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.
THIS HAS NOW BEEN BROADCAST, BUT IS AVAILABLE TO WATCH ON BBC iPLAYER.
The daughter of boxer & TV personality Frank Bruno talks about her Dad’s Bipolar Disorder and discovers more about the disorder.
Hopefully this will be as good as the recent docu-series Don’t Call Me Crazy!
This can literally lead to the soul rising upwards so that it is partially out of our bodies. This will make us feel light-headed, dizzy and almost not-there, like we are in a dreamworld. We are ungounded. It is my opinion that dissociation stems from this state.
Our souls incarnated here on earth out of choice. We chose to be here. It may seem like a hefty deal when we are very depressed and we may think “why would I choose to be in so much pain?”
We chose to be here now to release karma and to learn. Our souls have a higher plan, nothing like that of our personalities on earth. Our souls long for a reunion with the unconditional love they were birthed from. No wonder we feel so depressed when we deal with much of the pain that is broadcast on the news, or with the negativity that may surround us.
To find inner peace we can learn to surrender our egos to unconditional love from Spirit. Simple, not easy. It takes time and work on self-and spiritual-development
It is important for our souls to be 100% in our bodies so that we remain grounded.
When we are ungrounded we may experience all sorts of unpleasant symptoms including mood swings, energetic swings included extreme tiredness, binge eating (we literally need the heaviness to feel grounded), we hold on to negative emotions (yours or other people’s), distractability and tension. These are just a few.
So you can see how important it is for our soul to remain fully grounded in our bodies.
It is essential for our own health and balance that we remain grounded. To do this imagine roots leaving the soles of your feet and burrowing their way to the centre of the earth. Make the roots thick and strong. You should begin to feel heavier as if gravity is pulling you downwards more strongly. Really relax into the feeling.
Other methods of grounding include doing grounded activities: housework, gardening, walks in nature, physical exercise (yoga is excellent), dancing, etc.
Grounding aids include crystals such as Hematite, Black Tourmaline and Smokey Quartz, which you can keep in your pocket, or hold whilst meditating. Personally I find hematite is pure magic and I feel pulled to the ground like a magnet.
For Bach Flower Remedy recommendations for depression, anxiety & hypomania, please click here.
My Spiritual Experiences During Hypomania
During episodes of hypomania I have frequently felt more at one with nature and in harmony with life in general, as well as with spirit. These experiences have had a euphoric quality to them where I have felt “high”, believing that I have energetic powers including healing.
I always assumed this was part of mania and that I was having grandiose delusions. I would have so much energy that I would feel I was bursting out of my skin.
But what if I wasn’t delusional- what if there was some truth to these intense intuitive experiences? It may sound grandiose now- but what if we all have these dormant psychic skills ready to reawaken?
The symptoms of Bipolar Disorder (as well as depression and anxiety in general) are extremely similar to those that occur as we awaken spiritually.
Spiritual awakening is the process by which our spirits are reunited with our bodies and minds. Our higher self is integrated into our lives as we begin to see how we are all connected as one, and that we have higher purposes in our lives.
This process is occurring increasingly in many people, as earth and all its life forms evolve to a higher dimension, whereby we see each other as brothers and sisters and live from a place of love. Psychic abilities will also develop in many. This is known as Ascension.
As we ascend as individuals, we undergo spiritual awakening, which brings about many symptoms in our mind, body and emotions as we clear out old baggage, and mental and behavioural patterns which no longer serve us.
Many spiritual writers and teachers are sharing information regarding ascension. Diana Cooper is a favourite of mine and explains more about the phenomenon here.
Spiritual Awakening Symptoms
As we awaken, our bodies and minds need to shed old patterns and beliefs which no longer serve a purpose in our lives, and keep us at lower vibrational energy. This leads to many symptoms that include the following:
- depression & anxiety
- periods of high energy manifesting in our lives as hyperactivity, racing thoughts, creative bursts (sound familiar?!) etc.
- new sleep patterns whereby we often wake up between the hours of 2-4pm, fall back to sleep, then possibly wake up again.
- periods of intense emotion & mood swings- crying at the drop of a hat, switching to laughter.
- life altering events.
- growing interest in spirituality.
- a sense of higher purpose or wishing to know what this is.
- a feeling of being “different”.
These are just a few of the symptoms. For an extensive list please click here.
As you can see quite a few of the experiences listed overlap with Bipolar Disorder symptoms.
There are a few resources, discussion forums and videos on the internet which discuss this phenomenon. Here is a Google search of Spiritual Awakening and Bipolar Disorder.
The tie-in between Bipolar and Spiritual Awakening may have no meaning for you whatsoever! But for me, and hopefully more and more individuals, it is profoundly meaningful and has changed my life.
I no longer feel a victim of my emotions and, through guidance in spiritual and personal development from a wonderful teacher, I am learning to grow and take charge of my life.
