A Wild Time In The Psychiatric Unit
“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.” 1 John 1: 5-10
I am just home from a three night stay in a psychiatric unit. I ended up there because I was up all night, two nights in a row, and that brought on some pretty massive flashbacks. Somehow vivid memories of being gang raped by my father and two of his cousins at the age of eight got stuck in an endless loop in my brain. When the flashbacks get relentless like that I even begin to think of ending my own life. So when suicidal thoughts began Monday morning I knew I needed to seek help or I might die.
I was admitted to the unit at 10 pm. Monday night, but the flashbacks continued on through the morning hours. None of the sleep medications they threw at me worked at all. Three nights without any sleep will make anyone a little crazy, but add PTSD flashbacks to that mix and it becomes near pure insanity.
When I met with the psychiatrist and treatment team Tuesday morning I reported how much progress I had made since my last hospitalization in November 2011. Then the Spirit led me to suggest to them that perhaps I was now over-medicated. This suggestion led to a lengthy conversation and in the end it was decided to take me off all psychiatric medication for 24 hours. After that period we would add back a bare minimum dose and see how that went. Tuesday night I slept 5 hours without any meds and the flashbacks decreased about 50% of their intensity.
On Wednesday I was finally able to give prayer and attention to my fellow psych patients, like I normally do whenever I am admitted to a unit. There were some wonderful people there, that were going through some very difficult times. At 1 pm we had an optional, non-required Spirituality group. This group was facilitated by the hospital chaplain and six of us participated. That day the topic of the group was forgiveness and we began by reading the 1 John passage quoted above. I was led to jump right in and share about how Jesus forgave me and then equipped me to forgive those who had abused me all those years ago. I have no idea of exactly what I said, but I asked others to join in and share their stories too. Before we knew it the hour had passed very quickly and the six of us patients were all in tears. The clergyman just sat there dumbfounded in silence the whole time. Three patients asked me to pray with them so that they could have the same Jesus I spoke of to live in their hearts and one of them was a Muslim. I have rarely experienced such grace and power.
As we were leaving the room the clergyman asked me…”What just happened here?” I told him just totally free and open, Spirit led fellowship in Jesus. All he could say was “Wow” and I gave him a hug. I spent the rest of the day Wednesday until 1 pm when I left today in close fellowship and prayer with my new sisters and brothers. The chaplain even brought new bibles today for those who were seeking Him at the group yesterday. This was like my 16th psych hospitalization in the last 12 years and every time Jesus was there with me setting others free. Oh my how God does use our weakness to reach and bless others.
Kirk Out !
p.s. Last night I slept 9 hours without any flashbacks.