Fade Away, Part 2

Been in a writing flow. Getting my struggles out into poetic form.
I was fading away,
Fading to a new place to stay,
Staying where the pain fits and
Where the depression sits.
It started when that marathon ended,
When that rush was over,
When spring was over
And summer had begun,
Thought more light was more
Fun.
Started out staying up late
And staying out of touch with You,
Started calling you again
And coming over again
Started something that should have
Been the end.
Started out spending all my credit
And saving nothing for a rainy day
For a future time of losing the rhyme.
Road trip to Vegas,
Staying up all night,
Losing all my might,
Giving in to pleasure,
Losing the measure of grace
Falling from this place,
Losing the secret place.
Ended up in the hospital
Started losing sleep,
And so it began,
A whole new painful journey again.
Paced the halls with nothing but
White walls,
Tried to find you but I couldn’t see You
Tried to rest and find some peace
But it was deceased and had left
This place.
I found a new friend with fear
And stopped the tears from flowing
From my eyes.
So it started again,
Deep into the darkness did I
Descend,
Pain I could not comprehend,
It was like these last 6 years were
To good to be true I had slipped and
Fallen out of touch with You.
I am still on the search,
Thank heaven for my church,
For those I can text,
And for the text that says You are
Faithful and True!
For all that I do is dependent on You.
I was fading away but maybe I still am,
Fading into something new,
Something greater with You.
This journey has been a hard one,
But You are a new future,
A new story to be told is found in You.
Time for the old to fade away,
And the new to come!

Fade Away

More poetic reflections on my journey with depression.
Waking up to a feeling of fright
Gracefully made it through the night
Trying to get this right
Trying to find some might
Maybe You are who You say You are
Remembering the left wrist and the
Time it was to close to call
When the last I remember was a great
Fall and a fade away.
All that is in front of me is the darkness
And it creeps in with boldness
But where is God and where is the light
Where is the right?
Am I going to far left
And to far lost
And to far gone,
Cause I am fading, too
And where are You
Where are You in all of this.
I see You just barely
I feel You just rarely
I know You but only simply
When did this get so complicated
When did You fade, fade away like
Into the blue You are in a different place
You feel gone and lost away from this place
I feel I have lost my way
Trying to find You
Trying to make it through
Trying to survive
Without the will to live
Where you are?
Have you faded away too
Help me find You
Help me see You
You are in the midst of this place
You have to be here
Where else can I go or
Try to run from Your presence
Waking up to a feeling of fright
Gracefully made it through the night
Trying to get this right
You are good no matter what I feel
You are good no matter what I go
Through, You are the center of this
Storm, and Your eyes don’t fall from
Seeing me in this place.
You have not faded away from this place
You see me here.
My vision will become clear
I am starting to feel You near.

My Depression, Part 2( Old Post)

