The last letter of Bill Zeller

I never met Bill Zeller, the 27 year old Princeton grad student who recently took his life, but I fear his story is all too familiar. The day of his attempt, he posted the following letter on his website and sent it to friends. It is quite lengthy; he apparently had worked on it for quite some time.

I’m posting this not because I encourage suicide, nor because I am judging Mr. Zeller for having ended his life in this world. It is important to remember, though, the depths of darkness in which some people are living, often right beside us. The abuse Zeller suffered as a child was to characterize his self-perception for the rest of his life. There are millions of people who have suffered such abuse, and millions who remain caught in a web of doubt, hurt, hate, blame, and depression.

He said,

The darkness is with me nearly every time I wake up. I feel like a grime is covering me. I feel like I’m trapped in a contimated [sic] body that no amount of washing will clean.

Because of the tragedy of his life, Mr. Zeller saw no reason to trust God in any way, as is clear in the letter. At least from his perspective, the faux-Christianity of his parents is partly to blame. I have no reason to doubt him; legalism is deadly.

Below is Mr. Zeller’s letter in its entirety. I have chosen not to edit it, partially because it was his request and partially because the full impact of his utter futility needs to be felt in an unvarnished way. Language warning.

Bill Zeller

I have the urge to declare my sanity and justify my actions, but I assume I’ll never be able to convince anyone that this was the right decision. Maybe it’s true that anyone who does this is insane by definition, but I can at least explain my reasoning. I considered not writing any of this because of how personal it is, but I like tying up loose ends and don’t want people to wonder why I did this. Since I’ve never spoken to anyone about what happened to me, people would likely draw the wrong conclusions.

My first memories as a child are of being raped, repeatedly. This has affected every aspect of my life. This darkness, which is the only way I can describe it, has followed me like a fog, but at times intensified and overwhelmed me, usually triggered by a distinct situation. In kindergarten I couldn’t use the bathroom and would stand petrified whenever I needed to, which started a trend of awkward and unexplained social behavior. The damage that was done to my body still prevents me from using the bathroom normally, but now it’s less of a physical impediment than a daily reminder of what was done to me.

This darkness followed me as I grew up. I remember spending hours playing with legos, having my world consist of me and a box of cold, plastic blocks. Just waiting for everything to end. It’s the same thing I do now, but instead of legos it’s surfing the web or reading or listening to a baseball game. Most of my life has been spent feeling dead inside, waiting for my body to catch up.

At times growing up I would feel inconsolable rage, but I never connected this to what happened until puberty. I was able to keep the darkness at bay for a few hours at a time by doing things that required intense concentration, but it would always come back. Programming appealed to me for this reason. I was never particularly fond of computers or mathematically inclined, but the temporary peace it would provide was like a drug. But the darkness always returned and built up something like a tolerance, because programming has become less and less of a refuge.

The darkness is with me nearly every time I wake up. I feel like a grime is covering me. I feel like I’m trapped in a contimated body that no amount of washing will clean. Whenever I think about what happened I feel manic and itchy and can’t concentrate on anything else. It manifests itself in hours of eating or staying up for days at a time or sleeping for sixteen hours straight or week long programming binges or constantly going to the gym. I’m exhausted from feeling like this every hour of every day.

Three to four nights a week I have nightmares about what happened. It makes me avoid sleep and constantly tired, because sleeping with what feels like hours of nightmares is not restful. I wake up sweaty and furious. I’m reminded every morning of what was done to me and the control it has over my life.

I’ve never been able to stop thinking about what happened to me and this hampered my social interactions. I would be angry and lost in thought and then be interrupted by someone saying “Hi” or making small talk, unable to understand why I seemed cold and distant. I walked around, viewing the outside world from a distant portal behind my eyes, unable to perform normal human niceties. I wondered what it would be like to take to other people without what happened constantly on my mind, and I wondered if other people had similar experiences that they were better able to mask.

Alcohol was also something that let me escape the darkness. It would always find me later, though, and it was always angry that I managed to escape and it made me pay. Many of the irresponsible things I did were the result of the darkness. Obviously I’m responsible for every decision and action, including this one, but there are reasons why things happen the way they do.

