Image: Menton J. Matthews III
“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”
It’s no secret that the more personal I am on my blog the better my reward is. It’s like the deeper the wound and redder the blood the more the Gods take note and I start to reap the benefits of hard work. I don’t believe that the Gods are rewarding me, per se, but I do believe there is a correlation between facing oneself, speaking one’s truth and gaining freedom—real freedom the kind that can only be won by going to war with yourself. You will know it when you experience it.
As much as I love writing, and love what I do, it’s hard work. It’s hard to sit down and face myself, face my thoughts, and my reflection. It’s even more complicated when there are two sides to myself, and a constant battle being fought within.
I knew this post was in the making as soon as “that critic” left his comment under one of my pieces, you know the one who told me I am just “depressed, and should be a fiction writer, and I am mediocre at best.”
His words hit me hard, not because I can’t take critique, I mean I am a writer, and we are critiqued whether we like it or not but his words struck a chord deep inside of me. I knew that my story, my experience would have to be told, and that story could only be written if I was honest with myself.
I have mental illness, and it is my belief that this is more a gift than curse. I do not run from my madness anymore, and the reason for this is Shamanism. It was only through losing my mind that I gained any type of real perspective on life, or myself. I ran into articles, and books about how Shamans, and other healers view mental illness. The words that I read gave me power, gave me my power back.
I always knew I was different, such a cliché overused sentence but it really can’t be described any other way. I was able to lead a pretty normal life until I was 25. I was able to work, at times I worked two jobs, and had a very active social life. I have always been able to see beyond the veil, and see spirits; my sight has always been available to me. I was a practicing Witch for many years but I did not blossom until I died.
That is what happened, I died.
The old me did, anyway.
The whole breakdown itself happened pretty quickly and it caught not only me but my Mom by surprise.
I think it is important to note that my Mom is the main witness to my “switch being turned on”. She says my aura changes, and I begin to “vibrate” with a dark matter. When this happens she knows what’s to come. She has even noted that my eyes, and facial features change. This switch of mine is usually hit because of emotional stresses, but it can be caused by low blood sugar (sounds silly, I know), anger which is really more like rage, in my case, and defense. If I am threatened that button is absolutely going to be hit.
I was blessed to have such a strong, now Crone, as my Mother, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for having a partner in my life who truly gets it, and gets me. She has never tried to label me defective, or force me to take medication, and she has never kicked me out. I have dragged her through a heaping, steaming pile of shit, but she handled it, wiped herself off, and remains by my side. I cannot say I would be that strong if I was the parent, and I had a child like me.
Mental illness was the last thing I was thinking about. I had started to experience a ton of pain throughout my body (fibromyalgia/Chronic pain syndrome), I had HSIL (which turned into cervical cancer) and a back issue (some of this was/is Kundalini), and I was in a really abusive relationship. In hindsight it seems that I experienced a soul wound, and it was because a piece of me left that I woke up to my true nature.
I compare my world to Chaos because that’s what it is, yeah it sounds poetic but that really is coincidence. My mind is chaotic, my personality and so is my soul. I am slightly neurotic and absolutely obsessive about some things. (OCD, anyone?)
If my Cancer sun, Taurus moon and Capricorn rising tell you anything it is that I am a contradiction, and there are literally two sides to me. I fight myself every second, of every day.
I admitted myself into a private mental health institute, I wouldn’t change this experience but I can tell you that I will never be locked up again. I ended up being on 11 medication the ones I can remember are: Lithium, Adderrall, Risperidal, Klonopin, Minipress, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify and I can’t remember the other 3. I only remember the number being 11 because when I started to “come back to self” I noticed that 11 was an awakening number, and it was the Universe’s way of telling me that I was waking up. The signs are all around us, we just have to know where to look.
These medications 6 years ago are why my thyroid has shut down; the stress the medications, along with my other health issues, put my body under was too much. I have heavy amounts of a specific antibody in my blood now (Hashimoto’s), I also have antibodies for what is known as “drug induced Lupus”. My Rheumotologist tells me that I am not currently on any medication that would cause this, and he believes it is permanent damage from before.
Why am I telling this boring fucking story?
