Flirting With Darkness: Depression is a Fight
In the previous entry, we discussed author Ben Courson’s personal battle with suicidal depression and how overcoming the darkness put him on a path that would eventually culminate in him finding his calling as an influential pastor and eventual author of the best-selling book, Flirting With Darkness.
This is part two of a three-part series.
What separates Flirting With Darkness from other self-help books is his target audience -- those suffering from severe and even suicidal depression. Whereas self-help books generally target those who want to improve their lives, Courson’s book serves as a call-to-arms to inspire those in need of saving theirs.
In today’s America, depression is the most deadly mental illness and affects no demographic more than young men and women. Therefore, his much-needed words of guidance serve a higher purpose, meant to inspire those who often go tragically unheard.
Flirting With Darkness is also unique in that it is written as a battle plan of attack, a spiritually operational strategy that includes eleven chaptered ‘Weapons’ to equip oneself in their war against their inner demons.
In this portion of the series, we will discuss some of Ben’s spiritual ‘Weapons’ and how they can be used to wage war against the internal darkness of despair.
Fighting Depression is a Fight: Train Accordingly
Fighting depression is a war of the mind and spirit. Depression, like an enemy in heated battle, has weapons, such as emotional trauma, anxiety, and fear, that it yields with intent to crush those it attacks. To overcome its attacks, one must unglue themselves from their traumatic emotional experiences, reframe their brain, and retrain it to fight back against the enemy from within.
“I believe we are in a war; our journey isn’t on a cruise ship but a battleship. We are doing battle with dark thoughts and dark emotions and dark perspectives in our heart and our mind.”
Part Two: Defeating depression, page 49
In Part Two of Flirting With Darkness, Courson gives his reader what he calls ‘Warrior Weapons’ for they need to defeat depression, once and for all. These tools of ‘warfare’ are things that have personally helped him overcome his suicidal depression.
Like any weapon, though, you aren’t helped just by knowing it’s available. You must take the weapon in hand and wield it. Only then can your depression be defeated.
Part Two: Defeating Depression, page 51
WEAPON: PRAYER WALKS
Defeating depression is not a fight one is biologically or spiritually designed to take on their own. Therefore, in times like these, the most important thing one can do is turn to the Strong One for spiritual and psychological reinforcement.
In other words, the best plant of attack against depression starts with prayer. The power of prayer is not just of the opinion of Pastor Courson, either. It’s also backed up by science.
According to studies, the brain's frontal lobe is stimulated when one is intently focused on prayer. This focused energy helps fire neurons that assist the brain in performing at peak intellectual capacity. This helps a person’s brain work as it should; it helps them deal with emotions more healthily.
So, in other words, even science says that God is great for our brains.
WEAPON: SCRIPTURE SCHOLAR SCUBA GEAR
When asking for advice, or help in dealing with things, those of us in Faith often hear the same repeated truisms from well-intentioned fellow churchgoers. “God has a calling for your brother or sister.” or “God never gives you more than you can handle.” are just a couple of overused cliches, that while technically true, aren’t especially helpful when dealing with something as serious as depression.
But, while generic and formulaic, these tired cliches are actually truths. They are just grossly undersold truths that don’t begin to detail the magical and complicated plans in store for us that only God’s cosmic consciousness ever truly understands.
The very laws of nature of the cosmos are bursting with infinite complexity. From the trillions of stars in the billions of galaxies to the sub-atomic particles that make up everything on earth, existence is infinitely complex. Nevertheless, we humans have a knack for simplistically looking at things.
This tendency to look at things in an oversimplistic way often carries over into how we view, read, and apply the words of Scripture.