When Someone Loses The War Against Mental Illness…

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128 Responses

  1. BishopDave says:

    Not trying to be insensitive but : “that he was aware of his problems, was actively engaged in fighting his sickness, and had what appears to be a strong support system around him
    He did all he could do and still lost the battle.
    Suicide is an epidemic in this country and we have to find better ways to address it inside the church and out, along with the root cause, mental illness.”

    These are the things we have been told are needed. Yet not enough in this case. What more is there? Because this leads me a bit towards despair as to how the church can respond better cause it sounds like it was a top notch response.

  2. Michael says:


    In this case it seems like it was a great response and it is of great concern to me that it wasn’t enough.
    I don’t think it should lead us to despair, but to even more research and determination to find ways to fight this disease.

  3. EricL says:

    He’s the second pastor to commit suicide in our area (other one did so last summer). So sad. I hope it drives some frank conversations throughout the Inland Empire (including from the pulpits) about the need for professional help, medicine, loving prayer, and support for those suffering with depression and suicidal thoughts.

  4. D. Alan Hawkins says:

    There is no formulaic approach that appropriately responds to this crisis. Like a lot of other social behaviors this one seems to be made worse by the publicity. It seems like an infectious social disease. It actually seems as if the public exposure emboldens rather than inhibits repetition. Course I do not know that. It’s just an observation.

    When I read this yesterday it went through me like a sword. It was heartbreaking to read. I thought oh no not again not again Lord. Depression is a serious and obviously fatal disease but it is also treatable and manageable. We are not helpless. Neither is our faith useless, there is much in our faith teaches us how to think and depression is a thinking disease. Of coarse to say such a thing is to risk making people feel guilty and that is not my intention. My intention is to speak hopefully into a situation that feels very helpless. There is a great deal that we can do and there are many ways that we can help one another.

    If you know someone who suffers depression encourage them to seek medical attention. Also Learn how to be actively present and intentionally silent in the life of the person you love. Silent physical presence is often enormously powerful to the person who is suffering end it is very often better in the words we offer them.

    One more thing, can we please find ways to talk about our faith without hinging everything on hell and heaven. I just preached through Matthew and I think heaven was mentioned eight or nine times to one over the word hell. And I don’t think any of those mentions of hell in the English referred to eternal conscious torment but that’s a debate for another day. Our faith is about Jesus who entered into our flesh and our suffering. It is about the one who came to rescue us. Grace and peace to all.

  5. Steve says:

    Tragic! He wrote an article last year why suicide doesn’t always lead to Hell. I feel like he has been planning this for over a year. Suicide is a very selfish sin. It is often used to control and cause guilt and suffering to many. It is nothing less than murder. Forgivable yes but considering you don’t have much time repent it’s too dangerous to contemplate. Making his death about suicide awareness is probably exactly what he wanted and that’s how twisted mental illness can be. In his mind he may have died a martyr but we all know that’s wrong. Let’s greive his death but not fall prey to these devil’s schemes.

  6. Corby says:

    I am pleasantly shocked that Jarred was allowed to continue to serve on a church staff with all of these problems. My experience is that a church like Harvest with a celebrity pastor will ask you to resign without ever asking you if you are OK. When the pastor preaches messages like “don’t be grumpy” there is no room for depression or a melancholy personality. Most churches will remove someone from their position, either short or long term, or permanent term, to get help. I don’t have any information to make an informed opinion, but I wonder what was in place on this church’s staff that facilitated him to serve as a staff pastor?

  7. Michael says:


    Thank you.
    Please expand on this in writing often…we need your voice.

  8. D. Alan Hawkins says:

    Yes, .

    On this topic I think I will, with full knowledge of fallibility and frailty.

  9. bob1 says:

    It makes me crazy to see people condemning this individual. I’ve been severely depressed and
    suicidal occasionally. The pain one experiences in that state is unbelievable. That’s why I hate people acting so glibly. I do hope that it might lead some conservative Xns to de-spiritualize suicide and mental illness. I know when I was in CC decades ago that there was a deep suspicion of mental illness and often a denial of it. I always felt sorry for people who were having
    issues with depression, etc. The only real solution was to put on a happy face — which is
    no solution at all. In fact, just makes it worse.

  10. Michael says:


    It is odd that Greg Laurie would be this “progressive”…I’ll celebrate it, though…

  11. Michael says:


    I couldn’t disagree with you more…it’s like getting hit in the face with a Bible covered hammer…

  12. Steve says:


    Hang in there. I’ve been there to. Despiritualizing is not the answer. Satan is at work to kill, lie and destroy. I’m convinced of that. I’m not condemning this man, other than saying we shouldn’t glory in this kind of sin. Last thing we need are more folks following his behavior. I kind of with Alan that the publicity of this can make things worse

  13. Steve says:

    Michael,. Who is getting hit by the hammer?
    I hope we can agree to disagree.

  14. bob1 says:

    Thanks for the encouragment, Steve! I’ve been doing ok for awhile now. Actually was able
    to help someone in a similar situation. That felt really good!

    What concerns me, though, is that there’s still way too much stigma about mental illness in conservative churches.. like ‘its presence somehow tarnishes God’s name. Nothing could be further from the truth. Denial doesn’t work. I had a friend who was a counselor and she
    said that working with members of a local megachurch was always extremely frustrating because
    they could never admit they had a mental health issue in the first place! A little acceptance
    can go a long way!

  15. Michael says:


    I have to step aside.
    I believe that “despiritualizing” is part of the answer…we don’t hear this spiritual crap when we’re talking about cancer or diabetes.
    I live with a person with severe mental illness…and I’ve come to loathe speaking to any Christians about it.

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    Maybe there are some here who have never engaged in such battles. Perhaps they have never looked out, seeing nothing but walls… no windows, no doors, just hopelessness with no escape. If you’ve not experienced this, you are fortunate. If you have experienced it, there is no way that you can feel anything but compassion for this brother. When one is in such a place, prayer just marks time and each prayer that goes unanswered seems to add to the weight you are carrying… I know it from my own experience. If you are fortunate, you find help. Praying for this young man’s family and friends…

  17. Josh says:

    Hey Michael –

    Maybe take down the responses to his tweet? The lady didn’t know he was going to kill himself, and she has apparently dealt with mental health issues as well. I wouldn’t want people going after her.

    Just a thought.

  18. Steve says:


    I’m not at the point where I can talk about my mental health openly but I can say that it’s been a long journey over over 35 years. I know more than the average person or pastor from my own experience. For me it’s definitely a spiritual thing. For the most part God has set me free but I know it could come back to haunt so I’m not glib about this struggle. I hope this is encouraging.

  19. Michael says:


    It’s all over Twitter…I don’t think it being here is going to cause her any issues.

  20. Josh says:

    I HATE social media.

  21. Michael says:


    Hers was the most reasonable “spiritual” response now that I go over and look…Good Lord, we are all sick…if it wasn’t for Jesus, I’d become a Buddhist…

  22. Josh says:

    Her’s was a wrong response, but one put forth from personal experience. I can only assume she thought she was commenting on hypothetical subject, not a man’s last words.

