On trauma and madness in mental health services

BY¬†No√ęl Hunter

Each day the news appears to top itself with stories of the various ways in which we, as humans, suffer and cause suffering. There are endless tales of abuse, racism, violence, gaslighting from those in the highest of powers, oppression, and injustice that challenge the lengths to which our minds and bodies can cope. What happens when people seek out help for their suffering? How do people heal from the atrocities that life throws our way?

I never wanted to be a psychologist РI moved to New York City over 15 years ago to pursue a career in theater … just after I got a degree in psychology and swore I’d never look back. I loved the stage and I continue to perform regularly in improv comedy. Singing and dancing my way out of a reality that was too difficult to hold was how I learned to cope. Yoga and fitness also helped me cope. It’s when I went to a mental health professional that I learned none of these counted. Only what they had to offer was real.

As a child, I had many family members who were in and out of hospitals, drugged, labelled, and excused for their abusive behaviors under the guise of illness. Because I was “fine”, the chronic trauma that I experienced was never recognized and instead went dismissed, despite the numerous mental health professionals in and out of our lives. I was constantly pulling my bootstraps until there were none anymore.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I started realizing that my difficulties – my constant difficulty breathing (I swore I had a tumor!), my frequent blackouts for events and people when I never touched a drink, the screams and hateful comments of the voices in my head, my inability to have an intimate relationship that was not abusive or emotionally absent, and my constant physical and emotional numbness – might actually have something to do with my past.

When I made the fateful decision to seek out counseling I never thought that it would result in being more traumatized than what the previous combined 30 years had contributed. But, that’s exactly what happened.

I was lucky, though. I managed to avoid hospitalization and a life sentence as a patient. I pulled through this experience scarred, but whole. Not many others can say the same. That’s when I decided, wisely or not, to join the very field that almost killed me.

My entire motivation for returning to school was to explore the human rights violations and social injustices of the mental health field (I had no idea what I was in for!). I naively thought going in that the problem was simply a matter of misunderstanding or lack of awareness of the numerous studies showing the association between trauma and “mental illness”, the harmful effects of many standard treatment practices, and the lack of validity of the current mental health paradigm.

Turns out, this was not the problem.

Therapy was enormously helpful once professionals could get past freaking out, threatening drugs and hospitalization, and needing to always be right. I was fortunate enough to find someone who was capable of that. So, why wouldn’t professionals want to know how they might sometimes harm and can actually do better?

Trying to take someone else‚Äôs perspective based on one‚Äôs own emotions and experiences is actually associated with decreased understanding! This is entirely what the mental health field is based upon – observing and making sense of an ‚Äėother‚Äôs‚Äô experience through one‚Äôs own perspective. What actually increases understanding? Asking the people whose experience one wishes to understand. (also, it apparently took a study to figure this out).

And, that’s what I set out to do.

Trauma and Madness in Mental Health Servicestrauma and madness' is based on my doctoral thesis, which interviewed individuals from around the world on their experiences in the mental health system, and what they found to be helpful and harmful. It also combines other first-person perspectives from across diagnostic categories in this exploration of recovery. The book covers a brief history of trauma and madness, the politics within the mental health field, and the changing trends in the mainstream, particularly as it relates to psychosis, dissociation, “serious mental illness”, and borderline personality disorder. It covers a vast array of research on neurology, genetics, psychological theory, and racism and discrimination to conclude what we intuitively know: we suffer for a reason, and the more we suffer, the more we breakdown.

It also offers hope for the future by recommending changes in the system and, more importantly, things that people find outside the system for their own personal healing journeys. Mental health professionals can be helpful for some, but by no means are they necessary nor helpful for all. It ends with helpful tips, resources, and suggestions for the future.

And, the entire book is written from the first-person perspectives of individuals with lived experience, including me. The status quo must continue to be challenged. Many of our lives depend on it.

I hope you check it out!

noelrhunter.com

Noel_HunterNo√ęl Hunter is a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City. ¬†Her work focuses on the link between trauma and altered states, human rights, and alternative approaches to healing. She is the author of¬†Trauma and Madness in Mental Health Services.¬†Follow her on¬†Twitter¬†or¬†Facebook.

