Tag Archives: Spiritual Crisis

Star Wars: The Force Awakens….Inside us?

Moon*SPOILER ALERT*

Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the second time yesterday, I felt a profound connection to the idea of the dark and light side of the Force, and how something seemingly fictional, relates so well to us as human beings, particularly going through the extremes of Bipolar Disorder or spiritual awakening symptoms. (Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening)

The opposing symptoms of depression and mania could be likened to the dark and light sides of the Force. But also, as humans beings in general, I believe we all have the capacity for light and darkness.

The inner struggle of Kylo Ren between these light and dark side of himself is evident in his scene with his father, Han Solo, on the bridge. He wrestles with his own will and decision to embrace the dark side, and his inner light which he is reminded of by his father, and perhaps his own need for love.

Storm CloudsPersonal Experience *Trigger Warning*

I sometimes feel that my own spiritual journey (which has indeed been a journey with symptoms labelled collectively as Bipolar Disorder) has led me to experience a similar inner battle.

I have flown to the heights of euphoria, felt completely at one with the world, believed I could achieve anything, felt surrounded by God’s love, angels and the most beautiful Divine creatures and beings.

The devastation caused by my dark side can only be described as the most destructive tidal wave imaginable surging through my life.

I’ve felt surrounded by demons, by beings preying on my soul, manipulating and terrifying me for their own amusement. Psychosis one might question? It felt very very real to me and my own belief is that I should trust my experiences, feelings and intuition- this was real.

Self-destruction felt inevitable. Implosion of my soul, annihilation felt like the only possible outcome. To wrestle with the desire to take your own life is no mean feat. You are at the depths of human darkness with seemingly no way out, ready to commit murder of the self. To describe the devastation, the terror, the utter hopelessness is nigh on impossible to those who have not experienced it.

I called out for help amidst the soul-chaos and I was calling to the Light. I chose the Light and the Divine answered my call. I am so blessed. We are all so blessed. All we have to do is choose, and call out for help. Help finds us when we open our hearts to the Light.

I believe some humans are born into this life to experience extremes of emotion for their own spiritual growth and for that of the planet. I believe that all the good we create, the love we experience here is present in heaven. I believe any darkness created here in our lifetime is cancelled out by the supreme unconditional love of the Divine.

RainbowThe Force Everyday

I also believe a battle between our light and dark sides exists in the everyday, in the mundane.

When we choose to believe a negative statement that automatically runs through our minds, we are choosing to believe in the dark side for example.

Upbringing may have left us believing that we are not good enough. The statement “I’m not good enough” may automatically play through our minds over and over. The darkness takes hold when we choose to believe this. We end up constantly playing out “I’m not good enough” in our lives, as some small failure or other, because our ego needs to know it is correct- it feels safer.

But we can turn to the light by recognizing when we are thinking or playing out “I’m not good enough” and choosing more self-supporting and loving thoughts about ourselves. We can create “I am good enough” and play this out in our lives to create a more joyful and fulfilling life.

Personal Challenges

In the case of my own particular challenge, binge-eating, I could give into the darkness to prove that I am correct when I tell myself “I have no self-control”, and give into the cravings to binge eat and ignore my emotional needs.

Or…..

I could reassure myself that I am an incredibly strong person, as demonstrated in my own fight against self-destruction. I could acknowledge my emotional needs and meet them, not with food, but with my own love and light. I could tell myself that I have the capacity for self-control and that I have the power to make a more self-loving decision. I can accept any pain that is bubbling up inside me and have compassion for myself by doing something self-nurturing, possibly comforting to my inner child, like colouring, watching Harry Potter, or singing. These are just my own personal coping mechanisms. (For more ideas see 10 Ideas to Distract Depression: Don’t Feed the Monster.)

ID-10023748Everyday in life we can choose between the light and the dark- whether it be through an epic battle as seen in spiritual awakening experienced as Bipolar Disorder symptoms or otherwise, or through more subtle interactions.

May the Force be with you (the light side obviously).

 

Related Posts

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

10 Ideas to Distract Depression

Self-sabotage: Going Over to the Dark Side

Face Fear: Making Peace with your Shadow

You Are Amazing!

Forward-Thinking Psychiatry


190901zab77uqg3Talking Therapies reduce the risk of suicide or self-harm.

A few days ago an article was published in the media sharing the results of a Danish study. This study found that those who received 6-10 sessions of talking therapy after self-harming or suicide attempts were significantly less likely to self-harm or attempt suicide again. Participants were studied over a 20-year period.

New Ideas within Psychiatry

A week ago I attended the launch of Katie Mottram’s book Mend the Gap, an account of her unique experiences and perspective into psychiatric diagnoses and spiritual awakening. (You can read more about her book in my previous post: Mend the Gap: A New Hope for Mental Health.