Alcohol and other drugs provided a way to ignore the realities of my situation. It was easy to spend the night drinking and forget that I had no future to look forward to. I never liked what alcohol did to me, but it was better than facing my existence honestly. I haven’t touched alcohol or any other drug in over seven months (and no drugs or alcohol will be involved when I do this) and this has forced me to evaluate my life in an honest and clear way. There’s no future here. The darkness will always be with me.

I used to think if I solved some problem or achieved some goal, maybe he would leave. It was comforting to identify tangible issues as the source of my problems instead of something that I’ll never be able to change. I thought that if I got into to a good college, or a good grad school, or lost weight, or went to the gym nearly every day for a year, or created programs that millions of people used, or spent a summer or California or New York or published papers that I was proud of, then maybe I would feel some peace and not be constantly haunted and unhappy. But nothing I did made a dent in how depressed I was on a daily basis and nothing was in any way fulfilling. I’m not sure why I ever thought that would change anything.

I didn’t realize how deep a hold he had on me and my life until my first relationship. I stupidly assumed that no matter how the darkness affected me personally, my romantic relationships would somehow be separated and protected. Growing up I viewed my future relationships as a possible escape from this thing that haunts me every day, but I began to realize how entangled it was with every aspect of my life and how it is never going to release me. Instead of being an escape, relationships and romantic contact with other people only intensified everything about him that I couldn’t stand. I will never be able to have a relationship in which he is not the focus, affecting every aspect of my romantic interactions.

Relationships always started out fine and I’d be able to ignore him for a few weeks. But as we got closer emotionally the darkness would return and every night it’d be me, her and the darkness in a black and gruesome threesome. He would surround me and penetrate me and the more we did the more intense it became. It made me hate being touched, because as long as we were separated I could view her like an outsider viewing something good and kind and untainted. Once we touched, the darkness would envelope her too and take her over and the evil inside me would surround her. I always felt like I was infecting anyone I was with.

Relationships didn’t work. No one I dated was the right match, and I thought that maybe if I found the right person it would overwhelm him. Part of me knew that finding the right person wouldn’t help, so I became interested in girls who obviously had no interest in me. For a while I thought I was gay. I convinced myself that it wasn’t the darkness at all, but rather my orientation, because this would give me control over why things didn’t feel “right”. The fact that the darkness affected sexual matters most intensely made this idea make some sense and I convinced myself of this for a number of years, starting in college after my first relationship ended. I told people I was gay (at Trinity, not at Princeton), even though I wasn’t attracted to men and kept finding myself interested in girls. Because if being gay wasn’t the answer, then what was? People thought I was avoiding my orientation, but I was actually avoiding the truth, which is that while I’m straight, I will never be content with anyone. I know now that the darkness will never leave.

Last spring I met someone who was unlike anyone else I’d ever met. Someone who showed me just how well two people could get along and how much I could care about another human being. Someone I know I could be with and love for the rest of my life, if I weren’t so fucked up. Amazingly, she liked me. She liked the shell of the man the darkness had left behind. But it didn’t matter because I couldn’t be alone with her. It was never just the two of us, it was always the three of us: her, me and the darkness. The closer we got, the more intensely I’d feel the darkness, like some evil mirror of my emotions. All the closeness we had and I loved was complemented by agony that I couldn’t stand, from him. I realized that I would never be able to give her, or anyone, all of me or only me. She could never have me without the darkness and evil inside me. I could never have just her, without the darkness being a part of all of our interactions. I will never be able to be at peace or content or in a healthy relationship. I realized the futility of the romantic part of my life. If I had never met her, I would have realized this as soon as I met someone else who I meshed similarly well with. It’s likely that things wouldn’t have worked out with her and we would have broken up (with our relationship ending, like the majority of relationships do) even if I didn’t have this problem, since we only dated for a short time. But I will face exactly the same problems with the darkness with anyone else. Despite my hopes, love and compatability is not enough. Nothing is enough. There’s no way I can fix this or even push the darkness down far enough to make a relationship or any type of intimacy feasible.