Spiritual & Personal Development
For me, spiritual and personal development have meant taking the reins of my life. Where my emotions have frequently felt like an out-of-control horse running away with me, I am now learning to balance myself and that it is perfectly fine and right to live a life that is different from others. It keeps my emotions in balance. I am so much happier after only a year of this work! I have spent much more time in quiet and solitude, and have learnt to protect and value my innate sensitivity. This development work is something we can all do!
I have also come to learn that many of the emotions I experience are not actually my own, but that I am energetically picking up on the emotions of those around me. It is quite possible you do this too! Development work teaches you to discern which emotions are yours and which are other peoples’, as well as how to clear these emotions from yourself and protecting against further experiences.
Related Posts on this Website
Many of the posts on my blog chart my journey through spiritual and personal development with Bipolar Disorder. Here are a few:
Other Websites & Blogs
Read my guest post Bipolar and Highly Sensitive People on mentalhealthtalk.info.
Thank you everyone for your lovely supportive comments yesterday- I can’t believe how quickly my thinking patterns changed to old, habitual, negative ones.
Over the last year, I’ve been working really hard on changing my thoughts to more positive, nurturing ones. So far I think I’ve done really well and have been feeling better as a result.
But it didn’t take much for me to feel overwhelmed by anger and a situation I thought I couldn’t handle. It was easy to slip back into “I can’t cope, I don’t want to be here”. I don’t think it was just this though. Recently some old childhood pain has been stirred up and I think I was releasing a lot yesterday. I know I’m better off without it!!
I was very quick to judge this as failure and that I might as well give up: so all the old self-destructive thoughts quickly moved in on me again. But I guess it’s all part of the process of growing and moving past the old patterns. I may be able to keep the thoughts positive when things are going well for me, but I guess this is practice for helping me to stay positive in tougher situations. And I have come out of this quickly, much quicker than I would have done last year!!
I am learning to love the shadow side of me- not just the good stuff. It’s not easy, but I’m doing better :).
Chris was great and took me to the cinema in the evening to cheer me up. We saw Oz The Great and Powerful in 3D which I absolutely LOVED!! What with you guys all being so supportive and Chris being the lovely guy he is, I couldn’t stay in the quagmire for too long.
It did make me realise how easy it is to slip back though- but that I shouldn’t beat myself up over it either :). I’m very thankful to have come out the other side.
I’ve been working on some really deep issues in my journal today. It’s been difficult as I’ve been admitting some painful truths.
A few weeks ago I looked at personal power and how I have been “giving it away”.
Self-sabotage and quitting have been strong themes in my life thus far, as well as identifying myself as a “victim”, which is an attitude I am in the process of changing.
The beliefs I have instilled in my mind as a powerless victim are:
- I am unable to cope in life.
- I am too sensitive and thin-skinned.
- I can’t take care of myself, I need to be looked after.
- I am sick/emotionally unstable/have something wrong with me.
- I’m not good enough.
I learnt these beliefs whilst growing up. I was rewarded when I displayed behaviour that exhibited these beliefs. I was treated less favourably if I showed independent and powerful behaviour.
Throughout my adult life I have attracted situations which have reinforced these beliefs- often very painful and destructive experiences.
I am now going to work on changing my beliefs in order to drastically improve my quality of life!!
My new mind-programming will be based on the following:
- It is safe for me to be powerful and independent.
- I have many talents and abilities that I can successfully utilize in my life.
- I give myself permission to take care of and love myself.
- I am free to express the true essence of me.
- I am worthy of love, joy, fulfilment, success, health, fitness, abundance and wonderful life experiences!
My empowering reading has been:
Quick Life Update
- Brilliant day out at Center Parcs on Monday for a spa-day with friends. Also visited the brilliant swimming pool where we went on the insane new waterslide: Cyclone.
- Enjoyed the Oscar highlights immensely on Monday. Loved Jennifer Lawrence’s dress and Joaquin Phoenix falling asleep- genius!!
- Shame to see Hugh Jackman miss out on Best Actor. Don’t think Daniel Day Lewis really needed another Oscar- greedy!
- Had fun with my little niece last week, who is now 7 months old.
- Saw “Flight” at the cinema- another amazing Denzel Washington performance. Great film.
- Still not working, but am constantly thinking about what-on-earth I’m going to do to earn money. I’m currently ruling out a regular job at the moment, as it just never works out for me. Maybe that’s a mind programme I need to change.
- Found a massive, enclosed field where we can let our rescue dog off the lead. This is a miracle as we’ve never been able to let her run free before- she’s always run off. We’ve found a secret weapon in her squeaky ball and some chicken!!
- Favourite stuff on TV at the moment- The Following, Revenge, Got to Dance, Girls and looking forward to series three of Game of Thrones. Hoorah!!
Related post: Take Back Your Power