Piano Music Makes Me Think

I have this problem I like to call over-obsessing. When I like something I don't just like it. 
I love it, can't get enough of it, want more of it.
 This obsessing comes in all forms but lately piano music has been pulling extra hard on my heart strings. There is something about listening to piano music that really makes me ponder the deeper things in life. Pianos truly convey emotions to me that no other instrument or person or really anything for that matter ever could.
So as I was listening to my "New Age Solo Piano" Pandora playlist I started thinking about a book that my therapist had me read last year as I was struggling to get by. I remember I went into her office one day and I was so sick of not being perfect. I was so mad at myself for not being good at anything that I just broke down in sobs for a solid hour. 
What started out that day as a simple mistake whilst driving (I'm not always the greatest driver, oops...) on my part turned into, "I'm good at nothing and I will never amount to anything."
After hearing my rant, my therapist recommended a book entitled, The Gifts of Imperfection.

  This book is incredible. There is so much to be said about it that I can't even put it all in one post, so you must read it for yourself! However, there was one part in this fabulous book that I wanted to emphasize and that is the idea of 
As women, I would say generally we are very good at loving others, it comes naturally! But how often do we truly love ourselves? 
How often do we make mistakes and sink into the cycle of, "Ah (Insert Your Name Here)!! Why did you misspell that? You look like such an idiot now! What were you thinking?" We are so quick to love others yet so quick to judge ourselves. 
 Might I recommend that instead of this gross spiral what if next time we take a step back and say, "Yeah, I messed up. Crap. I'm human! Good thing nobody's perfect," give it to God and then MOVE ON. Can you imagine how much easier life would be?! 
One of Satan's greatest traps is getting God's children stuck on their mistakes. If he can get us to only think about our mistakes and never forgive ourselves then we can't progress and he will have won us over. I don't know about you but I am really tired of Satan thinking he can win all the time and the last thing I want to do is give him yet another way to be able to bring me down. 

My challenge for you this week is to find five things about yourself that you absolutely love THEN  write a comment about them on this post! You can write them anonymously or not! Either way, we would love to hear from you.
What are your strengths and talents? 
What do you love about YOU?

This is a week of "Self-Love." 

As President Hinckley once said we must simply, "Try a little harder to be a little better." That's all it takes; just a little bit of harder and little bit of better will make all the difference. That doesn't mean perfection! That means trying just a little. We can all do that, no doubt. 




You are walking toward the road of recovery, you are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but that doesn't mean that there aren't bumps in the road. Just because you're on the right path doesn't mean the path with be lit with sunshine and sweetly-scented flowers. It remains a difficult trek, and you could battle with the darkness for the rest of your life. Be not discouraged, these "setbacks" are normal, and often common when recovering from depression.
Jennifer Scott defines a setback as a "flare up" of depression symptoms. The lack of interest, the crying spells... You know what they are. The reason I bring this topic up is because I feel it needs a conversation; it needs a voice.
I had known what I wanted to do my whole life. Ever since I was small I knew I was going to be a nurse. I was going to do whatever it took to become one, and I felt that I had the compassion to complete the journey.
"It takes a special person," they always told me, "To be able to do nursing."
When I moved to Orem from Saint George, I imagined myself continuing on this path toward my ultimate career. It was the only thing keeping me pushing through hard times. Although I had taken a semester off, I had planned to start classes again in the summer and really buckle down into this passion of mine. I even had a roommate in the nursing program here at UVU, and I aspired to, some day soon, join her. I had my affairs in order and I went to the school pre-nursing academic counselor to talk about my plans. He looked at my grades, and a checklist he held in his hand. He spoke the words robotically.
"You'll have to re take anatomy. And physiology. And math 1050. And chemistry."
I was speechless. Those classes were hard earned grades that I had to really fight for, even through the thick woods that was my depression. I started to choke up.
"So you're telling me that I will have to retake every college class I've ever taken?"
He shrugged.
Tears spouted from my eyes, finally bursting through the guard holding them back.
"I'm sorry," I said. "It's just extremely discouraging to hear that I basically have to start over."
He said he understood and suggested choosing another school to attend, for I would never make it into UVU's nursing school with the grades I held.
I left feeling that the ground beneath me was sinking, and that I would surely fall into that dark place again. What was my plan? Where was I supposed to go?
The coming weeks was all working and stressing and sleeping and crying. Crying about what, I wasn't sure. I was also dealing with a lot of mixed messages from an ex boyfriend of mine, and on top of that I was feeling embarrassed about what I had become. I was embarrassed to admit to myself that my depression was not gone, that it was still very real.
This, I've come to see, was a setback. I've struggled to get back to where I once was, I admit. I struggle to find out what I'm supposed to be, when two months ago I was so sure. But this is all part of the recovery, my research tells me.
When talking about setbacks with Kaitie Forbes, a dear, dear friend of mine, we talked about what a "setback" is to us, and our fears surrounding them.
"I feel like people don't know the real me at times, and who I am deep down." she says.
I have talked with many people who feel the same way. They feel that when they are depressed or having a setback, their personality is not who they are; the depression feels like a seperate person we tell stories about.
Doctor David Blackburn of Scott & White Hospital in Temple, Texas, gives some advice on how to hurdle these setbacks:
  1. Use coping techniques. Techniques such as guiding your thoughts away from absolute determinations-- for example telling yourself that "eating this cookie is unhealthy. I am unhealthy."
  2. Improve dietary and exercise habits. If you take care of your body, you'll feel better. This goes for both physical and mental health.
  3. Ask about adjusting your medication. Sometimes setbacks can occur due to a dulling of your medication potency. Ask your doctor about raising your dose, changing medication, etc.
  4. Consider psychotherapy. If you haven't been to see a counselor or a psychiatrist yet, consider the possiblity of starting or returning to one. (If you live in Provo, I have a fabulous woman I used to see... Just ask me!)
In following this advice and, as I always say, sticking together, we can all survive and thrive with our depression!
Want us to know something? Email us at alyson_hannah@thedesertdaisies.com


