Bipolar with a Bible | Jasper Williams | The Jamal Bryant Podcast Let’s Be Clear Ep #20

In this special Father’s Day episode of “The Jamal Bryant Podcast: Let’s Be Clear,” Dr. Jamal Bryant sits down with Jasper Williams III, son of church legend Pastor Jasper Williams Jr. Jasper, a devoted son, husband, father, and former pastor, shares his courageous journey of stepping down from pastoral duties to focus on his mental health. Diagnosed with ADHD and Bipolar Disorder, Jasper advocates for therapy, treatment, and prescribed medication, sharing his powerful message: “I was tired of surviving, now I’m thriving.” He encourages black men to prioritize their mental health and break the stigmas within the faith community. Tune in for an inspiring conversation about the importance of mental health for fathers and men, with Dr. Jamal Bryant. This episode promises to enlighten, encourage, and empower.

Audio

Summary

In this insightful discussion on mental health, wellness, and wholeness within the black community, Jasper Williams III, a seasoned clinician, delves deeply into the challenges that individuals often face. One significant theme he explores is the mental strain associated with living in the shadow of a successful parent. Williams reflects on the immense pressure that children, particularly those who are part of highly public families, endure as they navigate their own identities while dealing with the expectations set by their remarkable parents. He shares that his father, despite his success, was his most ardent supporter in his journey of self-discovery. 
 
Another critical issue addressed by Williams is the profound impact of social media on one’s public image. He highlights how the rapid spread of information through social platforms can amplify mental stress, leading to increased public scrutiny and pressure. This view is underscored by Williams’ own experiences, where perceptions and judgments are quickly formed based on social media interactions. 
 
Williams also emphasizes the long-term effects of an absent father, often due to career commitments, on mental identity. He stresses the importance of having a solid mental identity, which can be fragmented by the lack of a paternal figure. This theme is intertwined with the broader challenges of growing up in the limelight of a successful family, which often complicates the journey towards establishing one’s own voice and identity. 
 
The discourse goes on to explore the mental health issues unique to pastors and individuals in ministry. Williams opens up about the personal battles he has faced, including his experiences with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. He reveals that he has been benched three times due to these mental health struggles, illustrating the severe impact these conditions can have on a person’s life and work. The need for appropriate mental health support becomes evident through these narratives. 
 
An essential part of the conversation is the role of therapy and professional help. Williams advocates for the integration of clinical therapy with spiritual guidance, asserting that the church must distinguish between pastoral counseling and professional mental health services. He conveys the critical need for the church to acknowledge and address mental health issues with the same urgency as physical health conditions, pointing out the significant misconceptions that often surround mental health within religious communities. 
 
Williams also underscores the importance of community support and advocacy. He believes that the black community must come together to support proper mental health treatment and eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness. The collective effort can significantly help individuals to feel less isolated in their struggles and more encouraged to seek help. 
 
In addition, Williams recounts personal and historical anecdotes that add depth to his insights. He mentions the influence of his father’s guidance and the journey of balancing authenticity with public responsibilities. Reflecting on a poignant memory, he describes the surreal experience of receiving an alert on social media shortly after a family funeral, exemplifying the pervasive influence of digital platforms. 
 
In conclusion, the discussion draws attention to the multifaceted aspects of mental health, emphasizing that recognition and treatment of mental health issues are crucial. Williams’ personal accounts and professional insights make a compelling case for the need for holistic approaches to mental health within the black community, particularly in navigating the pressures of public life and the strains of familial expectations.

Action Points

– Brother Jasper Williams III discusses the immense pressure and stress of growing up as the son of a prominent preacher.
 – Jasper’s personal journey involves stepping out of his father’s shadow and dealing with an identity crisis.
 – He explains how his father’s support was crucial in helping him find his own voice and sense of self.
 – The conversation touches on the toll of growing up with an absent father due to his father’s commitments and its impact on Jasper’s mental health.
 – The mental burden of being a public figure, including dealing with external opinions and social media’s role in amplifying stress.
 – Jasper shares his struggles with mental health, including three significant episodes of depression and anxiety that took him out of the pulpit.
 – He highlights the importance of acknowledging and treating mental health issues, likening the brain to any other organ that requires medical attention.
 – The podcast emphasizes the reality of mental illness within the ministry and challenges traditional views within the black church about mental health and spirituality.
 – Jasper talks about the journey to therapy and medication, noting the stigma within the community about seeking professional mental health care.
 – There is a significant discussion about the need for the church to incorporate mental health professionals and create supportive environments for those struggling with mental illness.
 – The dialogue aims to remove the stigma around mental health and encourage people to seek help, revealing personal stories to provide hope and reassurance.

