RECLAIMING MY POWER: My Battle With Mental Illness

Mental

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

FOR AN UPDATE ON MY STORY, CLICKhere.

It’s no secret that the more personal I am on my blog the greater my personal gain is.

It’s almost like the deeper the wound and redder the blood the more the Gods take note and I start to reap the benefits of intense Shadow 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.

And the Universe will bow at your glory.

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 my being, and a constant battle raging internally.

You see, I have mental illness.

And it’s my belief that this is more a gift than curse.

I do not run from my madness anymore, and the reason for that is my practice and Shamanism (no, I am not on the Shaman path).

It was only through losing my mind that I gained any type of real perspective on life, the world or myself.

I ran into article after article, and book after book about the Shamanistic view of mental illness; the words that I read gave me power.

More than that, they granted me permission to take my power back.

I always knew I was different, such a cliché overused sentence but it really can’t be described any other way.

Although, I was able to lead a normal life until I was 25; I worked a normal job, at times I worked two jobs, and had a very active social life.

Then it all came to a screeching halt.

I have always been able to see beyond the veil and 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.

And that’s exactly what happened, I died.

Death

The old me did, anyway.

The whole mental breakdown itself happened pretty quickly and it caught not only me but my family by surprise. My Mom was the main witness to my “switch being turned on”. She said my aura changed, and I began to “vibrate” with a “dark matter”. She has even noted that my eyes, and facial features changed.

This switch of mine is usually hit because of emotional stresses, but it can be caused by low blood sugar (hangry!), anger which is more like rage, and because my fight or flight was tripped. If I am threatened that button is absolutely going to be hit.

I have come to call it my trauma trigger.

My trauma trigger is survival mode, it’s how I have survived for so long after all the abuse and pain I have experienced.

It reminds me of this quote by Ebonee Davis:

Ebonee

My mental illnesses showed up after I started to experience Chronic Pain, went through my hysterectomy and had a back injury.

Also, at the time I had recently gotten out of a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.

My life was a series of cataclysmic collisions of epic proportions.

In hindsight it seems that I experienced a soul wound because a piece of me left when I “woke up” to my true nature: chaos.

I compare myself and my world to Chaos because that’s what it is, that’s what I am;  yeah it sounds poetic but that’s really coincidence.

My mind is chaotic, my personality and my soul are too.

I am slightly neurotic, a perfectionist and obsessive about some things.

If my Cancer sun 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 in 2010 and I wouldn’t change that experience, but I can tell you that I will never be locked up again.

After my little stay, I ended up being on 11 medication the ones I can remember are: Lithium, Adderrall, Risperidal, Klonopin, Minipress, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify and Gabapentin; I can’t remember the other 2. I only remember the number being 11 because when I started to “come back to self” I noticed that 11 was a prominent awakening number, and it was the Universe’s way of telling me to snap out of the sleep society put me in.

The signs are all around us, we must know where to look.

Those medications 8 years ago are why my thyroid has shut down and I have autoimmune issues now; the stress that the medications, along with my underlying health issues caused was too much for my body.

I have heavy amounts of a specific antibody in my blood now which causes a slew of health issues (Hashimoto’s).

I also have antibodies for what is known as “drug induced Lupus”. My Rheumotologist told 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 it out.

I am naming it and claiming it.

Once I do this, there is nothing that anyone can use against me.

And, I want people to know they aren’t alone battling their mental illness.

I want to remove stigmas.

I want people to know:

Mental illness doesn’t make you less than.

Mental illness doesn’t make you unworthy.

Mental illness doesn’t make you unlovable.

Mental illness does not define you.

Glass

My official diagnoses are BPD 2 (Bipolar Disorder 2), PTSD, ADHD, OCD, and Anxiety (Agoraphobia, General Anxiety and Social Anxiety).

I have done every type of therapy imaginable, and still to this day must manage myself with routine, coping skills, and mindfulness practices. My Spirituality has helped me tremendously as well.

Doctor’s didn’t help me, they drugged me and those poisons put in my body have damaged it permanently. I have been medication free, other than herbal supplements, for 5 years now.

Just because I do not (cannot) take medication does not mean I am anti-medication for everyone. I believe that modern medicine has its place, and I believe fully in the power of the right combination of medicine; it just wasn’t how my story was meant to be written.

When dealing with your health always listen to your body, always listen to your gut.

And, make sure you have an Advocate who can speak LOUDLY if necessary for you when/if Doctor’s and the system try to intimidate you.

Throughout the whole breakdown/awakening my life was in an uproar and I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt WORSE as time went by; then I started to become aware of the (serious) medication side effects.

The constant brain fog, sleep disturbances, weight gain, mood imbalances, etc. were unbearable.

I went through the worst withdrawal’s getting off those medications, and a majority were done at home. I did however seek out professional help for the benzo withdrawals because those are dangerous to come off alone.

My decision to detox at home was absolutely 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. I did my research, and then shut myself in my room and battled through; I had family around just in case.

And, again, I don’t recommend anyone going off their meds (it’s usually a sign of a manic episode to want to discontinue meds, but that was not the case for myself).

I 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 forced to do anything. I was of sound mind and body.

