Sunday, June 11, 2017

How Soon is Now

“When you say it’s gonna happen “now”
well, when exactly do you mean?
See, I’ve already waited too long
and all my hope is gone”
The Smiths
How Soon is Now (1985)

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
 Let Your ears be attentive
    To the voice of my supplications.
      If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
  And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
   More than the watchmen for the morning;
    Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.”
Psalm 130:1-6

There’s one question that is often asked by those living with an active mental health or addiction disorder: “How long do I have to live this way?” The pain and suffering can be unbearable, and for some, so severe that they believe that there is no recourse but to take their own lives.

I know this feeling very well. From February 1981-April 1989 I was on the carousel of psychiatric hospital stays that I couldn’t get off of. Early on I was prescribed a virtual hodge podge of medications. Mind you, these were first generation antipsychotic medications that produced horrible side effects. But I had, at least in my mind, no other choice.

It was also during this time period that I sought relief from God. I tried everything from prayer to the 700 Club and even Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. I was desperate. But I’m not the only one. Countless numbers of individuals seek healing from a Power greater than themselves. For me it was God, in the form of Jesus.

But let’s take a step back and examine this concept further. If you asked most Americans, they believe in God. In a Gallup poll collected in June 2016, 89% of those surveyed responded that they believed in God. (

If this holds true, then most Americans believe, at least to a certain extent, that there is something Greater than themselves that may have some kind of “extraordinary” power.

But this begs the larger question: if God does exist, why do so many suffer, in this case, from mental health and/or addiction disorders? It is my personal belief that when we are in pain, whether it be mental, emotional, physical or spiritual, God is experiencing this pain with us. Granted, this does not make the prospect of living with any kind of malady easier. But having the knowledge that God is present in our struggle can help us to endure this insufferable pain.

The other question, which pertains to the title of this post, is how soon will I feel better (if at all)? There a number of factors that can affect the outcome of this question. Sometimes it’s the correct type of therapy, whether it be medication, psychotherapy (otherwise known as “talk therapy”), or holistic practices like mindfulness meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga, or other exercises, to name but a few.

What I have learned through my own personal as well as professional experience is that the key ingredient in this particular wellness equation is time. It can take time to discover what works in relation to the various treatment methods I mentioned previously. And this is what can be the most frustrating, if not angering, part of recovery. Having patience when you are in despair can be hard to come by.

But as is stated in this post’s opening scripture from the Psalmist:

“I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
            And in His word do I hope.”

Hope is essential to recovery. Hope can be the one thing to hold onto when all else has failed. When I was experiencing the rocket-like experience of mania and the crushing blows of depression all I had was hope. And hope is what got me through.

I will be perfectly honest and say that there are many days I cannot believe that I ever got through those dark days. But I do know that it was not just of my own doing, nor was it the medication, family and peer support, or simple “right place, right time” circumstances. I truly believe in my heart that God, through the power of Christ, helped me to overcome what seemed to be insurmountable odds to find health, healing and wholeness.

If you are reading this and are struggling to find your way and if you have even faith the size of a mustard seed, know that God is present with you in your suffering and wants nothing more than to see you find relief. Yes, there is hope, and it is God’s time, not ours.

Be well

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