Transcription

00:00 Hey, family, welcome to the Jamal Bryant Let’s Be Clear podcast. All of the shades of gray are about to be lifted around a taboo that has so many dark clouds in the black community. It’s about mental health, mental wellness, mental wholeness. My friend, brother Jasper Williams, the third is not just my guest
00:32 conversationalist, he is our guest clinician, and I’m hopeful that he’s going to help us all on that journey. Brother, thank you so much for hanging out with us today. Thank you for having me, doc. No, it means the world to me.
00:43 Probably one of the most seminal books I’ve ever read is a book by Brandon Porter, the second entitled, If Obama Had a Son, and it talks about how difficult it is to be successful, drum roll, if your dad is a success. What that means in the impact, and a lot of people don’t understand that small fraternity of people who have to fight through a shadow to find their own light.
01:18 Your father is a living legend, literally, in the world of the black church. Tell me how difficult it was to find yourself and to find your own voice. Sir, my biggest proponent and advocate for me finding myself was my dad. I remember walking through the conventions, National Baptist Convention, and talking about that legendary side, man, from the airport, people would stop dad all along
01:50 the way, it was crazy. Once he got to the hotel, it would take sometimes two hours for him to get from the lobby to his room. Wow. And with me being able to see that, I would get those questions.
02:04 Can you hoop like your daddy? Are you moaning yet? Are you moaning? What you talking about? And so that was, I didn’t know it, but that was a stress and a pressure that I didn’t
02:19 realize was contributing to a warped identity, but where dad was unwarping it, if there is such a word, was helping me be comfortable in my own skin and would tell me stuff like, you ain’t got to hoop. And then I remember it got one time where he said, you doing it, son, you doing it, son, you doing it, son, but keep in mind now, he was the son of a popular preacher.
02:47 Yeah. My granddad was, was some else. And so that was, that was a challenge, but to have a father support behind that, it was, it was a burden. He was the blessing.
02:58 Oh, wow. I like how that’s put. A lot of people, when they get into celebrity status and whatever field, an athlete, a entertainer, a political figure, or even a preacher, people see them not even as human.
03:15 And I want you to walk through what that meant of the rise of success, but having to fight through your father’s battles. I try to get into your mind when people had all kinds of opinions after the Aretha Franklin funeral. Uh, how do you go from son to protector, right?
03:39 Tell me what that means because he’s lived a very public life your entire life. That’s right. Yes. Right. One of the things that’s different in these days is social media.
03:50 Um, I was telling somebody recently, it’s how fast you can grab the content and how fast you can distribute it. And so what’s happening now and what’s going on is it’s no different. It is, it is no different. It’s just happening more quickly.
04:07 I remember after the funeral was over, we get on the plane and we’re heading back and I get an alert and I won’t tell you who the podcast to was, but they’re having this discussion. This should be talked about at the family table at the kitchen table. But here’s the, here’s the thing that’s interesting.
04:29 It took however many years until what dad said, then people were saying and are saying the same thing now. And so me being protective of him was from a distance because I wasn’t at Salem. I mean, our church was, uh, 14, 15 years old. Yeah.
04:50 And so, um, even being protective of him to the point to where I remember I let church out early one Sunday and drove to Salem because of an interview that was happening. But now that’s one side of it. The other side is what I think was the gas on what was already there. Yeah.
05:13 And that is, I had to grow up with out dad home. Hmm. I had to grow up with an absent father. Um, my parents divorced when I was 12, 13 or so. That is always provided.
05:27 I never had to worry about, you know, some of the stuff that people worried about, you know, from private school education to college. I would always tell people I went to school on dollar ships, not scholarships, but it came at a price and the price was dad wasn’t home. It wasn’t until I graduated from seminary and came back home.
05:51 Did I have, did I have him now? He’d always let me travel with him in the summer. But what I’m saying is that there’s a price you pay mentally. Here’s the thing. The identity of a person that is dealing with mental illness is shattered.
06:14 Shattered. And when you don’t know who you are, you always are finding out and trying to figure out who you are and that can be maddening on the inside of your head. Who am I? Because the father’s the one that’s supposed to give, give the identity.
06:35 And not that dad was withholding everything. You know, somebody could take this clip and make it look the other way. Not that dad was withholding anything. He, he was doing it to afford us the life and the lifestyle that we had, but it was costing me a price.
06:52 I didn’t know that I was going to have to pay until I was a grown man and life was starting not to work. Yeah. You did something that really put the black church on its head because nobody deals with nepotism in Christian though.
07:13 And it is what I call black privilege is people believe because it was theirs, it is mine. You took an Abrahamic route. I said, I could take this church, but God gave you another, another direction to do it.
07:33 So you left the celebrated, famed, sacred space of Salem and started the church. How difficult was it to hear this leave legacy to follow destiny? One of the, one of the things I said when I was leaving, there was this a one year video anniversary and the opening of it. I said, one year, I’m talking about a year for the church.
08:02 We started in 2006. So this would have been January, 2007 when we put this video out and it’s set, it starts off in the beginning, leaving a kingdom with a lowercase K to follow the king. Wow.
08:18 The thing is funny that you bring up about an Abrahamic decision. It’s going and not knowing. Yeah. And the journey, no matter where we are, mental health, mental illness or not, it has to be fortified with a relationship with God.
08:40 Yeah. And too often, I believe that the black church hasn’t helped fortify that relationship. Not that it’s not there, but being deliberate, being deliberate about it. And so you can’t be halfway obedient.
08:57 Yeah. And that’s what my call was about. It’s either I stay with my father and let the future play out like it was supposed to, or I trust God. And Jay, that had to have been, no, it’s no hat.
09:16 That was the hardest decision I ever had to make because my dad and I were best friends. Wow. And so now for me to leave my best friend and for his best friend to leave him, it was, it was a tearing that happened that we both had to heal through.
09:39 Yeah. But God has been faithful. God has been good. Yeah. Better than we’ve been ourself.

