Why won’t they just take their medicine?

Why won’t they just take their medicine?

If you have a loved one struggling with mental illness or have just simply wondered why people with mental illness don’t always take their medications, I challenge you to read Marriage and Schizophrenia: Eyes on the Prize. It’s available wherever books are sold. I can guarantee you will understand why people don’t want to take their medicine. Antipsychotic medications can be down right brutal at times. In the book, you will learn the cost of taking antipsychotic medications for prolonged periods of time. Andrew is able to communicate the cost in articulate detail.

Andrew has experienced a list of side effects that could easily take up an entire page of material. Through trial and error, typically costly mistakes, Andrew learned to find balance with his medications. That painful process took all of ten years and medications still create a smothering blanket of challenges in his life today. In the book Marriage and Schizophrenia: Eyes on the Prize, you may be able to learn techniques that will prevent you or someone you know from making the same mistakes he did, and achieve recovery faster. To anyone that may be resistant to the reality that antipsychotic medications are extremely difficult to take on a steady, daily schedule, I challenge you to read this book or take the medications for two days.

Origial Abstract Art/ Signed Book/ Marriage and Schizophrenia: Author/Artist | eBay

A very collectible sale. Artist, Author, Muscian Andrew Downing signed original charcoal sketch on paper and fine wood panel. Ready to hang art, sealed with protective gloss finish.  Signed copy of Andrew and Stephanie’s memoir, obviously a book about their wild ride dealing with schizophrenia. Andrew is a prolific multi dimensional artist with art displayed in private collections around the states. He has written nearly fifty original songs with lyrics, produced in his home studio with more on the way every year. An excellent investment. This work could be sold for a decent price at a garage sale, or other private sale someday if you grow tired of the merchandise. | eBay!
— Read on m.ebay.com/itm/Origial-Abstract-Art-Signed-Book-Marriage-and-Schizophrenia-Author-Artist-/223103710799

Heart of the Music

Lord you Got Me

V1:Lord you got me, hand and foot

Lord you got me, heart and soul

I feel your presence, right here, right now

I feel your spirit, all over me

Tag: Cause Lord you got me

Lord you got me

hand and foot

V2: Lord you got me, hand and foot

Lord you got me heart and soul

I feel your Holy Ghost right here, right now

I feel the shivers running down my spine

Tag: Cause Lord you got me

Lord you got me

Hand and foot

Heart of the Music:

I wrote this short little blues tune after a visit from a stranger who was trying to gain my vote for a democratic senator. Since becoming a Christian, I haven’t been able to identify passionately with any political party. I feel compelled to participate in the political arena and be patriotic, but at the end of the day any strong political viewpoints feel very phony, or half hearted coming from my mouth. I believe Jesus wants me to respect the governing authorities and pay my taxes. Beyond that, no political party could ever come into alignment with the concepts of Christ. Jesus defied the Jewish and Roman expectations with his words and actions. The Jewish culture wanted a political Jesus with power and influence to overthrow the Romans. That was never in his plan to save us. Why do people want a piece of that now? Christianity has always flourished in the face of intense persecution. Political asylum for Christianity probably causes less growth and more disillusionment in the long run. The lust for a spiritual democracy, (theocracy) is a strange argument. The best way to combat non-Christian influence is to live the sermon on the mountain lifestyle and spread the gospel of truth, not depend on a governing body who often must live by the sword. America has way too much Old Testament Christianity influencing our actions. To end the wreckless, mass scale abortion practice, we will need to raise sons and daughters free of sexual bondage. Don’t elect a man to carry you to the promise land. No appointed judge will ever be able to deliver a man or woman from sexual bondage from behind the Supreme Court judgement bench. That is a personal choice, made in the shadows of a wicked world.

The “Hand and foot” refers to following Jesus with actions, even when it’s inconvenient, politically, or socially unacceptable or non-profitable. Money all to often pressures people to act differently than their heart of hearts. Christians, including myself, have been guilty of siding with shaky doctrine, or phony ideology simply because the choice offers a paycheck. Walking in step with Jesus is a real challenge, especially submersed in culture that denies the power or existence of Jesus.

