Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A New Year's Resolve in September?

I was blessed when, on Saturday, my daughter came to spend the day with me.  She took my computer and checked everything out.....and declared it "Hacker-free".... as much as I want it to be determined to be safe and clear...I just have so much trouble believing that.  And my constant fear and hyper-alertness to everything that goes on with my accounts such as Google...and my terror when something occurs of which there is no explanation besides human finagling...all this has become part of my world.  It's as though someone said to me ," See your husband there? well, he doesn't exist.  You have created him in your sick mind."  It has made my husband furious and my daughter, frustrated....and me ? Alone and scared.

My daughter recently bought me the "Filament Bible" which is a Bible that is synced with a  QR scanner --which is an app you can install on your cell phone.  I still have some problem working the scanner--shaky hands make that a challenge--but if you are reading a book of the Bible and studying it, you don't have to scan can navigate from your phone's screen.  There are numerous resources on the App which are all relevant to the Scriptures you are reading.  You can find info and "Study",  you can find material on which to "Reflect"  or charts, maps and graphs which invite you to "See". You can take it at  your own pace. You can nibble and graze, or you can dig deeply into a subject.--and  you can take as much or as little time as you can or want.

I am studying the book of Ezekiel who was quite a character...but  he was sold out to obeying God and was willing to suffer  pain and public humiliation in the pursuit of obedience to his God.  I'm no prophet but I do relate to his "weirdness" and am being blessed by his life.  The only objection he had ever raised to one of God's directives to him was his repulsion at the thought of fueling his fire where he was to bake bread--with dried, human dung. Now I would protest also but merely because of its grossness. But Zeke didn't like the idea because it would render him ceremonially unclean. He had kept the Law all his life and the thought  of besmirching his record of obedience was horrifying to him. And you know what? God listened to him and agreed he could use cow dung.  (Me? I'm thinking I would have pushed for charcoal brickettes.!)

 My plan is to continue to use the Filament Bible (forever ??? Maybe). through the coming year. I'm going to do topical studies, word studies, character studies and studies on books of the Bible.  I really like this idea.  I have the structure of a study guide and library of resources---and the freedom to do whatever I want with the material and to go as slowly or  quickly as I want. 

2020 was kind of a year  of spinning my spiritual wheels.  In 2019 I read the whole chronological Bible and that was awesome...but I thought I was ready for something new in 2020 but never  really arrived at what that "something" should be. So I spent my times of Penuel, just paging through my Bible and grazing, randomly.  It was half-hearted and I got little out of it.  It was, I am sure, what made this year so unsatisfying and such a spiritual struggle in seeking: purpose, worship and hearing God's voice through his Word..The year was not a total waste.  God spoke to my heart a number of times and I think I did progress and grow in being able to discern God's voice out of the noise  in my mind and spirit.

But I have determined that  2021 will be a year of increased intimacy and learning.  One thing I HAVE done right in 2020 was a greater focus on Bible memorization.  I learned several entire chapters and some smaller  passages. I will continue with that. Right now I am learning Psalm 91 which should be fairly easy because I am already very familiar with it. Having schizophrenia, probably one of my greatest emotional struggles is the struggle with fear.  Fear of things real (like my future and also what I will do in the face of the current shortage of my main psych med) and fear of things that exist only in this short--circuited brain of mine. And in the face of national instability and uncertainty here in this country and really, world-wide, Psalm  91 is an incredibly relevant and powerful chapter..

One of the best things for me in the face of a fading year and the anticipation of a new year, is the planning of my times of Penuel for the next 365 days (as I have explained before, Penuel which means "the face of God" is what I call my Quiet Time with the Lord each day.)  I'll probably write more on  that in the coming months.