09:47 Man. Amazing. My, uh, parents have been married 54 years. Wow. 54 years coming July.
09:57 And, uh, they’ve written books on, uh, sacred space of marriages. They have counseled hundreds of pastors and their spouses, uh, in marriage. And, uh, I only have one sister. We are two siblings and both of us are divorced. I am amazed on the flip side.
10:21 Your parents are divorced and you and your brother are married and maintained it in a high public, healthy space. Uh, and I want you to really talk through finding a pattern for marriage without the immediate example of marriage, because a lot of people in our community use as an excuse, I can’t do it because I didn’t see it.
10:50 So marriage is one of the hardest thing, if not the hardest thing that you can do, but it is the best thing that you can do. Now, interestingly enough, Elisa and I have been married 26 years. Wow. Got two kids.
11:09 Our daughter will be 25 in October. Our son is 20, a rising junior in college. I am amazed at how whole our children are having not had a template, but watch this. The template I didn’t have came from pain. I had.
11:34 Wow. All right, let me explain to you. Yeah. Dad, wasn’t a dad that would come and pick you up from school. Matter of fact, I can think he came one time on his motorcycle to get me.
11:47 The way I heard him, that was a street that led up to the little covered shelter. And I hear this. He’s on his motorcycle. No way. Volume turned up.
12:00 I’m like, I know that voice. Oh yeah. I know that voice. But what I mean when I say my, my being amazed at my kids, what I didn’t get, I gave them. So I remember when we started the church, we live Southwest Atlanta.
12:16 We were doing thousand, 1200 miles a week because we moved our daughter North by faith. Yeah. I remember grabbing her. I don’t know how many times by the ankles and praying for it. I took great joy taking my son to get his haircut and for him to end the day and say, I enjoyed hanging out with you.
12:41 Bubs. That’s what he calls me. Yeah, but the, my marriage first, I have the most amazing wife in the whole wide world. What a blessing. But Alicia stayed with me because of where my, where my journey was and where my headspace was.
13:03 I, I damaged my marriage in damaging her and I know I damaged those kids, but I, I start realizing that apologies mean more than what we think. Now, the reason why I believe that marriage worked for me again, not because I had a template, but I wouldn’t quit. And my commitment was, I am not going to let my marriage end in divorce.
13:38 And I’m not going to let my kids be raised in a broken home. And my wife’s commitment was the same, which made it easier to fight through it. But my maturity, even though it was at a price, you know, there are seven different emotional stages that a child has to mature to, to be an adult and me becoming the head of the house when my parents divorced, or even while dad was on the road, on the road, caused that
14:11 phase to be warped. I’m the one walking around the house at night when something goes bump. I’m the one checking on my mom, making sure my brother’s okay in many regards, being a surrogate father for him. And that maturity translated over into marriage.
14:30 And because it did. I was able to stick to the promise of the covenant and not give up. Yeah. Again, God’s grace. It’s amazing.
14:54 I’m great. I’m grateful. No, I’m grateful. We’re all the beneficiaries of it. A lot of people love really see our preachers and know in certain terms as performers.
15:06 You just get up on the stage, memorize four or five scriptures, insert your gift, insert your gift and sit down. I want you to talk about the mental pressure of being in ministry. Preaching is my solace. And, you know, but getting to the pulpit is the fight sometimes.
15:32 Um, I do a whole bunch at the same time and it’s because of tension deficit. I, it’s the SOS, the shiny object syndrome. And so while I’m preparing as much as I love to be in the text and study and present, there’s so much other stuff that grabs my attention. And so that mental weight will make me end up.
