Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Finding Freedom

Shackles and chains come in all shapes and sizes. My body has represented many of the confines I've learned to work around throughout my life. Many people believe my blindness shackles me to my home, my neighborhood, or my friends and family to get me around. While I am grateful for the kindness, patience and support of my sighted friends...these are not the confines from which I must break free.
When I was on dialysis as a kidney patient, I was literally chained to a machine by needles and tubes. For three and a half hours, three times a week, I sat in a chair with my blood running from my arm, into a machine and then back into my arm. This process is hard on your body, your heart, your nerves, your muscles and bones. It is also necessary to keep you alive. One of the side effects of dialysis is a sleep disorder.
Disorder makes it sound rather innocuous. You just plain don't sleep. The blood cleaning is exhausting enough, but the not sleeping will drain what's left of your strength.
I was given a prescription for Adovan, an anti-anxiety medication to relieve this problem. I started on .5 mg.'s the first few days. After 2-3 nights of sleeping, my body caught up and I couldn't sleep again. The prescription was bumped up another .5 Mg's every time my body adjusted and the disorder came back. It took me about a month before I couldn't sleep at all and the dosage was up to 5 mg.'s every night.
I went to dialysis one morning at 7 a.m. feeling as if my skin would crawl off of my body. While I was trapped in my chair with my blood being cleaned by a machine, I started shaking, my heart palpitating and my skin crawling. I fought the sensations of my body attacking for the next few hours until the nurses at dialysis sent me to the hospital to get some help.
On the examination table in the E.R., I was told I was detoxing from the adovan and they'd give me some more to stop the reaction and I'd need to increase my dosage again.
My body had trapped me again. Maybe it was 'medically necessary' because I had an issue that could only be dealt with medically. It didn't matter. I was shackled to a drug, a drug that relieved other problems but that now was in complete control of my sanity and well-being.
I refused the adovan and stopped the prescription.
I wish I could tell you the drug wore off and I went back to my life. It didn't. I was awake for five days straight. My skin crawled. I cried, thrashed, soaked in hot and cold showers and prayed round the clock. All these years later, I still have sleeping problems. For different reasons, but the result is the same...sometimes I don't sleep for more than a few hours at night. The chains are broken, and I'll never go back to those confines. I could sleep more and better if I took the medicine. I could find a different prescription that was less addictive, but I won't.
Actual physical wounds aren't healed with the prescriptions, the pain is just deadened. Deadened pain is a blessing for those of us who live with it constantly. The problem is...everything else ends up deadened too. Thoughts, emotions, the influence of The Holy Spirit, the voice of The Savior and the quiet love and peace The Lord offers.
Healing deeper wounds of shame, self-hatred, feelings of failure and the fear of being too broken to love can't be fixed with drugs. To heal the wounds of the heart and the scars of the soul, one must fall at The Savior's feet. Fight the forces tearing at your body and break the shackles of numbing temporary balms.
Yes, it will be painful, healing hurts. Finding freedom, in any part of life comes when we surrender to God and let Him heal us.
Healing will not free you from your problems, injuries and diseases. It will bring you peace and strength to fight, thrive and succeed in your life. No one knows the extent of your pain and so no one can understand what is necessary for you to function. If you find yourself depending more and more on the medication and withdrawing from your relationship with God, turn to Him  and those who love you, during your pain and frustration and ask for help to hang on.

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