So I watched as things fell apart between us. I had put an explicit time limit on our relationship, since I knew it couldn’t last because of the darkness and didn’t want to hold her back, and this caused a variety of problems. She was put in an unnatural situation that she never should have been a part of. It must have been very hard for her, not knowing what was actually going on with me, but this is not something I’ve ever been able to talk about with anyone. Losing her was very hard for me as well. Not because of her (I got over our relationship relatively quickly), but because of the realization that I would never have another relationship and because it signified the last true, exclusive personal connection I could ever have. This wasn’t apparent to other people, because I could never talk about the real reasons for my sadness. I was very sad in the summer and fall, but it was not because of her, it was because I will never escape the darkness with anyone. She was so loving and kind to me and gave me everything I could have asked for under the circumstances. I’ll never forget how much happiness she brought me in those briefs moments when I could ignore the darkness. I had originally planned to kill myself last winter but never got around to it. (Parts of this letter were written over a year ago, other parts days before doing this.) It was wrong of me to involve myself in her life if this were a possibility and I should have just left her alone, even though we only dated for a few months and things ended a long time ago. She’s just one more person in a long list of people I’ve hurt.

I could spend pages talking about the other relationships I’ve had that were ruined because of my problems and my confusion related to the darkness. I’ve hurt so many great people because of who I am and my inability to experience what needs to be experienced. All I can say is that I tried to be honest with people about what I thought was true.

I’ve spent my life hurting people. Today will be the last time.

I’ve told different people a lot of things, but I’ve never told anyone about what happened to me, ever, for obvious reasons. It took me a while to realize that no matter how close you are to someone or how much they claim to love you, people simply cannot keep secrets. I learned this a few years ago when I thought I was gay and told people. The more harmful the secret, the juicier the gossip and the more likely you are to be betrayed. People don’t care about their word or what they’ve promised, they just do whatever the fuck they want and justify it later. It feels incredibly lonely to realize you can never share something with someone and have it be between just the two of you. I don’t blame anyone in particular, I guess it’s just how people are. Even if I felt like this is something I could have shared, I have no interest in being part of a friendship or relationship where the other person views me as the damaged and contaminated person that I am. So even if I were able to trust someone, I probably would not have told them about what happened to me. At this point I simply don’t care who knows.

I feel an evil inside me. An evil that makes me want to end life. I need to stop this. I need to make sure I don’t kill someone, which is not something that can be easily undone. I don’t know if this is related to what happened to me or something different. I recognize the irony of killing myself to prevent myself from killing someone else, but this decision should indicate what I’m capable of.

So I’ve realized I will never escape the darkness or misery associated with it and I have a responsibility to stop myself from physically harming others.

I’m just a broken, miserable shell of a human being. Being molested has defined me as a person and shaped me as a human being and it has made me the monster I am and there’s nothing I can do to escape it. I don’t know any other existence. I don’t know what life feels like where I’m apart from any of this. I actively despise the person I am. I just feel fundamentally broken, almost non-human. I feel like an animal that woke up one day in a human body, trying to make sense of a foreign world, living among creatures it doesn’t understand and can’t connect with.

I have accepted that the darkness will never allow me to be in a relationship. I will never go to sleep with someone in my arms, feeling the comfort of their hands around me. I will never know what uncontimated intimacy is like. I will never have an exclusive bond with someone, someone who can be the recipient of all the love I have to give. I will never have children, and I wanted to be a father so badly. I think I would have made a good dad. And even if I had fought through the darkness and married and had children all while being unable to feel intimacy, I could have never done that if suicide were a possibility. I did try to minimize pain, although I know that this decision will hurt many of you. If this hurts you, I hope that you can at least forget about me quickly.

There’s no point in identifying who molested me, so I’m just going to leave it at that. I doubt the word of a dead guy with no evidence about something that happened over twenty years ago would have much sway.

