Anxiety: Escapril Challenge 4

Churning, burning inside
You lose your way
As light fades to night when you hide
Yourself away
Till day

Bile catches in your throat
And you shiver
Yet you sweat underneath your coat
Undelivered
Sinner

Anxiety plagues you
Hunts you like prey
And there is nothing you can do
Nothing to say
Just pray


Note: The Taylor poem is a form patterned from “Upon a Spider Catching a Fly” by Edward Taylor (1642-1729), who some call the finest colonial poet although his work was not published until 1939.

The Taylor is:
○ stanzaic, written in any number of cinquains
○ metric, iambic, L1 trimeter, L2 and L4 dimeter, L3 tetrameter, L5 monometer
○ rhymed or at least near rhymed a b a b b, c d c d d, e f e f f, etc

escapril1

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Now Soul-Peace

Flame burns brighter, higher on funeral pyre of wicked nightmares
That tear the fabric of the soul once whole and full of lively vivacity
In pertinacity to bring bright light from out behind clouds of doom,
Which loom large over the city of the heart in pity to tear her apart
Except for the determination to damn this dæmon to an expulsion
From dreams of innocence followed quickly by his own destruction
In hottest hell’s conflagration for which there is now no mitigation,
And so the man in turmoil shall no longer recoil, but live in peace

Crazy Life: My Testimony, Part I

My oldest sister says she thought she’d lost me forever. To tell the truth, I’m kind of surprised she hadn’t, what with the audible and visual hallucinations coupled with what my dear Angela described as “talking backwards.” No, my sister, Ann, couldn’t even begin to understand me while I was going through what I now a bit lamely call “The Ordeal.”

The Ordeal began a little over one year ago … well, about one year and four months ago, to my best recollection. To this day I cannot say exactly what caused this agonizing nightmare, but I believe that at least part of it had to do with the medications I was taking at the time for bi-polar, depression and anxiety. Perhaps this was the total cause of my slip into an awful unreality, but I do think there was more to it than the pills.

Looking back on the Ordeal, and considering where I was at the time — mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually — I have come to seriously believe the “hand of God” was involved in my demise. Oh, I know this is an unpopular, unpalatable, and certainly controversial statement to make, yet I believe that, somewhat like Nebuchadnezzar of ancient lore, I was “struck down,” ultimately for my own good.

During that time I was in and out of the South Alabama Medical Center emergency room (ER) and Behavioral Medical Unit (BMU), finally landing in the New Day BMU in Ozark, Alabama. After a two-week stay at New Day, it was decided by my sister, my psychiatrist, and a local therapist that I would do well to move into one of the SpectraCare (the regional mental health agency) group homes. I agreed.

I can still recall the fear that I felt, and just how absolutely overwhelming the world around me felt. I needed some kind of safe haven, some place stable and secure, some home “fenced off” from everything else. So the group home was an obvious necessity, but it was still a difficult transition, and my fears did not immediately go away. There were times during the first couple of months that I felt like I was coming unravelled.

Really and truly, I wondered if I was going to make it, or if I would end up being confined to some psychiatric hospital for the remainder of my life. I was terrorized by this possibility, and literally fought (emotionally and psychologically) to stay in the group home rather than being transferred to another, more restrictive, more “serious” facility. I was already at the low point of my life… I did not want to devolve any further.

But what did God have to do with this? Despite the pretense of humility — and I truly believed I was humble — nevertheless I was proud … arrogant, at least in my own estimation of myself. No, it perhaps did not show outwardly, not glaringly so, anyway; however, I was haughty. I was also quite contentious … opinionated … religious without really being spiritual. And so through degradation, God remoulded me, making me new.

“When my sanity returned, my honor, my majesty, and the glory of my kingdom were given back to me… And now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, honor, and glorify the King of Heaven. Everything he does is right and just, and he can humble anyone who acts proudly.”

~ Daniel 4. 36a, 37 (GNT)

Of course, I did not come out perfect, but I did come out changed for the better … truly thankful for stability in life, mental and emotional health, grateful for the seemingly small and ordinary things of the world, more staid and gentle, seriously and simply spiritual rather than religious, and far more empathetic with those who suffer, especially the mentally ill — that is, those like me.

This is, admittedly, a very brief overview of my life experience over the last couple of years, but this is enough for the time being. (It has been quite difficult to write this much.) But I would like to return to this from time to time, as I believe that it’s good (and healthy) to openly, honestly share… This, then, will be like an open journal. One more note, though: My recent Ordeal has led me in the direction of counseling. Very simply, I want to give back some of the good I’ve received from so many caring people, and to this I genuinely believe God is calling me.

Worry, Worry, Super Scurry

Worry to worry, hurry, scurry,
And all in such a baseless fury;
Sigh, cry with eyes so blurry,
Fly so high to crash and burn,
You may never learn to discern
Where to turn your concern …
Hostile regions of your mind
Bind and blind, and you find
What kind of peace eludes you,
Confuses and then abuses you,
And misuses and accuses you,
As you sulk over easy living lost
While attempting tempting plans
To escape the banality of reality,
Yet you must come face to face
With the case of unsullied truth
That traces lines of finest wine
Of life no longer rife with pain,
But this begins without the sin
Of pride or fear to be so near
What only angels hear
In the realms of glory,
Where your story is boldly told
With a hold on part of a heart
Which has been so very cold
Till now, when there is no reason
To worry, hurry, and super scurry

Unmasked

When you unmask yourself to bask in the sun
And drink the flask of light with none to fight,
Then you’ll be free to be for the world to see
Against black backdrop what you are so far,
And you will be a shining star, none to mar,
With no lack of radiance or wrack of shame
Because you’ve melted into the better soul ~
It’s your very own to own as your very own ~
Here where have been sown seeds of eternity
In confraternity with the fervency of vitality,
You will persist even in the midst of turmoil
On the soil of earth while looking heavenward
To realms unknown along a path not shown,
Taken by the better part of a now-pure heart,
Never to be masked again or subject to vanity
And the insanity of empty pride in stride
With ways of fools in days of wandering,
Forever squandering precious life of glory
That was meant for the story of redemption
By the preemption of the court of the Lord

Shelter

O shelter from the stormy blast, hold me fast;
Quick! Speedily take me neath your covering,
Hovering over me against the tempest raging
And engaging all humanity in utter calamity
With no break for mercy’s sake – we quake –
O hide me and abide with me, (do not chide)
And save me from the rage all around about
That writes itself on each page of our history;
O shelter from the stormy blast, hold me fast!

Cry from the Dark Maze

Slice me and dice me anyway you like and I’ll still bleed!
For however distorted now, nevertheless, I am still man;
Yes, I am still a man, though running through this maze
Like some rat – lab fed and fat – less than what is human;
See me and hear me as I try to climb these walls and cry,
But don’t stand and stare; rather, help me repair my life
So rife with pain and seemingly no gain; let mercy reign!
After all, I am none other than your brother, not another!
. . .
Dominus eleison! Dominus eleison! Dominus eleison!