My friend’s death

***WARNING: Friends, this post contains graphic descriptions and discussion of violence, suicide, mental health, and spiritual abuse. If you are not in the place where you can read this please don’t. I don’t want to cause any harm.***

If you want to proceed continue below:

***

***

I found out last night that a friend of mine died a month ago. And the way that he died was INSANE. It’s so unbelievble that I’m having trouble processing it, and thus, this post.

Early this morning I read news articles and arrest records after learning my friend had died. It was shocking to see his mug shot. It had been all over the news in Florida. I learned that he had also been abusing his wife. They had divorced and she took out a restraining order against him. One of her coworkers also took out a restraining order against him because he had been stalking that person. My friend then got arrested because he violated the restraining order AGAIN by visiting his ex-wife.

Oh my fucking gawd. But it get’s much worse. Read on…

The night he died, a month ago, he had some sort of blowout with his now ex-wife. Some of the facts that follow are a little unclear but what I do know is that he stole someone’s car. The why is unclear, and this makes zero sense to me but it continues to make less sense as the story goes on.

My friend then proceed to drive the stolen car several miles and then got into a bad car accident. I do not have enough details to know if he was suicidal, homicidal, drunk, stoned, high, or psychotic. As you will read you’ll see that is behavior was so erratic it was likely one of those.

My friend fortunately did not crash into another vehicle. Witnesses describe him crashing really hard. It is unclear whether this was intentional or not. The crash wasn’t near any businesses and know it was on or near I-95 in Florida so I can only think that this may have been on I-95 where parts of the highway have concrete walls to block sound from residential housing. Maybe it was one of those walls.

A vehicle pulled over, two concerned citizens, wanting to help the person in the car they witness crashed hard into a wall. The male driver got out of the car to check on my friend while the female passenger stayed in the passenger seat. Before he got to the car, however, my friend got out of the car, profusely bleeding from his head. As the man walked over to help him to their shock my friend got into the driver’s seat of their car and sat down!

What is worse is that he drove off. That’s right – after getting in a car crash and injuring his head he stole the car with a female passenger in the the car and drove off. Thus, he not only carjacked the car but he now he kidnapped the woman as well. The woman described later this was after pulled out a screwdriver or similar item from the glove compartment and asked her to “stitch him up.” She had trouble communicating with him because not only was he not making any sense but she spoke primarily Spanish.

My friend then proceeded to speed at dangerously fast speeds with the woman begging for her life. She said that he was wiping the blood from his head onto her (I saw a picture of the blood stains on her clothes). She thought she was going to die and said that the image in his eyes was something out of a horror movie.

At this point I assume that the owner of the second car that was stolen with his female friend in it had called 911 and reported the incident to the police. Again, I’m not sure of the details but at some point a sheriff officer spotted the vehicle and found a way to stop my friend and pull him over.

It gets even more insane…

Someone recorded a video of my friend fighting with the officer, spitting on the officer, and slinging his blood at the officer. Another deputy witnessed this pulled his vehicle over and got out to assist. That’s when my friend saw an opening and fucking got into the deputy’s vehicle and drove off with it! He stole a cop car. At least at this point the woman passenger was safe and wasn’t physically harmed, but I’m pretty sure she’s going to have ptsd for life.

My friend then got onto the highway and this started a two-county chase with my friend going 100 mph. They were able to stop him with what’s called a PIT maneuver where they somehow get the vehicle to spin out to a sliding stop. Of course, this caused several sheriff’s vehicles to be destroyed, though fortunately none of the officers were injured nor was anyone else on the road.

Presumably because the state troopers had done their best to close off the oncoming traffic to the highway. Then the highway had to be cleaned up. This happened on I-95 in Florida going southbound. If anyone has driven that way you will know that this hours long delay would have affected hundreds of people.

The officers took my friend to the nearby hospital, realizing he was severely injured. He was in critical condition and when he recovered he’d acing multiple felony counts, prison, and a ruined life. But he never did leave the hospital because he died.

