Suicide, I’ve already died, it’s just the funeral I’ve been waiting for…

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dark tunnelI wish I could talk about my struggles with depression and suicide openly without fear of misunderstood alienation.

Okay, let me rephrase that to be a bit more on point: I wish I could talk about my struggles with depression and suicide with my fellow Christians without fear of misunderstood alienation.

To quote an Aerosmith song, it’s the same old story, same old song and dance: whenever the topic of suicide comes up, whenever doing that “fellowship” thing with the brethren and sisteren in whatever setting it is, it’s always accompanied by statements of not understanding what would make anyone think that taking their own life was the only option.

Which, really, is a good question. Especially when you factor in the list of recent celebrity suicides, people who would have been the last persons anyone would expect to take their own lives. Even on a more personal level, people that have been known personally, whether family members, friends, or work acquaintances. The question lingers, what would drive someone to take their own life?

Unfortunately, we evangelical Christians seem to have a very simple answer to a very, very complicated issue. It’s trotted out every time it’s brought up: “If they only knew God, if they only gave their lives to Jesus, they never would have had suicidal thoughts any longer.”

That phrase runs a very close second despised Christianese phrases I’ve come across in my years as a Christian. The first being telling someone “God has a plan,” to someone who just buried their loved one. But, I digress.

I have one very strong word to say about that: Bullshit. There’s no other way to say it. Do you know why? It’s simple.

I struggle with suicidal thoughts to this day.

Now, if you’ve made it this far without clicking away and blowing me off as some kind of fake Christian at this point, good. Because maybe you understand that, regardless of Jesus being our Lord and Saviour, the Holy Spirit indwelling us and sanctifying our minds and bodies, and Father God declaring us righteous due to the work that Jesus did on the cross for us, and even knowing the many promises in the Bible where God said He would never leave us or forsake us, that even the full brunt force of the gates of Hades couldn’t loose His grip on us, we still have that bone-deep weariness that makes us physically not want to engage, to not get out of bed; a weariness that no amount of sleep or good thoughts or even coffee can relieve us of.

You understand the intense, shameful sense of self-hatred that can come, believing yourself toxic and harmful to those closest to you, and you understand how easy it is to begin thinking that, maybe if you were no longer around, everyone will be better for it.

You also understand that depression is far more complex than just being sad. There’s emptiness, a kind of void that is tangible, and sometimes a strong numb feeling, a disconnect with life and those around you.

You also may understand that, if you talk about any of it, you may be perceived as not having enough faith in God to heal you. Or, they may think you have some kind of unconfessed sin that’s causing this. Or, my personal favorite statement of ignorance, you may have a DEMON! and all you need is more prayer and Bible study and faith in God. Maybe there’s an Essential Oil that cures depression?

Sorry, I tend to wax pretty sarcastic with this. Anyway.

Can God heal me of my depression instantly? Yes. There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever. Have I prayed for God to take away my depression? You have no idea the many times over the decades where I’ve begged God to take away this suffering of mine, to make the darkness just go away. To let me be carefree, bubbly and happy, like I see others in the Body of Christ. But, for some reason I really cannot fathom with my puny human brain, God has seen fit to let me continue with this proverbial thorn in my side. As He told the apostle Paul, His grace is sufficient.

Maybe you’re reading this, not because you struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, but because of a genuine desire to understand why, without resorting to pat answers. We are called to be a light to the world, to reach out and comfort the broken and weary of living. But, how can we if we don’t understand the darkness that we endure?


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This Is My Shocked And Appalled Face…

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Hey, everyone! Stryper is set to release a new album this April! Here’s the album title and artwork!

stryper - god damn evil

It’s the follow-up to 2015’s excellent Fallen, and is the first to feature their new bass player, former Firehouse member Perry Richardson (that hair, man).

Yeah…nobody cares about that part. What seems to have everyone talking is that title they went with. Lots and lots of people within the various Christian rock and metal pages on Facebook are up in arms, loosing their minds over this album title. They’ve gone too far! seems to be the rallying cry.

