Crazy Life: My Testimony, Part II

Continuing my reflections begun in Temporary Insanity,” I would like to share my memories from my first few days in a SpectraCare  group home, one of many located in the Wiregrass area of Southeast Alabama.

The day I first moved in I felt both relieved and anxious … actually, manic. I was relieved to be in a well-structured, safe and secure environment, which was located in the rural outskirts of the small town of Samson. Yet I also felt very high-strung, like I couldn’t settle down to save my life, and, indeed, I had serious problems even going to sleep at night, which fueled an unreasonable fear that I would never sleep again.

Point in fact, though I was thankful to be where I was, I didn’t know if I would be able to stay. I thought I might actually have to be moved into more intensive care … somewhere, though I didn’t know where that would be. To make matters worse, I was nearly frightened to death that if I were moved into more intensive care, I would never get out. Why this particular conclusion? I can’t really say, but that was my state of mind.Hypomania

Oftentimes I just felt like screaming, not because of where I was — I was grateful for my new locale — but because I deeply felt totally overwhelmed. My Ordeal followed me into the group home, but what else should I have expected? Naturally, it was not going to end simply because I’d moved somewhere new.

I can distinctly recall lying in bed as early as 7 to 8 p.m. wondering if I’d be able to rest … to fall asleep. Of course, the attention I gave to this question only aggravated the problem. Thinking about it made it worse.

As an answer to my difficulties in sleep, the staff psychiatrist upped my dosage of Seroquel to a whopping 600 mg just before bedtime. For my constant agitation and anxiety, he prescribed both Buspirone and Vistaril. The good doctor also increased my dosage of Depakote to 2000 mg per day … so I ended up quite drugged, to say the least. This bothered me, but not as much as feeling severely agitated all the time and not being able to sleep at night; consequently, I took all of my medication without hesitation.

Strangely enough, during these first days in the group home I really didn’t allow myself to wonder all that much about God and where God might be in my Ordeal. In fact, I really didn’t pray much. It was almost like I was spiritually stymied. Spiritually I felt numb … not able to engage my soul in … whatever. I did still believe in God; that was never a question. I was, or felt like I was, spiritually impotent. Did this bother me? At the time, no it did not, and this is what I mean by feeling numb.

The first rekindling of the flame of faith came in our Sunday morning attendance at a semi-Charismatic, racially-mixed church, and it came more through the praise-and-worship music than anything that was actually said… Well, at the time I really did not need, nor probably could have handled, any intellectual/theological engagement of my mind. It was my heart that needed nourishment and encouragement, and this is what that church provided, much to my gratitude.

After about four to six weeks I had calmed down and settled in to what felt more like an actual home. And it is probably well-worth noting that I received no visits, nor even phone calls from family and friends during this initial stage, which was ultimately good. To tell the truth, I really did not want to shoulder the burden of visiting or even talking on the phone. During my first days in the Samson Group Home, it would have been too much. I just couldn’t do it, but what I could do, was rest and recuperate … thankfully.

When finally I was able to receive my first visit from family — specifically my eldest sister and her husband — I was ready. But that’s another recollection for another time.

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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

Shield on the Battlefield

Raise up the blood-soaked shield of faith on the battlefield,
And do not yield to the enemy, for your destiny is sealed
By the God of heaven and earth, in whom you have trusted,
To whom the surety of victory belongs for which you long,
And this has become your battle song sung long and strong;
He is your Beloved, in whom you live and have your being,
Seeing all from small to grand and tall, every inch of ground,
Hearing every sound, even the pounding of your very heart;
And your Beloved has given you the better part of his own,
Even as he has sown seeds of love, joy, and peace . . .
Look to his banner and fight on in the light of his bright face!

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…

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. . .

Let It Rain

Clouds full of promise, filled with blessing,
Rain down on this parched land so thirsty
With mercy born of angelic love and grace;
Speed your message to these lips of ours
So that we may drink and surely live again
As we continue on our journey here below,
Here below, plodding onward and upward
To heights hitherto unknown to pilgrims,
Pilgrims in search of a new Eden on earth
. . .
Lord, have mercy, and let it rain, let it rain