Day 17: The Blue Notebook

Adonai, I would make you a perfume of my own heart. I would turn it velvet, rose, rubies and musk. I would ground my own soul, burnt with fire, to make some sweet ash. The aromatic incense I would offer before your throne and with it a new song, all my love in the sweetest melodies.

Please accept my offering and draw me closer into your secret, hidden, soul, deep inside your infinite loveliness and vast perfection. Cas

She went to God in her secret heart,
And shared with God her secret parts.
She drew her bow and shot secret darts
And longed to pierce God’s secret heart.

When God she found, she fell in fear,
For God is frightening if you come too near.
Instead of arrows he uses a spear
And he pierced her heart through her soul full clear.
Psalm 141:2
“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense;
and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”

Day 30: Resolution

Resolution
Cas Reeves 2019
 
This time I come as me!
Though me,
Be three.
Though Snow and Red
Both share my head,
And chat away
At night in bed
Though Gun be son,
Yet we are one.
Cas, a writer now,
Brave at last somehow.
I do not lie.
I dare to try.
I write my truth,
As one,
Before the Father, Spirit, Son,
That three,
Who too,
Is one.
Thank you for those who have come on this 30 days of poetry challenge with me. This is the last poem but you are welcome to come on a new journey with me next month. I am so grateful for all the encouragement. I hope it has helped you in some way to understand mental illness. To God, be the glory, great things He has done and continues to do in my life.

Day 29: Little By Little

Little by Little
Cas Reeves 2018
 
I’d like to make music for you, Lord.
If I was a harp how I’d sing,
For you my dear Saviour
Are so much more,
Then even just God,
You’re my King.
I fell through a hole in the ground
To a lost, sad world without words
But slowly I rise to my feet,
You lift me a little,
So gentle and kind.
Somehow, I’m less lost
And not out of my mind.
I write a sentence, a page.
Not much, no manic or rage,
But perhaps what follows
Will be greater than all
The push and the drama
Before my mind’s fall.
Will my words change the world?
I don’t know,
But the fact that I’m here
Goes to show,
That little by little,
Like a retuned fiddle
My words are a song changing me.
With my heart fit to burst
I come with my thirst
And sing, I have a story set free.
“I fell through a hole in the ground to a lost, sad world without words.” This is what mental illness felt like for me, and it took a long journey to find my words again. I feel like I can write again, even on medications. I am so grateful to God for His healing and to my family and friends for their loving support. I look forward to the future and wonder what God might do with my story.

Day 27: Enraptured

Enraptured
Cas Reeves 2005
 
God and God alone
He holds my heart
With His still small voice.
His smile shining into my spiritual eyes.
Transcending human love
He enraptures me.
Divine beyond perfection
And to perfection and beyond.
He is so good to me.
I fall in love anew,
I run to Him with all of me,
The black and red and all my darkness
Offered to His light.
I am his,
Layer upon layer for His own.
He is and so I am.
Such joy He gives
In place of grey despair.
There are moments of joy when I feel close to God and my illness takes a backseat. All my brokenness and darkness are offered to God’s light. There are days when I feel whole and all of that is because of my faith in God. The healing and wholeness I do experience is a gift from my Heavenly Father. He enraptures me and gives colour in place of the grey.  

Day 25: Hello Illness

Hello Illness
Cas Reeves 2020
 
Hello illness, my old friend,
I've come to visit you again,
Because the words
Of the prophets are written
In my journal pages
And notebook cages,
Tucked away
In bedroom drawers
On messy floors.
My pain echoes
In the sound of silence.
 
In restless dreams my medications,
Give bright coloured incantations
And iridescent waves crash round.
In the depths, I'm merely found.
I am washed but never clean.
Exposed to pain but rarely seen.
I see the world
It is crumbling,
Crumbling down,
But there's no noise,
Just broken toys
And the sound of silence.
If you remember The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel, maybe hum it as you read this poem. Over time the cycle of manic and depression becomes so familiar, it never goes away. I journal every day, filling book after book just to cope with the medicated silence. Most of the time, I am home alone, just me and my fragile faith. I live in my journals, write endless prayers, colour in and try to avoid seeing the News.

