The War for My Mind
As much as I love to write and even read what I write I believe this is actually a tough subject for me to speak on. It is because this subject matter contains the very worst of me. It contains things I don’t even want my children to know getting older. It shows me in a light that oftentimes I am so uncomfortable with. But I really believe it’s time to tell this story. It’s been over a year that I’ve been wrestling with really talking about it but I guess this is what I am being led to do. I hope that whoever reads this can get a better understanding of me through this or just the subject as a whole.
The past two years have been what some would call tumultuous for me. They’ve been riddled With decision after bad decision. Choice after terrible choice. And some of which I look back on with shame because of how I acted in key moments.
The things I did could make any one think that I was either on drugs or just not in my right mind. And there it is, the latter of the two happened to me. And I’ll be the first to say that I never, not in a million years thought that I would take a moment to admit this. It’s because I believed in myself almost to a point of arrogance. I thought that there was nothing I couldn’t do. Nothing I couldn’t overcome. And while I still believe that to be true, I am now armed with the knowledge that I can do all things, just not alone.
You see my truth statement for today is that over the years I have come to suffer with bouts of depression. Now to how severe it’s been, I’m sure that’s for a doctor to say. But for me there have been moments when it got pretty bad. So bad in fact that there was a moment for me. A moment that I’m not sure if I even know anyone that has been this way. I just know that I had a moment when I was so riddled with guilt and shame from my decisions that I believed that I wanted to do harm to myself. And when I say harm, I mean I wanted to actually end my life. Now don’t get me wrong, thankfully I was able to snap out of it and realize that I couldn’t do my children or wife any good while not being on this earth. And even though I came out of it for the moment it wasn’t the end. I didn’t even realize at the moment what it was.
One of my favorite scriptures in the Bible says “As a man thinketh in his heart, so shall he be…”. That comes from Proverbs 23:7
I like it because it talks so much about the power of the Mind. I honestly don’t think that most people think about the things we will ourselves to do. We also don’t think about the trouble we could get ourselves into if we don’t take control or put some type of perspective into some of those thoughts.
I say all of that to say that this is a problem for not just my people, my community, my family, but a serious thing to address for many families and communities out there. There are so many cases out there where the signs of depression go untreated and even unnoticed. Yes you would think that it’s easy to determine to the factors or when someone out there is dealing with mental illness. But truth be told, there are so many that hide it well. In my case it started out pretty subtle, but ultimately got worse and worse because of my refusal to speak on it and admit that there was something wrong. Something I couldn’t handle on my own. For me in particular, hiding it only made it worse. So much worse until I got to a point where I just broke. And when I say broke, I could almost describe it as kind of being shattered into small pieces, not knowing which went where or how long it would take to put it back together. I was broken. I couldn’t control my thoughts or my emotions. I allowed life to become too much because I believed so much that it was all about me and how I handled things. That If I could mess it up by myself. Then I could fix it by myself. I couldn’t even fathom how wrong I was.
When you hear the phrases, ‘Battlefield of the Mind’ or ‘war of the Minds’ it really is that. Joyce Meyer and Flame knew what they were talking about respectively. It’s more than just a form of warfare. It’s a down right fight for your life under certain circumstances. People think that they can just overcome things on their own, but I want you to know there’s actually no shame in getting help. And for all you “believers” spiritual, and religious folk out there, you think that prayer is the thing that can get you through everything. I know I did. I thought that because I believed in God and that He is able to do all things, that it would get me through. The thing is, if you believe in God, you should know that God is not just one of faith, but of action. He has allowed for the different medicines for every illness. And this is no different. The medicine out there could be in the form of some drug, but for me it is in the form of counseling.
There are pastors, teachers, and many people alike who suffer from this very thing. Mental illness is very high in the black community as well. We tell ourselves that because we’re black and deal with so many different adversities daily, we should be able to get through this as well. And it’s true, we can get through it. But we must take the proper steps.
So why do I write all of this?
I do so because I want to warn others that even when you have this to deal with, not dealing with it comes with serious consequences. My battle of the Mind, told me that my own family didn’t need me. That they were better off without me. It told me, that all I was doing was hindering them. It also told me that my wife could do better than me. So much so that I convinced myself that my only option was to get as far away from them as I could. It told me that maybe God was wrong about us. Isn’t that something? You’d be surprise the things people hear when they are going through such things. You would think the love you have for something or someone couldn’t be swayed, but I’m here to say that once the Mind sets itself on something, it can be difficult to get past it. Just like if you are so angry at someone that it’s hard to get past. You start telling yourself that’s all you see. And after a while if not dealt with, the damage becomes even more difficult to get past or put it in your rear-view.
Am I done with depression, I don’t know, maybe…but not done because I’ll never get sad again. I’m done because I’ve acknowledged that it happens to me. Now I know the signs as well as the triggers. I also have the knowledge that God helps me to answer my own prayers as well concerning this. Through counseling. Through prayer. Through a strong support system. Also through being still. Stillness tells me not to move or make decisions when I feel that despair coming on. And speaking of a support system, I’m here to say, that sometimes that system cannot or doesn’t involve your immediate family. Because there will be times when our families are just not properly equipped to help us deal with this serious issue. Without the proper dealing with this there are so many long lasting effects. Believe it or not, some of which I deal with everyday.
I’m telling my story because I don’t want anyone out there to lose what I almost lost. I almost lost my wife, my children, and Last but not least, myself. Trust me when I tell you it is War. And war always has casualties. You can minimize them along with the wounds and scars if you just learn how to fight the battles. But just like most battles or wars, this one is winnable. We have to remember that with every battle, the one you are most likely to win, is the one that you don’t try to go at alone. If you remember anything I say at all , please, remember that.
More to come…