  23. Em says:

    saw this on the news this morning… i could never be a mental illness counsellor as there are so many reasons for not thinking straight. They range from self absorbed myopic thinking to actual brain abnormalities and I would never have the stamina or skill to sort them out. I would have to assume that all were organic and, I think, most are…
    God allows the righteous to suffer cancers, loss of loved ones etc. because we are now in a fallen world and in “a body of death.”
    This man fought a good fight, i believe and deserves grace, respect and prayer for those grieving losing him.
    NOW, i’ll go back up the line and read everyone else’s comments 🙂

  24. Steve says:

    It’s ironic. If someone commits murder/suicide it’s treated like terrorism but if it’s only suicide, we are to say he faught a good fight. This attitude diminishes the value of his own life he took not to mention sets a terrible role model for others to follow. Let’s grieve for his family, friends and church but let’s not glory in this. BTW, I’m all for the mental health profession but to say there is no spiritual aspect to this tragedy is tragic.

  25. Cash says:

    This is so tragic and heartbreaking. It breaks my heart that this man took his life, but what breaks my heart even more is some of the responses I’ve read here. Here—a community of faith—some shaming those who lose the battle with depression. Depression is not a spiritual illness. It is a disease of the brain and science has proven that. I have been fighting depression and PTSD for 30 years. I once attempted suicide in my garage with the vehicle running and the door closed. My wife found me slumped over in the car before the tragic decision I made could find its fruition. I struggle with the idea of suicide nearly daily. Why, my brothers and sisters, why shame those who battle every day just to get out and stay out of bed? Aren’t we supposed to love our neighbor through actions? How is it loving to call an obviously diseased man a grievous sinner? You don’t have any idea what was going on in that man’s heart and mind to cause him to take such an action. All these things are borne of ignorance that causes a stigma against those who are mentally ill. This stigma pervades society as well as the church. One loving action we could do for these people is to educate ourselves on the role that depression and other mental illness plays in the lives of our fellow believers, so we do not go around condemning these poor souls who for some reason, God has chosen not to heal. Some of us are like the priest who walked to the other side of the road to avoid helping an injured man. I beg you, brothers and sisters, do not be like the priest. Be like the man man who bound up the injured man’s wounds and took him to shelter. Compassion is a form of love. Jesus talked more about love than anything else. Empathy is putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Let’s show compassion and empathy to the weak and broken among us. Please.

  26. Michael says:

    Well said, Cash.
    We have much more work to do….

  27. Michael says:

    If you write again that anyone here is “glorying” in this tragedy it’s going to get real ugly here.
    Tell me, what is the “spiritual” aspect of diabetes?
    My failing heart?
    Why can’t we pray me a new heart valve?

  28. JM says:

    Because this issue affected my family greatly (some were successful, but two were given a second chance) I know the hellish aftermath all too well. I also know that greatly publicizing it can have a contagious effect on those who are growing weak in the struggle. It’s like someone went through a scary door and made it seem not so scary anymore. I would beg anyone contemplating such a thing to, not only talk with counselors about their deep pain, but also find out what happened to those who were unsuccessful and got a second chance. Changing unrealistic expectations put upon themselves and what they were led to believe about life and replacing them with realistic expectations seemed to help the ones that received the second chance.

    I pray I will not have said anything amiss. May God comfort that family and all who share that deep, chronic pain of the soul. Revelation 21:4

  29. Michael says:

    Well said…part of what we need to consider.

  30. Steve says:

    I have much compassion for those suffering mental illness. I think some confusion lies in the illness verses an act of violence. They are not the same thing. I have compassion for the individual suffering but not compassion for an act of violence. certain cancers that progress to eventually end life we don’t associate sin with this progression because there is a natural progression of the disease biologically speaking. However, If we go down the path that every act of violence is the result of mental illness, the concept of sin goes completely out the window. If fact every evil thing mankind does could be the consequence of untreated mental illness. Actually there is some truth to that. I do believe we all are sick and that leads right back to treating this on spiritual terms along with all the best the medical and pychological disciplines have to offer.

  31. Michael says:

    I’m going to lose it.
    I’m out.

  32. pstrmike says:

    sometimes there is no “enough.”

    Prayers for his family.

    Memory eternal.

  33. Steve says:

    Michael,. I don’t think we both have the same understanding of what spiritual means. In no way did I imply or even say that we can pray away mental illness. But I am suggesting that we not conflate an illness with the actual acting out on a temptation that comes from a spiritual dark place.

  34. Josh says:

    Steve – Let’s say the act in itself was sinful. Why does that matter at this point?

  35. Michael says:

    My family member has an organic brain disease.
    Because of the area of the brain affected, he’s at high risk of emotional outbursts, including violence.
    That’s science, not sin.
    It’s not “acting out temptation” but having the parts of the brain that inhibit and control emotions damaged.
    He’s a sinner, but Christ already took care of that.
    These attitudes on display here ruin people and cause despair in those who love them.

  36. Josh says:

    Michael, I understand. I was just trying to get Steve to grasp the futility of pointing a finger and yelling “sinner” at a dead man.

  37. McGarrett says:


    Kindly stop your morbid righteousness. In your mind, If you smoke and develop Cancer is this a sin? If you overeat and develop diabetes, is this a sin? If you take drugs for weight reduction and develop a Heart Valve Prolapse, is this a sin? Where do you divide the line between the Neck up, vs the Neck down for the various Maladies? If you are self righteous, is this a sin? Are all of these sins not forgiiven for the Believer? I am ashamed that I bought into this Kool Aid upwards of 20 years ago with CC. “Just have faith, read the word, you can snap out of it”, the enemy has infiltrated”. Consider being more careful with the words you are putting out with this tragedy. Contrition is always the best at a time like now.

  38. Michael says:


    I know…I appreciate that.
    I simply don’t understand the way some people think…I spend an hour or more every week with one of the best psychiatrists in the Northwest…he hasn’t mentioned sin as a root cause yet. Maybe he has a demon…

  39. Dan from Georgia says:

    Having some form of mental illness in myself and others close to me I can attest that this is in no way a sin issue. It’s not lack of faith, not reading my bible more or praying harder, or whatever. I’ll leave the “you have a demon or lack faith or understanding of your position in Christ” to the ignorant over at Charisma.

  40. Steve says:

    Josh, I honestly wish this article never was posted. It breaks my heart and is dam scary. You asked me does it matter whether it was sin or not. From the dead guys perspective it doesn’t matter. He’s dead. However,. From those on the edge and being tempted themselves I encourage them to ignore the devil. If your mental illness is so severe as Michael gave an example of I encourage to be hospitalized or on medicine to protect those around you.

  41. Josh says:

    Steve – Stop at “Get help”. There is enough guilt already.

  42. Jean says:

    Steve is giving a point of view in a discussion. Why the desire to censor that view? And worse yet, why attack him personally? Neither seems respectful IMO.

  43. Josh says:

    Who has attacked him? And he’s speaking freely as far a I can tell?

  44. Michael says:


    I’ll be blunt.
    Steve doesn’t know what he’s talking about (except in reference to himself).
    I believe his views are dangerous and I’m committed to fighting this kind of ignorance with everything I’ve got.
    I haven’t censored anyone, but I’ll be “damned” if I’ll let such go unanswered.

