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!

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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! 

Welcome to the City of Light

Welcome to the City of Light where bright rules the day
Every step along the way, where the soul can safely stay,
Where one can rest in an extraordinary nest of serenity,
Where there is plenty of love and peace that never cease
Here in this place, where the pace is slow and beautiful,
And joy dutiful to attend every step and the mind is kept
From all alarm as fear is dispersed by the light ever near
To the heart with no false start in any part of joyous day;
And where the night is absent of all fright and very calm,
Which is a healing balm to the soul … in the City of Light

Monday Update

Thankfully I was able to sleep through most of the night, though I woke up earlier than I wanted or intended. The morning has been very rough, yet not as much as other mornings. I have put in a call to my psychiatrist concerning the akathisia from which I currently suffer. Hopefully, I pray, he will call me back. Of course, I will call again if he does not call me this morning … and I will keep calling until I get ahold of him.

Holding onto hope by faith is very difficult at times, but I keep trying to tell myself that “this, too, shall pass.” It is, as I’ve said before, an extremely tough row to hoe. The effects of akathisia (at its worst) practically paralyze me on the inside, but God has been very gracious and good. Generally speaking, the days and nights are getting better and, like now, I am able to write and read without feeling like I’m coming completely unglued.

Of course, there must be an answer – in other words, cure – for my plight or, at least, I keep telling myself. And naturally I keep praying for some cure and return to normalcy. This leads me to once again thank my family, friends, readers and fellow-bloggers for your thoughts, encouragement and continuing prayers for me. Words to adequately express my deep gratitude allude me. I can only offer my sincere, heartfelt thankfulness.

More later…

Fog of War ~ Cry for Help

It is the fog of war and I cannot see clearly as I am nearly blind,
And so I bind me to you, my Beloved, clinging to you kind hand,
And you tie your band around my waist lest I here waste away
In this foreign land with battle trenches dug deep into the earth
From which every soldier must show his worth even in dying,
Crying for mercy and peace and I, too, beg the warfare to cease;
Oh, my Beloved, give me new lease on life and let all strife end!

Here is my heart and all of me, too, to do with as you might will;
Take and seal me for eternity in fraternity with you forevermore,
But bring relief now as well as the bell chimes out this late hour,
And show your power to heal, and to fill me with your great love
Above the cacophony of this world into which I’ve been hurled!
And write my own name on your palm and calm all of my fears
Which lurk ever near to my very soul and so wholly fill this hole!

And grant me sweet serenity even now . . .
Oh, grant us serenity even now, my Beloved

Now in the Sacrament of the Present

Feeling tired and, at the same time, wired in the morning is seemingly just part of akathisia (as well as depression and anxiety). By the grace of God, I was able to sleep through the night, though, and the days are slowly but surely getting better. All of this is new territory for me. I’ve never experienced anything like this before and would not wish this on anyone.

Sharing my struggles openly and honestly is therapeutic as long as I can keep my thoughts straight. Otherwise I am just spitting in the wind. (God help me!) But can I count this as merely one part of my life journey? And should I ask myself what I am supposed to learn? But it’s difficult to know what the purpose is and what I am supposed to learn when thoughts race through my mind with no cohesion.

At the very least, I know that I am becoming more and more sensitive to the struggles of other people. Perhaps this is the lesson, if there is one, and so maybe in the final analysis I am to be more empathetic with others and reach out to help them so far as I am able. Certainly I am willing, and if I can do nothing else, at the very least I can pray for them.

Thus far in my own predicament many people have surrounded me with love, encouragement, and prayers. For this I am deeply grateful, knowing that it all has and continues to help immensely; therefore, I hold onto hope by faith, believing that this, too, shall pass. (I mean, of course, this unique predicament in which I find myself.)

For now, I can only take one step at a time, moment by moment, day by day, without fast-forwarding into the future. So, perhaps, another lesson I am learning is to live more fully in the present, trusting almighty God to carry me along this path in love, mercy and grace. For this, I am also learning to be sincerely thankful – that is, to be grateful in what might be called the sacrament of the present moment.

