One of the first things I learned over the years is that people don’t just change. Something dire, something that shakes up our world completely, has to happen first for us to develop a new perspective on ourselves. That is if all goes well.

Twist of fate, hardship and crisis may lead up to personal change and growth, to a productive inner proess and enable us to find new answers to “Who am I?” and “What do I want?”. They may also cripple and destroy us.

The main reason behind all the success stories on “crisis as an opportunity” is that the narrative of those maimed and killed by their fate, the mere survivors and those in painful desperation and helplessness are not being told.

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I know more sad and even fatal tales of agony than happy endings.

I myself haven’t changed without needing to. The cross I had to bear was depression and mania. It was quite a ride, these past 12 years. I went through a barrage of 15 depressions and 9 manic-psychotic experiences. It all started shortly before graduation from university, disrupted my everyday skills and routines to such an extent that I lost three jobs. And while everyone around me grew their lives, traveled, married, had kids and built houses I managed to stay alive. I almost died and the only reason I didn’t is everything but heroic. In part, I was scared to end my life, in part, I was to stubborn to quit. Though I didn’t accept it for the first 8 years or so, I subconsciouly knew that all these experiences had to be good for something, must mean something.

I don’t want to discuss depression or mania right now, neither delve into my personal experiences in great detail. That might come later, maybe. What is important to me right now is to show you how these experiences relate to what I do here. How this motherfucking ride made this blog possible. How it inspired me to meditate and reclaim mastery over my sensations, emotions, thoughts and perceptions.

What really drove me was the deep desire to understand the sometimes doubtful pleasure of these experiences. That led me to meditation. (Bi-)polarity is the greatest fathomable extent of consciousness experiencing itself. It forces you to transcend the confines of the human mind and explore the incredible vastness within and beyond. Communion with oneself is communion with God. It is impossible to explain this to someone, who didn’t experience this. Yet, it remains a fact. Experiencing polarity in its utmost extremes, feeling the tear and stretch of these opposing forces guided me to understand these, in essence seemingly opposing poles, reconcile them and fuse them. That took many many years. In the beginning, I had no basis to interpret what I experienced.

As far as meditation is concerned, I was also dangling my feet in the water for over eight years. I meditated regularly, but mainly for relaxation and easing my mind a little, to let go and better handle stress. I very strongly adopted and advocated the traditional psychiatric view. Both with respect to my experiences and with respect to meditation. I suppressed the deep meaning of my experiences out of fear and what that might imply. My belief was that conventional psychiatry and psychotherapy would do the trick, with meditation and whatnot as an optional add-on.

I was in that inner mode for almost a decade. It all changed in 2010, when my third attempt to restart my life went down the drain. These past 8 years, I have been through all the medication all the behavioral therapy. No joy. Nothing changed. I think it was a the sentence “Benjamin, there is nothing we can do.” that finally made it possible for me to try something new. I began to work with gestalt therapy. Deep inner work: body work, breath, sensation and emotion replaced being drugged down and the “fake it till you make it” approach of conventional psychotherapy. That and an intensified and broadened approach on meditation became the driving force behind a process that began to feel like healing, not survival. That changed everything.

The great thing was that I could use the skills from therapy and combine them with my meditation skills and experiences. And vice versa. The two practices nourished each other and melded into a powerful force of change in my life. That is not to say I was in Happyland after waving a wand. On the contrary, the hardest work was yet to come. However, I now felt that I had tools to work with, raw material to work with. All the emotions, the wealth of my experience, the crazyness, the madness, all the inner abundance from fear to unconditional love transformed. From something I feared and suppressed to something I, step by step, learned to embrace and integrate. After 8 years of helplessness and victimhood I could do something very very productive and beautiful with all that had happened to me. It was that switch in seeing myself that finally gifted me with the permission to leave my old pattern behind. Instead of just dangling my feet in the water, I waded in and began to swim.

