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  1. Hannah, in 1962, about a year and 1/2into my missionq, I awoke one morning knowing immediately that some thing was terribly wrong. I guess I felt broken, but I couldn’t figure out why. I visiting some elders in a neighboring city, so the next day when I got to my city, even though still feeling bad, I told my brand new companion it was time to go out to work. In an hour or so I felt so weak and scared that I said to him that I needed to go home I was so weak that I could hardly walk,my legs would hardly support me. Once home I sat down and started to wonder what was happening to me: I was scared, I had no strength, I was embarrassed for failing my duty to be out tracting. After a short rest i told my companion it was time to go back out to work. Shortly, I began to feel the same way I had on our first sally, so we went back home, where I had the same experience I’d had earlier within the two days or so, I began feeling suicidal and begatoas to look for a place convenient to kill myself. I new of no reason for feeling the way I did at that time, but I soon remembered a passage by Brigham young which talked about there were devil’s waiting to possess us if we we’re willing to let down or guard by sin. So I started to wonder if I was under the influence I satan. I knew I had, while on my mission, looked at a naked woman I had found in an old anatomy book on an end table in a doctor’s waiting room, I had read an anti-mormon tract, I had reported that I’d put in 70 proselyting hours when so ashamed that I’d only put in 67 for the week. The list is longer, but I’m sure you can see the beginning of my scrupulosity. I felt so ashamed that I had succomed to Satan’s power that I didn’t dare talk my mission companions nor my president. When he saw how awful I looked and felt, he asked me if it was because of a girl. He knew that I was ill, so he called the church supervisor of missions, Gordon hinkley, who told him to send me home to get medical help but that I must return to Mexico in three weeks. The doctor completely examined me from the neck down. Because I was so ashamed tell him what was going on in my mind, I didn’t get the help I needed, so he sent me back to finish my mission, which to me felt like torture.//Because of my guilt and shame, I blamed myself for what had happened to me (I do wish now that my mission president and mr. Hinckley had had the power of discernment and thus could have helped me get the h!ealing help I needed). I tried to figure out why I felt the way I did and soon came to the conclusion that if I hadn’t broken some of the rules of the mission, I wouldn’ t feel the pain, shame, fear,and anguish i was suffering. So, in order to not repeat my ”sins,” I would try to become perfect in my thoughts and actions: I always walked to the corner to cross the street so as not to jay walk; I would stop my car while driving on a dirt road and remov a rock I thought might damage another car; if I opened a door, I had to close it, which drove one companion so mad he reported me to the president. These were just some my crazy thoughts and antics. I knew they were crazy and embarrassing to me, but I couldn’t stop them. To make a painful episode shorter, suffice it to say my pants no longer fit me well because I had worked my ass off in order to put a perfect close to my mission so as not to go home ashamed that I had fallen short in my duty. // I left the mission exhausted mentally and physically, full of anxiety, completely depressed, and still feeling ashamed and guilty. In spite of my mental illness, I married and had children followed by divorce. I never married until I was 33-years old. I just didn’t feel worthy enough. I now know that two unhealthy halves do not an healthy whole make. After a period of four years in which I examined myself, trying be honest with myself and no longer so ashamed to seek guidance, I started counseling. My god, my bright friend, nearly 60 years after my mission and after a suicide attempt and four hospitalizations I have finally felt trust in myself and the courage live and love more fully. I still get depressed and anxious at times, and my obsessive compulsive disorder raises its ugly head after certain triggers, but now at 79, I feel better than I have in years. However, I still see my psychologist monthly and my psychiatrist quarterly. You are right, my insightful friend, like you, I find that medicine as well as counseling is better for me. Four years ago I retired from college teaching. Listening to you talk about your college career reminded me of some of my students that I knew would probably do well by attending graduate school. Your drive as well as your good mind indicate to me that you have made a good decision. Best of luck, dear one! Barry Richins

  2. Hannah, I couldn’t find a way to edit my draft on my last attempt, so pardon me for my errors. Now I almost wish that I’d not told you that I was a retired college proffesor. However, i’not ashamed! BarryRichins

  3. Thanks for doing this interview Hannah. You’re doing a lot of people a service by talking about this. Thank you!

  4. Hannah: As a graduate of BYU, UVA (business school), and the father of three daughters (two of whom graduated from UVA), I feel like we have some common background. We always taught our daughters the importance of being productive and independent. And independence means that you do what you want to do regardless of what others from Church think. Many members questioned their decision to attend UVA instead of BYU (imagine that) and some question their decision to have a career and financial independence first, marriage second. Each time one of their LDS friends gets married, we tease them about getting old. And we are now seeing their friends’ younger siblings getting married while they have remained single. Daughter #2 is now talking about law school so who knows what the future holds.

    The point is, each person needs to find their own sense of worth and that is usually based on being independent. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t accept the love and companionship and help from others. But what it does mean is that it is very unhealthy to have a pre-determine schedule for marriage, 2.5 kids, etc. I admire what you’re doing. Good luck at UVA Law.

  5. Hannah, thank you for sharing. This is really important information and I wish you all the best on your journey to all kinds of health and happiness.