  45. Michael says:

    “If your mental illness is so severe as Michael gave an example of I encourage to be hospitalized or on medicine to protect those around you.”

    For the millions who are already on medication and may have even be hospitalized…I pray that you find loving, supportive people inside and out of your family and that you be very careful which Christians you allow to get near you…

  46. j2theperson says:

    I find myself agreeing with BishopDave up in the first comment. I read your words…

    “he was aware of his problems, was actively engaged in fighting his sickness, and had what appears to be a strong support system around him
    He did all he could do and still lost the battle.
    Suicide is an epidemic in this country and we have to find better ways to address it inside the church and out, along with the root cause, mental illness.”

    …and I am left in despair because everything was seemingly being done right in this situation and it didn’t change anything. I feel like I’m already overextended and exhausted and I feel like this article is asking me, as a Christian if I genuinely care about the mentally ill, to do a little more, care a little more, put myself out there a little more, overextend myself even more…and it won’t even fix anything and people will still commit suicide and, on top of it, I’ll be even more exhausted and overextended and worn out myself.

    I also don’t know how much I agree with the idea that the suicide epidemic is caused by some kind of ill-defined “mental illness”. Maybe people are sad for totally understandable and reasonable reasons that have nothing to do with their brain chemistry per se. Maybe their circumstances suck and continue to suck and continue to suck and they don’t know how to change anything so they finally give up. Yeah, some people probably have some kind of physical issues with their brain, but a lot of them probably also don’t. Blaming suicide on a physical brain disorder leaves me feeling very disheartened and like all the difficult circumstances that may lead to a person feeling despair as being dismissed–if they just had the “right” brain they’d be able to view those depressing circumstances in the “right” way.

  47. Duane Arnold says:


    Steve’s view are dangerous, but much is born out of simply not knowing the complexity of these matters. When Robin William took his own life, it was quickly assumed that he was escaping from the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Every one gave their opinion on whether or not he was justified in taking such an action. It was only later, after the Coroner’s report, that it was revealed that he had been mis-diagnosed. Williams actually had Louis Body Dementia, which mimics certain symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. LBD has the quality of throwing a person into complete dementia for a period of hours or days and, just as quickly returning the person to a normal state. It is now considered a very real possibility that Williams took his own life when in a state of complete dementia… that is, he did not even know what he was doing when he did it. These are the complexities of mental illness. Some are physiological in nature. Others, even if psychological such as PTSD, may also result in complete disorientation. In such cases, blaming the individual or their spiritual state is similar to saying I need to read the Bible more often to take care of my bad knee…

  48. Michael says:


    I ask nothing of anyone except to be informed, be compassionate, and don’t be a carrier of spurious myths.
    You may never be affected by any of this at all…

  49. Michael says:


    Very well said.
    My problem is with those who deny the complexities and lean on spiritual mythologies for explaining the world…

  50. j2theperson says:

    Michael, I may not be affected by suicide, but you know I have and sometime still do struggle with depression. I do care about this, but me caring about it doesn’t fix anything and I feel like I’m just being asked to do/give something (very undefined) that I don’t know how to give and probably wouldn’t have the energy to give even if I could understand what I was being asked to do.

  51. Michael says:


    I have no idea what you’re talking about.
    I’m not asking anyone to do anything other than what I already said.

  52. Paige says:

    Catastrophic tragedy….Catastrophic loss for everyone. I feel broken hearted for his wife and children, friends and those he worked to give hope to.

    The causes of endocrine and brain chemistry disorders are myriad. Our world is extremely polluted, disrupting bodily functions. Media is an ever present constant source of pressure and discontent.
    The meds often given for mental illness actually increase risk of suicide.

    The quest in my heart, is more about what the hell are we doing to people that is causing this breakdown of health, both mental and physical well being, and loss of desire to exist another minute.
    Such extreme inner pain.
    Unfathomable grief and loss of real hope.

    I’ve been listening lately to helpful podcasts about mental illness from a kind and educated young pastor, Wesley Towne iii. Better Day Podcasts. Helpful, informative and compassionate.
    God bless you my friends.

  53. j2theperson says:

    As I said above, this section of your article I found very disheartening; “The terrifying thing to me about Wilson’s death is that he was aware of his problems, was actively engaged in fighting his sickness, and had what appears to be a strong support system around him.

    He did all he could do and still lost the battle.

    Suicide is an epidemic in this country and we have to find better ways to address it inside the church and out, along with the root cause, mental illness.”

    Somehow, we’re supposed to address the problem of mental illness, but in Wilson’s case it was addressed and it still wasn’t enough, and yet you’re using him as an example of why the church needs to do better. But what more could have been done for him than was done? It comes off to me as if an impossible task is being set before me–this person had his problems addressed and he still committed suicide so we need to do better. How are we supposed to do better than was done for him?

  54. bob1 says:

    Cash, i’m in agreement with all you said. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  55. Michael says:


    As was noted in the comments and in the section you quoted, it appears that everything that could be done, was done.
    That’s not the case in most of evangelicalism.
    Our individual responsibilities are to help make our own churches as sensitive as we can to these matters.
    Sometimes it still won’t be enough…and that’s the terror that all of us who love someone with serious mental illnesses live with every day.

  56. Steve says:


    You have misrepresented me. I advocate a wholelistic approach to mental illness. Pychological, spiritual and physical. Every dimension needs to be considered and addressed. Not sure why that view is so dangerous. Anyhow, I’ll bow out now because I honestly think debating this is unhealthy in public

  57. Dan from Georgia says:


    “The terror” is aptly stated.

  58. Michael says:


    You didn’t answer my question…what is the spiritual aspect to my heart disease?

  59. Michael says:

    I think this needs to be debated…especially in the church where superstition reigns supreme on the issue.

  60. m says:

    This is horribly sad in multiple ways. I believe we all want to lessen and stop this from happening. There are, however, many things from preventing this from occurring, while also making things worse. And whatever side you are on, you will be blamed for making it worse (yes, some people ARE wrong, and they are making it worse).

    One thing that needs correction, which will never be corrected (and of which we are not even allowed to address) is calling this a “mental illness.” Anxiety and depression are all too real, but they are not a mental illness. The mind has no physical properties, so it cannot have the properties of an illness. If you want to call this a “brain illness” then that is different, but still not accurate.

    So, for example, who believes that anxiety is an illness/disease? Or is this a common malady, which is quite normal? If, however, it becomes extreme does it somehow morph into a disease? That doesn’t make sense, at all. If we say some is normal, yet some is physical, then that may be better, but still lacks accuracy. Either way, bringing this up riles people up, and then the invectives start to fly.

    For what it is worth, refusing to call these diseases/illnesses is not blaming the sufferer, but it will resulted in falsely blamed for doing so. This, then, shuts down communication, which prevents helpful and reasoned dialogue, which prevents people from being helped. And, for what it is worth, I meet with people every day who overcome anxiety and depression. There are many (potential) contributing factors, and while physical factors can play a part, there are countless things we can do (a part from the physical) that will lead to solving this hyper-painful suffering… YET so many are prevented from this healing due to how this “crazy” and “hateful” talk is shouted down.