16:01 So it would make me end up sometime saying, God, I, I didn’t give you what I should have. And then God has mercy. But Jay is not always the preaching. That’s what you deal with is what it takes to get there. It’s dealing with people.
16:19 It’s dealing with, it’s dealing with budgets and sometimes lack is dealing with folk that don’t agree and starting dissension. That’s the part that hurts my heart and your heart and your head are connected. And when your heart hurts, it affects your head. But it’s something in us that I’m, I’m desperately trying to break that, that mode of
16:51 realizing that ministry isn’t just at a local level. Yeah. When God has called you to something else that still allows you to be who you are, but pastor’s heart when there’s something else and you know what, that’s where my freedom has come.
17:12 As I’m embracing this new place, as I am celebrating years and years of therapy and counseling to have a clarity about what’s next, not knowing how I’m gonna get there, but having a clarity has ignited a new fire, a new joy on the inside of me. Yeah. I, uh, we bumped into each other in Dallas, uh, a couple of months ago and, uh, you begin
17:40 to share, uh, with me and I was blown away, uh, at your full embrace of your personal odyssey. Uh, you are the first pastor I have met who has said to me that they had been diagnosed. Mm. Wow.
18:00 Really? Ever. No way. I promise you ever. That’s why you sitting here today.
18:08 As much as pastors deal with mental health. Yes. I’m the first one. Yes. Now I didn’t want to say it.
18:19 So you tell them what you were diagnosed with. So you told me now tell them. Yeah. So I, I’ve had three stints where I was out of the pulpit and benched because of mental illness.
18:40 And when I think about it and look back through some of the patterns, it’s always been there, but it was how we masked it. Yeah. So people that are struggling in the pain that comes, the brain is an organ. Now if something wrong with our kidneys, something wrong with our hearts, something
18:59 wrong with our muscular skeletal system, what do we do? We go to the doctor and we see how to fix it. Why don’t we do the same thing with our brains? It’s an organ that sometimes can get out of whack. And when I go back and I look at it and I see some of the, some of the signs as I’ve
19:18 come to understand them, it’s been there for awhile. So back to what I was saying, three times, have I been benched for depression and anxiety? All right. So I want to live from a place of authenticity.
19:39 Yeah. My first time that took me out, I punched my wife in the stomach while I was asleep. Wow. Jay, she was pregnant with our son.
19:52 Wow. We had a, we had a child. She was pregnant between our first and now our son and she miscarried right in front of me. When, when we were building the East side building, there was a standoff between dad
20:10 and the contractor. So here I am sitting on the backside collecting all this stuff. And if you got 90 units of something in a cup and you put 120 in there, what’s going to happen? It was spilling over.
20:24 And that’s what happened to me. That’s what took me out. So here’s the story. Every year we go to Dallas, my wife is from Dallas to spend Thanksgiving there in the hotel.
20:35 We dropped Jordan off. She was young with the grandparents, came back to the hotel and my wife and I had a little tiff. That’s one thing about mental, mental illness is you get set on edge and it, the light over there flashing the way it is, can make you feel some kind of way.
20:57 Alicia is the sweetest person. I don’t know what it was, but I, I, I got upset. And I took two sleeping pills, prescribed, woke up the next morning and she says, she’s really dry. And I said, you know what?
21:18 Forget this. I used to lift and lift heavy. I got my gloves. I put my clothes on and there was a gym across the street. I would have worked out, came back and she’s still dry.

