My Mother’s Suicide

my mother's suicide

Everything that I knew about life changed on June 22nd, 2015. On this day, I learned that my mother took her own life in my childhood home. She was 53 and I was 26 at the time.

Devastating is not quite the word I would use to describe this type of news, and I still haven’t quite figured out the words to describe how I actually feel about everything so I’m not going to try and cover that yet.

My mother was the type of person that was always lively and made friends easily. She was well known and loved in our hometown, so her death came as a surprise to many. It was a shock to me as well. I knew that she had experienced some hard times recently and had a short episode of depression about a year ago, but I didn’t know how bad things really were.

She was actually diagnosed with Chronic Manic Depression. I never knew about this diagnosis because she never told me about it, I only learned that she had it when I was reading her death certificate. At that point, it was a little late to be learning of her true condition. What I now realize is that whenever she talked about her experience with depression and what was actually going on, it was always masked with religion. She would say things like “I felt like I was in a fog or being held by a demonic force…” or “God brought me out of the darkness and now I’m healed…”

I have nothing against religious beliefs and practices, I am a Christian myself, but in this situation we have to realize that there are other things at play and not just religion. Our community has a hard time talking about issues concerning mental health and I feel like much of it comes from the stigma that is unjustly associated with it. People feel as though they have something to be ashamed of because they are struggling with a mental disease. Mental illness is just that – an illness. Do people feel ashamed for catching the flu? For having cancer? No.

Mental illness is just as serious and debilitating as any physical illness or disease and we need to start treating it as such. If my mother had felt more comfortable with actively managing her condition and speaking out about it, things may have been completely different. I say may, because they may have turned out exactly the same.

Even still, talking about these things allows everyone to be on the same page. If I had known that my mother was actually suffering from a mental illness then I may have been better able to recognize the signs she was clearly showing before she decided to commit suicide. I may not have been able to stop her, but I would have been given the opportunity to try.

My mother’s suicide is hard to talk about, but it needs to be discussed. I’m not ashamed of how she died because I am proud of how she lived. I know that in her final moments, she was struggling with a unbearable pain that she was simply tired of fighting. This keeps me from wondering why she left us here and why there was no letter to explain her decision. She just wanted it all to stop because she thought there was no other alternative.

Now that I have experienced this, I want more people to step up and talk about mental illness and suicide prevention. It may not be a fun conversation to have and it may not be a very comfortable experience, but it is necessary. We need to stop minimizing the importance of mental health and start talking about how to change the way we think about it.

#StartTheConversation

– MR

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115 thoughts on “My Mother’s Suicide

  1. Tremayne Moore says:

    This is a heartfelt story on multiple levels. First and foremost, I’ll be praying for you and your family as you’re grieving. In the AA Community we don’t talk about mental illness. Either we focus on the natural aspect (and end up over-medicating) or the spiritual (where we just deny the illness). This must be addressed in our communities. I live with PTSD as a result of sexual abuse. I am in therapy and I am very serious about my Christian Faith. And to top it off, I also am on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. I don’t deny that I have this, I own it and am determine to fight for my healing. What we as people need to do is to love and comfort people where they are and swallow our pride. I know what mental illness can do to a person. In fact, back in 2011, I wanted to end my life. I wrote a blogpost on that -> http://mayneman.blogspot.com/2014/09/when-i-wanted-to-die-world-suicide.html?m=1

    Also, I wrote a novel based on my life addressing child sexual abuse, mental illness and suicide (the suicide note in the book is based on what I was going through during the course of writing). I would like to send you a copy of that on me (my e-mail is tremayne_moore@yahoo.com).

    Peace & Blessings.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Tremayne,

      Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. You’re right that we normally don’t find the perfect balance of what to focus on (natural symptoms or religion) and that should be addressed. I’m glad to hear that you are on top of the things that you have going on and that you are able to use your own experiences to help others. I think that’s what we need as a community. I know that I’m not the only person that has experienced this and I know that you aren’t the only one that’s experienced what you’ve gone through. By sharing our stories we are helping others become more successful in reaching their own healing or dealing with their own issues. So thank you for reaching out, but most importantly, thank you for your part in opening the conversation to things that people normally stay silent on.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. e says:

    Derrell,

    Don’t quite know where to begin. My heart is full. First and foremost, my condolences to you & your family as it relates to your tragic loss. I pray God’s comfort & healing.

    This is a subject matter that is extremely dear to my heart. ( http://wp.me/p5ySTq-98) Suicide & Crisis Intervention in communities of faith & communities of color are components to a vital, long overdue dialogue. One that we need to have proactively. I will share your story. Your mother’s legacy will live on.

    Peace
    e
    @IndigoInterlude on Twitter

    Liked by 2 people

    • Billiebob says:

      1. The first time she was depressed it wasnt something she got over she madebit theough it. 2. She didnt tell you, because you would view her different.
      I know I have six boys all grown and have fought this illness for ablong time and you are correctbin saying we get to avpoint where we dont want to fight because it’s hard and I know the next time for me I won’t be able to pull myself of of that black hole and religion I go to church sometimes but have always belive and trusted God when I go down that black hole he sends me bible verses and songs. I can’t quite any Bible versus but when I’M there I can. No one would ever guess that I’m depressed because you see what we want you to see. No one understands unless you been there is a hard fight difficult but I no what pushes me close and fought to stay way from those things. I will pray for your mom, but I understand her torment. Happy on the outside, pouring treats on the inside.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Derrell Jamison says:

