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Benevolent universe
infinite light
hold me together
keep me aright
help me to trust thee
teach me to live
walk me in wholeness
and wholly forgive
all of my frailty
my anger and fear
as I also pardon
the ones far and near
who cause me to stumble
and shake me within
open my lips now
to once more begin
to sing of your praises
unknowable worth
spark yet within me
a holy rebirth.

Crazy. Real.

So I was in the mental hospital. Again. For suicidal ideation. Again. I wanted to be done with this life, wanted it so badly I could taste it. A strong beam and a belt is all I needed.

I’m feeling much better now. Something about focused time alone, group therapy, meeting other people with the same struggles and feeling less alone, medication adjustments, and one-on-ones with counselors and doctors, makes all the difference.

I met many fantastic people. People with so many various sorrows. So many diverse difficulties. People heartbreakingly young and heartbreakingly old. I was truly humbled to be in their presence. They taught me a lot about being human, about being real, about being me.

There are no walls in the mental asylum. “What are you in for?” is a normal, even expected, question, and one that is almost always answered with brutal honesty. Compassion overflows. It’s a (hopefully) safe space.

Some people talk to themselves, and to invisible entities. Some are volatile and noisy. Some are withdrawn and quiet. Some become friends. All have something to teach. All are worthy of grace.

How do I carry what I have learned into my daily life?

It is a legitimate question, and perhaps one with numerous answers. For me, it is to focus on each day and its daily issues, and not to dwell on the past and what I cannot change. It means to examine each thought and emotion and ask “Is this true? Is this beneficial?” and if it is not, to toss it away. It means not living in the future either, where nothing is certain and fears have fertile soil in which to grow.

Some of the best people in the world have struggled with mental illness. Mine is bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder. Yours may be called something else. The most important thing to remember is: you are not alone.

As a Christian, I look to the Bible for some semblance of comfort in my illness. I didn’t think the word had much to say about it until I looked closely at the story of Nebuchadnezzar. Did you know that this pagan king actually wrote an entire chapter in a book of the Old Testament? He ruled Babylon, and went mad towards the end of his life. As the Bible puts it, he ate grass like a cow and grew his fingernails out like claws. In the end, however, he was restored to health by miraculous means, and he praised the Lord as a result (Daniel chapter 4).

Can I do the same? Can I see the Lord’s hand in my healing, even if it comes via pharmaceuticals and therapy and modern medicine?

Yes. I can.

I can bless the Lord’s name in the thick of it, in spite of everything, and with the comforting knowledge that I am in the company of kings. Even when I don’t understand what’s going on, even when my sanity is tenuous, I can speak God’s name, for it is the very sound of my breathing.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

That’s me. I freely admit it.

Is my God big enough for me to throw myself in his lap and pound on his chest in frustration and fury?

Is my God big enough to cover me while I thrash and wallow and gnash my teeth? In the ashes? In my brokenness and anguish?

Can I admit that I am broken? And be okay with that?

Can I open my lips and thank him for all this life offers?

I can. And I will. My very life depends upon it.




The sky is blue
the clouds pure white
it is, I think,
a lovely sight
the breeze is slight
and quiet sits
upon the landscape
birds do flit
there’s beauty all
around and yet
it cannot pierce
my deep regret
it cannot calm
darkening mind
it cannot leave
sorrow behind
the black abyss
is always there
and joy and grace
are found elsewhere
for here am I
my frame is bent
I am all dross
without a vent
and if I could
be something new
I’d be a single
drop of dew
I’d sit upon
my blade of grass
one single morn
is all I’d last
But I am man
and yet remain
throughout the day
within the pain
So I pen rhyme
plan my escape
to quietly

