The Day I Committed Suicide + Jay Williams
THE TURNING POINT
September 2, 2017. I will never forget this day. I was running down the stairs, trying to get away from my husband. After three years of badgering me and all of the insanity, I had reached the end of my rope. At this moment of devastation and hopelessness, I decided that it would be better to be with Jesus than to continue living like this.
I felt overwhelmed by the accumulation of stress that I had been enduring for such a long time. I was depressed, and it was growing harder to get out of bed each day to start or complete my daily routine. My best friend was becoming increasingly concerned about me. She knew that something was wrong, but because I was the “Pastor’s Wife,” I just kept it all to myself. I did not want to expose everything that my husband was putting me through and going through himself.
My best friend noticed that I had been sleeping a lot. She knew me to be a driven and passionate person. But lately, I was losing interest in pursuing any of my dreams anymore. What’s worse is that I had no strength or energy to do any of my caretaking responsibilities for my children and definitely not my wifely jobs since there was nothing that I could do right according to him. I was being made to feel like my “failure to support” him was a detriment to my own dreams and future. Like many women, especially in ministry, the mistake I made was intertwining all of my dreams with my husband’s. I was being told by him every day for years that he had given me the world, and I had given nothing back in this marriage.
In an instant, my world seemed to be crashing down on me. I would walk away from him when I didn’t feel like fighting or couldn’t take anymore. I didn’t want to show hurt or pain because he would either mock it or minimize it, and/ or use it against me later. However, walking away didn’t seem to work anymore--his impulsive need to badger me had become a routine of following me when I walked away to tell me that I’m horrible, nothing and nobody.
All of a sudden, I remembered that I had a full bottle of Adderall and a bottle of medicine leftover from surgery. I decided that today was the day that I would make all the pain stop. I’m not sure how many pills I took, but I just remember taking them all.
My husband watched me take them, all the while, he was still fussing and yelling at me, telling me that I wasn’t there for him. When he realized what I had done, he said, “I’m not dealing with this. He went upstairs, closed the door, and never came back out. As I sat down and began processing my exit from life, I started trying to compose a letter. I don’t remember the exact words. But I started the note by explaining that “I really tried everything. I mean, I really tried to help, and I really tried to do my best.” Then I just stopped.
I started imagining my kids coming home from school and me not being there. At that moment, I was terrified of what I had done. So, I stopped writing because and I wanted to call my best friend since I knew that the last month that we were talking, and she was aware of my depression. She knew that I was suffering, even though I had not been ready to open up about it. I realized that she might be able to help. I sent her a text that read something like,
“I’m so sorry I did something that I can’t take back.”
I think she knew immediately from those words that something was wrong, and she called me instantly. My friend was repeatedly asking me,
“What happened?” “What did you do?” “What’s wrong?”
I was so torn. I wanted to tell her to see if she could help me, but at the same time, I was embarrassed and ashamed to let her know what I had done. Seriously, I’m a Pastor and a counselor; I’m the one that is supposed to help people feel better about themselves and want to live! As a pastor, I preach, teach, and had sessions with women, men, and children to help them develop into becoming their best selves and to never give up. I couldn’t find the words to tell her, so all I could manage to get out was, “I just couldn’t do it anymore, and I want to tell you I love you.”
Next, I texted my mom and said, I love you, and I texted my dad and told him that I loved him too. I will never know for sure (because the shame and uncomfortable topic has never come up again with my children, and I have no contact with my now ex-husband). Still, I believe my husband knew this wouldn’t end well, so he reached out to one of my older sons because he appeared out of nowhere, all of a sudden!
And as soon as he got there, he repeatedly began to ask me questions too. “Mom, what did you do? Mom, what did you do?” I couldn’t stand to tell him the truth. I was just too embarrassed.
I just whispered, “I didn’t do anything.” Now, this is one of my older sons. I mean, he was 19 at this point, so he knew something was wrong, but I did not want to tell him what I had just done. Again, a little louder, I spoke up and said, “I didn’t do anything.” But all I know is that I am shaking inside, I was so scared, but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him that I had taken all of these pills.
