Individual Worth is one of the seven values in the theme young women repeat every Sunday. For a long time, I didn’t believe individual worth applied to me. Just as I knew gravity existed, I thought I knew that I had no worth.
Some of us are left with long-lasting scars from the battle of adolescence, not making it through as gracefully as others. I was among these “casualties,” and about three years ago my lack of self-worth became crippling. I felt worse and worse about myself. I was sad a lot more than usual, and I was sleeping almost all day. Some days were better than others, and those days I was able to act like my normal, effervescent self. But other times it was a struggle to drag myself out of bed and brush my hair.
My emotional roller-coaster ride lasted for about two years, then I hit a low. Depression set in for good this time, and I could see no way out. Some mornings, a problem as trivial as running out of hot water for my shower was enough to make me weepy for the rest of the day. On days like these life seemed to me a cruel fate.
I stopped reading my scriptures and saying my prayers, and my efforts to draw closer to Heavenly Father came to a halt. Why should I pray to a God who didn’t care about me anymore? I felt utterly unworthy of asking for help from anyone, let alone my Maker. I believed I was helpless, hopeless, unloved. As a result, I became self-destructive.
When I hit rock bottom, my parents took me to a psychiatric rehabilitation center. Over time I learned to deal with my problems in healthy ways. I was able to reclaim the self-worth and self-confidence I had lost over the last three years.
As I struggled through the slow process of getting better, my mom and my good friend suggested I start praying again. The thought of praying terrified me. I couldn’t go to Heavenly Father for help now. What if I really wasn’t ready? For the longest time, I could not bring myself to address my Heavenly Father. I knew He loved me, but I just couldn’t feel it in my heart. Again, doubt about my self-worth blocked my ability to heal until one day I finally realized, “I have to start somewhere, and now’s as good a time as any.”
I found the courage to get on my knees and pray to my Heavenly Father. As I began confiding in Him about my fears, wishes, and what I was most thankful for, an immense feeling of pure love completely overwhelmed me. All I could do was sob. This was a sensation I hadn’t had for years. I had missed it so much, and now it was back, full force, and all I could do was cry and cry. I knew without a single grain of doubt that my Father in Heaven loved me, that I was His prized and precious daughter. Now every time I pray I experience a reaffirmation of that truth. I will never forget that I truly am a daughter of God who loves me. And I love Him.
Editor’s Note: For more information about depression you can read “Rising Above the Blues” in the April 2002 New Era.