Trauma, injury, illness and waking up

It’s strange how it works, or maybe it’s not, but trauma, injury and illness can truly be passageways to waking up and it’s not generally appreciated at all in western medicine which seeks to suppress everything and thus stop that process. Tragic really.

 

Illness/trauma etc as initiation and/or passageway to waking up is also not appreciated by most spiritual communities (fundamentalists to new age, really) who like to project the idea that illness is a sort of moral and/or spiritual failing. Given our bodies will all die one day this view is inherently ludicrous. Our bodies are imminently temporary. What enlivens them is another matter altogether it seems. Consciousness and awareness are perpetually in the now, young, fresh and alive.

It seems that most illness is embodied, non-felt/un-processed emotion (complicated by a whole lot of other things – remember EVERYTHING MATTERS. That includes that which we are born with…transmitted via epigenetics. Epigenetic imprints of trauma that was never met by our parents and their parents and their parents. It might also be called Generational Trauma. It also includes the current state of our sad world and planet. It’s quite reasonable to be distressed about the human species and what is happening here and now. We’ve got a lot of work cut out for us. Being balanced in this world simply doesn’t always make a lot of sense.

I never tire of the succinct and brilliant quote by Jiddu Krishnamurti: ‚ÄúIt is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.‚Ä̬†¬†

Recently “God” on twitter said the same thing a little differently (I suspect he stole the idea from Krishnamurti — I quite liked the variation, in any case!)ūüė欆:

¬†So yeah, we might think twice about who we’re calling mentally ill. We live in a double-speak world as we catapult ever more deeply in that direction. Coming to peace means moving through a lot of muck.

For us to heal we must meet our own trauma, our society’s trauma and that of our ancestors too. Shamanism has always understood this which is why being in touch with the ancestors is so important in Shamanic systems. They are in our bodies/our DNA. We are in touch with all humanity from the beginning of time in this way. Finding ways to engage in community and community building is, thus, also key and another difficult hurdle to contemplate while moving towards changes.

Healing doesn’t mean always mean curing. Our bodies cannot always heal completely and that is never a failure. We do the best with what we’ve got. We can grow even as our bodies remain challenged. Moving through trauma and that process might be called Post Traumatic Growth. That has been my experience even while I am still hurting in many ways, sometimes badly.¬† Mercy and compassion for ourselves as we move through the process is very important. When we can truly love and accept ourselves everything eases even while perhaps our bodies remain challenged in sometimes very significant ways.¬† See: Loving-Kindness Meditation

Healing from trauma as well as the waking up process, in general, is often experienced as an unlayering process too, so as things change in our bodies and psyches so does what makes sense to us in terms of healing. Learning to trust and surrender to the changes and moving with the flow works for me. I’ve talked about “mindfulness in trauma flow.

We thought we could cure everything, but it turns out that we can cure only a small amount of human suffering. The rest of it needs to be healed and that‚Äôs different.¬†‚ÄstRachel Naomi Remen

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For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page or scroll down the homepage for more recent postings. 

Support Everything Matters: Beyond Meds. Make a donation with PayPal or Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to. Thank you!

Retaining agency is not resistance to treatment…it is in fact a sign of health

I was thinking about another catch -22 in the mental illness system recently. I articulated it below because I think it’s something many people encounter.

caveat: Not everyone experiences the system in this way. Some people feel they get what they need. (and sometimes people end up exhibiting what David Healy calls Stockholm Syndrome as well — I did)¬† In any case it’s clear to many of us that we do not get what we need. That is what I’m speaking to. I am expressing my experience both as a professional witnessing what organizations implemented while I worked for them and my own experience as a “patient.” I no longer work within the system nor am I any longer a patient but I sure learned a lot while I was engaged as both.

Those of us who’ve experienced the system in the fashion I express find it helpful to articulate our experiences so that we can recognize one another and know that we are not alone while we heal from the trauma that happened while there. This does not invalidate other experiences…it simply helps and validates those of us with the experience to move on and learn how to get our needs met in other ways, so that we might also help create options for others like us who get injured in the system.