I wrote an article back in January about how I have been dealing with depression. This season of life has been one of the hardest in a long time. I am now on my 8th month of feeling depressed and not stable. A week ago I was at the end of my stay in the hospital and 2 weeks ago I did a short stay in a psychiatric emergency room. Facebook has always been a place where people vent and sometime vomit their personal opinions but can also feel like no one is really being real with what is going on inside of them. I am seeking to comfort those who are afflicted with depression by sharing my own struggles.
I have been lacking the motivation to do all things that need to be done for me to live a normal life. Everything has been hard and my dark thoughts have been harder to fight each and everyday. It feels like instead of taking it one day at at time that I am taking it one hour at at time.
Here is what I am learning. Some main truths to hold onto.
#1 I need to TRUST in the Lord with all my heart.
It is easy to talk about trusting God when things are going your way but what about when we really feel like we can’t feel or see Him. I have broken down TRUST to mean:
Totality- it is all our heart we are called to give and all of our life we are called to lay down. Depression wants to steal the wholehearted commitment we have for God.
Righteousness- walking in the truth that we are the righteousness of Christ, and we can’t earn that. It is part of walking as a new creation. Depression steals and kills these simple truths and pulls us away from them.
Understanding- Lean not on your own understanding but in all your way acknowledge Him. I am learning to not lean on my own understanding especially when it comes to taking medications and having to depend on the help of doctor’s. I don’t have to understand everything going on around me or in me but He wants to lean on Him.
Sacrifice- Trusting Him means we sacrifice our will and our ideas and our strategy and lay that down to know His will even more. Depression steals you away from real sacrifice and makes everything about what you aren’t doing and where you aren’t seeing Him in your life.
Together- Trusting Him for real friendships and relationships. Having this in our life makes all the difference. Depression isolates you from connection and without connection you lack purpose and without purpose you lack hope and hope makes us come alive and walk in Joy on the inside.
#2- I need people. I have been reaching out to everyone I know asking for prayer in this time. It has forced me to walk in humility over my situation. People are needed in my life to pull me through. I think of the passage in Luke 5 when the paralyzed man needs people to pull him closer to the feet of Jesus. It seems like it wasn’t just his friends that helped lift him over the roof but it was also and could have been random people that are around. Asking for help can be the hardest thing we ever do. It leaves us venerable and in need and that need comes out when we are asking others to pray for us. My church every Sunday morning does a call for those that are hurting and need prayer. I have been raising my hand every week asking for prayer. I am texting people everyday updating them on how I am doing. I need people.
#3- The bigger perspective. Life is short and flies by. Often you see a theme in movies and shows where characters are asking hard questions about themselves and their story. It comes down to living a life without regret. Taking chances. Having faith. Finding love. Losing love but to the point that it doesn’t lose you. Depression has been making me feel like this is it for me. That I am going to struggle this way forever and it can’t really get that much better even though I spent the worst year of my life in 2013 to then having the best 6 years of life to follow. Can I really get back to that place of feeling stable like I did for 6 years? This feeling of depression can’t last forever.
#4 Trusting doctor’s. I have never been in the doctor’s office so much and in touch with my psychiatrist. This hard time has forced me to trust in the medical process especially with changes to medications that have been happening. It has forced me to trust my doctor on a whole new level.
I hope this post brings encouragement to you. If you are someone struggling with bipolar or depression ask for prayer and help from those around you. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Dealing With Depression, part 3

Dealing with my depression, Part 3.
I have been in a really hard season since August. I went to the hospital, in August, because of a manic episode and spent 2 weeks changing medications and getting myself back to a stable place. My mania calmed down over time and my sleep came back to me but I was left feeling numb and depressed. I managed to function in life but at the bare minimum. My depression over the course of this season got worse and worse. My medicine also kept changing as the doctor was trying to figure out how to get me to a better place of stability. The hardest part of med changes is what it does to you mentally and physically. I went to the hospital again just before Christmas and when I entered into January we started taking me off of certain medications that we felt I maybe didn’t need anymore. This made my depression worse.
My lack of motivation and lack of energy was driving me to this dark place. I have been here before but it has been years since I felt this way. I went through the worse year of my life in 2013 where I had suicidal thoughts daily. I tried to suicide 3 times in 4 months and the last try was so severe that I almost died. I survived and managed to overcome the negative symptoms of my bipolar. I was doing pretty great for a good 6 years but this past year has been a major test of my trust in God. I started getting dark thoughts again the end of February and that led to another hospitalization. This time around we made another change to the medications but this time for the better. After a few days I started feeling better and by day five I was ready to go home. One of the passages of Scripture that has been on my mind has been John 5. The story of the man who thinks he can’t get better. Jesus, in His mercy, heals him despite all of the excuses that he makes.
Do you really to get better?

John 5:5-9 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.”

So, here I am making myself vulnerable to you on Facebook talking about my issues. All of us can relate to this man. We have access to healing and the power of God through faith but it seems like our brokenness gets the best of us sometimes and we can’t find a way to move forward. This has been a hard time for the world and our society. We are being forced to rely on each other in a new way but will we accept the healing invitation?