    When we address this accurately, then there is hope. Yet so many well-intending people are, through rage and shouting others down, contributing to the very problem they want to solve.

    [Here is an article from the left/liberal site on the myths and lies of chemical imbalances, etc: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/04/mind-fixers-anne-harrington/583228/%5D

  61. Em says:

    I know that Steve is working to sort through a dilemma here – i recommend some of the writings of Michael S. Gazzaniga. I have his book “Who’s in Charge” and find it very helpful…

  62. Michael says:

    Take that to Infowars or the Bertram Call…I won’t allow that pseudoscience here.

  63. Steve says:

    Duane,. My last comment was actually directed towards you but I think you and Michael probably feel the same. Internet posts certainly cannot express the complexity in these matters but rest assured I am aware of them. I don’t disagree it’s complicated.

  64. Steve says:

    Em,. There is no dillema with me. I agree with Michael that what m wrote is balogne. I’m not here to give expert opinion on mental health. I do have an opinion on suicide that was actually written and shared by the victim himself.

  65. Steve says:

    Michael, I never said there was a spiritual aspect of heart disease.

  66. Steve says:

    M Garrett,. I’ll take your words to heart. But what exactly do you want me to show contrition for?

  67. Jean says:


    I don’t know what you and others mean by “spiritual,” but this year I was diagnosed and treated for melanoma and basil cell carcinoma. From my understanding of the Bible, it was God’s providential will that I received cancer and, likewise, it was His will that my treatment of those tumors was successful. He diagnosed and healed me through the doctors who saw me and treated me.

    I believe in a God who is immanent. Therefore, I believe that nothing happens to any of us apart from His providence. The alternative, which would be unbearable for me, would be an unbiblical God who is detached from His creation.

  68. Erunner says:

    I live with depression and anxiety. The anxiety and the panic attacks that visit me often are very real.

    For two years I was symtomatic as I found myself having trouble simply breathing among other things. At a men’s church conference I felt I was losing all control. I went down for prayer and the men didn’t know what to make of me.

    On a business trip with my daughter and her friend along with me on a Saturday morning I experienced my first full blown attack. You can’t begin to understand unless you’ve experienced it. I’ve had people say how they’ve had nervous episodes thinking they were the same but they didn’t understand.

    After my first attack some 25 years ago I went to church for counseling and the worship leader/counselor rebuked it in Jesus’ name. It just went downhill from there. I was not able to do the driving to do my job. It was a rough time.

    Finally I saw a counselor who said she understood and gave me medication, Klonopin. Taking it allowed me to continue my job for some years but eventually more driving to further located places was required and I simply was unable to do it. I remember trying to make it to Pasadena and I couldn’t and as I turned back I burst into tears. I felt like a cat was playing with me like a mouse. I was losing hope.

    When I was given the meds it seemed nobody knew much at all about what I was going through. A lot has changed and there’s people recovering all of the time via various treatments.

    I never recovered and now it’s worse than ever. Between myself and satan’s minions I thought God was not giving me what I deserved which was a full recovery.

    Through the years I’ve met folks worse off than me. I met a young mom who had never seen her children’s school. It was around the block but she couldn’t do it. How could someone’s heart not go out to her???

    I feel terrible that Jarrid Wilson took his own life. How could we not feel terrible about that and how it will impact his surviving friends and family?

    At the end of the day we all have our thoughts on the matter.

    But know there is a mental health crisis in our nation and world wide. So many lives are lost to suicide and it seems we can’t keep up with this epedemic.

    Anyone here that lives with any mental illness my heart goes out to you. It can be a lonely road.

  69. Steve says:

    Duane,. Your Robin Williams story is pure speculation and somewhat dangerous. I can same the same thing about Jeffrey Epstein but there is not a single soul in town that will give him that kind of grace. But I imagine he was in a state of dimentia when he killed himself.

  70. Linnea says:

    Erunner…thank you for your testimony.

    Many do not understand depression. I wish there were a way that those who have not experienced major depression or anxiety could experience it for a time. They would then understand the fight.

    I pray for Jarrid Wilson’s family and those under his pastorship.

  71. Michael says:

    Erunner…thank you.

  72. Erunner says:

    Thank you Linnea and Michael.

  73. m says:

    michael, I’m not sure which part you are calling psuedoscience (e.g. what I wrote, or the article), or why you would refer to those websites. But, sadly, this was as predicted. delete me if you must

  74. Michael says:

    I will if I have too…quickly.

  75. Anne says:

    The brain is an organ in the body. I wish people would say brain health issue. Separation of mental v organic issues in the brain causes the temptation to spiritualism both from Christians and all sorts of faith based healing brands. People confuse mind issues w soul issues & it gets ugly nasty depending on the self righteousness of those thinking they are the gatekeepers of heaven & hell, good karma & bad.

  76. Michael says:

    “From my understanding of the Bible, it was God’s providential will that I received cancer and, likewise, it was His will that my treatment of those tumors was successful. He diagnosed and healed me through the doctors who saw me and treated me.”

    I believed that for 20 + years…it was a great comfort.
    Then I realized what I was accusing God of…

  77. Jean says:


    We’re all free to believe what we want, but I trust that you would grant that what I have expressed as my belief is both orthodox and not superstitious or myth for a Christian. In my reading of the history of theology, it is only post-enlightenment that a randomness or other theory for God’s absence in the workings of creation has gained traction. I am not judging your beliefs at all or your right to hold them. However, I am following the historic teaching of the church.

  78. Michael says:


    It’s orthodox.
    My guess is that people were asking similar questions before the dreaded post enlightenment boogie man appeared on the scene…

  79. Cash says:

    Bob1 Thank you for hearing me and my heart because that response truly was from my heart.

    Thanks Michael for being you, brother.

    ERunner—Love ya, man.

  80. Michael says:


    Remember you have an open invite to write whenever you choose…Erunner, too…

  81. erunner says:

    Cash, love you too! We go back a ways!! 🙂

    Thanks for the offer Michael. Cash is an awesome writer and I’m more than happy to have him write for you. This isn’t the time for me. God bless!

  82. Pat says:

    The Atlantic and Alex Jones?!

  83. MM says:

    Why can’t we all be honest and say the obvious, the majority of church leaders have little to no training in depression counseling, diagnosis, or real solutions to the problem.

    It is my understanding (I have zero expertise or training on this subject) depression, in many cases, is some sort of chemical unbalance in our brains. I’ve known too many people who, when properly diagnosed, received both drug and counseling therapy and successfully controlled the issue.

    The best way to help our family, friends and acquaintances (and maybe ourselves) is to find a competent professional and help get them there.

  84. Michael says:


    I’ll say the amen…loudly.

  85. Duane Arnold says:


    The reports are the reports…. The diagnosis of Louis Body Dementia by the coroner was not “speculation”.

  86. Captain Kevin says:

    Praying for Jarrid’s loved ones.
    Praying for friends here who struggle with any form of mental and/or physical illness.
    Praying for the church in general to get a grasp on this.

