Reflection: A Living Hell

Delivered from Hell

Editor’s Note: NAMI Washtenaw recognizes all faith and spiritual traditions, including those who do not subscribe to a faith or spiritual tradition, we invite you to tell your story from your own faith perspective. Submit this form to express your interest in contributing.

By John Wm. Dunn

Approximately six years ago I experienced my last psychotic relapse which inspired this poem, reflecting the state of my mind as I went through this living hell as portrayed in the first stanza. Ultimately, however, I found great hope for my recovery in the words of sacred scripture which have been a source of abundant strength for me in my struggle with a serious mental disorder. Today, I continue to be inspired by the hope I have found in my higher power as reflected in my closing. Thank you for letting me share.

Emotions are dark,

Demons in the lark.

I wish I could sleep,

But my thoughts are so deep.

I want to be sane,

But my thoughts are in pain.

I look for the light,

I wish I had sight.

There are sounds in the night,

I long for my sight.

It’s time for the bell,

Like a deep living hell.


It’s dark in my soul,

But yet I am whole.

There’s a voice in the night,

That offers me sight.

I’m crying out loud,

And ready to shout.

Save me oh Lord,

By the power of your Word.

He lifted me high,

As I offered a sigh.

My prayers have been heard,

Carried high by a bird.


And now I have hope,

Because I’m no dope.

My faith has been strong,

With His love all along.

I am now lifted high,

As I breathe a deep sigh.

I now look at heaven,

The dream of my vision.

John began his journey over twenty-five years ago with a psychotic break in which he experienced several religious thoughts and delusions which were out of touch with reality or true spirituality. Throughout the years following his diagnosis as an adult who struggles with schizoaffective disorder, he has received formal education in religious studies and philosophy while praying and studying the “big picture” of mental illness and the “bigger questions” of life. Through his religious studies courses he received an understanding of his inner being which includes his diagnosis as well as the “big picture” of how he would feel if he were mentally and emotionally stable. Through his education in philosophy, he came to an understanding of how to reach this state through a logical approach to his therapy. It is his desire to share this journey which he will continue throughout the remainder of his mortal life with his audience.

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