The main difference between my process before and after was this: self-trust. Trusting my own sensations, emotions, thoughts and perceptions over any external source. Valuing my experiences as real and pertinent to my growth, however crazy or out of this world. I learned to directly sense and experience what is happening to me, within my body, right here right now. Just acknowledging it. No interpretation, no judgement, no meaning. Just is-ness of oneself. No belief system, no diagnosis, no illness. “Just” that what really is.

This inner trust chaned everything. I was no longer fighting an inner enemy, this alien body of illness within and I no longer capitulated to the genetic-biochemic determinism of conventional psychiatry. I reclaimed my inner power and develop a clear, emancipated and self-confident attitude towards myself. I learned to embrace everything inside of me and work with it. It was quite a liberation and after many years, there was real, tangible hope.

2012 was when the real rocket booster fired. I came across this book “In Search of the Miraculous”. Reading it, I was like “Yeah, that’s what I experienced in mania.” or “I had that idea, too.”. That led me to embrace my experiences as a spiritual process on top of everything else. But that is a long story for another time.

Just this, and I have written about this before, compare the experience of manic-psychosis to descriptions of spiritual awakenings and mystical revelations troughout the ages. There is no difference. Just that the intensity of the experience in mania is much stronger and more direct.

So is it a blessing after all? I leave that for you to ponder on. Just don’t accept for a second that your experiences are meaningless. They are not. And they hold the key to your healing and so much more.

“FOR FRODO.”

 

Benjamin

photo credit: Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny. via photopin (license)

photo credit: Introspection via photopin (license)

Mental illness is transformation. It is a call to revisit everything ever thought, felt, believed, experienced and sensed. You can follow that call, consider it a twisted, painful yet rewarding process of unfolding into a new you.

Mania is inspiring. Psychosis is wild, frightening at times but at least somewhat interesting.

Depression on the other hand sucks right? Hanging around in a dark room eating fried foods and chocolate while watching every DVD in your possession for 3 months. How can that possible be an instrument of personal, let alone spiritual development.

As I said in Part I, I had about 20 depressive episodes, so I have lots of data. And I really looked at this annoying, insufferable, agonizing and deadly mind-fucking, emotion-drenching, body-wretching depression over and over again until I figured out why I did it.

Depression has been a relentless but retrospectively fabulous teacher to me.

Generally speaking, the two most important questions you have to ask yourselves with respect to any type of mental condition are

  • What is its function? Mental, emotional, physical, social, job-related etc. My depression always “saved” me from situations that were unbearable to me, though I did never realize this consciously. So each of my episodes served as a course correction (I reverted to the old course soon enough). Think about that.
  • Why am I manifesting these symptoms? Yes, you are doing it to yourself! It’s the hardest thing to realize but think about what that means. Your state of victimhood ends. No more serotonine and dopamine responsible. You! Great benefit of the thought: that means YOU can change it.

Even if the biochemical hypothesis (the evidence to promote it to the status of a theory is too scarce) is correct. The imbalance started somehow, so logically it can be ended somehow.

Enter depression again. How could that experience possibly have been inspiring? Believe it our not, you learn a lot. You face all the negativity within you. Your negative emotions: shame, guilt, fear, rage are front and center. Your negative thoughts: I am worthless, I am small, I am powerless, I deserve to die, I have disappointed everyone, I am a failure, no one loves me. Your body aches to. Hot and cold. Tingling sensations. Pain. Stomach aches. headaches. Every system: mental, emotional, physical serves it’s worst for days and weeks and months. Your ability to function diminishes, sometimes down to complete stupor. Pain might give over to a deep feeling of hollowness and emptiness. The world becomes grey, dull, harder and harder to grasp. Loveless. Hopeless. And worst of all, all memory of good times fade, become inaccessible so that depression as an experience seems to have lasted forever and will last forever. Hell on earth. Sheer despair. No energy.

