I was diagnosed as a child with severe attention deficit disorder. As an adolescent, I struggled when speaking to people. In my adult years, I battled chronic social anxiety. I was able to rise above all of these challenges thanks to my mother, inspired counselling, a supportive husband, and my faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Music Healed Attention Deficit Issues
At the age of eight, I did not know what attention deficit disorder meant, but I do remember zoning out for long periods of time on many occasions. Within our family we experienced domestic violence. My home situation was of great concern to me and generated many fears. My attention was constantly on the problems at home instead of on my friends or studies.
The school psychologist recommended to my mother that I take up music. This was the most inspired counsel he could have given. I remember the first time that music had a huge impact on my life. When I was a small child in Primary, music brought me feelings of peace after listening to all the problems in my house. Playing the piano was the only thing that brought me tranquility when I came home. I knew that music was for me.
I went on to become my ward’s pianist for more than 10 years and also the music director wherever I went. I later played the viola in the orchestra of my country’s most famous music school, and we performed in several national theaters. The music in Primary, the piano, and the viola helped me overcome my attention deficit problem. My mother followed the inspiration she received from God to enroll me in these classes. As a result, I no longer had problems with my studies or other things.
Professional and Spousal Counseling
When I was in university, I started to suffer from stage fright. It soon grew worse and became evident not only in front of the public but also with the people closest to me. My voice sounded like an earthquake, trembling all the time. I began to realize that the abuse of my childhood was still affecting me as an adult. I thought I had completely healed from that trauma, but my new symptoms brought me a lot of sadness.
For the second time, this time of my own accord, I sought out a psychologist. I told him that my anxiety was such that talking to anyone caused me fear. He explained that these were symptoms of a social anxiety disorder. He gave me a number of personalized techniques to use to manage my problem and encouraged me to use them consistently. I started to improve within the first few weeks.
I began to excel in my university classes to become a lawyer and was recognized as one of the outstanding students in my university. Later, when I started working, I gained even more self-confidence and mastered specialized expertise in my vocation that few others possessed.
Four years later, I met my husband. He believed in me from the beginning. He told me that my way of being was unique, and that was why he loved me so much. He went from being my best friend to being my husband. With him, I was able to confide all my feelings. He always made me feel like I could do things and never judged me harshly. His support also helped improve my interactions with others.
Healing Steps: Scriptures and Temple Attendance
Two spiritual things that have sustained me are reading the scriptures and attending the temple. My patriarchal blessing clearly states that I should read the scriptures every day. I began each day by reading the Book of Mormon out loud for five minutes.
My blessing also directed me to go to the temple at least every two weeks without fail. The spirit of the temple filled both my anxious heart and mind with so much peace. The temple endowment illuminated my mind and calmed my worries. I came to understand that I could not live by dwelling on the past nor stressing about the future. I needed to live in the present (see Matthew 6:34). I learned to rejoice in the blessings God had given me—a good husband and two children—my greatest treasures!
Attending the temple and reading the scriptures have also helped me in having chaste thoughts. If we focus on inappropriate thoughts, our thinking becomes dark and prevents personal revelation from happening. Purity of mind gives us self-esteem, confidence, and love that dispel all fear. As the Lord commanded Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail, “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45). Virtuous thinking and living can empower us to feel and hear the voice of the Lord, and God will personally reveal what we need to do to help ourselves and others.
Seek Miracles of Healing
The miracle is that I can now talk to anyone. My voice no longer trembles like an earthquake when I talk to people personally. When I speak in public, it trembles a little for the first couple of seconds, but after that my voice is confident. Heavenly Father has helped me prevail over my challenges in getting a law degree. I presently work in the legal field for international organizations.
My experiences have taught me not to hesitate seeking professional counseling when struggling with mental health concerns. Psychologists have training to help us get our thoughts and life strategies in order. A school psychologist suggested music as an initial healing activity for me, while a professional counselor at university helped me take ongoing steps to reshape my thinking, priorities, and actions.
We also need to seek the support of family and friends. In my life a supportive mother and spouse have been great sustaining influences for me. Additionally, inspiring music, daily reading of the Book of Mormon, and regular temple attendance are key approaches for strengthening understanding of gospel principles and living according to God’s commandments.
Above all, faith in Jesus can heal our imperfections. At the same time, we can become instruments in Christ’s hands. We can learn from Him to help others through our talents and our professions, even if we are different from other people.