Living with same-sex attraction has been a lifelong series of ups and downs... and the time I spend down is pretty awful. Right now, my life is in order and I feel like I am on top of the world. But tomorrow, or the next day, it could very well start to spiral downward into an inevitable crumble into pieces... with or without my permission or any action on my part.

I have clinical depression that is unrelated to being attracted to guys or the rigor or stress of societal structures... which only adds to the conflict. When I write while I'm depressed, my writing is... somewhat depressing. So I thought I'd reflect on my feelings and then what gets me up and out while I'm currently not in the hole.

Sometimes I feel totally and completely worthless. Like no one could ever love me, even if they wanted to... and that if anyone knew about my struggles and the real me, they would reject me in an instant. I feel like everyone around me spends time with me just because they have to. People read this blog because they have nothing better to do. And even my family would disown or at least ignore me if it were allowed by Church standards.

In those moments, I don't want to talk with anyone. I don't want to do anything. And my mind wanders and offers me alternatives that could ease my pain - choices of addictions that could easily numb and soothe into an amnesia to cover my tears. If I give in, then I feel even worse. And even if I don't give in, finding the strength to pray for help and live my own life the way I want to, the pain is still there. It really doesn't make sense to ever give in... and thankfully I've developed habits that have kept me safe.

For me, peace only comes through the Spirit - from God. I can exercise until I'm exhausted, give service until I'm broke, organize activities and do missionary work... but ultimately the healing comes from God - not from any individual thing that I do.

I felt that way not that long ago. I had run out of coping strategies and finally found myself, at the end of the day, at the temple... asking the Lord to give me peace in the midst of the chaos. I asked, and asked, and asked, and asked... and then, as I was listening, He suggested that I pray for others - that I focus my thoughts on them. I did... and spent the next half hour praying for people, by name, asking for specific blessings on their behalf. By the time I left the Celestial Room, and had finished writing names on the prayer roll, my face was streaked with tears. And as I walked outside, I realized that a burden had been lifted from my heart. Somewhere, between my fervent pleas and the exit door, the Lord had given me the peace I needed... as I had focused on others, and sought the Lord in their behalf.

That's the one thing that always gives me hope and lifts me from the depths - finding some way to lift another. Seeing a need, and being able to fill it. Being a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear, a teacher, a friend. Somehow, my own problems disappear when I pray for others and reflect on their pain.

And then the days go on and the world is beautiful. Depression can be beaten, over time, and with help, on a continuum. And even if it doesn't go away or respond to clinical efforts, I can still live and breathe and find peace and joy in life - which is the same as living with attraction to guys... and all the emotional baggage that accompanies it. Peace, joy, happiness, love, hope, faith, salvation - it's all available to me. Yeah, it'll take a lifetime of hard work. Yes, it may not happen as I want or in my timeframe. But the sun always comes out, one day after another. The clouds always clear from my sorrows. There is hope shining brightly before me, and I know that deliverance is nigh... because God is with me, at my side, through it all - even when it feels like no one understands... or cares.
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