Some Happy Things

Hey, all! Alyson here with just a happy little note on this beautiful spring day.
Macquel Anderson, my cousin, offered Hannah & I a Desert Daisy photo shoot and the edits are finished! Check out her photography blog here:
We wanted to share a few prints with you guys, so here they are:
Don't you love them as much as we do? Thanks again for doing them, Macquel!
Stay tuned for some really new and exciting updates we have for the blog, including our very own website! Ahhh!
Until then, keep reading and we will keep posting :)
We want to hear from you! Email us your story or feedback at: alyson_hannah@thedesertdaisies.com


You are Never a Burden.

Photo Cred: Miss Aly Marie Zollinger & depressionisreal.org

One of the most frustrating things about depression is its invisibility. 
Depression is not like cancer in that you can not just look at a cat scan and see depression in a person.
Depression is something that can not be seen by the naked eye.
Depression is something so deep within that it is easy for people to think that those affected by this disease are simply making up their illness to justify dramatics. 
Depression is a real illness. 
It's just like diabetes or cancer, if left untreated it can literally be fatal! Don't think that your emotional problem is any less important than those physical problems that are much more mainstream in our conversations.
It is rather unfortunate that emotional health seems to be so rarely emphasized in our society. This may lead you to question whether or not depression is even worth attempting to fix. I promise you that it definitely is. 
Your life is valuable. 
You are important. 
You are loved. 
Don't discount that just because you feel your problem may be too invalid to address. Your concerns are important and you are worth it. 

Seek help!! Your emotional problems are just as important as any other health condition and just like this quote alludes, depression should NEVER be something someone just has to "get over." 

On a more light-hearted note, we have some super exciting things planned for the blog! 
So keep checking back for exciting new improvements and thanks for reading!



