Mindy McCready commits suicide instead of pursuing a Christian solution to depression

Sad news today from Heber Springs, Arkansas.

Mindy McCready, 1975-2013 [photo: Frederick Breedon IV]Troubled country singer Mindy McCready, age 37, has died of an apparent suicide, the result of a single self-inflicted gunshot, the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed. According to E! News, McCready shot herself and her dog. The Associated Press reports that her body was found 4pm Sunday on the front porch of her home in Heber Springs, Arkansas, after neighbors heard gunshots and called the police.

McCready leaves behind two children, 6-year-old Zander and 9-month-old Zayne. Her death comes just a little more than a month after the death of her boyfriend, songwriter David Wilson, age 34. Wilson’s death is still under investigation.

McCready’s tragic death follows a recent commitment to rehab and her children being removed from her home. A petition filed by McCready’s father this year revealed serious issues in the singer’s life, including alcohol and prescription drug abuse, as well as erratic behavior. According to a report from E!, who exclusively obtained the file, Tim McCready attested that his daughter had taken to her bed since the death of her boyfriend last month. “Sleeps all day,” he reported. “Drinks all night and is taking Rx drugs.”

Furthermore, McCready’s dad detailed that his daughter was refusing to bathe, was not taking care of her two young sons, and was acting violently. “Screams about everything,” he recorded. “Trying to hit father. Is not making any sense of any conversations with anyone.” The elder McCready also noted that Mindy was “very verbally abusive” to her older son.

The judge in the case responded to this by ordering admission to an inpatient facility for up to three weeks, stating: “There is cause to find there is clear and convincing evidence that Respondent is in imminent danger of harm to herself or others, suicidal or gravely disabled.” E! additionally reported that Tim McCready’s former son-in-law, Billy McKnight–who is Zander’s father–filed motions in family court a week ago seeking detailed investigation into Mindy’s ability to care for their son. Both of Mindy’s children were subsequently taken into custody by state family services.

Interestingly, E! reports that Mindy’s father had been staying with her at her Arkansas home until Sunday morning, the day of her death. When he left, “she was in good spirits and seemed to be fine,” a source told E! News.

Mindy  chose suicide because she felt there was no other way like so many others today.  It is sad that this is such a pressing problem. I think of songs that point this out: Adam’s Song, The Last Resort, etc.

There are two usual approaches to this problem that young people take.

First, you have the worm approach. They crawl into the ground because they don’t want to be close to anyone.

Second, the puppy approach. They do anything they can to get people to like them.

The better approach is to act like the child of God that you are. Feeling loved and accepted starts with your relationship with Christ who is the only one able to meet the deepest needs of your life. (Fast forward to the end of this post if you need a relationship with Christ.) Talking to Jesus and reading his Word- The Bible – are steps to strengthening your friendship with him. He laid down his life for you, so it is obvious that he regards you as a friend worth dying for (John 15:13) That is powerful comfort when you wonder if anyone cares.

Portions of the above post were taken from the excellent devotional book by Josh McDowell, and Ed Stewart “Youth Devotions 2,” published in 2003 by Tyndale. Back then my kids were 17, 14, 9 and 7 and we went through several of these devotions together. Just recently I got the book out of the garage and three of my kids have been meeting with me at 5:30 am every morning and we are going through some of these same devotions again. I thank God for kids who came to me and asked to start meeting with me every morning to spend 30 minutes studying Bible applications and praying together. To God be the glory.

Papa Roach – Last Resort (Censored Version)

This series of posts concerns the song “The Last Resort.”

Amy Winehouse died a few months ago and it was a tragic loss. That really troubled me that she did not seek spiritual help instead of turning to drugs and alcohol. This post today will give hope to those who feel like it is all hopeless.

The band’s place in the pop music landscape was established with the release of their breakout single, “Last Resort,” which was quickly picked up by MTV and nominated for a “Best New Artist Video” award at the 2000 Video Music Awards. The song is a gut-wrenching first-person chronicle of hopelessness that’s gone so deep the singer is seriously contemplating suicide.   But the band is adamant about the fact that the song is about fighting to survive by overcoming depression, rather than allowing it to lead to suicide. “It’s not saying I can’t go on living. It’s saying I can’t go on living this way,” says Dick (Spin, 10/00).