The catch Р22 I thought about the other day: The mental health system tells clients/patients/consumers that they need better boundaries while expecting them to ignore their boundaries. Generally people are randomly assigned to case workers/therapists/social workers and psychiatrists. They are then expected to trust, be deeply vulnerable with,  and follow the advice of such professionals.

There is no good reason for people to open up and trust random strangers just because they’ve got letters behind their names and fancy themselves knowledgeable about the psyche.¬† To expect folks to do this when it doesn’t feel right is a demand to ignore ones boundaries. When people don’t feel safe trusting their assigned professional they are often punished in various ways instead of being encouraged to trust their instincts and perhaps being allowed to find someone with whom they feel comfortable. We know when we feel safe and when we’ve been traumatized safety and our sense of safety should always be a priority. If mental health professionals do not appreciate this and do not do everything they can to make us feel safe,¬† they are inherently unsafe. Thus, entire systems are often unsafe because there is no attempt to help us feel safe. There is a profound lack of understanding trauma.¬† We know this– even when we might not be able to articulate it, we feel it in our bones. We are not being unreasonable. These systems do not work for many people.

Retaining agency is not resistance to treatment. Disagreeing with the social worker is not resistance to treatment. Being in touch with our being and who we are in an authentic way is actually healthy. If our perspective is not respected and taken seriously we cannot heal. We will not thrive in such a system that claims to heal when it fact it’s a system the perpetuates mental illness.¬†

Allowing for choice and informed consent is the only way to respect our fellow human beings. Providing options is also necessary as we are endlessly variant, kaleidoscopic beings. Our needs are different from individual to individual as well as being different as time passes with the context of one’s life. As we heal, grow and change, what we need changes as well. What is good for us now may not be tomorrow. Professionals are not generally in a position to know this stuff…at best they can help us figure it out for ourselves as we go. If they TELL us and it doesn’t ring true for us it then becomes violence if they insist upon it. We don‚Äôt know what someone else needs even if on some superficial level we think we have a lot in common with them. Context is always different for any two human beings. A basic acceptance of this is necessary if we are to respect others.

None the less contrived intimacy is forced upon vulnerable people all the time in the mental illness system. Vulnerable people who are often very in tune with their boundaries and will recognize what they need if they are actually presented with it, are then forced¬† to do things that don’t feel good to them because mental health professionals tell them to do it. This is exactly how people are frequently retraumatized in the mental illness system.¬†

The building of trust and rapport cannot be forced. It must happen organically. If it doesn’t happen organically no one should be made to feel it’s because they’re somehow not up to par. Healthy relationship cannot be forced. Any forced relationship is by definition unhealthy. Forced treatment is a human rights violation.¬†

What I’m describing above is a societal problem. These assumptions are in all healing professions and medicine in general. We’re supposed to unquestioningly submit to the “experts,” — to “authority” -the fact is those with “authority” in these systems routinely abuse and misinform. They most often do it unconsciously (they’re generally there because they think they want to help and thus have the proverbial “good intentions”) but that doesn’t matter. We still have to protect ourselves.¬† We must question and find those who welcome those questions. When the questions are welcomed there is a good chance that the person/system is safer. On the other hand¬† when people are dogmatically attached to what they’ve learned in their training they are often dangerous. It’s okay to say¬† NO THANK YOU to such people if they’re not willing to listen to you. Let us create a world in which we respect each others boundaries, needs and limitations. May all those who call themselves healers, therapists, etc have the humility to remember they never really know what is right for another (and in fact, having been in that role too, it’s pretty clear that healers often do not even know what is right for themselves…haven’t done the deep work they need to do in order to really deeply be present for those they are working for (clients, patients, consumers etc). In my experience this included myself, my colleagues and the professionals I engaged with for help.

