The Jesus Band-Aid: Being Black and Depressed

I was diagnosed with depression at age seventeen. Anti-depressants were prescribed to me, however, I wasn't allowed to take them. To my mother, the concept of mental health was a ploy created by the Enemy, and it was used to distract us from focusing on building our relationship with Christ. She explained how the side effects of this medication were worse than what they treated and under no circumstances was I to take them.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2018/jesus-band-aid-being-black-and-depressed
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Well written and needs to be discussed. A problem for women (and men) of every race and color. Putting it under the rug of denial does no good at all.

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Over the years I have observed that the Adventist view of perfectionism in its various subtle forms has led many hurting individuals down a dark path. Unfortunately, too many have never emerged from the darkness of their failure, grief, and pain of not being “good” enough for the kingdom.

There are many suffering individuals in the various strata of the “true church”. Perhaps, if the focus was on helping more than preaching at, our community of faith would be more wholistic in its mission to a world of broken relationships and wounded individuals, the numbers of which seem to increase daily.

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Thank-you. This is an important topic which should not be ignored. Too many have suffered enough trauma in their lives that mental health care is essential. This is true of many evangelical Christians, not just Adventists.

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So well written! Mental health is such an important topic and almost a taboo topic within Adventism. I am also glad that you addressed some of the cultural aspects as well. Just creating awareness is a monumental first step.

I have known many SDAs that suffer from mental illness and many of them have been told to ”Just pray about it.” My own mother-in-law had the impression that her own Anxiety Disorder was because of a “character flaw”. I cannot express how much her life improved with a little “anti-depression” pill!

Thank-you, Amari, for bringing up this topic and may it lead others to seeking help without self recrimination and loathing.

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This has nothing to do with skin colour,just state your case and stop demonising black people

The author was not “demonizing” black people…go back and carefully reread the article.

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Thank you for your honesty and courage. Seeking help for emotional pain and trauma is just as normal as going to a doctor for physical sickness. We need to pray and take appropriate action.

To just pray over these issues, and just “give them to God,” is to actually abdicate our own responsibility for our healing. Anyone teaching this is actually teaching something totally unbiblical. The danger is that it sounds so spiritual. It’s crazy making. And could be life threatening.

Many conservative churches could be sued for spiritual malpractice.

Thanks…

Frank

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Thanks for sharing. I have struggled with mild depression and heavy anxiety since I was a pre-teen. When I was 14 and having disturbing repetitive thoughts - a key symptom of OCD, the pastor came over and anointed me with oil. He recounted the story of Jesus healing the child with a demon, who caused the child to throw himself in the fire.

This “treatment” only made me more anxious when the repetitive thoughts returned. I am 29 and have finally started taking Medication and have never felt better in my life! Prayers and natural remedies can only take you so far. Conventional medicine is also a gift from God.

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I didn’t get the demonizing black people in the article either. What I did get that this sister’s family has had to live with much more worry and hardship that many of us have never been through, possibly because they were of color.

Coming from another country, and with my upbringing, I cannot understand the White “Christians” of yesteryear being so cruel and harming people just because they can, and because of a different level of melanin in the skin. It doesn’t seem Christian at all.

It is good to hear that some have found relief through drug therapy, although this is not always successful, and comes with warnings if any want to seek this as the easy way out. Check out the video, we have it in physical disk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHlLRge45sg

The message of this video should be taken into consideration, if any want that route.

As a lad, I wasn’t far behind what is described here. But through the power of a risen Savior, these thoughts are no longer present.

I am glad your sister and her support group is accepting help.

Sadly, ultra fundamental faith structures seem to be overly represented in the mental health spectrum. Shaming, toxic religious clichés, vacuous and meaningless words expressing love but lacking any purposeful action all contribute to the most negative and final outcomes.

I not too long ago buried my “longest friend”, an ARNP, child of a (psych distrusting) devout MD, who was convinced by another (meddling and unqualified) medical professional church member (untreated but diagnosed BP) to stop her meds. My childhood friend painted the sky black in less than 2 weeks.

Society at large is equally unwilling to grapple with the difficulties of this problem-which just may have its roots in the failure of love, failure of community.

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Thank you Amari for your courage to openly express the problems that many young Adventists faced growing up in the church. I apologize for the rest of my older generation who, whether because of denial, poor theology, or wishful thinking thought we could pray the problems away, or ignored your cries for help.

I think true Christianity focuses on the healing and transformation of each individual in response to God’s love, using the best human therapies available to achieve physical, mental and spiritual wellness. I am glad for the happy ending to this story, with your Mother, sister and yourself all getting therapeutic counseling. And for your conclusion to your well-written story: “Accepting it does not mean I am closing out God and that I don’t believe prayer will help, it just means that I’m no longer in denial of the wounds I had to cover over the years.”

Keep sharing openly and honestly - we need to hear your voice!

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easy, killer! while you are right that depression is colour blind, from this sister’s prospective it is a ‘black’ problem, much as the same issue from a white person’s prospective can have different causes. We need to be more focused on identifying the outward signs of depression, and at the LEAST, pray for them and encourage them.

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Depression often is the result when a number of contributing factors combine and one of those contributors is a person lacking the security of close, trusting relationships that become magnified by the loss of a loved one or the absence of people in typical family roles. I saw no mention about the author’s relationship with her father, or if she even knows her father. That situation is most common in the Black community which has the highest rate of broken and single-parent families of any group in America. So I’m seeing this story as a reminder of the need for us in the church to build close and trusting relationships with others and to strengthen the family as a complete unit with a refreshed emphasis on the importance of the father in the home. This can be very helpful when it is combined with recognizing how the worst problems in one generation (substance abuse, inability to control anger, physical and mental abuse, etc.) become the parenting model followed by the next and thus get repeated from generation to generation. That cycle is not limited to the Black community and it can be interrupted.

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Sorry for your loss. The circumstances of your friend’s death are inexcusable and shameful. Those ultra fundamental believers commit a crime (civil and spiritual) when they offer others guidance that either worsens their health or causes their deaths. That kind of “Christians”, …

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The “Thoughts & Prayers” technique is what politicians send to victims of crimes, or their families. It will never work with depression. Depression needs proper TREATMENT, and in most cases it can be cured with the combination of proper medication and psychotherapy.
@elmer_cupino @cincerity

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I worked for many years in the Social Service arena with people who had many disabilities including mental health. Clinical depression is a serious thing that needs both medication and counseling. I would never advise anyone to “just pray about it”…because that could result in hospitalization or death.

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Sending people “Thoughts & Prayers” is what politicians do! Totally ineffective, of course.

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“Thoughts and prayers” isn’t usually what God chooses to help/cure depression…and is negligent to present this concept without proper psychological supervision and assessment.

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I honestly don’t think depression has much if anything to do with being BLACK and WOMAN. Depression knows no color or sex, and can affect the wealthy as well as the poor.

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