Thursday, November 15, 2012

Of Poetry and Pills

G. K. Chesterton described poetry as "strong emotion remembered in tranquillity."  Perhaps that's why I haven't been able to write much of late: strong emotion there has been in plenty, but little tranquillity.  Wild Celtic swings of mood finally gave way to the familiar hell of obsessive thoughts, broken only by the familiar sluggish haze of sedatives, which is not conducive to inspiration (or much else for that matter).

Some obsessive-compulsives count things, collect trash or wash their hands a hundred times a day.  I fret and chafe at my own skin, sometimes until it bleeds.  (I don't want to; it's a compulsion, like the tic of a person with Tourette's.)  What looks like acne is, more often than not, the direct result of this compulsion.  I missed my meds yesterday...this morning it took three layers of makeup to hide the evidence.  I hate makeup.

I walked to the coffee shop this afternoon, having finally convinced myself that I looked halfway normal.  I bought myself a caramel macchiato and read a new detective story while I drank it.  And that took effort.  When depression strikes one of the first things to go is the desire, or ability, to enjoy anything.  To want to be happy takes conscious decision and hard work; to choose to do something good and enjoyable, oddly, becomes an act of sacrifice.  Asceticism is turned on its head.

Saint Francis wrote songs praising God for the sun and the moon, for life and death.  Today I have a different melody.

Praised be my Lord for coffee, and for the heaven-inspired genius who first made a caramel macchiato.
Praised be my Lord for soft wind and detective stories and the relief of the written word.
Praised be my Lord for an age in which Bedlam is not considered my best or only therapy; for a family and friends who love me no matter how deep I sink; for a life that is evidence of how far His mercy extends.
Praised be my Lord for the miracle of the small white pill that keeps me sane, day by day, hour by hour.

"For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are sane, it is for you."
(2 Corinthians 5:13)

In Him,



  1. It feels weird to say "I like this", because it isn't the sort of thing one "likes" exactly. So...I'm not quite sure what so say instead except that I think it is very good. That was too boring, though, so instead I made this long explanation comment.

  2. It's good. You deal with very personal things in a way that sounds neither like a plea for pity nor an apology. You are a smart girl. But sometimes you morfet. mama