Ideally we find partners in our care. Those can be professionals or like minded friends, colleagues etc. No one has magic bullets and we’re all learning together, whether we’ve got letters behind our names or not. Everyone is learning how to do life. It’s a mystery for every single person on this planet and we’re all winging it. I learn from everyone I encounter these days. On occasion I still use professionals too. I don’t rule out anyone but I’m very discerning and careful about whom to trust with deep vulnerability, always.

May we all honor the mystery of our individual paths.

We can develop systems of care among ourselves too. For some of us this is the most critical care we get.¬† Speaking out and finding each other is the first step. I’m doing that with all my work on this site and state it more explicitly below. A message to those labeled by psychiatry: We can recognize each other and help one another heal in that recognition:

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For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page or scroll down the homepage for more recent postings. 

Support Everything Matters: Beyond Meds. Make a donation with PayPal or Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to. Thank you!

Beyond withdrawal…

This is a repost from 2015

This is a rework of some of my previous work¬†for a small publication. It will be mostly familiar to long-time readers. I’m republishing here now since it’s somewhat different from previous pieces I’ve written. It’s also additionally edited for this posting.

After approximately two decades on psych meds I came off a six drug cocktail in about six years. This proved to be a gargantuan task and left me gravely disabled.

I see in retrospect that some core, vital part of me was always there during the drugged years, learning and remembering much that would help me in these years of coming off meds and now being med free. I no longer believe that I ‚Äúlost‚ÄĚ my life to drugs. This is, as Mary Oliver, puts it, my¬†“one wild and precious life.”

Yes, this is it¬†and so I celebrate it.¬†I do think that it‚Äôs sad¬†that I could not be more conscious during those years and that my body became toxic,¬†polluted and chronically, painfully ill; and this is why I help others learn to avoid what happened to me. I’m highly motivated to help others avoid extreme suffering and so¬†my experience is not lost; in fact it was stored in my body to be processed when I got free of drugs. This is what trauma does. The body keeps the score. It’s all there and really cannot be lost. This is one of the many ways that¬†psych drugs act additionally as¬†agents of trauma.¬† Part of the healing process, for me, and clearly many others who‚Äôve been on psych meds and come off, is one of working through layers and layers of trauma ‚ÄĒ that which was incurred prior to psych drug use as well as¬†that which is incurred as a result of psych drug use¬†and exposure to the dehumanizing psychiatric system. I have done this mostly through self-enquiry, meditation, yoga and ecstatic dance. Trauma becomes embodied.¬†Embodied practices have proven very important for me.

Nothing to do but feel, feel, feel…such is the peeling and healing of the trauma onion…

It is a job of sorts, to do this unpeeling, and we do it as much for ourselves as we do it for each other. This is a community effort of healing happening among everyone brave enough to face the pain of our lifetimes. This is the work of being human.

As many readers know, the process of drug withdrawal made me much sicker before I began to find wellness. I was one of thousands of people who develop serious protracted withdrawal issues that lead to grave disability. Still, I have not had one moment of regret for having freed myself from these drugs because my mind is clear. I have a clarity of mind that is so beautiful I cry in contemplation. My clarity was stolen from me for almost half my life. I have it back and even while gravely impaired I was grateful for that.

 

My healing journey has entailed learning about our deeply holistic natures as human beings. EVERYTHING matters. The body you were born with. The body you have today. Your relationships with others and the planet, the food you eat, and the air you breath…. how often you move your body and the thoughts you nurture in your mind and soul.

That is what understanding ourselves as holistic beings entails. Understanding our relationship to EVERYTHING in our environment, and our bodies, what we’re born with and also social and political phenomena and then how it’s all connected.  We are all of it. Embodied.

So, by that slow and painstaking, but ultimately joyous process of coming to understand how everything matters, I’ve been healing and bringing back well-being to this body/mind/spirit.

We need each other in this process. Building non-coercive healing community is the most important thing to me these days. Community comes in many different guises and does not require giving up your autonomy and self-determination. Psychiatry and the mental illness establishment often steals both. I envision a world where people are empowered to make the choices that work for them in the context of their lives. Everyone’s path is going to be different. Respecting and celebrating that great diversity is key.

