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Come away with me, come away with me

It’s never too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late for you

I have a plan for you
I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of me

Open up your heart and let me in

I just put some music on and chose a Jesus Culture album because I love them and haven’t listening to this album for a while. This song is currently playing and it’s prompted a blogpost that has been brewing for a couple of weeks.

The imaginings of my previous post really were just imaginings. I realised myself yesterday that I am not fit for work. But I felt I couldn’t make that decision myself for various reasons, guilt featuring prominently. The other was fear. I was so desperately afraid that I had fucked up my job and if I wasn’t there then someone else would find me out. I thought I had forgotten to do something and then for weeks I had not checked if I had in fact forgotten the thing I thought I’d forgotten, because I was afraid that I was right and wouldn’t be able to handle it. So I kept my eyes averted until it was too late to fix the mistake I thought I had made. Yesterday I did the thing I needed to do to see if I had made the mistake. I cross referenced two lists to see if they matched. That’s it, that’s all I have ever had to do. And you know what? You know the really stupid, profoundly stupidest thing about the whole sorry mess? I had already done it. In February. I’d done it then and found out that I had not made a mistake. I had just forgotten I’d done it, then convinced myself I hadn’t, then convinced myself that by not doing it I’d fucked up a huge task that would result in me being found out as a fraud very publicly.

*Insert crazy lady laugh here*

I’ve put myself through so much stress for absolutely no reason at all.

Once I realised that, my first reaction (well, first after berating myself for being a cowardly twat) was relief. I don’t have to fear giving the task to someone else to complete because I’ve done it adequately until now anyway and so don’t need to spend the days and nights of my sick leave worrying about being fired as soon as I return.

My next reaction was to tell myself that as the task was no longer scary, I should go back to work and finish the damn thing. I imagine things to be scared of, but I can’t remember a time when they have turned out to be true. I’ve done a fair few scary things in my time (a night train through Morocco being stared at by Arab men at the age of 19 on my first trip abroad alone springs to mind) but nothing that I have imagined has ever materialised. Right! Back to work then. Enter Narky’s head:

You daft bint, you made it all up. You’re a coward, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Now stop being weak, pull yourself together, get a grip and do your job.

My GP thought otherwise. She looked so sad when I told her I wanted to kill myself a few weeks back and have thought about it on and off ever since. She’s signed me off work until 10 June, restarted the Lamotrigine at a tiny baby dose, and referred me quick smart back to see a psychiatrist. She told me not to beat myself up for bringing this all on myself, because really, who would want to keep taking medication when they’re feeling well? And who, really, who deals with all their problems as soon as they arise? She said I made a very human decision to come off meds, and I have continued making human decisions ever since then when I have buried my head in the sand. It’s hard when the thing you use to make decisions is the thing that’s broken. I’m being a good girl and doing as I’m told, mainly because she smiled at me and told me not to kill myself because things will start to get better now.

Nevertheless, a trip back to psychiatrist-land devastates me. I’m going back in time. I was discharged! That was over, I was fixed, it was in the past, gone, finished. But it’s never finished. Three and a half years ago I spent six weeks off work and here I am doing the same damn thing. I feel like my life is being stripped away from me. How will anything ever get better again? How will I ever recover what has been lost?

Through all of this over the last few weeks, as I have fallen ever deeper into loss and despair, I have felt a gentle, kind presence with me. This is the bit of the blogpost that has been brewing for a while. I have tried writing before and stopped because words haven’t been adequate. Like if I try to touch it it might evaporate. At band practice a couple of weeks ago we sang through some immensely powerful songs. God was present in that room, I felt him close, singing with us, smiling at us.

The first song we sang was ‘When I Survey’.

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died;
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
save in the death of Christ, my God;
all the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

I felt Jesus very gently take my attention away from the vain things that charm me, my desperate desire for independence, my yearning not to be weak, and point me to his pierced hands and feet, his loving smile, the scars on his head. My sadness, my fear, he holds it all safe. He is not taking it away from me. Despite his nearness I remain devastated and I do not feel hope. What I feel most strongly is a savage longing for this life to be over. Jesus is a very frustrating man. But I think he whispers to us all the time and we’re just too busy throwing rocks at ourselves to hear him. Who best to comfort those with mental illness, than the man in whom love and sorrow meet?

I sat down and cried when I heard the words I quoted at the top of the post.

Come away with me, come away with me

It’s never too late, it’s not too late
It’s not too late for you

I have a plan for you
I have a plan for you
It’s gonna be wild
It’s gonna be great
It’s gonna be full of me

Open up your heart and let me in

Is it true? Can there really be a plan for me? Are you sure it’s not too late for me? Believing in Jesus when you’re in the throes of mental illness is a very weird thing to do. The vain things that charm me most are screaming at me that it is too late for me, that there is no plan, that I should close my heart and top myself. Choosing to leave aside the vain things that charm me most (the big one this week has been relinquishing control of my job) and fix my eyes instead on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, is excruciatingly difficult. But this man, he is really quite mesmerising.

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