Processing Pain Through Poetry

 

heart

 

by Linda K

I wrote this poem a couple of months ago. I wrote it while trying to process the struggle of dealing with one sister who suffers with mental illness (bipolar disorder and bulimia) and other family members who don’t understand.

I have experienced seven years of major clinical depression myself, and over the last few years have come to the realization that ending up there again is not outside the realm of possibility if I’m not ever vigilant. But that doesn’t make the family relationships any easier, and I often feel like I’m the only glue or buffer holding things together, and I’m not doing a very good job at it.

I share this here to maybe give someone else the strength to keep being that glue or to appreciate the one in the family who is the glue or . . . well, frankly I’m not sure why. It just seems like something I need to share.

A note on the final stanza: I do not, in any way, wish that the person this poem is about was dead. Far from it. I’ve lost too many other family members, including another sister who died of cancer two years ago. But on the day I wrote this, that felt like it would have been easier to take than the present situation.

Impossible Madness

Why does it feel like I’ve lost you
when you aren’t even dead?

Why am I the only one
who wants to make amends?

Why does it have to be so hard
after all these years?

Maybe it’s the tears
mine and yours, and theirs,
that makes breathing and living
loving and forgiving so impossible

I guess sometimes families and madness
can’t survive one another

Because that’s what you are, you know,
mad, or crazy, or mentally ill
whatever you want to call it

It’s torn us apart
because you don’t understand
why they can’t begin to comprehend
what’s going on inside your head

It’s torn us—you and me—apart
because you’ve convinced yourself
that I don’t at all understand
what’s going on inside your head

You forget I’ve been there
that those crazy, mad thoughts
have been inside my head, too

But then you’ve forgotten a lot of things
all the times I was there for you
just to listen
and the times you were there for me

Forgetting the good
is a tragic side effect
of medications meant to help
Somehow they don’t erase
memories of the less-than-perfect moments

My greatest desire is to forgive
and to be forgiven
to live and laugh and love again
to mend what has been torn asunder
to heal the thoughts inside your head

But right now, in this moment
it feels like you might as well be dead
at least that would be easier to live with

 

aasignLinda

You can find Linda’s own website at http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

Just Broken Glass: Children in a Mentally Ill World

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Mental illnesses in parents represent a risk for children in the family. These children have a higher risk for developing mental illnesses than other children. When both parents are mentally ill, the chance is even greater that the child might become mentally ill.

The risk is particularly strong when a parent has one or more of the following: Bipolar Disorder, an anxiety disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, alcoholism or other drug abuse, or depression. Risk can be inherited from parents, through the genes.

An inconsistent, unpredictable family environment also contributes to psychiatric illness in children. Mental illness of a parent can put stress on the marriage and affect the parenting abilities of the couple, which in turn can harm the child.

Some protective factors that can decrease the risk to children include:

  • Knowledge that their parent(s) is ill and that they are not to blame
  • Help and support from family members
  • A stable home environment
  • Therapy for the child and the parent(s)
  • A sense of being loved by the ill parent
  • A naturally stable personality in the child
  • Positive self esteem
  • Inner strength and good coping skills in the child
  • A strong relationship with a healthy adult
  • Friendships, positive peer relationships
  • Interest in and success at school
  • Healthy interests outside the home for the child
  • Help from outside the family to improve the family environment (for example, marital psychotherapy or parenting classes)

Medical, mental health or social service professionals working with mentally ill adults need to inquire about the children and adolescents, especially about their mental health and emotional development. If there are serious concerns or questions about a child, it may be helpful to have an evaluation by a qualified mental health professional.

Individual or family psychiatric treatment can help a child toward healthy development, despite the presence of parental psychiatric illness. The child and adolescent psychiatrist can help the family work with the positive elements in the home and the natural strengths of the child. With treatment, the family can learn ways to lessen the effects of the parent’s mental illness on the child.

Unfortunately, families, professionals, and society often pay most attention to the mentally ill parent, and ignore the children in the family. Providing more attention and support to the children of a psychiatrically ill parent is an important consideration when treating the parent.

 
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The Kingdom is a Family on Their Way to a Party

Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

 Mark 3:35

There is a hidden mechanism lying in wait for us in this verse.  The fact that it is there at all borders on our sense of reason and the fantastic.  To be a brother, or a sister to Jesus is almost absurd.  (And to be a mother is really pushing the envelope.)  This verse is a true wonder! Too good to be true for a rascal like me.

But it’s not how we see ourselves, it is how Jesus Christ sees us.  He sees us promoted and “and raised us up with him and seated with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6). Ideally, family– as it’s designed to be– is in a level of intimacy exceeding all others.  I have two younger brothers and in spite of not communicating for months we just ‘tune-in” to each other.  When we do meet, it is on the same wavelength.

I’m going to shift gears on you now.  I devoutly believe that the Kingdom of God, which includes the Church, “flows” through relationships between people.  Some believe it flows through a denomination, or other structure.  But it doesn’t.

The Kingdom connects and grows when believers have personal contact with each other.  The Church is not chiefly an organization– but it is an “organism.” I value my relationships, because they have life in them!  Are you trying hard to do God’s will in an area?  Try moving towards personal contact with another.  (I find that is often the way God leads me.)