Seriously, you are all acting like Stryper’s never courted controversy before.

Now, let’s just say, for sake of argument, all of these people flipping out over the album title (that’s some rather awesome artwork, I want to point out) have just came into being Stryper fans in the last decade or so, and aren’t familiar with their work from the first decade of Stryper’s existence. You know, pulling the ol’ “It was from before I was born” excuse. So, let’s review, shall we? History lesson time, kiddos…

Let’s start with their very first release, The Yellow And Black Attack

yellow and black attack 86

No no no, not that one. That’s the 1986 re-released version Enigma put out after realizing Stryper could make them money. No, I’m talking about the original 1984 release…

yellow and black attack

You see that? A mysterious, glowing blue hand guiding a bunch of ballistic missiles toward a shiny blue, yellow and black Earth. Presumably, that’s the hand of God, pointing thataway, with the warheads bearing the band members’ initials. As controversy goes, this isn’t really that big, but I’m sure it raised its share of eyebrows once it hit the record shops.

But, that’s merely peanuts compared to the big controversy surrounding this album…

to hell with the devil 2

That’s actually the censored version of the album, as the original artwork caused conservative Christians everywhere to loose their collective heads and demand the cover be changed to a black finish with just the band logo and title. Do you know what that original artwork was? Brace yourself, for the offensive original cover art was this…

to hell with the devil

Yep. Four ripped and swole angels, presumably modeled after the band members, tossing the Devil into the abyss of Hell. Yeah, I don’t get what the problem was, either. And frankly, even as I wasn’t a Christian when this came out, I was a bit more dubious about an alleged Christian band using that kind of album title to begin with.

But, then again, nothing could prepare anyone for what was to come a few years later…

against the law

Hoo, boy, was this the one that kicked the proverbial hornet nest. Where to begin? Well, there’s the title, Against The Law, which made everyone assume they were in rebellion now; then there was the modified band logo, which did away with the Bible reference, that seemed to reinforce the assumption that the band was now GOING SECULAR and TURNING AWAY FROM THE FAITH! As if that wasn’t enough, the band photos showed them wearing more black and — *gasp* — growing facial hair and toning down the big hair! They were just one step away from joining the Church of Satan by now.

In the end, these were all merely knee-jerk reactions to superficial surface-level judgments. Personally, my only question to Stryper about their new release is this:

Will it come with a vinyl edition?

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OBLIGATORY YEAR-END POST: 2015 Edition

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OBLIGATORY YEAR-END POST: 2015 Edition

Once again, your Uncle NecRo blinked, and it’s been another year. It continues to amaze me at how fast these things are going. I’m told that time–the relative and fickle thing that it is–tends to go faster the slower you go. Which fits in with my getting older and slower in my ancient age of…well, 42. I guess that falls into “Middle Age” territory rather than “Old Geezer” territory. Tell that two my nephews. The five-year-old marveled at how I managed to live this long. But, I digress.

When compared to the massive hope-sucking void that was 2014, 2015 was a veritable tiptoe through the tulips. If said tulips were just fertilized with the most pugnant of fertilizer only minutes prior. And you were barefoot. And the center of these tulips had an eyeball that followed your progress through the patch. What did you expect? This is my brain that’s reviewing the prior year. This is the pleasant version, trust me.

Anyway, we started off the year that was 2015 with the hope that there would be fewer family deaths I’d have to attend. And, that was the case indeed. Though, it didn’t have the hopeful promise at first, as right off the bat the family lost our Aunt Jan to cancer in the first couple of weeks of January. And then, not too long after that, Grandma Krohn shook off this mortal coil after what one can only describe as a very full and interesting life. Both ladies were awesome and are very much missed. And then, I would be remiss not to mention that, merely a few weeks ago this month, my friend Scotland “Kuba” Kubinski lost his life in a motorcycle accident. This year hasn’t been without its moments of reflection on this, let me tell you.

