Saturday, January 19, 2019

Comments by Alex

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  • Ok, we disagree about a few things as well as agree. Different perspectives which in some ways do not seem reconcilable. I do very much respect your conviction to your truth, but in some ways it does not overlap with mine, so be it. So much to learn in one lifetime! Seems never-ending.

    I’m starting a long weekend vacation, so offline for a few days. Thanks for the wonderful dialogue, KS, have enjoyed it immensely. Have a good weekend!

  • You say a mouthful there, KS, all good insights and truths re what I called above “this crazy-ass double-binding, gaslighting world we live in.” Indeed, it is crazy-making, I can’t think of anyone who would disagree with this.

    Relevant to this blog and discussion, I want to highlight one sentence from your post–

    “A lot of people and personality types get left behind in this kind of societal structure.”

    Societies can grow, change, evolve, and diversify IF AND ONLY IF human beings grow, change, evolve, and diversify. How can it be any other way?

    Pioneers and visionary thinkers are rugged individualists, are they not? Where would we be without them? Not sure what else to say about that.

    I believe everyone has their place and value in society. Life can be about discovering what this is, and then embodying it. I believe that is what leads to fulfillment, and everyone has that potential.

  • They are so intertwined, not sure how you would untangle this. It’s like yin/yang, goes hand in hand.

    “What if there was no abuse on psychiatric units whatsoever.”

    I can’t even fathom how this would work out. I believe these are also intertwined. How can psychiatry control people in these “units” without abusing them, one way or another? Impossible. And they have to control clients because they *don’t know how to heal them!*

    Abuse is not always overt, and is often quite covert, and administered in a variety of ways that are considered standard and acceptable. It’s insidious, and keeps people off their game.

    Jessica asks if these places are re-creating that which they purport to “treat.” Indeed, at the very least. They’re certainly keeping things chronic.

    There are diverse opinions and standards about what is considered acceptable behavior which varies from culture to culture and community to community. Personally, I’d call these behaviors toward patients/clients sub-standard and unnacceptable, based on my way of thinking. But that’s my personal perspective, based on my values and how I live with myself. I had to wake up to it, as well, as I went along. But now, after processing my experience for all these years and learning the experiences of others, I am clear on what I believe here. Not everyone will see it the same way, which is to be expected.

    Re people vs. institution, where exactly is the separation?

  • Yes, KS, excellent points. I believe we are meeting here. You said it perfectly, delineating between being vindictive and being vindicated. Both are stressful, but the latter is about real and true justice, as opposed to vigilantism.

    “Vengeance tends to create bigger messes rather than systemic change. I don’t think the people still in the system are best helped with escalating the violence.”

    This is soooo important, thank you!

  • While activism can be fueled by vengeance, it isn’t necessarily so. When I went to EEOC, it was not to be vindictive, it was to stand up for myself and demand my rights as an individual of this society. When I made my film, Voices That Heal, it was not out of vindication, it was to speak my truth and to give a platform for others to do the same, to help inform and illuminate the public of these issues, while attemping to dialogue with “the system.” (that last goal was never met, of course, AT ALL COST by anyone in the system–lesson #1!).

    With that said, I can totally feel vindictive when I think about all the abuse I took without even realizing that this is what was happening, but I do not act on it, at least not intentionally. Sometimes, I have to really ask myself before taking an action and I do some reflecting here before acting or speaking impulsively, and that is helpful for me to discern my true motivation.

    But instead, what I opt for is to speak my truth based on experience, as clearly and directly as I can, while walking my talk. (That’s important, to avoid cognitive dissonance from this process, which is all-too-common). Not as vindication, but as a way to bring the truth to light. I believe I am speaking a truth which many people feel. Nothing wrong with that. I continue to have my life, aside from all this. But I went through it, so I’m sure I’m supposed to be speaking about it. What else?

    But I do agree, that doing the same as they are doing is feeding the beast. I do not believe that is what I am doing, however, not at this point. My energy is way different than that of “abuser” or even “enabler.” Just ask my family. I blew that whistle, too! Not to be vindictive, but to help my family to awaken and heal. That’s actually been going well over the years, so I feel ok about what I’m putting out. Although I certainly felt the consequencesof it all, initially. More healing and clarity-seeking opportunities, is how I receive that. I grew and grew from all this, so I do not regret a moment of it.

    I am careful and mindful to not “match energies,” which is what you are talking about is called, in my line of work. That’s my conscious intention, in any event, but I am human, too, I do the best I can. Overall, the idea is to respond from a higher perspective, with a more neutral energy. That can be hard when triggered! But well worth the effort, because it can raise the energy of the dialogue and bring more clarity to the situation.

