I entered into some dialogue with Robert Augustus Masters on Facebook. I have often shared Robert’s work on this blog as I find it often in keeping with my own thoughts although generally he does not speak directly about psychiatry. See here for more of Robert Master’s work that I share on this blog.
In this instance I responded to the below post from Facebook and have included my comments below it.
It is crucial to recognize what is associated with a particular name. If you, for example, assume that I am schizophrenic, then you will likely interpret my current behavior in the context of schizophrenia, or at least in the context of what you’ve been taught or heard about schizophrenia. If you, on the other hand, see the identical behavior, but assume that I’m having a shamanic breakthrough or am in the midst of a spiritual emergency, then you will likely interpret what I’m doing in that context.
The first of these interpretations, based on an illness model, has its obvious dangers, as alluded to in my previous post — but so too does the second. If you, for example, take my hallucinatory activity and paranoia as simply being signs of some sort of spiritual breakthrough and nothing else, you may then easily overlook my possibly very real need for actual medical help (or, worse, even frame my resorting to such help as a failure!). — Robert Augustus Masters, from Facebook
I left these comments on the facebook thread…there’s been a bit of editing for this post here:
There is no reason to assume that the medical and the spiritual causes are mutually exclusive. As deeply holistic beings they are almost always intertwined. The spiritual experience often needing support and attention from a physical/medical stance as well. What is dangerous is to assume that psychiatrists actually know a damn thing about true medical causes when it comes to psychiatric distress. All sorts of things can contribute to the creation of psychosis in an individual…what it is not caused by is an imaginary chemical imbalance made popular by pharma, then medicated by said neurotoxic pharma. Such medications may dull the symptoms and even help people function in the short term but they poison and sicken the body in the long term and heal nothing at all. Psychotic symptoms can be, at least in part caused, by autoimmune disorders, celiac and other gluten intolerances, other food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid problems and the list goes on and on…it’s a very rare and unusual MD that looks for such causes or knows anything at all about how to treat them. Sacred illness may be both deeply physical/medical and spiritual both…
Sadly people want to slice the human experience up…all the time…even the most enlightened among us… People want to make out that SOME people really are sick beyond help…it just doesn’t hold up…what is apparent is that far too many people don’t know how to help those who get labeled with psychiatric illness. Not that they are actually hopeless. SEE: More on “Rethinking Madness: Towards a Paradigm Shift in our Understanding and Treatment of Psychosis”
Every person’s journey through life is about learning to live well. This includes learning to manage and process mental distress. For most of us that includes many different things and that is why one window on the issue is pretty much never enough. As holistic beings everything matters.
More info — none of which is mutually exclusive…just different possible windows on the same issues. And it’s certainly not an exhaustive list either:
- Links to articles that look at the Shamanic-like nature of consciousness
- Spiritual emergency: one way of interpreting activity of the psyche that is often labeled psychotic
- Nutrition and gut health, Mental health and diet
- Trauma and PTSD info: yet another important window when dealing with anyone in mental distress
And Psychosis Recovery Stories — These are the stories of people’s journey’s through their dark nights of the soul sometimes lasting months, other times lasting years, but all ending fully recovered. In addition these stories involve freedom from drugs/medications. Most everyone on these pages were told they would need drugs for the rest of their lives and proved psychiatry sorely wrong.
And also: Everything matters: a holistic view on our bodies, mind, spirits