"In the name of Jesus, I bind and rebuke the spirit of depression, loneliness, self-doubt, worry, suicide, and frustration."
Whew, chile! After all of that praying and tarrying in the Spirit, sweating, oil rubbing and slinging, doing the ugly cry, calling down fire from heaven, and finally that hug -- that sweet hug of comfort -- we leave the altar with swollen eyes, a damp Kleenex and confidence that that prayer was IT! We are finally free from depression and suicidal thoughts.
But are we really?
You see, sis, I'm going to tell you something very important about depression that your Pastor or ministry leader will not tell you. And not because they forgot or don't want to tell you, but simply because they either do not have personal experience with depression, they do and have not yet received help for it, or they have the mentality that prayer and being around the saints is a good resolve for depression.
So, here's the truth:
Depression doesn't go away...ever.
OK, now that we have that out the way, let's talk.
For my Black girls who have considered suicide as a result of depression, mental illness can cripple your lifestyle socially, physically, and spiritually if you do not reach for help beyond prayer. Although the prior statement may seem like doom, let this one inspire you: There is hope. Life does get better.
You can believe in your Higher Power out loud and cope successfully with depression. How do I know? Because I live this life every day. And I've come to realize that yes, asking God to help me with my depression and suicidal tendencies has helped me tremendously. But only because I coupled that prayer with practical actions. Faith without action won't work...come on Church!
As a Black woman and minister, I have realized five important things about coping with depression:
- I can be a believer and still be depressed...and that is OK. Really honey, it is.
- I can get help to deal and cope with depression in a productive and positive manner from people and/or organizations that are not faith-based. If one more person tells me to just pray about it...chile.
- Activating my faith to cope with depression requires me to actually get up, get out, and start doing something about it. Joining a support group with like-minded individuals is LIFE! Creating a positive environment within my personal space (sage, lavender, sandalwood, anyone?) helps with your mood.
- Negative thoughts that creep into your mind when you are out living your best life will happen because depression does not go away. However, you have the power to change your thoughts to something positive.
- Choosing to use medicine your medical provider recommends is OK! If it helps you, use it and yes, you can still believe in your Higher Power and pray, girlfriend!
So, how are you going to live your life? Suffer in silence or thrive out loud? I choose the latter.
If you or someone you know is currently experiencing dark or suicidal thoughts, know that there is hope. Call the 24/7 free National Suicidal Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can find additional resources here.
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