You may wonder why I didn’t just talk to a professional about this. I’ve seen a number of doctors since I was a teenager to talk about other issues and I’m positive that another doctor would not have helped. I was never given one piece of actionable advice, ever. More than a few spent a large part of the session reading their notes to remember who I was. And I have no interest in talking about being raped as a child, both because I know it wouldn’t help and because I have no confidence it would remain secret. I know the legal and practical limits of doctor/patient confidentiality, growing up in a house where we’d hear stories about the various mental illnesses of famous people, stories that were passed down through generations. All it takes is one doctor who thinks my story is interesting enough to share or a doctor who thinks it’s her right or responsibility to contact the authorities and have me identify the molestor (justifying her decision by telling herself that someone else might be in danger). All it takes is a single doctor who violates my trust, just like the “friends” who I told I was gay did, and everything would be made public and I’d be forced to live in a world where people would know how fucked up I am. And yes, I realize this indicates that I have severe trust issues, but they’re based on a large number of experiences with people who have shown a profound disrepect for their word and the privacy of others.

People say suicide is selfish. I think it’s selfish to ask people to continue living painful and miserable lives, just so you possibly won’t feel sad for a week or two. Suicide may be a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but it’s also a permanent solution to a ~23 year-old problem that grows more intense and overwhelming every day.

Some people are just dealt bad hands in this life. I know many people have it worse than I do, and maybe I’m just not a strong person, but I really did try to deal with this. I’ve tried to deal with this every day for the last 23 years and I just can’t fucking take it anymore.

I often wonder what life must be like for other people. People who can feel the love from others and give it back unadulterated, people who can experience sex as an intimate and joyous experience, people who can experience the colors and happenings of this world without constant misery. I wonder who I’d be if things had been different or if I were a stronger person. It sounds pretty great.

I’m prepared for death. I’m prepared for the pain and I am ready to no longer exist. Thanks to the strictness of New Jersey gun laws this will probably be much more painful than it needs to be, but what can you do. My only fear at this point is messing something up and surviving.


I’d also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they’re dead—one with less hatred and intolerance.

If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week.

They live in a black and white reality they’ve constructed for themselves. They partition the world into good and evil and survive by hating everything they fear or misunderstand and calling it love. They don’t understand that good and decent people exist all around us, “saved” or not, and that evil and cruel people occupy a large percentage of their church. They take advantage of people looking for hope by teaching them to practice the same hatred they practice.

A random example:

“I am personally convinced that if a Muslim truly believes and obeys the Koran, he will be a terrorist.” – George Zeller, August 24, 2010.

If you choose to follow a religion where, for example, devout Catholics who are trying to be good people are all going to Hell but child molestors go to Heaven (as long as they were “saved” at some point), that’s your choice, but it’s fucked up. Maybe a God who operates by those rules does exist. If so, fuck Him.

Their church was always more important than the members of their family and they happily sacrificed whatever necessary in order to satisfy their contrived beliefs about who they should be.

I grew up in a house where love was proxied through a God I could never believe in. A house where the love of music with any sort of a beat was literally beaten out of me. A house full of hatred and intolerance, run by two people who were experts at appearing kind and warm when others were around. Parents who tell an eight year old that his grandmother is going to Hell because she’s Catholic. Parents who claim not to be racist but then talk about the horrors of miscegenation. I could list hundreds of other examples, but it’s tiring.

Since being kicked out, I’ve interacted with them in relatively normal ways. I talk to them on the phone like nothing happened. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I like pretending I have a family. Maybe I like having people I can talk to about what’s been going on in my life. Whatever the reason, it’s not real and it feels like a sham. I should have never allowed this reconnection to happen.

I wrote the above a while ago, and I do feel like that much of the time. At other times, though, I feel less hateful. I know my parents honestly believe the crap they believe in. I know that my mom, at least, loved me very much and tried her best. One reason I put this off for so long is because I know how much pain it will cause her. She has been sad since she found out I wasn’t “saved”, since she believes I’m going to Hell, which is not a sadness for which I am responsible. That was never going to change, and presumably she believes the state of my physical body is much less important than the state of my soul. Still, I cannot intellectually justify this decision, knowing how much it will hurt her. Maybe my ability to take my own life, knowing how much pain it will cause, shows that I am a monster who doesn’t deserve to live. All I know is that I can’t deal with this pain any longer and I’m am truly sorry I couldn’t wait until my family and everyone I knew died so this could be done without hurting anyone. For years I’ve wished that I’d be hit by a bus or die while saving a baby from drowning so my death might be more acceptable, but I was never so lucky.


