Depression, grief, and anxiety are on the rise as the coronavirus pandemic, civil unrest, and natural disasters plague communities across the country.
A new survey by the CDC reports that 18 to 24-year-olds have the highest levels of symptoms of anxiety and depression and a quarter of them said they had seriously considered suicide.
Pastor Ben Courson personally knows that struggle.
The founder of Hope Generation and senior pastor of Applegate Christian Fellowship told CBN's Prayer Link, his life was swallowed by an "infinite gray" and he teetered and tottered on the brink of suicide for ten years.
"I just wanted to end it all," the 28-year-old said. "I took up a knife to kill myself and fortunately something stopped me and God stayed my hand."
Courson says he was constantly flirting with the idea of suicide.
"I went up to the tallest building in my hometown and was walking along the railing, like a makeshift tight rope. So I was constantly on the edge, on the precipice of suicide," he added. "But I never actually attempted the deed. I was always pulled back by some force and I think it was God."
Courson said God has taught him several key weapons to destroy the "dark lord of depression".
He lays them out in his new book, Flirting with Darkness: Building Hope in the face of Depression.
The True Power of Prayer
"One of them is prayer walk," Courson explained. "Our brain shows us that when you talk intentionally to God the frontal lobe activates into its highest intellectual capacity and you actually build richer, thicker, gray matter in your pre-frontal cortex which is the part of your brain that is responsible for creative thinking."
He added that prayer also stimulates the part of the brain responsible for feelings of empathy and compassion and it lessens the effects of fear, anger, and stress.
"Through neuroplasticity and repetition, you can change the very brain chemistry of your cranial package by praying," Courson expressed.
Understand God's Plan For You
Ben said God also taught him that He has a plan for his life. Courson cited scriptures like Psalm 20, Psalm 21:2, and Psalm 37:4.
"I found that as I enjoyed the joy of being enjoyed by God, which is the meaning of life, that He started to bring the desires, visions, and dreams to pass," he explained.
Hold on to Hope
Ben believes that holding onto hope in all circumstances is key to stopping a bad moment from spiraling into a deeper depression.
"I believe that our messes turn to messages, that our tests turn into testimonies, that our heartbreak makes us wiser, and our tears make us braver, and one day we are going to thank our pasts for [our] better future. We have no reason to give up or give in, we should give everything, but up, and put our hope in God," he said.
This story was originally published on September 17, 2020.
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