Chatting on Mental Health: A Story on Jarrid Wilson
What happens when the person who helped save your mind and life takes their own?
I knew I would eventually write an article on Mental Health, Suicide and my story but I never thought it would be in the wake of losing Jarrid Wilson. I actually have been sitting here looking at this article that is blank debating whether it is worth it to write this at all. However, I am hoping that if just one person reads this who is struggling, they will find hope.
I’m thankful for Jarrid, his family and all they did for me. I’ll never forget praying over Jarrid at his wedding and seeing how happy he was to be marrying the girl of his dreams Juli. He was quiet and ready to become the greatest husband and father anyone has ever seen. I hope this does not detour anyone from thoughts on Jarrid and Juli and the rest of the Wilson family.
I first met Jarrid online actually, about 7 or 8 years ago. He was a great blogger then and put content out that I really enjoyed, we shared similar pursuits, but he was much further along in maturity Christ than I was at the time. I was a young, arrogant pile of shadows that was trying to navigate being diagnosed with severe anxiety, depression and so forth just years prior. I thought I had it under wraps.
You see, my poor mental health was driven from poor relationships that I spent my entire being on. I would find someone more broken than myself, pour myself into them, give them everything and wait for them to hurt me. Without fail, this is what occurred. I was cheated on several times, lied to, used and left alone when my time was done. I soon, without realizing, became extremely numb and callous to relationships. I met Jarrid’s sister, who I started to date, with excitement. I thought, “Hey, maybe I wasn’t broken after all and this will work.” We both pursued the LORD and wanted the same things. We moved like the wind, I remember even buying her a Bible, I spent my hard earned Fantasy Football money going out there to see her and her family which is when I would first meet Jarrid in person.
Jarrid and I had some mutual friends on Warped Tour but meeting him for the first time was something I’ll never forget. I know how protective he was but when I arrived at the house he was there ready to embrace the possible positives in me. He was gracious, kind and overwhelmingly warm while showing me his current book projects and so much more.
To give you a frame of reference for where I was at with my life. I disavowed school, I was “full time ministry” which was fake way of saying I was going to try and be a pastor but was overtly arrogant about my prowess. Thankfully, Jarrid’s father sat me down for a long hard talk that night and spoke truth into my life that would rebound into later years but more on that later.
Truthfully, I never knew Jarrid struggled with severe depression until years later. I thought I was the broken one who was overly infatuated with dating a wonderful new girl. My numb self soon caught up to me about a year into the relationship when I started letting go of the honeymoon phase, letting myself focus more on, well, myself and less on the gift that I had at the time. Other girls came into the picture, long story short, I messed up more than aggressively.
This lead to not only a heartbreak but this time it was my fault and I had become the monster. I hurt the very family that I was so thankful for. Relationship aside, the entire family had zero reason to speak with me ever again, regardless of the fact we tried to mend things. However, about 3 to 4 months after that I was struggling, I mean serious thoughts of struggles. This was far past my depression as a younger teen who just wanted “love and to be wanted” this was deep into the darkness that was telling me whispering lies such as, “You would be better off ending it.” or “You’re never going to recover from this…” and I truly wanted to find a way to end my life in that time. I spent several months trying to get the girl I lost back but that was subsequent to my mental health which I began to ignore for the sake of “love”. However, Jarrid against all odds responded to a text I sent him by calling me. He didn’t have to do that but he did. He called me and told me to let go of the situation and “struggle with God, not against him.” He continued to tell me that “I believe you are better and can change with Christ.” These words among others that he spoke that night saved my life. It shifted my heart from the situation directly toward Christ and that is the epitome of what Jarrid Wilson was so profound at doing. He could turn your heart away from torment and shape it toward Christ with a few words.
He inspired me to be open and confessional. He inspired me to be someone better, He was the inspiration for my change with Christ. He was and is to this day a huge reason why I am in ministry, alive and now a husband and father.
He inspired this 2013 version of myself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-Xw5f5r-Ao
”There has to be an internal awareness of yourself…” Jarrid offered me forgiveness when I never thought I would get it and I knew I didn’t deserve it. Jarrid yanked on my heart and was able to set me on the path of healing.
This doesn’t mean that I am healed or cured from the depression, anxiety or anything else. I still have the issues but I’m not struggling against Jesus, I am finally struggling well. This is something that I encourage more people to do and bend into. You have to understand that people in Scripture struggled deeply with the decay of sin, the hurt of this world and the pursuit of Christ. In fact, Paul talks about this “thorn” that would not depart from him, some believe it was an actual thorn but the language would suggest it was more than that - mental in fact.
Paul was hyper focused on Christ, imitating Him, seeking the will of God and the redemption found on the Cross. This has to be the focus for the church and those who struggle within it. Transparency isn’t hard but it’s scary. The moment that confession takes place you are able to position yourself in a way with the LORD that allows Him to work through others who now know what is going on, who now know what it is like to be you, who can lend experience and encouragement.
You may never remove the thorn from your life but you can know that the struggle isn’t aimless when your focus is on the will of God through Christ who strengthens you. There is plenty more that I could go into with this issue and I may in the future. I may talk on how when I was cheated on by someone I dated for 3 years, I almost killed myself but I shot the gun into the ground and hung the phone up. Maybe I’ll talk about how I sought attention as a little kid through cutting myself or lacerating my back so bad that I had to be diagnosed by a neurologist.
All of these things are cries for existence. When you realize that Christ died for your existence, all the cries fade into the mist and you see that all you need to focus on is the grace that Christ poured out for us centuries ago.