A Guest Post from a Daisy

Depression for me, as well as many of those who have suffered from it, was a very gradual process.  I can’t point out a specific event that caused my depression, but a few of my experiences growing up led me to feel extremely insecure and unsure of myself which contributed immensely to depression.
When I was seven, I started dancing competitively.  I attended rehearsal about three to four hours a day, two or three times a week.  The team I was placed in had a lot of naturally talented girls who, in my opinion, were ten times better dancers than me.  Throughout the next 8 years of my life, I never seemed to be good enough.  I constantly felt excluded by the other girls because I was nowhere near their level.  Whether these feelings I often felt were absurd assumptions or could actually be justified, I was miserable all the same.
As I was growing older, the damage dancing was doing to my self-esteem only added to the typical challenges we all faced when entering middle school.  I never felt pretty enough, smart enough, or popular enough.  Since my confidence was so low, I also had a hard time making friends.  I told myself that no one would want to be friends with me because I wasn’t “cool” like some of my peers.  I resulted in staying home most weekend nights, sitting on the bus by myself, and walking alone during every hall break.  I was absolutely miserable.  I tried to completely isolate myself from the rest of the world.  I found it easier to be alone than have to try and fit in with kids my age.  I became extremely lonely and angry at myself.  I wanted to be a social and outgoing person more than anything, but for some reason I couldn’t gain the confidence I needed to make new friends.  In ninth grade, my family started to notice how serious my condition was, and decided to get me professional help.
During the next year or so, I hopped from therapist to therapist.  None of them seemed to really understand how I felt.  My depression, I decided, would never go away.  I started to accept the fact that this was something I would have to live with for the rest of my life. 
I am happy to share with all of you that there is light at the end of the tunnel!  Although depression may be something I struggle with from time to time, it does get better.  We will all have our good days and bad days, but ultimately if we endure we can begin to find happiness and enjoy this wonderful life again. 


If Birds Were Made to Fly, Why are You Walking?

The other day I was driving home when I came across five birds just leisurely walking across the street, right in the way of my car. I slammed on my breaks as to save the poor little birds; then I thought to myself, hold on, why am I stopping for birds? They can fly! I stopped anyway & drove off in a huff not giving these birds a second thought.

A couple of days later I was talking to my favorite five-year-old while watching her sister's soccer game. As we were discussing the questions of life according to a child she leaned over to me and asked, "How do you think Jesus made us?" We discussed several ways he could've created us (one of which included individual puzzle pieces) but after giving it some more thought, she said, "Yeah this is kind of hard. Can we be done talking about it?" I giggled and told her we could be done but...

I couldn't get this thought out of my mind. How did Jesus create us? What did He want us to achieve? Continuing to ponder this, I came to the realization that in many ways, Jesus created us to in a figurative sense, fly. And just like the goofy birds I drove past, I often feel that sometimes we take the easy route and decide to just walk, even though we were clearly made to fly.  

Now I'm sure these birds from my previous day's drive could have given me some kind of logical excuse for refusing flight; however, for all intents and purposes of my story, I would venture to guess that these birds simply did not want to fly. Flying was too hard, too exhausting, too much effort. Yet there I was in my car watching these birds with WINGS literally yelling from behind the wheel, 
"Birds! Come on! Just fly!"  

Often I feel that Heavenly Father sees us just walking around through the daily grind of life. I know there are many days where the bare minimum is about all I can muster. But Heavenly Father also knows that we have so much we can achieve if we will just let ourselves fly and take that leap of faith. As Elder Uchtdorf said in General Conference, 
"[Heavenly Father] desires that we rise up and become the person that we are meant to be." 
Even if flying is too hard, too exhausting and to much effort, we can do it. With our Heavenly Father's help and the spreading of our wings, we can do all things. 

Moral of the story: Don't be a walking bird; Let yourself achieve greatness through our 
Heavenly Father, and fly.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Conference weekend! AND 
Look forward to a guest post this coming week!



Journal Entry

Just as Hannah did, I would like to share a portion of something that was written in my journal. Writing for me has been such a huge outlet, because I feel that it is one of my very best talents. My words are everything to me.

"...I choose to write it matter-of-factly because the alternative is a sad, hopelessly unhappy version that ends with me talking in circles and mentally solving nothing.
Why am I so afraid of emotion? Truly, I fear expressing them. And why? I have no idea. I have thought of going to see a counselor or something, but what would I even say to them? My words always come out wrong when I'm trying to explain myself. Maybe because I can't explain myself because I'm confused how I feel to begin with.
Where is my faith? Where is my trust in Heavenly Father? Don't I know by now that He is looking out for me? Don't I know that He can get me through anything? Maybe I keep getting torn again and again becasue I am not yet humbled enough. ..."

This was written just as I felt myself slipping into depression, before I was seeing Martha (my therapist). It is insane to read back through some of these entries and see how much I've been through, and how far I've come. What an incredibly terrifying, freeing experience I've had.