Back to Mark 3:35.  “Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”  This verse is not for everyone.  One doesn’t relate to Jesus on this illustrious level automatically.  The promise can only be triggered through obedience.  What we do is the evidence of what we believe.  (I told you it was too good to be true! 🙂 )  We ascend into family when we do God’s will.  There are no short-cuts to intimacy like this.

But there is no other way to a closer and intimate relation to Him.  And He has no favorites among His children, only intimates.

aabryscript

Gifts are Nice, But There is Something Better

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This is my first attempt at writing a story. I’m not sure it belongs here, and I apologize for any deficiencies. Please be merciful.

A father stood by his young daughter’s bed. She was clearly tired from a busy day, but because her Dad was with her– that at the moment mattered most. “Dad, tell me a story… please?”

“I’m sorry dear heart, I can’t” he said sadly. “I must travel to Chicago, and then to St. Louis. I’m afraid I’ll be gone for three days. The girl responded, “But Daddy, you’re my best friend. You can’t leave.”

“Honey, if you are good and brave, I will bring you home a special present.” She looked up at him. “A ring?” “Yes, darling. A beautiful ring. Now go to sleep and have sweet dreams, good night. I love you so much.”

When the father returns he finds her at the door, eagerly waiting him. She runs and hugs him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Oh papa, you are really home!” Setting down his suitcase, the Father reaches into his breast pocket. “Here you go, dear one. One special ring!”  It was silver with a small garnet stone, and it was so beautiful. And it sparkled.

Sometime later the father had to make another trip, this time to Akron. “Oh father, please don’t go again. Tell me another story.” (For the father was very good at telling such interesting tales of rabbits and ponies and storms and such.) “Please, stay!” the girl begged.

“Honey, if you’re good and brave, I will bring you home a special present.” The child  grew quiet for a few seconds. “Papa… maybe a dress? A blue one, with lace and puffy sleeves?” Yes love-heart,” he said, “with puffy sleeves. Now you need to go to sleep, dear.”

The trip to Akron was terribly uneventful, but he did stop by a J.C. Penny to buy a little blue dress. Arriving home he found his daughter waiting for him. Setting down his bags, he received so many kisses he wondered if he wasn’t the luckiest man alive.

“And here, young lady, is the dress I promised.” Out of the box, and with lots of ‘ooohs and aahs.’ She lifted it out and modeled it under her chin. It was blue and had puffy sleeves. It was wonderful. (She would wear that dress until it was worn out.)

One day the daughter grew quiet and still. “Father, I don’t want the ring. I don’t want the dress. I don’t want them anymore. I really want you!”

The father smiled, with tears in his eyes, “Dear heart, I love you so much.”

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The Father awaits you to come to this point, when you stop seeking His blessings and start to seek His face.

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Funnies: Am I Overprotective?

APPLICATION FOR PERMISSION TO DATE MY DAUGHTER

Print out and submit as per instructions at the bottom of the form.

 

1. Name :______________________ Date of Birth :______________

2. Height :___________________________

Weight :_______________________ GPA :________________

3. Social Sec. #_________________  Drivers

license#_____________________

4. Boy Scout Rank :__________________________

5. Home address :_______________________ City/ State_____________

6. Do you have one male and one female parent ? Yes _______ No _______

7. If no, explain :______________________________________________

8. Number of years parents married :_____________________________

9. Do you own a van ?______ A truck with oversized tires ?____

A water bed ?_______

10. Do you have an earring , nose ring , belly-button ring ?______ A tattoo ?_______

(If yes to any of #9 or #10, Discontinue application and leave premises …)

11. In ten words or less, what does LATE mean to you ?

___________________________________________

12. In ten words or less, what does Abstinence mean to you ?

______________________________________

13. In ten words or less, what does DON’T TOUCH MY DAUGHTER mean to you?

___________________________________________________

14. Church you attend :__________________ How often you attend :_____

15. When would be the best time to interview your Father, Mother, And Pastor ?

___________________

16. What would you want to be IF you grew up ?

_______________________________________________

 

Answer by filling in the blanks. Please answer freely – all answers are confidential  (that I won’t tell anyone – ever- I promise).

If I were shot, the last place on my body I would want wounded is in the

__________________________

If I were beaten the last bone I would want broken is my

________________________________________

The one thing I hope this application does not ask me about is

___________________________________

When I first meet a girl, the thing I notice about her first

is_______________________________________

 

(Note: If answer begins with T or A, discontinue and leave premises: Keeping your head low and running in a serpentine fashion is advised. )

I SWEAR THAT THE INFORMATION SUPPLIED ABOVE IS TRUE AND CORRECT TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE UNDER PENALTY OF: NATIVE AMERICAN ANT TORTURE, ELECTROCUTION, CHINESE WATER TORTURE, RED HOT POKERS, DEATH, AND DISMEMBERMENT.

Signature (that means your name, moron)

______________________________________________________

Thank you for your interest. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for processing. You will be contacted in writing if you are approved. Please do not attempt to call or write. If your application is rejected you will be notified by two gentlemen wearing white coats and carrying a violin case.

APPLICANT’S RIGHT THUMB PRINT IN BLOOD