The Story So Far – Chapter 22 – Stumbling To The Foot Of A Mountain

CHAPTER 22 – STUMBLING TO THE FOOT OF A MOUNTAIN

Over the first few days after that meeting, I felt like I was getting things back together a little.  But slowly things began to change, I seemed to be totally exhausted all the time, I began to get headaches and also dizzy spells.

Gradually I started to become very angry with things, the simplest of things became a problem and it was all I could do to control and stop myself from taking it out on the innocent people around me.  At one point in my journal I actually wrote this:

… Since then instead of tears I’ve replaced them with anger.  If that’s the case I would
rather cry, let me cry, I don’t want to be angry, I don’t want that anger and aggression,
I would rather cry, I want to cry, but I’ can’t, I want the tears to flow, but they won’t.
Lord help me, I’m not me, it’s not who I want to be and I’m sure not who you want
me to be, I’m worn, I’m tired, I’ve had enough.

PLEASE LET ME CRY!!!

Mixed in with the moments of anger, were the moments of nothingness.  There were times when I felt nothing, totally empty, I didn’t know how to feel, no anger, no emotion, no happiness, there was just nothingness.  Along with those moments, I would just drift off into nothingness too.  At work I would just be stood there, staring out into the distance, I don’t know how long I would be stood there, then someone would say something or the phone would ring and I would snap out of it.  I don’t really remember what I was thinking of, if anything, I would just remember coming back into myself and not knowing where I was or where I had been.

Right in the middle of all this going on, my Boss at work decided to put me through my fork lift driving test.  At this point I hadn’t explained to anyone what was going, no one, not at work, at Church or my Connect Group, mainly as I didn’t really understand myself, so I couldn’t tell my Boss what was going on and I also really couldn’t say no.

I don’t drive a car, I never have, I’ve never had a lesson, so now I was being put into this training without really wanting to do it.  What I feared most were the dizzy spells I had been getting and more importantly these moments where I drifted off into nothingness.  The last thing I needed was for this to happen whilst I was driving a fork lift!  I kept quiet about everything and just went along with it all, hoping I would be able to keep my focus on what I had to do.

Thankfully something to focus on did help and I kept it together when I needed to.  When it came to the day to take the test, my work mates were putting me under a bit of pressure, in fairness, quite innocently.  All the way through the day, they kept asking if I had passed yet, normally it wouldn’t bother me, I would pass it off and laugh about it, but on this day, I just wanted to run away.

When it came to taking the test, I found myself singing a song in my head.  For some reason I was singing the words to the song “When You Walk Into The Room” by Bryan & Katie Torwalt, just singing these words seemed to calm me down, kept me focused and totally in myself.

WHEN YOU WALK INTO THE ROOM by BRYAN & KATIE TORWALT
When You walk into the room
Everything changes
Darkness starts to tremble
At the light that you bring
When You walk into the room
Every heart starts burning
Than just to sit here at your feet
And worship you
We worship you

We Love You, and we’ll never stop
We can’t live without You, Jesus
We Love You, We can’t get enough
All this is for You, Jesus

When You walk into the room
Sickness starts to vanish
Every hopeless situation
Ceases to exist
When You walk into the room
The dead begin to rise
Cause there is resurrection life
In all You do

We Love You, and we’ll never stop
We can’t live without You, Jesus
We Love You, We can’t get enough
All this is for You, Jesus

Come and consume God
All we are
We give You permission
Our hearts are Yours
We want You
We want You

Come and consume God
All we are
We give You permission
Our hearts are Yours
We want You
We want You

Come and consume God
All we are
We give You permission
Our hearts are Yours
We want You
We want You

Come and consume God
All we are
We give You permission
Our hearts are Yours
We want You
We want You

We Love You, and we’ll never stop
We can’t live without You, Jesus
We Love You, We can’t get enough
All this is for You, Jesus

Oh how we love You
Oh how we love You

There was just something about these words, I had been listening to the song quite abit during the previous month or so, but it was this song, out of all the songs which I listen to that came to mind and kept me focused.  It must have worked, as I passed the test with no problems at all, all that fear, all those nerves and all that doubt, were completely for nothing.

I guess passing something like this in the middle of what was going on was a bit of high point, it once again helped for a few days, but it wasn’t long before all the nothingness and emptiness returned.