Learning early this morning that he had died was upsetting enough and then all of the above was shocking. I’m still in shock.

Let me tell you how I knew him.

***

Oh, and just a “fun” fact: he was an alumni of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, aka the site of last year’s Parkland, FL shooting. The school was just 3 miles from where my husband and I used to live after my daughter was born. This has nothing to do with my friend’s death, he had graduated nearly 20 years earlier, but it just feels like another sad fact to add on top, just because.

***

How I met him:

In 2003/4 I was hanging out a lot with my now-husband and his parents. I was getting really fed up with the church I was going to. My in-laws, their best friends, and about a dozen others were part of a house church. They had left the local megachurch of twenty-thousand congregants. I had been attending this church but my in-laws and their friends no longer went there because of various abuses that happened there.

The head pastor and elders at the megachurch had banned several members of the house church, including my in-laws. The reason given being that my in-laws and their friends had started a worship group of young adults and had baptized some of the young adults without the church’s authority. My in-laws and their friends said they didn’t need permission as we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and they have authority to baptize. I was told untoward things happened at the megachurch but I didn’t press.The elders of the megachurch slandered my friends and claimed they were “dangerous” in an email they sent out to the congregation for refusing the church’s “covering” and spiritual authority.

I was still a member at that megachurch and thought that perhaps my soon-to-be inlaws and the other older members of the house church had been in the wrong. I was still convinced that those in spiritual authority had been chosen by God. What I learned later on is that the head pastor had been having multiple affairs, which had been discovered by the older members of my house church. The house church members knew about his affairs because they had direct connection with the women involved. This, along with my concern with the cult-like behavior of the megachurch, including their not allowing anyone to volunteer in any capacity without a full 12 weeks of training (indoctrination), influenced by decision to leave the megachurch.

Several women came forward a decade later saying the head pastor had manipulated them into affairsb with him, under the guise of spiritual guidance. The elders at the megachurch had been covering up for his behavior for likely two decades before he was exposed and had threatening and ostracized people involved in the meantime.

The head pastor was the quintessential hypocrite, constantly preaching about how horrible sex outside of marriage is, and he wouldn’t let anyone volunteer who had engaged in sexual “sin.” The story the congregation heard, however, was that he had an affair because, poor him, he was just too handsome and charming and couldn’t help giving in to this (note: only one) woman who had seduced him. And that he had an addiction to pornography but what man didn’t? The congregation forgave him, shouldn’t we forgive men who “fall?” They really had no idea how disgusting this man was. He was a pastor to a 20,000 member congregation and was considered spiritually blessed and he was worshipped. When the elders could no longer hide his affair(s)/abuse he “stepped down,” as they say. But then he would go on to open up a nightclub, of all things, and was recently accused of molesting a 4 year old girl. What a guy.

Anyway, just wanted to vent. A little more about the house church…

So, yeah…we didn’t like that megachurch and most of the people in our house church were bitter over it. We thought, well all churches really suck, don’t they, anyway? And so we started our own. The older members led the bible study and those gifted in music lead us in song (one of these being my friend). We really shared our lives together. And developed deep connections. My husband I always thought of our friend as our younger brother (in Christ, of course). We loved him and we loved the other people in our group.

The one we always worried about was our friend’s sister. She had gotten involved with a drug dealer and got pregnant with the dealer’s baby. There was a custody battle and she had to get clean. Looking back, and this is in hindsight of course, I recognize that our friend had what I see as very strong symptoms of bipolar disorder. He got extremely depressed to where he couldn’t function and would go from that to up-up-up. And in it all he felt the Lord was with him.

Our house church was told by so many people that not being under the church’s authority is dangerous. We had no “covering.” Looking back as an atheist, I do see that the feelings of persecution did actually radicalize us quite a bit as we felt that other Christians were doing church wrong and we were doing church and fellowshipping how God intended and was described in scripture. And it did lead to a reliance in “spirit”-lead decisions and to our not getting the medical help we needed. So maybe it was, in fact, dangerous but for different reasons.