Don’t run away from this. Turn into this. Seek the eye of the storm. Examine your feelings, your thoughts. Why are they there? Why do you have this particular thought pattern? Is it depression talking or a deeply-buried belief you have held – subconsciously – your entire life. Depression is a dynamic process, not a fixed state. Embrace the dynamics of it. Ride the wave of your emotions and thoughts instead of trying to stem the tide. Go deep into your pain. Breathe your despair. Explore every thought, how forbidden it might be, dive into every emotion. Look for somebody to help you through this.

Over the years, I learned to strip away negative emotions and thought patterns from the core sensation of emptiness. In doing that I realized that this emptiness wasn’t all that bad, wasn’t out to threaten me but was actually a place within me that provided a stillpoint. Experiencing this stillness was profound. Much stronger than anything I found during meditation (until 3 weeks ago).

Having written that: depression ain’t hell. It’s purgatory.

What you burn away from you and what you take to the other side is your choice.

Make it a deliberate one.

My life experience is what makes me write. Let me share parts of it with you. The portion that inspires my writing, that I feel most passionately about penning to paper. The portion that led to me walking the path and live my spirituality every day through mediation and deed.

My life’s story is different from that of many 36 year olds and I had strong reservations about coming-out and sharing it. The past twelve years, I have been struggling with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It’s been bad. 20 episodes. Seven of them manic-psychotic. 13 depressions. For a large portion I was just trying to stay alive. The onset of an episode was followed by hospitalization, was followed by reintegration into the job, was followed by brief recovery and the semblance of a normal life was followed by a new break. The cycle repeated itself. The institutionalized system was unable to stabilize, less cure me. I was told to accept what happened. That my condition could only be managed, never healed. I was told to create a version of myself that was ok with what was happening to me. One clueless doctor chased the next, medication was on and off like crazy, dosages changed, pills changed. Nothing. I have been told the usual fairy-tale of biochemical imbalance. As if a serotonine and dopamine imbalance would explain the emotional trauma and pain. On a certain level, I was critical of the paradigm I was being fed. On another level, I clinged to it as there was nothing else to replace it. Maybe if I take my medication, don’t drink alcohol, exercise and do ten other things from the list of my behavioralist it will finally work. I tried it. It didn’t.

At one point in fall 2011 depression was marching in with the usual force and for the first time, I made the conscious decision not to go into the hospital. Even more, I refrained from calling what was happening to me depression or an illness. I decided to study what was going on with an open and unburdened mind, unencumbered by psychiatric theory and psychological interpretation. It was a major step for me. I was so afraid. I debunked all every doctor ever said to me and started my own book. I was open to new possibilities and that by itself was very liberating.

As chance has it, right about that time, I got into contact with a new therapist. A therapist I myself would have considered fringe a couple of years back. Not the usual behavioralist, but a gestalt therapist. I remember my first session like it was yesterday. I came into his office and had to take of my shoes. That alone would have discounted him as an “esoteric” a couple of years back. I entered a room full of cushions and foam blocks covered in cloth. My god, what is going on here? “This is our working space.”, he said. So we sat down and talked. I expected he wanted to hear the whole works, how it all started, how I was treated, how many episodes, what triggered those. And then he asked me a baffling question: “What do you feel in your body when you talk about this?”. I was dumb-founded. My body? What does that have to do with it? Isn’t it all just a brain thing? Behavioral routines gone awry? I described by bodily sensations to him. The numbness, the heavy head, the tingling in my arms and legs, the queasy stomach and the rock in my bowels. “Dive into that sensation in your bowels. Which feeling does that correspond to?”. It was rage. So the set me up with a big foam block and told me to take out my rage on the thing with controlled but heavy hitting. And as I was doing that, “depression” lifted. At the end of the session he said: “See there is a lot of energy within you, you just need to tap it.”. Getting out of the thing, just by this simple exercise, even for only a few minutes, it baffled me. I continued to work with him (still do) and got better.

About half a year later I finally chose to shed a spiritual perspective on the whole thing. I have been meditating for a couple of years already, mainly calming and relaxing meditations without any spiritual colouring. I have had my share of spiritual experiences around and in my manic-psychotic episodes. However, up until summer 2012, I was not able to fullly and consistently embrace the possibility that my experiences had any lasting meaning. I bought into the crap the doctors put out that my experiences are delusions and have nothing to do with reality.

