I was in my late twenties with three little boys when I first started getting numbness in my feet. I didn’t think much of it; I figured I must have been sleeping strangely. A few weeks later my tongue went numb. It felt almost like I had burnt my tongue on some hot chocolate. When that didn’t go away for awhile, I started to worry that something was wrong. I had severe fatigue. I couldn’t function, which was hard with three small children. I went to the doctor where they started testing me for all kinds of things, but their biggest concern was Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system. Over the course of the next year, I had multiple MRI’s, blood work, and doctor visits. All of my symptoms made the doctors believe I did have M.S., but they couldn’t say for sure because the MRI’s didn’t show new lesions on my brain. My doctor wanted to go ahead anyway and start me on a medication to treat the M.S.
We did a family fast to make sure this was the direction that I should take. After the fast, I had the strongest impression that what was wrong with me was ANXIETY. Wait, what?? How can anxiety be making me so sick? It turns out I had been living with what they call Generalized Anxiety Disorder for so long that I didn’t realize that I had it. It had become second nature for me, but my body had finally decided that enough was enough. Anxiety is a normal response that the body has in a stressful situation. Let’s say you almost get in a car accident. In that moment your heart rate would increase and the fight or flight response kicks in from your sympathetic nervous system so you can react accordingly. After that, the parasympathetic nervous system is supposed to kick in to bring the heart rate down and all the other physical reactions that happen to your body in that state. For someone with anxiety, they don’t come down from the fight or flight. Their body is constantly maintaining this physical response. After learning this, I could see why my body was starting to wig out. I needed to get help with my anxiety so I could feel better physically. I also needed help with my anxiety so that I could start to feel the spirit better and believe the things I had been taught my whole life about my self worth.
When the Savior was on the earth in Jerusalem and in the Americas he went about healing all the people’s physical illnesses:
“Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.” 3 Nephi 17:7
In Matthew it goes on: “And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them” (Matt. 4:24). Jeffrey R. Holland tells of the Lord’s healing, “In rapid succession He healed a leper, the centurion’s servant, Peter’s mother-in-law, then a group described only as “many that were possessed with devils” (Matt. 8:16). In short, it says, He “healed all that were sick” (Matt. 8:16).
Driven to cross the Sea of Galilee by the crowds that swarmed around Him, He subsequently cast devils out of two who were dwelling in the Gadarene tombs and then sailed back to “his own city” (Matt. 9:1), where He healed a man confined to bed with palsy, healed a woman with a 12-year issue of blood (in what I think is one of the sweetest and most remarkable moments in all of the New Testament), and raised the ruler’s daughter from the dead. Then He restored the sight of two blind men, followed by the casting out of a devil which had robbed a man of the ability to speak. That is a quick summary of the first six chapters in the New Testament devoted to Christ’s ministry.”
The Lord took care of the physical needs of those around him so that they would be able to receive His teachings. It was after the people were healed and fed, their physical needs met, that the Savior could really teach them.
This was true for me. I was led to get help from a great psychologist, as well as finding a medication that has drastically help me to function and enjoy life again. My healing didn’t come in the form of the Savior laying His hands on my head and making me whole, but He has guided my path to caring physicians who are helping me to do that. As I’m healing my mind, I’m able to better feel and know that I truly am a daughter of God with great worth. I’ve come to know that God is real and that He is in the details of our lives. He tells us, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) We are His greatest work. Our worth is inestimable and He wants us to know this. Marion G. Romney said, “… he(God) also revealed to his ancient prophets. To impress upon their minds the worth of a human soul, he gave some of them a glimpse of the magnitude of his creations and then explained that they were but ancillary to the accomplishment of his purpose—“to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
“Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God; For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him” (D&C 18:10–11.)
If there is something that you are struggling with mentally or physically, please know that there is help out there. Start to take care of those physical needs so you can really start to learn and believe what your divine heritage is. I testify that God is real and that He loves us. He is aware of our needs and blesses us accordingly. We can live this life with faith and trust because God is in control. For me that means working everyday to continue to overcome my anxious ways, but I promise that it is possible. There is help and love for us on both sides of the veil.
All my love, Katy
Katy is a mom of 4 who has recently begun sharing her struggle with anxiety and some of the tools that she’s learned to live a full and happy life, despite her anxiety. Katy grew up in Mendon, Utah as the second oldest of 5 kids. She loves getting outdoors, curling up with a good book, and eating all of the cookies. Katy loves to laugh and have a good time, and she wants to share the love with other ladies so they can know that they are loved and enough.
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