None of us fit in with traditional churches. We were out-of-the-box thinkers and no one would listen to us nor let us be involved in ways we felt we were gifted. But many of us had mental illnesses. One of my husband and I’s best friends, who was also part of our house church, died by suicide in 2006. My husband and I have mental illnesses. So did a couple other members. And of course my friend who died last month.

My husband and I had sort of drifted away from our friend who died last month.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I guess my husband and I didn’t want to be a part of that house church anymore because some of the members completely abandoned us after our other friend’s suicide.

***

This is a bit of another tangent but I need to write a bit about our friend who died by suicide. Because it feels so tragic that another one of our young friends had died. This friend was 26. Our friend that just died was 35. I mean, there weren’t more than 15 of us total in our house church and we were all pretty close so losing too young men is tragic beyond words.

***

I guess I should find a way to identify him in some way. We’ll call our friend who died by suicide Ernesto and our friend who died from the horrible wreck/car chase Francois. I just randomly picked names off the top of my head.

So…

In 2006 Ernesto had left his belongings on our front porch (“our” being the place where my inlaws, my husband, me and my newborn baby girl were residing together). At 3am on August 8, 2006 Ernesto dropped off all his belongings on our door step and left a suicide note. He had stolen a gun from his landlord, and shot himself in his head.

I had set my alarm at 6am that day because I wanted to go for a swim before work. Before my swim I went on the front porch and saw lots of trash bags on the porch with a note from Ernesto. I woke everyone up and my husband and father-in-law immediately drove to the beach because they knew where Ernesto liked to hang out and were deeply panicked he might hurt himself. They were right, but they too late as he had shot himself around 3:15am. But they saw him on lying unmoving on the beach while the paramedics were picking him up, taking him to the hospital.

Ernesto’s family lived 1,000 miles away and my husband and inlaws informed his family what happened. We waited by Ernesto’s side, even though it was horrific. Because we loved him and refused to leave him alone.

***WARNING: Really graphic description below***

In the hospital we sat by Ernesto’s lifeless body – his face was completely swollen and purple and his brain was starting to show through his ears. He had just a tiny bit of brain activity. We talked to Ernesto, held his hand, telling him we loved him and weren’t mad at him, that we were sorry, and to please wake up, and we prayed for a miracle and out of desperation and deep denial we believed God would come through.

We waited for Ernesto’s family to arrive which took several hours, and then my husband and I went with his family to our friend’s apartment and we helped his family pack up his remaining belongings. Our friend was really a vegetable, as they say, and he wasn’t waking up, so his family decided to pull the plug, as it were. We made ourselves available to talk with the family and would do so over the course of several weeks.

Most of the other people in our house church completely retreated when they heard, including Ernesto’s ex-girlfriend. In hindsight I really think they couldn’t handle it emotionally. But we needed them to be there for us and they weren’t and we were emotionally torn apart. We were bitter and I guess the house church just fell apart after that. My husband and I were so traumatized we were still thinking and talking about Ernesto’s death on a regular basis a year later. I guess I didn’t mention the other details of our last moments with Ernesto before he killed himself because it’s not relevant- and I’m going on and on about this -but I’ll just say our last moments really added very much to the feeling of guilt we felt.

Anyway, back to Francois, who died last month in the most dramatic way. He and his parents were not one of those who abandoned us. But my husband and I were just so done with living in crazy Florida, and all the painful memories that we had, that moved across the country. And after that I really didn’t have much contact with Francois.

Until a couple years ago, when some of the people of the house church friended each other on Facebook. But I had deconverted by that point and felt so vulnerable and nervous about having to be faced with questions or accusations about my decoversion that I unfriended many people, including my friend. Their posts were ultra-religious and I didn’t interact with them anyway. Plus, Francois and his wife had a joint FB account, with many posts about how great their lives were. I thought they were so annoying and obnoxious.

A couple years went by then two months ago Francois sent me a friend request. It was totally out of the blue and I wondered what had caused him to send me the request. We weren’t really close at all at this point. 15 years had gone by since we’d actually talked. The only friend that he and I had in common was my mother-in-law and I wondered if maybe he got one of those friend suggestions that pop up on Facebook suggesting that you may know someone.