There is a Proverb found in 14:10 that says, ” Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” I believe this captures suffering and pain. We get so used to a bitter and disappointed heart that we can’t find a way to connect with people in true joy and fellowship. It takes amazing grace and humility to ask for help. To come out of internal war within and to break out into asking for help.

Practical applications:

#1 Don’t make excuses. It is easy to complain and get caught up in our circumstances but God has provided a sufficient grace for us. There is always a way out and usually it happens by asking for help from others. He has given us everything we need for a Godly life( 2 Peter 1).

#2 Ask for help. The smallest of Scriptures with the largest implication is Psalm 12:1, “Help, Lord!” We need God’s help and God uses people. I wrote a Facebook post the other day highlighting all of the people( 50 plus) that have prayed with me and helped me in this hard season that I have been in. I believe the feeling I have of being better in this past week has been related to all of the help and support I have asked for. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for people praying with me and encouraging me.

#3 Take action. Faith without works is dead and we all know this. God is calling us to act on our faith. To pray for those around us. Prayer is action. Prayer is acting on God’s promises and holding God to them. He wants to move in our lives. We need to pick up our excuses and our self-pity and walk. We need to trust that by moving in faith He will break in and deliver!

#4 Don’t compare. It is easy to be like this man and look around at what everyone else is doing. To scroll to much through Facebook and compare ourselves to others and to imagine a story that isn’t in reality. The man by the pool couldn’t see his chance for healing because he was busy watching what everyone else was doing instead of acting in faith himself .

I shared what I did earlier in this article to show you that I have struggled. I am still figuring out how to manage the symptoms of my bipolar and it has not been easy. I often have the thought that I hate it. I hate that I have to spend all of this time and energy getting help from doctor’s and therapists and medications but God has been faithful and has used all of it.

Please reach out for help and act in faith that in voicing your struggle there is hope. I have wrestled with hopelessness and it has not won. I am in a much better place today because of the people that have helped me get up and walk! You can do the same. Reach out and see what God does when you do.

 

My depression

I recently wrote that this has been a hard season of life. I have been dealing with my depression. I have been in a low. Getting out of bed is hard and finding the motivation to go to school and go to work has been equally as hard. I have had so many changes in my medications that I think some of my numbness to enjoying life has been caused by these changes. Medicine has always helped me but really this past year I have been in the hospital 3 different times and each time it has been a major setback. It has cost me money. I have missed work. I am always working harder to get caught up once I am out. It has cost me time. I spend a lot of time in the doctor’s office trying to get myself back to a place of stability. I have had a year of feeling down and especially since the summer this has been true. So, what does a faith believing person like me do with depression.
I hope this finds you well and stirs a deeper conversation that I have been having with myself.
#1 Faith is always tested in hard times. Our faith is our belief in something greater than ourselves. Our belief that God’s truth is greater than our feelings and our circumstances. When I find myself depressed and lacking motivation I feel I am in a test. Will I trust God to pull me through and pull me out of my sadness even. Often the answer is that God will pull me through but not take me out. My faith gets tested in these hard days because so little of me feels God close to me and I wonder where is God in my struggle.
#2 My sense of self-worth. There is a lot of negativity around depression. Negative thoughts and ideas floating around your head but controlling you at the same time. A loud voice is the voice of self-worth. The voice that says, “You aren’t good enough!” And you aren’t really good enough to get out of this depression. These loud voices dominant my mind and take me down a dark path. I know that my worth comes from Christ and there is grace to combat the negative thoughts. I do have power( more than I know) over my mind.
#3 The past can’t be changed. Often the past is the place that I want to change. Past year of hospital visits all could have been avoided if I had just taken my medications and stayed on the structured schedule. My past is over and the best way to move forward is to learn from it. It is easy in depression to live somewhere ‘else’ and that place is a place you shouldn’t stay long. My future is full of hope and even if I have messed up there is grace.
#4 Forgiveness. In depression comes bitterness and bitterness can come from not forgiving. In my sadness I want to blame and hold onto issues with people and find someone to put in the place of blame. God is calling me to lay down those offenses and reconcile. As the Scripture says, “Go and be reconciled first to your brother before you offer your gift to God.”
#5 Community. It is easy to isolate. Proverbs says, ” A man that isolates himself breaks out against all sound judgment.” I want to hide from people and not allow my community of faith to help me. When I was in the hospital last month I had friends from church come and see me in the hospital. It meant a lot to me that people around me care and help me see the light when I am in such a dark place. Having community is crucial to getting better.
I have been struggling with finding joy in the things that I am doing. I have been struggling with getting past these episodes that I have been having. I have been having a hard time falling asleep, showing up to work, waking up, making money, going to doctor visits, taking medications, exc. But all of it is part of the process so I am persevering in the midst of feeling bad.
I hope you can find hope in these words. I have made a commitment to talk about mental health even if I am not feeling great. This is me talking about it.