A couple of weeks into the month of January, I moved fully into Omaha, a resident of a house that I refer to as the Haunted Victorian. The others, including the landlord, refer to it as The Vic, but I prefer Haunted Victorian, for it fits my sense of humor. It’s populated by five other gentlemen, all of whom I rarely see or interact with, due to our various schedules and waked-ness. If that’s even a word. Eh, I’m too lazy to look it up properly. Besides, it’s more fun to imagine the sounds from the unseen others to be the disembodied “ghosts” that “haunt” the Victorian we all dwell in. Or, could I be one of the ghosts as well? Ooooh, how my mind could snap while pondering the implications of this.

As with last year, this year was pretty much a steady stream of work-eat-sleep, with some respites scattered in hither and yon. NECRO SHOCK RADIO has been going whenever I’m able to get around to it, and/or whenever the WiFi allows to upload. Also, launched another podcast…more of a “Pubcast”, really, as it’s just recorded bits of the conversations we have at the Thursday Bar Nights with the usual cast of irregulars. This necessitated not only buying the Premium setting for Soundcloud, but also gave me an excuse to purchase the Yeti microphone. Fantastic piece of equipment. Highly recommended for all of you wanting a nice quality studio sound without breaking the bank.

I just need to say this: Series 9 of Doctor Who was perhaps the finest I’ve experienced since getting back into this British sci-fi show ten years prior. Peter Capaldi is just awesome. Let’s keep him around for a while longer, shall we? Also, glad Jenna’s gone, as I’ve found her presence to be more-or-less superfluous ever since the whole mystery surrounding her existence was solved. More-or-less. And in case you’re wondering, no I haven’t seen the Christmas Special as of this writing. I’ll get around to it, but right now I’m not too keen on seeing another River Song episode. Reasons, you might understand if you knew me and the nature of my previous relationship.

This year, I witnessed one of my cousin’s offspring graduate from High School, further solidifying my slip into old man status. Then I helped out once again with my Uncle Pat and Aunt Joyce at the annual pancake feed that their Volunteer Rescue puts on. And then I went to my first-ever Comic Con in Omaha (technically Council Bluffs) and had some fun there. That was my month of May, by the way.

October was a banner time for the year. Of course it was, as it’s the only time that I really look forward to, really. The season of Halloween. Fall, and the chance to once again not worry about letting my freak flag fly. Due to my youth group’s annual trip to the Fontenelle Corn Maze, I was given a chance to work the Haunted Corn Maze that year. And I did…for one night. I was going to do the night before Halloween and Halloween night as well, but then the Aluminum Falcon was lost in a freak road accident. I was without transportation until Halloween day, and by then I had already called the proprietor of the corn maze with the news that I would have to cancel my performance on the other two nights.

In case you’re wondering, my new mode of transport I have named the NEKRON 7. All caps. With the misspelling to make it seem more edgy. Much more sleek than what I was going to call it: NecRo Wagon. You’re welcome.

So, now that the dark, downward spiral of the Holiday season is almost over, and the New Year is almost upon us, I take some time to reflect on the past three-hundred and sixty-five-ish days. I’m probably not going to be doing the One-Book-A-Week thing this year, as I had hit that goal this year. Also, I want to focus more on finishing up all of the stuff I began writing over the years, waiting to be finished finally. Who knows…maybe this is the year I finally focus enough to catch up on everything, and be able to post whenever again. Or, more than likely, I’ll probably find myself going in with gusto, and then getting distracted by something shiny.

I’ll have more to say about my depression, as there are a bunch more rattling around my head. Though, this past year I was able to connect a bit more with others in my church group about things. I’m still keeping a reign in on sharing anything. I still don’t trust very much. We’ll see how this goes.

I am looking forward to seeing my nephew/Godson Christopher graduate from High School later this year. And I’ll probably make the trek out to Cozad to watch my cousin Allen’s son graduate as well. So far, these are the two family things that I know I’m going to be a part of. The NEKRON 7 is going to get a workout, for certain.

