Turning Your Problems into Your Purpose

lovelyWe all have stories. Painful memories. Hurtful parts of our lives that we don’t share.

So often we feel like we are alone in these experiences. We deem ourselves broken beyond repair and remain silent to avoid judgement and further distress. The idea of highlighting these events is unthinkable. We just want to forget them and find a way to wipe the slate clean.

But what if the part of your life that seemed to knock you off track was actually the very thing that set you on your path? What if the toughest of times were designed to shape us rather than to shatter us?

If we can hold on through the roughest of times, we will be able to see the light in the darkness. You will find that the madness has meaning and that we are never alone in our journey. We are a part of something so much bigger than ourselves, and every sliver of this grand design has a purpose.

This past summer I unexpectedly found myself discussing severe depression, crippling anxiety, and the struggles that go hand in hand with them. I hadn’t planned on covering those topics. Many people who have known me for years would never have a clue about that part of my life, and while I don’t even begin to pretend that I live in perpetual joy free of worry, it has been years since I struggled deeply with the absolute terror and debilitating effects of those disorders. However I write about them now because I have realized that most people who are in that place are too embarrassed or ashamed to share it. I did not realize how rampant the problem was until I wrote a personal post about my experience with depression as a child. I was stunned by the number of calls and messages I received in response. Happy confident problem-free people all around me whom I had known for years were drowning in their pain and isolation.

Mental health is a taboo subject. It doesn’t make for great table conversation at parties or PTA meetings. People don’t tell you their name and then add their diagnosis, nor do they discuss when their children are battling these problems. This deafening silence has led countless people believe that they are the only ones struggling. They lose hope, and too often, they give up before they are able to see the light once more.

Don’t ever let fear and hopelessness defeat you. The darkness will dissipate, life will get better, and you will be most certainly stronger for it. There is a purpose in all of our lives. We are called to be so much more than we think we can be, and we impact innumerable people around us.

What is your purpose? What events in your journey have broken you? Or maybe the real question is what events have forged you into the person you are divinely designed to be? Can you make it past being a victim of your disorder / circumstances / life experiences and become a survivor? If you can survive, can you go even further and move into thriving? And if you can thrive, can you help others who have walked a similar path to do the same?

Yes. Without question. You absolutely can.

You are not your past. You are not the mistakes of other, their false judgements, the misunderstandings, or the unkind words they have been spoken to you. You are not your diagnosis. But you can take all of these and use them to help you become something bigger and better and spectacular beyond measure.

You don’t have to be perfect to change the lives of others in amazing ways. You simply have to be open to this world of endless possibilities, be willing to conjur up a little faith, and be strong enough to find a way to be brave in the face of your fears.

Own your problems, find your purpose, and always always always be brave.

Love and light to you – Jo

Conjure

41 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. revolutionarymusings
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 18:35:56

    I love this. I had a painful time growing up and I felt alone for so many years. But the bright side is I can use my pain to help others, to show them they are alone. I have been able to connect with people by writing and gotten tons of support. What gets me is that there is such a stigma about mental health yet so many of us suffer from it and if we don’t we know someone who does. It’s time we start talking about this openly. Thank for you the post

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Feb 12, 2018 @ 19:20:44

      You are always brave my sweet friend. I agree that the stigma is terrible. Ironically I’m fully certain that many who judge are actually suffering with mental health problems, too. They just don’t know it.

      Reply

  2. manyofus1980
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 18:49:29

    so much love to you Jo ❤ this was awesome! lovee it! ❤ xo

    Reply

  3. LA
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 19:43:01

    Xoxo

    Reply

  4. Shareece
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 19:46:35

    Thank you again for your words of wisdom. I remember all too well searching for help after a painful divorce many years ago when my daughter was a year old. Helping a little one who was in the peak of brain development deal with a broken home was horrible. I ended up reading so many books, going to counseling, attending DivorceCare, and I found many resources such as NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Health (https://namigreaterhouston.org/classes/nami-basics/). I connected with so many other parents via these resources. Connection is where healing begins. I learned so much on my journey to help my own family that I eventually sought a degree in psychology in order to learn even more and be able to share more with others. Pain afflicts us all through our lives; it is a part of growing in our relationships with ourselves, with each other, and with God. It is a shame that this mental pain and its symptoms remain such a stigma, and it is shame itself that keeps us in this hiding mode. Working through shame, and eventually past shame, is a process, and it involves working with each other. It’s important to remind ourselves not to let it cripple us! Shame is a powerful tool for the evil one.

