the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler

You get to choose.

Bee ButlerComment

As many of you may already know, I submitted myself for a clinical trial several months ago when I was in the very worst of my breakdown. I did so, because I had just read a book by my favorite author and blogger, Heather B. Armstrong (and yes, the B. there is absolutely necessary). She did a clinical trial with Propofol, and while that was not available in my area, a Ketamine vs. ECT (electro-convulsive therapy… where they shock your brain and cause a seizure and the brain damage helps make your depression better), and so I submitted for it.

And I got it.

And right away, I put all my hope, faith, and trust in that trial. I truly believed that these nine ECT treatments (I got randomized to ECT, which is not what I wanted, but there was nothing I could do about it) would save my life, cure my depression, and make me well again.

And it looked like they were.

I walked out of the VA hospital from my final treatment and gave a hug to a nurse, which my mother snapped a picture of, and told everyone how happy I was and how this was truly the cure.

But during the trial, for pain, I was treated with Dilaudid. And that is an insanely heavy pain med that lots of people become addicted to and even OD on. When you add in that ECT causes memory loss, you get three weeks time completely lost to me. No memory of them at all, apart from the treatment bay before I went under. And during that time, my mother asked me if I felt safe with her going on vacation, and I said yes.

I do not remember saying that.

That doesn’t change the fact that I said it.

All of this ended with me completely falling apart, landing in the office of the doctor who would do my follow-up “maintenance” ECT treatments, and after five minutes of talking to me, she diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD. When I let my team from the trial know that, they laughed it off and said it was irresponsible of her to diagnose me with that, or with anything at all, in the short amount of time she had with me, and when I told my psychiatrist yesterday at my appointment, he didn’t seem to be fully on board with that diagnosis, but he agreed to put me on Lithium anyway (per Dr. Livingston, the ECT doctor who diagnosed me with BPD’s request), and off we went.

I took that diagnosis hard. I essentially gave up. If I have a personality disorder, ECT will do nothing. Medication, largely, will do nothing. It’s all talk therapy. And I have spent eighteen years of my life in every form of talk therapy that there is, from inpatient to Intensive Outpatient Programs (or IOPs), and if all of that hadn’t done enough to make a difference, then what hope did I have?

So I found myself in a position I had truly never fully experienced. I was ACTIVELY suicidal, to the point that I made a plan and began texting some friends that I loved and trusted and let them know what was going on. I also texted my mom, explaining to her exactly how I felt, and I set the following parameters:

If the Lithium and my ECT session Friday do not DRASTICALLY change how I feel, I will be ending my life.

My friends tried desperately to talk me out of it, and my mom got angry, then inconsolably sad.

I started the Lithium yesterday, and I honestly don’t feel any different. My treatment tomorrow is scheduled, and I know how these things go, since this is my tenth time, but I have been less-than-optimisitic about it, because it’s one treatment, and even though it has increased chances of success due to all the other treatments I’ve endured, there is no guarantee.

But I had a trip planned with a friend that I completely forgot about in the midst of my ECT-memoried mind, and when she reminded me about it, I realized that giving up and letting go Friday wasn’t an option. So, I told myself, I would get through the weekend, give the meds a little more time to work, and make it to the next ECT next Friday. I also agreed to join the IOP program offered by the hospital.

Then, this morning, a dear friend of mine sent me a series of videos of herself, speaking directly to me, and it hit me in the strongest, most serious way possible.

She postured the following:
- Why was I letting some doctor I didn’t know determine who I was?
- That doctor and all the others were looking at the pieces of me that were broken; they couldn’t see all the beautiful, GOOD things about me that make me who I am.
- Why was I letting ANYONE tell me who I was when I know exactly who I am, because God has specifically told me?
- Instead of focusing on my pain and broken brain, why wasn’t I defining myself by what I COULD do? By who I could help, and where I could serve?
- Why wasn’t I choosing to find my identity in who I could be in the gaps - the places in this world that I am innately drawn to, where i can help?
- I had the ability to create whatever life I chose. Why not choose a good one?

And man, if that didn’t hit home like nobody’s business.

So, who does God say I am?

• I am a child of God.

But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children … (John 1:12).

• I am a branch of the true vine, and a conduit of Christ’s life.

I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me--and I in him--bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing (John 15:1, 5).

• I am a friend of Jesus.

