One winter evening, while sitting around a blazing fire, an old American Indian chief was teaching his grandson about life, and the inner war that goes on inside of all people.

“You see,” said the old man, “this inner struggle is like two wolves fighting each other. One is evil; full of anger, fear, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, hatefulness, and lies.”

“The other one,” he continued, poking the fire with a stick so it crackled, “is good; full of joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, friendship, empathy, generosity, faith, compassion, and truth.”

For a few minutes the boy pondered his grandfather’s words and then asked, “So which wolf wins, grandfather?”

His bright eyes focused on his grandson, and the wise old chief said, “The one that you feed.”

I remember as a teenager sitting in a Sunday school class at church, and again later in seminary - seeing a film narrated by Elder Boyd K. Packer about the "music of our minds" - and our minds being like a stage.  It was basically taken from an article found in the January 1974 Ensign magazine.

Being the irreverent immature adolescents we were - countless jokes were made about this. Yes, we were somewhat mocking of a message from a servant of the Lord - for which actions I am positive there will be time assigned for me to spend in purgatory.

Those words so thoughtfully given many years ago are pretty spot on target, even more so today. Elder Packer talked about the influences that music can have on a person – their mind, and their spirit. I would like to take this a step further and include all types of media presented in today’s world.

In addition to questionable music, there are movies, books, video games, television, internet, texting and so-called “smart” phones - the list goes on (and on, and on). Each of these can provide much good in the world… and in turn each can also hide a significant evil behind the guise of coolness, popularity, or even sometimes tolerance.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with the story of the two wolves. The question is... what types of influences do I allow in my life which are feeding at least one of those two wolves inside?

The scriptures say that no one can serve two masters - or in other words, it is not possible to feed both wolves at the same time. Negative and distorted thought processes which come with depression - can also effectively serve the wrong master, or feed the “evil” wolf. For me, this can be significantly enhanced by outside influences.

It is never an easy task to make changes in thought patterns - for me it has taken both ongoing therapy and medication (along with a great deal of love and support from dear friends). I still experience periods of depression - but I know to whom and where can I turn for peace.

I also know that my choices of media can have a powerful impact on all aspects of my life - mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually. I tend to be very picky about the quality and type of media allowed in my home and in my life - striving to select that which will feed the good inside.

It takes everyone

My [daughter], peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high;
~Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8

About a week or so ago, a dear friend and I were talking. She mentioned that even our trials and afflictions are actually blessings. My immediate thought was... well, they certainly wear a great disguise! How can something horrible or painful be remotely considered a blessing?

The more I pondered on this statement, the more I saw truth in it. It is from the hard times that we learn our greatest insights and lessons. Trials and afflictions come with great intensity prior to great blessings. The resurrection of Christ came after the crucifixion. The atonement came after the suffering untold pain in Gethsemane.

This may be difficult to understand, but I am grateful for depression. Huh? What did she just say? How on earth can someone express gratitude for something so incredibly painful and devastating? What I wanted was to escape depression’s intense pain by pretty much any means possible... and instead God gave me friends to hold me close and anchor me to life. God gave me what I needed, when I needed it the most - not what I wanted in the moment - for this and the lessons learned I am grateful.

Does this mean I want to experience again these past years of darkness and indescribable anguish? Oh heck no!! Does this mean I have learned what is necessary to never travel again the path of depression? Sorry to say this is not my current reality (if yesterday was any indication). But what it does mean is that I am stronger today than I was before. I know more today about the devastation of depression than I ever thought possible - and methods to pull out of a downward spiral. I am more able to recognize depression in others, and perhaps have opportunities to share and encourage them when they need a friend to hold them close.

You’ve heard the phrase, "it takes a village". In reality, "it takes everyone"! Everyone reaching out to God - leaning on each other for necessary support - bearing one another’s burdens, that they may be made light. (Mosiah 18:8-10)
I asked for strength, and God gave me difficulties to make me strong
I asked for wisdom, and God gave me problems to solve
I asked for prosperity, and God gave me brawn and brains to work
I asked for courage, and God gave me dangers to overcome
I asked for patience, and God placed me in situations where I was forced to wait
I asked for love, and God gave me people to help
I asked for favors, and God gave me opportunities
I asked for everything so I could enjoy life, instead He gave me life so I could enjoy everything
I received nothing I wanted, I received everything I needed
~ author unknown

Health news

Good news

I've been taking an additional medication to help with depression, and now I'm more upbeat than I've been in literally years (not quite sure how to handle this!!). What is this "miracle drug" you ask? Nothing spectacular, only a form of folic acid that my body can actually utilize. Deplin is the brand name - L-methylfolate is the important ingredient. For specifics, visit the Deplin website. For more personal information on this, visit Melanie at Methodical Musings of an Unbalanced Woman. She is much better versed on the topic than I am... I just know it seems to be working for me!! Thanks Melanie for letting me know about it!!

Bad news

Two weeks ago today, I had a clumsy accident. Me versus a cement staircase... guess who won? Hit my knee square on the front edge of a stair - ouch!! - and did a stunning tweak of my neck and arm. Tension headaches, migraines, aches, pains, and a nice limp (especially when climbing stairs)! Knee x-rays show no evidence of fracture... yippie!! But they do show... "minor patellar spur formation, and mild lateral patellar subluxation". From my point of view, this basically means painful knee for weeks (if not months).

Good news

My doctor told me to go get a good deep massage for my neck and arm. Sometimes it is just soooo difficult to obey the doctor's orders... HA!! Have an appointment setup for tomorrow afternoon (not soon enough for me!!). Thanks Admin Gal for convincing me to finally go see a doctor (convincing/threatening = same thing!!).