To those of you who have shown me love, thank you for putting up with all my shittiness and moodiness and arbitrariness. I was never the person I wanted to be. Maybe without the darkness I would have been a better person, maybe not. I did try to be a good person, but I realize I never got very far.

I’m sorry for the pain this causes. I really do wish I had another option. I hope this letter explains why I needed to do this. If you can’t understand this decision, I hope you can at least forgive me.

Bill Zeller


Please save this letter and repost it if gets deleted. I don’t want people to wonder why I did this. I disseminated it more widely than I might have otherwise because I’m worried that my family might try to restrict access to it. I don’t mind if this letter is made public. In fact, I’d prefer it be made public to people being unable to read it and drawing their own conclusions.

Feel free to republish this letter, but only if it is reproduced in its entirety.

While the account of Bill Zeller is agonizing to consider, suicide is not the only, or even the best way out of such a darkness. Simply search “sexual abuse ministry” in any search engine to get contact information for people who are ready to help such situations. Instead of going the way of self-destruction, please give the grace of God a chance to make whole what others have torn asunder.

Comments on this thread: All comments are welcome, though some may get kicked into moderation. I will check them frequently. Please note: This is not the time for theological debate about Catholicism or the ethics of suicide; we’ll assume it’s a terrible end for many suffering individuals and leave the judging to God.

If you need to comment anonymously on this thread, please do so. Use “” for your email if it makes you more comfortable. If you need to communicate with me offline, please use the “Email” link on this site. Thanks.

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

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  • Thank you so very much for posting Bill Zeller’s letter in it’s entirety. Several of us, who hail from abusive christian residential lock-up homes, greatly fear that this letter will not be online for very long because of Bill’s focus on the atrocities within the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) denomination to which his family belongs.

    I am certainly not here to get into a theological debate regarding Catholicism or the ethics of suicide. I am here to say how horrible it is that it takes something like the death of Bill Zeller to bring to the forefront the prevalence of sexual abuse of children within the IFB. The focus on the Catholics, and perhaps the misconception that ONLY the Catholics are guilty of such horrors against children needs to come to an end. And QUICKLY, before this happens to anyone else.

    My heart aches due to the fact that Bill’s rapist was not named. However, his letter brings an important question to my mind. The first being how many adults would have had access to a 4 yr old boy? Surely, someone that his parent(s) trusted. And over a long period of time. It would make sense to me that, considering he was not yet of school age when this abuse started that either it was a family member or someone from his CHURCH! Yes, his church. Even minimal research will show that the IFB is a perfect haven for pedophiles and sexual predators. More often than not, the victim is shamed or frightened into silence. And for the perps who ARE discovered, it is sadly common for the church to “handle it within the church” rather than notify the authorities. Then the perp is “forgiven”, which usually allows them to commit the same horror against another child. Repeat offenders of sexual abuse is VERY common within the IFB. This link will show what is merely a drop in the bucket, reflecting ONLY those that have been caught:

    Another ploy used by the IFB is to blame the VICTIM. You read that right. Consider the story of Tina Anderson. She was raped more than once by a deacon in her IFB Church, who is a man named Ernie Willis, a married father. At the age of 15, Tina discovered that she had become pregnant by Willis. Upon reporting what he did to the pastor of her church, a man by the name of Phelps, Tina was made to stand before the congregation of her church and APOLOGIZE for becoming pregnant. The pastor then sent her away to another state to have her baby and avoid being interviewed by law enforcement. Ernie Willis is due to go to trial soon. Tina’s family was so immersed in the mind-numbing and mind CONTROLLING clutches of the IFB that they followed the pastor’s instructions without question.

    Jocelyn Zichterman, founder of the Freedom from Abuse Network (and a victim of abuse within the IFB herself) has helped make tremendous strides toward the exposure of all the cover-ups and corruption through the decades within the IFB denomination. Apparently, this exposure has ruffled quite a few feathers, because the facebook page she created for survivors of abuse within the IFB, “Survivors of IFB Cult Abuse” was reported by what we believe to be the IFB (who else would have done it?)as a “hate” group or something to that effect, and taken down. In it’s place, more than 20 OTHER “IFB cult Survivors” groups have been created. They are not hard to find. A simple facebook search will take you to them. I encourage everyone to go there and look.