More later. . .

An Openly Honest Comment Upon My Condition

Dealing with depression and anxiety is no laughing matter, to be sure, especially when prescribed medications begin working against you. Not that medication alone is the answer, but when what has been prescribed no longer helps but, in fact, begins causing negative side-effects, then you are moved beyond frustration to the point of tears.

This has been, and continues to be, my own experience. Several weeks ago, it seems the antidepressant prescribed to me lost its effectiveness and then actually caused akathisia – that is, continual restlessness, agitation, sleeplessness and heightened anxiety. This has been enough to drive me to tears, as I am fighting on two fronts: depression and akathisia.

After numerous visits to the emergency room and three hospital stays, my psychiatrist wisely removed all antidepressants and even cut in half the dosage of the mood-stabilizer I have been taking. Alas, though, largely removing the culprits – that is, the psychotic medications – has only partially subdued my akathisia, for which I am now taking medication.

What am I to do? In many ways I believe I am actually taking too much medication, mostly to address side effects of other medication, but without the medication for akathisia I am caught up in a whirlwind of nervousness, agitation, restlessness, and high anxiety. Will I ever know freedom from all of the above? In other words, will I ever be free of depression, anxiety, and akathisia? Of course, this is my ongoing prayer.

But let me get to the point of sharing all of this: One who does not struggle with these internal problems, or ailments, should be very careful not to judge those who are experiencing this (or other physio-psychological difficulties.) Really, unless you have experienced this, or another condition, yourself then you really don’t know the awful reality of bearing this burden. You cannot understand just what devastating effect it all has on the victim.

However, you can show love and compassion, encourage and offer to help to the extent that you can help, and you certainly can pray for the person who suffers. This is a point well-worth stating, remembering, and putting into practice. Sufferers need kindness, sympathy, and help rather than suspicion and condemnation.

Moreover, it is really beneficial – potentially, at least – for family and friends to acquaint themselves with depression, anxiety, akathisia, and other conditions. Learning is the first step toward authentic sympathy as well as the ability to truly help the one suffering. As you begin to better understand the condition(s) then the better equipped you are to actually provide much-needed, genuine, and courteous benevolence.

Personally, as I suffer I realize that most people in my life just don’t have a clue. Depression and anxiety are largely “unseen” afflictions. The akathisia is more evident because it is more physiological, manifesting itself in constant, erratic motion – i.e. extremely jittery nerves, inability to concentrate or carry on a sustained conversation, etc. – but even still, people wonder why I just don’t settle myself down.

I feel a certain sense of hopelessness because I cannot adequately explain my depression, anxiety and akathisia, and I am worn to a frazzle anyway. As moment follows moment, and day slips into night, my whole person is seemingly at war with itself . . . and I seem to be losing! Thank the Lord God I have been able to hold on to hope born of faith that this too shall pass; otherwise, I would despair to the point of giving up altogether.

On the brighter side, though, there are those who do understand, either from personal experience or through a loved one (or close friend), and so they are able to relate. Of course, this only goes so far; after all, they are unable to alleviate my actual suffering. Still, it is an astounding blessing to know that I am not alone. Now if I could just find the cure for it all! (And I say this sincerely.)

Right now the war is thick and every battle has its own special aspect with which to deal. Right now I hardly know which end is up and which is down . . . but I do know the suffering and am well-acquainted with the wounds resulting from the fight. I also know how tremendously grateful I am to God, who has sustained me thus far and promises never to leave nor forsake me!

No, none of this is a laughing matter. It is serious and I would not wish any of this on my worst enemy. God help me! And God help those around me – those within my network of friends and family – to understand (to the greatest extent possible), and to be patient while encouraging and praying for me. Finally, may I learn to be even more empathetic toward those gripped by depression, anxiety, akathisia, and other difficult ailments while longing and waiting for my own redemption from this awful pit! Lord, have mercy!