And thus, this has been my thoughts on the year that was 2015. I’m certain I’ve missed something. Bits and pieces here and there; if not recorded on this blog or my Facebook page in passing, then it’s been recorded in my unplugged journal, the UNCLE NECRO’S NOMICON (see what I did there?). Overall, it’s been a fairly decent one. Standard, with its usual crushing lows of depression, tempered with some moderate Level 5 despondency, through to a handful of good days. I have no idea what the future brings; all I know is, the Master has deemed it necessary for me to remain alive for now, and by the Grace of God alone go I.

I thank you all for continuing in my ongoing journey though this reality. If I’m still around to hammer out another bunch of words together into sentences–and those into paragraphs–talking about 2016, then I hope you’re there with me. Cheers, and God Bless my wonderful freaks.

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“Something something something Purpose Driven, something something something complete…”

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_Something something something Purpose Driven, something something something complete..._Have you ever read that Christian “classic” The Purpose Driven Life by one Rick Warren?

I’ve never read it. Even though it’s been toted in Christian circles as ranked along side books such as Mere Christianity, Pilgrim’s Progress, and stuff by some guy going by the last name of Luther…Marvin, or Melvin…Marty, something like that. Even though I still have the copy my Grandma lent me…and have never asked for back, come to think of it. Sneaky, Grandma.

I’ve heard the arguments both praising the book, and denouncing it. I’ve listened to people gushing about how the book changed their lives. I’ve heard of entire sermon series based on the book. I’ve seen the spin-off books, the Bible study workbooks, the youth editions. And who could forget about the lady who used the book to – for lack of a better word – witness to her kidnapper? So, yeah, I am painfully aware of the cultural juggernaut that is The Purpose Driven Life.

I just have never felt the need to read the thing.

So why am I bringing it up? Well, I’m not going to bag on a book I’ve never read, in case you’re wondering. And if I ever do get around to reading it, I’ll let you know how it went.

No, the reason I’ve brought it up is as kind of an example of what we all seem to wrestle with more often than is comfortable admitting. I guess the reason why The Purpose Driven Life was such a runaway hit is because we’ve all wondered what our big purpose in life is.

And I realize, after re-reading that last paragraph,the majority of you are thinking, “Ooooh, BIG deep thought there, Captain Obvious.” Makes sense, though, doesn’t it?

And I’d like to make…well, not a confession really, but more of a proclamation: After over twenty-five years of being a follower and humble servant of Jesus Christ – a “Christian”, if you will – I still have no idea what my grand purpose is. There was a time, when I was young and stupid, that I thought I did. I’ll spare you the complete details (for now), but sufficed to say I had some severe delusions of adequacy when it came to my ministry here in Earth.

See, we call ’em “ministries” to make ’em sound much more spiritually important, there.

Lately…and by that, I mean the past few years or so…I’ve been really noticing a lot of purpose in the mundane, day-to-day life that I and many others find ourselves in. We get up, we go to work, we attend to our daily lives, all without grand aplomb, flashing lights, or a state-of-the-art audio-video experience. I have no plans to become a preacher (television, radio or otherwise), get involved in outreaches, start a music ministry, write for a Christian magazine (or their blog…do magazines still exist?), write a bunch of books, teach youth groups (*cough*), or even join the worship team at my church.

And I’m pretty sure, if the worship leader at my church actually read that last part, he’d be giving a big sigh of relief, there.

And I’m not bagging on anyone who are actually doing those kind of things. It’s just that, for the last few years or so, I’ve been transitioning to becoming more content with what many might call a “mundane existence.” I see GOD’s grand purpose in the small things now. That my worth to Him doesn’t depend on what I can do for Him. That there is a difference between following Christ, and following Christianity.

Or, to put it bluntly, God’s purpose for my life is for me to get over myself. Which is harder than it looks, considering how awesome I am…

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Sunday A’ La Carte: January 25, 2015

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all about that grace no devilGreetings and salutations, my wonderful freaks. It’s once again Sunday night, so I now dispense with a bit of the ol’ weekly brain droppings I cheekingly call A’La Carte. Of course, you may have noticed that I skipped doing this last week. Or, maybe you didn’t, I don’t know. Point is, I took a bit of a breather last week due to a couple of things: my Aunt Jan’s funeral, and my final move to the old haunted Victorian house in Omaha, referred to lovingly as “The Vic”. Although, I personally like using the full Victorian when referring to the house, as it sounds much more…I don’t know, British? “I’m headed back to The Victorian.” Cue ominous minor-key chord.