I know there are some curse words in the following song. I have eliminated both times the curse word is used. I really think that there needs to be a response to the young people who are saying things like the words in this song Here are some of the words:

Do you even care if I die pleading, Would it be wrong, would it be right, If I took my life tonight, Chances are that I might, and I’m contimplating suicide, ‘Cause I’m losing my sight, losing my mind, Wish somebody would tell me I’m fine, Nothing’s alright, nothing is fine, I’m running and I’m crying, I never realized I was spread too thin, Till it was too late andI was empty within, Hungry, feeding on my chaos and living in sin, Downward spiral, where do i begin, It all started when i lost my mother, No love for myself and no love for another,Searching to find a love upon a higher level, finding nothing but QUESTIONS AND DEVILS, I can’t go on living this way, Cut my life into pieces, This is my last resort.

My response to these words:”Do you even care if I die pleading, Would it be wrong, would it be right, If I took my life tonight, Chances are that I might, and I’m contimplating suicide” is that you should plead to someone who can do something about your situation and that is Christ!!!!

Below David Powlison asserts:

How do you get the living hope that God offers you in Jesus? By asking. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

Suicide operates in a world of death, despair, and aloneness. Jesus Christ creates a world of life, hope, and community. Ask God for help, and keep on asking. Don’t stop asking. You need Him to fill you every day with the hope of the resurrection.

Below is a portion of the article “Papa Roach—Infesting and reflecting youth culture by Walt Mueller. 

Papa Roach’s Music

In a day and age where the walls are crumbling between what had been a variety of distinctive popular music genres, Papa Roach is like many other chart-topping bands whose music combines sounds that were once distinct. Coby Dick’s raspy and throat-wrenching vocals join with music that incorporates sounds of rap, rock, thrash, funk and metal. Listeners familiar with popular music will hear the influence of Faith No More, the band Dick cites as one of his early favorites. Similar contemporary bands include Korn, Limp Bizkit, The Deftones and P.O.D.

Reviewer Tim Kennedy of Spin describes the resulting sound as “an amalgam of below-the-belt guitar riffage, punk-rock urgency, and half-sung, half-rapped vocals (10/00). Rolling Stone’s Anthony Bozza says listening to Papa Roach is “like standing on a precipice—sustained tension and the threat of a tumble” (8/31/00).

The sound combines with Dick’s lyrics in a powerful and emotional blend that addresses the reality of life for kids who have been burned over and over again. Tobin Esperance says, “We write about things that have happened to our singer, specifically, and friends around us. It’s real life stuff. We’re not writing about s___ that we don’t know about, like girls and cars and money … we only know real life bulls___ that happens” (nyrock.com). Coby Dick says of his autobiographical music, “I’m venting my emotions. It’s blunt” (Rolling Stone, 8/31/00). He says “Papa Roach, lyrically, is my counseling” (Billboard,6/10/00). 

Infest (2000)

Papa Roach released the album they now consider their first in April of 2000. The album quickly began to sell as a result of radio and MTV exposure, went gold after two months thanks to scoring with MTV’s Total Request Live audience, and had gone double platinum by September 2000.

Papa Roach offers an introduction to their music, mission, message and intentions on the album’s title cut. After introducing himself to his listeners, Coby Dick informs them his “God-given talent is to rock all the nations.” In this, the band’s “first manifesto,” the group lays out their plan to “infest” the world and young minds (“wrap you in my thoughts”) with an angry musical message of anarchy and rebellion against a messed-up world that’s let them down: “We’re going to infest/We’re getting in your head/What is wrong with the world today/The government, media or your family.” Institutions and people are not to be trusted. In fact, “First they shackle your feet/Then they stand you in a line/Then they beat you like meat/Then they grab you by your mind … people are the problem today.” Dick admits the struggle so many young people feel: “the game of life is crazy.” Alone in this sea of brokenness and hopelessness, Dick asks, “Would you cry if I died today/I think it be better if you did not say.”