21:31 So I’m taking you shopping today. We going, we got to stay, stay planned. I was, I don’t get it. She says, Jasper, you don’t know. I said, no.
21:44 What? That little edge of my voice. She said, you don’t know what you did last night. Tell him about what I did. I went to sleep.
21:52 She said, you punched me in the stomach. Wow. Jay, if something had happened to my wife and you had no recollection of it and just so happened, she was nesting and she had her hands on her stomach, which took and absorbed the impact.
22:20 I knew something was wrong. So, so doctors were smart enough. Maybe I should say dumb enough to give me something to help me go to sleep. Cause I had heartburn. I think a lot.
22:30 Yeah. And at night those thoughts amp up. They gave me something to go to sleep, but they didn’t start treating what was there. I got home and I got benched for 13 weeks. Why I could do nothing.
22:46 My therapist, my psychiatrist, he said, you can’t even show up at church. So, but pause. You’ve gone from your church for a quarter, really? This was at Salem. So I was still, I was still at Salem.
22:58 Okay. In those 13 weeks, did you all say anything to the church? Where was you in Cuba? No, I’m saying, what did you say to them? I remember one year we spent two weeks in Disney world and I had a ball.
23:12 I missed. I said one year, but that year it happened in November. I went to my, our daughter and my wife and who was pregnant to Disney world and everything else I could think of over that next time I had to, I had to get some kind of semblance back.
23:32 So yes, we told Salem, um, but it was cloaked. Yeah. It was, it was masked. It was. Propaganda.
23:42 And man, nobody asked dad anything. Oh yeah. So he made the announcement and we rocked, they rocked right on. That was my first episode. My second episode.
23:55 So that would have been 2003 into 2004. It was in October of 2015 where the church had gone through the church that we pastor at gone through a real long, hard moment. Yeah. And you lasted in years.
24:16 And after we got through it, it’s like my body exhaled and all the stuff that had been suppressed came back up. Yeah. And I remember, I remember the first time I was in the hospital, I was in the
24:36 I’d find myself in the corner, in the shower, like can’t move. Like a baby bent over crying and asking myself what in the world is going on with me? I I’d find myself for no reason being ticked off, not liking myself. So second time and I was gone from October until mid February.
25:15 Wow. Yep. My wife carried it. Now, but at that time you’re at the church, your pastor. It’s 2015.
25:21 Yes. Yes. So what do you say to your church then? Look, y’all, I’m out pastors out. I think I told them it was my wife because it happened quickly.
25:32 When I stepped out, I had to, or I would have exploded. And man, that’s how, that’s how mental illness works. It, you get to the point to where, at least for me, you can’t take it anymore. It can’t be contained in your head. And so I came out, same thing.
25:50 I got benched. And, um, my wife told the people, pastor’s away. He’s he’s such and such and such. Um, and when I came back, I told them what was going on. And they held together.
26:04 They held together. Wow. They, they held together, but then the respect that they have for me, I could see was growing. Yeah.
26:12 This man is telling us his story. He’s telling us what’s going on the inside. Cause you see, people can’t see it. As long as you preach, as long as you can communicate, as long as you know what you’re supposed to do, then folk can see a cast on your head.
26:35 Yeah. But now the third time happened right before the pandemic, October again, 2019, we were riding home from a funeral. I just told my wife, I can’t do it anymore. And this was nothing that I was flirting with.
26:54 It was like real time. Yeah. She said, what, what you can’t do anymore. I said, I cannot do it anymore. I said, I have to go get some help.
27:05 Wow. I left, I was gone for 30 days to outpatient treatment in Seattle, Washington. And that’s where other layers were finally found that weren’t being treated before then. That’s when I started realizing that something else was wrong. It wasn’t just anxiety.
27:31 It wasn’t just depression. It wasn’t insomnia. It wasn’t insomnia. Man, that’s where bipolar was discovered. Wow.
27:39 How did you manage this debate that may be almost exclusive to the black church experience on how are you having this when you got a relationship with God? Okay. Now that’s the problem. I was in a worship service recently and the pastor said, no Christian should have a struggle with mental illness or depression. You just need to pray hard.
28:06 And pray more. How are you going to tell me I need to run on a busted Achilles? How are you still supposed to run a four to 40? Yeah. You can’t do it.
28:21 Yeah. You can not do it. And I think that’s the thing that angers me the most that as a pastor, telling people that you can’t do it. As a pastor telling people that, and they’re hurting, what do you do now? You’re making them think and question their relationship with God and say, I ain’t got enough faith.
28:44 Wow. I’m doing this wrong. God made me some kind of way that is detrimental. It’s detrimental, but it’s ignorant. And, and that’s why I want my voice to speak into.
28:56 That’s where my advocacy comes. Not just people who are struggling with mental health or mental illness, but to educate that there’s this one, one phrase, this one quote I read, there is no failure in faith. Now, what that means is.
29:25 Let’s call Paul to the table on the inside of this interview. Paul was very clear about, I got this thorn in my flesh. That’s right. Listen, folk are gonna embrace me or reject me or think something is wrong. It ain’t the first time.
29:44 Some was wrong with me. People just couldn’t believe I left Salem because God said. Yeah, they just couldn’t. How dare God tell you to go opposite of what we think. Yes, exactly.
29:55 People don’t think what they think. Yeah. Here we are 18 years later. And the same thing when it comes down to, um, when it comes down to the decision I had to make, I, you know, you’re right. Folk are gone, but go ahead.
30:09 There’s, there are people that are out there. I’m talking to you. As a matter of fact, there are people that are out there, men and women, and my voice is resonating with you. You are replaying areas and issues in your life and moments. And you’re like, yes, help.
30:25 Yes. Help. And I just want to tell you that help is on the way that there is nothing wrong with you that should, that should cause you to be discarded. Yeah. You looking at a testimony, you looking at a testimony of somebody who still has their marriage, whose kids still love them.
30:46 You are precious to God. And no matter how much faith you’ve had to demonstrate, there is no failure in faith. We got to get to the next chapter. I love it. There’s an area I need you to help the body heal in.
31:01 All right. And that is particularly, well, not even charismatic or Pentecostal apostolic churches. My whole life experience is black church. So that’s the only vantage point I can speak from. But I want you to help the church who addresses mental health as demonic activity.
31:22 So somebody will come depressed or stigmatized with whatever. We immediately go to a flask of oil and call for the intercessors and we’re going to throw sheets on them. Is it for you? Is mental illness, spiritual warfare? Yes.
31:44 Unequivocally. Yes. It starts with the curse that the earth is under. Things to Adam and Eve. Wow.
31:53 So from that point on, some is going on. So yes, it is. There’s a, there’s a new flavor niche of deliverance that is coming up specifically talking about. Being delivered from the demonic in your brain. So technology allows for you to put these EKGs on and you.

