The curtain…

A Reflection on grief and mental illness . . . It was a warm summer morning in the month of July, as I sat in the office waiting to be released. I was given instructions to return every week to attend group therapy. The doctor had prescribed strong drugs to avert the suicidal ideation thoughts that brought me to this place. I was prescribed anti-psychotic meds, with Lithium used for this problem. Since I was drug resistant to antidepressants for depression, I was prescribed Nardil and its
family of (MAOI) Inhibitors. When my ride finally arrived I was bid goodbye, and now on
my own. The door shut behind me and I felt the warm sun on my skin, heard
the sound of cars and an airplane and train that echoed in my mind. I felt alone and
wasn’t sure I would make it. Trying to resume my activities was a challenge. Sometimes
it was difficult to get out of bed. On one particular day I was staring at the ceiling fan
and counting the blades as they turned in circular motion, counting and obsessing were
part of my illness. The incessant numbers and words locked in my mind. But even
though I felt fearful and afraid, there were times of uplifting experiences which gave me
hope that I wasn’t alone in this battle of my mind. One such experience I will share,
that I wrote to poetry, seeming a bit redundant, but that was the only tool given to me,
journaling these moments to give me courage when I would begin to lose hope.

Called – ‘The Curtain’

Is it a dream? It seems as if it is – waking with a start
I know it is not
Opening my eyes to this illness, there is no one I can confide
How it came about I could not explain, searching for an
answer to a troubled mind

Reaching for my robe with throbbing pain and
rapid pulse making an effort to stand by my bed, a brittle
soul about to break, falling back down into slumber again

There is a stirring as I awake once more
saying a prayer “Please my soul to take”
Crispness of sheets brush against my skin
a fever begins and my body seems to melt
sheets now wet with the trickle of sweat

Beginning to thirst and bereft of water I
become hotter, beginning once again to falter
the hopeful anecdote to my illness has provoked
it instead, another potion has created more
mental commotion

The walls seem empty as I stare in space searching
for anything to break the dreariness of this place, on the
left hangs a picture dismal and grey, to the right a window
dressed in lavender and white hanging from a silver rod
could this be a gift from God?

I must see it better, slowly lifting my head
from the bed, moving my legs to the floor, reaching
for the wall with trembling hands, pulling the
curtain to my side as I cry
“This piece of cloth I wish to hang above my head”

As I try, my arms are not high enough, my
hammer and nails strong enough, I sit in the midst
of failure and quit, in my brokenness something greater
than I draws the curtain aside, and with His rod
accurate and right He drapes His banner of love*
over me. . .

God’s hands became my hands, giving me
strength and accuracy to secure the rod,
and to this day the curtain hangs above
my bed!

*Song of Solomon Chapter 2:4

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