My Doctor was the best, too.  He gave me a lot of my power back because it was through him that I found my way to discovering 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 it’s a hard topic to talk about but also because I thought people would think less of me; that my word and wisdom would no longer be taken seriously (if it even is now) and all the negativity 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.

Two things I learned most from being mentally ill:

1. Change your perspective, change your life.

2. Crazy is relative.

Here is one of my favorite mental health articles:

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/08/shaman-sees-mental-hospital.html

MUSINGS OF A MODERN MYSTIC: The Fat Witch

Fat Witch

Artist: Kyra Wolff

 

“Fat-bashing in all its varied forms–criticism, exclusion, shaming, fat talk, self-deprecation, jokes, gossip, bullying–is one of the last acceptable forms of prejudice. From a very young age, before they can walk away or defend themselves, Women are taught that they are how they look, not what they do or what they know.”

Robyn Silverman

Within the Craft I often see areas where social issues intersect with our community issues, and body shaming is one of the main intersections I see, and cross.

“Isn’t there a Spell for weight loss?”

“Why are Witches always fat girls?”

“Angry Feminists are created because they are FAT and Men don’t want FAT Women, so they turn to Feminism.”

I have not only seen these statements made to others, they’ve been made to me, too.

I faced similar scrutiny when I was skinny which only proves that people will have their opinions regardless.

The number one insult many people resort to when berating or degrading, particularly Women, is to attack their weight; second to that is attacking their looks.

It’s childish.

It’s elementary.

It’s usually baseless.

But, it fucking hurts.

Even the most confident person can be affected by the piercing words and hate of another.

I am not a skinny Woman and have never hid that fact; if you have been reading my stuff since the beginning then you know the health issues I have been through.

The thing that gets me the most when it comes to society and, brace yourselves, I’m going to say it, FAT PEOPLE, is that society attached HUGE (no pun intended) stigmas to weight.

There’s this idea that if someone is fat they are automatically unhealthy; yes, I know the health risks of excess fat on the human body.

BUT, being overweight doesn’t mean the person sits on the couch eating chips and sweets all day long or does not put forth effort to become healthy.

For me, it’s a culmination of having 7 abdominal surgeries in 4 years all due to female health issues: PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroid, and Cervical Cancer.

The final surgery that pushed my body over the edge was a full hysterectomy at 27.

A hysterectomy is shocking to the system at any age, but at the age of 27 it’s A LOT to handle, and being thrust into menopause is no easy task, either. Menopause comes with its own set of issues, and even though I am on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) to get back the estrogen my body no longer produces, I am still faced with the reality of menopausal symptoms and potential complications (bone loss, higher risk of heart disease, weight gain, etc.).

When I had the hysterectomy, my body lost its proverbial mind and sent my thyroid out of whack (I have since been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s) and other auto immune diseases started to pop up.

So, yes, while I am not in optimal health, it’s not because I eat unhealthy or do not exercise; it’s because my body has been through SO MUCH TRAUMA.

I have been through so much trauma.

People don’t see the effort, or the health issues when they see me, or others shaped like me, they just see a fat girl (or person).

I keep saying fat people, and fat on purpose; they are used as insults, and we need to start taking some of that power back.

The F word makes everyone uncomfortable, and for that reason alone, it should be shouted from the mountain tops.

Fat.

Fat.

Fat.

All three F words might be too much: Fuck. Feminist. Fat.
*gasp*

Like I said above, the word HURTS when used against us—equally by ourselves, and others; that is why we need to start breaking down some of that negative energy.

I am not in any way condoning a “Fat lifestyle” and by that, I mean not taking care of yourself because of (for example) untreated depression, or other health issues that you refuse to face.

It also means that you are responsible for the food you put in your mouth, and the amount of activity you have throughout your day.

Me? I eat a balanced diet, I watch sugar and carb intake, I practice 2 styles of Yoga, I meditate, I have made water my friend. I hike throughout the spring, summer and fall. I am not pre-diabetic, I do not have high cholesterol, I do not have heart issues, or any major joint stress (Arthritis in my hips is not from the weight, though the excess weight doesn’t help. But, Yoga does!).

I do have, at times, borderline high blood pressure but that’s because I am a ball of anxiety.

I mean, it’s to be expected.

Because ANXIETY.

A foundation of Magick is in the art of loving ourselves, for we are the root of our Power.

How can we love ourselves if we simultaneously hate ourselves? When we hate our bodies? When we allow the opinions of others to be taken on as our truth?

If you are fat and unhappy PUT FORTH THE WORK TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

If you are fat and happy, then live your life!

Again, I’m not suggesting it’s healthy to be fat but it’s a complex, layered issue and one that is between each individual person and their healthcare provider.

Personally, I have put in the effort, and continue to do so, but it’s like I have hit a plateau; my body is the way it is.

Surgery is traumatic.

Illness is traumatic.

The point of this blog is not to grant permission for being fat, or unhealthy, I do not intend to enable anyone, either; it’s to bring forth and start the conversation.

EVERYONE has a story they write and a battle they fight every single day.

What we see on the outside, while an indicator of internal and environmental well-being, is only a fraction of who and what people are.

Don’t be so quick to judge, you might miss out on an amazing Soul because their weight, or other external factors, made you uncomfortable.

Maybe you need that discomfort.