I quickly learned different.

Studying spirituality, I found that many of the ideas and sensations I had during mania are mainstay concepts of many spiritual schools and/or experiences made during advanced forms of meditation.

Given that most are unfamiliar with “manic symptoms” let me explain the experience in very bold strokes. Generalizations based on own experiences may occur :-). Mania is a very heightened state of consciousness. You have a tremendous amount of energy and drive. Your creativity and associative thinking are at astonishingly high levels. You feel elated, bursting with joy and full of bliss. A torrent of energy runs through you. You are like a superconductor, channeling energy effortlessly and without any resistance. Any block in your system is gone. Your perception changes. Colours become more vibrant, sounds more resonant. Everything smells intensely. Every piece of food your eat tastes like ambrosia. Your sense of touch is heightened to a degree that a small breeze of air touching your skin sends shivers of joy and appreciation down your spine. Most wondrously is the overwhelming sense of knowing. A composition of a thousand pages long coming alive in five seconds of divine ecstasy. You perceive, feel even see patterns of energy playing themselves out in forms of people, interactions, things. It’s like hacking the Matrix. Full administrator priviliges. I always felt a most beautiful sense of connectedness. There was no difference between the inside and the outside. The concept of seperation collapsed. All is One. I felt unconditional love, a profound sense of being carried and supported no matter what. I felt guided. My consciousness was making new connections between seemingly unrelated topics at a break-neck speed. Reality became this marvelous symphony. It was a revelation, an awakening – a sunny day after a life in Plato’s cave. Clarity beyond anything ever experienced.

I felt called to share my discovery with everyone else. And doing that unfiltered, assuming everybody to share your perception (as it is so obvious) you appear completely crazy. On top, maintaining this high level of energy is not sustainable. Your body grows tired, your brain overwhelmed. Lack of sleep adds to the toll. A high level of frustration builds once you realize that no one understands you.

Eventually things subside over time or due to brutal pharmaceutical intervention. It is the feeling of loss that ensues that, in my humble opinion, accounts for all of the negative “symptoms” of mania.

So I had all of this in me, and no way to explain it. I felt the truth of my experience but doubted myself constantly. If psychiatry destroy one thing its your intuition.

But enough for now. I will continue this story in my next post. Have a great week.

Benjamin

Am 19.03.2010 schrieb ich…

Lieber Benjamin,

vielen Dank für die bisherigen Gespräche, die ich, wie unsere früheren Betrachtungsversuche meiner Innenwelt, stets sehr genossen habe.

Jetzt stehe ich vor der Herausforderung, Dir Antworten auf Fragen zu geben, die ich teils gar nicht stellen will. Aber gut, wir sind nicht im Kindergarten und der Grund meines Aufenthalts in der Klinik, so emotional er schon weit weg sein mag, ist ernst. Keine halbe Woche einer sub-hypomanischen, oder besser, epi-hypomanischen Phase sollte die eigentlichen Probleme nicht aus dem Blickfeld räumen.

Die drei Kernfragen aus unseren Beratungen umfasse ich wie folgt:

  1. Was bedingt die schnelle affektive Aufhellung, Antriebssteigerung und Kognitionsverbesserung unmittelbar nach Einlieferung in die Klinik?
    1. Hohe psychogene Komponente?
    2. Selbstwirksamkeit hoch?
    3. Hospitalismus?
    4. Klinikumfeld? Die Bäume, der schöne Ort, der Fluss?
  2. Wie kann ich diese Stimulizer mit nach Hause nehmnen bzw. wie sind sie als automatische Stabilisatoren im häuslichen Setting zu nutzen?
  3. Wie werde ich suizidfester?