Regardless of the reason I took a look at Francois’ page and his profile pic looked sad. I felt like something was wrong. He no longer shared the account with his wife and there were no pics of her. Only he and his two young children (yes, he has two young kids!) So I figured that Francois and his wife had been going through some separation situation or something and I felt something was off so I accepted his friend request because…I just can’t abandon people who feel sad after Ernesto’s suicide, I guess. I never said HI or anything to Francois. I guess I didn’t want to have to explain that I no longer believed in God. Sometimes I feel like a real coward.

Francois was posting a lot of sermons by really arrogant narcissistic pastors and commented on how people who didn’t believe nor follow their wise teachings were foolish and wrong and stupid and all that sort of nonsense. Ugh, so I stopped following him, of course. But I didn’t unfriend him because I didn’t want him to feel rejected. I just didn’t want to see what he was posting.

After I learned early this morning that Francois died, which was upsetting enough, and then HOW he died, I couldn’t sleep and I was trying to make sense of what happened. I couldn’t believe he had abused his wife. His behavior didn’t make sense. And I wondered why my in-laws hadn’t told me nor my husband. He had died a month ago, and I knew they must have known about it, as my inlaws are best friends with Francois’ parents.

I spoke with my mother-in-law this morning and she said when she found out it had hit her like a ton of bricks, Francois was like a son to her, and she grieved her so much she couldn’t talk about it, and was trying to spare us the pain that she was going through. I don’t begrudge her for that. I told her my theories of what I think might have happened to Francois to act so crazily. I learned that he and his wife had fought over his not taking his medication, which was some sort of depression medication. She kept pushing him to take medication and he kept pushing back. He gained a ton of weight and I don’t know what other symptoms he was having, but I’m sure they were really unpleasant. I have a lot of experience with unpleasant side effects. I’ve taken about a dozen psych meds in order to find one that worked for me.

So it could be a medication issue or he stopped meds suddenly. If he had bipolar disorder he may have had a major mixed episode with psychosis. I wondered if he was on crystal meth, because his behavior was very similar to my brother’s when he was on crystal meth in his early 20s. On a side note, this is why I can’t watch the hit show Breaking Bad: -my brother is like a teddy bear – so kind and unimposing – but he turned aggressive and violent while taking meth.

I wonder if maybe Francois was paranoid and thought his wife was cheating on him with her coworker (whether she was or not is irrelevant other than my friend had posted on his Facebook page an article on infidelity. Maybe he was the one who cheated, who knows). NONE of any of that excuses anything.

***

I’m going to share another thing which I probably haven’t shared before but leads me to believe that Francois likely had bipolar disorder and that, combined sudden changes in medication (or not taking it) and a life stressor such as a divorce might have set him off. But of course, like I said, drugs may have been involved as well.

It may just be projection on my part because I had a “crazy” episode around 2004. Nothing like my friend’s – I was not violent- but I behaved in such erratic and uncharacteristic way that I don’t know if I described it to anyone they would actually believe it. But it happened.

***

In 2002-2004 I had two major depressive episodes. I was suicidal in both and could not function whatsoever without assistance from my friends. I was never hospitalized, but I should have been. Really, really, really should have been. It’s alarming I wasn’t, but I think most people (including myself at the time) just don’t know how to handle these situations.

My primary physician had me on antidepressants for depression after my Christian therapist was concerned about my mental health and referred me to my doctor. I was also on ambien for sleep and I think both kind of triggered the whole thing. It is really controversial to give bipolar patients antidepressants as they can cause manic episodes, but no one knew I had bipolar disorder at that point.

I can’t remember the timeline but I hadn’t slept 4 days (and I mean the ENTIRE four days, not just little sleep – NO sleep) despite the ambien. My coworkers noticed something was off and kept asking me if I was okay. I started getting involved with a resident at the homeless shelter I was working at. There is NO way I would have EVER done this when well, as it violated every moral and ethical code I stand by. I felt like something had taken over me (I figured it was demons influencing me) and I felt out of control. I had a severe persecution complex and hated every person alive, yet thought I deserved to be homeless as I identified with them so much.