Then came Wednesday 13th November 2013, that night I was at the place which is usually a bit of fortress for me, at my Connect Group meeting.  Although I didn’t initially feel that bad, I started the meeting in quite a good mood, maybe I wasn’t as involved in the meeting as I usually am, but I was feeling okay.  I don’t remember what we were discussing that evening, but as discussion went on I felt more and more distant as it went along.  Then the discussion came to me for my input, all I could do was to reiterate what someone else had said and then breakout into tears.  For the rest of the evening all I could do was sit there and cry quietly to myself.  It was really quite awkward for those there at the meeting, they didn’t really have a clue what was setting all this off and I couldn’t explain either.  By that point I couldn’t say anything else, I couldn’t open my mouth to speak, words just wouldn’t come, all I could do was cry and when I tried to speak beyond the tears, the crying became stronger.

They prayed for me, even though they didn’t understand, they knew I had been having some ups and downs of late, but I guess they never expected anything like this either.  It made for a difficult night for everyone, I guess they wanted to help, but as I couldn’t explain the situation, then all they could do was to pray for me as a group, but that was enough.

At work my Boss realised that something wasn’t right too, he came to me one day , after I had had one of those moments where I was staring into space and not in the room, he has known me almost thirty years, he knew I wasn’t myself, so he asked what was going on.  I explained as best I could how I felt, I’m not surely he truly understood, but he said if I felt like I needed space, then just disappear off, then just give him the nod and just go away and do something away from everyone else and he would cover for me.

It was causing issues with others at work to, I heard mumblings between people about the way I was acting, so eventually I began to tell them what I felt like, that I felt really depressed and I was struggling, that sometimes I just needed space and felt I needed to get away from everyone, it helped clear the situation and they cut me some slack once they knew why I was acting the way I was.

What was making things worse was the longer this went on the more I was struggling to sleep.  I was only getting a couple of hours sleep each night, which wasn’t helping my state of mind.  I found I was just laying there, trying to sleep, praying for sleep, but nothing was helping, in a way I think I wasn’t letting it help, because I couldn’t let go, the more I tried to get the sleep, but couldn’t, the more I became stressed about it.  It was taking me back to those dark days when I couldn’t sleep because of all the stress I was under, back then I solved that problem by drinking myself to sleep, now I knew I couldn’t do this and I was determined I wasn’t going to, I’m not saying I never thought about drinking, because I did, but when those desires came about, I prayed and prayed.  Maybe I still couldn’t get to sleep, but I still had that resolve to beat any urges and stay sober.

On the Friday night following my breakdown at Connect, I found once again I couldn’t sleep, at 1.30am in the morning I found myself writing a poem on my phone.  The poem I called Mountains, once again it was in prayer form, asking for help as I felt I had come to a mountain I couldn’t climb, I had nothing left and needed help to conquer the mountain.

Mountains

Oh Lord
Stand me in the palm of Your hand
And lift me high above the clouds
To place me upon the top of this mountain
So I can stamp down upon this giant
Then watch it crumble beneath my feet
But I can’t take another step
My heart is losing it’s beat
I’m beaten by the journey
I’m tired
No longer do I have strength to fight
My grip to hold is failing
All I have left are my falling tears
Yet within my faith keeps beating
For tonight I feel Your breath
So I’ll rest against You just for now
Until I can rise again
For with You nothing is impossible
So tomorrow We will conquer
Together We will start the climb
Then I will stand upon the ruins
Of another crumbled mountain
Where I’ll sing so the world can hear
My worship unto Your name

Then after another a short period of sleep, I found myself awake at 5am in the morning, this time writing the poem, I Call Upon Your Name, this time admitting I was in a battle and I knew that God would see me through it.

I Call Upon Your Name

All wounds out in the open
Old scars have been broken wide
Doing all I can to be honest
Trying to rise above my pride

Another battle here is raging
Yet not one I wish to fight
So I call upon Your name
With You I’ll make it through the night

As shadows rise around me
Before me Your light brightly glows
Your name alone repels the demons
Inside my faint hope slowly grows

As the sun rises in the morning
Your light will shower me with love
I will stand to continue the battle
With mighty strength from heaven above

For I know You’ll never leave me
It’s time to start to turn this tide
Knowing I can never be defeated
When I can feel You here at my side

But the following Sunday I really hit a big low.  I remember sitting on my camera podium, just watching the worship practice, normally I really like to just sit there and listen to them play, sometimes I write poems on my phone as I listen, inspired by what I’m listening too.

As I sat there I think I was in another one of those blank moments, just staring out.  Rebecca one of our worship leaders came by and asked how I was, after a morning of lying and saying okay, this was one too many and all I could do was cry, I don’t think I responded with anything but tears.  I guess that put her in a really awkward position, she sat with me whilst she called for husband Michael and then James.  It was James who then came and sat with me and asked what was going on.

