The pain surge blew every fuse in the main generator of my all too human mind,
4 million volts was 26 times their loading capacity,
That was when I first met you, emergency generator.
The task to rebuild is unthinkable,
wildly beyond my skill and experience level,
every component utterly destroyed and burned out,
I refuse to accept the challenge,
have you been sent by God, emergency generator?
I am blinded by your beauty,
taken in completely by your effortless output,
no need to rebuild or undertake repairs,
I can just stay here forever, with you, emergency generator.
Far, far away in the world of reality you do not exist,
you are a coping mechanism, an escape,
a state of mind,
a mental illness,
a disconnected manic episode, emergency generator.
You are struggling and overheating really badly now,
I am forced to acknowledge your lack of ability,
but it makes no sense, it is so confusing,
why is everyone so angry?
why can they not see you?
why can they not understand you, emergency generator?
You have gone now,
all that is left is the impossible, unthinkable, unbearable need to rebuild the main generator,
wire by wire,
component by component,
they tell me that I must,
but I am so alone, so broken, so incredibly lost without you, emergency generator.
Some personal things that I have found helpful:
Writing - in the early stages of grief I could not stop writing. Much of it was nonsense, although not all of it. As my mania moved increasingly to depression it became impossible to read, write or concentrate. Full recovery of these skills is still a challenge, however I recently wrote the poem below because I needed to record what my trauma induced mental illness actually felt like. My hope is that others who have experienced something similar will understand and relate to the words.
Music – music is very personal. In my case I have particularly needed Christian music and especially contemporary songs that include words from the Psalms. I have become a massive fan of Ian White and Sons of Korah.
Fixing things – I have always been quite practical and I enjoy fixing things. I lost this ability too but now spend a lot of time again with my tool box. I am a bit slower but it helps me to stay present and grounded, things I previously took for granted.
Psalm 51 – God’s love is at the very heart of failure.
Prayer – when negative throughs come I am increasingly able to use prayer to shift my thinking and open my heart. Paul’s encouragement to “pray without ceasing” makes much more sense post illness. The more I use open-hearted prayer as my default, the more I move beyond my own (inadequate) strength and understanding. Prayer is no longer a chore – it has become a gift.
Ewan McLean-Foreman Feb 2020
Ewan McLean-Foreman, 16/11/2020