        Billiebob,

        Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s hard to know whether I would have viewed her differently or not. I don’t think that I would have because I have more of an understanding nature and would have just been thankful that she opened up to me. Given that you struggle with some of the same issues I can understand why you would say that no one would ever guess that you’re depressed. This is what makes me want to be passionate about bringing these issues to the forefront. I don’t think it’s fair that people who suffer from depression or mental illness are made to feel as if they should hide their pain in the shadows and suffer in silence. I am glad that you have your faith in God to carry you through and if that is enough for you then I am sincerely happy for you. However, if you ever begin to feel like it may not be enough then I pray that you will consider reaching out to someone for more help. I too, believe that God is a healer, but He is also a Way-Maker. Sometimes, He places people in our path that can make a way for us to be healed. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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    • Derrell Jamison says:

      E,

      I really appreciate you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I was on your site the other day reading about your reasons for being so passionate about talking about suicide prevention. I think that I left a comment somewhere on there? Either way, I’m glad that you enjoyed my post and I definitely appreciate you saying that you will share it. I believe that God puts passions in each and everyone of us and this is one that I now have. I hate the way that I got it, but I hope that my efforts will help someone else down the line. And thanks for following our site!

      Liked by 1 person

      • e says:

        Thank you for the response & yes I shared this post as promised! I did not see a comment on my site but am very honored you to stopped by authenticitee. Thank you for your graciousness in even taking the time to respond now. You have your hands full. Praying strength & peace. Take care,

        e
        @IndigoInterlude on Twitter

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  3. Stacey Young says:

    I’m sorry for loss! These types of stories need to be shared and will go a long way to remove the stigmas associated with depression and mental health. In March 2014, I was moments from taking my life. Now, I share my journey boldly, openly, and honestly to help save lives. I have an extensive collection of articles and interviews on my website that are available for anyone who is challenged with depression. However, I won’t post the link in the message to not takeaway from your article about your mother. Please contact me as I would love for you to be part of a show that I’ll be doing about depression in September. I look forward to collaborating with you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Stacey,

      Thank you for reading and for commenting. I agree with you and I hope that by sharing my story it will help remove some of the stigma associated with mental health. I know that our society still has a LONG way to go, but I hope that as more people begin to #StartTheConversation, we will be able to make mental health as common and comfortable to talk about as any other health concern. And I will be in touch with you through email soon.

      Like

  4. Shenille says:

    I admire your strength and will keep you in my prayers. I am glad that you are using what you’ve gone through in an effort to save others, no matter how difficult it is. You’re right about the stigma and about the way we mask mental illness with religion… we must make it ok to talk about and deal with. I actually have a documentary coming out soon where young people ages 11 to 23 are talking about tough issues like this. It’s called We’re Too Young To Die. We have so much work to do as a people… the stories of these young people blew me away. I could go on for days about… but anyway, I’m in the fight with you. Keep going! You can watch a snippet by visiting http://www.iChoose2live.com/filmproject

    Liked by 2 people

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for coming by and leaving a comment. Mental health is definitely worth the conversation and should be talked about more so that people can be comfortable reaching out to others whenever they need help. What you are doing with your film is pretty incredible as well. If we don’t talk about the tough issues, we will never learn how to successfully manage them when they occur. So thank YOU for your courage to go there and address the issues that many people don’t want to talk about.

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  5. Leeza D. Steward says:

    My condolences to you and your family. Thank you for sharing the truth. I was diagnosed with chronic depression almost a year ago. I rarely tell people about it because they think I am crazy or that it is just a phase. I have went through thoughts of suicide many times, and I pray everyday that God will just allow me to die in my sleep. There are days where I literally dread opening my eyes. I do not think a lot of people understand that this is an everyday battle. You can be doing so much, and living a life that is fulfilled, but that has nothing to do with them chemical imbalances we experience. My prayers are with you and your family.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Leeza,

      Thank you so much for commenting and being vulnerable enough to share your own experience. It pains me that there are so many people who feel as though they have to suffer in silence because they fear that people don’t understand what they are going through. I don’t know what it must be like to live with chronic depression but I pray that you will be able to reach out and find the support and assistance that you truly deserve (if you haven’t done so already). Also, you can always call 1 (800) 273-8255 for help and comfort whenever you are having problems with suicidal thoughts. There is help available for you, and you should always remember that. Stories like yours and stories like mine are why I am now adamant about increasing awareness of mental health issues and getting people to show more support to those who suffer. I commend your bravery in speaking out for yourself and I wish you all the best.

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  6. Kim McLarin says:

    Derrell, I am so terribly sorry for your loss. I have written about this from the inside, as directly and honestly as I can. In fact, I’ve been writing another essay about it just this week because it is an ongoing struggle. I think your comment above, about “it wasn’t fair for her to have to have to live with an illness…” shows enormous insight and compassion; I am awed by it. Suicide is terrible and devastating to those left behind (my family has just experienced one of a young man, a cousin of mine) and I wish no one ever took their life. But it infuriates me when people say “suicide is selfish.” What is selfish is expecting to people to live in the face of such overwhelming and unbearable pain.

    I’d like to send you my book, if you like. I can be reached at kim@kimmclarin.com.

    Peace and solace to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Kim, Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate the fact that you are able to understand what I meant by “it wasn’t fair for her”. I think that there are many instances where suicide survivors simply blame the person instead of digging deep to understand what was truly going on. I also understand that there are times where it really is simply a selfish act, but I know that in my mother’s case it was not. I will email you soon, thank you for reaching out.

