This week’s blog is different from the other blogs we have done throughout the week. I received an DM on Instagram that on first glance i thought was spam or a joke. After reading it, doing some research on the person and answering the DM for a response, I realized that this DM was very much real and this person was who they said they were. So i decided to share his story on my blog. Being a person myself who has dealt with mental illness, has been depressed, battled with sucidal thoughts, and contemplated suicide. I felt his pain; I connected with his story. This blog features a story about a man who was about to sign the deal of his life with Oscar & Grammy Award Winner recording artist Pharrell Williams, until he got some life changing news. A unexpected diagnoses of schizophrenia and depression…………….
Jermaine Tolbert was born in Detriot, Michigan and is the 9th child out of 10 children. His family had him deeply rooted into the church life. He is named after his uncle Bishop Samuel Nathan Hancock, who had a major hand in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (P.A.W.), before founding the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Church (PCAF).
While he was raised in the church, his home life wasn’t as perfect as some may have thought. He experienced a lot of aggressive, verbal abuse from his siblings, which he believes later effected his adult life. When he got into music as a way of speaking positive affirmations into himself, because of his home life, he realized his talent and love for music.
He was fortunate enough to be surrounded by like minded and talented people at his school. His surrounded of friends at his school was so great that they created a group called “3D” and almost signed a recording deal with Pharrell Williams.
Shortly after getting into music, he was introduced to marijuana, and as he quoted, “My life took a turn for the worst” He had starting having thoughts that were unhealthy and even contemplated committing suicide. Since he never had these thoughts before, he thought that the marijuana that he just inhaled was laced with some other drug that he didn’t know about.
In 2012, he finally got a answer to his thoughts. An answer to why he was feeling the way he was, after all this good that was going on in his life. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression after spending 10 days in a psychiatric ward.
After that, he decided to make a decision that I know most people would have found difficult. Choose between a recording deal with legendary Pharrell or leave it alone to gain my sanity???? He decided to gain his sanity. He walked away from his deal with Pharrell to focus on getting better and controlling and maintaining his illness. He described it as: “So I detached from everything and everyone, including family and friends. I took about two years to myself to understand what happened and how to never go down that path again”.
How is Jermaine Tolbert doing now?: “After full recovery, I wrote a book about my experience in hopes to veer people off the road I took. I plan to step back into music when the book is released, but vastly different in that my music will represent the grace afforded to me to no longer battle with the diagnosis. I plan to be an advocate for mental health until I die, and hope to impact lives across the world with my message of self care and self education”.
Jermaine Tolbert’s story touched me because of my own experiences with depression, suicidal thoughts and contemplating suicide. Those thoughts and feelings are not something anybody wants to go through or think about. I remember feeling really low and helpless, like nobody could ever understand me and I just wanted to be at peace. I felt like killing myself, would give me that peace.
If you know anybody who is going through this; please tell them to reach out to someone. Tell them that they are not alone and that there are other people out there who feel the same way they do.
If you want to know more about Jermaine Tolbert, his book, and his story his social media is:
Facebook: Jermaine Tolbert
Link to Fundraiser:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Available 24 hours everyday