I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father (John 15:15).

• I have been justified and redeemed.

But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24).

• My old self was crucified with Christ, and I am no longer a slave to sin.

We know that our old man was crucified with him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6).

• I will not be condemned by God.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

• I have been set free from the law of sin and death.

For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).

• As a child of God, I am a fellow heir with Christ.

And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)--if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him (Romans 8:17).

• I have been accepted by Christ.

Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God's glory (Romans 15:7).

• I have been called to be a saint.

… To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours (1 Corinthians 1:2). (See also Ephesians 1:1Philippians 1:1, and Colossians 1:2.)

• In Christ Jesus, I have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption … (1 Corinthians 1:30).

• My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in me.

Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you (1 Corinthians 6:19)?

• I am joined to the Lord and am one spirit with Him.

But the one united with the Lord is one spirit with him (1 Corinthians 6:17).

• God leads me in the triumph and knowledge of Christ.

But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place (2 Corinthians 2:14).

• The hardening of my mind has been removed in Christ.

But their minds were closed. For to this very day, the same veil remains when they hear the old covenant read./netbible2/index.php?header=&book=2co&chapter=3 It has not been removed because only in Christ is it taken away (2 Corinthians 3:14).

• I am a new creature in Christ.

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away--look, what is new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

• I have become the righteousness of God in Christ.

God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

• I have been made one with all who are in Christ Jesus.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female--for all of you are one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

• I am no longer a slave, but a child and an heir.

So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if you are a son, then you are also an heir through God (Galatians 4:7).

• I have been set free in Christ.

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).

• I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

• I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God.

For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love (Ephesians 1:4).

• I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7).

• I have been predestined by God to obtain an inheritance.

In Christ we too have been claimed as God's own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11).

• I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)--when you believed in Christ--you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).

• Because of God’s mercy and love, I have been made alive with Christ.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you are saved (Ephesians 2:4-5)!

• I am seated in the heavenly places with Christ.

… And he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus … (Ephesians 2:6).

• I am God’s workmanship created to produce good works.

For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them (Ephesians 2:10).

• I have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ.

But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

• I am a member of Christ’s body and a partaker of His promise.

… The Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:6). (See also Ephesians 5:30.)

• I have boldness and confident access to God through faith in Christ.

… In whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ's faithfulness (Ephesians 3:12).

• My new self is righteous and holy.

… Put on the new man who has been created in God's image--in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth (Ephesians 4:24).

• I was formerly darkness, but now I am light in the Lord.

… For you were at one time darkness, but now you are/netbible2/index.php?header=&book=eph&chapter=5 light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light (Ephesians 5:8).

• I am a citizen of heaven.

But our citizenship is in heaven--and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ … (Philippians 3:20).

• The peace of God guards my heart and mind.

And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

• God supplies all my needs.

And my God will supply your every need according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

• I have been made complete in Christ.

… You have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority (Colossians 2:10).

• I have been raised up with Christ.

Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1).

• My life is hidden with Christ in God.

… For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

• Christ is my life, and I will be revealed with Him in glory.

When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him (Colossians 3:4).

• I have been chosen of God, and I am holy and beloved.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience … (Colossians 3:12).

• God loves me and has chosen me.

We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you … (1 Thessalonians 1:4).

The more we embrace these truths from Scripture about who we have become in Christ, the more stable, grateful, and fully assured we will be in this world.

Now THAT Is something I want to live by. Someone I WANT to be. Someone with hope, who isn’t in such dire straits, who has no reason to kill themselves.

The biggest thing my friend reminded me of was that I was worth dying for.
Because Jesus died for me, and He would do it again.

I hope someone reading this sees something in it that helps them. A little flicker of hope in the darkness, a word or phrase that sticks with them.

But, most of all, I want to thank my precious friend.
Because if all those things above are true of me, then killing myself is off the table. Completely. Forever.

Please know that it can be for you, too.

I have a lot of work ahead of me, a lot of struggling and dealing with past pain and wading through the waters of my past in an attempt to get well and to reach a place where I can work and exist and BE someone, not just a girl curled up on her parent’s couch with no hope and plans.

Keep me in your prayers, in your thoughts, do whatever it is you do when you want the spiritual world to move and change in order for someone to have a better life. Know that it is greatly appreciated.

I promise to update you soon.

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