Friday, November 7, 2014

Published 9:30 AM by with 4 comments

Got Faith or Depression or Both?

Depressed and have faith?

I'm a good Christian. I love Jesus like a good Christian should. I believe He died for my sins and because He defeated death, hell and the grave through the cross and His resurrection, I believe I am free from the bondage of sin, sickness, death, etc. I believe the Holy Bible is the inspired word of God and that it declares what God says about me, that I am His righteousness, redeemed of the Lord, more than a conqueror through Him (Jesus) that loves me. 

Because the spirit of God dwells in me, I have power to overcome any force contrary to the power of God that comes against me. I am called to be light in this dark world just as Christ is the Light of the World. I praise God and try to worship God through my lifestyle, prayer, song, studying His word, being Christ-like to others, etc. My family is Baptist strong or Apostolic born and bred or C.O.G.I.C conceived. 

The joy I have the world didn't give it to me and the world cant take it away... so... why... am I... so depressed?

The image or idea of the depressed Christian is, in theory, an oxymoron. This is not supposed to happen to us, the elite group of people who have their Jesus points all stored up for such calamity, using Jesus like a "get out jail free" card. 

There is no possible way that you can be a real Christian and be depressed or anything else that human beings are prone to. You sir, you ma'am... are absolved from hurt, pain, disappointment, heartbreak, etc. If you dare admit that you are the "D" word, well certainly you are some type of anomaly. 

Why can't you just sit in silence and suffer like the rest of us that are depressed? 

You do know that admitting that you're depressed, seeking treatment which possibly includes medication diminishes the power of the Almighty, Sovereigned God? 

Why can't you just spend the rest of your days, waiting to die because obviously we are too holy to contemplate or attempt suicide, but too broken to live a full life? 

Well, some us do commit suicide, but we don't want to make Jesus look bad, so we just are hanging out til its all over. Let's hide in the pews like we've been doing and using Jesus to anesthesize our pain and make us feel and look good. Yeah, lets just do that.

Think this an extreme and foolish way to think? Yes it is extreme, foolish, real and prevalent. Why do Christians or anyone else for that matter think that going to a medical doctor to be examined when experiencing physical pain or discomfort is completely normal and the expected, suggested response? However, many of the same people, especially people of color, think that seeking treatment or counsel for mental and emotional problems is sacreligious; indicating that you're not a real Christian, that you don't really love the Lord. 

These same people who believe that God will heal them also follow the recommendations of the medical doctor, to include medication, sometimes surgery or even physical therapy. Why wouldn't intervention from a mental health professional and belief in our God yield similar improvements or healing in their mental health? Why can't you do both?

I'm picking on us Christians this week as I continue to explore barriers to being honest about our struggles with depression and other mental health challenges. I'm attempting to be facetious in my characterization of how some Christians coddle their unspoken struggle with depression, highlighting some of the aspects of our belief system that we use to cover up the deeper pain. But lets say, you are Muslim. There is a version of this conversation that would probably take place, with some variation concerning the tenets of your faith. What won't vary is the reluctance of many to confess and seek treatment for their depression. Let's say that you are not a part of any organized religion and you have brown skin, we know the reluctance is still there to view it as something real, treatable and manageable.

How should we respond?

Dispelling myths, stigmas, lack of access to health care, disparities in healthcare, increased research in the black community capturing the attitudes toward mental health and as implied above, filling the need for better teaching, transparency and support from our religious and spiritual communities would create a safer space for us to come forward and receive the help we need. 

Lets continue this healthy discussion. Leave your comments or observations below. Share your story with me. Someone needs to hear it.


  1. All of this is the reason why I've kept my recent mental health diagnosis from friends, and especially, family. Very few people know because I don't want to be bombarded with the above or risk being judged for what is turning out to be a great thing, seeking help. I'm starting to blog again and it is a part of my therapy, as I love to write. I'm starting to feel like I have to get this out, to share my story and later my triumph over depression. I believe my fear of talking about it is going to melt away, and I welcome that. Off the top of my head I can name a few family members that I KNOW are suffering from a mental condition, but aren't seeking help! Yet they have medication for high blood pressure/hypertension! Depression is not be something that should be dealt with by way of silence, because as I learned in early September, it can ultimately be your undoing. (Sorry this is so long.)

  2. Monalisacurls, WE have found a healthy place! It takes courage and would you believe it faith to come up out the darkness of depression. I wish the people who we suspect are depressed would realize this. This is why Im working to organize a campaign to destigmatize depression in our community, including the church. Also,identifying resources and restorative care practices that will help us heal.

  3. People have to be educated about this, even if it makes them uncomfortable. I have wanted to shout to the high heavens, to let everyone know about my experience with this illness and the therapy that I am now receiving! I want people to know that they must seek help outside of soley relying on faith to get them through! I would love to be a part of your campaign. Please let me know how I can help.

  4. I will definitely let you know. I will email you so we can have a separate conversation, if thats okay.