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  7. Sandra Rogers Johnson says:

    Hi baby. I live with major depression and severe anxiety on a daily basis. Right now, as I type, I am having suicidal thoughts. I have them often enough to make life very difficult to make it from one day to the next. I have 3 adult children and many nieces, nephews and other children in my life that I try to live for but that also isn’t the solution. I cant speak on your moms exact thoughts but if you ever want to talk to me and ask me questions, I will try to answer and help you get a better understanding of depression and suicide. I often post about my feelings and get criticized because of them. People are afraid of what they don’t understand nor do they want to learn about what they don’t want to understand. If my experiences with depression and suicide attempts can help anyone get better or even have a better understanding, I have no problem with sharing my story. You may inbox me and we can exchange numbers or get together or whatever works for you but just know I am here and willing to help you in any way I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for commenting and reading. I hope that when you are having suicidal thoughts that you will consider calling the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255 and consider seeking out a professional counselor or doctor that can help you in your efforts to manage your depression on a daily basis. I can’t imagine how difficult things must be for you but I certainly want you to know that help IS available for you.

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  8. Charia says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Mental illness is such a terrible illness. It has no color or gender. Awareness and treatment is the best medicine.

    Like

  9. Julia Thomas says:

    A beautiful, honest & much needed post. Such a tragedy for you Derrell, losing your mother this way, but on the other hand, by openly sharing as you are doing, you are turning your personal tragedy into a personal & community triumph. You are helping us all, especially us African American parents, spouses & children of folks who are struggling with depression & other mental illnesses. You have motivated me & my family to become more proactive in the mental health treatment & suicide prevention of one of our loved ones & I know this is also true for other readers as well. Thank you so much & thanks to your mother who raised such a thoughtful son. I am so very sorry for your loss; the testimonials about your Mom all say that she was a wonderful human being; from your post & comments, I can say that you too are wonderful.
    Constant prayers for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Julia, thank you so much for your kind words. I am so glad that your family was able to take away something positive from what I wrote and put it to work in your own lives. I wanted to #StartTheConversation about mental health and I am truly in awe of how well it has been received by the community. It is important and I am thankful that I can play a part in increasing awareness. Thank you for reading and commenting and I hope that things go well for your family.

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    • Tonia says:

      Prayers going up!! Hold on! Talk to Jesus as you would a friend. Satan is the author of darkness/sickness/pain, but Jesus is bigger then anything/problem we may be going through. Please turn to him in moments of darkness, call out Jesus name, and angels will come to your side.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      When I started writing this post about my mother I really had no idea how it would be received. This comment is everything that I hoped for. Saving ONE life or even changing one mind about mental illness makes everything my family has gone through worth it. I hate that I lost my mother but I am glad that her story can still save lives and help people #StartTheConversation.

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  10. FLEMING says:

    First of all let me say how sorry I am for the loss of your mom. I worked with Ms. Shirley back in the late 80’s and she was an outstanding lady….and yes I was very shocked as well at the news that she had taken her life…if she suffered from depression back then you never knew it you always thought she was on top of the world and if you felt like you were in the valley being around her brought you on top. Her outgoing personality was contagious….Sweet Lady… NOW …I am speaking as a mother who has a son that has mental health issues not a expert so this is MY thoughts…alot of times (not always the case) these mental health issues can start presenting themselves in adolescence and the fear of what people will think of you if they knew what you were feeling or going thru causes you to sweep it under the rug so to speak until by the time you are an adult it has overpowered you to the point that you are just tired of fighting you just want to end the battle and mentally you are so drained you can’t think ahead about how this will affect your family and friends the darkness is so great the light which is the love of family and friends can’t always get in…..for adolescents in high school the fear of being seen and called a freak, weirdo, nut job, etc causes them to hide or mask their depression and prevents them from getting the early on help they need to try and prevent the darkness from winning….there is many different types of mental illnesses and some have symptoms such as bipolar that can’t be hid or masked you pretty know very soon that there is a problem and you start seeking a solution. The mental health profession is pitiful meaning if it was a diabetic issue or heart issue their are doctors out there by the drove but a good psychiatrist or therapist is VERY HARD TO FIND….my son started showing symptoms in middle school and it started out he’s ADD and they started medicating him for that then the last years of high school it became more evident that there was something else going on other than ADD. I literally spent all those years dragging him from one doctor/therapist to another one from one end of the state to the other before he has finally at the age of 22 found the right solution and I can finally see a difference being made….his current doctor said it best when she said to me ” It’s like a running a marathon not a sprint ” meaning it’s not something you can fix overnight it takes the right medication and therapy combined for it to get better. I still don’t understand why psychiatry is still such a limited field why so few doctors choose this line of medicine…with the society we are living in this day and time there is so many people developing mental health illnesses and the demand far out weighs the supply which is really sad…as far as the religion part goes GOD does not fix all of our problems for us BUT he does provide the resources such as doctors to help us and if we have faith and trust in him he will ALWAYS guide and comfort us to get thru any situation in our lives….I truly regret that it took the death of your mom to get everyone to start talking about bringing more awareness to mental illness but I am so proud that during the most difficult time of your life you can start getting people to start admitting that it is OK to own that part of your life and starting seeking the help they need to try and prevent such tragedy’s. May GOD bless you all and by the way I now work with your father and he seems to be a wonderful person too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      “GOD does not fix all of our problems for us BUT he does provide the resources such as doctors to help us and if we have faith and trust in him he will ALWAYS guide and comfort us to get thru any situation in our lives..”

