Going Somewhere

It is very rare at this point for me to go anywhere. But, in less than a week, I am going to go somewhere. It is very exciting and very scary. But I am going to go camping with my church in the beautiful mountains of southern Pennsylvania. I’m going to do what I can to help my church do what it has been doing for the past 19 years-raise standing stones.

Yup. Standing Stones. Building a stone circle. And this will be the twentieth year. And being there means a lot to me, and I am humble and grateful that I can go.

But there is a lot to deal with before I can walk out that door.

Before we even get into the reality of an agoraphobic schizophrenic going anywhere there must be the means to do so. And currently the car is being a poot. It has refused to pass inspection, and is just hanging out at the garage. The garage is being frightfully casual about getting us an estimate on fixing the car. Like any person, I need to know how much it will cost to fix the car, and when they will be done. But the garage keeps not calling.

Mr. Sweetie is trying to call the garage, but all they say is that they will call back. Then they don’t call back. They have had the car since Tuesday morning, and it is now noon on Thursday. It seems like they would at least be able to tell us how much this is going to cost by now.

I’m trying not to be paranoid. I’m trying not to take it personally. I am trying very hard to not freak out. On the inside, there are armies of voices swirling around screaming that I’ll never get to go, that the garage isn’t calling because they have no intention of fixing the car, that it is somehow all my fault.

On the surface, I am trying to pack my things, and trying to get mentally ready for the trip.

Leaving the house is a big deal for me these days. I have that bad schizophrenic magical thinking. Truly, I feel that if I do every single thing perfectly, absolutely perfectly, then nothing will go wrong.

I make bargains with the Universe…’ok, ok, I won’t take ANY unhealthy snacks at all…now please make the car ok.’ Unsurprisingly, the Universe sees no correlation between my unhealthy snacks and compelling the garage to fix my car. And the rational parts of my brain understand that. The rest of my brain is like a swarm of hornets on krokodil.

Some of the irrationality is *actually* rational, too. The weather is a huge factor. In past years we have shivered, sweltered, and even entertained a large hurricane. (and sometimes in the same 5 days) For comfort and function, it is necessary to pack all of the things.

And all of that does not even begin to touch on the emotions, fears, joys, trepidation, and panic about being outside, about being with my tribe, my friends, my family.

And none of that addresses the underlying spiritual compulsion to go.

That spiritual compulsion is the driving force behind all the rest.

There is not a lot of support in Western Psychiatry for schizophrenics with spiritual compulsions. In fact, my experience has demonstrated that most therapists will do anything in their power to deflect the schizophrenic from religious impulse.

I understand that they have concerns, and evidence to support those concerns. I do appreciate that fact. I ‘get’ that there is no way that they are going to believe that my voices are not urging me to some atrocious act in the name of some deity-theirs, yours, mine…it doesn’t  matter. I understand their concerns.

But I do not share them.

I live my life with a lot of darkness and confusion. In spite of it, I try to be good, and to do good. I am compelled to reach up and out of myself, to try to touch the light.My life requires more religion and less medicine. Somehow, this trip is going to work out. Somehow, when those Stones Rise, I’ll be there.

…but that means that the garage better call…

If you want to know more about Stones Rising or Four Quarters, check out www.4qf.org


Author: belladonnareed

Pamela Alexander is a 48 year old mother of two and mild menace to society. She resides in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA with her sorely oppressed partner, and flatulent dog and a cat. She smokes like a chimney, swears like a sailor, and has been known to drink. When she grows up she hopes to move to the West coast of Mexico.

2 thoughts on “Going Somewhere”

  1. You express things so well. So many times I can read your blog and have so much empathy for how everyday life must be. I know that recently I’ve been struggling with my mental health issues lately. Your explanation of how your spiritual compulsion struggle between darkness and confusion to trying to see the good and do the good is similar to mine. These are words I needed to hear to know I am not alone. I will for sure send some healing energies your car’s way. Do me a favor and say hello to the stones for me. Love you.

    1. Love you, too, Art! It is so difficult to find the balance between spirituality and sanity. Our culture seems to allow only that we have one of those. Whoever heard of a sane saint? But there is balance between the two in many places. Finding our feet under us, finding solid footing, then beginning to stretch and reach…that is a thing. Breathe and breathe. I am breathing with you. Everything is breathing with you. We only need to find the rhythm. Only that one little exquisite thing.

Please share your story. I'll try to listen compassionately and answer to the best of my ability