32:25 can literally see manifestations of the demonic in somebody’s brain. Literally. Wow.
32:31 So what do you do with that? Do you take a pill for that? That ain’t the way to do it. No, you deal with, you deal with spiritual stuff with spiritual tactics. Yeah. And I curse what I can curse. I rebuke what I can rebuke, lay hands on me, put the oil on me.
32:43 And we see it happen on Sundays. You know, I rebuke the spirit of death. I rebuke the spirit of depression. The thing is that once the anointing wears off and that brain organ hasn’t been helped, what does it do? It comes back and it plagues again.
32:59 I was at the jail a week ago and the warden said something, Pastor Jasper does mess me up, that 67% of inmates in the jail are mental issues, which means we are criminalizing mental instability. So if the legal system is criminalizing mental health issues and the black church is ostracizing mental health issues and you’re dealing with a culture and a demographic that doesn’t go to therapy, I want you to talk about to some parent, some pastor, some spouse who feels like their loved one, their significant other is in that warfare. But don’t have that level of self-awareness that you had to say, hey, I got to get help. What do we do? All right. So what the one of the biggest things I found out is community is everything.
34:08 I’m sitting next to you. There’s this exchange of life. Imagine a ship with shipping containers pulls up and has got all this cargo on it. Another ship comes and it starts to take the cargo off because this ship needs to make to the neck. That’s the exchange of life that happens in the body of Christ.
34:29 All right. So a community is very important on how it is that you move forward because pain can identify with other pain. Yeah. But then there has to be a voice of reason. So I’m talking to a spouse, you know, my wife has a totally different approaches.
34:50 I’m talking to a spouse. I’m talking to a parent. First of all, it’s being undiagnosed in the black community because black men aren’t supposed to go through that. Wow. And so a black man just supposed to be strong and your duty and, and he himself puts the pressure on himself.
35:08 And so it goes, it’s, it’s not that we had it more than another culture. It’s that we just aren’t diagnosed. And so if I can find a community that is a community of faith and I can present some options on how to make it through. Yeah. My community helps.
35:28 But now I got to be responsible for bringing in voices and therapists and advocating even in the medical industry and the medical side of we got to help this problem. You said it when you started the podcast. Yeah. This is the next pandemic. No, it’s a, it is with us.
35:44 The church, uh, at large has got to be more accountable and more responsible. I went to Duke divinity school and had one class on pastoral counseling. One. It was an elective that does not make me a therapist. That’s right.
36:03 I, and I want you to talk about the urgent necessity for the church to one in carriage therapy and understand the difference between therapy and quote counseling. Okay. So when I was at Salem, there was, we used to have counselors on staff to deal with those kinds of issues. Um, I’ve got a friend who in his church, he gives space.
36:33 Steve Thurston, as a matter of fact, in, in, um, Chicago at covenant gives space for a account, a therapist actually to be there. And to minister to people. All right. So I go to, I get my therapy in one particular session, but then I get the medicine in another. So I’m talking about how I’m feeling.
36:59 And once that’s, once that comes to light, now I’m getting some help. I take my medicine. Wow. I’m going to take that little white pills, those little, I’m going to take that because the chemistry of the brain is off.
37:13 It’s also the walk around here being in, can you feel the difference when you don’t? Oh yes. You can. And people around me as well. Wow.
37:20 I’m gonna give you one, one situation. We’re supposed to been evangelizing. I’m at the church. This is four or five years or so ago. And because I was undiagnosed, uh, I got mad when people start telling me that they weren’t coming.