The reward is well worth the trouble though. To feel close to God, to feel his presence send a shiver down your spine, as the song refers to, is complete satisfaction. A revelation of spiritual knowledge surpasses all. The power of God on earth, the Holy Spirit, is capable of bringing lasting refreshment and unflinching purpose.

To really be sold out on Christ, it is impossible to live to please man. Whether we need to say no to someone at Church or in the world, choosing to listen to God over man is an essential part of learning to walk in step with Jesus. No political party, private entity, or anything born of this world should ever take the place of our God given, Bible driven compass.

“Guardian Angel” Lyrics and heart of the song

Guardian Angel

V1: Carrying my cross, standing tall for the way

The enemy shrieked and cried and came gunning for me

The demons came dancing and laughing at me

I thought there was no hope and ground my teeth

Thank God a strange man came and set me free

Ch 1-2: Thank You Guardian Angel

Thank you my friend

V2. The room was dark and I was half asleep

My weakest time the enemy comes for me

You can’t convince me that evil ain’t real

He’s got a gang and they know where I sleep

Thank God a strange man came and set me free

Thank You Guardian Angel

Thank you my friend

Bridge: When life gets hard hold on

Don’t slide back and quit

Carry your cross to the end

Don’t let evil win

Don’t slide back and quit

You might not fly again

Don’t slide back and quit

You might not fly again

Heart of the Music:

I have battled schizophrenia for nearly two decades and I have had countless episodes of demonic flavored torture at night while trying to fall asleep. The very first voice I ever heard as a young kid before anyone ever figured there was anything wrong with me was a deep, dark tone male voice that I reasoned was a distortion of my fathers angry voice. I was an innocent enough kid and was more amused than scared. Night time is a time when the stimulus of the day can brew a range of troubles for me. I found the remedy to that problem but every now and then…once or twice a year there’s crazy trouble. I believe in the existence of God, angels and demons. Not really surprising given the last twenty plus years of my life. I also believe that I have suffered from demonic oppression, as described in the Bible. Oppression and possession are very different. I also believe that schizophrenia is a medical condition similar to diabetes and epilepsy but that doesn’t mean I’m immune to the realm of the spirit world. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and I shouldn’t have to hide the truth. I am who I am and my life experience is…my life experience. I can’t edit that to make it politically correct, or more socially acceptable. That feels gross and I’m tired of pretending, tired of adjusting my stories so people won’t get offended or spooked.

I wrote this song in July of 2018 while living in remission of most of my symptoms that I commonly use to battle with on a daily basis. Authentic, humble, and balanced faith in Christ has been my saving grace. Not a metaphorical faith though. Not a philosophical faith either. Watered down spiritual wisdom is not very helpful to me. I needed, and still need a physical, active, and miraculous daily intervention by a living God who possessed the power to make demons, delusion and confusion leave me alone. Medications and support were not powerful enough to deliver me from the many different hard to explain aspects of my condition, though they have been essential. I always take my medications and have for a long, long time. But my medications are far from a cure or an easy way out.

In the song, “don’t slide back and quit, you might not fly again” is a concept that is very real to me. I have been so close to completely losing my wings a number of times. Life is full of consequences. At some point in life we all feel the wrath of consequences. Life’s not a fairytale.

Just recently I got an unexpected demonic visit while I was trying to fall asleep. Nothing new for me. During the day I was a loving husband, father and successful music teacher enjoying my life, (I love my family!) minding my own business free of drugs and alcohol, taking my prescriptions. Trying to keep my nose to the grindstone. I remember praying with both of my children and counseling them to be loving people. I hadn’t had an episode or major symptom from schizophrenia in probably six months to a year. Over seven years since a psychotic episode, or prolonged period of insanity. I was living out my faith in God in an authentic, peaceful way. Standing for truth and grace, willing to forgive and forget. Willing to ask for help and serving my local church by playing on the worship team and helping with the youth ministry. Definitely not perfect but sane and balanced. Well, the devil didn’t like it. At least that’s what I heard from God in my prayers after the incident. Not the audible voice of God, but rather a gentle suggestion whispered into my heart while reading the Bible.