Am 23.03.2010 schrieb ich…

Wichtig ist auch die unmittelbare Zukunftsplanung. Das Generieren einer Perspektive, die mich reizt. Der zweite Teil des Satzes ist dabei wichtig.Ich möchte wieder voll im Leben stehen. Abends geschafft in die Arme meiner Geliebten fallen, Alltagsgeschichten im Gepäck. Ich möchte wieder mobiler werden. Mal ein Wochenende in Berlin bei Wolfgang, einen Wandertrip in den Alpen mit Ralf, einen Abstecher nach Paris. Ich möchte einer Arbeit nachgehen, die mich erfüllt. Ich möchte gebraucht werden, mich nützlich machen. Ich will das Leben wieder spielerischer erleben. Als Prozess der Entfaltung meiner Fähigkeiten und Persönlichkeit. Ich werde wieder auf Offensive schalten, dennn mit einer defensiven Taktik gewinne ich keinen Grund.

Ich höre mich selbst dabei, trotzig, stolz. Siegesgewiss und doch immer noch innerlich existenziell verunsichert. Ich erinnere mich an mich selbst im Sommer letzten Jahres. Meine Analyse war damals im Prinzip die gleiche wie jetzt. 2004-2006 waren erfolgreiche Jahre trotz und mit der Erkrankung. Ich hatte viel Stress, bin viel gereist, war weit weg von zu Huase. Ich trank Alkohol, schlief unregelmäßig. Im Grunde machte ich alles “falsch”:

Meine Krankheitseinsicht war beschissen. Und doch ging es mir wesentlich besser als jetzt. Die Klinikaufenthalte waren relativ begrenzt, der Wiedereintritt ins Leben unmittelbar. Die Perspektive in ein aufrgendes Leben mit vielen Optionen zurückzukehren war jedesmal heilsam.

Lang dachte ich, alles an dieser Zeit wäre schlecht gewesen. Das glaube ich nicht mehr. Ich musss die letzten Jahre mal konzentriert Revue passieren lassen. Was war gut, was war schlecht?

Ich brauche eine Strategie!

Ich bruache eine Klarheit des Geistes, eine innere Geschlossenheit und Zuversicht. Ich muss das Momentum der jetzigen Situation nutzen. Ich muss mich emanzipieren von sieben Jahren therapeutischer Vorsicht ohne trotzig im Kern Richtiges zu verwerfen. Ich muss bereit sein für größere Rückschritte und sienicht gleich Scheitern nennen.

Am 23.03.2010 schrieb ich…

Ohnehin erschließt sich mir die Logik des weniger Wagens nicht. Wenn ich jetzt schnell ein Praktikum organisiere, mich selbständig mahe oder einen Dr. beginne und damit auf die Fresse fliege, dann bin ich wo ich jetzt war. Der große Unterschied: Ich habs versucht! Ich habe wenig Angst vorm Scheitern neuer Projekte. Ich scheitere eher, als den Status Quo hinzunehmen.

Bei alldem muss ich auch meine Persönlichkeitsstruktur berücksichtigen. Ich war immer ein Mensch, der schnell begeisterungsfähig war. Für neue Ideen, neue Menschen, neue Orte und Wege. Ich war immer ein Mensch, der viel unterwegs war. Es gab und gibt viele Kreuzungen und Weggabelungen in meinem Leben, getragen von einem dichten Netz an Beziehungen. Das führt dann in der Summe dazu, dass sich viele Möglichkeiten ergeben etwas zu tun. Meine Default-Einstellung im Umgang damit war immer folgende: begeistert und ein wenig kopflos habe ich mich mit vollem Enthusiasmus und hoher Motivation ins Unbekannte gestürzt. Es war immer ein spielerisches Entdecken. All das fehlt gerade.

Am 04.04.2015 schreibe ich…

Ich habe keine Angst mehr, dass zu tun, was ich vor fünf Jahren geschrieben habe. Selbsterkenntnis und Reflexion sind der erste Schritt zur Besserung. Aber ohne die bewusste Tat bleiben beide Kopfgewichse.Ich gehe endlich meinen Weg. Ich danke mir dafür!

Alles Gute Benjamin!