Now, my senses are returning to me, and I started feeling like I was crazy to have taken the pills. Everything is crashing in on me, and I begin to cry, thinking about my babies. My younger daughter was in the first grade, and my younger son was in fifth grade. While my brain was exploding, thinking about my kids coming home and being stuck with their father, the man who was causing me pain, I begin to break down. The doorbell rang, and I was crying uncontrollably at this point. The police are there, and they start asking me the same questions, “What’s going on? What did I take? How many did I take? How long ago?” The shame that engulfed me had me paralyzed with silence and fear. I was unable to speak. I just remember feeling an overwhelming and profound sense of humiliation and disgrace.
Next thing I know, they are putting me in an ambulance, and at this point, I was totally out of it. My blood pressure was at stroke levels. Later on, I saw a few more of my friends at the hospital. I believe that they were called by my best friend. All I remember is that they looked so hurt. My best friend told me later that I was talking a thousand miles an hour, non-stop. That’s what happens when you take something like Adderall.(It’s a stimulant like cocaine.)
My heart was racing, my pressure was high, and my mind was racing with a million thoughts. You could visibly see the pain on their faces. I still wasn’t done facing the people hurt by my actions. I didn’t even remember that my daughter was coming home from college that weekend, and she just started crying when she saw me. I have never felt more mortified than I did when I saw my oldest daughter, for whom I’ve always wanted to set an example of being a strong black woman.
You may ask, “Jay, what in the world brought your world crashing in on you like this?”
Well, I am going to tell you in hopes that it may free someone else. I am sharing these events if, for nothing else, to help others who I believe have had the same experience or will in the future. If I can prevent one person from allowing another person’s actions to drive them insane, that is what I want to do!
That Day and 1094 Days Prior
The day that this incident occurred, my husband literally started following me around the house just to tell me how horrible of a wife that I was. He berated and badgered me, continually saying that I didn’t support him. For the life of me, I could not understand what I was supposed to be “supporting.”
Our lives had slowly spiraled out of control. For two years, my husband was convinced that we were being hacked. For three years, he had started diagnosing himself with a new disease or ailment every week. By the day of this event, he was convinced that he had worms in bizarre parts of his body, and he would become extremely angry with me because when he asked me to look at it, I could not see it.
I had already moved downstairs because I could no longer take him staying up all night. His obsessions went from weight loss to computers being hacked, to being sick, dying, to me being an awful person, to worms in his body. Meanwhile, the whole time this is happening, he’s also telling me that I’m the worst wife and mother in the world. For years now, every day, it was another insane obsession or conversation centered on the idea that I was not supporting him. One of the signs that someone is paranoid is they continuously repeat the same words or phrases even when it doesn’t make sense in the conversation. It was so off, but because he was well-read and smart, it would sound like it made sense, often driving me crazy. He would often build evidence off of truth and lies to build his case, which made it even more convincing. So much so, you could actually know the truth and have witnessed the truth and still believe his lies.
It didn›t happen overnight, but gradually I begin to feel really low in spirit. I would go to church and smile, keep the front and try to hold things down at first. I didn't know was fighting depression like I mentioned earlier. But, I was blind to it myself. Like many busy moms and ministry wives, I just told myself I was tired. However, this was a “tiredness” that I simply could not shake off. I begin to lose my zest for life and my zeal for ministry, which was just not like me.
When it got horrible, I tried to tell him, my words exactly, “I’m not good.” I said it more than once but never did he ever address it. None of my feelings, sicknesses, or exhaustion ever really mattered, and this was before, the manic behaviors. I was always expected to be superwoman or supermom. Cook, clean, take care of him, his clothes, his laundry, the 3600 square ft house, 5 kids, their laundry, their schoolwork, back and forth to the school, make sure every looks good, including myself, help in every aspect of ministry, (because I wasn’t the sit on the side and look pretty kind of first lady).
