As much as I tried, I could not pray depression away. I got down on my knees every night; I tried praying louder and harder, but still remained depressed.
For so long, I believed the lie that I could pray depression away. I thought, I don’t need a therapist, God is my therapist. Somehow, I learned that needing help for a mental issue meant that I was spiritually weak and should be ashamed for struggling with something that I couldn’t physically see.
After being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder during my freshman year of college, I started my journey towards treatment with the help of some mental health professionals. I had a psychiatrist and a therapist.
I can share this openly now, but at the time it was one of the biggest secrets that I kept from everyone except my psychiatrist, my therapist, and the front desk receptionist who scheduled my appointments. I can share this openly now, but at the time it was one of the biggest secrets that I kept from everyone except my psychiatrist, my therapist, and the front desk receptionist who scheduled my appointments.
Unlearning the lie that “I can pray depression and anxiety away” was extremely difficult because I was going against my core belief system by accepting help from a mental health professional. In doing so, it felt like I was saying, God I don’t trust you to heal me, so I will turn to someone and something else for help. This belief was deeply planted in my mind, making it feel nearly impossible to uproot and modify.
Initially, I felt so much guilt, shame, and anxiety around doing something that should’ve been second nature.
You cannot pray depression away.
I speak to many students around the United States who struggle with the same lie that kept me stuck for a very long time… the lie that says, “if you’re struggling with your mental health, you need to just pray about it.” I don’t think that there is anything wrong with prayer, but unfortunately there are many people who are turning down help and not taking advantage of mental health treatment and resources because of the belief that prayer is the end all be all. In fact, prayer is a part of the process and not the only part of the process.
I know this to be true because I tried it. I did not seek help for depression because I thought I could just pray it away.
It wasn’t until my situation got worse that I made a decision to try professional help.
If you are struggling with your mental health, or if you know someone who is struggling… get help. Don’t suffer in silence. Don’t believe the lie that prayer alone will suffice.
I hope this helps… Let’s UNLEARN these lies!