Category: Depression


When I was married to my first husband, one Sunday morning I decided to go to church. It was exactly the sermon I needed to hear so slowly, I started attending. I felt like that place, that church, and the people were true to their faith and it would be a good place for me to grow. I became pregnant and was having complications and so many people were praying for us, I had faith to believe Patience would be alright no matter when she was born.

My marriage ended and there was no judgement from the pastors or members. When Patience became involved with the toddlers in the children’s ministry, I became involved. During this time I made friends, joined the church, was baptized, and became one of the leaders of a small group of little ones in the children’s ministry. I would serve as the instructor for Patience’s age group certain Sundays and led the class on Wednesday nights. I loved the volunteer work I was doing.

One Sunday, we had a special guest, a faith healer. I do not remember his name and when I try to ask someone, they always would get stuck on another minister who was known for faith healing. It was a great service and they started lining up people to be prayed over for whatever they needed to be healed. I watched and wanted to go. I watched and saw person after person get prayed upon and fall to the floor almost like they fainted. I wanted to believe and I wanted healing. I wasn’t worried about the psychotic symptoms at that time or the occasional hypomanic episode or the rare full blown mania. I wanted to address my depression. I wanted it gone.

I finally talked myself into it and started my way down to the front. When he got to me, I told him I was there for depression and how I had been dealing with it for many, many years. He asked me if I really wanted it until I was shouting yes. He put his hand on my head and prayed. I fell back in the almost fainting position on the floor. When the ushers helped me up, I felt a tingly sensation and felt a bit strange but good.

I started feeling so good, the church was praising this as my miracle. They used my testimony to encourage others to believe. In my personal life, I found a job. I was getting a lot of things done, started talking faster than usual, eating less, sleeping less, I felt a little euphoric and didn’t think anything could touch me. I felt blessed. The voices I was still hearing I was convinced were Jesus and an angel. I also thought I sometimes heard God. Months went by and I felt like this good feeling would never end because I believed I was going to never have another depressive bout again. I don’t know why I didn’t recognize the obvious. I was manic but just hypomanic, delusional, and so excited about everything.

Well, like all episodes of mania, they never last forever. I was starting to slip back into a state of depression. I was crashing hard. I went to my primary doctor for some antidepressants. (I still did not want to address the other issues.) I lost a lot of weight, was restless, and trying to continue to be the miracle that was cured of depression so I put on a facade. One day, one of the ladies in the ministry asked me how I was losing so much weight and I told her depression and anxiety. She asked me what had I done because those are the devil’s playground and I had been cured. It all was unraveling and the ladies in the children’s ministry started to notice, so did my Sunday school teacher. My miracle was gone.

Now, adding just an antidepressant can give a person who is bipolar into a bit of a mania or maybe mixed episodes, which are not euphoric like the mania. I had more of a mixed episode. There was energy, restlessness, but also irritability. I had energy but not the motivation to do anything. I was getting headaches and slowly backing out of the children’s ministry as it was all too much. This only made the ladies I had befriended ask more questions.

Finally, my Sunday school teacher drilled me in Sunday school in front of the members of my class and then said I was the reason I had lost my miracle. God took it from me. She questioned how much time I spent in prayer, how much time I spent reading my Bible, and why I had not yet received the gift of tongues as others in my class had already been blessed to have. She said it was my lack of faith. I let the devil plant seeds of doubt in my head. The ladies in the children’s ministry had backed off from talking to me about this time as well. I wasn’t sure, but I felt like they were all talking about me.

I thought one of the ladies was a particularly close friend. When I returned to work, she became my daycare provider for Patience. I was getting frustrated with her because everyday, Patience came home with black socks or black feet. Patience told me that my friend was showing her how to sweep, mop, vacuum and dust. Patience was 2. They took three naps a day even though I told her Patience was not to nap because she would be up all night. I would send food with my daughter for lunches yet she said she was fed hot dogs each day. One night when I was picking Patience on a Wednesday, my friend asked if I would be teaching the young ones that night. I had another headache so I said I would not.