A Day in the Life of Depression from Han's Perspective

Depression was hard. That may seem pretty obvious but there you have it just simple and straightforward. I realize that hearing about this may make you think, "Ah, why isn't this happier? I want a happy ending." But sometimes depression just isn't happy. Eventually it gets better, but at the time it more than likely won't feel like the greatest thing you've ever experienced. As I was trying to remember what it was like to have a really really depressed day I went through some of my old journals and found this. I felt the need to preface it so that you, as our readers, know that everything does work out. It does change. People will still love you. And you will always have someone that cares. So never ever for a second think that you are alone and unloved. That is never true.

So here it is... a little trip into my journal: I used to think that the key to getting over depression was never letting my reactions to situations take over but I'm starting to think it is much more complex. I feel like I'm totally alone in this. Sometimes Heavenly Father remembers me and other times I think this is just all my fault. It's frustrating to never see an end to misery. It makes being happy so not worth it.I just don't get it. I'm worthless on so many levels. I guarantee no one will notice if I'm gone. And it's not like people need me. They would be just fine.
I hate that I feel like that cause I know it's so wrong. I just don't know what to do or who to go to. No one seems to have an answer and my prayers have become pointless because they are just a repetition every night of how much I wish things were different. I don't even think my friends want to be with me anymore. They spend a night with me and realize how miserable I make them feel. This just isn't fair. But maybe it is... Maybe I deserve to feel like this because of something I did wrong.

Wow. That was hard to copy and paste. My perspective on life has much been refreshed since that experience as I have learned that I will never be worthless! I am important and I can bless so many people. This also applies to each of you! So even if you don't have depression while reading this, I hope that the take home message for you can be that you are never alone. That our Heavenly Father always loves you. That the Savior knows what you have felt and wants to help you because He loves you. And ultimately that I've been there too and I did it!!

So love who you are! Love your flaws and work on them, but don't let them define you. And know that with each bad day, there will be a million better days ahead if you just 
keep moving forward. 


Guest Post: Lauren Lytle

Thanks to Lauren for sending us her story!
"Hello, my name is Lauren and I am 19 years old, live in Orem, Utah, and I am attending UVU. I grew up in Pueblo, Colorado. I just want to talk a little bit about my story of overcoming depression.
My depression all started my freshman year of high school when I was playing softball. When I played softball I always felt like there was pressure on me to be the best pitcher in the league. My dad pushed me to be the best and told me to never give up on myself. I felt that every time I threw a bad pitch or I didn't hit the ball that I was a horrible player and that I would never make it big. I started to get major anxiety and I was always sad and didn't know why. My parents started to notice and would always try to help me, but I felt like nothing worked for me.
One day my team wanted to have a team bonding night, so we went over to my friend's house, and we decided to go to a party. We went to this party and we smoked and drank and suddenly I was out cold. Waking up the next morning, I didn't know what had happened and I had a major headache. My friend had to take me home and I had to hide the smell of smoke from my parents. I felt like I had betrayed them and my Heavenly Father.
The next day at school, one of the player's moms found a text about the party and told the principal about what happened. The few girls that were involved got called in one by one by our pricipal and the coach and they asked us if we smoked weed and drank. We all denyed it, but they threatened to give us a drug test. My mom and dad were called in and I could tell by their face that they were not happy to see me and they were very disappointed in me. We could have gotten expelled, but we got suspended 5 games and a week from school. Because of that, the team had a horrible season and we didn't make it to state.
From then on I kept having problems. My mom and I started fighting a lot, and she started taking me to therapy. I failed my driver's permit test 13 times. My parents wanted me to transfer high schools, and that made me incredibly sad because I didn't want to lose all of my friends. I started to feel like guys were using and abusing me in my relationships with them. I have never been on a proper date and it makes me feel like I am ugly or fat. I started to gain weight my junior year of high school when I started to take some antidepressant medication. That made my depression even worse, and I have never felt so low, and to this day I am very self-conscious that I am trying to overcome. I am trying to take it day by day and trying to do things that make me happy. I feel like I am getting better and my roommates have helped me a lot this year with church. I am just so grateful for the people in my life, and I don't know what I would do without them."