Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Listening to Your Illnesses

A few years ago I had the pleasure of seeing a Christian medical intuitive. She was a marvel, and after I saw her and did what she said, a troubling heart condition that needed immediate attention was speedily relieved. I remember how she stood close to me, and tuned into the Holy Spirit. Lord have mercy, she picked up on so many things that hurt me, body and soul. How I wish I could see her now.

I've told you about my recent experience with a physician prescribing an atypical anti-psychotic to treat my depression. This was NOT good for me. My thinking was, and still is, greatly diminished by this drug, even though I've stopped taking it. A few days ago, in a moment in which my lucidity was hard to discern, both then and now, I said to one of my lovies, "I think I should get off all of this junk, and just sit with my depression; listen to it; hear what it has to teach me." She thought this was a terrible idea, and largely the medication talking.

But the thought keeps haunting me, and seriously? how does one sit with depression? How does one befriend it, when it's caused so much pain? I imagine depression is a dark shadow, hunkering in a chair, a little scary. And there I am, offering it a bit of tea. Should I say, "So, where do you come from?" Will it answer, "Oh, just from some small neurotransmitter misfiring" or "From your trauma filled life after your dad died. Will it talk first, saying, "You're just wired this way. Always have been. Always will be." Is it even safe to listen to depression.

To her credit, I will say that my friend may be right about stopping all the medications altogether. Wellbutrin seems to be effective. But perhaps I too, was on to something. In times like these, Jeremiah wouldn't have been allowed his insightful Lamentations. He'd be on Prozac, and trust me, what he had to say wouldn't have been nearly as interesting. Don't get me wrong. I'm not romanticizing depression, although I can say it has probably given me roses on more than a few ocassions. I'm just saying that a long time ago I was taught by a very wise, earthy woman that the wound reveals the cure. Perhaps depression is trying to say "This is your life, and all it's sorrows. Don't repress the sadness that is one of the most real things in your life. Feel, and let yourself be human. Then you will heal."

Which brings me to another thing. I saw Sara Miles recently, and she talked about healing. She said, "Jesus doesn't cure cancer." And she went on to list a lot of other things that he doesn't cure. Of course my mind rankled at this. Then she said, "But he heals cancer." And she went on with the same list naming what he heals. This confirmed something I knew, but have spent a good deal of time acting like I didn't. I stood at my brothers death bed, as his organs failed, one by one. He was awake, but unconscious. In that dreamy state between the living and the dead, I could see Sister Death, who St. Francis spoke so lovingly of, taking him to Jesus. Death was his healing; a mystery, not to be explained, just experienced. I visited with another dying man years ago. He said, "I know God is able to heal me. Even if he doesn't, he's able." He said this with a smile and a faith that I've found to be rare in this world. It is the kind of faith that says, "though he slay me, I will trust him."

My friend Carole says fibromyalgia is a disease of being stuck. I don't know about that, but I'm willing to listen to it, and I hope to hear what it too, has to say to me. Because listening or not, Fibromyalgia is doing what it does, making me hurt, and not just physically. If I'm stuck, and medication isn't helping me, I'd rather find out what's really going on, and move forward.

What say ye, my lovies? What seemingly negative thing in your life are you listening to? Or what thing are you afraid to listen to?



Caldonia Sun said...

Goodness! Same place, similar med. I decided to stop a few days ago and the sadness creeps over me. Too much, I think, to write here.

ragamuffin diva said...

I'm sorry to hear it, Sally. Let me know if you decide to blog about it. I love you. Be gentle with yourself.

Lisa said...

oh my. the lessons I learned from the years I struggled with depression. And the lessons I'm still unlearning about myself from those same years.

And I love the Sara Miles bit about healing vs. cure. (though I think Jesus sometimes does both...)

These days I'm listening to all kinds of off situational lessons. About living in a less than ideal situation. About losing my car unexpectedly, and losing the measure of freedom that came with it. And about humbling myself enough to admit the moments I need prayer, and help. To be less invested in being a responsible grown-up and more willing to be part of a body, upheld by others and upholding others. They aren't easy lessons, let me tell you...

Kay Day said...

I was in a deep depression for 2 years. Moderate to severe, depending on the day. Oh, the tears I shed. And my one year old asking why mommy cried all the time and then one day she didn't ask. That had become her norm.
After it lifted I still occasionally feel some darkness creeping in and my early response was panic. But I felt God say, just hang on to me and ride it out. So, I experience it. Even though I take Sam-E which helps so much, I still have my moments. I just hold on. Tight.
So, I do think there is some wisdom in your idea. I think you ask the Lord to make it really clear if that's what you should do. Because your friend also has some wisdom.

Right now, I'm listening to a pelvic joint that has failed and to chronic fatigue. My prayer in this and in any kind of pain is, "Don't let it be for nothing."

Patchouli said...

In her book Becoming an Empath, Karla McLaren calls depression as "the stop sign of the soul," and "ingenious stagnation." It takes over when people don't acknowledge anger, fear, grief, sadness.
While sitting with your depression (such truth in that guidance), two questions to ask:
"What currently drains my energy?"
"What new direction gives me energy?"
~from Riding Between the Worlds by Linda Kohanov (paraphrased)

There are too many treasures from the book to share hear, but for me know that depression is not a failure but a 911 call of my spirit--it gives me power to use my depression rather than be overwhelmed by it.