Stigma, mental illness vs. demons & the church! #MentalHealth #ENDtheSTIGMA #BetheDifference

This is a message from me to the churches across the nations! Regarding Stigma in some churches.

I’m fed up with hearing these sad stories. I take it personal when I learn that others have been hurt by “a church”. It makes “the church” look bad as a body, as a whole. We’ve got to do better! Idc if you don’t agree with me because I’m speaking my truth which is the truth for so many others. But it’s disheartening to hear others stories from people I’ve met while becoming involved with mental health advocacy. And it’s even more disheartening to learn that they’ve been demonized by a church and ran off. All because some church doesn’t understand mental health conditions and the symptoms that fall under them. All because some church wasn’t equipped to handle them with care, compassion & understanding. All because the lack of discernment! The lack of being able to discern the difference between an individual who is battling an illness versus an individual who is actually demon possessed. I’m tired of hearing these stories.

Last month, I met a woman at a speaking engagement, who’s name I won’t mention because she is likely well-known, but she is an ordained minister who her church ran off, because they demonized her, called her out down to the altar and began trying to cast out demons. News flash, it didn’t work, because there wasn’t any demonic influence or demon to be cast out! All it did, was run her off from embarrassment after having been in that church for 30+ years and when she finally gained the courage to seek prayer this is what she experienced! All that oil and all those altar workers who lacked discernment and was attempting to cast out demons, when they should’ve been praying for her healing. In this moment she needed to feel loved and accepted, she needed to feel encouraged that she isn’t alone, she needed to feel embraced by those whom she thought would, she needed to know she was doing the right thing by asking for prayer, she needed to hear an encouraging word, she needed to feel included and not excluded. She needed prayer for healing and restoration from an illness she is battling, just like someone who is battling with cancer or any other life-altering disease! Instead, she was made to feel shamed, misunderstood, isolated, alone, and extremely hurt, and told me this is why she hasn’t been to any church since that time. She still believes in Jesus and she still prays and I know some of you might be saying, if she’s an ordained minister she should be way more mature than that and shouldn’t let people run her off, but I’m respectful enough to know this is her truth and her bad experience so I’m not the one to discredit her or dismiss her hurt and pain.

Some of you have a loved one or a friend or coworker who’s living with a diagnosed mental health condition and have probably been living in silence about it, due to shame and fear of stigma. And even you, yourself are afraid to open up and to talk to someone when your struggling at times. So imagine how she and others feel! Put yourself in her shoes. Or better yet, if you know how she feels then, let’s do better! Let’s be careful with how we minister to people. Let’s take better care of ourselves too.

Come on people, let’s wake up here! We’ve got to stop with this stigma and demonizing just anyone and then have the nerve to act surprised when someone shares how isolated they’ve been feeling for years, can’t trust anyone, doesn’t feel comfortable talking. People need to feel understood. If you don’t know, educate yourself, educate your ministry, educate your children & family, knowledge is power. In all your getting, get an understanding! Know the difference of demon possession and a mental illness. There is a complete separation here. If you lack discernment, then pray for it.

Of course, It’s possible that someone with a mental illness is also evil and worships Satan, but its also possible that someone with a mental illness loves and worships Jesus and isn’t evil. Know the difference here! And even more importantly Be the Difference here!

And while I’m on my rant, even if there was a demon to be cast out, would you even be equipped to handle that?! Most won’t and don’t even set aside time to fast and pray anymore. Be honest and fair with your soul. It’s time to wake up, and be READY!

There are tons of educational programs to gain wisdom, knowledge and understanding when it comes to mental health conditions such as the most common; bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ptsd ect and to learn the symptoms. So what’s your excuse?

-Erika Brooks

Thanks again for being here and for the continued supportive feedback.

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