It got worse over several weeks. I did sleep at some point but I don’t remember the timeline. I do remember that I believed angels were telling me to travel the country and I was praying to saints (which I had never believed in before). I was “told” to travel with the homeless guy across the country.

We never left but a couple times I slept in a cardboard box, out in the fucking rain, despite the fact that I was an educated woman with a full-time job and had a perfectly good apartment. I then got fired (well I was asked to leave but they said they’d not give me a bad reference because they were really concerned about me) and then I started having audio hallucinations as well, felt it was my duty to make the world better (and I could do so like no one else because I had all the answers).

I guess I should mention I had a boyfriend at the time. Our relationship had been kind of winding down prior to my episode, as we were going different directions. I know this had a triggering effect. There is more that triggered me at that time, but I think it was primarily medication induced mania. My boyfriend knew nothing about mental illness, nor what to do about it, but I will never forget the look he gave me when I shared with him just a little bit of what I was experiencing. He looked at me like I was insane, like I was a monster or something, and he seemed really scared. As a result I avoided him at all costs, including not answering my phone ever, pretending I was not home and staying away from home as much as possible in case he showed up.

At some point after a couple weeks I was able to start sleeping again, I came to sanity again, to my absolute horror. I had lost my job, my now ex-boyfriend thought I was insane, the homeless guy was a predator who took advantage of me to allow homeless people to squat in my apartment, he was stalking me, and I lost all trust in my ability to access reality. As a result I became depressed again and wanted to die because I was so horrified with my behavior and what I had lost.

None of that behavior was at all characteristic of me in anyway. But I kept it very hidden because that kind of shit scares people. I mean, duh. I moved in with my best friend who had just bought a house 4 hours away. It just so happened to be the same city where my now-husband, whom I was close friends with, and inlaws were living. My best friend made me see a psychiatrist (she had to threaten to kick me out of her house if I did not seek help before I would even agree to go.) The psychiatrist prescribed me antipsychotic along with antidepressant.

The side effects were extreme lethargy and was making me feel more depressed. My best friend/roommate was getting really frustrated with me at this point because it had been 5 months that I had been living with her, without contributing financially. She kept telling me I needed to get a job but I felt so much shame, like no one would ever hire me, and I was so scared of myself I thought that a potential employer would somehow find out about my behavior. I couldn’t get out of bed.

I stopped taking my antipsychotic because I felt it was making me more depressed. And it worked -I started feeling better and I was able to get another full-time job the next month. However, I experienced a high and started feeling invincible. My roommate/best friend, and one of her guy friends I was now dating (much to her strong disapproval because I had hardly recovered from my episode) and I (the three of us) were drinking one day. I felt really happy and I thought that meant I was finally better. But I didn’t want to stop drinking.

The guy I was dating went home and I told him and my best friend I was okay. But after he left and she went to bed I stayed up drinking to calm myself down because I realized something was wrong. I had a compulsive *need* to talk to the guy I was dating and he just wouldn’t answer his phone. I had so much to say (not really but this is what mania does) and I needed to say it to him so I drove to his house, which was a 20 minute drive at least, DRUNK.

I felt completely invincible until halfway there. I then realized something was really, really wrong, when the additional alcohol must have kicked in. So I pulled off the highway onto a side road and hit a median or something and my tires popped. I managed to pull into a parking lot. No one got hurt, but I sideswept a car that was parked.

The owner of the car was in the vehicle to my horror said they were fine and asked if I was okay, but I think they must have been engaging in some sort of criminal behavior themselves. I mean it was 2am and they were parked outside an outlet in the dark., and after they called 9-1-1 they didn’t wait until the police showed up. I damaged their car but they didn’t stick around. That’s suspicious.