Katie has first-hand experience having grown up with a mother who had repeated psychotic episodes and suicide attempts; Katie herself works in the mental health services; and also has experienced her own mental health issues. She explores the possibility that perhaps these ‘psychotic’ experiences and mental health issues are actually side effects of spiritual awakening.

Katie speaking at the launch of her book: Mend the Gap.

Katie speaking at the launch of her book: Mend the Gap.

The launch was extremely well attended and very well supported by Katie’s colleagues within the mental health services.

One of the supporters is Dr Russell Razzaque, a psychiatrist who has published his own book: Breaking Down is Waking Up.

He gave a fascinating talk about how he went into psychiatry having learnt all the tools of the trade at university, and over the years has found there to be something missing or lacking in mental health services and psychiatry. Having spoken to some of his colleagues, he found he was by no means the only one who felt this.

It wasn’t until he went on a retreat and began practicing mindfulness and meditation that he began to realise that some of his own experiences during meditation were not unlike those reported as mental health issues and psychosis.

Dr Russell Razzaque with Katie Mottram.

Dr Russell Razzaque with Katie Mottram.

Peer-Supported Open Dialogue

His experiences have lead to him running a new pilot scheme being trialled in various locations throughout the UK, and currently used successfully in Scandinavia, Germany and some of the US states.

Peer-supported Open Dialogue is a programme of talking therapy where meetings are attended by the patient, their family/social network and a psychiatrist or trained mental health worker.

What struck me in Dr Razzaque’s talk about the therapy was how the intention was for the psychiatrist to ‘leave his/her training at the door’ and to approach the meeting from a ‘human’ perspective, on the same level as the patient and attendees, rather than as an expert with greater power.

I think this is fantastic and will break down barriers between mental health staff and patients, which can sometimes feel like an ‘us against them’ process.

In Finland, of those who took part in the open-dialogue process, 75% who experienced psychosis returned to work or study within 2 years, and only 20% were still taking anti-psychotic medication after a 2 year follow-up.

Empowerment2143284j8j6xntt

It gives me so much hope to think there are mental health workers who are really making a difference with their new ideas. Psychosis and other mental health issues can only become more normalised as a result, which in turn reduces fear and stigma, and supports and empowers patients.

Resources

Suicide Risk Reduced After Talk Therapy- BBC Article

Open Dialogue UK

The Open Dialogue Framework: NHS North East London

Hearing Voices Network

Mind Freedom: Finland Open Dialogue

Spiritual Crisis Network UK

How a Mental Breakdown Can Lead to a Spiritual Awakening: By Dr. Russell Razzaque.

How Many of these Spiritual Awakening Symptoms do you have?

Mend the Gap

Related Posts

Mend the Gap: A New Hope for Mental Health

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Bipolar Disorder: A Spiritual Perspective for 2013

Mend the Gap: A New Hope for Mental Health.

10308395_1514097745498070_1330305545595162063_nKatie 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 Mottram

Katie Mottram

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?

Read More

To get a sense of the book’s content check out Katie’s guest post:

Mental Health Issue or Spiritual Crisis?

MeMy Contribution to Katie’s Book

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.

ID-10035460Through 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.”

ID-10066657A New Hope

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:

UK Amazon

USA Amazon

Mend the Gap Facebook Page

UK Spiritual Crisis Network

Related Posts

Mental Health Issue or Spiritual Crisis?

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Depression and Grounding

Face Fear: Making Peace with your Shadow

Mental Health and Spiritual Crisis: Guest post by Trish Hurtubise.

Mend The Gap: from Deep Despair to Spiritual Awakening.

Last year, Katie Mottram kindly contributed a guest post to Emotional Wellness: Mental Health v Spiritual Crisis.

Katie has been busy writing a book about her experiences, and I am so excited to say it will be available in 2 weeks time, from Amazon!10308395_1514097745498070_1330305545595162063_n

Related Posts

Emotional Wellness: Mental Health v Spiritual Crisis: Guest Post by Katie Mottram.

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Bipolar Disorder and Depression: Baby Steps Towards a Spiritual Solution

Bipolar Disorder: A Spiritual Perspective for 2013

Mental Health and Spiritual Crisis: Guest Post by Trish Hurtubise.

Guest Post: Mental Health & Spiritual Crisis

Many thanks to Trish Hurtubise from Mental Health Talk for contributing this fantastic guest post to my blog. Mental Health Talk provides an online platform for those who have mental health issues to talk openly about these experiences.

Today Trish talks for the very first time about her own experiences on a spiritual level and has also created the cartoon!

Specialist help is available if you are experiencing anything similar to Trish. See the resources section at the end of the post.

Possessive-States Exported (1)

Possession from a Spiritual Perspective

Have you ever considered that your experience with mental health may be more spiritual than biochemical?

I have.

