© Copyright, Peter Stone, 2010 These poems are based upon poems and diary entries I made in the early 1990s while suffering from severe depression. The poems are in chronological order, spanning a period of about ten months. To read of my journey in learning to cope with and eventually recover from depression, feel free to pop over to my blog, as below: www.cornerstonethefoundation.blogspot.com
Floundering in an Arid Wilderness
Why is my life in such inner turmoil? I grow faint, physically and emotionally, yet I don’t know why. I flounder helplessly in this arid wilderness, buffeted by the winds of despair and confusion. Anger and bitterness rise up like a flood. I turn to Jesus, seeking comfort, although it feels like He has forsaken me. I try to face and sort through the issues and implications, but there’s too many of them.
Languishing in a Personal Hell
Every day I languish in this personal hell. I want to get out of myself, and go anywhere else. I’ve tried not to grumble, not to get bitter. And I failed. I think and think, searching to find the answers as to what has happened to me and why, but it is worthless I am allergic to my own thoughts! They are plagued with fears and doubts, and my wretched understandings. Surely they are my undoing! I feel so inadequate, so helpless, oh Lord, when will it end?
This Endless Inner Pain
No one can see this endless inner pain, or hear me screaming on the inside, wishing it would end. And somehow I am still me, even though I’m not the slightest bit like myself. Although the mornings are worse, this endless feeling of dread perturbs me all day, every day. Occasionally it relents, only to return in full force. And whenever I think and analyse, I fall deeper into this miry pit. Regardless of how hard I try, I cannot turn off my mind! I cannot believe this is happening to me. Help me, God! Are You angry with me, or do You understand, and love me all the more?
Will I Ever See Daylight Again?
I feel like a bird trapped in a suffocatingly small birdcage, hidden at the bottom of a dark basement. I want to breakout of the blackness, And fly into the Light outside. But it is an impossible task – I can’t get out. And the thick, murky black air closes in… I feel like I’m in a room with invisible walls. But it’s so black in the room, that I can’t see through the walls. Where I go, the room goes – I can’t get out. I wish someone would chain the room still, so that I could get out into the Light, But there is no escape, because I am the room. I know there is Light outside, I can remember it! I see others walk in it every day, but how do I get out to that Light? Will this nightmare ever end? Those who have been here before me, Have left sign posts along the way, But they all say the same thing: “Wait and you’ll come through it, life will be normal again one day.”
How do I Stop Feeling?
This suffering pollutes my worldview, so I see everything in a wrong light. Instead of the truth I see only heartache and nightmare. I know the conclusions I’ve been making are affected by the way I feel, But how do I stop thinking? How do I stop feeling? I see others living and prospering, yet I remain stuck in this dark prison cell. Jesus, where are You? Please see my circumstances and hear my prayer. I know You are Faithful and True.
Where Does This Road Lead?
What is this storm that rages within me? Why won’t it abate? I’ve done nothing but hide and wait for four long months now. “It will end one day soon,” they tell me. But where is the proof? I have no future, how can there be when I’m like this? I can’t face anyone except those I must. I wait and I wait and I pray, but I’m so weak that I lack the strength to fight the anger and frustration that consume me. Where does this road lead? It is difficult to trust God in these circumstances, even though He says He will never let me down. The fact is, God can see the end, But I cannot – I see this going on forever.
Seeing a Counsellor
Because my life is a complete mess, I have started seeing a counsellor. I felt so guilty for taking up her time, but I need the help, so I make myself go. She said that depression is the worse ailment we can have, because it affects all areas of our lives: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We err in thinking that because our spiritual life is effected, the cause must be spiritual. But no, depression touches every part of us. She listed the symptoms of depression, all of which afflict me: having no hope, unable to see a future, cannot see myself recovering, looking at everyone else and wishing I was any one of them instead of myself. She has been helping me to see the true perspectives on the things I fear, and said that I need to be on anti-depressant meds.
A Faint Glimmer of Hope
I can scarcely believe it, but it’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve wanted to end it. I am tempted to deny ever feeling like that, but I did I just wanted to do die to get away from the pain. So these anti-depressant tablets must be helping me. For four weeks I’ve taken them. My fears that they would not help, were unfounded. And is it true? Can I see a faint glimmer of light now? How many others are there out there, suffering like me? I wish I could help and comfort them, but I wouldn’t know how, I don’t even know how to survive this myself.
What Kept Me from Ending it?