Because I am bringing my biggest demon to light, and calling him out. Once I do this, there is nothing that anyone can use against me ever again. My official diagnoses’ were BPD 2 (Bipolar Disorder 2, which usually is much less traumatic for the patient than BPD 1. I have never experienced a true manic, or depressive state, it is more mood swings, and would be closely related to say, a personality disorder like Borderline Personality Disorder)), severe anxiety, and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person).
These Doctor’s didn’t help me though, they drugged me and those poisons in my body have damaged it, permanently. I understand that medication has a time and place, many times medication can be, or has potential to be, a wonderful thing, but other times it is used for profit.
We are their profit, their lab rats. Always listen to your body, always listen to your gut.
Throughout the whole breakdown/awakening my life was INSANE for a few years until I started to become aware of the side effects. The constant brain fog I was always in was no longer a state of consciousness I wanted to hold onto.
I went through the worst, wicked withdrawal’s coming off those medications, and a majority were done at home. It absolutely was not a safe thing to do and I don’t recommend it, but the medical world had let me down, and I was not going to turn to them in this case.
I did let my Psychiatrist know what I was doing, after the fact, or well, during the act, but at that point there was not much he could do. I was never considered a threat to myself, or others, therefore I could not be made to do anything. I was of sound mind and body.
My Doctor was the best, too. The one that I found on my own, outside of the private institute. He gave me a lot of power back, it was through him that I found my way to reading about how mental illness is viewed in the spiritual world. If he had not pointed me in this direction I would be dead, and there is no doubt in my mind about that.
I didn’t write about this sooner because I was denying it but also because I thought people would think less of me, that my word would no longer be taken seriously (if it even is now) and all the stigmas attached to mental illness would at once become attached to me, and that was a weight I could not bear. So, I ran from it, but now I own it. My mental illness does not define me, my power resides in my madness. There is a fine line between sane and insane when it comes to this path, and I like to play jump rope with that line.
Here is an excerpt from one of the articles that really helped me, I will also link this piece in its entirety at the bottom.
“In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.”
“What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé. These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.”
“One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study was how this country deals with mental illness. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to “nervous depression,” Dr. Somé went to visit him.”
“I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village.” What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop. This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation. As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself, “So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.”
“Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world. In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated. When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening. The result can be terrifying. Without the proper context for and assistance in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane. Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies.”
“On the mental ward, Dr Somé saw a lot of “beings” hanging around the patients, “entities” that are invisible to most people but that shamans and psychics are able to see. “They were causing the crisis in these people,” he says. It appeared to him that these beings were trying to get the medications and their effects out of the bodies of the people the beings were trying to merge with, and were increasing the patients’ pain in the process. “The beings were acting almost like some kind of excavator in the energy field of people. They were really fierce about that. The people they were doing that to we’re just screaming and yelling,” he said. He couldn’t stay in that environment and had to leave.”
“In the Dagara tradition, the community helps the person reconcile the energies of both worlds–”the world of the spirit that he or she is merged with, and the village and community.” That person is able then to serve as a bridge between the worlds and help the living with information and healing they need. Thus, the spiritual crisis ends with the birth of another healer. “The other world’s relationship with our world is one of sponsorship,” Dr. Somé explains. “More often than not, the knowledge and skills that arise from this kind of merger are a knowledge or a skill that is provided directly from the other world.”
“The beings who were increasing the pain of the inmates on the mental hospital ward were actually attempting to merge with the inmates in order to get messages through to this world. The people they had chosen to merge with were getting no assistance in learning how to be a bridge between the worlds and the beings’ attempts to merge were thwarted. The result was the sustaining of the initial disorder of energy and the aborting of the birth of a healer.”
“The Western culture has consistently ignored the birth of the healer,” states Dr. Somé. “Consequently, there will be a tendency from the other world to keep trying as many people as possible in an attempt to get somebody’s attention. They have to try harder.” The spirits are drawn to people whose senses have not been anesthetized. “The sensitivity is pretty much read as an invitation to come in,” he notes.”
“Those who develop so-called mental disorders are those who are sensitive, which is viewed in Western culture as oversensitivity. Indigenous cultures don’t see it that way and, as a result, sensitive people don’t experience themselves as overly sensitive. In the West, “it is the overload of the culture they’re in that is just wrecking them,” observes Dr. Somé. The frenetic pace, the bombardment of the senses, and the violent energy that characterize Western culture can overwhelm sensitive people.”
Change your perspective, change your life.