      I feel exactly the same way about this. God puts people in our lives and gives people the skills needed to help others. Thank you for sharing your story with me, it has been truly inspiring to see the many different people who have experiences with mental health that are worth sharing. I think that seeking out help is important and I wish that our society was more accepting and supportive of those who struggle with different issues. Prayerfully, sharing my own experience will get people talking enough to where minds are able to change and lives are able to be saved. And my dad is just as awesome as my mother was, they were a great pair. Thank you again for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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  11. Pbullard says:

    Derrell
    May I start with “You were the most important thing in her life when I met your mom”. She made no doubt about that! She was a mentor, a teacher and a friend to me as I moved through Rad school. Then I was lucky enough to work with her as a fellow tech and friend. She taught me many things, but I enjoyed her true love of God and family. I felt lucky to have known her. I struggle with some of the same issues. I wish I could make more attempts to feel brave enough to let the ones I love the best know how I feel at times, but we as mothers, daughters and friends feel weak even if we think we are the strongest! Your mom was a noble warrior who wanted the best for you always. The one thing I can say is she raised a strong son, and you should be proud to have her as a Mother! I pray you find peace and hope that your mother was a strong human vulnerable to the harsh reality so many face. May God help you find peace in your days to come. She would not want you to be burdened with the things she face alone at times, That’s what mother’s do! God bless you and your family!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      She was definitely a good woman and she loved God and her family. I am glad that you are one of the many who is able to remember her for the great person that she was. Thank you for sharing your experience as well. And if you’re struggling with some of the same issues that she was then I pray that you’ll be able to find the support that you need. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  12. Jaime says:

    my heart goes out to you. I also lost a parent to suicide. I was 21 and my dad was 50. He spent his life very ill from a spinal disease with no cure. He was suffering and I think somewhere deep inside I knew this day would probably come. Although when it happened it rocked my world and shattered me. Although not a day goes by I don’t miss him dearly I also wouldn’t ask for him back either. His peace brings me comfort. Until someone has actually had suicide touch their lives in some way one can never understand all that comes along with it. I am not ashamed of his decision like u I am proud of the life he lived. I am proud to have had him as a father. My heart goes out to you and I applaud your honor and bravery to come forward and talk about what most keep hidden secrets. Thank you for your post…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for reading and I am truly sorry for your loss as well. Like you said, many people can’t understand the true implications of suicide and how it feels until they have lost someone to it. I never really understood it myself until it happened to my family even though you hear about it ALL the time. For me, it helps to talk about it instead of hiding it because I have hopes that my story will prevent others from having to experience what I’ve gone through. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Jamie.

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  13. Germaine says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your mom. One thing I can say is that society is cruel to people with mental and depression issues, So in many cases people do not allow others to know that they are taking medication or even have a problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Germaine,

      You’re right about that. This is why I really think it is time for people to #StartTheConversation about mental health and mental illnesses. Society needs to wake up and understand that a mental illness is no different than a physical one and they deserve the same amount of respect and support. Thank you for commenting and reading.

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  14. nurse b says:

    Good say its nice to hear from others i am a 68 year old woman i am presently going a depression my family does not know how bad it is i often goes days without eating because i have nothing to eat my pride won’t let me ask for help out got so bad that i went to a store and took some food i was caught and found guilty i felt like garbage i didnt smell like it but is how low i am i have recently stole food again got caught again and i am waiting on a pending court case i feel so bad about what i did but i don’t feel i mean any goid to others if you ever v even hungry you would understand i want ti live but feel li don’t have any use to live for my family and friend are always asking me for something abd if i say i don’t have it they thing i am lying any suggestion i need help.

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    • MsLynn says:

      Nurse B, I encourage you to talk with your family. Let them in. Someone close to you, I’m sure, would be deeply hurt to know what you’re going through – alone. Someone is always willing to help …IF THEY ONLY KNEW. I pray that you can find the strength to discuss with your loved ones, doctors or neighbors the depths of your depression. It’s clear to me that you want to talk about it, because you started doing so on this platform. Love yourself… Give yourself a chance by asking for the help you need. Please. I love you with the love of Christ and pray for you today.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Nurse B,

      I agree with what MsLynn has expressed to you. Please reach out and seek the assistance that you need. There is always at least ONE person that is willing to help. Don’t stop searching for them until you find them. I pray that you can eventually find peace and the support that you rightfully deserve.

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  15. harriet bryant says:

    I can not imagine the heartache you and your family are having but your mother was a Beautiful person inside and out.Derrell for you to put your heart out like this you are an awesome young man,hold your head high your mother is at peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tenishajonece says:

      I am sorry for your loss. I do want to say that the church does acknowledge mental health and a need for treatment. It just depends on which Christian you’re talking to. I’m dealing with some issues and my therapist went to seminary school and studied counciling. I’m sorry her condition was masked, and that she didn’t have the right kind of support. This could have been avoided.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Derrell Jamison says:

        I agree, this definitely could have been avoided. I don’t mean to seem as if no religious groups address mental health, because I know that’s not true. My concern is that the overwhelming majority of churches will suggest prayer as the only solution for mental illness without truly addressing or suggesting any other options. It is awesome that your therapist has both the scientific and religious backgrounds, I think they are both important when dealing with these type of things. Thank you for sharing and commenting.