Day 24: DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder)

DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) 
Cas Reeves 2019
 
She broke in two, then four, then six,
So with her shell
There was seven in her Hell.
To give words written
To past bees bitten
Seems unforgivable,
Insane,
Or a narcissistic revelation of pain.
Fat caterpillars eating milkweed
And drinking pink Nesquik.
Say to 3:
It’s okay the rabbits are all eaten.
No hawk will swoop down and pull your belly out.
God will not tear you apart.
The fog of drugs,
The weight of chemicals,
Medication like a thousand sinkers
Weighing down body and brain.
To move is pain and sadness.
To live is effort and defeat.
Alone in my crowded mind
To live again?
Impossible.
Branded, labelled insane.
I am a broken butterfly.
No wings, no symmetry,
No dancing in the breeze.
Drugged, doped, imprisoned
Destroyed, decimated, detained by drugs.
Straitjacketed by Lithium and Seroquel.
I name my captors.
3 cries, Gun screams,
Snow reasons while Red rages
Imp is so broken she cannot dance now,
And Mumma barely breathes
I pray, God, somehow, somehow?
There isn’t time or space to explain my experience of DID (dissociative identity disorder), but this poem gathers together some of the complicated strings that make up my alters. You don’t need to understand, worry or fear. We all have sides to our personalities; mine are just more defined. I am one soul despite all this, and that soul is saved eternally by the blood of the Lamb. I am so thankful for my faith; it holds this inner circus together.

Day 23: Medicated Soul

Medicated Soul
Cas Reeves 2019
 
Who am I here?
To write these words
And hold my breath at shadows?
Is there still poetry
In this medicated soul?
Does God still love me
Though I feel nothing?
Nothing when I pray?
No word jumps from the page.
The scripture sits blank,
Like cold porridge in my head.
Does God still love me?
Though I do not burn?
Or even yearn?
Does He understand,
That medication dulls
The sword that was my spirit
Until the edge of my wits
Is more ‘blunt butter knife.’
Then a scalpel
To divide the soul and spirit?
I offer God anew my words,
My thoughts, dreams and desires.
I put God first in all
My longings and my hopes.
I pray God’s grace
Is greater than my illness.
My illness has forced me to live by faith. Medication blocks the spirituality I could always access so freely. Now I have to trust the promises of scripture. God never leaves us or forsakes us. We might feel alone, we might feel nothing, we might be lost in layer after layer of confusion and depression, but God is greater than all this. He longs to save our souls and comfort us.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Day 22: Imp!

Imp!
Cas Reeves 1999
 
In the corner she sits,
Squatting on her haunches.
Waiting impatiently.
The moment I can bear her
She’s on her feet and dancing.
Screaming in my ear.
 
“I’m here,
I’m here,
You can’t ignore me!
I’m part of you,
Now write!
Write!
Create,
Quick!
Do It!
Do It!
Feed Me,
Fill Me!
You’re growing old,
Quick
Write and write!
Create,
Please do it!
I’m here,
I’m here.
I’m your passion to write,
You can’t ignore me.”
 
Little Imp,
If I could catch you
I’d swat you like a fly
This morning.
Get back in your corner.
Ah, I love and hate
My creative self.
Before I understood anything about schizoaffective or dissociative identity disorder or bipolar. Before I really acknowledged that I probably had a mental illness. Before it all, there was Imp! That manic, intense, driving force with its own life and personality so different from the rest of me, capable of doing so much creatively with no consideration to my health, sanity or the practicalities of reality.

Day 20: At Sea

At Sea
Cas Reeves 2014
 
God took me.
He stood me on a beach and said:
‘What do you see?’
I said: ‘The ocean.’
The sea spread out before me,
Huge powerful waves,
Stretching in a curve on beach
As far as the eye could reach
And beyond.
Endless blue to the horizon.
Deep, dark, blue sea.
Unfathomable depths hiding worlds.
God said: ‘I am the sea
What are you to me?’
I stared at the pushing, pulsing, waves,
Thought of the encompassing waters
Covering the earth.
‘What am I compared to Christ?’
I picked up a small, broken shell,
Sun bleached, faded, chipped and incomplete.
I held it up to Jesus,
‘I am this shell.’
God nodded:
‘So little shell what have you
To do with me?
Can you understand my depths?
You cannot comprehend
Even the shallows,
You cannot contain my glory.’
‘No Lord.’ I agreed:
‘But I can be touched by you.’
I threw the shell
And sunk down into my Saviour,
Lost in his wondrous love
At sea.
Today I share a poem to celebrate a beautiful moment of understanding with God.

Day 19: Take Me To Narnia

Take Me To Narnia
Cas Reeves 2013
 
Take me to Narnia Lord.
I can’t find the way.
Aslan hear my prayers.
You are not a tame lion
But you are good.
I believe in what I cannot see.
My faith in the Bible
It is strong in me.
I trust in you God: Holy, Holy.
But I am here; time goes slowly.
My lives in Narnia
Seem like dreams I can’t forget.
I am Lucy, I believe!
Call me!
I will come Aslan!
Lord, my lamp is lit.
I wait in Lantern Waste.
When I was a little girl my mother read me all of the Narnia books. What a wonderful gift. Even in the darkest times of my mental illness that intricate allegory has made sense. I have gone back and read these books over and over. They have given me hope and perspective. This poem was written in the months before hospital.