  • I agree, KS, that we are all human and have the capacity to justify our behaviors under any circumstances. We’ve all made mistakes and misjudgments and will continue to do so, as long as we’re human. We also have the capacity to learn and grow from all of it, that is also a universal human quality, I believe.

    Although when someone says, “You are hurting me!” outright, and the behavior continues, then what, exactly, could possible be an acceptable justification?

    Some would say, “I’m so sorry, not my intention! Let’s not do that again…or…let’s try another way” (if that’s relevant).

    But to say, “I am not! You are lying,” or “you are imagining that,” or “you are being manipulative,” or “you just want attention,” or simply continue while coldly disregarding screams and protests, blaming that on something being “wrong” with the individual–and therefore using THAT as justification without batting an eyelash–then that is a human of a different frequency (so to speak), if you ask me.

    Is there a deep-seated wound way down in there somewhere? I’d say yes there must be, in order to justify causing others such obvious pain. So compassion would be in order. And one can have compassion with anger, that’s not at all antithetical.

    Will they justify their behavior? Every day, 24/7.

    Are they human? Yes, of course, we all are.

    Is this a toxic situation based on oppressive power dynamics supported by mainstream thinking? Unequivocally, imo.

    “We can separate the evil of the institution of psychiatry without tarnishing all of its unwitting participants as evil.”

    I’m not calling any individuals “evil.” The institution? Yes, corruption is bad enough, but this level of deception and harm to people who are, in all reason based on propaganda, expecting healing and support, and then making TONS of $$ due to all this, is the closest thing I can think of to “evil” on the planet.

    I call it institutional vampirism, and I think that is precise, not at all an exaggeration. This institution sucks energy from society in so many ways. We want light, not this utter darkness.

    And while certainly not everyone in any system is abusive—in fact, it can be a minority, like maybe a main abuser who has risen to the top by railroading everyone in their path, or an oligarchy of abusers—they have to be held up by enablers. Witnessing abuse and seeing it as abuse AND not reporting it, is enabling it. What else can it be? Lying about it to save your own ass (“no, that’s not what I saw”) is yet even more profound enabling, that’s actually being an accomplice, I think. I don’t know, splitting hairs here. None of it is helpful to people and only keeps them in a chronic state of injury.

    Yes, it can be justified in so many ways. “I’ll lose my job; I’ll get scapegoated; it’s futile, no one will listen; they’ll come after me,” and on and on. Doesn’t matter, it’s still enabling, and there are fears to face here. It’s the personal growth we all face in life from time to time. Change will require this from everyone.

    Right now that’s the crazy-ass double-binding gaslighting world we live in, but we are looking to change this, and it will take a great deal of courage from everyone involved.

    There is absolutely no excuse for abuse, in my book. Self-defense is one thing, but aggressive invasion of personal boundaries without invitation is where it begins. No means no, period. Everyone should have the right to say “no,” and that is so not the case in psychiatry, which is what needs to change. Where did a person’s right to say “no” go to here?

    And victims of abuse need allies they can trust, not more enablers of an abusive system. That would bring a core shift to the system, were the enablers to stop enabling.

    “…many probably are not internally saying “I’m okay with hurting this patient”, but probably saying internally “this really sucks but the patient will be better off drugged/treated even if forcefully”.

    The latter is a false belief. If they really feel the patient will be better off, then frankly, I’m sure that the patient is better off without that person having any power over them whatsoever. That is a dangerous belief! Isn’t that one of the things on which we call out psych industry all the time? I’ve seen the following C.S Lewis quote on here often—

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    Moral busybodies indeed! That is a perfect phrase in this case, fits to a tee.

    “Let’s remember that whistleblowers are not generally treated very well in this era. The author of this blog has risked her career to speak up. That should come with accolades, but could very well result in extreme loss of income, loss of professional status, professional censureship, and targeting as potentially mental.”

    Yes, I relate to this. I had the exact same experience. Mine was about 15 years ago, so I’ve had the post-journey to this and did a lot of healing and self-reflection based on my experience of blowing the whistle on discrimination, abuse, and corruption. It has rewards and it has consequences. I’ve learned a lot about what happens to whistleblowers, from my lived experience of it. Not pretty! But seriously enriching and fulfilling. No doubt about that.

    I support whistleblowers hardily and heartily, and can be supportive of that process, what occurs once you blow the whistle publically. It’s transformational. Faith and trust is vital.

  • Imagine being asked during a job interview, “Would you be willing to hold someone down to force them into a ‘treatment’ to which they vehemently object because it feels painful and harmful to them? Because that is standard care and it happens a lot around here and it is what we will expect from you.”