  87. Ashley says:

    Thank you Michael for posting on this. My eyes lit up when I saw this and I devoured the comments in a heart beat. And perhaps, unlike some I have been rather encouraged by the conversations here. At least people are talking about it now, it’s a step in the right direction. Similarly, I attended a church last year that appeared to offer legitimate mental health counseling. Couldn’t believe it. Steve, I don’t think your intentions are bad but I encourage you to become more educated on depression and suicidal ideation. Unless you are either well educated on it or have experienced it you can’t begin to speak to it. I am a therapist and I have been suicidal. It’s a very scary and often lonely place to be. I have struggled these last couple of years with major depression but finally decided to once again seek out therapy. As a young therapist I was worried what others would think of me and my “weakness”. But I’m trying to practice what I preach and seek out my own treatment. But let me tell you it took me longer than it should have. And it makes me wonder what thoughts this pastor had himself about how he was feeling and if he even thought about the possibility of seeking treatment without fear of judgement. Who knows, of course none of us do. It is certainly devastating. There is still so much stigma and seeking treatment can be challenging for a host of reasons. It’s not as simple as it sounds. It gets very dark and hopeless and reaching out is the last thing one may want to do. In fact, in a seriously deep state of depression people aren’t able to think rationally. It is not selfishness, it is desperation.

  88. Michael says:

    Thank you, Ashley…I hope this isn’t your last contribution here…

  89. Dave says:


    I too, am coming away from the comments with a glimmer of optimism, seeing some of my kin willing to be courageously transparent and expose the same type of struggles I regularly battle.

    Thank you for your willingness to earnestly contend for the faith, …by pleading for the manifestation of justice, mercy and humility in our discourse broaching another sort of ‘scandalous’ topic impacting the church.

    I am reminded of an old Chuck Girard song; ‘Don’t shoot the wounded’

    ‘Don’t shoot the wounded, they need us more than ever
    They need our love no matter what it is they’ve done
    Sometimes we just condemn them,
    And don’t take time to hear their story
    Don’t shoot the wounded, someday you might be one
    It’s easy to love the people who are standing hard and fast
    Pressing on to meet that higher calling
    But the ones who might be struggling, we tend to judge too harshly
    And refuse to try and catch them when they’re falling
    We put people into boxes and we draw our hard conclusions
    And when they do the things we know they should not do
    We sometimes write them off as hopeless
    And we throw them to the dogs
    Our compassion and forgiveness sometimes seem in short supply’

    How often I have heard folks expound on their view of a tidy, restorative double-portion ‘happy ending’ to Job’s travails, …but I always imagine him laying in bed with tears welling up in his eyes, as the light of day fades.

    My soul is so thirsty, to see and hear genuine ‘brokenness’ from the pulpit and within the sanctuary. I have largely been absent from organized worship due to this dearth of heart-wrenching honesty in mourning over our repeated failures to be loosed from the chains of sin dragging us down. It just seems like many folks in the pastorate and pews, have apparently left their ‘ashen sackcloth’ at the dry cleaners.

    I believe that we often recklessly fate our younger brethren into what are ‘effectively’ prosperity faith practitioners, whom are afraid of ‘claiming’ their depression, by speaking it into reality. Therefore, the disingenuous masks and posturing of yet another ‘victorious overcomer’ theatrical performance with a script calling for ‘gritting-out’ the tragic facade until the end of Sunday service, …only to resume their suffering in silence.

    I’ve often heard it said, and I wholeheartedly agree, that “the two most honest places on earth, …ought to be the field of battle and the sanctuary. Where soldiers fighting for their lives, cannot help but reveal their wounds.”

  90. Steve says:

    Duane,. I’m not arguing what the coronor wrote. Reports also say Robin Williams died of aphyxia via hanging. Where the speculation comes in is saying that the disease caused him to hang himself. Pure speculation.

  91. Steve says:

    Ashley, I a very aware and educated on suicidal ideation. It’s very real. I know. I have experience with it. I am not condemning anyone to Hell or condemning the deceased. We have a good God that understands better than you or me all of these struggles. With that said, I do think that using this specific tragedy for suicide prevention awareness is risky in social media. Comments are misconstrued. Intentions are misunderstood. I spoke at length with my sister last night who had suicidal ideation. I’m so happy I called her to cheer her up. But I’m convinced this is a multidisciplinary approach that needs to be tailored each and every time.

  92. Duane Arnold says:


    We’re talking about the cause… not the means.

  93. Steve says:

    Duane,. Let’s bring this back home to the article posted. What is the cause and what is the means of this pastor’s death? It appears the means = suicide and the cause = major depression. However, reading some of the comments it appears there is another cause and that is the insensitive and unaware church to mental health that is not doing enough. That is a huge guilt trip. Who is to blame for this epedemic? Is everyone the victim or is everyone the problem? Not sure why we using this tragedy like this. Now I’ll stepaway.

  94. Michael says:

    “However, reading some of the comments it appears there is another cause and that is the insensitive and unaware church to mental health that is not doing enough. ”

    The church in some places continues to address mental illness as a “sin” issue instead of as health issue.
    The first few years of this blog Calvary Chapel pulpits were filled with opposition to psychology and psychiatry and sick people suffered greatly and some died as a result.
    Pastors set themselves up as qualified to deal with these issues and cut people off from real help.

    I’m going to fight this until I’m not here anymore…

  95. Michael says:


    Thank you for that…wonderfully well said…

  96. Steve says:

    Michael,. I agreed with what you just wrote. CC is an extremely poor example in addressing the needs of those with mental health. They do the opposite. In CC Philly when they got started they hired a pastor who had a PHd in pyschology. Some say he originally was hired for legal reasons. Not sure why he left in a huff but was there for over 20 years. I’ve been thinking of contacting him to get his perspective. I also appreciate your consistency in advocating for those needing help. I agree that mental illness is not a ‘sin’. We agree with much.

