How to Cope With Post-Mission Depression

”Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (Jeremiah 8: 22)

thoughtful-manDear recently returned missionaries,

By now you have probably realized that you will have good days and bad days at home, just like you did while on the mission. Some days can even be really, really bad, and some may even develop what I have labeled as Post-Mission Depression, or PMD.

The symptoms of PMD may include, but are not limited to, random bouts of crying for no reason, a broken heart, the urge to help people or teach the gospel all the time but being unable to do so, not finding joy or satisfaction in doing day-to-day or menial tasks or activities you love, feeling guilty for just sitting around or wasting time, among other symptoms which are commonly found in returned missionaries with PMD.

Post-Mission Depression is a serious physical and emotional condition that, if left untreated, could possibly lead to damaging one’s spiritual, social, and mental wellbeing.

Is there a cure for PMD? Many will suggest common treatments such as going out with the local missionaries, doing service for others, or reading the scriptures. While these things do help those affected by PMD in the short run, a common response to such treatments by patients has been, “It’s just not the same.”

There is no man-made cure for Post-Mission Depression at the moment. There is no “magic pill” or treatment that has been discovered.

The only “cure” for PMD is time. That, and putting into practice what you’ve been teaching for the last two years by living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Using the Atonement daily is the only hope in treating Post Mission Depression. The first week or so after the missionary is released, the patient will most likely remain in a surreal state of shock. After that is when PMD really begins to kick in, however within three to four weeks, symptoms will start to fade away. If the medicine is used correctly and in the recommended doses, PMD can be cured within a relatively brief period of time.

For specific direction from an apostle on how you can conquer this feeling of the lack of the Spirit, watch this video of Elder David A. Bednar answering a recently returned missionary’s question:

Hopefully this information will be useful in helping those self-diagnosed with PMD and their loved ones. If there are any further questions on this subject, or if you have found another way to help treat Post Mission Depression, leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

Dr. Logan Hill*

*Please note, Dr. Hill is not an actual doctor. He is about as credible as Dr. Mario or Dr. Dolittle, and his advice comes from the school of personal experience rather than formal schooling on the matter.