37:34 And I said, uh, I sent a message to my leaders. I hate, I hit send it. It tipped over a bucket. Hi. Why are you talking to me like this?
37:48 Wow. Who, who he think he is? Wow. Don’t you know, we given of our time, but Jay, the problem is I didn’t even know that the letter had the tone on it. When I went back and read it after I’d settled down.
38:03 Yeah. You were tone deaf in the moment. And you know what I did? I went back and apologized, but the damage had already been done. So yes, I can tell there’s an awareness that I have after hours and hours of hundreds of thousands of hours of counseling and therapy that I can tell.
38:21 Nah, brah, you ain’t feeling right. And what exacerbates it is stress. Yeah. I can’t believe I made it through the pandemic. I just come back from treatment first Sunday in February.
38:36 The pandemic started mid March. Yeah. And I’m having to deal with all the pastors. Right. Yeah.
38:45 Right. But it was them little white pills that did it. What is the reality of being a pastor with bipolar disorder? Man, that’s a good question. What is the reality beyond this thing ain’t going to get me.
39:04 I moved from. I updated my Facebook profile and I said, I’m done surviving. I’m thriving. Even with mental health issues, you still thrive. Yeah.
39:26 But you got to do your part. It’s about eating. It’s about reducing and dealing with your stress. Yeah. It’s about your therapy.
39:32 It’s about you taking your medicine. It’s about when I start feeling that thing, come on me. I got to move my therapist. I got, when I want to sit down, I got to go do something moving your body. So the reality is not everybody has to deal with life the way that I do.
39:51 But I can still deal with life. That’s where your theology comes in. Yeah. Your theology comes in and that God is with me even through this. I believe that’s why I am where I am now.
40:01 I had to go through that to be a voice. Yes. To be a voice of hope and reckoning and an advocate. One of the hardest crossroads I’ve ever come to, and it’s a Christian journey. And as a man was about seven years ago, I hit past our brick wall.
40:20 Uh, because I was depressed and successful. And most people don’t see the two working in alignment, right? People associate depression with failure. My church was growing. I had police outside directing traffic, three services on Sunday,
40:40 but I knew I’d come to the end. And I was depressed because I didn’t have a model. Wow. Of how do you leave what you started? And I had a self imposed life sentence to say, I got to be here forever.
40:59 Uh, and the Lord, uh, circumnavigated the circumstance of my life. I ended up here in Atlanta, which really breathed the life into me. Tell me how you got to that critical epiphany. It’s time for me to shut down, move out of this building, do something different. Reimagine what ministry looks like.
41:23 Tell me how you got to that. So first of all, let me go back to you. I saw this one clip of you and you start talking about, and you were in your, you in that gear and you start saying, God is going to give it back to you. You were dealing with, you were talking about depression and I forget whatever
41:44 else came in front of that. You said, God told me he’s going to change your mind. Yeah. The thing about that is what wires together, what fires together, wires together. So one of the roots of, maybe I should say one of the panaceas of mental health is
42:09 retraining how you think. And most often you said a self imposed sentence. Most often it starts with how we think about ourselves. So now what got me to where I am is that first of all, it felt familiar because when I had to leave, when I left Salem, I can say I had to leave because God was
42:28 calling out. When I left, it felt familiar. I got to trust God. And that’s the same thing that felt like this time. But people don’t understand.
42:38 Wasn’t that wrong? You know, there was no scandal. There was, there was, there was nothing that was wrong, but because I knew what it