    Reply

  5. preschoolstation
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 20:07:44

    I remember there being something wrong with me as a child but I didn’t know the name for it. I knew I was sad and felt different. I was often teased by classmates because I didn’t wear a size small or medium, I was always in the XL category. I was always sheltered and didn’t get a chance to experience life as a teenager or go hang out with others from my class. Studying and taking tests did not come easy for me, the answers didn’t stick with me, causing me to get low grades and become depressed. Until I connected with you a few months ago, I was afraid, embarrassed and scared to own up to the fact that I suffer from depression and have anxiety. I felt like I could finally breathe! Just typing those words was a huge relief. I know that I am not the only one but at the time I felt like everyone was looking at me and judging me because I was acting different. So I want to thank you for sharing your stories and encouraging me to get help and keep my head up!!!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Feb 12, 2018 @ 23:09:02

      My middle kid is a skinny minnie and I always joke that I dislike her for it. I don’t really (obviously), but I don’t have a clue what it’s like to be a string bean. It’s just not how I was built. I did fine academically but I was a mess socially. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere, and sometimes I still feel lost. Thankfully I now realize that everyone goes through this. No one has it all figured out, and almost everyone feels like they are trying to find where they belong. Some people just hide it more than others.

      You are surrounded by people who wear wide grins and laugh in bubbly tones in public. You wouldn’t believe how many of those same people are struggling just to get through the day. They are drowning in their pain even though they seem okay.

      You are never alone in this my friend, and owning what you have been through is a tremendous step in the healing process. Some days / weeks / months are better than others, but understanding that the dark times don’t last helps you remember to hold on when all you want to do is to let go.

      Keep being brave and know that you aren’t going through this by accident. You have this be design and you can help others who need it.

      You are amazing! Don’t ever let the noise of depression convince you otherwise. I’m so proud of you! 🤗❤️🤗

      Reply

  6. E
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 20:31:39

    Agreeing all over. I’ve been praying about clarity on how I’m supposed to use my story. I’m in a place now where I’m like hey god, use me or lemme go play. I feel like he’s got me on hold…anyway, meeting great writers while I wait so that’s nice.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Feb 12, 2018 @ 22:20:52

      I heard something a few days ago that resonated deeply within me, and I feel this is meant for you, too. “Be a part of something bigger than yourself.” You are meant to shine darling, and when you find your calling, it will be like play. I believe in you my friend, and I’m excited for you, too! ❤️

      Reply

  7. Sharon
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 20:55:03

    Ah Joanna… Thank you for your strength in sharing your story. You are so right..that this is a taboo topic that needs to come to light. And maybe the more we all come together here and share…While it came clear last year that my purpose in this life was to help others…I’ve been struggling with the how, and making things all fall into place. I have always been reluctant to share the messiness of my life with the battles with depression and anxiety…but, one thing that is starting to become obvious to me….everybody has their own form of messiness. It’s that messiness that will allow doors to open and our own lights to shine as we talk about what we have been through and how we have dealt with things.

    Again, I am so glad that you shared this today… It was exactly what I needed.

    Reply

  8. Jodi
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 21:30:53

    Wish my nephew had had someone to talk to like you – maybe he’d still be here – stay strong friend – you, like I, know that ultimately it’s worth it!

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Feb 12, 2018 @ 23:28:58

      I think about him often Jodi. I was so much like him, and that could have been me. Truly. We all need help sometimes, but those who need it most don’t realize that they really aren’t the only ones, the darkness does pass, and there are so many people who want to help them. I’m still so sorry for your family and all that they will forever carry from that moment. He’s still with you always, but it’s not the same. I love you my friend. ❤️

      Reply

  9. shalini
    Feb 12, 2018 @ 22:34:12

    Hey Jo, as usual a beautiful post, as beautiful as you. I can only talk about being a survivor of the dark days of childhood. You are right, being a survivor just reminds me that I can thrive and be happy. I am, too most days. Some days are bad, I accept that those days will come and go. On those sad days, I see to it that I pamper myself, do what I want to. I still cry for my lost childhood, but that’s few and far between.
    When I wrote the post darkness, I had few men say congratulations. I was angry then, now I feel sad that such people have no sensitivity.
    I was ashamed of those dark days, I wanted revenge, I was messed up in the first 3 decades of my life. Then it became easier, to accept that I can’t change it, I can only go forward and I didn’t want those episodes overhanging my life. So, I wrote the post ‘darkness’ it was cathartic and I have to confess I can’t go back to read it again. It gives me chills, that I went through it and survived.
    Oye have I gone off topic again? Well, your posts do that to me.
    I love when you write. Actually, I love you and all that you stand for

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Feb 12, 2018 @ 23:24:37

      I don’t know if people are insensitive as much as they just don’t know what to say. We see so many people hide their hurts. Their shame. Their fears. Acknowledging your pain may come too close to their own. Or maybe they are just big jerks.

