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!

As I Cross This Ocean Deep

As I cross this ocean deep where secrets keep,
My fair soul sends forth its prayer so very bare,
And naked I stand before the band of angels,
Aware of weakness of flesh, with fresh songs
So melodious and filled with love from above;
Ah! But can I sing with them and bring peace
To my spirit so troubled within me in serenity,
While the waves come higher quenching fire
In my heart, taking the better part of my self
Into watery caverns buried beneath the water?
And when shall I reach the coastline of glory?
When shall I sit in peace to tell my paltry story?
When shall I walk the distant shore in peace
With new lease on life – new, abundant life –
Given to me as gift as I lift my hands to heaven?
Ah! I cross this ocean deep where secrets keep,
And in this journey grow into brand new birth
For all that I might be worth on the other side;
So, dear Lord, help me on board this regal ship
Not to slip in despair, knowing you will repair
As you lay this my heart bare without one tear,
And so I shall yet be all that is meant for me . . .

Let Me Sing to You

Let me sing of you as you sing to me, O Love above all loves,
And bring me into your home and heart as I give you mine,
And let the sign of our passion be grace with contemplation,
And may affection thus fill my soul even as you caress me
And make me wholly yours, my Beloved, through the hours,
Every step along the Way and every moment of every day
As I cry, ‘Stay with me through the light of day into the night,
Through every low valley up onto every height thru this life,’
And never let it be said that this poor man ever forgot you;
And so my song shall be sung long and on into the eternal,
Which shall be accompanied angelic choirs thru the hours
With power and might, in the face of Beauty shining bright
And fair as this man tears himself away from so many cares,
Diving ever more deeply into the layers of your love, O Love,
Now and forevermore as you care for me as everyone sees,
And so shall I sing my never-ending song as you sing to me

Let Me Rise Above as I Lay Me Down

I lay my life down in your arms, O Beauty and Peace,
So be gracious to grant me rest and on life new lease

Crown me with your love in this forlorn town of humanity,
And drive away the insanity as I now lose all of my vanity,
And bold let me enter your fold for there is rest, I am told,
And there mold me and make me like you, ever so divine

And as I walk these paths and talk with pilgrims who balk
At the idea of any tranquility with hostility and no humility,
Let me not be ensnared in their claptrap, but rise above
Such fray to your love this very day along life’s terrible way

I lay my life down in your arms, O Beauty and Peace,
So be gracious to grant me rest and on life new lease

After such great turmoil graciously grant the best of rest
In your numinous nest, and to be gone with soul festering;
Let me find merciful safety in your hands and loving bands
While the sands of time slowly fall through the hourglass
Of heaven leavened with passion that shall not pass me by

I lay my life down in your arms, O Beauty and Peace,
So be gracious to grant me rest and on life new lease

Curse of the Flesh

I could never imagine some greater hell on earth
To test all of my worth than having rest and sleep
Kept out of reach, but this too shall teach and pass

Alas, my body is racked with pain making insane
What was wholly taken for granted for all of my life,
And it cuts like a knife, deep and hard for this bard

And do I cry for mercy now? Yes, as I humbly bow
To the only Power that can face my body’s rebellion
And overcome some sweet day I do hope and pray

So much time seems to have passed and yet not long,
For it is only months that I have been sore plagued,
Gnashing my teeth, anxiety crashing in on me, I see

But it feels like an eternity, this my curse of the flesh

Love Rescue Me

I am blind and I am lost; I am bound and I am tossed
And I am crying out of the depths, ‘Love rescue me!’

First since the devil did appear to sear the heart of humanity
And lay low the children of Adam and Eve in perpetual insanity,
Lies upon lies have washed o’er the souls of men and women
With demons howling, sapping all our strength God-given . . .

And I no less than my forefathers in weakness pass the days
In an insufferable haze and maze of confusion and despair,
Waiting for repair of spirit that can come only from above
In love divine descending as an heavenly dove in serenity . . .

I am blind and I am lost; I am bound and I am tossed
And I am crying out of the depths, ‘Love rescue me!’
And I am crying out of the depths, ‘Love rescue me!’

And now do the pages turn as ages pass and all the angels sing
‘Alleluia,’ but I am waiting for mercy and grace in this space
That’s been given me to be all that I can be for what I can see
And more, to adore the only One who can surely rescue me . . .

And I am crying out of the depths, ‘Love rescue me!’

I am blind and I am lost; I am bound and I am tossed
And I am crying out of the depths, ‘Love rescue me!’
And I am crying out of the depths, ‘Love rescue me!’

Calm Me, O My Beloved

Calm my heart, relax my mind, and rest my soul
From the battle’s high toll this moment in time
With chimes of heavenly peace that never cease
Even in the crease of pain and let me gain entry
Into your train of serenity, my dearest Beloved

Let me feel you near to me and disperse all fear;
Dry my tears and let me hear your song over me,
Sung in harmony with choirs of angels on high
To soften my cry of anguish here on earth below
Where low lays my spirit now . . . Oh, be not slow!

Holding On One More Day

Holding on for one more day along this way called life,
Waiting for you to come to me once again, my Beloved;
Thinking back knowing you show no lack of concern,
Though I burn inside with all my pride turned to ashes

And when will you come to me again, I urgently wonder
As I desperately blunder forward moment by moment
And humbly lament my predicament? Oh! Come quickly!
Come quickly to my rescue and give me life brand new!