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    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you so much Harriet, I appreciate you for saying that. I believe that my mother is at peace as well and I think it’s important that I put myself out there so that other people can be able to #StartTheConversation and help others find the help and comfort that they need. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  16. BeingMe says:

    Derrell I first want to say how sorry I am for your loss! Their is never a love like a mother who truly loves her child/children.
    Yet I too understand the stigma that’s placed upon people with mental depression/illnesses. I myself have suffered with a mental illness for years. I’ve been hospitalized, and medicated. I’ve been covered in a sense by less then a handful of immediate family members who truly knows how serious it has been for me…(and yes I am thankful for them)
    I also have had the experience of being looked down upon as selfish and uncaring for the lives of my children to even had attempted to hurt myself. (But it was bigger then that, yet they could not see it because its in your head)
    I no longer receive medical help (The Dr I felt the closest with left the company and I didn’t feel good about the new doctor so I stopped going) although I have plenty of days I truly think I should be reaching out yet the idea of being seen as weak minded or faking detours me from reaching out… (Plus I try hard to not put the burden on my family members that do know; so I try to refrain from even speaking on it, because I seen their fear of how I lost control and I don’t want them to experience that stress again)
    So I read constantly on ways to try to keep my sanity on a level of reasonable control… Their are nights I go all night with no sleep (doing self affirmations, talking myself down on how unreal the overwhelming thoughts are and etc…) only to get partial naps during the day. For those who see me from an outside view they see me as a normal everyday joking, loving, got it together person. Yet if they only knew how I’m afraid some nights to even go to sleep or even do everyday simple things that most don’t even think twice about before doing it… I have enough undercover haters who speak what they don’t know about me; I can’t begin to think on how they would speak ugly on my mental struggles.
    Most of my days are spent inside Eventhough I’m not that old it just seem sometimes it’s the safest place to be Eventhough that’s not true all the time! I too am from a small area like your mom and I too know how closed minded people are on this subject especially in small towns. They truly don’t see it’s magnitude until afterwards… And you’re also right to say prayer is what most see as the main fix it solution… Unfortunately their wrong! That’s why people need to STOP believing its different from cancer, or a muscle degenerative disease because its not… You get plenty of support with those types of diseases but Not Mental illnesses. This disease… It eats at the very core of who you use to remember yourself as… That’s why when one feels they can no longer fight the disease and people’s ignorant views they respond in the only way they know by accepting the relentless, overwhelming negative thoughts in there mind, which ends with the damage being irreversible. Never stop speaking on it… Because more truly need to understand. Once again I’m sorry for your loss…. But thanks for speaking out on behalf of your love for your mother I just know she’s smiling at you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      It is truly incredible to me that by simply sharing my story it has made it possible for so many people to share theirs as well. I really appreciate you for being so open and vulnerable and sharing your own experiences. It is definitely true that we need to have more conversations about this and learn to show more support towards the people that are suffering in silence with mental illness. There is no reason why you should have to think twice about reaching out for help. If you had cancer, people would WANT to help you. If you were confined to a wheelchair from a disability, people would want to help you. Mental illness needs to become a cause that people WANT to get involved with instead of something that they hide away, make fun of, or simply ignore. I pray that you will be able to find another doctor that is as good or better than the one you had before. I can’t begin to imagine what you must go through a daily basis, but I really hope that one day you can have the support that you need. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

      Like

  17. Patricia Boykin-Moore says:

    Derrell, you are truly amazing and you were birthed by an amazing woman. The step you have taken to bring light to the mental health issues (depression, suicide, masking the illness) is phenomena. I knew your mother as a child, and she really epitomized womanhood at its finest. Her smile would light up a room. You are right in stating that so often mental health in the African American community is hidden. Back in the day and even now individuals are stigmatized and alienated if others know they have mental health problems. My baby brother had mental health issues, but thank God that I was able to be proactive and get him the help he needed. Medication and therapy did not change his situation overnight, however once the right steps were taken, he was able to live a productive and relatively happy life. Your mother would have been proud of the action you have taken to make others aware of the mental health plight. I am keeping you and your family in continual prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for your comment. It is definitely important that people begin to talk about this issue more. Had I not experienced this firsthand, I would have probably never thought about how serious it is and how little it is talked about it. I hate that it happened to me, but I’m glad that I can share my feelings and my story in an attempt to get people to #StartTheConversation.

      Like

  18. Jen says:

    Thanks for sharing your story in hopes to educate others and possibly save a life. I have been trying to do the same since my fiancé’s suicide in January of 2014. It’s not an easy task, especially when grieving, but it must be done. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jamicka Morgan says:

    Thanks for sharing. I can definitely relate to your thoughts. My father committed suicide in October 16, 1992. My life did a 360 that day. My mom passed three years later from a illness that worsen due to depression.
    Depression is real. Others need to know this. I commend you for realizing, early in your journey, that suicide/depression needs to be discussed. Keep your head up and keep the discussion open. It’s a healing process.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      I am so sorry for the loss of your parents. Stories like that and like mine are perfect examples of why we SHOULD #StartTheConversation and #KeepItGoing. Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and sharing your experience.

      Like

  20. Donald Lamb says:

    Derell, although it’s a topic we don’t discuss in the Black Community, you’re correct in saying we need to. In the past couple of years I’ve learned a great deal about depression through dealing with many of my friends as well as learning more about the stuck points and what triggers certain actions. Honestly, it’s nothing to be ashamed of as we all have strength and weaknesses that need to be addressed. I admire you for your courage in stepping out of the norm to raise awareness. I’m humbled to be associated with such a grand young man. Continue to hold on son and may God continue to bless you and your family today and days ahead…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. This is definitely an issue that is worthy of talking about and increasing awareness. People shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of an ILLNESS that they have. No one chooses conditions that they develop or are born with so it’s not fair that they feel that they must hide things when they could speak out and get help.

