Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
but for the heart to conquer it.

- Rabindranath Tagore

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Blessing of a Sound Mind

I have started writing about my experiences in the hospital! I have waited to start this project until I felt like I knew what I wanted to say. I have told the different parts of the story to friends for years, and have gotten the same reaction from almost every person "you should write a book!" I finally realize that mostly what I am doing is telling a story. I intend to talk about what I've learned through the experience, but at its core this book with be the story of how God stepped into my broken life and showed me that He is in the middle of what we call Redemption in the Christian faith. He is not waiting until the end to destroy this whole creation experiment and redeem those left over. I believe very strongly that Christ died not so I can have "fire insurance," but so that He can conform His people to the Image of Christ, so that He can bring His love into this world in all its broken godforsakenness, so that He can move in our lives through His Spirit. I have a lot of the outline tentatively finished and started writing first drafts of certain stories. The hardest one to write so far was the very first days in the hospital when things were not particularly clear. I posted on Facebook a status:

"It is quite hard to write about a time where you weren't completely lucid but still have vivid memories. Especially, when these memories are of a nightmare reality that only you knew. I now think about my first few weeks in the hospital as something of a dance with insanity. I do not pretend to know what a person with schizophrenia lives with, but I remember believing that my entire world was dominated by an evil man with almost supernatural powers who loved to torture me."

I looked up Schizophrenia and realized that certain aspects of that disease describe my memories and how different they were from what was actually happening. I actually fit the category of Paranoid Schizophrenia in a few aspects.

Some things I found from PubMed that I experienced:

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it hard to: Tell the difference between what is real and not real; Think clearly. And, specific symptoms include: Irritable or tense feeling; Trouble sleeping; Bizarre behaviors; Hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations); Strongly held beliefs that are not real (delusions). Specific symptoms of Paranoid Schizophrenia: Anxiety; False beliefs that others are trying to harm you or your loved ones.

I only lived with these things for a week or two, but they were the heaviest burden I've had. There is no way to explain it to a "sane" person without sounding "crazy." But, that's just it, I more or less was. My actions and perceptions were in line with this disease. Now, I know that they were caused by the drugs they had me on and that it would be very different to live them out in the world where there aren't nurses to rescue you from yourself.

At one point in my writing I began to cry because I realized how blessed I am that those things were only temporary. I do not know if the electrical shock could have reorganized my mind in a way that left me with them permanently, but I am glad that it didn't. When I started to cry, I began to walk around my home and touch the walls and furniture just to experience them as real. The blessing of a sound mind connected to reality is something I hope I never take for granted again.


Katie Ward said...

I'm glad you're doing this. I look forward to reading it someday.

Carmen* said...

Wow... Thankful... I love that your writing these moments as well... The emotions you are having while writing the book itself. I agree with aka tie 100 percent

Carmen* said...