    John, please be very careful how you talk about mental health professionals. A PhD does not make one a specialist. There are many WONDERFUL master’s level therapists who are every bit as qualified, sometimes moreso, to help people with OCD and other disorders. You speak of a masters-level clinician as if they go to 2 years of school and voila they think they can treat anything. This is not the case. There are field placements involved, and 4000 hours of supervised work post-graduation and a licensing exam in order to be qualified. And every therapist I know (I am not one, although I do have an MSW) clearly understands their limitations on what they can and cannot treat. There are some highly-specialized therapies such as for OCD and eating disorders and no one, including a PhD level psychologist, is automatically qualified to perform them. It’s fair to say that ANY therapist needs specialized training to do specialized therapies. And some are generalists and are very good at that and will refer out as needed. Just saying, being a PhD does not automatically make one qualified, and being a master’s level does not automatically mean you’re not. Yes, absolutely seek out competent care, wherever that may be.

    And also, some of the best therapists I have known work for LDSFS (I do not work for them but know many who do/have). You do realize they have to have the same competencies to pass their licensing exams? They use evidence-based therapy, not just reading out of the scriptures :). As with anywhere else, there are good and bad therapists employed with them and I personally do not like many of LDSFS policies, but the individual therapists are all licensed and competent to practice in the mental health field, and will refer out if they encounter a client who needs specialized care they are not trained in.

    And, we won’t even talk about life coaches and some of the concerns there.

    Be careful with these generalized statements, that’s all I’m asking.

    Sincerely,
    A lowly master’s level social worker, married to a lowly master’s level therapist who is darn good at what they do

  6. :
    Olá
    Sou HILRAKSON BRASILEIRO
    Sou um jovem que buscar alguns,no final do ano passado eu tive a Oportunidade de conhecer dois Missionário do mórmons,dois jovens simpático é alegria ficamos mais de mês falando sobre as escrituras sagrada,tive a Oportunidade de ter em mãos um livro do mórmons é um livro do ensinamentos dos presidentes da igreja JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH,muito bom é interessante mesmo,fui convidado a conhece a suas igreja e tradições,mim interessei mais sobre vcs é eu escrevi para pedir algo a todos vcs que faz parte desse ministério,sei que tamos passando por um momento muito difícil mais peço a colaboração de todos vcs,eu queria saber se a uma possibilidade de eu obter esse livros em presso na minha casa,(DOUTRINA E CONVÊNIOS)(,A PEROLA GRANDE VALOR,)(ENSINAMENTO DO PROFETA JOSEPH SMITH)
    Eu quero ir mais a fundo nos estudos sobre esse homem do passado, pôr favor espero notícias de todos vcs,mim desculpa aí o incomodo sei que vcs são pessoas muito ocupado mais infelizmente eu peço a ajuda de vcs porque eu não tenho recursos financeiro para comprar esse material
    HILRAKSON BRASILEIRO
    RUA TRAVESSA GOIANA 01
    BAIRRO DAS CIDADES
    CAMPINA GRANDE PARAÍBA
    CEP 58421-670 BRASIL

  7. Hannah, wise beyond years. May you continue to be BLESSED to help others with their struggles. I will pray, for all of my own family who each has struggles with their own issues that they somehow find their way to the help you talked about. I kept all my insecurities, issures inside me so long I lost out on too many years of my life, battling my demons. Now I watch my children and their children battle the demons and I feel so helpless. I really tried not to be the dysfunctional parent, whom raised me. Yet, I still passed on dysfunctional traits. Religion was something that created my hatred for myself, knowing by 8 years old I couldn’t measure up to the acceptable standards. in school I failed because of my lack of learning with the methods used to reach to the mass student venue. I failed being the person to whom I thought I had carefully selected to be my life long partner. I was to the point of wishing my own life would end because I would never measure up to any standards, I was 32, mother of two young, beautiful, bright, children. The only thing I wanted more then death, was raising these two children then my third, a step child, to grow confident, courageous, and to know how to love themself. They are in their mid 40’s I am 72, and the 3rd generation is still struggling as well with their special issues. Yet, everyday I am super proud that I didn’t pass on all my insecurities, and in today’s world, People like you share and help others to know the answer for their “issues” can be found. THANK YOU!

  8. Hannah, wise beyond years. May you continue to be BLESSED to help others with their struggles. I will pray, for all of my own family who each has struggles with their own issues that they somehow find their way to the help you talked about. I kept all my insecurities, issures inside me so long I lost out on too many years of my life, battling my demons. (Depression, anxiety, OCD,) Now I watch my children and their children battle the demons and I feel so helpless. I really tried not to be the dysfunctional parent, whom raised me. Yet, I still passed on dysfunctional traits. Religion was something that created my hatred for myself, knowing by 8 years old I couldn’t measure up to the acceptable standards. in school I failed because of my lack of learning with the methods used to reach to the mass student venue. I failed being the person to whom I thought I had carefully selected to be my life long partner. I was to the point of wishing my own life would end because I would never measure up to any standards, I was 32, mother of two young, beautiful, bright, children. The only thing I wanted more then death, was raising these two children then my third, a step child, to grow confident, courageous, and to know how to love themself. They are in their mid 40’s I am 72, and the 3rd generation is still struggling as well with their special issues. Yet, everyday I am super proud that I didn’t pass on all my insecurities, and in today’s world, People like you share and help others to know the answer for their “issues” can be found. THANK YOU!

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