The Worst Thing

What’s the worst thing you can say to someone who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
Nothing at all.
Let me clarify: Say you’ve been having an argument. You think it would be best to just go to sleep and leave things to cool off until morning. So you roll over in bed, turn your back to me, and say nothing. 
Or you’re texting, and things have become heated. You leave the last text from me just hanging there because you’re tired of the discussion and you don’t think there’s anything left to say.
Terrible move. 
Nothing is the worst thing you can “say” to me, as someone who suffers from BPD.
You see, when you have BPD, you don’t just “let things go” in a disagreement. You don’t just “get over it” when things go wrong. Seemingly insignificant things can start a spiral of self-loathing and despair that is impossible to overcome without excruciating amounts of effort. While you may think that just saying nothing is better than saying something “wrong”, it is actually the worst thing you can do. 
Without closure, the mind of a person with BPD goes into overdrive. First, there’s the anger. We have all kinds of things we NEED to say, to get them out of our heads so they stop circling endlessly in there. But you’ve made it clear that you’re done, so we can’t. We’re stuck obsessing over them for the next 24 hours or more.
Then there’s the self-recrimination. You hate us. Obviously, you simply can’t stand us anymore. We’re worthless. Not worth the time of day. Let’s face it, we’re sh*t. 
After that comes the bitterness and fatigue. We become so exhausted from the inner monologue that we shut down and spiral into depression. Nobody cares. What’s the use in trying anyway?
I understand that sometimes you walk away because you just can’t handle the drama anymore. Sometimes you have to walk away so that you don’t lose what little temper you have left. But maybe reading this will help you understand the effect it has on me. Walking away, turning away, not returning a text, giving me no closure, is saying, to my mind, I don’t care about you. I don’t care what you have to say. You’re not worth my time anymore. This relationship/friendship is over.
So the next time you’re finding yourself tempted to just let the sun go down on your anger, reconsider. Let us have closure. Please. It means the world to us. 



in  a crowd



I will never have



to the canvas


I scrabble

and scrape


without ever



The Normal Suit

Get out of bed
reach for the suit
step in and zip it up

enclose the heart
so no one sees
and all day keep it shut

make smallish talk
throughout the day
pretend that all is good

do not let on
smile prettily
just like a nice girl should

oh Normal Suit!
my Normal Suit!
how you protect me well!

without you here
to have and wear
t’would be a living hell

for time’s a crook
and life’s a bitch
without you all would see

that I’m a fake
and nothing’s real
as it’s supposed to be

for ugly is 
the face of truth
and hideous the teller

and so I’ll stuff
my truest self
into my heart’s deep cellar

oh Normal Suit!
my Normal Suit!
you’re never, ever tearing

and when I die
you can be sure
that you’ll be what I’m wearing.


She lived
with clouds in her eyes
and rain at her heels
when she passed through
the debris of his heart
the ground
(he said)
things seemed greener
sky scrubbed clean and blue
air fresh and sweet
and so he 
found himself
caught up in her turbulence
wound round and round
her center
from the heady
winds she blew
(he thought)
he was not
so unlike her
after all
it takes a special kind of
to chase a storm.


Sometimes she knew
with absolute certainty
that her life
was going to end
in chaos and destruction
and in those moments
she felt 
a certain 
to the inevitable
an unshakeable
she had lived her life
to the imbalances
of her mind
and the instability
of her soul
and whoever held on
through the tempest
did so
and being fully cognizant
of the hazards
and with that
in mind
she opened her mouth
and drank deeply
from the
dark streams
that overflowed
her heart.


The world’s
gone crazy
it seems
and all you hear
is how bad 
it is
wars and
and planet earth
in anguish
to tell the
of what
is coming
but the news
were not at
my house
when my 
five year old
did a
for the
first time
and smiled
eyes dancing
his beaming
to me.

The Dog

Sometimes it’s hard to explain just what having mental illness means. Sometimes there just aren’t the right words.
Sometimes it’s hard to know just where the illness ends and the real person begins. I have been diagnosed as Bipolar I, and as having Borderline Personality Disorder. These terms do not define me, but they do explain me.
I am not my illness, but I am responsible for keeping tabs on it, for self-monitoring, and for being aware of its place in my life.
I think of it as a dog. A feral, mastiff-type animal with a strong body and an even stronger will. If I don’t keep it in line each day, it will easily overpower me. I medicate it. And I learn how to dominate it, to keep it submissive. 
But it doesn’t like it. 
It longs to take advantage.
Sometimes I get weary of controlling it and it leaps at the opportunity to run rampant. I lose focus. I crave excitement. I act foolishly. The dog grabs me by the scruff of my neck and shakes me until my teeth rattle. 
On some level, I enjoy it. I get a thrill from being between the monster’s jaws, not knowing where it will take me or where I will wind up. 
All too soon, however, the highs end. Reality hits. And I’ve done it again. I’ve hurt those around me, those I care about, those I love dearly. They are dealing with the fallout, wondering if they can ever trust me again, wondering if I even care at all. 
I do care. 
I want to be trusted.
Medication will be adjusted. Therapies tried. The dog will be fitted for a new collar, though it will whine and scratch and struggle to get loose. 
I will never be free of the dog. It is a part of me, and I a part of it, just as my heart and lungs are a part of me. Hopefully, those who love me can see that, and can extend grace for the times that are overwhelming. If not, perhaps they are not the people who need to be in my life at all. 

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