      But you are amazing. You are awesome. You are SPECTACULAR. I was blown away when I read that post. You always move me to tears when you share the rawest parts of you, and that post still makes my heart ache to the core. I adore you my dear Fablini, and I am truly blessed to have you as my precious friend. ❤️ Love always. Jo

      Reply

      • shalini
        Feb 13, 2018 @ 00:08:23

        Ahhh, Jo… Life happens sometimes. I just wish it wouldn’t happen to innocent children. But it happens.
        Getting out of that vicious cycle took so much time. Good days bad days.
        When I have my bad day, I accept that I am going to cry for the child me, and I cry out my grief. Then the healing occurs. It’s an every day thing.
        I don’t know what I would categorise my grief as. But I live one day at a time. I am having a good day today, I live that day totally. Well similarly I live bad days too fully.
        You are one of the bravest woman I know. And I generally think women are the braver lot in all the species. Your posts always give me an insight into the strength that you are.
        As a doctor I know, no one in this entire world is ‘normal’ or ‘perfect’. Well, doctors wouldn’t have work if everyone was perfect.
        So every time when I read your post, it doesn’t really show me the problems, it shows me the beautiful you, the perfect you.
        Having any form of mental health ups and downs, and writing about it, shows me that inner you. I am rambling today. Sorry brain scrambled by the flu virus. Unable to explain well.
        What I mean to say is normal and abnormal does not exist because we all are different. Who is to say what is normal.
        I don’t know if I have turned my problems into purpose or hidden them, but what I did was accept them. Accept my bad days accept my good days. I can’t change what happened to me, but I can prevent and protect that from happening to any other child I come across at work or otherwise. Makes sense? Brain kind of slow today

      • MoJo
        Feb 13, 2018 @ 00:35:40

        Oh I’m so sorry to hear that you have the flu! It’s the worst! And you are as brave as they come my germy friend. I always wish that my bravest friend could see themselves through my eyes instead of their own.

        Feel better soon my warrior companion. I adore you!

  10. overthehillontheyellowbrickroad
    Feb 13, 2018 @ 07:55:20

    This heartfelt post is so important. Our quirkiness makes us who we are. It makes the world a more colorful places.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Feb 13, 2018 @ 08:52:48

      I always say that quirkiness works when you are an adult. It’s charming or just plain funny, and you can decide to own it. But dancing to your own beat absolutely stinks when you are a kid. You get judged and ridiculed, and we believe the garbage commentary that we hear. I believe that this dynamic is a major catalyst for depression and anxiety in youth and, more often than not, is carried into adulthood. I wish that we understood how incredibly important our differences are from the beginning. Being different is the bomb diggety baby! 😘

      Reply

      • overthehillontheyellowbrickroad
        Feb 13, 2018 @ 08:09:54

        Based on current movie and tv show topics as well as media in general, I’m hoping kids are beginning to be exposed to this new, tolerant, open perspective. The movie Wonder is a good example.

      • MoJo
        Feb 13, 2018 @ 09:24:35

        If you haven’t already, read the book, too. It’s even more awesome. I played the movie “Mask” for my kids (old film with Cher, Eric Stoltz, and Sam Elliott – the man who mistakenly forgot to ask me to marry him). It’s a heart-wrenching but beautiful story. I hope that they take something away from those stories that sticks with them.

      • overthehillontheyellowbrickroad
        Feb 13, 2018 @ 09:54:31

        Me too!

  11. I tripped over a stone.
    Feb 13, 2018 @ 14:49:15

    Survivor, forged in fire. Thank you, Jo. You are a beautiful gem too! xo~Kim

    Reply

  12. lynnefisher
    Feb 14, 2018 @ 10:48:21

    Brilliant post – so well described and thoughtfully written. And most importantly so true! (Sharing on twitter)

    Reply

  13. misifusa
    Feb 14, 2018 @ 13:13:06

    Inspiring wisdom through honesty and heartfelt emotion. That’s why I keep reading your posts because you touch that place in us that we hide. And you don’t and that makes it ok when someone else says, me too. Thanks for your courage, your amazing writing ability and your friendship to everyone. xo

    Reply

  14. magickmermaid
    Feb 16, 2018 @ 16:01:49

    A wonderful post that will help so many people! Write on! 🙂

    Reply

  15. Evangeline Maiers
    Apr 23, 2018 @ 03:36:00

    I am so inspired by this! I was called to create a blog when I realized that there was a pattern in all of my problems, a story in all of my pain. By fearlessly sharing your truth, you are allowing others to do the same. Thank you.

    Reply

    • MoJo
      Apr 23, 2018 @ 05:43:46

      Thank you sweet friend. ❤️ That is a true compliment, and I appreciate it tremendously. I am so impressed with the raw beauty of your blog. Your words carry such palpable emotion. I appreciate the way you absolutely inspire me in return to own my worries and fears and to remember to find the purpose in them. Thank you for finding me so I could find you back! 😉

      Reply

  16. Jo Price
    Jul 04, 2018 @ 16:18:29

    Reblogged this on Life in the Spectrum and commented:

    Our stories are not written the way they are by chance. You are here for a reason. Find it! 🙂 Here’s another reblog from my MoJo (momentumofjo.com) site. Happy 4th to my state side friends!

    Reply

  17. Santé Bon Viveur
    Jul 05, 2018 @ 02:54:54

    What a beautiful post. I so admire your frank honesty aimed at helping others. Thank you

    Reply

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