Below is a collection of links which contain many links to reconsider and reframe our experiences that otherwise get labeled mentally ill so that we might heal and transform and thrive.

See also

Fight or flight? Try FIGHTING. Kickboxing scratches that itch.

Woke up to energy that was needing expression. Fighting. I turned on youtube and searched kickboxing. OMG where have you been all my life? Anyone with stifled fight or flight energy (from PTSD) would likely benefit from this at some point. I’ve been stuck in passive attention. That is over. What a most delicious RUSH. The body never got to fight…now it can.

The body keeps the score says Bessel van der Kolk. My body has let me know that this is true on a deep and profound level. All I need do now is continue my practice of surrender and listen and watch as it does what it always needed to do. Better late than never.

If this is interesting to you any sort of martial art might be helpful too. Explore. Do what YOUR body wants.

this is what I did this morning:

I did go through a long ecstatic dance phase, but that too stopped being the right thing for me. It was a wonderful release for a couple of years. See: ECSTATIC DANCE

Different movement at different times seem to be called for. Yoga is always part of my life and I do lots of other mindful slow practices. Energetic ones like ecstatic dance and now kickboxing certainly have their place as well. We are the full spectrum…don’t hesitate to explore any and all aspects of being human and being in a human BODY.

Update: a few hours later: ¬†after the kickboxing I’ve been in a nervous system avalanche…stuff from lifetimes are pouring out to be felt relatively unimpeded for the first time in my life…

epigenetics is for real…this ain’t just about me and this body, this life. Healing is happening.

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For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

 

Terror and grief

Hello, terror, my old friend…

I was born into a home filled with terror and grief. Terror and grief, thus, became the most familiar thing in my reality. (this terror and grief was largely unconscious and unspoken, so uncovering it took the willingness to honestly look at what was really there) And to be clear: we are all born into a world filled with terror and grief.

Healing is as simple as deeply recognizing and feeling that first, most primal fear, while holding space for the infant who had no means to cope.

Of course, healing is also as *complicated* as all that …

yet, the recognition of fear and how that becomes embodied and thus shapes a lifetime of grief, illness and pain can lead to freedom…

See: Feel the feeling

And more related:

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For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

healing is about letting the wisdom of the body re-emerge (and other reflections)

When it comes to diet, I stopped listening to anyone except those who deeply resonate in this moment now. Intuitive healing for me required that I start simply responding to my body’s needs. That said, I researched multiple dietary strategies and collected tons of info and data all of which now help me interpret my intuitive hits and thus develop an ever-growing discernment…the study wasn’t useless, it informs…but I attach myself to no ideology other than what my body needs right now.

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I don’t do protocols of any kind. I listen to my body and do what it needs in the moment. That means there is little I do on a daily basis when it comes to nourishing my body/mind/spirit back to health.

heal-thyselfThe drug damage causes severe autonomic nervous system dysregulation so that means what is good for me today…or this morning, may very well not be good for me this afternoon or tomorrow. I respond to this moment now and only that.

I also help people learn to get to that place. Our bodies are incredibly knowing animals that we’ve systematically learned to ignore, shut down and ultimately poison. Healing is about letting the wisdom of the body re-emerge.

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when alternative healers say: ‚Äúbe sure to consult your doctor‚ÄĚ (what they really they mean is: ‚Äúwe know that (most) MDs don’t know anything about herbal and/or alternative medicine in general but we need to say that to cover our asses)

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So my body already thinks it’s fall and, indeed, in the chinese medicine calendar we are into the transition for sure. I’m learning that in the fall and winter my body stops detoxing as efficiently (I’ve found out this is true for everyone as far as Chinese medicine and Ayurveda are concerned) … for me, I started noticing years ago huge changes every season with the spring and fall being the most notable shifts that happen. My “histamine” reactions become much bigger and I have to watch what I eat and do more carefully at this time of year. In previous years I would often become devastated when this started happening because the shift was so pronounced that I thought I’d totally relapsed. Now, given the amount of healing I’ve got under my belt, I know that’s not true. It’s simply the rhythms of the season felt BIG in a still very sensitive body.

the shift into fall is the most marked, but the worst time is in the winter. I’m gearing up to surrender deeply to it in lots of meditation so that I might hear what my body needs to heal. that is how I learn…it’s far easier to do in the spring and summer so this year, knowing what I now know, I intend to submit to the process more deeply in winter.