All of a sudden it hit me that I had been driving drunk and I knew I was way beyond control. I realized I could have killed someone and I didn’t know how to stop myself. So I started wandering around the outside of the outlet mall (which was closed because it was now 3am), bawling in self-pity and disgust. I peed on myself because I had no control over my body. I don’t think I may have had a cellphone but I was too drunk to dial the numbers.

I remember this: the cops showed up and started screaming at me, telling me I stank and was disgusting, and asking me what I was “on.” I kept telling them that I was on nothing and they kept calling me a liar. They could obviously tell I was drunk and I admitted to drinking. But they kept insisting I was on some other substance besides alcohol. I don’t remember how I was acting but it must have been very strange for them to keep badgering me about it. Boy, they ripped me a new one. They were yelling at me. They told me I’d spend time in jail and that I could have killed someone. And I knew they were right. I kept apologizing and wailing and saying I felt out of control. They inspected my car and found my antidepressants had fallen out all over the passenger side of my car.

I told them it was antidepressants/antispychotics, I had stopped taking them, they started being less mean. They really should have taken me to a hospital (DUH!!!) but they asked who they could call to pick me up. I told them the name of my friend and they were able to find her number in my phone. The cops spoke with her, and I guess she convinced them that she could take care of me. And the cops let me go, without arresting me!

My car was no longer driveable. I had destroyed it. I told my parents and grandparents I had gotten into an accident caused by hurricane debris. Over the weeks they kept questioning this story as it didn’t make much sense, but I wouldn’t tell my mom until many years later what actually happened.

I somehow managed to make it in to work and I was able to keep my job. I had enough savings to buy a new car. And from then on I no longer drank and drived. And I would have never done so had I not been manic. I would have never done ANY of that stuff – it was a result of my mental illness. I mean, based on my description is obvious I was really unwell.

Fortunately I have been on the right meds for the last few years and haven’t had anything resembling those episodes in 2002-2004, but it took a really long time for me to get my bipolar diagnosis. I look back and try to think about this time with compassion on myself but I have trouble with that, despite knowing I was extremely mentally ill. I have such high moral standards (even outside of any religion) and I violated them. I know it is wasn’t the real me and I’m not scared of it ever happening again. The worst that has happened since then has been bouts of hypomania where I would become obsessed with things and couldn’t sleep all night and overshared things I would normally ever tell anyone. I haven’t even had those mini-episodes in a long time.

***

Back to Francois:

I think about Francois and it makes me really sad to know how shitty resources we have in this country for mental health. And I know that my friend thought God would/had healed him, just as I had. People “prayed over me” but I didn’t get better. When my son was born I had extreme depression, where I couldn’t get out of bed nor take care of my newborn, so my husband in desperation reached out to our new church (this was different from the house church as we had moved across the country) for help and they responded by saying I needed to come to church more often so I wouldn’t be as depressed. My husband felt helpless and alone. And I’m really angry, as I’m sure other people encouraged this line of thinking in Francois. He really needed help, and his ex-wife knew it. And obviously he didn’t get the help he needed. And now his poor family is suffering.

Thank goodness no one else was hurt. His family and friends have been posting about how they’ll see Francois again one day. I wondered after I deconverted how I’d feel about a loved one dying (as inevitably this happens) no longer believing in the afterlife and I have to say…I feel relieved. I feel relieved that he no longer exists. He’s not suffering. He won’t be judged by God. I don’t wonder what I’d say to him. I wouldn’t want to see him again. Does that sound harsh? I do not mean it to be.

I wasn’t that close to him anymore, so maybe it’d be different if it was someone in my immediate circle. I don’t know. I’m extremely heartbroken for his family. It’s gut wrenching. I cannot imagine what they are going through. But I think about that woman who was kidnapped in the process and his wife who endured abuse, and possibly his kids witnessed or was abused themselves and I’m just glad it’s over. I’d rather he had received help, but this what happened instead.

***

It’s time for me to move on to something else as my therapist said I need to schedule time to think about it and then go on doing other things I regularly do in my day.

Thanks for reading.

