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From the Psych Ward to the Altar- Depression and the Cross

Can I be honest? I wrestled with sharing this story. Why? Because it makes me feel way too vulnerable! The Lord had to gently remind me, “This isn’t about you; this testimony is for my glory.” So here it goes y’all!

First, I’m going to start off with a brief definition.

What is depression? Well, there are different types of depression such as situational, biological, psychological, and existential. The common theme is feelings of sadness, irritability, crying spells, anxiety, anger, hopelessness etc.

I’ve battled with depression and suicidal ideations for the majority of my life. My display of depression didn’t “look” like depression. What do I mean by that? I was the loudest/funniest one in the room. The shoulder everyone cried on. I overextended myself to ensure the safety of others.

At the age of 19, I was admitted into a psychiatric unit. That was the scariest moment of my life! I begged the doctors and nurses to keep it a secret because I didn’t want anyone to know where I was. I sat in the room and wept for hours. I cried because I couldn’t believe or understand how I got there. I thought I was strong and had it all together…clearly, that was a lie! I put too much pressure on a person who didn’t have the capacity to fulfill my emotional void. I struggled with suicidal thoughts and self-harm because I felt alone and broken.

I was scared to leave the unit, because I didn’t know what to expect “in the real world.” I wasn’t ready to suffer through the thoughts of hurting myself again.

During Hurricane Sandy in 2012 I had a failed suicide attempt. I woke up ANGRY and cursing at God. “Why am I still here? Why do you want me to suffer like this? Just let me die.” For the first time I felt the Lord’s presence in the midst of my pain. Moments later my angry cry turned into worship. I didn’t know what I was experiencing, but I knew it was not in my control. The Lord met me at my bedroom window and overwhelmed me with his love. From that moment forward, my journey as a Christian began.

I am not going to lie and say I didn’t struggle with depression after I got saved. Because I sure did. The difference then and now is:

1. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I have a better understanding of the Word

2. I pray more

3. I worship! (Praise and worship are the antidote for depression)

4. I’m in therapy

5. I have a supportive circle

6. I journal to process my emotions

7. I’m kind to myself

8. I set boundaries.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Dear friend, rest, knowing that God is a very ACTIVE help when you are in trouble. He is right there, in the trenches with you. You are not alone!

Last thing, give yourself grace to grow. Don’t become your own worst enemy.

Love y’all, talk to you soon,

C-A. Brown

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