Learning to be with ourselves: a response to Understanding Psychosis

Elisabeth Svanholmer

When I get caught up in trying to explain why I have these experiences I often realise that I am coming from a place of fear. I tell myself that I want to understand because knowing why will help me cope, help me know what to do. I may even tell myself that my experiences need me to be understanding and empathic. I want to make myself feel safer, I want to find the right way forwards – the best way. I don’t want to feel confused and powerless so I go to default mode of observing, analysing the data and coming up with an explanation that seems to best suit the issue at hand. I may return to explanations that have helped me in the past. … [click on title to read and view more]

Oliver Sacks, the autonomic nervous system, and psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome

flower

My husband, Paul Woodward, who has published quite a few essays on this blog, sometimes sends emails to me about his thoughts on my (and therefore, often, our) circumstance. Sometimes he’s incredibly helpful and insightful both. I’m sharing what he wrote to me yesterday. The below is most of the body of an email. I’ve edited out a couple of sentences that were directed to me more personally at the beginning and the end. Most of it is just as it was written. As way of introduction to those who perhaps are not familiar with this blog, the autonomic nervous system injury that Paul is referring to in myself is the one incurred by psychiatric drugs and their withdrawal. It is essentially a sort of chemical and pharmaceutical and, therefore, iatrogenic brain injury. It’s often referred to as psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome and in some people can be a severe and debilitating condition. … [click on title to read and view more]

Feeling your way to nondual awakening…

cat

*editors note: I really like this piece by Gary Weber because developing my inner sense of “feel” has been the most important thing in my healing process…
By Gary Weber — Developing an internal sense of “feel” was the most critical skill in navigating the thousands of hours of practice that was basically DIY w/only sporadic contact with two Zen masters. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

A crafty recovery: knitting as therapeutic and meditative vehicle

hands knitting

It’s already known and accepted within the medical profession that occupied people feel less pain and depression, so that’s a good start. However, the large amount of anecdotal evidence suggests that knitting has much more to offer. It isn’t simply about keeping people occupied with an activity they enjoy. It’s not just ‘old fashioned’ occupational therapy either. There’s a lot more to knitting than initially meets the eye! … [click on title to read the rest]

A Theological Interpretation of Mental illness-A Focus on “Schizophrenia”

fellowship

And so I embarked on the darkest journey of my life, one for which neither I nor my husband were prepared. I soon found out that there was no one who could help us. The psychiatrists, even the more sympathetic ones, were not making sense to me. I was coming from the business world and I was not used to accepting superficial answers. They could not tell me what was wrong with Helia and why this had happened to her. They could not answer my challenging questions about the scientific research in the field. The best doctors, the honest ones, would tell me: “We really don’t know what this is, but we are sure that something is wrong with her brain.” But why? “Why are you so sure that it is her brain?” I asked. Their response was, “because it can’t be anything else.”
And that is exactly where the problem lay. They could not get out of the box that they were forced into by their guild. Biological psychiatry, in my opinion, suffers from a flawed and reductionist conception of how the human mind works and what might be needed to help it to function optimally when it is not doing so. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

A straight talking guide to psychiatric diagnosis

guide

By Lucy Johnstone: A revolution is underway in mental health. If the authors of the diagnostic manuals are admitting that psychiatric diagnoses are not supported by evidence, then no one should be forced to accept them. If many mental health workers are openly questioning diagnosis and saying we need a different and better system, then service users and carers should be allowed to do so too. This book is about choice. It is about giving people the information to make up their own minds, and exploring alternatives for those who wish to do so. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

What is grace and how can we cultivate it? *free course*

grace

By Lisa Wimberger – Last year I had the highest honor of being present for my mother’s last three weeks of life. I’ve never been so heart-broken, so challenged, and so blown open all at once. I had no solid footing, and no good map by which to navigate this new experience. So I let go of my ideas of who she was and who she should be, and became very present to her every breath as though I were looking at her for the first time. And what I realized was that in her acceptance and transition she was teaching me all about grace. … [click on title for the rest of the post]

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]

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