As I tried to fall asleep after an unassuming, ordinary day, suddenly I felt, sensed, literally heard and envisioned several demonic figures dancing around my bed laughing and taunting me. It happened fast and my heart rate accelerated quickly. The intensity was viscous and diabolical. I could not make it go away and was so distressed, trapped, tortured that I ground my teeth and tossed and turned wishing there was something I could do to make it stop. I tried to pray. Just as I began to lose hope and started to get angry with why I had to go through this something unexplainable happened, and it was sudden relief. I rolled on my side and saw in my minds eye a strange man. He simply sat down peacefully next to me. This new character in the chaos changed everything instantly. I couldn’t take my mind of him and suddenly, immediately the demonic beings left. The strange being, in the appearance of a regular guy said nothing but brought a supernatural peace to the room. I smiled, relaxed and rolled on my back. Wanting to see this being again I rolled on my side. I could no longer see him. I felt a little sad and wanted to see him again. No matter how hard I tried I could not, but I felt his comforting presence near. I went from being frustrated with God and myself for allowing this episode to happen, to encouraged and grateful. In that moment I felt like God was saying “No Satan. You are not going to get away with this tonight. No evil, this is one of my children and you will not do this to him. Lost in peace, I fell asleep and woke up the next day really encouraged. I eventually told my wife what happened and how encouraged I felt to be delivered from an attack. I soon wrote this song and was really hesitant to share this with anyone. But I don’t need to hide anymore. I don’t have to be ashamed that God takes care of me. God is good and he loves everyone, even people with schizophrenia. God has really intervened in my life and I feel compelled to shine my light. To share my stories, however unique, offensive or politically incorrect they may be. People typically like to reword my intense experiences to comfort themselves, or assert their education but I can only share what has happened and let the cards fall where they may.

I’m back to my normal grind, free of crazy stories. This episode lasted less than five minutes but was unforgettable. In the scope of my life it was a blink of the eye. I really am just a regular guy, who’s usually fairly boring. I can’t know for sure when the next attack might come but I know I will be protected and delivered if it happens again. I don’t have to fear an endless cycle of symptoms and suffering. Thank you Guardian Angel. Thank you Jesus. Thank you my friend.

Heart of the Music: “The Rugged Cross” lyrical inspiration

Behind the heart of the song that I recently wrote “The Rugged Cross”

I often hear people discredit the authenticity of Christianity by using examples of dysfunctional Christians. Evolution, a seemingly non involved loving God are other common subjects that lead people away from Jesus. Christians are also guilty of making faith in Christ seem complex and difficult to understand. Expansive theology and attempts to date the earth with the Bible are other common issues that cloud the central issue of the Bible. This song talks about the resurrection of Christ as, “what it’s all about”. The apostle Paul was a virtuous Jewish Pharisee on his way to the top of Jewish society. His brilliant mind memorized the entire Old Testament. Beyond memorization, he was capable of teaching the decrees of the text with accuracy. After his miraculous conversion to Christianity he confessed to the stupifying power of the cross. Though Paul went on to teach and write many complex letters(books) in the New Testament, he typically preached with simple words often tangled with emotion that forced him to proclaim that Jesus had risen from the dead and now ruled the universe. The story of Jesus being crucified and raised from the dead in a body with nail scarred hands and feet dominated and even overcame more complex ideas he may have wanted to talk about. Paul under the power of the Holy Spirit focused his evangelical inspiration on the story of the cross.

This song sites many other common struggles that lead us away from the powerful, simple, and historically accurate story of Jesus being nailed to a cross and rising from the dead. Many historical documents from the period of the event support the empty tomb, miraculous phenomenon, and the appearance of a man with nail scarred hands and feet throughout Jerusalem.

Trauma, frustration and mysteries of the universe should never be able to confuse the authenticity of the resurrection of Christ. The entire Bible is packed full of arrows that point to the resurrection story as the main purpose and point of each word penned. The question of Christianity is simple. Was Mary an unfaithful, promiscuous woman? Was Jesus a lunatic who simply got what he deserved and died…end of story? Or was Mary impregnated by a miraculous work of God and Jesus raised from the dead after three days, leaving an empty tomb behind? History does not leave us with other options to this question. It is a choice we all have to make. Do we side with the documents that support lunatic and liar, or Lord and Savior.