Concerning the funeral of my Aunt Jan: it was lovely. Very touching. Got a bit long at the end, when the Eastern Star group she was a member of gave us an interesting ceremony chock full of symbolism, plants, and bad dry readings. Sad she’s gone, but given the circumstances, at least her suffering is done. The family reunions on that side won’t be the same, though.

As to my new place of dwelling: let’s just say, it’s very fitting for a reclusive, curmudgeon-y old recluse like myself. It’s a good place, very atmospheric, very much fitting for my writing sensibilities, and it’s in an area that I find ideally isolated while being nearby places to go. Which, of course, I will probably never really utilize to its full potential, but then again I’m not planning on going anywhere else any time soon. Especially after lugging all of those boxes of books to the second floor room. Gads, that makes a strong case for getting a Kindle or something.

nq150117As a third point of issue: Apparently, today was the day of something you…er, I mean we humans (I’m not an alien) celebrate by pitting our nation’s finest warriors to a battle to the death over an leather egg-shaped item of questionable inflation and size. I believe it is called the Superb Owl, and its acolytes mark this day of jocularity (pun unintentional but nifty) by feasting on copious offerings of adult libations and what are referred to as na-choos. It’s not the same as the roasted tender flesh of the fearsome Kryack washed down with a goblet of the fermented urine of a Kraphlar beast (what you…er, we humans would call “Mountain Dew”), but it is sufficient. Also, the commercials are delightful. I didn’t watch it. I was busy…not watching it. I’m not an alien.

hEAD850A3Do you ever find yourself getting confused when it comes to deciphering the coded language we Christians sometimes use ad nausium called Christianese? While I personally have made conscious efforts to not use it in my daily conversations with anybody, after over twenty-five years, I am fluent in the Charismatic, Non-Denominational, Baptist (both Southern and Independent Fundamental strains), and General Youth Group and Bible Study dialects. Which leads into this blog post here that deciphers Christianese for the common English speaker.

nq150116STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: The Year Of Metal continues on with some posts on the NWOBHM bands Jaguar, Raven, and Saxon, then I post reviews for the movies Knights Of Badassdom and Annabelle and the Star Wars zombie novel Death Troopers, and last but not least I posted the praise and worship playlist I listen to at church every Sunday in lieu of the music played by the contemporary worship band.

So, that’s all for this week. Tomorrow is another day, but I still have a bit of writing to do before succumbing to the siren song of the bed, there. Until next time, leave your comments, suggestions and rebukes down below, and I shall see you all next week. I leave you now with your nightmare fuel, brought to you by one of my surrogate nieces. Cheers.

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SUNDAY A’LA CARTE – October 19, 2014

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40399-Jack-O-Lantern-PatchSunday evening yet again, and I’ve been spending the evening watching a couple of old horror B movies from one of the 50 Horror Movie packs that Mill Creek Entertainment puts out. Lovely things, those. You get a whole bunch of cheesy movies for $8. A nice way to get my cheesy horror movie fix. Once in a while, you can find a gem,; but most of the time, you have to wade through a lot of cheese to find it, if it’s there at all. These two (I’m pacing myself at two per night), however…eh. Anatomy Of A Psycho was really more of a juvenile delinquent exploitation from 1961, with acting you would expect from the era of Ozzy & Harriet, so not really horror. Or good. And Night Of Bloody Horror…well, it’s quite a bit more entertaining, but that’s mostly due to the use of some cheesy psychedelic effects. Oh, late 1960s exploitation. Nothing finer, really.