    Being a former resident of a IFB “lock-down” home in my teens, the infamous New Bethany Girls Home, operated by Mack Ford (Mack W. Ford), myself and a multitude of others, whether they were residents of New Bethany, Hephzibah House, Victory Christian Academy, Heritage Boys Academy, Bethesda Girls/Boys Home (google “Lester Roloff”), Reclamation Ranch (google “Jack Patterson”)ALL understand the URGENCY to help the general public KNOW what really goes on within the IFB. PLEASE LISTEN BEFORE ANOTHER PERSON DIES AS A RESULT OF THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENED TO BILL ZELLER. The IFB does not need to be allowed to produce another wasted life.

    • Marty Duren

      Thanks, Tina. I appreciate your comment and your candor.

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  • Debbie Kaufman

    There are so many others who are going or have taken the route that Billy Zeller has taken. The reason help is not always sought is as adults, they are sorting all of this out. It goes back and forth from this was their fault to it was all the perpetrators fault, and for men who were once boys especially there is a painful humiliation attached. But both men or women feel this humiliation and why didn’t I…or I should have….done this or that. Rape changes a person and that is exactly what sexual abuse is, rape. It changes and kills who the victim is and it is a fight within the victim to gain back the person that was.

  • Mark

    “I spent my life hurting people. Today will be the last time.”

    No, every time someone that loved you remembers you, they will hurt again.

    I’ve got to admit, I’m conflict about the letter and subsequent suicide of Mr. Zeller.

    Yes, it sucked to have suffered a horrible act as he did at 4 years old, and I can’t imagine the darkness that he went through. But, I have issues with some of his reasoning.

    As far as I could tell in his writing, he told no one about what happened to him at 4 years old… not a parent, not a trusted adult, mental health care professional or anyone else. He complained that he was never given an actionable piece of advice. My question: was he truthful with those who he sought for counseling? Counselors can only deal with what the client reveals.

    He had persons who reached out to him in relationships, including the young lady he mentioned as his last relationship. In his description of her, she seemed like a person that would have helped him work through demons. But we’ll never know, she never got the chance to help him. He cuts the cord of the relationship.

    He writes: “She’s just one more person in a long list of people I’ve hurt.” And I’m sure the event of his suicide and reading this will lessen the pain.

    Yeah, he had trust issues, and probably had a right to do so. But could he be trusted to be truthful.

    He talks of the problem of trusting others to keep secrets. But where his disagreements with his parents are concerned, he cowardly blasts his parents. Not to their face, but for them to be exposed to the world and for them to see his contempt for them in this letter after the act.

    He writes about talking with them after he had been thrown out as if nothing had happened. Did he ever confront them about his differences of religious beliefs, about their hypocrisy? Never mentioned it.

    And about those differences: Here’s a Princeton grad. He wasn’t taught to think for himself? He’s not the first person to disagree with their parents, or to be tossed out because of not attending church. (If that is the case, I don’t agree with the parents, but its not my home.) Seriously, this added to his darkness? Did he seek reconciliation with them, or just to go along.

    I began life in a broken home- father left when I was two, mother committed to a mental health institution. Was bullied often because I was small. I’ve had lost jobs, depression, financial woes, etc. But, there are ways to at least cope and to live because others believe in you and in your ability to make a difference.

    Admittedly, I can’t related to being molested. But there are others who have and sought help to overcome. Its a real hurt I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And I can’t imagine what it must be like to get to the point of killing yourself.

    But it seems like there were all sorts of avenues available for help, However, he reflects so much of this society in that he would rather blame others: the very people who tried to help or could have helped. He even bemoans the strict gun laws in New Jersey for making his suicide attempt more difficult.

    One last thing: he decides not to name his molester. So what this does is make it possible for: a) the molester to not receive his reckoning (although I hope he does with the Great Judge), and b) because he failed to show courage, other children will not learn from the courage he could have displayed and name their own attackers… and more will go unpunished.