      Like

  21. Purplespray says:

    My grandmother committed suicide over 10years ago. She suffered from bipolar disorder and she was a lot like your mother, active in the community, kind. Its true that within religion, we don’t take time to understand mental illness. Coupled with societal beliefs ( I’m from Kenya), people are oft left untreated or the opportunity to be aware and intervene and help is taken away. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for reading and sharing your experience as well. I am sorry about the loss of your grandmother, I know that must have been a difficult time for you. You’re definitely right though, mental illness is a sensitive subject that should be talked about more but society and religious beliefs make it extremely hard to do. We have to take the time to change our minds about it and #StartTheConversation.

      Like

  22. Danny says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your mother’s story. Since my sister took her own life several years ago, my mother has become a vocal advocate for mental health awareness/suicude prevention. I’ve grown accustomed to hearing from parents who have lost a child—never have I even thought about what it must be like for a child (especially an adult child) to lose a parent . This article brings clarity to a very sensitive and complicated topic. Too often, people cast away mental illness without considering the devastating impact it can have on quality of life. It is this misery that leads people to make the only decision they think is available to them. I’m so sorry that you are one of the chosen few who has had to live through such a tragedy, but I’m thankful that you are willing to share your story, raise awareness and help others. Because of your bravery, you and your family’s suffering will not be in vain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I am sorry for your loss and I am glad that your mother was able to turn her tragedy into a testimony like I am trying to do. Losing a loved one is a difficult thing to experience, no matter the circumstance, but it is definitely more complicated when the cause is suicide. Helping people #StartTheConversation about mental health & suicide prevention is something that I now feel very strongly about because I have experienced it first hand. If my story or anything I say can reach one person and change their mind, then my mother’s death will definitely not be in vain. I really appreciate what you said.

      Like

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for saying that. She would not want me to sit idly by and not make an attempt to increase awareness about this issue. She was a vocal woman about things she was passionate about and I know she would have wanted me to do things like this in order to help others feel more comfortable talking about mental health. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Like

  23. SLBS says:

    I firmly believe that this is an illness that needs to be focused on more than it has been and is. I have friends and family members that are being treated for one kind or another of depression. There are so many forms of mental illness. There are some that are misdiagnosed and some that are being swept by the wayside because those that are trained to diagnose and work with those of us that might need that help don’t see or take the time to observe our actions or behaviors as they should. Those behaviors produce a huge impact on the lives of the entire family. I have seen the sickness and feelings associated with depression. I know how some of them work because I have had my share of depressed days. My son experienced some bouts of depression at an early age and I sought help for him. I was not ashamed to ask for help for him and neither was he. I knew that if he was getting help, I was getting help. I believe that is can be an untamed demon that can lash out and cause much sadness and unhappiness if left untreated. I thank you for starting this post or page. I pray that something that is said will help someone or start them thinking about what depression can do in our life. I didn’t know your mom personally, but just meeting her at church and seeing her smiling face was enough to make me and anyone else that was in her presence think that she was on top of the world and in the best frame of mind possible. Keep looking up and thanking God for allowing you to help someone this day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      I definitely thank God for allowing me to really #StartTheConversation on mental health. When I wrote this I hoped that I could at least reach one person and change their mind about the discussing mental health. With the response that this post has received so far I know that this is something that I will continue to do because it is important that we talk about it. Especially in families. I wish that it had been talked about more in my own, but if I can help some other family begin to talk about it then I know that I’ve done right by my mother’s memory. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Like

  24. Shelia Vann Lipscomb says:

    Derrell, thank you for your honesty and insight on this taboo topic. I especially agreed with your point on the religious aspect of people having the notion of praying things away. As having been trained in Counseling, I know that is far from the truth. I appreciated your article and gained much insight in reading it.

    Your mother was my classmate and friend. She was an awesome woman and well liked by all who she met. When I noticed differences in Shirley’s personality, I hoped that she was getting help. Mental health is such a stigma in our black community. It is my hope you will inspire and help so many others with your writing. I pray for peace for you in dealing with the loss of your mother. While, we may never know the answers to many of the questions, we can rest assured that Shirley is a peace and won’t have to fight her way out of darkness ever again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting Shelia. I am glad that I’m not alone in feeling that this is an issue that is worth talking about. There is so much stigma surrounding mental health that it is almost impossible to have active conversations about it with some people. If I can play any part in trying to #StartTheConversation then I feel that my mother’s memory will live on forever.

      Like

  25. Kimila Simpson says:

    Thank you for this article. Writing is therapeutic and I’m certain it’s helping. I did not know your mom but I have many friends & family who did, as we all grew up in the same hometown . I see from all of the messages and comments that she was an exceptional woman. Reading your article lets me know that she raised an exceptional son. As a mother of 3, I know the challenges we all face. Hopefully this will start the conversation about seeking help and resources when needed and working towards a healthier state of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Eloise Godwin says:

