Prayer From the Diagnostic Donut Hole

by Todd Matson

If ever I am overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, panic, be my xanax, not that I would be sedated or sleepwalk through life, but that I would awaken to the distinction between true threats and irrational fears and find the courage to have a seat at the table You have prepared for me in the presence of my enemies.

If ever I fall into the darkness of depression and despair, be my pristiq, not that my emotions would be blunted or I would be rendered numb, but that I would find the hope, energy and will to climb out of the darkness into the light where joy has the last word.

If ever insomnia deprives me of dreaming my dreams, be my ambien, not that I would be anesthetized to sacred messages from deep within, but that I would be able to dream my dreams until I can overcome the worst of them and bring the best of them to life.

If ever I lose my sense of what is real and fall prey to delusion, be my seroquel, not that I would live as one lobotomized or dead inside, but that I would live in the reality of what is truly real, even in this postmodern age of conspiracy theories and viral misinformation that make the real feel surreal.

If ever my body takes me hostage and subjects me to torture, be my oxycodone, not that my pain would be vanquished, but that I would feel my pain as a signal, however unwelcome, as a sensation, however unpleasant, as the frenemy with whom I can collaborate instead of compete for relief.

If ever I make of my defenses an idol of escape that sends desire spiraling downward into need, and need into obsession, and obsession into addiction, be my suboxone, not that I would become addicted to another substance, but that I would turn to You each day for my daily bread.

If ever I am at risk for relapse, for falling into that tragic sleep from which I cannot awaken, be my narcan, not that I would live recklessly with false hopes of rescue, but that I would awaken to the reality that relapse leads to death, and trust You to lead me not into temptation.

If ever pride clouds my memory, such that I forget that I cannot recover on my own, or that I need help from beyond myself, be my aricept, remind me that Luke traveled with a physician, that Paul encouraged Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach, that medication is not the enemy, that addiction is a social network disease and the support of a recovery community is a social network remedy.

If ever I tell myself the lie that pills alone can cure me, be my ECT, shock me into awareness that there is no message in a pill, that pills are inanimate objects that can only provide symptom relief and can never solve the underlying problems that give birth to symptoms, for You have called me to work out my salvation with fear and trembling, and I can trust in You, the Great Physician, to heal all of my diseases.

If ever I look upon myself with shame and self-loathing as damaged goods due to traumas I have sustained at the hands of others or myself, or if I so identify with my symptoms that I can no longer see that You have made me uniquely in Your image, be my saving grace, remind me that we are all so much more than our symptoms or diagnostic labels, that we are of infinite worth in Your eyes, and that however broken we may be, we are held forever in Your heart.

Todd Matson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in North Carolina, United States. His poetry has been published in The Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling; Soul-Lit: A Journal of Spiritual Poetry; and Mindfull Magazine, and his short stories have been published in Ariel Chart International Literary Journal; Faith, Hope and Fiction; and Children, Churches and Daddies. He has also written lyrics for songs recorded by various contemporary Christian music artists, including Brent Lamb, Connie Scott and The Gaither Vocal Band.

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