Or I should say I have started to look at my journey from this perspective. I have a few friends who have looked through this lens and it is amazing how much light it has brought to the darkest periods of their lives.

So I have chosen this guest post to be my first time articulating my journey as a spiritual experience and to be open to where it takes me. And so this post does not become an epic piece, I have decided to focus on my experience with “possession”.

Possession state

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “possession”? I think of the movie The Exorcist and Linda Blair’s head spinning around.

This happens to be the kind of possession I am referring to.

A possession state is considered a form of spiritual emergency. “Spiritual emergency” was coined by Stanislav Grof — a psychiatrist and pioneer researcher in the field of altered conscious states as a way of connecting with the psyche. He has written many books on the subject with his wife.

We have heard from Rachel on her experience with hypomania from the perspective of spiritual emergence, but when and how does spiritual emergency fit in?

When the initiation of spiritual emergence occurs and it is too dramatic for the individual, this natural process becomes a spiritual emergency. In my experience I remember initially an ebb and flow of profound connection with the Universe, receding into fear of the engulfing energy I could feel flowing through my body. Sometimes during these states of terror I believed I was “possessed”.

Evil: Up Close and Personal

I had been experimenting with the paranormal since 2000. Malevolent entities, black magic, the dark side of psionics, and hexes were a part of my life. It was this exposure I now believe fueled my idea of being “possessed”.

I experienced a traumatic event involving the paranormal in 2007 and was immediately analyzed and treated for spiritual shock via radionics.

But I was severely traumatized on all levels. My body and mind became plagued with visions of a dark entity with blood red eyes that would destroy my soul and overtake my mind.

I was all the more convinced of its existence because of severe neck spasms that tossed my head in all directions. There were times when I could feel a mass of energy moving from my gut up to my throat—I was sure it was the entity trying to choke me. I would go into a full blown panic attack.

Day after day I gathered every ounce of my resistance to stand against it. But there were times when I faltered and I would lay paralyzed waiting for my inevitable death. I would wait for hours.

It never came.

The Psychiatric Backhand Slap to the Face

I never told anyone about these “possession” experiences until…

I don’t know what triggered me, but eventually I moved back into emergence where I felt I had access to the collective conscious. I never felt so open and connected to everything before. It felt like someone had erased my edges and I had melded with the flow of the Universe.

I could articulate theories and philosophies I had never studied; visualize anatomy and neurological systems like I had memorized them, reading medical journals with ease; I could see the connections between people and feel love everywhere; my psychic ability was never so accurate; and my photographic memory was keen.

I began to write mathematical formulas using the spiritual laws as variables. I was on a mission to save the world and according to my theories, our earthly demise would come from the full suppression of feminine energy by the masculine (I have found out since this is an actual theory by mystics with street cred).

After relaying my findings to an alternative practitioner I trusted, he suggested I was psychotic and needed to be medicated.

I remember wanting to vomit.

The next morning I had my first (of many) gruesome vision of my death by my own hand. I was overwhelmed, terrified and unable to be alone. The dark entity returned and spiritual emergence turned to scrupulosity; I believed God was punishing me for not being strong enough to save the world and He would make me sicker and sicker if I did not prove myself worthy of His grace.

The dark entity as a possibility for spiritual transition

It was with the assistance of medication that I began to question the existence of the dark entity and it faded. Today I believe it was a state of mind; much like how Grof refers to a demonic archetype in a possession state.

According to Grof, this demonic archetype is a state of consciousness. Furthermore it represents the polar opposite of the Divine and can even be Its’ guardian. And if I would have been able to confront this dark entity with support, I could have experienced profound healing and transformation.

Of course because of the way my experience manifested, I was not in a position to even remotely consider the spiritual side of my “possession”.

Bummers.

How Has this Changed My Perspective on My Experience with Possession?

I find that reviewing this part of my journey in this way has left me with more questions than answers:

  • How would my experience have been different if I wasn’t labelled psychotic?
  • What would have been the outcome if I had a mentor to guide me through my experience?
  • Have I somehow aborted my spiritual evolution with medication? Will I get another chance?
  • Was the dark entity the antagonist I needed to be ready to save the world?

Around the time I started medication, I was strongly compelled to forget what I had been through. So I purged all connections I had to my spirituality. This involved selling and giving away $4,000 worth of divination tools, denying my extra sensory skills which I believed were from God, and ignoring my social connections to the world of the paranormal.

I quickly shut the door on my spirituality because I believed it was what had gotten me into this mental illness “mess”. It is quite ironic to me now that I would be looking at spirituality as a way that could have gotten me out.

But amusement aside, me writing this piece does bring my focus back to an exploration that has been forming since this journey started, yet I put off taking action because it brings me full circle…

I can feel it is the path to the rebirth of my spirituality.

What feels right to begin exploring is a less grandiose version of the feminine versus masculine theory I concluded during spiritual emergence… how the divine feminine plays out in my life and once empowered, how it will enable me to serve humanity better.