She told me that she, her husband, and some other members of the church had a meeting to discuss me with our pastor. Since I kept switching my schedule for working with the children or I would not be there at all, they were taking away my position. She further informed me that as my daycare provider, she was entitled to benefits like paid vacation, paid holidays, and other things an employer provided to its employees. She said she and her husband had discussed with the pastor and they came to the conclusion that I was taking advantage of her. She was more like a babysitter than a daycare provider. She had no preschool curriculum, activities, or any of the things she promised she would be doing. She was not licensed and I was paying her cash. She didn’t follow my instructions for Patience’s lunch or to not nap during the day and having Patience do housework when she was only 2. I came back to her with my own conditions. I wanted a copy of her home insurance that showed any accidents Patience has in her care would be covered in full (she informed me that their homeowner’s insurance and lapsed). I told her she had to get licensed, take CPR, and plan activities. She had to provide the basic services that a full daycare provided. Lastly, since she was not an employee in the traditional sense and if she was considered an employee, she was the only one and I was not required to provide benefits like health insurance and I would have to start paying her by check to list the deductions for taxes I would start taking from her pay

I stopped going to children’s ministry after Wednesday was taken away and they started treating Patience differently so I had to have her with me during the church service. I stopped going to Sunday school too. One day, I received an email from my teacher telling me to stop chasing men and start attending church, quit my job if it was going to interfere with my work with the children because this was not the job God wanted for me, and to start getting back in the word so God would have mercy and grant me my miracle again. She said I had to wait for God to put a man in my life, wait for God to find me the right job, and let God lead me as I put myself in the word.

I was more than offended. I had not been chasing men so that was not the reason for my absence. I was tired of being questioned about how I was doing only to be told it was all my fault I lost my miracle. I was not going back into a ministry since I guess you could say fired me and asked that I not be involved in that area of volunteering. I also needed to work and I liked the job I had at that time. After my divorce, I was without a job and no child support so I was on government assistance for a long time. I wasn’t going to go back on food stamps just because some church members thought I was in a job that was bad for me since it “removed me from serving God”.

I was so hurt. For the very first time, I did not feel God’s presence in that church. I wanted to know why the pastor and others had a meeting about me without asking me to attend so I could address the issues where the others felt I was falling short. I fired the lady watching Patience and I pulled her out of it.

I miss church. I want to be a part of one but I am still so hurt and worried it will happen again. This experience crushed my spirit.

Since then, I have finally told psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, friends and family the entire extent of my mental state. My diagnosis changed. I was finally getting treatment for all the issues that were in my life. I had a very intense psychotic episode that I haven’t fully recovered from so I have been doing some of the things I need to do to recover. I know I will never be cured no matter how many prayers are said for me. I am growing. I am learning to adjust and try to make my life manageable with the hand I’ve been dealt.

If I find a church again, they must have more accepting views on mental illness and not push that with prayer, all will be healed. It is a devastating way to address these types of mental illnesses within a church setting because what about those of us who have prayed, had many pray over him or her and nothing changed. Why did God not meet their prayers? This is discouraging and leads to despair. No one should leave any type faith feeling terrible about who they are. I want to find a place that doesn’t tell me that I lost my miracle because it was a miracle that really wasn’t.

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It has been far too long since I wrote a post. I have wanted to but the task seemed too great. The voices far too loud. The anxiety always in panic mode. There was always a reason that I put it off. I got this report or whatever you would call it that challenges you to write everyday for 31 days with prompts. Today’s prompt was to write a story about your favorite childhood book. I couldn’t come up with anything. I had something else weighing on my mind. It has been written about many times since it happened but this impacted me on a personal level. I had something to say.

I have been thinking about suicide a lot since the death of Chris Cornell. I know there are tons of articles and blog posts circulating on the topic but I want to say what was on my mind. I want to share my thoughts. It matters not that they may go unread. I want to speak.

Since the passing of Chris Cornell, I put the MP3s of Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog,  and his solo stuff that I have on my computer on a flash drive to listen to in my car. I have more than I thought and also bought a couple of albums in MP3 format from amazon.com. I have been listening. Lyrics that once spoke to me on a personal level finally struck me that these were his feelings too. I could relate to many of the songs because I have lived in that dark place. The music and lyrics are still genius. I don’t know why I never put that much thought into it before but now I am really listening. I took the music for granted. I made it all about me but it is so much more. It tells a story and speaks from the depths of Cornell.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Soundgarden. It was my freshman year in college. It was February 1990. I went to see Voivod and had never heard of Soundgarden. I was to the right of the stage,  a little ways back. They took the stage and I was blown away by Chris Cornell’s voice. I was totally in a trance, eyes focused on him, and I was instantly a fan. I was so close I could see his beautiful eyes. I developed quite a crush that night. He was like no other vocalist I had ever seen. I told my friends back home about them but they hadn’t had their breakout album and I was mostly ignored. They came around eventually. I told them they were special. They were amazing.