As James had been there for me when I first came to Church and had been struggling through withdrawals and then been very much part of every step of my recovery, he had this amazing knack of calming me down and getting me to talk.  So on this day, just like that day early that year when I was hiding from everyone crying over my Nan, he managed to get me to calm down and start speaking about what I was going through.  James works for the National Health Service, so he suggested I should see a Doctor, he felt I needed help and medication to get me through what I was going through.  I must honestly say that I don’t think I would have ever gone to a Doctor over this had James not suggested it, but I trusted him and said I would make an appointment.

I struggled my way through the rest of the day, when it came to worship, I just couldn’t do it, in the end I found myself crouched at the back of the room, head in hand crying, it was Alex this time that came and sat with me, putting an arm around me as he prayed for me.

The next morning at work I spoke with my Boss when I got in, he told me to go in office at the time that the surgery opened and make the call and get an appointment.  I managed to get an appointment for later that afternoon and I left work early to go.  All through this I couldn’t take any days off, as I had no holiday left, I had booked every remaining day I had for the end of November and early December to look after the kids, because Victoria was going to Gambia as part of a group from a local charity that runs a Christian school over there, so I had to tough it out at work, but at least that gave me something to keep occupied, I believe I was better at work than being at home, with nothing to do I could have done something stupid.

One thing that kept running through my mind was how much a failure I believed I was becoming.  Every time I went home I would have these thoughts about going up into my bathroom and grabbing that old knife of mine.  But this time I didn’t want to kill myself with it, I had these thoughts about cutting the words “I will never be enough” deeply into the skin on my forearms, I don’t know why I was thinking this or what the words meant to me, but that was I saw myself doing.  When I would get in the house and especially if I was the only one in, I would shake as I fought against any urges to do it.  I thought about looking through Victoria’s room to try and find if she still had that knife, but once again I fought off the urges.

On top of all this I found myself praying at night, that if I did sleep, then please God do not let me wake.  I prayed that if this was life, then I didn’t want to live anymore, I want to just sleep and go to heaven now, I didn’t want to live life this way, I didn’t feel normal and I didn’t want to feel this way anymore, I wanted it all taken away.  This became almost a nightly occurrence and I never told anyone that this was happening, neither my Connect Group, James or the Doctor when I saw him that afternoon.

The strange thing was that when I actually got to the Doctor’s I was in a good mood, not the lost or empty place I found myself drifting in and out off.  When the Doctor asked how I had been feeling, I was as honest as I could possibly be, without going into the deepest of secrets I was hiding, he asked if I had felt suicidal and I said that I had at times, I guess mainly the cries in the night not to wake again and also this feeling of wanting to carve my arms up, but I didn’t mention specifics.  In the end he said I had two choices, therapy or medication, I chose medication of the two.  He prescribed me Sertraline antidepressants and informed me there would be side effects, in particular in the short term it could heighten any suicidal tendencies!

When I got home, Victoria asked why I was home early, I explained I had been to the Doctor’s and he had prescribed me antidepressants, immediately she asked if I would be okay to look after the kids while she was away, I replied I would be and spoke no more about it.

BE MY HEALER by JENNY SIMMONS
What would it take
How many walls would you have to break down
Where do I meet you?
Where does peace heal the past and bring me home?

I want to be well
I want to be well

So how does this work,
How much will it hurt to open my heart again
Will there there be scars?
Reminding me of the way you heal me

I want to be well
I want to be well

I’m splintered, I’m many
There’s light and dark within me
But I’m bringing all these pieces
Only you can heal me Jesus
I’m here now, I’m ready
Giving everything that’s in me
Only you can mend these pieces
Be my healer, be my Jesus

So while I am here,
Living between the dreaming and coming true
I am making my way
And your making the space for me to be made new…

Cause I want to be well
I want to be well

I’m splintered, I’m many
There’s light and dark within me
But I’m bringing all these pieces
Only you can heal me Jesus
I’m here now, I’m ready
Giving everything that’s in me
Only you can mend these pieces
Be my healer, be my Jesus

Cause I wanna be whole
Yeah I wanna be whole

Cause I’m splintered, I’m many
There’s light and dark within me
But I’m bringing all these pieces
Only you can heal me Jesus
I’m here now, I’m ready
Giving everything that’s in me
Only you can mend these pieces
Be my healer, be my Jesus

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