    If you say no, you do not get the job. If you say yes, well, that speaks for itself.

  • I know we like to say that it’s “the institution” which is the problem, which is not a false statement by any stretch–the institution of “mental health/psychiatry” is corrupt and based on socially biased mythology and harms more people than not.

    However, it seems from pieces like this, and based on what many of us have experienced, that a lot of the people who are employed within this insitution are downright dangerous, to the point of being sadisitic. Maybe some are numb due to their need for income, but still, these are acts of sadism. The last psychiatrist I ever saw acted just like a sadist, which is why I finally jumped tracks after that experience to find real healing, as opposed to further injury.

    “Reform” would mean prohibiting acts of sadism toward clients, but if that actually has to be stated, then the institution is beyond redemption. There is no reform when sadism is part of the picture. More worms than apples in that barrel.

  • Excellent and powerful.

    “During the day, I’m observing myself as I hold patients down to get medication.”

    For some reason, this sentence is particularly painful to read. Dissociation and post traumatic stress on both ends, wow. This field is healthful for absolutely no one.

    “I leave. There was nothing left to do but leave the place, report it, and never come back.”

    I’d say that’s the thing to do. Smart self-care, and you are not enabling this fiasco. Glad you reported it.

    Abusers and power mongers are covering for their obvious extreme incompetence. Being burnt out means there is no self-care. This is sheer madness. But we know that already, don’t we?

    How can “reform” even be entertained at this point, when clearly, the insane are running the asylum?

  • Abrianna, yes, that’s clear that you are remorseful of this, and in the process, you’re expanding your awareness, I can see this. We’re all so darn human, aren’t we?

    Again, my take is simply that “personality disorder” does carry really sabotaging stigma, and it has screwed up a lot of lives because of all the false implications around this, at least for some people.

    And I agree with you, there is a boundary issue here which definitely merits attention. Some people have none, and that’s a problem for others.

    You’ve had a great deal of experience with all this and obviously you have processed a lot, but please know you’re just at the beginning. There are a lot of layers to this, and reasons for all this emotion around what you say.

    We’ve all been on the receiving end of oppression one way or another. You are making a difference and will continue to do so, I have absolutely no doubt about that. You are clearly a leader.

  • Oldhead, it’s authentic. To me, the gist of the article is about bullying, this is what most catches my attention, and I believe this is relevant in so many ways. No surprise there, I often bring it up, myself. And yes, there are ways to discuss this, but this is a powerful start.

    Yep, there’s a food fight quality here. And not everywhere, but who is throwing punches and why? I’m not suggesting analyzing this all- over-the-place comment section, it’s more of a self-reflective question.

    Abrianna clearly is open and flexible in her thinking and is desiring to learn and grow from this experience. Also to make changes for the better, and obviously has the focus and fortitude to make an impact.
    Simply having the courage and passion to open a dialogue such as she did in an environment such as this is more than respectable, it is admirable.

    As far as I can tell, she is owning her error in judgment and trying to learn from it. That takes humility, another quality which leads to progress because it is flexible.

    Please let’s allow each other to come to truth from our own process, and not try to force a way of thinking on others. The word “force” is what I’d emphasize here.

    As far as everyone else’s comments, everyone has their own reaction. I appreciate some and not so much others, but that’s my own gauge for my own truth. This covers a lot of territory.

  • I like this particular dialogue and find it most relevant, and important to split hairs here, and define terms mindfully. Usually, I think, there is consistency in what is defined as a particular “behavior” more than a label can pinpoint it because these labels are so stigmatizing and can easily lead to 100% inaccurate negative projections. Then the client is screwed because a whole new false identity is created, and the real person disappears. That is maddening kind of gaslighting, and can lead to chronic trauma if one doesn’t have a very strong sense of self. Eventually, a person has to get away from that for their own sanity because it is truely crazy-making. But that can be a challenge, in and of itself, depending on circumstances, like being held captive in a hospital.

    This one phrase got my attention–

    “The list of “symptoms” of “personality disorders” are simply a list of behaviors that most people find obnoxious or disturbing.”

    Yes, that is what I found to be the case in training and while I was a client. What makes this particulary challenging is that what is “obnoxious and distrurbing” to some is not a problem for others. Cultures vary highly on what is “acceptable” behavior. So many reasons for our behaviors, and it’s not always harmonious with others. When it is extreme, that can either be a problem toward progress and evolution or a maybe this is a groundbreaker who is encountering resistance to change, and that will affect how we perceive behavior, through what lens? We can admire, accept, tolerate, or fear certain behaviors, and this can vary from person to person.

