Day 40 – Fisher Wallace CES Report.

August 19th

I awoke at 12 am (Aug. 19th) and wouldn’t fall asleep again until 3 am.  I did go to bed at 9 pm the night before, didn’t take any medication (clonazepam), and didn’t use the CES device – but I had been emotionally drained by a difficult conversation – and when I get that tired…I just flop into bed and (unfortunately) deal with the consequences (insomnia) later.

I was up by 8:30 am, took my medications and utilized the CES. I’d finish reading another book – I’ve been speeding through books at an incredible pace – looking for answers (which I don’t find). As I finish up this book I begin sobbing. This happens to me on occasion – which may not seem that unusual – except the topic is usually unrelated to whatever I am experiencing at the time (and usually unrelated to what I have struggled with in the past as well). I don’t know why it happens, but I accept the tears when they come – b/c they won’t come when I’d like them to.

And somewhere along this whole point (but not while or immediately after I’m crying) my nose begins gushing blood from one nostril. Ahh, I’m getting blood everywhere. I’m stuffing tissues up my nose but they are getting soaked and starting to fall out and as soon as I place another one on my nose it too is running with blood. This continues with varying intensity for quite some time – occasionally tapering off altogether and then at a moments notice flaring up again. While the bleeding probably lasted one hour total, it may have been spread out over two or three hours. Anyways, I have no clue what that was all about.

Overall my day is going positively – from the morning until the early afternoon. Then I begin to spiral down again. This is another interesting pattern. In years past I used to awake with a heavy depression which would usually lift within 10-15 minutes (oftentimes while taking a shower)…but now it seems the heaviest depression hits in the afternoon/evening (not that it can’t hit at all times).

I’m feeling depleted and think about calling out of Nomads. I’m thankful for leaders who are willing and able to step in for me at the last moment – when I do need that. But I decided I could make it and I knew if I made it I would probably enjoy it as well. I love the leaders and the teenagers and the opportunity to serve with and to them.

I make preparations for Nomads. We’ll be working through chapter 7 of The Lost Princess by George MacDonald. It is a strange but powerful chapter which looks at our sin nature and how despite our differing personalities we all have this innate sinfulness – and the various ways in which God works in our lives to expose this sinfulness and transform us into His image.

I’m the first one at the church – my printer at home isn’t working – so I head over a few minutes early. I’m still feeling down but when Kyle, Cayla, and Taylor arrive and we hold our leader’s meeting my mood rises and remains high throughout the rest of youth group. The laughter and energy is contagious and for a little while I forget about my burdens and just enjoy myself.

We played crab soccer tonight for the first time in FOREVER and it was tons of fun. Why don’t we adults play games like grab soccer more often? Okay – maybe it has something to do with the fact that we aren’t as stretchy and flexible as we once were. We have these pinneys we sometimes wear to divide up teams and my arms will no longer lift high enough to allow me to take the pinney off (I can get it on by myself) so I am always dependent on someone helping me…but I figure I’ll keep trying and maybe some flexibility will return.1I think my issues are not the natural aging issues. I have similar issues with my legs. If I lay on my back and attempt to lift and straighten my legs I can only do so with significant effort and over a period of time. I suspect that my muscles are in a contracted state and only slowly and with some pain stretch out over time.

The chapter from MacDonald is both insightful and entertaining. A little girl (portraying us) is stuck in essentially a sensory deprivation tank (though MacDonald is writing far before such devices were invented and this one has no water) and is interacting with herself (that is, the selfish portion of herself). She finds this selfish self so ugly and annoying that she repeatedly attacks it – to be surprised when the self disappears and she finds herself pulling out her own hair or biting her own arm…ahh, MacDonald is better at writing humorously than I…I love his talent for communicating the deep with a slight twist of humor.

As the teens and leaders clear out, I turn off the lights and AC and lock up the building and walk to my car. I get inside and begin driving the three minutes to my house and before a minute has passed the weight rises again in my chest – a sharp, aching pain.

Once home I spend the rest of my evening researching Pure Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (POCD), something which I find to be on the spectrum with scrupulosity. I also find some interesting research only recently being done by scientists in Israel on Relational OCD (ROCD)…More on that at some future time.

I spend more time reading the Scriptures – anything to keep my mind off of the pain (and I suppose reading the Scriptures is not a bad way to spend one’s time? :)) I’ve finished 1 Samuel now. Some fascinating stories, powerful imagery – it would make a great television series.

It is 11:45, so I go to bed. I hope sleep will reach me quickly – sleep numbs the pain and sometimes when I awake I find my mood better than when I fell asleep and that is all I can hope for. Ohh, and I do use the CES device again before going to sleep.

Postscript

It is the 20th, I awoke at 2:45 am and have been unable to return to sleep – it is now 6:00 am. Tonight will be the intern meeting. I oftentimes want to “call out” of these meetings as well – but it is funny how once I am there I find a similar joy and peace as with Nomads. I can’t say it is always that way with anything. There are times when whatever interaction I might be having is drained of its vitality (for me) by being emotionally exhausted (and feeling like I can’t be what I need to be to provide the quality I desire to provide for such meetings – whether church, youth group, interns, or shared meals)…but today it will be a good thing…though I am not relishing the hours ahead of me until then.

I wrote myself a note. I print them out and tape them to my office walls (at home). This one says, “You will never find the certainty for which you search. Just live the day – no, better – live the moment.” I think that is Scriptural (Jesus tells us not to worry about the future, for each day has trouble enough of its own and He rebukes the religious leaders who want another “sign” that Jesus is the Christ).

This isn’t a new concept to me. I think of it often – I also forget it often. As the pain increases the lessons one has learned slip away. But I’ll try again today, even though I can feel the ache in my chest and the heat in my mind at this moment…and perhaps it will build to a torturous pitch, but for the moment, I’ll try not to think about what may come, but what I should do/be now…and at the moment, I think that is probably trying to sleep a little more before the day begins.

 

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 I think my issues are not the natural aging issues. I have similar issues with my legs. If I lay on my back and attempt to lift and straighten my legs I can only do so with significant effort and over a period of time. I suspect that my muscles are in a contracted state and only slowly and with some pain stretch out over time.

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