By Michael Paul
I describe my mental illness and healing journey in short blog chapters on my website and in this podcast.
Michael PaulJul 05, 2021
Chapter 20 - We Love You
Before writing this story, I reviewed my journal entries, therapy notes, and doctor notes. Tears brimmed occasionally as I remembered the raw and visceral emotions I had experienced on a roller-coaster ride that lasted about three years.
Chapter 19 - Prayer - Part Three
We spoke pleasantries for a few minutes in the kitchen, then walked into their living room. The woman asked me to sit down on the chair as she and her friend opened their notebooks. She reviewed the steps of Unbound Prayer, then asked me to tell my story.
Chapter 18 - Prayer - Part Two
This hour of prayer became my refuge and defense, and I looked forward to it each night. My mind was sticky, however, and I continued to worry about my heart.
Chapter 17 - Prayer - Part One
Like much of this journey, I wasn’t expecting this prayer experience, but I accepted it as a gift. I didn’t expect the revelation I had on a slow walk before dawn the next morning on the beach. Nor did I expect the invitation from a retreatant to participate in…
Chapter 16 - Military
I took the annual health assessment and told the nurse I was having homicidal and suicidal thoughts. The nurse told me to go to the base hospital. I met with a psychologist and went through the half-day suicidal protocols.
Chapter 15 - Fall - Part Two
I couldn’t fall asleep. I couldn’t sleep on my back, and if I tried to sleep on either side, I heard my heartbeat. I knew what being scared to death meant. I was in Edgar Allen Poe’s A Tell-Tale Heart.
Chapter 14 - Fall - Part One
My anxiety nearly crippled me during the drive as fears exploded from within. My heart beat audibly, I twitched, I sang loudly to drown the sorrow...
Chapter 13 - Dream
In my dream, bands of angels were marching up both sides of the mountain rejoicing, singing, and blowing trumpets. The feeling that overshadowed me was a peace that surpassed all understanding.
Chapter 12 - Summer
I looked forward to the three-day summer retreat over Independence Day weekend. Since the knife accident, I hadn’t slept through the night without a sedative. During the retreat, however, the thought of sleeping in a bed wasn’t terrifying.
Chapter 11 - Out of Body and Baptisms
As I was somewhere between the conscious and subconscious realms, a heavy and cold force pulled me up. I lightened some as I felt my soul being taken from my body, but the feeling was dark.
Chapter 10 - Dark Nights - Part Three
I had another nightmare. I was in my house, again in the woods, and two men broke through the door, coming for me with a sharp object. The men were…
Chapter 9 - Dark Nights - Part Two
I had been through annual suicide training in the military for the previous fifteen years. I knew what to look for, I thought. I knew the signs.
I never thought it could happen to me…
Chapter 8 - Dark Nights - Part One
My mind had been completely encrusted, yet a drill was boring a hole. Then a piercing pain jabbed repeatedly with the precision of a scalpel. It burned. Something in the center of my brain was pulsating rapidly, preparing to explode at any minute...
Chapter 7 - Knife Attack
Maybe my mind was so terribly foggy that I hallucinated this feeling of being forced. It happened so suddenly. I stepped back, yet lunged forward at the same time. I tried to remove my hand as quickly as possible, but the sharp edge of the knife hit my right pinky finger. It missed the bone but cut very deep. Immediately, I screamed and yelled F***...
Chapter 6 - Gardening and Tai Chi
Gardening and tai chi moderated the intensity and duration of my bodily and mental pains. However...
Chapter 5 - Therapy and Medicine
I hoped therapy and medicine would heal my mind, but I knew it would take time. Finding the correct medicine and dialing in the correct dosage would take time. Unraveling the layers in therapy would take time. Time, time, time. I prayed for more patience...
Chapter 4 - Panic Attack
What should I do? Call an ambulance or a friend? Drive to the Emergency Room (ER) because of the panic attack? I recalled the first time I had a panic attack...
Chapter 3 - Nightmare
It was dark, cold, and raining, similar to what I was told November 1944 was like in the Hurtgen Forest in a foxhole...
Chapter 2 - Stomach and Jaw Pain
I felt like I had survived a fight with repeated punches to my stomach and jaw. Days after buying the nightguard, my mind came under assault too.
Chapter 1 - My Mental Health Story
I journeyed through the lands of deep depression, panic disorder, anxiety disorder, suicidal ideation, homicidal thoughts, and post-traumatic stress for over two years. The ride was wild at times, gentle at times, and sluggish at times, but it always flowed forward until I exited the land of the dead.