The band’s place in the pop music landscape was established with the release of their breakout single, “Last Resort,” which was quickly picked up by MTV and nominated for a “Best New Artist Video” award at the 2000 Video Music Awards. The song is a gut-wrenching first-person chronicle of hopelessness that’s gone so deep the singer is seriously contemplating suicide. (See lyrics on page 7.) The fact that “Last Resort” is part of the mainstream pop music landscape indicates it is connecting with more and more kids who see it as an expression of their own inner struggles. For casual listeners, the song is very confusing. Listening to the song reveals the criticisms claiming the song promotes suicide could certainly be warranted. Kids who are riding the fence because of numerous other problems in their lives could interpret the song in a way that would give them permission to go over the edge, especially if they don’t know the story behind the song. But the band is adamant about the fact that the song is about fighting to survive by overcoming depression, rather than allowing it to lead to suicide. “It’s not saying I can’t go on living. It’s saying I can’t go on living this way,” says Dick (Spin, 10/00). He also says, “Last Resort” has “a positive edge to it, as far as like, ‘Don’t succumb to it. Keep yourself afloat.’ With these problems in your life, find a friend you can confide in” (Sonicnet.com). Based on the band’s resolve to survive like a roach, one would have to take them at their word. The song chronicles the suicide attempt of one of Coby Dick’s former roommates. After his “unsuccessful” attempt, the young man “turned to God” … Dick claims the attempt was what killed the rotting part of his roommate’s soul. The song has definitely connected. “We’ve gotten so many e-mails from people who tell us ‘Last Resort’ saved their lives,” says Dick. “It makes some people feel less alone” (Rolling Stone,8/31/00).

The album’s third cut is equally powerful. Released as a single and put in heavy rotation on MTV, “Broken Home” (See lyrics) is an overt lyrical, sonic and visual cry from the heart of one whose young life has been shattered by family breakdown. Written by Dick about his feelings after his parents’ divorce, the song offers listeners an emotional window into the reality of kids beaten up by our current culture of divorce. Every parent considering divorce should sit and watch this video. It is powerful.

“Dead Cell” has been called “a darkly sarcastic paean to Columbine kids the world over” (Alternative Press, 10/00). If that’s the case, the sarcasm is not easily heard. The dead cells are described as “born with no soul/lack of control/cut from the mold of the anti-social … sick in the head/living but dead.” Loud, angry and fast, the song could be interpreted by some who are young and angry as a call to arms: “I’m telling ya the kids are getting singled out/Let me hear the dead cells shout.”

“Between Angels and Insects” is an insightful rant against American greed and materialism. Dick says he wrote the song to remind himself that the things the band’s success will bring are not the things that make one happy. The lyrics are powerful and excerpts could serve to spark discussion with teens about the false promises of materialism: “Diamond rings get you nothing/But a life-long lesson/And your pocketbook stressin’/You’re a slave to the system/Working jobs that you hate/For s___ that you don’t need/It’s too bad the world is based on greed/Step back and stop thinking ‘bout yourself … ‘cause everything is nothing/And emptiness is in everything … Possessions they are never gonna fill the void … the things you own, own you.” When discussing the message of the song Buckner says, “all the worldly things that people equate with happiness—do they necessarily make you happy? You can have Rolexes and diamond rings and cars and houses … but really the things that make you happy are peace of mind and passion in your life” (Alternative Press, 10/00).

Relational selfishness and greed are the subject of “Blood Brothers,” a song offering powerful evidence of the depth of sin’s hold on humanity: “It’s our nature to destroy ourselves/It’s our nature to kill ourselves/It’s our nature to kill each other/It’s in our nature to kill, kill, kill.” The song speaks about allegiance in a world where you can’t trust anybody and you’ve got to watch your back. The lyrics leave one thinking the song could serve as an anthem for a street gang or other fringe subculture: “Blood brothers keep it real to the end.”

Themes of severe relational breakdown and the resulting pain continue in “Revenge,” a song about a girl who was “abused with forks, knives and razorblades” and who finally left the man who abused her in fits of rage. Listeners who have been abused will identify with the song’s mention of the ever-present and visible emotional scars they so often feel: “Chaos is what she saw in the mirror/Scared of herself/And the power that was in her/It took over and weighed heavily on her shoulders/Militant insanity is now what controlled her.” The song indicates that she exacts revenge on him, although the method and outcome is unclear.

