org  where you can learn more about God, prayer, and the Book of Mormon, three marvelous tools that will help you in the midst of happy times and sad times. Promise.

Alright, guys. Thanks for letting me talk about some personal things. I hope that someone out there might gain some personal revelation from what they read. We live in a big bad world filled with wonderful people who have probably gone through a lot of the things that we are currently going through. Let’s help one another, shall we?

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