It is important to be able to talk openly about your mental health without feeling judged. It is your truth and speaking about it opens the door for healing. Having the right support and encouragement from family, friends, counselors, pastors, and etc. can tremendously help as well.
Since I was 5-years-old I have suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. Being such a young age I never knew that my sadness had a name. I always felt different from my siblings; who are outgoing and energetic, and it was always voiced that I needed to be happier and not isolated.
Instantly the devil was in my ear feeding off of my insecurities and making me feel like the black sheep, and this made me even more depressed. I felt that I could not relate to my family nor anybody else.
What I learned
Being a Christian I grew up with the mental engravement from my childhood church that if you committed suicide you would go straight to hell. I felt the pressure to hold my mental disorder inside out of fear of being judged by the church, my family, and friends.
Here I was a young girl unsure of who I was; I love Jesus but I also have a mental disorder and the church said that this is wrong. I felt trapped in my own mind. The only way that I could “fit in” with society was to put on a mask in front of others, to make them feel good, even though I was drowning in pain.
As I got older wearing a mask in front of others became a routine that I hated but I could not possibly take it off out of fear of the criticism that would come with it.
In 2015, I attempted suicide but through the grace of God my best friend stopped me and I am forever grateful! Yet at the time the enemy tried to use my suicidal attempt against me; making me feel that I was a failure at not being successful in my attempt; telling me that God did not love me and that I needed to do everybody a favor and die. The repeated jabs in my mind were his favorite spot and my faith diminished more and more. I felt the walls of life moving in closer and me drowning in my own pain.
I was so lost and wrapped in my own issues that I didn’t try to see that Jesus was the way out of my sorrow. I had gotten so used to being down that being up felt like a dream that only good people had the chance to receive. But Jesus did not give up on me, He used my best friend to reach me and share His goodness.
I began to see that Jesus truly loves me and He isn’t angry with me, no He cares deeply about me and is the way out of my sorrows.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” 1 Peter 5:7-9 NLT
I needed to give all of my worries and pain to God and trust that He would makeaway out of my misery. I refused to allow my mental disorders to hold me captive. I knew that even with a mustard seed faith, it was stronger than no faith at all. I began to lean on the strength of God and understand the importance of rebuking the lies of the enemy and not allowing myself to listen to him any longer.
I became set free from wearing a mask and being truthful about my past and mental health. I refused to allow myself to go back into the dark space I had spent my entire upbringing being held in.
My depression and suicidal thoughts have not gone away overnight. There are days where I feel low and can feel them trying to creep back in my mind, but I have to stand firm on the Word and rebuke them. I can not play with them because they are out to kill me. Since I was a young girl they have wanted my life. But God’s plan will be fulfilled with my life.
Going through this journey in my life, I know that I can not simply keep it to myself; I must help others as well. I wish that I had the support and someone to talk to when I was younger. I am truly grateful for my best friend because he has helped me so much. Jesus has transformed and renewed my mind so I am able to deal with depression and suicidal thoughts.
Still, there are so many people dealing with these mental disorders and though there are more conversations being talked about; it is vital for people to speak their truth and have support behind them to pick them up, pray for them, and guide them. Sweeping mental disorders under the rug does nothing but pile the issue.
I am a mental health advocate because I know firsthand how these disorders affect people and the trauma it brings with it. I share my stories because I want people to know that you are not alone in your struggles. There is peace, hope, and healing for you, as it was for me. I am breaking down the stereotypes about mental disorders.