Today is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay.
I struggle with my own depression. Those of you who have battled depression know that at its depths, you believe things will never get better.
It’s the feeling of being hollow with the entirety of pain pressing in on your empty spaces.
Mental illness is a real thing, and it will always exist in our world.
However, I have a deep conviction that mental health will improve and suicide rates will go down when we stop the perpetuation of shame.
When I’m in my darkest place, I despise myself. It’s a feeling of shame for not shining bright enough.
When beautiful, young transgender people collapse under the weight of ostracism, we have societal shame to blame.
When husbands take their lives because of the public pronouncement of their inconceivable secrets, they do so in shame.
When the media tells us to be faster and thinner and happier and richer and in control—shame runs rampant.
When the church decides who is beloved and who is not beloved, God becomes the God of shame.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Jesus, like us, lived in a society where shame ruled the day. His parables, unlikely healings, unconventional interactions and radical teaching deconstructed the walls between shame and honor.
Jesus said no to shame.
We must say no to shame.
Even when we deeply disagree with a clerk who claims religious freedom, we must not shame her missteps.
We can fight for justice without shaming those who stand in the way.
And to those of you who feel unsurmountable shame, please know that it’s not yours to carry. That shame has been delivered to you by a society dictated by fear.
You are not shameful. Do not be ashamed.
And trust me when I say, you are not alone.
Brittany lives in Charlottesville, VA with her wife Lindsay and their skeptical dog Eliza. She enjoys dancing, deconstructing destructive dominions of dominance, and alliterations. Above all else, Brittany tries to keep it real.