42:38 was wrong, but because I knew what it felt like, I knew I, I couldn’t stay where I was or that would have made me go crazy. And it’s not that we, we stopped our Sunday mornings, but we believe that God is
42:58 assembling and taking our voices and my wife’s both further. He’s going to do it. Yeah. I am, uh, I am the better because of your bleeding. Oh my.
43:14 Yeah. You did not leave a oil spill in aisle nine, but I’m telling you, your, your transparency is transformative. Wow. Uh, and I think that, um, you moved into something a couple of weeks ago, sitting
43:32 in the chair you’re in now was Cornel West. I remember. And Cornel West said something when we got off the air, he said, I don’t understand your generation. He said, your generation has a brand and my generation had a cause.
43:52 And I think Jasper Williams, the third, you have stepped into a cause. Wow. Uh, that is so necessary for ministry for black men and even for marriages. Yes. Thank you so very much.
44:07 This is a, thank you. This has been a sobering healing and I pray helpful, uh, conversation. Uh, let me say to you as a pastor, uh, that I want you to make sure that you are in a healthy, nurturing, spiritual place, but as your friend, let me say to you, please seek out professional help of those who can walk you through
44:30 it, not just your grandmama giving you a hug and you eating Häagen-Dazs ice cream, uh, but get the help that’s needed and necessary. You know, that there is redemption and transformation available for all of you. Thank you for staying tuned in to Jamal Bryant. Let’s be clear.