I’m finding it hard to get back on the horse. I got derailed most of December for a spiritual emergency then got back to work in January. I set up a cool UnDiagnosing UnPlanned UnConference in Cincinnati with Paul Komarek that went well, then realized that I was running a whole business scheme and I hadn’t consulted the Creator for guidance. And halfway through the conference I got several grant rejection notices back to back and realized that I didn’t have any income, anyway. So I spent some time regrouping and figuring out what exactly I was supposed to be doing. It took longer than I thought.
It was really kind of a battle – lots of wild night fights with demons. I spent quite a while in unexplainable fear, being woken up in the middle of the night in panic. My spiritual advisor people said it was because the evil side knows I might have good impact if I figured out what I was doing. I spent a lot of days calling friends to get them to make the terror go away. I probably would have called you if I had your phone number. Eventually I figured out how to hear the guidance of the Creator and call on the universe’s strength when the evil came.
Someone asked me how you do this; hear what the Creator wants you to do. Now, I come at this from a Christian perspective, but I recognize that this perspective has been a source of trauma for many. I think all paths to the Divine work as long as the teaching traditions are intact. Some traditions have lost much of their protection, like many pagans know how to approach the spirit world but not how to protect themselves from it. It’s a fine line to walk. Just know that if I use Christian terms in the rest of this post, it’s not a lack of respect towards other traditions, just my personal viewpoint based on what was accessible to me. So how you hear what the Creator wants you to do is the million dollar question, and here’s my two cents-worth of an answer, and an explanation of why it took all winter to get there:
I connected with the Creator with prayer, listening, stillness, dreams, talking to believers, Scripture, fasting, going to Christian events like Tres Dias, entrepreneurship events, books, and finally realizing that 32 grant rejections last year for Connect Power might actually have been a sign.
My goal now is to focus on solutions for emotional distress, not talking about medical harm. We all know about the problems with medical harm, but not all people are clear about solutions. I’m not that clear, either, but I’m working on it. I’m not talking about revolution any longer, just trying to make my piece of the pie work. And I need your help. My business has gone from eight programs to three, as detailed on our business site. I’m focusing on Poetry for Personal Power and building a timebank and peer support programs inside that network. This way psych survivors can share honest mental health information with people who need it, but we can get paid for our time. After all, this income thing is the limit for many of us that holds us back from doing what we love.
In January I was sure of my direction. I had a business plan, some fellowships and grants pending, and was talking to venture capitalists. Then I realized I hadn’t asked God about it. Now I finally feel like I understand His plan for the business, and it’s way different. But a much better chance of success, decent family time balance, less ego driven, and uses more of my passions and talents. I read an article in a The Sacred Fire Community’s magazine. This is a group that preserves Indigenous spiritual practices that are still intact. This article interviewed Andrew Harvey who says that many of the super effective activists have or had an element of the sacred in their approach.
So I’m going to take a bit of artistic licence here with Scripture (2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 The Message Translation) and tell how it seems like it might be for me:
The mental health system is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The mental health system doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful activist-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of emotional distress, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by hope. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of hopeful enjoyment into maturity.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.