    Derrell
    I can’t begin to say the pain you, Kiana and Edward must feel, it is a hard pain to deal with in my heart as well. I knew some of the signs my sister was depressed but at times we could discuss her stress, disbelief of things going on in her life and the pain it caused her. When I could be with her on occasions I went with her to the doctor the first time for help and she showed signs of relief. Times after that she learned to trust, and I listened, and told others she was showing signs of.depression but I didn’t exactly know how to get her long term care and I know she wouldn’t go there for help that’s why we kept trying to get her to come visit here. I had hoped I
    could her the right doctors in this area for depression.
    We shared great weeks together and long talks about everything, and things that bothered her. I pray any one that shows signs of not sleeping, over working, perfection for others, smiles with pain inside constantly, over spending trying to find relief for an inward pain it could not heal.
    Know my sister was loved and loving, caring to everyone, even homeless people she cared about
    and told me things about her job and how she enjoyed working at the hospital, but Serenity Heath and Fitness was her new way to help others and it helped her as well. We need to continue to inspire others to get help and in the future talk open about people that need extra help. I plan to keep her memory alive by giving help in her memory to those who suffer in silence with mental illness.
    Love to those who suffer in silence!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Aunt Eloise,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I know you loved her, as did the rest of the family. I hate that she didn’t get all of the help that she needed because she could have really benefited from it. I know she appreciated you trying to help her. I plan to keep her memory alive as well by reaching out and trying to #StartTheConversation about mental health and illnesses. Love you!

      Like

  27. Kadea says:

    THANK YOU for posting this. Millions of people suffer from depression and other forms of mental illness we just don’t talk about it. We distance ourselves from it and ignore it, thinking it will go away. All this does is lend itself to more suffering. Thank you for doing your part to put an end to that with this post.

    Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss.

    I became very interested in my own mental wellness when I started studying psychology in college, but like you, became most passionate about opening a broader dialogue about mental health after a suicide death in my family. I was stunned when my cousin took his life. My entire family was. And I remember there being a lot of shock, confusion and a lot of anger. So many people were angry with my cousin. They labelled him selfish and weak; that his decision was rash and foolhardy. But I couldn’t bring myself to be mad at him…I pity him, even now. Depression is an ongoing battle that many refuse to acknowledge. I am still so sorry that he got to the point where he could no longer shoulder the weight. I wish I could have been there for him.

    I can’t imagine the pain of losing your mother this way. But I just wanted to thank you again for being so candid and sharing your story so that we can start a very important, and potentially life-saving discussion. If you are a testament to your mother’s time on earth, then she must have been a remarkable woman. I will pray for your strength!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and for your kind words and prayers. I agree with you on the fact that so many people would rather push mental illness beneath the carpet and tip toe around with the hopes that it will just go away. Addressing these things out in the open is really the only way that the conversation can be changed. We have to not only #StartTheConversation, but we also have to continue talking about it after we’ve gotten started. I appreciate you for stopping by our blog and I hope that you’ll return again sometime.

      Like

  28. Annette Williford says:

    Derrell, I worked with your mom for 16 years and she was always a very positive person, a very happy person,we had the most fun at work back in the 90’s. I am so sorry that she had to go through this, depression is without a doubt the most hopeless feeling you can have and I can say this because I have experienced this twice in my life,had it not been for my family history of this problem things may have turned out different for me, I so wish I had known she was suffering from this and just having someone to talk to that has gone thru this is great. I too have trouble with the fact that she did this and my heart goes out to you and your family. If you need to talk just message me. I was hospitalized in the early 80’s for depression and to this day still remember how that feeling is. Take care and always know your mama was so proud of you and your sister,she just beamed in her picture on FB with she was with ya’ll.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you so much for reaching out. I know my mother was well loved, and rightfully so. She was a wonderful woman. As hard as it is to accept the fact that she really isn’t here any more, I know that she would be proud that I’m using my own pain in an attempt to help prevent others from experiencing the same thing.

      Like

  29. allen012 says:

    I also suffer from depression and anxiety. So I can imagine what your mother was probably going through. Mental illness still has a very large stigma especially in the African American community. This stigma implies that those diagnosed in mental illness are weak and don’t know how to deal with difficult issues. This is largely why people that suffer from a mental illness don’t tell others, in my opinion. It is extremely hard to admit to yourself that you have a problem yet alone others around you that you love.

    It was so difficult for me to seek help. And once you start getting help, it takes quite awhile for medicine and therapy to really kick in. It seems to get a lot worse before it get better.

    All of these factors make for a very difficult situation.

    I really appreciate your awareness on this. So many suffer in silence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Honestly, your comment means a lot to me. I know that my mother was suffering and truly felt like she didn’t have anyone to reach out to. I want to start the conversation about mental health so that more people can feel comfortable when they decide to seek out help. You aren’t weak for having an illness and people shouldn’t be made to feel that way. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

      No one should have to suffer in silence..

      Like

  30. Patricia Stevens says:

    Thanks for sharing!Didnt know your mother personally,but she always had this beautiful smile!She And James were a lovely couple!!!Praying for your family,Keep the Faith,God will see you through!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. @LoveLynnGee says:

    You are so amazing for posting this, especially so soon after the occurrence. I hardly have words. On one hand I am sad for you, yet at the same time I admire you immensely for this. There are so many people in need. I agree with you 100% that we have to get away from the knee-jerk of making everything about religion. Sometimes God wants us to go out and get hands on help from another person, whether its a doctor or a caring listening ear. There are solutions.

    I wish you many blessings and pray for healing for you and your family. Contact me if you need someone to chat with.
    Love Lynn

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for reading Lynn. I agree, I am speaking out pretty soon after everything has happened but writing is really the best way for me to deal with it right now and figure out how I feel exactly. I also think that sometimes God wants us to go a step further than just praying or believing for change (i.e. “Faith without works is dead”). We have to talk about these things more so that people feel comfortable going out to get the help that they truly need. Thank you for your support.