What was it that stopped me from ending it, when I all wanted to do was die? Jesus was one reason I persevered, but the main thing that kept me from ending my life, was my mother and the others who care for me. I had to keep going for them. I have seen the wreckage, the utter devastation, that suicide inflicts upon a family, so regardless of how bad it got, irrespective of how much pain I was in, I refused to put my loved ones through such an ordeal. So I persevered, until glimpses of hope returned.
A Difficult Road
The deep pain has gone, but I’m still a mess. I still travel a most difficult road. The old fears and doubts have arisen to swamp me again. But I have found that if I don’t analyse them they don’t overcome me and I don’t fall. I try to keep my eyes fixed upon Jesus, to trust and rely upon Him, Oh, how I long to be normal again, for I believe that this nightmare will end one day. I see faint glimmers of a future, although I suspect recovery will be slow. It just seems so distant. I have been forced to trust God when it feels like He has abandoned me.
Dread’s Fatal Embrace
This road has its ups and downs, except these ups are what I once called the downs. Despair’s insipid lure calls me to concede defeat. But I’ll not yield to dread’s fatal embrace, nor subscribe to its assertions, that this darkness will never end. Each day eventually comes to an end, and so will this nightmare.
Self-hate keeps descending on me like a swarm of angry hornets. I look at myself and find nothing but contempt for this pathetic person that I have become. But I know this is wrong. When I examine myself through Jesus’ eyes, I see someone special, someone loved, appreciated, and cared for.
Not Over Yet
Two weeks ago I felt almost normal, but was I too hopeful? The last two or three days have been almost as bad as before, and it caught me off guard. I felt so disturbed that I struggled with self-harm, I wasn’t trying to punish myself, I was trying to make it go away. What happened to me? How did I get to be like this? I know I overworked myself last year, and tried to be what I am not, and suffered that major shock. And although my life at the moment is not much of a life, I guess I should still be thankful, so I still praise God for all He has given me. I have had the flu for three months now. Is holding down a normal job is too much? If so, tough! I must work, even if it means I spend the rest of my life sick. I cannot drop out of society. I must keep going and kick this 'thing.'
A Book all about Me
I have just read "Self Help For Your Nerves" by Dr Claire Weekes, It is a book all about me. The book describes EVERY single thing that has afflicted me for the past eight months, and even the months preceding that. All the strange things in my mind, body, and emotions, were caused by the same thing the fear-adrenalin-fear cycle. For the last eight months, I have feared and fought against all the things that were going wrong in me. This book teaches that these two reactions only make it worse. In a nutshell, my nerves have fallen apart, manufacturing far too much adrenalin. This over abundance of adrenalin created all those disturbing symptoms. And my response to these symptoms was to fear and fight them. This reaction produced more adrenalin, which made me fear or fight them all the more – the cycle is never ending. It is a catch 22 situation, a merry go round. This book has taught me how to react to stop that cycle. And it is teaching me how to react whenever it strikes again. Thank you Jesus, for answering my prayers, and for showing me what was wrong with me.
The Bewilderment is Gone
Life has changed now that I know what's wrong with me. All the bewilderment of: what is wrong with me? what is going on? why won't it stop or go away? where did it come from? is gone! Now I say with relief – “I know what's wrong with me, my nervous system has packed up. It has developed a habit cycle of manufacturing too much adrenalin, and it does so ALL of the time.” But apart from that it is very hard. I still feel exhausted and awful most of the time. All I want to do is be normal again. I want to be able to see people again. I wish I had some friends, I feel so alone. I just want to get on with life. and be whole again – but stay within my limits this time.
Letting Time Pass
Instead of dreading the disturbing symptoms, I face them. Yes, they are awful, and I although I do not want them, are they really so unbearable, that I cannot think, function or live? No! Although dreadful, I can still think, function and live. The worst part was my fear that I would be like this forever. I no longer say, “I can’t live like this!” Instead, I am learning to accept that these symptoms will be part of my life for now, and I’m learning to live with them, as if they were background music to my day. And I am letting time pass, while keeping myself busy with recreational activities. Dr Weekes says this will break the fear-adrenalin-fear cycle, and lead me back to being myself again.
Getting Back Out There
My counsellor said that although I have not fully recovered yet, I am better enough to stop getting counselling and get back out there. She suggested getting more involved in church, and becoming a musician again. She said that to be in deep surrender to God means to never look back with regret upon the past, nor forward to what I want to be in the future. To compare myself to what I used to be, or to what I want to be, is a hindrance for resting in God's will. So trusting in God, I will be content to be: who I am today, where I am today, and how I am today.