I see now I will need what I have become from my experience with “possession” to go down this path; someone who practices love and compassion to accept all states of being and experiences, including her own.

Perhaps my experience with possession is a result of spiritual emergence after all.

Resources:

Wikipedia: Stanislav Grof
Quote from “The Stormy Search for the Self” by S. & C. Grof re possession states
Spiritual emergency blog
Wikipedia definition of psionics
The Radionics and Dowsing Institute of Canada: What is radionics?
Article from schiz life: Schizophrenia and Scrupulosity

For help:

Spiritual Crisis Network

Related Posts:

Mental Health Issue v Spiritual Crisis

Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening

Depression & Grounding

Mental Health Issue v Spiritual Crisis

“My ego told me I was going mad, but my soul knew I was the most sane I had ever been.”

Guest Post by Katie Mottram

Katie has worked within the mental health field for almost 15 years. Here she shares her experiences of mental health in terms of spiritual crisis. 

I have always known intuitively, since being a young child, that there was something more about life I wasn’t being told, that society was missing something in some way. I battled to understand and over time this resulted in years of feeling inadequate, depression and a heavy sense that I had to pretend to be someone to fit the material, secular, mechanical world that we see today. Discovering my ‘self’ as a spiritual being has felt like coming home, I can now live true to who I know I am deep down inside, and the effect of that has been better than any antidepressants known to man!

It is hard to believe that having worked in the mental health field for over 14 years I had never heard the term spiritual emergency until it happened to me! My mum had struggled with her own mental wellbeing since I was born, being diagnosed as having schizo- affective disorder 20 years ago when she tried to say she believed she was a ‘healer’. Her beliefs completely disregarded she was sectioned, medicated and given brutal electro convulsive treatment, rendering her an almost robotic existence. My mum was told she was mad, and so that is what she was forced to believe.

In 2008 I experienced my own mental crisis. Various traumatic life events took their toll on my already fragile sense of self and I made a serious attempt to take my life. Thankfully I was not living in the UK at the time and therefore avoided falling foul of the mental health system and being lumbered for life with a derogatory label. Nothing made sense and life seemed futile.

Then early in 2012, after summoning a new strength to make some sense of it all, my whole belief framework about myself and the world changed in an instant. Various synchronicities had led me to read ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle, and before I’d even finished reading the book I instinctively knew all of the contents! I had gone into a meditation asking the Universe what on earth mental illness was all about, and, as I cleared my mind of all thought, to my amazement my question was answered so clearly and without any doubt that everything I had questioned about my existence in the world made complete sense. My level of consciousness expanded and I was able to channel a theory about spiritual emergency – a concept I had known nothing about only an hour earlier! I came out of the meditation and existed for the next three days in a heightened sense of awareness, I knew I was completely connected to the world and every being in it, and that all there is, all that matters, is love.

For the last year I have been researching the phenomenon of spiritual emergency and it is thanks to the information I discovered and the contacts I have made that have prevented me from going into crisis. I can now see how easy it is for people to believe that they are the only one to experience psychic phenomena as that is what I believed at first too. It was only due to me working within the mental health system I knew not to talk openly about my euphoria, as all that it would have achieved at the time would have to have got me sectioned! It is vital that this experience is normalised to help other people who are ‘awakening’ to understand what on earth is happening.

I now know how to manage my new found ESP and stay grounded, whilst acknowledging the wonderful miracles that occur around me every day. I feel so blessed to have gone through the traumas I experienced now as I know this is what led to my expansion of consciousness and wonderful insights I have into how easy it is to create our desired reality.

Being brought up in the materialistic, technological society that we are currently in it is easy to forget that we are spiritual beings at our core. Some people shy away from the word ‘spiritual’; it’s just language, most people have used the term ‘soul’ at some point in their lives, it is the same thing and has no religious connotation. We are taught to strive externally for wealth and happiness, but without searching within this search is futile, you’ll never find externally what has been inside all along. The first vital step to achieving is to believe.

I am now very proud to be part of the UK Spiritual Crisis Network which strives to normalize and validate unusual and sometimes extreme human experiences. We believe that there is no distinction between mental illness and spiritual emergency, the only distinction is in whether the experience renders the experiencer unable to function in their everyday life.

I know that purely by validating someone’s beliefs about their experience whilst helping them to remain grounded in our ‘shared reality’ it can help avoid unnecessary diagnosis or event assist someone back into recovery. I know this to be true because due to me speaking openly about my own experiences, validating hers and helping her to ground herself back in the here and now, my wonderful mum is no longer a robot – her life and soul have returned! And that is the only evidence I need to know this is the work in which I want to put my heart and soul!

For more information on the Spiritual Crisis Network; http://www.spiritualcrisisnetwork.org.uk