My Contribution as a Crazy SSA Guy... :D

As many of you are aware, since my teenage years I have dealt with and successfully overcome most of the effects resulting from Asperger's Syndrome and Bipolar Affective Disorder.  Asperger's Syndrome creates a struggle primarily with social skills, which can exacerbate the problems that one already deals with socially because of their feelings for the same sex.  One may already feel as though things are awkward, difficult, heartbreaking, etc. because of their attractions, let alone having a mental illness that complicates things further.  I also would understand if individuals looked at their present situation as one of being shut out from others, even when they come together in a group such as Evergreen or Northstar.  It can become very difficult for them to associate with, relate to, or gain support from such organizational members.  To you individuals, please know you are never, ever alone.  More likely than not you hear this in context of people saying God is always there for you.  Yes, indeed, this is true-always remember that.  However, also remember that I am here for anyone who cannot seem to relate to others, who feels "on the outside", or whose heart breaks because all they want is to do what is right, and yet without social support cannot muster up courage to do so yet.  I am here for you, and my words right now come straight from the compassion of my heart.  You need to understand that though you may read these words as a perfect stranger, you and I are brothers (or brother and sister) by virtue of being children of God.  I see potential in you, like every other individual, and if you called upon me for assistance I would be very grateful and willing to help in any way possible.  Just remember, that you can find ways to attract more love and acceptance into your life.  Try these things for 2-3 weeks, and see what happens:

1.  Give thanks to God every day for every social blessing you have (family, any friends, smiles, laughter, fun, parties, etc.)
2.  If you see someone enjoying friendship, choose to feel happy on purpose for those people!  They are enjoying something beautiful, and if you are happy for them, you will find that it buoys you up and makes your personality more magnetic.  
3.  Love people just for the joy of loving them, and always leave it at that.  Just love purely and with eyes that see the goodness in the other individual you love.  
4.  Focus your efforts on listening and making others feel important.  They will appreciate it.  

As you practice these things, the 3rd suggestion is particularly important because unless you give love first you cannot receive it.  And love is never something that allows for expectation of reward.  Simply give, and you will discover the truthfulness of Christ's words that say, "it is more blessed to give than to receive".  We are more blessed (which, by literal translation, means "happy") when we are directing our primary focus outward, not inward.  

To my bipolar brothers and sisters, I honor you as well for keeping your covenants, and striving to do even better than you already are, doubtlessly.  I can understand that bipolar, with its "delightful" episodes, can create a choice point at which you either redirect energy to prevent episodes or in worse scenarios, you don't have much of a choice.  I would encourage you to read the talk, "Toward a Theory of Human Agency" by Allen E. Bergin, a brilliant LDS psychologist.  He speaks of how our freedom to exercise agency can decrease and increase, because of the weaknesses of the flesh.  And he explains in detail the various factors of our lives that affect our agency, and how it ties into basic gospel principles.  Perhaps this would help those trying to figure out their mental illness or those trying to understand it.  Needless to say though, I completely understand that such things are very real, they hurt, they drive us mad (that can be an understatement), and occasionally we do things that we later regret because of them, due to no fault on our part.  Don't worry-if you can't quite seem to "get a grip" sometimes, it's not because you're broken.  It is because other people want to fix something that is different in its function.  It still gets the job done, though perhaps more slowly, less efficiently, or maybe just in an unusual way.  What matters though, is that your persona is unique and you still do the right things, just with scattered idiosyncrasies.  We all have our strange little things we do...don't worry about it.  Relax, accept yourself, love the fun and weird things within you, and you will find peace.  And people will encircle you in arms of love as you do.  I would recommend the same things as above, with the added advice of listening to your body.   Sleep enough, take time out to relax, eat right, exercise, and just live the Word of Wisdom.  You deserve it, and you need it.  And when you really are worn out with all the various stresses of the day, or maybe you got done with a bipolar episode and things are messy, remember the Atonement (that goes for you Asperger's people too).  The Atonement heals the heart, strengthens the soul, and gives life to the weary.  You can make it if you believe.  

In conclusion, I would encourage you to seek out Christ whenever you cannot seem to find relief.  Though friends, family, priesthood leaders, and other individuals really help us quite wonderfully, I know He is the Master Healer.  You need not be "worthy" or "qualified" of that atoning blood.  Were it so, none of us would need it because we could be perfect and whole ourselves.  But since we cannot, and we need Christ to justify our spirits and bind up our wounds, He has provided the means through prayer whereby we can call down the empowering grace of God to cleanse and strengthen our spirits.  I testify of this truth, for I have experienced it many times.  Pray for angels to attend you, do genealogy to strengthen bonds with ancestors from the past, immerse yourself in the scriptures, and cast aside all silly notions that the world teaches regarding your self-worth or contribution to Zion.  You can make it.  Just believe Christ when He says you can...even if you can only desire to believe, let it grow until you do believe.  You are a child of your Heavenly Father, and you will find peace.  I know this, and I know my Savior lives.  May your coming days be happy.  :)

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