 So study, more focus on prayer, and memorization lie in the year ahead.  I also plan on spending less time online and will probably share less of my guts and will guard my privacy a little more.  Hacker or none, I have too much hanging on the laundry line and it is a risk. And the last area of focus will be to continue to lose weight... This past year I have lost about 60 lbs. I know it is only  September, but I like to plan for the year ahead...even though the way it turns out usually has nothing to do with my plans, but "Those who aim at nothing, will reach it." The coming of fall always motivates me to think ahead. I do not always keep my goals but I do accomplish more than it would were it not for my aspirations.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Miracle or Madness?

 I know that I have been  quiet. I've been trying to make sense of my brain which seems sometimes, to have taken leave.   Is Eric right? There's nothing here in my cyber world, other than that which my sick brain has PUT there?  That is just so hard to believe.  I mean, when   your eyes are looking at something that you have never seen before and there is no doubt in your mind that what you are looking at is indeed real--and then someone tells you, "no.  It is not real"  what do you do with that? Do you willingly place it on the scrap heap of delusion and adopt a third party's assessment of what is real and what is not, when to do so is to "deny thyself and refute thy name"? Would doing that buy me any peace at all in this strife-torn house?  It would certainly be nice to be able to do that.  But it is not so easy to deny thyself when every bit of evidence is corroborated by my senses--by the very things I use to determine in every sense, what is real and what is not.  I mean if I throw that out--turn it on its head--what am I left with? What is real? Is anything real and trustworthy?  If you tell me that I have no sensibility by which I can say, "This is real" and "this is not" then  you are throwing me into some deep, stormy water without a dependable craft in which to stay afloat.  

But on the other hand, when what I feel is real, is displaying some very scary capabilities to wreak havoc and destruction in my life, it is tempting to say to it, "Hah! you are not real and therefore  you have no ability to touch me or  harm me." which gives it (them) the license to do what they will at potentially great expense and harm to me. Its very power and terror comes from its true potentiality and "reasonableness."  It could be real.  I pray to God that it is not but must keep alert to signs that it is.  It is this last sentence that has my husband and daughter in an uproar.  They lean to the position that I should believe NOTHING that my brain or senses tell me. And because I have been unable (and maybe unwilling) to do that, they are angry.  I really wonder what they would do if roles and symptoms were theirs instead of mine?

On another note, I saw an ad for a Bible which is "Filament enabled".  It is an NLT study Bible with large print and a pretty cover and access to an online treasure trove of study resources. I don't know if you've heard of the Filament Bible.  It is a Bible that interacts with the reader online by presenting every type of resource one could want, including even a collection of worship music (and I am hoping: hymns).  My daughter ordered it for me because (due to nonsense. I confess), my credit cards are in the process of being replaced and I'm waiting for them in the mail.  I'm so excited by this Bible because I have been HUNGRY for more of God and more of his Word...but have been at a loss as to topic or method of study.   I think that my first study in this new Bible will be the book of Ezekiel. HE saw things that no one would believe either.  I heard someplace that Ezekiel was schizophrenic.  I know that the line between prophecy and SZ is a narrow one.  I believe that prophets as well as those with SZ are privy to sensibilities that stretch the borders of the ordinary man's grasp and faith. And I think that were a person with SZ to see a field of dried  up human bones, he would be much less challenged - than a normal person would be-to believe what he was seeing should he see flesh appear upon that dead army and he would be more willing to call forth breath for those long dead.  God pushes mankind WAY out of our comfort zone and the psychotic mind is much more comfortable in the territory of the miraculous than is the average man.  And I think, therefore, God has a special place in his heart for those of us who find Reality a question and an effort.

Well, I didn't cover any of the things I had intention of writing about but perhaps that is just as well. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Breakdown of my Breakdown. Pt 2 of my discussion of what I've recently been through.