Backstabbers are the subject of “Snakes,” an angry and threatening rant at those who betray friends. The song reflects the distrust so many kids feel because of the parade of letdowns they’ve experienced. The chorus asks, “Do you like how it feels to be bit in the neck by the snake that kills?/Do you know how it feels to be stabbed in the back then watch the blood spill?/I don’t like how it feels.”

Coby Dick chronicles his wrestling match with alcohol on “Binge,” a song that serves as a personal confession. “All I need is a bottle/And I don’t need no friends/Now wallow in my pain/I swallow as I pretend/To act like I’m happy when I drink till no end/I’m losing all my friends, I’m losing in the end … When I’m sober, life bores me/So I get drunk again.” The song is a heart cry about what drives the binge drinker, how he really feels inside and his desire to see it end. In the song’s final lines, Dick sings, “I wish things would change/Wish they’d rearrange.”

“Never Enough” is another cry for help from a confused and tortured young soul that is deeply longing for redemption. “Life’s been sucked out of me/And this routine’s killing me … somebody put me out of my misery,” Dick sings. The song will resonate with kids who are lost, purposeless and without peace. The song’s conclusion is a loud cry for help: “I feel as if I’m running/Life will knock me down.”

“Thrown Away” offers a view of life through the eyes of a kid struggling with ADD, something Coby Dick knows well as he watched his brother’s personal struggle with the disorder. “My heart is bleeding and the pain will not pass … I want to be thrown away … I am a mess, I’ve made a huge mess/I can’t control myself/I’m losing it, I’ve lost it/I’ve spilt all my marbles … sometimes I want to be thrown away.”

The album concludes with an unlisted hidden cut called “Tightrope.” The track is stylistically unlike any other cuts on the album as it is done in reggae style. The lyrics are a confusing mix of thoughts where Dick calls his words “weapons in which I murder you.” The song offers a confession regarding the ethical dilemmas faced by kids in these confusing times: “there is a thin line between what’s good and what is evil/I will tiptoe down that line/But I feel unstable/My life is a circus and I’m tripping down the tightrope/There’s nothing left to save me now so I will not look down.”

Help for the Suicidal

God offers you true, living hope–not a false hope based on your death.
By David Powlison

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

It’s easy to see the risk factors for suicide—depression, suffering, disillusioning experiences, failure—but there are also ways to get your life back on track by building protective factors into your life.

Ask for help

How do you get the living hope that God offers you in Jesus? By asking. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

Suicide operates in a world of death, despair, and aloneness. Jesus Christ creates a world of life, hope, and community. Ask God for help, and keep on asking. Don’t stop asking. You need Him to fill you every day with the hope of the resurrection.

At the same time you are asking God for help, tell other people about your struggle with hopelessness. God uses His people to bring life, light, and hope. Suicide, by definition, happens when someone is all alone. Getting in relationship with wise, caring people will protect you from despair and acting out of despair.

But what if you are bereaved and alone? If you know Jesus, you still have a family—His family is your family. Become part of a community of other Christians. Look for a church where Jesus is at the center of teaching and worship. Get in relationship with people who can help you, but don’t stop with getting help. Find people to love, serve, and give to. Even if your life has been stripped barren by lost relationships, God can and will fill your life with helpful and healing relationships.

Grow in godly life skills

Another protective factor is to grow in godly living. Many of the reasons for despair come from not living a godly, fruitful life. You need to learn the skills that make godly living possible. What are some of those skills?

    • Conflict resolution. Learn to problem-solve by entering into human difficulties and growing through them. (See Ask the Christian Counselor article, “Fighting the Right Way.”)
    • Seek and grant forgiveness. Hopeless thinking is often the result of guilt and bitterness.
    • Learn to give to others. Suicide is a selfish act. It’s a lie that others will be better off without you. Work to replace your faulty thinking with reaching out to others who are also struggling. Take what you have learned in this article and pass it on to at least one other person. Whatever hope God gives you, give to someone who is struggling with despair.

Live for God

When you live for God, you have genuine meaning in your life. This purpose is far bigger than your suffering, your failures, the death of your dreams, and the disillusionment of your hopes. Living by faith in God for His purposes will protect you from suicidal and despairing thoughts. God wants to use your personality, your skills, your life situation, and even your struggle with despair to bring hope to others.

He has already prepared good works for you to do. Paul says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). As you step into the good works God has prepared for you—you will find that meaning, purpose, and joy.

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