  97. Bride of Christ says:

    I am so saddened to hear of this young pastor taking his own life. I never suffered from depression until my husband and I both lost our long held careers during the Great recession. I had taught for thirty years and was laid off at age 52. My husband had managed new car dealerships for 35 years and was laid off the same year. Over the course of the next three years we had to sell our house, and we moved three times in two years and we had to cash in most of our retirement savings to stay afloat. Our youngest daughter was a senior at UCLA and I was experiencing empty nest, my husband was very depressed and angry and our marriage was on the rocks and we had lost our health insurance. I sought out mental health counseling and went on antidepressants for the first time in my life at age 52 because I was feeling suicidal . As a long time Christian, I never thought it could happen to me. I do believe the Zoloft my doctor prescribed helped me because the panic attacks I was also having for the first time in my life disappeared a few weeks after I started on the Zoloft. The depression took much longer to lift and I still had suicidal ideation while taking it. I learned that support for depression is like a three- legged stool – antidepressants, talk therapy, and lots of social support. I started a ceramics class and learned how to throw pottery on a wheel ( a dear Christian friend taught me how) and I took up Tai Chi to bring my blood pressure and anxiety under control. There were many months when the only time I wasn’t in mental anguish was when I was immersed in clay or during my weekly two hour Tai Chi class – I took two classes a week at some points. Of course I prayed, but I was still focused on my problems as I prayed. The ceramics and Tai Chi actually allowed me to forget my problems and be surrounded by other people who were enjoying life. I continued to be plagued by suicide ideation in my darkest moments until one day God gave me an important revelation. He clearly showed me how my suicide would make me the murderer of my two daughters’ mother, the murderer of my 80 year-old father’s beloved daughter, and the murderer of God’s very precious and adored child ( me). After that revelation, the suicidal ideation stopped. During this time I continued to look for work as I collected unemployment for two years. At age 52 I was experiencing age discrimination for the first time, and with each new rejection by employers, I realized that I would battle a new wave of depression. I realized that this rejection was fueling my depression so I made the decision to take early retirement from public school teaching at age 55 and collect early retirement benefits. I now teach ceramics to supplement my pension. I no longer suffer from panic attacks or depression. My therapist told me anyone can suffer a depressive episode of they experience enough trauma and setbacks and their coping skills become overwhelmed and depleted. I hope that this young pastor was taking advantage of all forms of mental health support – spiritual, medical, and professional because depression is a ferocious enemy and it needs to be fought with every weapon available. I hope this helps other Christians who may be trying to climb out of the dark , dangerous pit of depression.

  98. Duane Arnold says:


    I will take a slightly different track from Michael. There are a plethora of “causes” – physiological and psychological. Determining the cause is a task for trained professionals in their fields… and even then, they don’t always get it right. For example, after her fall, was my mother suffering from delirium (short term) or was it the sudden onset of dementia? It took several days, with the help of trained professionals, tests, etc., to determine what was happening and then attempting to treat her on the basis of the diagnosis… and hers was a relatively simple case.

    I don’t see the lack of understanding among some Christians as a “cause”. In some circumstances, however, that lack of understanding, or considering the illness as being the result of sin or some spiritual deficiency, simply makes the problem worse and, at times, can delay or sidestep the treatment that is needed. I hold to the idea that we need to “stay in our own lane”. For the most part we are not trained physicians or therapists, we are pastors. If we recognize a problem, the best we can do is to encourage a person to seek professional help and then be supportive of the person as they begin that journey of finding answers, treatment or a proper medication. And, of course, we can pray for the person in our own devotions…

  99. Michael says:

    Bride of Christ,

    Thank you for sharing that…

  100. Steve says:

    Duane,. I agree for the most part what you are saying. However sometimes even the experts swimming in their own lanes are not helpful and make things worse. This is when it gets quite difficult and isolating and have to call out to God. I’ll give you an example. I was a patient at Diane Langberg clinic for years. She is an expert in pyschology and experienced and highly recommended in the church. She was even highly recommended by Michael on this blog. I have to say, she knows her stuff. She is on the board of G.R.A.C.E. she has helped many people, However, she didn’t help me. I got much worse. I had ti drop out of medical school. My only support system in place was broke. No where to go other than commit myself to hospital care. Amazing I survived. It wasn’t until I saw a much less well known therapist for many years that I got better. It’s the same thing with pastors. Some have given me zero help and made me much worse. Thankfully I got good one now.

  101. Steve says:

    Duane, let me continue the story a bit. A year later the hospital bill comes along with the tuition bill. You fall into depression again because now you are bankrupt. Your therapist at Langberg clinics believes you have stopped and refuses and sends a letter to that affect. Church has abandoned you completely with pastor refusing to talk. Where could I turn? Only God. I’m sorry that my narrative doesn’t completely match the narrative folks think it should be. But this is a spiritual battle just as much a psychological and pyschiatric one.

  102. Diane Kamer says:

    Amen and thank you!

    May Pastor Jarrid rest in the loving arms of Jesus, relieved of all his cares forever. This papist prays for the repose of this precious man’s soul.

  103. Xenia says:

    Diane Kamer, I know you from several old discussion groups! (Key word: Nevsky). Great to see you !

  104. Grandma J says:

    I struggle with pastors, therapist, doctors and any professional helpers committing suicide. If they can’t deal with their own struggles, why are they trying to help others? Reading all these posts about mental health and how we need to reach out, engage and help the vulnerable, I’m faced with my own dilemma of how to deal with a son-in-law who is not a pastor struggle with depression, anxiety, panic attacks and always talks about everyone would be better off if he wasn’t alive. He’s married with 3 teenage children and I’m already seeing the effects of his issues on his family. When he’s forced to, he will seek professional help, but he always slips back to self-medication which is totally destroying the family. My daughter is trying to work, raise the children and keep the family together, while he drowns himself with depressed thoughts and actions, but she’s only one person and cannot be there every minute with him. He comes from a family with the same symptoms, and none of them have received help, all of them self-medicate. I come from a family who has no history of depression and/or anxiety, therefore, I don’t know how to accept or help this “medical” condition and his “attitude” of self focus. Basically, my grandchildren are growing up in a household with a man who is not present mentally and not there for any of them, including his wife. I’m not trying to sound offensive or critical to anyone’s situation, I can only share that I’m desperate to try to understand because I do know that my grandchildren and daughter will end up with a lot of guilt that I don’t believe they should have to carry. Again, I am sorry if I have offended anyone. That is not my intent. I’m just a grandma looking for answers.

  105. Steve says:

    Grandma J, I’m saying a prayer for you and your son-in-law. And now I really have to go focus on my vocation. Wish everyone here peace.

  106. Michael says:

    Grandma J,

    Your daughter (and probably your grandchildren) need the advise and help of a qualified counselor.
    The sooner the better…

  107. Michael says:

    If a spiritual component helps people, then by all means it’s a good thing.

  108. JoelG says:

    Grandma J my heart goes out to you and your family. I have 3 teenagers and struggle with anxiety. My therapist also struggles with anxiety and has really helped me (combined with medication).

    I second Michael. Help him get professional help ASAP. Prayers going up for you and your family.

  109. BishopDave says:

    MM wrote: “Why can’t we all be honest and say the obvious, the majority of church leaders have little to no training in depression counseling, diagnosis, or real solutions to the problem.”

    Here’s my training: in my denominational college, the counseling/psychology class was taught by the same person who taught the art class that was required for my degree.
    In seminary (master’s level) the “101” counseling class the prof had us pick a book from the library and do an oral book report. All semester long. Those of us who did them in the beginning literally did nothing but sit for the rest of the semester.
    The 202 class was taught by a chaplain from a nearby state prison for inmates with mental illnesses. Between his obvious exhaustion (it was a night class after 8 + hours of that enviornment) and him speaking WAY WAY over our heads with terms we had never heard, I got a B and nothing else from it.

  110. Josh says:

    I had lots of very good Marriage and Children counselling classes in Seminary, but none dealing with mental illness kind of stuff. Pastors just have to be very careful to be loving and compassionate, but willing to admit when the person needs to see someone else.

  111. Pat says:

    Yes, m, not only did you predict the reactions precisely, no one dared try to objectively respond or answer anything.