 The last post was written prior to my most recent issues....This post picks up a month or so later.  Things were unraveling in every part of my mind, and life.  The thing is that I could not admit or comprehend my state of fragility---or the extent of the disconnect going on in my brain.  I'm afraid I can not give much of a coherent breakdown of my breakdown.  There were struggles at home and I went from appointment to appointment looking for a hand too draw me from the abyss.  Honestly I do not have any clear memories of that time.  All I can tell  you is that it was desperate, scary time.  The "Shadow People" were still monopolizing my thoughts and time.  Nothing was safe and I felt that I would never escape their strangle hold on me.

Long story short: I was admitted to the psych floor at our local hospital.

And then,there in the hospital, once again, I bent to pick up a piece of paper on the floor and there it went.  My hip bone slipped out of the rubber cuff that holds it in place...just three months after having the surgery done the previous time.  This time I had to wait about 3 days on the ortho floor with my hip out of place and in enormous agony.  

I'm realizing as I write this that I'm mixing up the facts and timeline.  I really don't have a clear idea of how this whole thing transpired. But the upshot is that I got a new hip joint and from there was shipped over to BHU (Behavioral Health Unit).  And I was truly a mess.  But true to form, I hid it pretty well (at least I THOUGHT I did!  Now that I was away from my triggers on paranoia turned to my more immediate surroundings.  I was certain that a group of nurses, aides and one person from administration, were actively seeking to have me admitted to a unit for people with dementia.  I went from extreme to extreme emotionally.  It was a miserable time for me.  I was filled with fear and panic.  I could not confide in anyone for fear they were a part of my group of hate-filled nurses and staff.  

After I was cleared medically following that hip replacement, I was transferred to BHU only to discover more of the hateful staff there.  My doctor there was one of the head docs in that department.  He was a Chinese man and I sometimes had to ask him to repeat himself so that I could understand what he was saying. He (correctly) diagnosed the problem as paranoia and delusional thoughts...both, symptoms of my original diagnosis as Chronic Paranoid Schizophrenia.  And as these two or three weeks in that hospital I was able to look back on my years of sickness, even encompassing years where I was "well" and "symptom free."  I was able to see how, throughout my entire life since age 16, I was constantly ensconced in one or more areas of serious struggles with paranoia.

My doctor there said that in cases like mine where it has gone without being dealt with early on, it can be hard or impossible to get the delusions and fears to go away.  Rather, the focus must be on  my response to the crazy situations my brain drums up.  When the doctor and his team of interns and  residents told me on Monday that I was going to have to leave on Wednesday since my insurance had decided I was ready to be discharged, I cried that day and had a terrible anxiety attack. But a staff member helped me using herbal remedies to calm me down.  Lavender oil and chamomile tea.   It worked. On Tuesday I was in good shape.  Most of the hospital stay I spent in my room but on Tuesday,  I attended all the groups and was more active.  Pain blew me out of the water and pretty much made sleep impossible on the night prior to my discharge today but for the first time in a long time I had an inkling of peace.

When I contemplated coming home to a computer and cell phone full of malevolent forces my stomach dropped throat closed in fear.  But I made some rules: I would only be online for short times and would look for other ways to stay busy.  I would only look online if there was someone here with me who could be the reality test for me.  Well I broke all those rules.  I got involved in putting out some fires and recovered my Google account as well as a secondary email address that had gotten messed up.  

It is with complete amazement that I witness how intricately my brain works and how much smarter it is than the rest of me :)  Incredible that it could create such believable scenarios with perfect detail.  I have found that logical questions are helpful to restore reality to my mind. And when I ask these questions, much of the fear subsides.  I do think that someone is definitely  playing hankie pankie with my accounts.  There are some sites that he has joined and it seems he is also making use of my YouTube account. But even knowing that, I'm okay.  I will ferret out all these problems and deal with them one at a time.  And I know just the right person to help me with that. That is not my concern tonight.  I have other things more profitable to think about.

I know this post does not really reveal the guts of what happened to me at the hands of this illness. But it's all that I'm capable of explaining right now. Maybe later there will be some light thrown on the dark areas of confusion and fear...but for now this will have to do.