"We don’t talk about mental health enough in our churches or our culture," says Grammy-winning Gospel singer Tasha Cobbs.
Growing up, I had always had these deeply sad feelings. I assumed it was just me and there was something wrong with me. The moment I realized there was something deeper going on was in 2007 when I was the worship pastor at my church. I had been leading our worship ministry for about four or five years and throughout those years I would go to church, hug everybody, smile in everybody's face, kiss babies, etc.
I could get up and sing and watch people be delivered and set free and experience freedom in their lives, and yet I would go home and be under the covers, with the curtains closed, not eating, never coming out of my room for days at a time. My cousin Shaniqua—who was my roommate at the time—knew the routine: We would come home from church. I would get undressed, put on something huge and lay in the bed and stay there – for days. This time I had been in the bed for three or four days and I hadn't left my room. The house was completely dark; curtains closed, and the sadness was so heavy in that house that she literally moved out and moved into my pastor’s house for that week because it was just too heavy for her.
Three Lessons to Help You Beat Depression
Under those covers I would tell myself things like, ‘Nobody wants you, they only want you for your gifts; they only want you for your talents. People only want you for what you have to offer but nobody is giving back to you.’ Of course it was all untrue. I had so many people around me who loved me, but for some reason I was stuck in this place of rejection where no matter how good I am or how much I do, or how much I offer, it felt like it wasn’t enough. I would cry for hours. Sometimes I wouldn't even know why I was crying. It was just a heaviness that comes over you that you just cannot explain.
During that time, something in my spirit said, ‘Tasha, you have to do something about this.’ It was just a moment where I felt like I couldn't move forward in my career and in my ministry if I kept allowing myself to be in this place. I thought, ‘At some point somebody is going to find out and it's going to get much bigger than what I'm able to handle.’ So I got up to do some research and I started studying depression. I called my cousin Shaniqua, and my pastor, to tell them I thought I knew what was wrong with me. I immediately found a therapist so that I could begin talking about what was happening with me.
Overcome Depression & Reclaim Your Life
My therapist diagnosed it as depression. I know what you’re thinking: Tasha Cobbs, Grammy-winning gospel singer, depression? Yes, depression.
Going to therapy was new for me. I didn’t know anyone who went to therapy – or so I thought. We don’t talk about mental health enough in our churches or our culture. I remember being weary of even doing it. When I started going to therapy I only told my closest friends and family. They were all very supportive. They would call and say, ‘Did you go to your appointment today? What happened? Did you have a breakthrough?’ But I know some people don’t have that kind of support system— especially in our culture—and they suffer in silence. We need to fix this. Our culture and churches in general, should put more focus on depression and people who struggle with mental health. From what I've experienced in sharing my testimony with different people it's something way more prevalent than we acknowledge, and I am willing to stand on the frontline as a leader in our culture and address the mental health issues we have been ignoring.
The Write or Die Chick: You Don't Need Prayer, You Need a Therapist
Throughout all this I believe my faith was still my pillar. I use the example of my father all the time. He was the foundation of our family. He taught me everything that I know about ministry and life. My father passed away almost two years ago now — a week before I won my first Grammy Award — and one of the things that people ask me all the time is, ‘How in the world did you mourn while living such a public life?’ I believe that in life there are moments where we have to live what we preach. I've been preaching that he's the God of peace, he's the God who rids us of chaos in our life. The Bible talks about the peace that we cannot understand. With all the faith I have, I have to believe Him to be the God that I preach about. So when I'm struggling to find peace in my mind... I can always go to God and he gives me peace that surpasses my understanding. Besides therapy, that's one of the things that keeps me whole. I practice what I preach now when it comes to this because that's the only things that really heals. I believe therapy brought awareness to the places in me that needed healing, and that God and my faith then healed me.
I still go to therapy. It's not as consistent as it was back then, but once a month or so, I'll meet with my therapist to make sure we're still on point. It's something I believe in and it's something I encourage. I believe that there are people in this earth that God has really graced to be able to help us through every situation in our lives, along with His strength, along with His power.
As told to Yolanda Sangweni