      Like

  32. David J. says:

    Sorry to hear about your mother.
    I agree that we need to open the conversation about depression and suicide in our community. After pledging in the Fall of 2008, my LB died of what was ruled a suicide in the following Spring semester. He had so much going for him… a family, new frat, honor student, Mason, and he served in the military. I still hold on the my belief that his death only RULED a suicide by the authorities and that there was other things at play, but that doesn’t negate the thoughts that I truly might not have known him that well. I have wondered if things he had seen while serving in the military might have proved too much because that was the one thing he didn’t like to talk about.

    We see the side that people show us… the rest we find out through their actions.

    I commend your boldness in your blog, Phi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      I appreciate you for reading and commenting Nupe. You are absolutely right though, we only see the side that people show us. While my mother was being a positive light in the community, she was struggling with issues that were hiding behind her smile. Thank you for reaching out and I am sorry about what happened with your LB. Losing someone close to you to a suicide is a difficult thing because it leaves you with so many unanswered questions.

      Like

  33. Genie Brainerd says:

    My condolences on your terrible loss. I completely agree with you that we have to do what we can to make those suffering from mental illness comfortable sharing their struggles. I am not inexperienced in this area, myself. I am so very sorry you weren’t able to know the extent of her suffering until it was too late. Good for you for trying to help others before it is too late for them.

    I graduated from high school with your mother and remember her fondly. She was a kind, gentle and giving person even back in high school. While it is difficult for people of that age to look outside themselves, she was not so self involved that she couldn’t see others and their needs. She was a beautiful person and I am thankful to have known her.

    My deepest sympathy to you, the rest of her family and her close friends,
    Genie Reynolds Brainerd

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I know that my mother had a positive impact on many of the people that she encountered. It makes it that much easier for me to share her story because I know that she would WANT me to use her experience to help other people feel more comfortable dealing with their own situations. I appreciate your sympathy and support.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. miningfordiamonds says:

    My condolences to you on the loss of your mother. Also my kudos to you for speaking up on an issue that needs to be spoken about more openly, not only in society at large but also in the Christian community, the African community, ALL communities. It is so hard to deal with serious mental health issues, whether as the one who suffers, or the loved one of one who suffers. It is an issue that needs to be addressed holistically, spirit (spiritual warfare is real), soul (mind, emotions) AND body (chemical imbalances, etc.). Rarely do you find the balance between all 3 areas. I speak from personal experience…please read my personal website for more information. http://www.miningfordiamondsblog.com God bless you in your journey through grief and healing, and I pray you can be a voice to help so many who suffer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. You are right, this needs to be talked about in ALL communities. It seems to be a touchy subject for many people, but we have to work through the uncomfortable feeling so that real progress can be achieved.

      Like

  35. Teresa Johnson says:

    Amen! I echo your words! “PROUD of how she lived!” Shirley LIVED her life. She was so positive. An encourager! It seems she KNEW exactly WHAT to say to ALL those who needed a “word.” Continue on your mission young man! The LIFE Shirley LIVED, SPEAKS for her AND her dying SHALL NOT be in vain!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Yes, she was a wonderful woman. Nothing will ever overshadow that fact. She was a positive force in many lives (especially mine) and she will never be forgotten. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Like

  36. Barbara says:

    I understand that we as a people need to get more involved with mental health. I use to work with mental health clients and the struggle is real. I still speak with some of them when they are going through. Don’t be afraid to let us know because we want to help and be there for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree, we have to increase our involvement and willingness to talk about issues concerning mental health. Personally, I can’t stay silent and pretend that it’s not a serious issue. We all need to #StartTheConversation

      Like

  37. bylaurenhayley says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. It’s fantastic that you’re trying to get people to open up and speak about their mental health. There should be no stigma attached to it and the sooner we can achieve this the sooner we can hopefully prevent devastating stories like yours from happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. There certainly shouldn’t be any stigma attached to talking about mental, it should be as easy to talk about as the common cold or the flu. I haven’t gotten the chance to check out everything on your blog yet, but I saw that you speak about your own experiences concerning mental health. Thank you for being honest, we need more people like that!

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Nurse Yen says:

    Wow! This is one powerful post! Very few can write about depression and suicide with as much impact as those who have experienced it firsthand.
    First off, while a bit late, I wish to express my condolences. I cannot even begin to imagine what it was like for you to know that your mother committed suicide. It’s not something I’d like to imagine for myself, let alone experience. Devastating is indeed not enough a word for it.

    Second, my interest in mental health has opened my eyes to the fact that it is a tragic illness and that any implications of committing suicide is a call for help that should not be ignored or worse, belittled and this post has proven just as much. It saddens me to think that people who commit suicide are misjudged as selfish, since many (including me) don’t have an idea of what they have gone through. I hope that your post and your experiences will help others to see that, and I applaud you for your courage to talk about it.

    Lastly, I pray that you continue to find strength in this experience. It is undeniably painful, but as a Catholic, I believe that God has a purpose for everything. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derrell Jamison says:

      Late or not, your condolences are definitely appreciated and so is your thoughtful comment. I agree with you in the fact that people who commit suicide are misjudged as being selfish. I almost let myself feel as though it wasn’t fair for my mother to leave me the way she did, but I made myself understand that it wasn’t fair for her to have to live with an illness that wasn’t being treated properly or being talked about enough. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading what I had to say. I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

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