  112. Tim Brown says:

    Erunner – thank you for your story. Someone close to me is attempting to titrate off Klonopin. Would you please email me so we can connect and I can get some advice from you.

    Tim Brown, Pastor
    Calvary Chapel Fremont

  113. Michael says:


    You and m are free to believe as you choose.
    Start your own blog to dispense it.

  114. BrianD says:

    In my 20s, I stole a pellet gun from my dad’s garage, took it with me, and drove around some before calling my mom at church and telling her I was going to end my life. I was deeply, deeply depressed, and remember thinking I had no future at all.
    She told me to drive to the church parking lot. She sent some man out who I don’t remember if he was on staff or not. He pointedly told me if I pulled the trigger and took my life that I would go to hell.
    I suspect he said that as much to scare me out of suicide as anything, but I still wonder if that was the right thing to say.

  115. Daisy says:

    Steve said
    “It’s ironic. If someone commits murder/suicide it’s treated like terrorism but if it’s only suicide, we are to say he faught a good fight. This attitude diminishes the value of his own life he took not to mention sets a terrible role model for others to follow.
    “Let’s grieve for his family, friends and church but let’s not glory in this. BTW, I’m all for the mental health profession but to say there is no spiritual aspect to this tragedy is tragic.”

    Sorry Steve but I find your comments judgemental and non-helpful. I’ve dealt with suicidal ideation going back to childhood.

    Nobody is “glorifying” this person’s suicide.

    Years of “trusting Jesus” and reading the Bible and so on and so forth did nothing to help me at all.

    There is and was nothing spiritual about my suicidal ideation, or the clinical depression I had for many years, or the anxiety I still deal with.

    And as a matter of fact, some of the teachings I was brought up to believe in made some of these issues worse for me, prolonged them in others. I’ve had to dump some of the Christian beliefs I was raised in to get better.

    And I was brought up in standard conservative Southern Baptist / evangelical teachings.

  116. Daisy says:

    Michael said,

    I know…I appreciate that.
    I simply don’t understand the way some people think…I spend an hour or more every week with one of the best psychiatrists in the Northwest…he hasn’t mentioned sin as a root cause yet. Maybe he has a demon…
    — end quote —

    You may want to get a book called
    “Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded” by Dwight Carlson.

    It was a very good book. Carlson is one of the very very few Christians who really understand. He’s a Christian psychiatrist or psychologist

    Carlson takes on very many of the horrendous, stupid, awful, judgmental and ignorant attitudes and misconceptions so many Christians have about mental illness that are still with us to this day.

    In his book, Carlson doesn’t shame or victim-blame Christians who have mental health issues,
    and he doesn’t give them cliched, non-helpful, pat answers about “Just trust in the Lord” or “read your Bible more” or “have more faith” or “it’s simply a spiritual battle, so man up already and pray more and believe more,” etc.

    His book was published in the 1990s, I think, and you can find used copies on Amazon, and I think you can read a chapter or so for free via Google Books.

    Full title:
    Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?: Helping (Not Hurting) Those with Emotional Difficulties ~ by Dwight L. Carlson

  117. Daisy says:

    Someone said,

    But what more could have been done for him than was done? It comes off to me as if an impossible task is being set before me–this person had his problems addressed and he still committed suicide so we need to do better. How are we supposed to do better than was done for him?
    —end quote —

    Seeing the typical Christian reaction after Wilson died – here on this blog and on Twitter – has not shown that the church is doing all it can, that it’s doing better, etc.

    I’m seeing a lot of Christians who think depression and the like can be “prayed away,” that mental health problems are a matter of will only,

    or who are still actually (insultingly) suggesting that suicidal ideation, depression, etc are “sins.”

    There is zero empathy being shown, and certainly no understanding of mental health struggles.

    I can’t say for sure what, if anything, could’ve saved Wilson, but I can sure tell you what will not save anyone like him, who is in his position:

    the judgmental attitudes, or bumper sticker cliches about “Just trust in Jesus more” / “it’s an attack of Satan, so just stand fast and stand on the Word more,”
    or the condemning, finger wagging, tut tutting about how what Wilson did was a “sin” and it was “selfish.”

    There are those out there also dealing w/ suicidal ideation, such as myself, and y’alls responses like that are not helpful…

    That, or when you get more into “spiritual mode” and start to analyze this from a spiritual angle, like it’s all just a theoretical, an interesting puzzle for you to debate w/ others,
    and you also then try to “pin blame” on Wilson,
    or blame the blogger guy here for merely blogging about it, etc.

  118. Daisy says:

    Steve said,

    You have misrepresented me. I advocate a wholelistic approach to mental illness. Pychological, spiritual and physical. Every dimension needs to be considered and addressed. Not sure why that view is so dangerous. Anyhow, I’ll bow out now because I honestly think debating this is unhealthy in public”
    — end quote—

    I tried the spiritual aspect for many years (I was a very committed Christian), and sometimes spiritual -only-,
    as many Christians out there will shame a person like me for seeing shrinks and being on medications.

    We are told to rely on Jesus only – no pills, no doctors. So fine, I tried that, and that did not work.

    All those years I had as a devout Christian, praying and relying on God, did not help me at all.
    My depression and anxiety remained.

    There are several things over the course of my life that God did not help me with at all -not just mental health problems.
    I could write a novel about it.

    Sometimes God is not the answer, neither is Jesus or the Gospel,
    so you are left having to figure out on your own how to work through some pain or problem in life, whether it’s depression or something else.

    And other Christians generally act as huge, insensitive impediments in this.

    I am now very cautious before confiding in 99% of Christians about anything terrible or painful I’m dealing with,
    because I have learned the hard way (first hand experience) that I will just get the shaming, the victim blaming, theology lectures, be told I am not trying Jesus hard enough,

    Or, I may get bumper sticker Bible verses quoted at me,
    accused of not being a “true” Christian,
    of not praying long or hard enough, etc.

    So. Anyway.

    What do you do with a Christian person for whom Christianity is not helping them with depression or whatever issue it is they have?

    Do you just keep repeating at them ad nauseum it’s a “spiritual” problem and it’s The Devil trying to beat them up?
    Okay, what then?
    Does Jesus then wave a magic wand and lift the depression from that person?

    What do you tell your atheist / Buddhist / Muslim neighbor who is having problems with ‘X’?

    You’re not going to get every person on earth to convert to the Christian faith,
    so are the Buddhists, agnostics, Hindus or whomever, who deal with depression and anxiety just S.O.L. because they don’t believe in Jesus?

    What do you think most depressed New Agers / Atheists / Wiccans / Hindus do when they have suicidal ideation?
    I bet a lot of them try seeing a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist. But they are learning to get by without Jesus, or reading a Bible, etc.

  119. Daisy says:

    m said,

    “One thing that needs correction, which will never be corrected (and of which we are not even allowed to address) is calling this a “mental illness.” Anxiety and depression are all too real, but they are not a mental illness. The mind has no physical properties”
    –end quote–

    I’m someone whose anxiety interferes with my ability to live life.
    Had depression for years, still deal with suicidal ideation.

    Absolutely nothing you’ve written is helpful to someone such as myself.
    It’s not encouraging or compassionate.