Benjamin

Für all diejenigen, dessen Gedanken und Gefühle durch Psychopharmaka zum Verstummen gebracht wurden.

Lieber Psychiater,

Ich bin einer derjenigen, die Du als “psychisch krank” bezeichnest. Ich habe Symptome manifestiert, die mit vielen DIagnosen in Deiner diagnostischen Bibel übereinstimmen. Ich habe ohne Zweifel an diese Diagnose geglaubt weil ich gefült habe, dass Du ohne Zweifel an sie glaubst. Du hast irgendwelche abgefahrenen Drogen aus einer Liste ausgewählt und sie mir gegeben. Alles wird gut, sagtest Du. Aber ich fühlte mich schlechter. Ich fühlte mich mehr aus der Balance als vorher. Letzendlich vergaß ich, dass ich überhaupt fühlte. Versteinert, ein Zombie. Von außen sah alles ok aus. Und wenn Du mich gefragt hast wie ich mich fühle, dann hab ich was erfunden wie “OK”, weil ich, ehrlich gesagt, lediglich ein Echo meiner selbst fühlte. Verloren in der trunkenen Dunkelheit ausgelöst durch die Chemikalien in meinem Blut. Und ich habe meine Pillen, meistens, auch wirklich genommen. Aber mir ging es nicht besser. Ich hatte Rückfälle, hab neue Drogen bekommen, für fünf Minuten ein normales Leben gelebt und hatte wieder einen Rückfall. Nichts, was du getan hast, hat funktioniert.

Also begann ich nachzudenken: was wäre, wenn all das falsch ist?

Also begann ich Fragen zu stellen, die mich zu weiteren Fragen führten, die mich zu der Frage führten die Stimmigkeit meiner Diagnose und das Wesen der “Erkrankung” selbst zu hinterfragen. Ich fand sehr schnell sehr viele Informationen, die überhaupt nicht mit dem übereinstimmen was Du sagst.

Hast du Dir diese Fragen nie gestellt. Du bist ein Profi in deinem Bereich. Deine Aufgabe ist es gut für mich und andere wie mich zu sorgen. Warum hast du Dir diese Fragen nie gestellt? Warum hast Du nicht zugehört, also ich dir erzählt habe was ich herausgefunden habe. Ist Dir bewusst, dass du möglicherweise Menschen massiv verletzt, nur um der Angst falsch zu liegen zu entgehen? Oder bist du nur halsstarrig, völlig eingepfercht in dein Weltbild.

Warum hast Du dich nicht um mich gekümmert? Warum hast Du mich, auf der dubiosen Grundlage der Mono-Amin Hypothese mit schwacher Beweislage zum Opfer meiner Biochemie und gnadenloser Medikation gemacht? War es der Golfurlaub in Valencia von Pharma A, der Dich das hat vergessen lassen? Oder das Training von Pharma B über die Wunder ihrer neuen Droge? War es der Druck Deiner Standesgenossen, die Angst abzuweichen? War es HIlflosigkeit? An welchem Punkt hast du Dich korrumpiert, an welchem Punkt hast Du Ethik, Gefühl und Verstand über Bord geworfen? Warum hast Du dich nicht um mich gekümmert?

Ich hab so viel Wut in mir, wegen dem, was Du mir angetan hast, es macht mich krank. Aber ich habe Dich auch als Menschen kennengelernt. Du bist wirklich kein schlechter Kerl. Ich verstehe das nicht.

Bitte, hilf mir, das zu verstehen

Dein

Benjamin

PS: Mir geht es jetzt gut. Dank Gestalttherapie, Meditation und gelebter Spiritualität. Vielleicht sollte ich Dir das sagen. Sonst könntest du weiter in dem Glauben verweilen es wären die Pillen.

(MY first attempt at Dadaism ;-);-);-))

Interviewer: John Dandy (a.k.a Junior)
Interviewee: God (Robert Stark)

John Dandy: Well, finally, God has given us the right to broadcast the following interview and…
God: Given, Junior, Given??? I didn’t give you anything. You did!Rob Stark: Behead the Idiot already and be done with it. I have a dragon to catch.

