Katie Mottram, a friend of mine, has just published her book Mend the Gap: A Transformative Journey from Deep Despair to Spiritual Awakening.
Katie speaks candidly from a very unique position having lived with a mother who was diagnosed with a serious mental health condition when she was young, and who tried to kill herself; having worked within the mental health profession; and having experienced her own serious symptoms, which could very well have been compartmentalised as a mental health disorder.
We Are Not Mad!
Katie writes of how she firmly believes mental health conditions are not necessarily a result of ‘madness’ and that individuals are actually experiencing a spiritual awakening, symptoms of which can cause depression, anxiety, mood swings, supernatural-type experiences, hearing voices, headaches, lethargy. She is currently working with mental health professionals to pioneer changes to the current understanding of mental health conditions, within the psychiatric profession.
Diagnosis and Harsh Treatments
As a result, those who are experiencing these symptoms are categorised into a box and labelled as having Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, or some other scary sounding diagnosis.
Individuals are given strong medications to numb them, even heavy anti-psychotic medications and electro-convulsive therapy- which Katie has witnessed first hand and found traumatic to watch.
But what if we were to listen to their experiences and take them seriously?
To get a sense of the book’s content check out Katie’s guest post:
I myself have been through my own spiritual awakening and been diagnosed. Katie asked me to contribute a paragraph or two to her book:
“At the age of 18, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. During the depressions, I have not wanted to live in this world. It felt too full of hate and anger, everything that is harsh. I felt too sensitive and fragile to survive in it. However, at other times I was so moved by beauty, art, music and nature that I felt as if heaven was on earth. I felt so much energy and passion for life. But, I felt at the mercy of my emotions, like I had no control over my life. I struggled to remain employed as my emotions would overwhelm me and I was constantly anxious and having regular panic attacks.
Three years ago I became involved with a spiritual development group and since then, I have gained great understanding of these experiences. My teacher described the depression as the “Dark Night of the Soul”. My true self was longing to emerge. I had been rejecting my true creative passions and sensitivity, suppressing it in order to fit into a societal role that I was expecting myself to fulfil. I desperately wanted to be like everybody else- to hold down a 9-5 job, to have a car, a yearly holiday, enough money to have the luxuries in life. I desperately wanted love and approval. But my soul was screaming out for nature, meditation, art, music, writing, spirituality. I thought these things would make me an outcast and that I wasn’t good enough. Suppressing my true self was causing a dark depression to cast over me. My soul needed me to make changes.
Through the weekly spiritual and personal development lessons I learnt that my extreme sensitivity to the emotions of others can be explained in terms of clairsentience- I energetically “pick up” the emotions of others, like a sponge or a magnet. Our teacher takes us through energetic exercises that focus on recognising which emotions belong to us and which to other people. The exercises are performed in meditation and involve grounding and centring our energy, and clearing any energy and emotions that do not belong to us. These exercises have been like magic! I always feel so much clearer and stronger after performing them, which I now do regularly.
We also identify thoughts and beliefs which are not serving us in life and learn to change these to positive ones, through meditation, journal-writing, practice and patience. We are learning to love, forgive and accept ourselves, as well as other people, just the way we are.
Spiritual development has allowed me to feel in control of my life again, and no longer at the mercy of my emotions and thoughts. I have gained the courage and empowerment to change my life in ways which allow me to live as my true self and, because of this, I have so much more hope for the future.”
I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to contribute to Katie’s fantastic book, which I found inspiring and full of hope for those of us who are looking for another way to work through symptoms of depression, anxiety, mood swings, and so-called psychotic episodes. It brings new hope!
With acceptance of our experiences as valid, and of ourselves just as we are, perhaps we can forge a path through our symptoms and gain a new, greater understanding.
Mend the Gap is now available to buy in paperback and on Kindle via Amazon:
Mental Health and Spiritual Crisis: Guest post by Trish Hurtubise.