Guest Post: Jennifer Collins who will be frequenting our site with her uplifting topics personal or otherwise!
Did you know that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. In 2017, 47,173. Americans died by suicide. In 2017, there were an estimated. 1,400,000. suicide attempts. (afsp.org)
Are we as a church doing enough to tackle this epidemic?
I am as faith filled a Christian as they come, but have battled with major depression for the past couple of years of my life. I was embarrassed to talk about it in fear of judgement, because sometimes the church folk don’t help remedy a situation and instead add paraffin to the fire. However, the truth is, everyone at one point or another has struggled with a form of depression.
Depression is described as a mood disorder causing a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. There is a natural side of depression as well as a spiritual side. I am not a doctor nor am I in the medical field, therefore, I can only speak on my experience and what I’ve learned personally with my own battle with depression.
If we are to be vulnerable and allow ourselves just a moment of honesty, many of us will realize that, we suffer with depression, stress or anxiety at different levels. However, whether we choose to give this sickness room to rule our lives or not, is the question.
This week, I was sad and broken-hearted, as i heard the devastating news of Pastor Jarrid Wilson who took his own life after a long bout with mental health. The thing that broke my heart the most was that, he felt that it all got too much for him, that he decided to take his own life.
The reason his story is one that has affected me the most is because, on the outside he seemed the happiest. His family life seemed rosy, he had a book, was running initiatives and an associate pastor at one of the biggest churches in America. He was surrounded by what looked like amazing friends and family and the whose, who! Was it all just smoke screens and superficial? I am not looking to pass on blame, but strictly pointing out that sometimes, things are always as they seem.
We currently live in a world where pretending to the world that all is well with us is fashionable, all in the name of keeping up appearances, when the actual fact is that we are hurting. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware that Jarrid was an avid advocate for mental health and was sincere and honest about his troubles, but sometimes in life, we may be taking on too much before we have taken time out for ourselves to deal with what we are going through and therefore not allowing ourselves time to heal wholly.
Did you know that around 60% of people feel pressure to look ‘perfect’ on social media….
So what is causing many people within or out of the faith to take their own lives?
There are many reasons why people choose to take their lives, however today i would like to concentrate on social media as one aspect of the overall problem. Everybody loves a little bit of Facebook stalking, of admiring the glamorous and exciting lives of others through Instagram. But how does admiring the lives of people you have very little contact with in the real world make you feel? Does seeing the successes and achievements of others make you feel a little insignificant or is it having an impact on your mood?
The thing about social media is that, anyone is capable of having the world believe whatever reality they have made believable. Life isn’t always as it seems. Social media can be great. It can be an outlet for you to share and socialize but it can also be not so great. It can add pressure to our everyday lives with its imbalanced and false image of other people’s lives. Our feeds can be flooded by pictures of people sporting the latest looks, doing some really exciting and fun things with lots of friends. Perfect lives?
Don’t be fooled, while some of it maybe true, a lot of it is make-believe. Social media isn’t all bad either! It can be a positive thing if handled well, and keeps us all connected. It can be a forum for some people where they can get support on certain issues at a time they need it the most. So learn to filter the good from the bad.
Looking through Jarrid’s Instagram feed, his whole life looked picture perfect. Hence the title, Suicide Victims have happy faces. However, there is a a little saying that goes. ‘all that glitters isn’t gold’. Why do i say this? Jarrid seemed to have had a wonderful network of supporters but you may not, and may be struggling in silence. I want to encourage you today to come out and seek help. There is hope for you and me!Don’t let sin and death have victory. God truly loves you and has a plan for your life even though it may not seem that way.
The Bible tells us in 3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” It is God’s will for us to prosper and to be of good health. Please do not be ashamed to seek therapy for depression nor talk to anyone about your battle with depression because soon you will realize that you are not alone.
Editors notes: Sometimes when going through major depression and are in need of severe depression help, we may find it hard to admit it and face the truth. However, never allow keeping up appearances to stop you from seeking therapy or treatment for depression. Talk to your pastor or look for reputable depression treatment clinics and most importantly don’t forget to pray as you seek this help.
Lastly: Have you checked on your neighbor or that friend you haven’t heard from in a long time? Give them a quick call and remind them that they are loved.