    There’s also the issue of a bullying system turning the tables and making the victim look like the problem, and the abuser. I’ve seen this happen quite a bit. A bully can easily cry “victim” when called on their abusive ways. It can get very confusing to all concerned.

    In the end, I think it is evident from our own personal relationships. What is obnoxious to one person can be endearing to another, and vice versa. All personalities are challenging one way or another, and we grow and change over time, learning and refining ourselves as we go, and learning discernment in our relationships, that’s life.

    If a person is happy and satisfied with their relationships in life, then who cares what others think? Life, in large part, is about discovering who we are, which evolves over time, and who is to say at any stage, but ourselves?

    Abrianna, wonderfull charged and highly relevant dialogue you have inspired here. Thank you! I do admire your razor sharp focus.

  • Wow, that is some bullying you took. I hope that telling your story is helping you to find some peace. Your anger is more than understandable. I look forward to reading the subsequent installments, although I can’t even imagine.

    Congratulations on your marriage! May it be blessed.

  • “…love is not something we can self-generate.”

    This is where I take pause. I’m not so sure about that. I actually feel this statement is a denial of a vital part of who we are, naturally.

    And if it turns out we can, indeed, self-generate love, then it would probably be good to know how to access that. I believe we can. And when we learn this, we learn how to self-heal. We are also wired for that, but it gets knocked out of us by all that fear mongering and social programming, and by those who convince others they NEED them, making people dependent. Obviously, not healthy attachment, but pure co-dependence. No love there.

    That’s one of the main grievances re psychiatry–it abrubtly disrupts our natural healing and personal growth process with a bunch of socially divisive mythology, which is why people tend to get stuck in a “chronically ill” state, and why so many people feel abused by the sytem.

    Self-generated love is, I believe, our nature, and it is our built-in mechanism for self-healing. I say we call it back into being. That would certainly be my preference, in any event.

  • This is a great and hardy comment, Susannah, and deserves a really good discussion. Lots of truth, and also subtleties which I feel merit mindful exploration.

    While I don’t have a lot of energy today to engage too much here, I did pick out one thing on which I would like to comment because I have thought about this one quite a bit and as of now, this is how I would respond when you say–

    “Love and attachment refer literally to the connections *between* human beings, and the basis for that is a healthy period of *being on the receiving end* of ample nurturance as a child, which fortifies us with reserves of love that we are then able to give out to others.”

    Yes, a healthy dose of unconditional love flowing between child and parent mutually for a good period of time is what we all hope for–consciously, if we are aware adults, and unconsciously, if we are pre-verbal infants. In both cases, this would be the natural human desire.

    In a post above, I say–

    “Withholding love from a child is cruel and harmful control and manipulation, and sadly quite common. Take away love and you’ve got fear and rage from lack of safety and feelings of unworthiness.”

    And it needn’t be conscious of course, as there are so very many reasons why a child becomes deprived of love, and that is enough to create distress along with post-traumatic stress.

    The problem deepens profoundly when the parents or adults around a love-deprived child cannot see that this is the problem, and instead, blame it on something else or even the child–which is kind of undestandable because the alternative to blame is facing oneself squarely with regard to personal growth; but at the same time, humility on the part of the adult would be most valuable here–or a disease or condition or “the world,” or maybe the child simply gets labeled “problem child,” and treated as such, which compounds the issue and neglect turns into blatant abuse, the essence of gaslighting. Any or all of these and more.

    And really, the issue is that this child has been deprived of love. Indeed, that can lead to all sorts of porblems in life, IF IT IS NOT CORRECTED. Being deprived of love as a child can snowball and follow us from one relationship to another, and our relationship with self is ambiguous at best.

    I believe in healing, and I believe in heart healing, so my belief is that this can heal, but how? Perhaps some people do not feel there is healing for this, and I would not argue with that belief. However, that is not me, I believe childhood love-deprivation can heal. But it is really hard work and takes a lot of flexibility in thinking. This is a matter of reprogramming on a neural and cellular level. It is transformational healing.

    I believe there are many roads and options here. What, exactly, would it mean to “correct” this? To me, that is the most important topic to explore, by far, because the answer to this would solve an awful lot of problems in today’s world. This would be the conciousness shift at hand–from love-deprived to love-filled consciousness. These generate two different (and rather divergent, I believe) personal realities, and I think it’s rather palpable, on a feeling level. The contrast is enormous.

