Last night news spread very quickly over many mental health related newsfeeds about a young man named Jarrid Wilson, just 30 years old who had taken his own life. He was married with 2 young children, he was an author and co-founder of a non profit organization called Anthem of Hope. He was a mental health advocate, a devout Christian and a very well known Pastor who gave “hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction, and suicide” even while he was battling his own depression and anxiety; something he spoke very open and honestly about.
As soon as I read the news my jaw just about dropped to the floor because he was somewhat of a celebrity to me and to anyone else who is as obsessed as I am with the TLC reality show “Outdaughtered”. Even if you are just a little bit obsessed with the show then you should know exactly who he was (and if you don’t know the show then you seriously don’t know what you are missing; The cutest quintuplets around!). New season starts October 1st.
A couple of seasons ago Jarrid and his family were featured in several episodes when the dad of the quints; Adam Busby was diagnosed with post-partum depression (yes it exists in men too!) and sought out Pastor Jarrid for some counselling. I watched those episodes a little differently than most other episodes because I felt the dad’s pain and so much of what Pastor Jarrid said to him at the time resonated so much with me.
I didn’t know at the time those episodes aired that the Pastor was battling with his own mental health issues and that much of what he said during their sessions together came from a place of understanding and compassion and knowing both of them were very devout Christian’s, God played a big part in both of their journeys. And kudos to TLC for tackling such a stigmatized topic, especially for men.
I am certain that many of you are probably asking yourselves today how a person who devoted his entire life to helping others battle depression, who wrote books about hope, who co-founded a non profit organization supporting others with depression and who devoted his entire life to God could lose his battle with depression himself. Well the senior Pastor at his church in California summed it up perfectly. Greg Laurie stated in an interview yesterday that “Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people, we are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.”
Those words ring true for any person who suffers with depression and understands that no one, no matter what your socio-economical background is or your religious beliefs are, nobody is immune to mental illness which is why I can see so many parallels between my own journey and Jarrid’s journey too.
I may not pray or look toward God for guidance but like Jarrid I experience pain each and every day and like Jarrid I have made it my mission to advocate for change and end the stigma surrounding mental illness by being that voice. And like Jarrid I have made it my mission to help as many people as I can get the help they need and give other people hope. And like Jarrid I have made it my mission to let others know that it’s okay not to be okay. Hey and lets not forget that like Jarrid I too can now call myself an author!
I know it’s so difficult to understand how someone like myself or Jarrid can do all those things yet still not be able to practice what we preach because it’s no secret that it’s often so much easier to see the beauty in others and not in our own selves. And although suicide took his life “Suicide will not get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said, “Hope gets the last word (A quote from his wife). And I’m pretty sure she will make it her mission now to ensure that hope lives on in all of us battling this deadly disease.
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.