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If I am repeatedly nice and compliant, rather than authentic, then I have ceased to be a person with values. — James Hollis

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In a mad world, only the mad are sane. – Akira Kurosawa

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Science is wonderful. The misuse of badly interpreted data, though, is often dangerous and that is why many people don’t trust science.

the fact is when you understand why it’s far easier to deal with it…if I knew nothing about the scientific method etc I would be anti-science too… “medicine” almost killed me…I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing that people are questioning how much of science is applied…it’s for good reasons really…and we need to stop killing and raping the earth and each other with applied (really bad, and therefore not particularly good or sane) science…maybe this will motivate somehow.

on twitter someone said, “This is so true. Other than some fiendishly well-done physics experiments most all science is really messy.” and I agreed, “life is messy! scientists need to acknowledge this rather than get all offended when people have questions for good reason!”

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A new (to me) silly but so perfect meme, “Your issues live in your tissues.”

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*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care.  Really all doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

 

Food for thought or contemplation

I’m mostly not blogging anymore, it’s true, but I do still jot down thoughts from time to time. I’m sharing a bunch of those thoughts from the last couple of months. I’ve included links in some of them where you might find more similar thoughts explored and collected here on the website. They are a loose sort of documentation of my process as it continues. Be well. Remember, healing is not a linear process! Love to you all.


In the news: human beings discriminate and oppress other human beings.

In another story they also rape and pillage the land and abuse animals.


Narrative is the glue of attachment. Drop the story. Feel the pain.


Why are you so unhappy?
Because 99 percent of what you think,
And everything you do,
Is for your self,
And there isn’t one
— Wei Wu Wei


I am the ostracized. See me in everyone.


I was just thinking about the fact that part of my healing journey which in significant part includes deeply feeling my feelings and therefore, being that I had severe chronic illness and grave nervous system (brain) injury, I did a lot of screaming, along with all sorts of other loud noises. This was not optional in my mind. Not in the least bit. It struck me that people who live in apartments or even most any sort of communal living situations (that would include most families) don’t have this freedom. When one becomes deeply embodied that pretty much always includes the deep feeling of pain. Chronic physical pain and most of that which gets labeled chronic mental illness (and addiction– See Gabor Mate’s work) is a result of not being able to express these anguishes we’ve held within for so long. Disentangling them requires expression. If they are severe that expression may, indeed, take the form of loud noises, including screaming. Anyway…that’s my musing for the day. We must make safe spaces for the bulk of humanity to know that they can feel any thing they need to feel and make noises too. Even I was afraid my neighbors might call the cops during the worst of it when we had asshole neighbors…but at the very least our house was unattached.


At the grocery store a mom and two small children were next to me. The little boy, in a stroller, began to object to something and the momma was very rude and told him to shut-up…he went into tantrum and momma got more upset and began to studiously ignore him while also trying to keep it together herself. Her stress was palpable. I went right up to that little boy, leaned over, gently touched his head and looked into his eyes. I said, “momma is very busy right now. As soon as she is done she will be sharing what she is getting for you right now. You just need to wait a little bit.” He went immediately silent once I had begun this interaction and looked at me wide-eyed. I went back to my transaction at the counter and the little boy resumed playing with whatever he had in his hands. Momma was relieved. Little boy was relieved. I left with a goodbye to the family and gave a special look at the boy while saying “goodbye, beautiful boy.” It was a healing moment for us all. My little internal neglected child too rejoiced in that moment of recognition.


Abandon the path altogether…dive into the unknown!


I stopped expecting MDs could help me (because they didn’t and in fact caused great harm). I thus learned to listen to my body and from there healing then began to really take off.

