Jewels hidden in the dark soil of the body

Art by Eric Vasquez

By Matt Licata
At times, the kindest thing we can offer a friend in pain is to sit in the darkness with them, removing the burden that they change, feel better, or heal in order for us to stay close. It may feel like urgent action is being called for and that we must shift their depression to joy, their sadness to bliss, or their hopelessness to hope. But in doing so, we disavow the jewels that are hidden in the dark soil of the body. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

What is it like to be a bee?

bee

by PAUL WOODWARD
In the minds of many humans, empathy is the signature of humanity and yet if this empathy extends further and includes non-humans we may be suspected of indulging in anthropomorphism — a sentimental projection of our own feelings into places where similar feelings supposedly cannot exist.

But the concept of anthropomorphism is itself a strange idea since it seems to invalidate what should be one of the most basic assumptions we can reasonably make about living creatures: that without the capacity to suffer, nothing would survive. … [click on title to read and view more]

‘Borderline Personality Disorder’, the Failure of Psychiatry and Emergence

borderline

By Jacqueline Gunn, PsyD and Brent Potter, PhD
This work stands out as distinct from all other books written on ‘borderline personality disorder’ and other so-called psychiatric diseases. We do not assume that BPD is what is outlined in the DSM and the literature on psychopathology. At no time do we refer to it as a diagnosis or psychiatric disease. This is why you will repeatedly see ‘borderline personality disorder’ in single quotation marks. It isn’t a thing, like a disorder residing solely in the brain organ of an individual. An individual only takes up possibilities disclosed to him or her by the cultural-historical environment. To say otherwise would be to say that the individual creates them out of nothing which, of course, would be absurd. Since distressing states of mind are variations of common human experience, they are expressed in typical ways. For these reasons, we do not consider ‘borderline personality disorder’ in a decontextualized fashion. … [click on title to read and view more]

Folk Healing, Industrial Agriculture and the Rise of Psychiatry

Selection of wild herbs in small basket.

The idea of food and local herbs as medicine mostly dried up after world war II. Processed foods, microwave dinners, industrialized agriculture and shopping markets filled with food from far away started to dominate the Western landscape. Food became veryimages bland and tasteless. The notion that food was the essential medicine was overwhelmed by the idea that medicine was found in a drug.
The psychiatric revolution really began in earnest in the 50’s at the same time that industrial farming took off. The first antipsychotic known as thorazine was synthesized in 1950 and was given to people who were deemed psychotic or labeled with schizophrenia. Interestingly, this first widely prescribed psychiatric drug was first developed as a pesticide to kill parasites in pigs. … [click on title to read and view more]

Madness, Possession and Transformation: A Personal Narrative of Healing

awesome photo

By Jon Keyes

In the early 90′s, I went through a profound experience of psychosis, a complete and radical change of my consciousness from a state of relatively normal perception and comprehension to a state of deeply unsettling confusion, anxiety with a persistent altered mind frame. Thoughts were easily jumbled. I alternated between periods of frenetic excitability and then spiraled into deep despair and hopelessness. Social interactions could often be torturous to the point where isolation often felt like a good answer. I felt like I was cracking, coming apart. On a deeper level, I believed something had happened to me, changed me; that something possessed me. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

The mal-practice of psychiatry – By Paul Levy

spirituality

I first entered the psychiatric world in the middle of a life-transforming spiritual awakening which had gotten catalyzed because of intense emotional abuse from a psychopathic father. Spiritually emerging into a more expansive and whole part of myself, I was beginning to recognize the dreamlike nature of the universe, a universe in which we were all inseparably interconnected with each other. I was so enthusiastic about my realizations that the anti-bliss patrol got alerted and I got put into psychiatric hospitals, where I got (mis)diagnosed and medicated out of my mind such that my spiritual awakening got extinguished and I felt traumatized—literally, made sick—by the treatment I received. While I was under the “care” of psychiatry, it was a waking nightmare: the more I was solidified in the role of being the sick one, the sicker I got, which in a diabolically self-perpetuating feedback loop, only confirmed to the psychiatrists how “sick” I truly was. After the “treatment” I received from the psychiatric system, I became truly sick. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

What is Mental Health Herbalism?

tea

By Jon Keyes

Mental health herbalism is the practice of working with herbs and other plants to improve well being, develop keener insight into patterns of imbalance and to reduce emotional distress. As a licensed professional counselor and herbalist, I often incorporate the use of herbs for helping people to get stronger and feel better. I have seen herbs improve mental health and I have also seen herbs bring profound insights that help a person work through emotional knots. Plants not only work on a physical level, they are able to transform people emotionally and spiritually as well. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

Families Healing Together

families healing

By Krista MacKinnon

I’ve worked in the mental health system for twelve years now, and prior to that was a patient for three. My family was educated to believe that I would be sick my whole life, and that they should have very little hope for my future. When I became a family counsellor, I vowed to never “educate” anyone in such a way. Since then, I’ve watched “Recovery” grow from a subversive whisper to a full-blown growing paradigm in mental health services. Countries have adopted Recovery and implemented its model into their health care planning, academics have studied it and written thousands of articles in peer reviewed journals, organizations have restructured and reorganized their teams to reflect it’s principles, and brave everyday people have told their personal recovery stories to friends, colleagues, conferences, and the media. Recovery is a strong political force, a narrative, a system, a way of life, and a tool. So why then, has this incredible force of “Recovery” not leaked its way over to Family Education? As far as we’ve come (and I mean that as a global community) why are our most intimate loved ones still being educated in old school reductionist ways of thinking about what gets called “mental illness” “Schizophrenia” or “Bipolar Disorder”? Why are there still support groups for families out there where the facilitator thinks it is perfectly okay for families to strategize and brainstorm together ways to sneak their loved ones their medications to “keep them well” or “prevent relapse”? … [click on title to read and view more]

The Scarlet Label (Borderline Personality Disorder)

borderline

By Brent Potter PhD
The diagnosis Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) strikes fear and loathing in the hearts of most mental health providers. It is unquestionably one of the most stigmatizing and overused diagnoses in existence. Often diagnosing someone with this label is a clinical punch in the gut to the client and also a means of communicating warning to other clinicians. It is the 21st century version of the scarlet letter. … [click on title to read and view more]

Yogic breathing in daily life

yoga

By Sangeetha Saran Deep, thoughtful breathing is a crucial part of yoga. Proper yogic breathing is known as pranayama, which is the science and art of yogic breathing techniques. Because breathing in this way is emphasized in yoga classes, students often assume they can resume normal breathing after leaving. However, by incorporating yogic breathing into your […]

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