Mental health, neurodivergence, Poetry

life preserver

do you ever dream about them

the teachers, the doctors, the counselors

the psych professor who saw a lot of promise in you

the professionals who didn’t see it

do you ever shout at them in your sleep

i was just a kid

and you were the expert on the tower

with training and power

who was supposed to notice

that i was drowning

disability, Mental health, Poetry

The Unnamed.

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

This is a prayer for the mystery case

The pain with no clear cause
The symptoms that don’t match
The lab test that comes back clear

The numbers say you’re fit as a fiddle
So why is your body screaming
As you beg the white coats to care

This is a prayer for the ones unsure
If they deserve to belong here
Disabled. As if it’s a title you earn

This is for the ones who have a hard time
defending themselves against the “just”s
Because maybe this one will be right

And it’s less hope and more desperation
As you swipe your card and try it.
You’re running out of time

You’re running out of your mind
Trying to figure out how to survive
In a new normal each day

And when people ask, you say sure!
Because it still doesn’t occur to you
You’ll be gritting your teeth the day of the event.

But you don’t have a name yet
Or ever. Maybe. Maybe you won’t know
What to tell people when you say sorry

And they don’t understand fully
Because yesterday you seemed fine
And it’s hard to describe what you feel

The symptom list inconclusive
Is hard to describe without
A name for what’s within

This is a prayer for our minds and hearts
and stomachs as they churn
with grief and anxiety and fear

For the choices we make with no guidance
For the questions with no answers
For the mystery that leaves us without

Community. Support. Resources. Research. Plans. Treatment. Hope.

I pray you find a doctor with undying curiosity
I pray you find empathy in a nurse’s needle
I pray you find a treatment that works

I pray your insurance covers you with no fuss
Like a blanket on a soft couch
With all you need within reach.

I pray you hang on to tomorrow
Breathe in and out, do what you can,
And in time you find a name.

essays, faith, Mental health, queer

For those whose bodies are policy issues

Today, there is much discussion on embodiment, what it means to show up in a space as your full self, and to be present in your body wherever you are. The topic du jour, in particular, is church attendance. Can we experience the “real” church online?

This got me thinking about how if you’re going to talk about embodied presence, you need to be aware of what it means for someone to show up in their marginalized body, whether in a physical or online space. The risks it takes and the emotional cost it demands.

Continue reading “For those whose bodies are policy issues”
essays, Mental health

You deserve the help you need

No amount of busyness or responsibility cures clinical depression, anxiety disorders, or neurodivergence. I believe people when they say they “just” needed (a kid, a partner, a job change, spirituality, a move) and now they feel better. But that’s not a cure for our disorders.

Sometimes in life, we do need a change. Whether it’s a weekly “me time” or a crosscountry move or a new business, change can be good. But you cannot outrun your disorder. You can’t out-schedule it or out-perform it or out-laugh it. You can’t fill your life with enough people. You can only face it. Discover your values. Accept what you have been given and commit to living according to those values. Set your boundaries, and unravel your shame. Deconstruct and reconstruct and get help from people qualified and trustworthy to give it.

The only way is through. The only way is honesty with yourself and your past, present, and future. It takes lament and commitment, feeling the pain and not avoiding and learning to be whole while shattered. There is no easy out or clever trick or shortcut.

We take our meds and pay for the help we can afford and research, listen, and grow. We do what’s healthy for us emotionally, mentally, and physically. Knowing sometimes it will be a choice between one or the other. And we forgive ourselves and keep going when we hurt ourselves. We can’t outsmart it, but we find balance in the tumult. Slowly, over time. Like a raging river wearing on a rock.

We pray, “just enough for today, God.” That’s all we need. To keep breathing another day. and eventually, it is easier to breathe some days.

But we never graduate from this. We never achieve enough or get promoted out of a disorder. We can make it work and learn to live with it and do things to reduce it. But those are done in humility, with the step of facing it, saying I cannot hide in fake fine. If you are struggling this month, this year, this lifetime. It’s not too late and it’s not too early. You don’t have to wait until you hit the bottom. You don’t have a lack of will or spiritual weakness or identity of failure; you have a disability.

I don’t know that I’m there yet to be proud of my disabilities, but this #DisabilityPrideMonth, please don’t let anyone tell you that you just haven’t tried hard enough or are not busy enough or have too much time on your hands. You deserve the help you need.