I am so happy to be sharing another story of someone who has done really hard things in her life. Meet Ashley Frederickson. Ashley is an amazing woman who is doing really wonderful things to turn her struggles into a way to help others overcome obstacles in their own lives. She is the founder of the website "The Power of One Girl" and is truly a force for good in this world that can be so disheartening at times.
I Can Do Hard Things- Ashley Frederickson
Hi, I'm Ashley. I'm the founder and writer over at The Power of One Girl. After struggling with self-esteem during my teen years, I have grown a love for studying how positive psychology, self-esteem, and the atonement all play together. I also love writing, crafting, baking, guest speaking to young women, and occasionally you'll find me coaching a girl for a local pageant.
What I didn't realize then that I know now is the Savior was right by my side at the moment, suffering just as much as I. I didn't quite understand at that point that Heavenly Father allows us to go through really hard things so we can learn and grow. No bad thing ever comes from God, He allows it to happen, but He doesn't cause it. Absolutely nothing happens outside of the eyes of Heaven.
I constantly try to run from hard things instead of facing them head on, I simply don't like pain of any kind. But in my twenty-something years of striving to become the girl I was meant to be, I've learned that gaining character and refinement isn't always comfortable, sometimes it's A LOT of pain, but it is always worth it.
When I am asked the question, "What's the hardest thing you've been through?" I sometimes just want to shrivel up because I have been pretty blessed. Some people face REALLY HARD things, things I can't fathom. And while I have faced pain, trial, loneliness, and sorrow; I really haven't faced the burdens some are called to bear. But I've learned that we have all come to earth called to go through different things for different reasons. We can't measure pain by the human eye, we can't compare sorrow and grief. God loves each of His children the same. The hard things we are called to bear and the things that will help us personally grow the most.
Oh, I know loneliness. Being the shy girl in elementary and Jr. high is NOT easy when you want to make friends but you're terrified of reaching out to others for fear of rejection; always being the girl that was left out between a group of friends or finding out you weren't invited to a party.
Oh I know heartbreak. Sacrificing so much for someone you care about. Doing everything you possibly can to help someone with an addiction, only to find that they still choose that addiction over all the support you have given. Going out of your way to do everything for this person and then having the courage to walk away when you've learned enough is enough.
Oh I know rejection. Competing in nine different pageants and never being crowned queen. From pouring your heart and soul into preparation to come up short and be judged by forty-five different judges.
Oh I know fear. Anxiety is practically paralyzing when it comes. I honestly would describe panic attacks as the worst pain ever. And then the guilt that comes after from living in fear instead of faith.
Oh I know mental illness. Growing up with a mom who had OCD only to be diagnosed with it myself two years out of high school. At one point of my life it paralyzed my normal routine and I found myself obsessing over every single door knob handle, handshake, restaurant, and illness the rest of mankind was looking over. Thank goodness it hasn't been as bad since. But that year was the most exhausting one yet. And then to face depression and ADD on top of it didn't make things any easier.
Quite honestly, the hardest time in my entire life was the end of last year. September, October, and November of 2015 were the hardest three months of my life and the odd thing about it was nothing REALLY TRAGIC had happened. I had just hit the end of my rope and I wasn't being an agent unto myself. I was allowing Satan to control every thought only to make me feel so miserable I started to feel as if I was a grain of sand just waiting to be washed up by the shore, never to be seen again.
At this time I was suffering from anxiety and depression in a way I had not experienced before. I would cry at least fifty times a day, I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating, but that's how real it was. I would lay on the floor by my bed and just cry, the hard cry where your face gets all tingly and you become so exhausted from the emotional drain it causes. I had left my job (long story I will have to share sometime) and I was looking for another one, although I really thought I should be "waiting on God", boy was I wrong. I felt purposeless, I felt miserable. I kept dwelling on what I hadn't accomplished in my life. I kept dwelling on why I hadn't been married and started a family yet. I kept dwelling on why God was constantly telling me "No".
I was dealing with the heaviest burden and secret a friend had told me at this time, a friend I never saw in person but would talk to constantly. I had never known loneliness like I did these three months. It was as if all the friends that I knew had dropped off the planet at this time. It was trying. It was hard. As much as I try to write these months down, as much as I try to tell you the story, I can't explain it like I felt it. I can't explain the worthlessness that I felt. I can't explain the pain that I faced or the fear that seemed to paralyze me constantly.
What I can tell you is that life gets better! It always gets better. During this hard time, as much as it felt like I had been abandoned by God and I was being completely overlooked and forgotten by Him, I now see so clearly how much He cared and was looking after me. I have no doubt in my mind that if I could get through those three rough months that had no visible pain but emotional pain that could be described as my own Gethsemane, then I know without a doubt that I can do hard things.
I was born to do hard things. Especially with my Savior at my side, going through everything I face. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Isn't she amazing? I love Ashley's passion for helping people who face mental illness challenges. Mental and emotional illnesses are very real and they are scary, draining, and hard to endure. One thing that makes them hard is that usually there is really nothing physical that you can see on a person who is suffering. You cannot see the pain that they are experiencing on a daily basis.
This is why we HAVE to be kind. We HAVE to strive to see other's through God's eyes and be less quick to pass judgments of any kind.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Ashley!
IF YOU, OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW, IS STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO STRUGGLE ALONE. You do not have to feel ashamed. The struggle is very real and there are resources out there to help you.
I am loving my second chance at life.
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