I saw them again sometime after I turned 21. I remember it because I was able to buy drinks at the concert. I had more than I should have that night. Pearl Jam was first. They put on a good show and I enjoyed it but I was there to see Soundgarden. When Chris Cornell took the stage, I was too far back to see him well. He climbed up on something at one point but I was still too far away from really seeing him. I left my group of friends tried to run to the stage. Then I stopped. Suddenly, I was surrounded by a huge mosh pit and I was only halfway to the stage. I had been in pits before but this one seemed enormous and I was stuck in the very center. Then, one of my friends came after me and took me back to the group. I wanted to get to the stage but it never happened. Those were the only two times I saw him live.

I followed Chris Cornell’s music. I was sad  Soundgarden disbanded but I listened to his stuff with Temple of the Dog, Audioslave and solo albums. He had a special place in my heart. If I remember correctly, he was one of the first major bands that I saw live in Austin and it was in a small venue where I was so close. The lyrics made me feel good, made me feel alive and sometimes made me cry. He seemed so tortured now that I stopped to really listen. I remember his openness when he battled alcoholism and drug abuse. He spent time in rehab. I felt like he lived with depression but it wasn’t until his death that I read he struggled with it for a long time. I should have known. No one can write like that and not have experienced it.

Cornell, over all the grunge singers of  that came out of the 90s, seemed to have it all together. He was winning. Soundgarden regrouped in 2010 and the music was still great. He was married to someone who he obviously loved and became a family man. I enjoyed reading articles or hearing interviews of him. He was so alive and making amazing music and everything seemed good. He seemed to be living a charmed life. He had beat the cursed fate of the many grunge singers he started with and he was going strong.

Then, the morning of May 18th, I heard the news from my husband Chris Cornell was dead. Later that day, I heard that it had been ruled a suicide. I was crushed as were many fans. I had not really listened to him much in a while and now he was gone. That wasn’t the worst part. He died by suicide. I am so happy all the reports and blogs I have read state he died by suicide and not that he committed suicide. The words matter.

I have battled depression and had many episodes. I have been to that point where the only answer seemed to be death. I don’t know why I never went through with it. Maybe because I didn’t want to die. I wanted the pain of life to stop. So, I became a risk taker. I never expected to live passed 30. Often, I felt I didn’t want to live a long life. I lived carelessly. I lived like I didn’t care if I saw the next day. I drank too much and did other things that were put me in a bad place and I pushed it to the limits. I wanted it all to end. I thought I would kill myself slowly and that it wouldn’t really take long. I was lost. I know what that kind of darkness feels like. It swallows you whole and you can see no light of hope. When you are there, the end sounds like peace and freedom. I was one of the lucky ones. I started to have hope and now I have lived more than 16 years after the age I thought I would die. I still see hope when the darkness falls. That darkness was hell.

It hurt to think that he was in that place. It made me sad that he did not survive the demons he battled. I don’t like the thought of anyone feeling that low and this hit me like a ton of bricks. I am listening to his lyrics and I am mad that I didn’t know. His lyrics told me but I was too busy thinking about what it meant to me. I didn’t even think about the hell he must be going through to write lyrics like that. I didn’t want to think of it. Part of me wishes I was there was with him, maybe I could have reached him, said some magic words but honestly, what could I have said. Who I am? What difference could a dreamy eyed fan. He had a good life it seemed. This was a shock. He had reached the point of no return and now he is gone.

I thought I would get to see him live again someday. I thought there was plenty of time. I thought there would always be Chris Cornell making music. He wasn’t meant to meet such a tragic end. This wasn’t supposed to happen, not to him.

I have been fighting to understand. I have so many emotions. They are raw and it hurts. The worst part is I will heal in time but he will be no more. All my friends say they are here for me but honestly, if I found myself that low again, I wouldn’t reach out at all. I would desperately want someone to call or even send a text, “How are you?” but I wouldn’t want to burden them and suffer alone. I hope I never get to that place again but I am mentally ill. Episodes can happen whether you want them to or not, whether you are in therapy and taking your meds properly, it can happen out of the blue. I wouldn’t think about how it would affect others. You don’t think about anything but the desire for peace. At that moment, you only want the pain to stop. Don’t worry. This has made me feel a lot of things but I am not suicidal.

No one should ever have to be in that place where the dark is all you can see. Chris Cornell will live on through his music. He will always be there through his music but the fact that this is it breaks my heart. The fact that he died by suicide breaks my heart. The great ones aren’t supposed to leave, not like this. Yet, many do leave this way. Many lose their battle because they have been strong too long. I don’t believe they truly want to die. They just want to stop hurting, to leave the darkness, to be free. I am sad he lived with depression and I am sad that he is gone. It is time to allow him to rest. My heart doesn’t really matter, however; this hit me hard and that matters.

Forever in my heart you will be. Farwell! I hope there is no anymore pain. I hope the darkness has broken. I hope you are free. Thank you for the music.