3 thoughts on “My friend’s death

  1. Oh wow! I actually saw the Francois story in the national news, I remember reading it. But I don’t think the story I read had all those details, about moving from stolen car to stolen car. What a wild story.

    Quixie, thanks especially for sharing your own story about mental illness. It’s heartbreaking to read what you went through. You have been really transparent in your writing, and it helps me (as someone with very little experience with it) to understand better what it’s like. And we need to de-stigmatize mental illness… nobody looks down on someone because they have a seizure or a stroke or cancer, but we treat mental illness differently when we shouldn’t.

    I think about Francois and it makes me really sad to know how shitty resources we have in this country for mental health.

    Totally agree. And one thing that really frustrates me these days is the politicians who respond to mass shootings by saying, “We really need to devote more resources to mental health.” Number (1), because when they say that, it’s a total fucking ploy, so they can look like they want to “do something,” but get themselves out of any involvement with gun legislation. Number (2), because the majority of the gun deaths in this country, and even most of the mass shooting deaths, are not because of mental illness, but they’ll pretend that they are, to get themselves out of addressing the other causes. And Number (3), because after they say “We really need to devote more resources to mental health,” they probably won’t do that either — and we really fucking need more resources devoted to mental health, for more reasons than only guns. It really pisses me off.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My first reaction is also WOW Quixie! Your honesty and as Brent said transparency is truly admirable. I mean that! It DOES help others understand. And again as Brent said, we DO need to destigmatise mental illness. Sadly, as it is often not outwardly visible until the sufferer is quite unwell, and unlike physical disabilities, it is not treated with the same regard…yes, also here in Australia.

    I’m certain that for those made more vulnerable by having a mental illness, holding religious beliefs, especially if they are on the charasmatic side, can exacerbate their illness. For one it can encourage delusional thoughts..”spiritualise” them within the religious community, and thereby discourage medical intervention, (as you so clearly demonstrated in your recollections Quixie).

    Side note: (John, the likely author of the book of Revealations was probably hallucinating IMO).

    And don’t even get me started on the dysfunctional behaviour of the church you attended Quixie! The Christian mantra “I’m not perfect, just forgiven” makes me sick to the stomach now. Even though I used to cling to it when I behaved in ways that I felt were ‘unChristlike” UGH!

    Quixie..It is COMPLETELY understandable why your friend’s death has had such an impact on you. Thank you again for sharing all this. You are a very courageous woman! I am very glad you have a Therapist who may also help you process this. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. (Sorry to be so long in responding here, I’ve been out of the country, and then catching up on all my emails afterwards.)

    Wow. Just wow. I had a couple of people I knew from growing up that wound up in prison. One was a surprise, the other wasn’t. But neither was a really close friend. All the hugs to you right now.

    This sounds so much like drugs, especially like PCP. But starting with a mental illness, and adding religion and the stress of a failed marriage, maybe just alcohol was enough to set this off. I used to work for a divorce attorney, and sometimes I saw that people who are divorcing would go off the rails and do pretty crazy stuff (but not as bad as your friend.) And my spouse is a magistrate, and he says that almost every person who shows up in front of him is drunk, even if they have been brought in for something else. Sometimes they’re high too, but it’s mostly alcohol.

    People put so much effort into religion, that claims to be able to fix problems, but so often it does the opposite. If we could put half as much effort into getting mentally ill people the help they need, either with finding the right meds, or getting the right therapist, we might be able to help more people like this. You’ve been through so much, and come so far to be as healthy as you are, and getting unhooked from religion was part of it, I’m sure.

    (Oh, and I’ve watched all of Breaking Bad. One of the big lessons from it is “Stay far, far away from meth.”)

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Quixie

Hi! I go by "Quixie." Quixie is a shortened version of "quixotic," which means: "exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical." It's how I described my evangelical Christian faith when I started blogging 7 years ago. Now I'm an agnostic atheist who is trying to find a balance between idealism and reality. I write about my mental health journey with bipolar disorder, my loss of faith (deconversion), parenting teens, reading, exercise/health, work-life, and my marriage separation/divorce.