Shuffle

No more shuffling my feet,
Feeling kicked on the street,
Feeling the smoke from your heat,
I was walking close together,
Like the burning weather,
Like the road to you was all lost.
I was shuffling them together,
Like my mind was the storm,
Like pacing in your hall was the norm.
I was trapped inside of my head
Like someone unleashed a thousand
Scorpions used to sting,
Used to sing,
Used to scream,
This mind is loud,
Louder now,
It has something to say.
I, too, can walk and stay,
And pace in that uncontrollable way.
I have been trapped,
And tapped,
And drained from my senses.
This is sorrow on the borrow
And it’s gonna keep coming back
For more.
I am walking better,
Feet not so close together,
Walking on the street,
Feeling a new kind of heat,
Feeling better about walking
Not so close together.
This mind is loud,
Louder now,
Hearing and seeing all
In the same,
Seeking for change,
Looking for heat to
Exchange.

Sleep On The Floor

I have a new Blog for my Louder Now Podcast. This is from that.

I have a problem. I don’t like my bed. I really don’t like it because it reminds me of a dark and hard time in life in the past.
I had a problem. I should be over this by now but when you go through the hardest time in your life and you still sleep in that same bed you want a change. I need a change. I need a new bed to sleep in. This is an ongoing conversation that I have with myself about my bed and about my sleep. In the fall of 2007 I had my first mental breakdown. It started with not sleeping and resulted in sort of sleeping and eventually sleeping. I had many nights where I would sleep on the floor. I would start in my bed and the winding down process became to much to bear in one place, so I would find myself on the floor and I slept better not in my own bed.
12 years later I am still struggling to fall asleep and I am wishing I was sleeping somewhere else. A different bed cause the bed that I have now reminds me of 2013. I went through the worst of all episodes in 2013. I was severely suicidal daily and it was inescapable the thoughts and urges that I felt. The medicine that I had weaned myself off of so easily a year earlier was turning on me, and even betraying me. What once worked was now a hopeless mess. I dreaded each night of bed time and each night of sleep. I slept on the floor. I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle my bed so at least I had the floor to sleep on.
How did I get here? How did so many years of childhood go by where sleep was not a problem. I was a heavy thinker and I had a soft and sensitive conscious. I remember feeling like my tossing and turning was from hiding something from my mom and my sleep was better if I confessed what I was hiding. I moved to Kansas City after high school and I stayed up all night. And as detrimental as that was to my mental health I still slept. I started growing in understanding and learning so much in such a short amount of time. I would have to journal myself to sleep. I would have to write out everything that was on my mind just to get it out of my head. Kind of like exercising until you are at the point of exhaustion. I would write until I fell asleep. Except I was on the floor. Writing. Seeking. Praying.
Sleep where you are, not where you want to be. I have learned a few lessons in being someone that struggles with sleep. I take medication. It helps, but it doesn’t change my perspectives and my faith and my thoughts. I am stable with the help of medication but to be honest sleep is still a struggle. I hate my bed because it reminds me of 2013 when sleeping on the floor was a place of discomfort and torment. My artsy self wants to make a dramatic video of me throwing it away and have The Lumineers song Sleep On The Floor playing in the background. Like the song I don’t want to leave this town..but I do want to leave this bed.
Do you like where you sleep? Do you find yourself at war with the place of rest? What you are at war with is where you are at in life. I never thought I would have ended up going through the pain and suffering of bi-polar depression when I turned 21..no one plans for it but it happened. Sleep where you are at. Face the anxieties of life where you live and the city you are in. Often we are plagued with wanting to be somewhere else because we can be if we want to be. We have to much freedom that leads us to live halfway. Half of you is here and the anxious part of you is always somewhere else. I have thought recently that the idea of the floor is not the place of peace in our lives. The floor( for me) has represented survival and a temporary feeling of needing to belong in a safer space.
Sleep where you are at, not where you want to be. Live where you are at, not where you want to be.