    As he wrote: “People will say suicide is selfish. I think it’s selfish to ask people to continue living painful and miserable lives, just so you possibly won’t feel sad for a week or two.”

    Yes, it is selfish because persons close to him will hurt the remainders of the lives.

    I am glad of one thing; he didn’t physically hurt others.

  • Bob T.

    As one in daily contact with those with Brain disease who are mentally ill, I find this letter expressing the classic symptoms of mental illness.

    First, some often have twisted memories and find childhood filled with problems. Second, if this person was seeing a therapist, or had seen a therapist, these memories could have been false memories. It must be asked if he always had them or they emerged after a period of time or some therapy. Did they emerge after therapy with a Psychologist? False memories are a real problem in some cases. These can emerge after a therapist who seeks childhood causes probes and uses certain techniques.
    I am not saying these are definitely false memories. I am saying that the emotional context of the despair and darkness expressed indicates possible brain disease (often called mental illness). This is a very good possibility. From this can be false or twisted memories.
    Also, one poster on here referred to the Middletown Bible church as being IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist). It is not. It was at one time in the IFCA. These churches have a different atmosphere and more in depth Bible teaching than most IFB churches.
    We should be very sorrowful that this occurred. If Bill did not get medical Psychiatric diagnosis that is a tragedy. The proper medication may have helped with this severe clinical depression and saved his life. Many Christians have thrown the baby out with the bath water and allowed some of the Psychological theories and therapies which are not Biblical or valid to cause them to avoid the valid medical diagnosis of a Psychiatrist that may detect a physiological cause that can only be helped by medication.
    We must uphold the family of Bill Zeller, and their church in prayer. None of us can know the truth of this situation. Let us be careful in drawing conclusions and passing judgment.

  • Anonymous

    It is pretty disturbing to know that more children could quite possibly be affected due to the fact that Bill never reported his predator. When I finally reported mine, ten years later, my therapist made me feel worse than I had ever felt. She told me that I could have prevented more situations had I told earlier and I felt like a real jerk for not doing so. At the time, however, when I was younger, the extremity of the situation did not register and as I grew older, I felt that telling people would make it a bigger issue than it had already manifested into in my mind. I’m certain that Bill felt the same way every time he battled the urge to tell people. He was already thinking about it constantly, why spread the “darkness” upon others on purpose?

    I only went to that therapist once, she did not prove herself to be a solution as she only focused on getting all the details from me. If I wanted to give a report, I would have gone to the police.

    What I sought was a feeling of normalcy, as did Bill when he engaged in normal activities and attempted to have normal relationships. There’s no such thing as normal in this type of life, though. The thought process we undergo is alien to the norm thus making us feel alien to the community. Maybe it is a mental illness, but sympathizing, telling us your sorry it happened, and forcing us to talk about it acts as a trigger and is as effective as trying to heal a child’s paper cut by saying “aw, you poor thing.” You can be sorry all you want, but at the end of the day, your “sorry” is just a word.

    Treat everyone as if they are dealing with a childhood trauma. They could be the impatient customer in line or the overly happy coworker whose smile gets bigger everyday, Lord knows I’ve been both.

    People should spend less time trying to figure out why others are so upset or overreacting for something small and just accept, without reason, that some people have an actual reason.
    Stop and think, “You know what, this person is upset and it could be for more reasons than I want to know, I should just act like they told me the reason and we can all move on.”

    The best example I can think of:
    Some mornings, I wake up from horrible nightmares and don’t feel like being social with my roommate as we get ready for the day. I act as politely as possible with limited responses. My roommate, notices this and feels responsible for knowing what is making me so upset. I understand if she asks once or twice, but when it’s apparent that I’m not feeling too well, she should act like I just told her and respect that I don’t want to talk.

    Demanding only once “what’s wrong?” is appropriate in that it shows that you care. Respecting the fact that I don’t want to share also shows that you care. Begging over and over for an answer shows that you’re nosy.
    Anyways, just some food for thought.
    I felt it was necessary to comment on SOMETHING about Ben Ziller’s case.
    Esp. since, after much rereading of my old journals, the
    thoughts he expresses have been written analogously in my
    own words throughout the years.