Daring Greatly

"To be safe, we loose the chance of ever knowing" - Pocahontas

I took a look down at my paper then looked up at the congregation, took a deep breath, and repeated the words exactly as I wrote them on my paper-

"I'm home earlier than I expected from my mission on a medical release for anxiety and depression."

The words came out heavier than I expected. So much has gone into getting me to this moment, Home & happy, and it felt like the weight of it all came out in that one sentence.

In the back of my mind, my whole goal was to make the audience feel uncomfortable enough by saying those words, so that they would never ask me to speak again and hopefully write me off as some crazy RM who will one day "pull it together" and not talk about uncomfortable & vulnerable things at the pulpit.

Looking out into the audience after repeating the words "anxiety & depression" was one of the most surreal "is this my life?" moments. ever. But I felt strongly that those were the exact words I was supposed to use even though this subject is not one often spoken about.

More than I can count.

But why is it that we are lead to believe that this is something to hide?

I'm reading a book called "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown and surprise! its about vulnerability.
My new favorite and least favorite word these days.
Brene's definition of vulnerability:

"Vulnerability is the willingness to breath through something where there is no guarantees. "
"Vulnerability is not weakness, It is our most accurate measurement of courage... It is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, of joy, love, belonging, and change.. We need to stop numbing vulnerability, because when we do, we numb joy, gratitude, and happiness."

Within the last year, making the decision to be vulnerable has given me some of the most rich and fulfilling experiences in my life. But with that, It has given me on an equal scale, experiences that made me wanna sock someone in the mouth a few times. Like I said in that first post after coming home, after a lot of prayer,  Heavenly Father and I made the decision to not hide or be ashamed of not only coming home early but of the anxiety and depression.
The struggles I go through give me the chance to use the atonement every single second of everyday in my life and help others do the same-
how great is that opportunity?

I think its such a fine line to walk and so everyone ends up just avoiding it. No one wants to talk to someone who is constantly negative and talks solely just about how hard their life is. BUTTTT, it also shouldn't be taken to the other extreme to where no one feels safe to talk about the struggles and challenges that made and are making them into who they are.

My bishop out on the mission said something one time that I don't think I will ever let leave my mind. He said he never wants to be the kind of person where he wakes up and puts a mask on. Using the lessons he learns everyday, he polishes and perfects the mask until it becomes perfect, shiny, and pleasant to look at by everyone around him. But at the end of it all, he takes off the mask and he is still the same ugly creature underneath. The time that Heavenly Father gave him to learn and grow were used to put on a face for others. Choosing to put on a mask over letting yourself feel vulnerable feels better than that second option. But we all make this choice everyday.

“Numb the dark and you numb the light.” 
“Hope is a function of struggle.” - Brene Brown

You are who you are -
because of the struggles you have gone through.

This whole being home, having to be a normal human being and worry about what I need to do with my life, school, dating, work..
And Id rather not do it.

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

To let ourselves be seen—deeply seen, vulnerably seen. To love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee. To practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror. To believe that we are enough. Because when we work from a place that says I’m enough, we stop screaming and start listening—we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.

Portrait of a Poet from Kendy on Vimeo.

Thank you Dad thank you mum, for the Chaotic Childhood
Because my life is like the ascent of a mountain
And it's true my feet hurt sometimes
But although the way is long and bruising
The road is beautiful
And the higher i get with courage and endurance
And the purer the air the more marvelous the view
I'm patiently climbing towards the summit
And the day that ill reach it
maybe it will be the end
But if not yet
then ill sit
I'll contemplate the view offered to me
And ill stay there silently
quiet and calm
Appreciating the deep joy of being
Simply being
a part of this world
And feeling the world living within me.

and just because Im still in love with it a year later:

We are the result of our experiences. Struggles and all.


  1. Welp, if your goal was to get a 30 year old out in DC crying - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Count me in as one of those people who struggles with these same issues. I would love to just sit and talk to you some time. Just talk and talk.....and talk. I think the world of you, Madi and I am SO incredibly proud and astounded at your brilliance.

    Let's you, me and Danica have a Skype session soon, please.


  2. I truly commend you for opening up about this part of your life. I believe that more young adults go through it more than we know. I've been there myself, and it's such a tough place to be in. But I got help and I realized that I am the only one that will get me to where I want to be. And now I can finally say that that point in my life is behind me. Yours will too, you're a strong woman!

    thank you for writing this!

  3. you are a lovely, lovely person madi! i love you! you are such a strong woman! i'm so glad we are friends!

  4. I want to go to there.

    I love everything about this. You're amazing!

  5. Madi, you're number one. Great post. I too was released earlier because of anxiety and depression. It is the most bizarre situation haha. We'll have to sit down sometime and discuss.

  6. This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing.

  7. you are inspiring. needed to read about vulnerability today. answer to prayers. I love you Madi.

  8. Oh Madi, I love this so much. What an incredible inspiration you are! Like every person you have trials and difficulties, but rather than hide them under a rock or pretend they don't exist, you share them to strengthen others to know that they aren't the only ones facing the same challenges. That takes courage beyond measure. What I love most about you is that you've been given the rare gift of being able to listen to so many promptings...and act on them. You know exactly what people need to hear and exactly what to say at the right time. So glad you are home, and finding joy in the journey. That sounds like a great book!! I will have to read it. Miss and love you tons. xoxo Lauren

  9. I really loved this post. I also have struggled with anxiety and really let it run my life for like two years. It took me so long to face the fact that I had it and to get help. I was really ashamed of the fact for a while and didn't want anyone to know about it. But eventually I came to realize that it's part of who I am but it doesn't have to run my life. I've also realized that I can better empathize with people because I have anxiety. I get it. You are great and keep being great!

  10. “In the Garden story, good and evil are found on the same tree, not in separate orchards. Good and evil give meaning and definition to each other. If God, like us, is susceptible to immense pain, He is, like us, the greater in His capacity for happiness. The presence of such pain serves the larger purpose of God's master plan, which is to maximize the capacity for joy, or in other words, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." He can no more foster those ends in the absence of suffering and evil than one could find the traction to run or the breath to sing in the vacuum of space. God does not instigate pain or suffering, but He can weave it into His purposes. "God's power rests not on totalizing omnipotence, but on His ability to alchemize suffering, tragedy, and loss into wisdom, understanding, and joy.”
    ― Terryl L. Givens, The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life