Certainty

8/7 to 8/21- I was getting some help at the hospital for my mental health.

I am looking for a moment
I am looking for me to own it,

This illness is a mistress
Cause I hid myself from you,
Is there a new view

I am looking for a moment
When all you have are moments
To give away..

Are you defined,
Or are you definition.

Are you repeating,
Or are you repetition

Is this old,
Or is this a rendition

How many times have you called
Me out into the hallway,
To call me out of my medicines,
To calm me down with medicines
To bring down all the sympathy,
Cause this here is no symphony,

I feel the sounds,
And the louds,
And the ears that ring.

But I am asking for a revision,
A revision of my decisions.

Are you any kind of collection,
Or any kind of selection

Are you my friend,
Or my companion.

Is everyone gonna stay,
Or is everyone gonna leave.

Is this a 51/ 50,
Or are you never gonna leave me.

Cause in the end all I have is the hallway..
Is the long stay,
A break like this called Hell,
You call getting well.

Did I give it all to you,
Did I surrender fully..

You press
You pressure
You sift
You shift
You ask for the gears
You take all the tears,
You speed this thing in
The fast lane.

I am well cause
I am in Hell,
And getting well
Is the next swell,

Give me waves,
Give me freedom.
Give me a reason
To escape,
To conquer,
To win.

Hills

Making a comeback. A lot on my mind. A lot going on in life.

 

To feel again,
To find you again,

I knew just hallways,
And corner spaces,
And scared places,

If these halls had hills
They would be alive to..

If I live open then you can see me,
You can see all of me,

And there is no going back,
Going back to living in the the black,
Rich and slightly famous,
How many people asked about me
When I was gone?

How many texts and tweets did I get,
Even more so when I was steady
And hungry,

Only in poverty did you come
Running after me,

To feel again,
To steal again,
The moments made by sunsets,
Now I can stay up and see them,
Now I can stay up and receive them.

If these halls had hills,
They would be alive to,
They would be high too,
They would be all about you.

Stop this cycle
and this roundabout,
Show me what mercy is about,
Cause that is all I need from You
Today.

Interlude- Body

Body of yours,
This life of poise,
This world of noise.
This place I cover,
This place I hover,
Anger you stored up,
Wrath for the hungry,
Treasures for the lonely,
Are you telling me to stop,
Or are you telling me to stay?

Body of yours,
White and pale,
Snow and hail,
Rain and reign,
Are you still king?
Are you still the rearrange?

Cause we never had furniture,
Cause we worried about future,
Cause we needed new furniture,
Cause we can’t change future.

Seated on us,
Seated within us,
This life is poise,
This world of noise,
I am crying out and loud,
Time is going by,
Time is flying by,
Are you still as loud as you used to be?

Is noise what we need,
Or are you louder than you should be,
Is noise what you reign on in the rain,
Is this the last time I talk about things
I don’t do.

Tell me,
Body,
Body expand,
Body of land,
Don’t let this body fall apart.