    And you’re another person who seems to be treating this subject as though it’s just armchair intellectualism, fun to debate with people about on theology blogs type of guy – and I really resent that.

    Living with mental health problems is my daily reality, not just something I get to banter and debate folks about on line.

  120. Daisy says:

    Jean said
    “The alternative, which would be unbearable for me, would be an unbiblical God who is detached from His creation.”

    It’s funny you should say that, because I think I arrived at that view a few years ago, and it’s actually not that bad.

  121. Daisy says:

    Bride of Christ said,
    “I started a ceramics class and learned how to throw pottery on a wheel ( a dear Christian friend taught me how) and I took up Tai Chi to bring my blood pressure and anxiety under control. ”
    —end quote–

    Yes. For me, baking, jogging, bike riding, painting / drawing, journaling, listening to music also help.

    Of course, the social support and therapy you mention are helpful as well.

    And I’m sorry to the “Jesus is all you need” / “this is spiritual” type Christians, but Jesus / Gospel / Bible reading didn’t get me though the years of depression, suicidal ideation or the anxiety I still have.

    Ditto for the death of my Mother, too, who I was very close to. I at no time felt “God’s presence” when she died, Christians I knew didn’t want to ‘be there’ for me after she died – I had to figure out how to get thru the grief all alone… and how I managed to do it (as well as deal with anxiety etc) was through non-spiritual means.

    I used to have a pet cat. The cat was more of a comfort and help to me after Mom died, and when I was depressed, than people were, or Bible reading, prayer, etc was.

    I had been a goody-two-shoes for years, so I wasn’t “living in sin” or “rebelling against God,” either.

    I already tried Jesus for years, and Jesus didn’t do bupkiss to lift my anxiety, grief, etc.

  122. This whole discussion is sad, though useful, even if it brings out pain on multiple sides.

    This reminds me of venturing into the Reddit message boards on BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). I saw a group of children of BPD talking about their experiences, some of which were “Mommy Dearest” stories of horrible abuse, and on the other hand those who suffered from BPD indignant that such people were given a space, talking about how they should be shut down and not allowed a space.

    My own BPD mother almost put me into a coma due to hear stroke when I was 13. She also had depression and PTSD I learned many years later. MI isn’t the same as diabetes or cancer, not when it hurts others.

    Decades later, I dealt with false accusations of elder abuse when I took my hoarder mom into my home. I was also at risk for domestic violence (she was violent when I was a kid).

    I thought about eating a bullet when I was 14. Had the gun (.22LR) to my head, then thought “what is finality compared to eternity and 4 more years until I’m 18 where I’m free, then a few more decades… compared to eternity?”

    About to turn 48, and the last 6 years have been tough on me and my kids, but still going, even though my soul might be required of me this night. Who can know?

  123. billy says:

    I have often said privately to God and my wife, “why doesn’t God (YOU) heal the genetic imbalances of mental and phisical illness in my life, some of which were reinforced by an abusive childhood??? Been to to the zenith of Christian experiences trying to be healed and TRULY set free …only to discover in my late age of being in my mid 50’s the same demons that plagued my parents and their parents are still plaguing me. I know and believe that Jesus is the answer but, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”… YET!

  124. Steve says:

    What do you do with a Christian person for whom Christianity is not helping them with depression or whatever issue it is they have?
    Daisy,. I’m not a pastor but you what you write is exactly my experience. Chistianity completely failed me. But not only that but the health care system failed me as well as well. It was the best ” Christian” counseling endorsed and registered by the American Pychological Association that money could buy. And by the way I paid every dime of it out my own pocket until I was broke. I had no insurance when I was in school. pychological and pyschiatric professions both failed me for some time. They are both money making businesses. Tell me what youl you have had me do 30 years ago? If I come across judgemental to you, than I am sorry but I’m not the one that just left a wife and kids and church members under my care to grieve this. It’s wrong to short cut the grieving process and for some being anger at the perpetrator is a normal response. I guess we can blame the church. I did that for years. We could blame God. I did that as well. We could blame society or we could blame ourselves. None of these option are good.

  125. Michael says:


    Thank you for writing here…you are asking all the hard questions.
    I don’t have any answers except to acknowledge that I have had to deconstruct some of my own theology and beliefs in light of similar questions.
    I found Kate Bowler’s book “Everything Happens For A Reason and Other Lies I’ve been Told” helpful.

    Generally speaking, most Christians will find the questions more offensive than your affliction as they threaten deeply held beliefs about how God works in the world.
    The questions don’t offend me, but they scare the hell out of me…

  126. Em says:

    this has been for me an interesting thread – so many say that their experience tells them that God doesn’t care about their struggles – i think He does. He hung as a man naked on a pole, whipped and bleeding, not compromising God’s integrity to the bitter end (there’s a whole lot of theology spun off that, but it is a fact for us simple minded).
    random thoughts generated by reading here:
    It is true that we are put off by mental problems that we see in others. AND it is true that those problems spring from a whole host of causes outside the control of the victim for the most part.
    Isn’t the big question – the big answer, maybe – dependent on finding a way to teach us all how to interact in a supportive way with folks trying to stabilize their lives?
    My mother grew up in the big Depression years and yet she blamed her parents for all her privations. Was she traumatized by her childhood? Probably the answer is ‘yes.’ But all her life everything that went wrong was someone else’s fault and she’d hang her own parents – and me – out to dry if it served her. I think that she just needed to learn to think straight… but she was the best con you’d ever meet – a master of half truth and implication. I think that was what I would call “chain sinning,” not real mental illness.
    Most of what folk have described here is something different from that.
    Again the question is, how do we learn to support and not undermine a real mentally ill person. Systemic illness beyond a normal thought perspective. BTW, i do believe, in many cases, that physical illness can destroy our ability to function responsibly too.
    i’d say prayer is number one – to the Father, in the name of the Son from a confessed and cleansed soul.
    And don’t preach…
    Find that ground between ignorant condemnation and enabling… We just may need teachers to help us (some teachings has been done on this thread IMV) as there are so many aspects to this dilemma ….

  127. Steve says:

    Em, you probably know this already but growing old is hard. The body starts breaking down and we are not as quick as we used to be and our mind sometimes slips; however the positive and wonderful part is we can see in retrospect more clearly. We can look back and see what God has personally done in our lives. You don’t have this perspective as a youth. I encourage youth especially to seek out those older folks who have grown in wisdom like yourself.

  128. ~25% of the population qualifies for a DSM level diagnosis, and this doesn’t take into account those “near clinical.” We all are affected by this, there, near or almost near.

    I ran into an issue last night as I was involved in an accident and called me ex to pick up the kids. She called me later to discuss and mentioned she took it out on the kids messing up her routine. DXd with Depression and Anxiety, and by my token BPD traits, I was pissed. She said she apologized later to our son for acting out. I didn’t shame her as she mentioned her depression starts to get worse every time this year. I am carefil not to do that. She was SI Christmas Day in 2011 when pregnant with D7. I was cloae to calling 911, but i talked her through it.

    I can take it as an adult, but i have trouble myself with a lot of empathy when MI or not, you hurt people.

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