As a matter of fact, it’s funny because I left our previous church to start the church with him. When we started our church, I was the usher, greeter, praise and worship leader, and the trustee. Anything that needed to be done, I did it with my whole heart. I built that ministry with him side by side. I made every manual that runs that church, sang for every single service for the last 12 years, and ran several departments. I helped him with his job, but he was unwilling to help with my job, which was the house and kids.
When I married him, I had one daughter, but after a couple years, he decided his boys were moving in with us, and I raised them since they were 8 and 9 years old with very little help from him who threw money at everything that he did not want to help with. I raised them as if they were my own birth children. Then he said he wanted another one so that we can have one together.
So, I gave birth to my son and couldn’t work having four children and living 90 miles from my job. Then he wanted a daughter, so at age 33, while pursuing my master’s degree, I dropped my educational pursuit and gave him one. So once again, I put away my dreams of doing music and singing, and completing my master’s degree, which I was doing at the time, and had a daughter.
Part of the challenge is that, like many young church visionaries, he was battling with his own feelings of insecurity and doubt. He was told that he was not a pastor but an evangelist and that the church wouldn’t last for more than a year. He had to fight through the negative words that were spoken over his life, and he promised not to run the church as he had seen with manipulation, keeping people out all week with little family time in an authoritarian leadership style.
In the beginning, everything was great. We were warrior pastors together, momentum was being built as the church was doing phenomenal in its infant stages. We were doubling membership weekly. Folks were being so blessed they would bring 2 or more people back with them every week. I, along with the awesome music department that I led, carried the first half of service, and he preached the second half powerfully. We were often told that we were a powerful duo. But then it became all about him, and what he does, and what everyone else is not doing.
When I think back to running down the stairs. I was so ready to leave. And my despair really was clouding my mind in leaving the house versus leaving the Earth altogether. I just remember wanting, needing desperately to get away from this man who had made me feel like I was the worst person in the world. Meanwhile, I’m trying to explain to him that his ideations were getting the best of him and that he needs to get help. Even with my psychology degree, my husband had me feeling like I was the crazy one because I can’t see the worms and eggs invading our home and his body.
In all actuality, I knew he was not well, but in the back of my head, I didn’t want to believe that this man was losing his mind. One time, he expressed that he is 99.99% always right and because his “prophecies” seem to never hit the ground, he believed that. When he said it, I felt afraid for him. I told him you better be careful because you are acting as if you sit at the right hand of the Father. It’s crazy, but before he began showing signs of mental illness, he arrogantly believed that he was always right and that everyone else around him was stupid. The fact that he was convinced that there are worms in his nails, nose, feet, and his head has to be correct.
I started to look back to the time he became a legit “health nut.” There were some manic behaviors taking place at the time that I didn’t realize. At first, I believed the weight loss obsession was because he wanted to be healthy. Before that, I thought the beginning of it was when something was going on with the computers. Still, eventually, I questioned, “How is it that for 2 years you’re stuck in your office for hours and days at times, spending hundreds of dollars fighting hackers that never really stole anything?” The paranoia grew worse, and then it was worms. He earnestly believed that the worms were everywhere, and when the doctor’s testing would come back negative, he was distraught and said the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about.
That’s just a snippet of what the last 3 years of my life looked like before I decided I could not take anymore. The later chapters of this book will have details that will bring awareness to mental illness and abuse. My culture as an African American woman and a Christian lends itself to me not sharing this story, out of embarrassment and being taboo, as we frequently fail to tell people the things that we go through. However, if we would just make these subjects normal and strive to bring awareness, people would reach out for help and recognize the signs before it’s too late. I’m pushing past my embarrassment and fears because, “My passion is that you be well, Spiritually, Physically and Mentally.”
Book link on my website-http://Thejaywilliams.com/store
Facebook + Instagram @Ladyjsingz
Jay Williams @ The Well Founder & CEO