What's Normal? Narratives of Mental and Emotional Disorders

By Carol Donley; Sheryl Buckley | Go to book overview

From My Journey into Alzheimer's Disease

ROBERT DAVIS
WITH HELP FROM HIS WIFE, BETTY


CHAPTER FOUR: THE REACHING POWER OF CHRIST

As WE HEADED WEST, my body gradually began to gain strength. I was able to stay awake several hours a day. Gradually my physical strength returned so that I was able to leave the car and walk to the various roadside points of interest.

My spiritual life was still most miserable. I could not read the Bible. I could not pray as I wanted because my emotions were dead and cut off. There was no feedback from God the Holy Spirit. As I tried to fall asleep only blackness and misery came, misery so terrifying that I could not drop off to sleep. Nighttime was horrible. My mind could not rest and grow calm but instead raced relentlessly, thinking dreadful thoughts of despair. Invariably I lay there, terrified by a darkness that I could not understand.

My mind also raced about, grasping for the comfort of the Savior whom I knew and loved and for the emotional peace that he could give me, but finding nothing. I concluded that the only reason for such darkness must be spiritual. Unnamed guilt filled me. Yet the only guilt I could put a name to was failure to read my Bible. But I could not read, and would God condemn me for this? I could only lie there and cry, "Oh God, why? Why?"

"If I cannot find fellowship and joy again, what will happen to my professional life? I cannot lead Christ's church into light and truth when I am full of darkness." Why would God allow this to happen at the height of my effectiveness in the ministry? I had given my entire life to become the best pastor I could possibly be. The thought of total retirement had never crossed my mind. I felt that if I should leave the pastorate I would teach in seminary and pass on the things that I had learned to those younger men preparing for the ministry. I had also considered leading in church training organizations to show how to make churches grow in unusual situations. For years one of my favorite expressions had been, "God has no retirement plan." Retirement from Christian service had never entered my mind. But now everything that I had given myself for and studied for these past years was gone, lost in the dark recesses of my mind. As I thought of the sheer waste of this, I groaned out "Why, God? Why?"

-305-

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What's Normal? Narratives of Mental and Emotional Disorders
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Literature and Medicine ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Editors'' Commentary on Narrative xiii
  • Part One - Clinical & Bioethical Perspectives 1
  • The Meaning of Normal 7
  • From Madness, Heresy, and the Rumor of Angels- The Revolt against the Mental Health System 17
  • From the Flamingo''s Smile- Reflections in Natural History 30
  • From Rewriting the Soul 39
  • From "On Being Sane in Insane Places" 54
  • From Love''s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy 61
  • Three Stories from Cases in Bioethics 68
  • Part Two - Narrative Perspectives 85
  • Section One - Children & Adolescents with Mental Disorders 93
  • Silent Snow, Secret Snow 95
  • The End of the Party 110
  • From Girl, Interrupted 117
  • From Equus 125
  • Section Two - Mental Disability (Retardation) 135
  • Two Stick Drawings 137
  • From Joe Egg 139
  • The Life You Save May Be Your Own 146
  • From of Mice and Men 156
  • Average Waves in Unprotected Waters 165
  • Lily Daw and the Three Ladies 173
  • Section Three - Women''s Experiences with Mental Disorders 183
  • Three Poems 185
  • From like Water for Chocolate 187
  • From Faces in the Water 189
  • The Yellow Wallpaper 201
  • The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window 215
  • The Avalanche 218
  • "No Name Woman," from the Woman Warrior 219
  • Three Poems 229
  • Section Four - Mens Experiences with War Trauma, Including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 233
  • "1919" from Sula 235
  • Night March 241
  • Mental Cases 249
  • From Ceremony 250
  • From Mrs. Dalloway 257
  • Section Five - Men … Mental Disorders 269
  • Panic 271
  • King of the Bingo Game 273
  • "Cash" from as I Lay Dying 281
  • Gogol''s Wife 285
  • The Tell-Taie Heart 295
  • From the Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge 299
  • Section Six - Alzheimer''s & Dementia 301
  • To You My Mother Lost in Time 303
  • From My Journey into Alzheimer''s Disease 305
  • From in a Tangled Wood- An Alzheimer''s Journey 325
  • Two Poems 340
  • A Wonderland Party 343
  • Notes on Contributors 345
  • Permissions Acknowledgments 350
  • Index 354
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