Enters the Fool (a.k.a Benjamin): SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT AND STOP WHINING LIKE LITTLE PRISSIES OVER WHAT IS YELLOW AND WHAT IS GREEN. WHO REALLY CARES? i Certainly dont give a shit! And I am still alive. So that shit has to work for everyone.

And so the Fool continued his rant until John, God and Robert were completely worn down. He is a good man, that fool. Really. And in that intention, he feels it is necessary to initiate a massive, preventive strike against all idiocy in this world with the full force of his wrath, which does not exist.

How can you be sure he is not in impostor? IMPOSTOR??? Well, he doesn’t care about appearances, so neither should you.

He kindly asks you to consider the 10 Commandment crap he wrote earlier as null and void and issues a new book called: “The Only Commandment”. It is completely blank, which is the joke. And since he is the Fool. LALALALA

And so the Lord sayeth: Let there be only one commandment added to the 10 so far.
11: Always be true to yourself

The writer of this text is very bold and fearful at the same time. He has a bipolar tendency. That might include killing youself for no reason etc. Luckily. After pressing the “Publish” button, the writer will be healed, thereby remedying all states. I hand the staff to whoever wants it. I really dont wanna do that 😉

Footnote:

I hereby affirm wholy and compelely that I wrote this out of my free will as a child of God.

Illu_pituitary_pineal_glands

Image by lueckbuesser.org

Hi guys… I hope this post reaches you when you need it. There is more to come under the headline “”Mental Illness” is Transformation”. But for the time being check out Eleanor Longden in her TED-talk “Voices inside my head”. It really is worth watching, whether you have or had the experience yourself, or know somebody who has, or are just curious. Time well spent!

Why I like the vid? Well, I love the perspective she gives on “mental illness” in general and on her hearing voices in particular. “Diagnosed, drugged and discarded.” unfortunately is a dominant phenomenon in psychiatry and I have seen so many wonderful people left in utter hopelessness and sheer despair. Destroyed by a thought system of reductionist bio-chemical determinism. Disconnected from the perception of their special experiences as a deep and far-reaching transformational process.

People are educated to perceive hypersensitivity common to all people experiencing mental distress as a threat to their health while it is the key to healing. It is time for “survivors” like her, many others and myself to change this.

I too have voices in my head. It is called thinking. Why the big fuzz when suddenly, as it has happened to me again and again, these voices become acoustic? And numerous? Temporarily or permanently? I love my internal brain trust. There is the formal Benjamin Hittel, the childish Benji and the flamboyant Ben and many more. Angels and demons. My very own internal Fellowship of the Ring.

Might this phenonemon, hearing voices, possibly be an essential step towards a certain form of consciousness for some people? Is it possible that some people repress their heartfelt desires so strongly, that “mental illness” and its manifestations are the only “release valve”? It is possible that some people have less leeway in deviating from their destiny than others? Ta’veren? Or is this for everybody with a continuum from “normal” internal dialogue to hearing voices and seeing beings as a simple matter of degrees? Who else has the experience or the right to judge what is real for me?

No one.

Thank you for making that clear sister.

Thank you for giving me the courage to speak.

About myself: I survived 12 years of “bipolar disorder” with 20 episodes. Like Eleanor, turning towards what was happening to me instead of running away from it, led to the changes I needed to heal and finally realize that every illness is transformation. That’s why I put all the mental health lingo in quotation marks. For I strongly believe, that it is these labels that keep us from addressing what’s going on as an instrument of change. Not just for the individuals, but for our communities and for the planet. Every imbalance on the outside is a mirror of imbalance on the inside. Watch out for people with “mental illnesses”. Listen to them. Respect them. And help them, for they are doing this to be able to heal much more than themselves. Help them and enable them guide you through the times ahead.

Servants of All.

Source of video: TED.com. Check out their page for more great talks on TED.com.
Featured Image: “Tu was Du willst” (Do as thou wilt) courtesy of lueckenfueller.org.