After a bit of a delay, I finally received my super-duper, glow-in-the-dark Grave Robber tee shirt. At least, I think it glows in the dark. Hold on for a minute, let me check…no, I was mistaken. It does not glow in the dark. Pity, as that would have been rather cool. Regardless, it’s a cool shirt anyway.

CAM00154It’s the middle of October, and then HALLOWEEN will be upon us in no time. Have you thought of a costume? Will it be something besides one of those “Sexy Something-Or-Other” jobs? I do so prefer the ones that go beyond just titillating. Give me something with braaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiinsss. Now we’re talking. Since Halloween does fall on a Friday, and since I now work at a job that allows dressing up at the office, I’m putting a little bit of thought into the matter. Hard to believe, only two more weekends left. Well, one if you count the fact that it’s this next weekend, then just the Friday after that one. Time goes so very fast. Soon I shall be experiencing Post Halloween Depression. Then the seasonal downward spiral that won’t abate until well after New Years. Can’t wait. Especially after everything that’s been going on this year.

Behold my randumb thought processes. It’s like trying to have tea in a kangaroo pouch. And the kangaroo’s hopped up on speed. No pun intended.

emo clownSpeaking of random (yes, I went with the proper spelling), here’s the YouTube clip of alternative rock band The Foo Fighters with country singer Zac Brown covering Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” on Late Night With David Letterman. Unlikely pairing, unlikely situation, completely awesome result. And I love Letterman’s reaction at the end:

Years ago, I was always tapped to play Satan whenever my old youth group did a live video (that would be the Evangelical way of saying “lip sync performance”) of “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”. Never been in a youth group that put on one of those to that song? Consider yourselves one of the blessed. And yes, I’m always the first one to be tapped whenever someone’s play/skit/Hell House needs either Satan or one of his minions. Eh, I don’t mind really, as long as Lucifer (“Lucy” to his friends) loses in the end. And no, I’m not going to show you a video of another youth group doing one of those “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” live videos…instead, I’m going to make you watch the “literal video” rendition of the song, which is much more hilarious.

STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: I posted book reviews of novels featuring the Fifth and Sixth Doctor, then reposted my review of the movie Silent Hill. And HALLOWEEN’ING continues this month, with posts about Haunted Houses, a Nostalgia Critic video of Halloween Movies, a rather awesome zombie-themed snack setup, scaring people, the first eight issues of the classic Neil Gaiman Sandman series, Jack O’Lanterns, and a classic Disney animated short.

when the clock strikes midnightThat’s all for this week, methinks. I’ve some reading to do before beddy-bye time. Tomorrow’s another work day. Cheers, my wonderful freaks.

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A brief update, here…

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imagesWell now, it’s been a while since I’ve had an actual update, or put actual content onto this bliggity-blog of mine. Sorry about that. Assuming that I still have readers, that is. I’ve always had delusions of adequacy when it came to my own self-importance. Or self-delusions. But I digress.

So, I’m sitting here in the lobby outside of Room 211 at Christ Lutheran, waiting for Kim and my future Mother-In-Law to show up, and thought it would be a good time, while I have Icon Of Coil blasting through my headphones, comfortably isolated from the maddening crowd, to bring everyone up to speed on what’s been going on in the life of your Uncle NecRo.

Just this last week, I started a new job, training as a manager for a certain restaurant chain that has a bit of a thing about any of their employees blogging about it, so I’m just going to say the name rhymes with “Glarby’s”. This is in Lincoln, and I normally have to be there at 8am this past week, which means–considering where I live–I have to get up at 4am just so I have enough time to get my body functioning to get ready and drive the 1.5 hours to get to Lincoln and my job. Which means, I’ve been dealing with some sleep deprivation, and the pain that accompanies breaking in the shoes they require for this job. As well as cramming in all of the information they slam into my brain and the fast-paced hands-on training I get in every 10-hour day. Then I get a brief hang-out time with my betrothed, then it’s off to home to crash and then repeat the process.

So, yeah, that means that my usual personal writing output has been less than what I’d like. But I assure you, as soon as I can find some time, I’ll get back to this ongoing online experiment…cheers…

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