Untangle Me, Again

Life gets tangled
The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”

Words of David, 1 Samuel 17:37

I wrote this post in February, 2012.

“In recent weeks I’ve gone through a time of profound confusion. My grip on reality has been tenuous at best. I’ve had a struggle with a depersonalizing sense, I seem not to “see” reality as I used to. Everything seems increasingly odd, and disjointed. I see myself outside myself. Everything is knotted up.”

“I have had bouts with this before. And yet every time the Father has “fathered” me. I have been led through each bout. In many ways, the clinical depression has changed, now it slams. It used to be kind of low grade—a grey fog, a steady and tedious despair, but now its more like a black lightning bolt.”

“I have had suicidal urges and thinking. I hate handling a kitchen knife, as I get the urge to plunge it into my chest. It’s funny like that, I call out to Jesus and He truly does find me. He straightens out my knotted life has only He can.”

“This blog initially started off in September 2009 following the idea of “broken believers.” Perhaps it was overly ambitious. But my heart’s desire was to be transparent and very honest. I still want to see this happen, and it does, sometimes. I know I am no super saint with just the right answer for everyone. If I ever made this impression, please forgive me.”

You see, I am the broken believer of this blog.


Dipped in Shame

“All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face.” Psalm 44:15

Some of us truly understand shame. It’s like we have been dipped in it, we have wallowed in it and things are sticking to us. We live out our lives in disgrace and in the sense of nasty embarrassment which we can’t truly resolve. And it affects all that we do, even in those rare moments we are not aware of it.

I honestly wish I was “teflon.” (I would love to have a ‘non-stick’ heart.) There is often a constant sense of being totally insufficient as a person. It seems I can develop a deep awareness of being defective and unworthy. Many of us feel this way all the time. It is painfully welded to us, and we keep trying to figure how to break that dark bond that’s on our hearts and minds.

Mental illness thrives on that blackness. Depression feeds on that stuff, it seems to cycle through us. Our pasts become its nourishment, and at certain times it flourishes. Sometimes it explodes in our minds, just like when you give your roses a dose of “Miracle Grow” (but in a bad way.)

I read recently, that chemists are trying very hard to develop a drug that would erase bad memories. The thinking is that people suffering from PTSD and other mental illnesses will find freedom from very ugly events. Many of us, at certain points in our lives, truly absorb the evil. Some of us end up in prison, others are addicted, and a few go ahead and commit suicide. Shame truly is at its best when it can completely incapacitate and destroy a person.

Most end up with a mental illness, and because we are so complex, it is difficult to view it as a simple ’cause and effect.’ It really is much more complicated than that. Mental illness has many layers. But if we look at our issues from a different view point we can see things we might never see. A psychiatrist once told me that 90% of resident psych patients could go home, if only they knew were forgiven.

Shame is a monster that is constantly tracking us. At times we can put some distance between us. But occasionally it leaps up on our backs and drags us down. We are humiliated with our guilt. That is precisely when we should scream out for help.

There are pastors and psychiatrists, therapists and friends who are most helpful. Practicing prayer and soaking in worship can drive the monster away. Meds can very often provide a respite. All of these have helped me. But in all of this, we must be patient.

We are dealing with guilt, and there are spiritual issues that trump everything else. Human beings were never created to bear guilt, we don’t know what to do. Shame is vigorously parasitical and consuming. If it runs amok through your life it can and will destroy you. (It is caustic– a sure way to wreck you). Some Bible wisdom:

“You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you.” Psalm 69:19

“…in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Col. 1:14

“To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him.” Daniel 9:9

God has made an incredible provision for your guilt. Your sin, though it is crimson red in its intensity and very obvious, it can become as white as snow. Your shame and guilt can be erased.

“Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.” Isa. 54:4

It was Mark Twain, who once said, “Man is the only animal that blushes, and the only animal that needs to.”  We are ashamed, are we not, of things we’ve done in the past? The fact remains, nobody is free from shame who is unforgiven. Instead of being able to look God in the face or to look one another in the face, we want to run away and hide when our conscience troubles us. But there is an infinitely a better way…




Give Us This Day, Our Daily Meds

My particular issue is with Bipolar 1, with psychotic features.  I have social anxiety which factors in as well as weird delusions.  The anxiety and delusions are pretty much one and the same.  They are often the things that will touch other people, while the rest is less obtrusive and can be hidden.

I have a tendency to hatch ‘mini-conspiracies’ almost daily.  They can be really paranoid as I think the worse about people, and life as it enfolds around me.  Facebook with its social networking helps, but it has also intensified my issues.  I am very much a recluse, and only get out and about twice a week. There are some who can see through my issues and really help. They are worth more then gold to me.

Depression, which is part of the Bipolar, has been more of a factor just in the last few months.  Suicide, that dark word, will deepen if the depression goes too long without lifting. It is an awful and brutal thing. My last bout was just two months ago and I quit functioning. I really did pray for death. Debilitated, I laid in bed powerless to do anything but sleep, and hide. I didn’t take a shower or bath for almost a month. Just the thought of being pelted by water seemed too violent.

Being a believer gives me a reason to live.  The Holy Spirit is so patient with me.  His companionship is far more helpful than any anti-depressant.  He doesn’t require that I become symptom free to fellowship with Him.  Instead, He weaves with the materials He has, and my discipleship is really no different than other Christian believers. This gives me a constant hope.

Overall, in spite of a very tumultuous, and ‘see-saw life’, I find that life with Jesus (discipleship) is truly grand.  He understands me, and is guiding me.  He is the Shepherd who is good, and I am His sheep who needs kindness and forgiveness always. He bruises no reed, nor does He quench the smoking candle (Matthew 12:20.)

One more thing.  Having a mental illness has, I believe, made me more compassionate and tender toward others.  When I meet a difficult person, I will be the last one to give up on him.  Others will bail out, but I stick.  I guess this can be a bad trait, but I can’t help it.  I love people, esp. those who hurt.

Here’s a list of my daily meds.  I hope this helps someone navigate the wild seas of psychiatry safely.

AM– lithium, 600 mg/Zoloft 200mg/Seroquel 400 mg/Provigil 200mg

NOON-Seroquel 200 mg

PM-lithium 600 mg/Seroquel 400 mg/Lunesta 2 mg

The lithium works mostly on mania, but does help depressive states.  The Zoloft is an anti-depressant (similar to Paxil)  The Provigil is for alertness, I have had issues with daytime sleepiness, esp. since my brain tumor.  Finally the Lunesta is a sleeping pill. This may seem a lot, but it has taken 2-3 years to get it figured out.  If I can help explain any of this, please let me know.  I aim to please!