Posted by Spector on December 31, 2005, at 2:03:42
Hello. I have asked for prayers here a couple of times before. And I am asking again tonight.
I am at the very end of a long long rope. Frantic with despair and desperation. I know that I am not forsaken, that none of us ever are. I believe that God loves me, but .. . . what I continue to experience is so extreme that at times (many many times) it feels just as though some evil entity is experimenting with me the way a cruel child might experiment with -- torture -- a small animal. I KNOW that there is no such entity; I do know that. I just say that it can really feel as though there is. And, just like most people in extraordinary pain for a very long time, I cannot help but ask why, why, why, over and over. Why sooooo long? Why sooooo bad? Why, God, why can it not end now?
I still believe that there are no accidents, that our suffering does have purpose even though we often cannot see that purpose during the suffering. But . ... . that can be the hardest thing to remember. At times, impossible.
I know this might be redundant to anyone who remembers my other requests, but I would like to describe my story as briefly as possible. I am 38 now. Between the ages of 18 through 21 I suffered from episodes of manic depression. The mania was mostly hypomania; the depression were extremely severe with crippling anxiety. No drugs helped, but I would emerge from the depressions (4 of them) like clockwork after about 5 months. Then I went into a complete remission for the following 13-1/2 years. As many of you reading this will know, a remission like that with my history is statistically very rare.
During the latter part of those years I was finally able to realize some of my dreams. I met and married my beautiful husband. We moved to NY City together where I was able with his incredible support and enthusiasm to finally finally go to the art school I had wanted to go to for literally a dozen years. I studied there for four years and discovered that, yes, I really am a painter. I was able then to rent a studio near where we live in Brooklyn and paint every day all day. I was beginning to discover the infinite and mystical world of making paintings; I was beginning to make my own paintings. I had yearned for this my entire life. It was a dream come true.
Doctors have told me that most likely the remission would have continued indefinitely if the following had not happened. In May 2002 I went to a new psychiatrist. Not because I was experiencing any symptoms. Not even because I was seeking therapy. I went to her only to have a background person, as I'd always had, just in case. After meeting me, she felt I had mild symptoms of ADD. She suggested a medication that she said could be very helpful. I said, no, I don't think so; I've had terrible problems with medications in the past. She said, well you can just try it and see what happens. She said nothing about possible risk of mania or anything like that or I would have run for my life. Additionally, I had no idea that the drug she was suggesting was an amphetime (Adderall). I agreed to try it.
It took only one dose; I immediately went into the beginning of a hypomanic state which continued for 5 full months despite discontinuing the medication.
Then, in November 2002 I fell into the unspeakably severe and terror-filled depression that I am still in today, three years and two months later. I became unable to care for myself, unable to even be alone much of the time. I had to leave my home, my husband, my studio and my life painting in order to move back into my mother's house in CT for full time care where I remain today. (Still with my husband -- he comes every weekend and has been unwavering in his knowledge that this will end and we will have life together again. He is .. .. . an angel.)
I have spent these three years fighting for my life. I have gone through literally dozens and dozens of treatment attempts. Many conventional -- 13 different drugs, ECT, CBT -- and many many alternative treatments too numerous to list. None have helped, many have hurt, some badly. I know that most of you will understand all too well what I mean when I say how indescribably painful and frightening it is to search for help when you are virtually incapacitated with terror but so frantic with panic that you cannot do nothing. But I am now .. . how do I say it? I am beyond exhausted, and also feel that I cannot search anymore, that continued searching will not actually help me.
I was just forced to go through another search when a promising treatment (neurofeedback) did not pan out after 5 excruciating months. And, though I relied on my gut as much as I could like always, this last search was the most painful of all and again led to dead ends. I had prayed -- ok, mostly begged -- God all Summer and into the Fall to please please let the end come so that I did not have to go through the agony of searching in the dark esoteric ether again, so that I did not have to live through my fourth Winter, Christmas, New Year, birthday, etc. sick. I tried so hard to tell Him that I feared it would be closer to unbearable than ever before.
I could not have been more right. If I were not afraid that this is already too long, I would give you gory details of what withstanding a day is like for me. But I trust that many of you know well enough.
I cannot remember as hard as I try what it is like to live without virtually constant pounding terror, what joy and calm feel like. Yet, something in me MUST remember because I want to come back to life more than anything ever ever ever ever. And I want to give life back to my family so very badly too. My mother is sick herself -- sick with the grief of helplessly watching her child suffer so badly every day that she (I) literally screams in agony begging for death. (I am not suicidal -- no attempts, no serious plans. But I do fear reaching my limit. Though in complete honesty, I fear just as much NOT reaching it and continuing indefinitely like this, unable to die, unable to live.) I am blessed with a family that understands AND has the patience and stamina to care for me. But their lives have stopped as well. I want to give life back to them more than I can say.
Right now I have a very devout prayer healer working on me. He is Muslim and in West Africa, but I know that he has a pure and humble heart and no motivation other than helping me. His life's calling is prayer and helping to heal others. In contrast to so many of the people I have seen here, his work is a calling, not a business and he does not ask for any payment.
And I am so fortunate to have others who have prayed for me deeply every single day of these three years. But I would like to again ask those of you who can to help, to pray for me as well. I would be so grateful.
Thank you and forgive the length of this.