For me healing required a complete de-conditioning of everything I had learned…in part and very significantly I had to stop having faith in the medical system and instead have faith in life itself which offered profound healing as I learned to listen.


A prominent vegan nutritionist told me that there are, indeed, types of ill-health and unbalance that require animal products at least in the short-term and on occasion for long periods. Be kind to the human animal too. Many people need time to transition if they wish to stay healthy in mind/body and spirit (which are inseparable). The transition to a plant-based society-wide diet must take such considerations seriously if it hopes to succeed.

as someone who has healed myself from a bedridden non-verbal mess, I’ve come to know how to feed my body in the moment as it needs whatever it needs. I find it disturbing how disconnected many even more “real, whole, food” sorts of people are…in all their different ideological camps.


I am no more special than you are dear one. Don’t even try to put me on a pedestal. I will fall.


synaptic pruning…can you feel it baby?


we need no protection, we need only open, open, open


self-righteousness is annoying at best and totally useless in any case…no one wins an argument by being sanctimonious (though when we employ it we do get accolades from the choir)


My life gets easier as I deeply accept the nature of reality and surrender to the healing process…that doesn’t mean life is without challenges…it just means that surrendering to them offers a sort of ease even in the midst of challenge.


the scope of tragedy includes far too many things to keep track of so people just bond around whatever feels convenient in the moment. rage isn’t the way to go…but it rises quickly and then dissipates just as quickly…sustained caring requires something altogether different. Love.


Sharing ones experience need not threaten someone with a very different or polar experience. We all have kaleidoscopic constellations at play. The real problem is that our culture is so insanely competitive there tends to be little room for sharing differences.


Autodidact – (from wikipedia) “Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) or self-education is the act of learning about a subject or subjects in which one has had little to no formal education. Many notable contributions have been made by autodidacts.”

I was forced to autodidactism on this healing trip. I learned a ton of stuff from many disciplines. I had no choice once I realized that the medical profession only knew how to make me sicker and/or kill me. (no hyperbole here, sadly)That and the fact that I couldn’t leave the house nor go by anyone else’s pace for a long time. It’s left me in the strange position of knowing far more than many so-called experts about certain things with no credentials to back me up in a world that often demands them.


I will always speak openly about fringe experiences because my life has been filled with them. Fringe experiences make people uncomfortable. Talking about fringe experiences often trigger people. The thing is though, those of us who are having them live in a dangerous world (often quite literally, until we start to profoundly wake-up) where our experiences are rarely validated. I seek to end the danger and trauma for those of us who need to be recognized. Love to all you fringies out there. And peace to those of you who are afraid of us. Our experiences don’t invalidate yours. Please don’t try to invalidate ours. The human being experiences endless variety…no two of us are the same. We all have this uniqueness to give one another. Let us recognize it in each of us.


the interesting thing is I can be awake and aware and still act like an idiot…I just get to be aware of it while I’m doing it…oh, yay! the drama doesn’t end even as awareness watches and takes note. Learning, however, moves along exponentially.


Radical healing is actually a very wild ride. You don’t have to believe any of it…just watch and go for the ride.


The intricate web of life…I carry the intent to do as little harm as possible and also like to use harm reduction strategies in general…in my relationships with all beings and the planet too…


healing my gut has been critical in my journey…and because of the hypersensitivity my injury left me with I can feel those little critters when I ingest them (the probiotics) I can actually feel the energy (consciousness) of everything that goes in my body now. I know this shit is for real…but since what I say about feeling the consciousness of all this stuff sounds crazy to most people I just have to watch people fall all over themselves trying to figure this shit out.


What am I avoiding? (a wise young man asked me that a while back and it’s now become a line of self-inquiry)


Be in the mystery – not the fantasy.

The more you think you know the further away you are from the mystery.

The stories we tell are all fantasy.

There is no need for interpretation of this moment now.

Words in the moment are a dance….ephemeral creations that link us with others.

I don’t want anything but union anymore and it seems complete cooperation works best.