I started out my life journey in the lunatic, liar camp and changed to Lord and Savior. I don’t regret leaving my pain, questions, anger and doubt behind. I don’t mind that Christians have feared my mental illness, or misunderstood it. Way more Christians have helped me, while only a few have hurt me. The Church is full of beauty, full of support and life giving counsel. I get most angry with Christian hypocrisy and deeply mourn for long periods of time when I play the hypocrite role. I try really hard to be the man Jesus has taught me to be but please don’t base your faith off me, a weak man who struggles the same as you. Don’t avoid the central question of faith by posing further questions and mysteries. Own your camp. Lunatic, liar or Lord and Savior.

Original Song Lyrics

The Rugged Cross

V1-2 Oh the rugged cross
It will change your life
All you gotta do
Is let it inside
Leave your pain behind
Leave your anger too
You can’t know it all
Mysteries more than a man

Ch1-2: Whatever man has done to you
The cross will make right soon
Whatever mystery plagues you
The cross will make known soon
Don’t let the devices of men
Steal the simple resurrection truth
That’s what it’s all about
And it’s true

Bridge: The simple resurrection truth
That’s what it’s all about
And it’s true

To the Throne Today

To the Throne Today

There is nothing like your love
A taste of you fills my empty cup
I won’t put my trust in the day
I will long for the secret place

Lord I long to be with you
Let me into your holy place
My reward is with you
Let me into your holy place

There is nothing like his home
The throne of grace is where I want to go
Light my soul with your love
Fear and doubt you have no place

Lord I long to be with you
Let me into your holy place
My reward is with you
Let me into your holy place

There is nothing like a touch from God
Revelations flip you upside down
Words fail in the vertigo
Grace and truth flood this place right now

Lord I long to be with you
Let me into your holy place
My reward is with you
Let me into your holy place

Lord I long to see your throne
On earth as in heaven
Lord I long to see your throne
On earth as in heaven

A New Name, An Unstoppable Force

Most human beings are willing to admit that at some point in their life they have wrestled with the question, “Why am I here on earth? What is my purpose, and what is the purpose of anything?” This series of questions is a defining characteristic of human existence. Animals do not wrestle with these questions in the middle of the night or at the dinner table with their parents. Tears do not flow from the eyes of an eagle when they ask their father for advice on purpose, or the meaning of life.

Evolution has recently become a remedy to many tired of wrestling with purpose. I believe in many aspects of evolution and don’t believe evolution and creation need to fight each other for space. Their narratives are written in different languages. I believe in the Bible in a very literal way, for that is the way the authors intended it to read. The authors did not want people to question endlessly what their text truly meant. While the Bible is full of metaphors, designed to strengthen and stretch the mind, within both metaphors and direct statements, literal truth is applicable. Today I want to talk about one of those very specific teachings meant as a timeless promise.

When I read the book of Revelation and read that when I get to heaven I will receive a new name from the risen Christ, I believe that to be exactly what it says. This statement has become the center of my strength in battling schizophrenia. My purpose can be found on earth in the history of my actions but also in my future home. My new purpose that cannot be shaken lies in my new identity waiting for me in heaven. Jesus has a special name waiting for all who enter His courts. Scripture tells us that only Jesus and the recipient of the name will understand it. I believe this new name will describe all that we ever were and will be. I believe this divine name will describe our entire being in a miraculous instant. I may be wrong on the specifics but Jesus comforted me with this idea in the most broken time of my life. Schizophrenia had deformed me and maimed my identity in such a way that only this new name could comfort me. Tears of joy, relief and renewal graced my cheeks as Jesus explained to me that he loved me and sees me differently than I do and others. He confirmed His affection for me with this special name and even showed how He has been counting every tear shed and how this new name will triumph over whatever grief schizophrenia decides to cause me. He promised me that no matter what happens down here in the valley of suffering, it will be instantly made right and more when he reveals this special name to me. Reader, God has a special, unique, and specific love for you, regardless of anything. God is carefully collecting your tears and questions and soon plans to explain it all in a divine instant…whatever that may be.