Life-force guides me expertly through the mine-field.


the body presents me with zen koans to solve daily


In a time of drastic change one can be too preoccupied with what is ending or too obsessed with what seems to be beginning. In either case one loses touch with the present and with its obscure but dynamic possibilities. What really matters is openness, readiness, attention, courage to face risk. You do not need to know precisely what is happening or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope. – Thomas Merton


The art of knowing when to STFU. Earned only by repeatedly traumatizing oneself unnecessarily.


My experience is not an affront to yours and vice versa. We’re all different and the truth is often contradictory. Holding paradox ….


When one heals themselves from radically poor health they learn stuff that most people don’t believe is possible and then are subjected to being the fool on a regular basis if they dare speak about their experience. Oh well…at least I’m a happy and progressively more healthy fool.


We get here from having been there.


We are nature. You can’t give nature prescriptions and protocols. I listen to the body. It tells me what I need as I need it. So lovely.


Ultimately the trigger, the part that hurts, simply needs to be deeply felt. At that point it dissolves into nothingness. The story then ceases to matter.


Everyone is full of crap. I generally assume that I am too. It helps me detach from whatever the story is right now.


Abandoning those who make us confront our shadows in the name of positivity is often simply spiritual bypassing.


Let your freak flag fly. That is all.


Mental illness and addiction are not a cause of homelessness. Human cruelty, fear and bigotry is the cause of homelessness. Housing is a human right.


We cannot hurt another without hurting ourselves. This is true whether we are conscious of it or not. Pay attention.


capitalism 2016…the selling of the self and the soul…the branding of ones being


we need to stop calling traumatized people patients and understand that these modalities are still within the framework of clinical understanding…the fact is healing is everywhere and learning to live well is really the only “cure.” Learning to live well means learning to listen to our innate knowing that finds that healing in every moment. In this framework we then recognize that everyone in this society is part of a deeply traumatized and disconnected humanity…it’s not about any particular “identified patient.”


end

*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well-educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care. ¬†Really all¬†doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See:¬†Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome¬†round-up

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

Autoimmune issues, transformation and holistic wellbeing

I’ve discovered that when I have what I used to consider a “flare” of auto-immunity, that if instead I surrender its the body actually knowing exactly what it’s doing and that is the work of transformation! Those with auto-immune “disorders” are stopping this process through profound resistance (for me fear was involved here) to what is actually a normal thing when the body/mind/soul is ready to begin transforming. It seems to me that western “medicine” is actively stopping this process with all its immunosuppressant drugs etc. We are living in a time of medical nightmares as a result of so profoundly misunderstanding our own body’s processes. This is of course very complicated and for me trauma and multiple courses of antibiotics as a child and a whole lot of other things come into play. What comes into play for every individual differs and so the way out of the maze differs for everyone too. Hence the need for great respect for the mystery.

The only “choice” involved here is the grace that happens as one becomes aware. Blaming illness on people is at best unproductive and at worst horribly uncompassionate as well as destructive. Humanity is in the dark. As we come to light we heal. It is no one person’s “fault.” We incarnate into circumstances that we might bring light into the darkness. We are all in that boat together.

*for me a good part of protracted withdrawal issues from psych drugs has been extreme exacerbation of auto-immune issues which seems to be very common among those of us impacted. Often the auto-immune issues go unrecognized as they do with the mainstream population as well.

Recommended book to help learn how to listen to the body: Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition

More related:

 

*it is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to be well educated before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume they know how to do it well even if they claim to have experience. They are generally not trained in discontinuation and may not know how to recognize withdrawal issues. A lot of withdrawal issues are misdiagnosed to be psychiatric problems. This is why it’s good to educate oneself and find a doctor who is willing to learn with you as your partner in care. ¬†Really all¬†doctors should always be willing to do this as we are all individuals and need to be treated as such. See:¬†Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome¬†round-up

For a multitude of ideas about how to create a life filled with safe alternatives to psychiatric drugs visit the drop-down menus at the top of this page. 

Support Beyond Meds. Enter Amazon via a link from this blog and do the shopping you’d be doing anyway. No need to purchase the book the link takes you to or make a donation with PayPal. Thank you!

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