  • I don’t know about *preventing* depression, because it can be caused by all sorts of things which would need to be addressed at one time or another. But I know from experience that, in the past, when I’d been extermely depressed even for a good long while–in the dark, emotionally suffering, and completely uninspired–I’d go see a really awesome musical show or concert and it would pull me right out of it because not only would I be entertained and distracted, it would also open my heart and touch my spirit, and from there, I’d spiral upward. I could feel myself again, my inner light. I still had to address the issues which were causing me distress, but it was much easier with an open and relaxed heart, like a new ground zero.

    During my darkest time, way beyond depression, as I was just starting to heal from withdrawal, I had one particular CD which spoke to me, which I played over and over because it was the only thing that would bring me any kind of relief at that time. I also found this one DVD called “The American Songbook,” which was clip after clip of historic performances of classic American standards through the ages, in film and on stage. It’s a 3 hour show, so that would nourish me quite a bit.

    I found music to be paramount to my healing. Probably the reason I started doing musical theater, which was a happy accident. Other than coming off a lot of psych drugs, the biggest leap of faith I ever took was enrolling in a class to learn to sing publically and perform on stage, which was perhaps the most healing activity I ever did. And on top of that, it opened a few doors for me which I had not expected. Got over all sorts of insecurities and learned to trust the creative process. In that sense, I’d call it curative.

  • Rage is a reasonable response to the oppression and injustices which plague our families and societies, but I think, in the long run, rage is self-destructive, exactly for the reason which Sandra states below–it eats away at us and affects our lives and health adversely in the long run.

    And also as Sandra says, with which I obviously agree wholeheartely, rage is ultimately a road block to change in its constrictive nature because a shift in consciousness in the collective IS taking place, whether we like it or not. It has to, we’ve hit a wall. People are waking up in droves now, and it will continue. This is new ground.

    The energy of love is a connector for the purpose of creating, and it is expansive and inclusive, not based on division or class or race or gender or nationality or even profession or any role in the world, but is based on pure equality at the core, something we all possess innately, even though some may not be as active in it as others. Still, it is most practical and powerful. Some even say that love is THE most powerful energy in the world/universe.

  • Yes, and righteous indignation is good power which does, indeed, fuel change. However, without the balance of love, I don’t know how righteous indignation would not become constant rage, sabotage, and eventual burnout. We need balance for well-being.

    So I think I’d say the converse– that while righteous indignation may be a necessary tool for change, it is not sufficient. Love is *the* essential ingredient for change.

    Just a thought to throw out there…

  • “We need to sort out the real divisions from the false ones, and especially those which are being opportunistically promoted by faux “progressives” and right wing “Democratic” neoliberals, who suck in idealistic people then disillusion them.”

    This sounds like “the system” (mh, social services, and tangents) to me. That’s exactly how I would have characterized the voc rehab agency with which I’d been involved as client, then staff, and then EEOC plaintiff. The management here were the most inauthentic and dishonest people I’d ever met, and they totally projected the image you describe, what used to be called “bleeding heart liberals.” In reality, they were social elitists/marginalizers, purely. In other words, total bigots. No love there.

    I won my mediation fairly easily and they showed themselves at the mediation exactly as I had called them out, it was obvious.

    Point being, I think when real and authentic truth (whatever that be in the moment) is closing in and offered sincerely, I believe what is actually true vs. false makes itself quite clear. And as usual, everyone has to decide for themselves what they believe. Although I do agree with you, that there is a lot of inauthenticity to be considered and sorted out, I think that’s part of the challenge here.

  • I’ve heard this from a lot of sources, and it makes sense to me. Unconditional love trumps fear because when we are connected to our source of love (what some call “inner light”), then we know profound trust in the process of life from a very broad perspective, that goes beyond the intellect. That goes hand in hand in my experience.

    So if that is the case, then perhaps “madness” would be a product of chronic fear? Which can become unbearable after a while, lack of light and joy along with chronic mistrust. That becomes a filter (internalized) and everything can appear to be threatening on some level, until something shfits through a healing process (is how I would put it). I’ve certainly been there, it’s a form of post-traumatic stress from deep betrayal.

    While love does have a feeling associated to it, I see it more as a state of being, which is how I would characterize the experience of “madness,” as I perceive it to be at the moment.

    In feeling terms, the opposite of fear would be joy, imo. Those two definitely cannot exist in the same space. And the feeling of true deep unconditional love certainly is joyous.

    I think it’s human to experience a variety of states of being as we go along. Things change a lot as we get older and integrate our experiences while creating more and more of them. I think “awakening” is not a one-time thing, we awaken to many things as time goes by.

  • There’s an interesting connection between this blog and the previous blog about “madness.” Can’t quite put my finger on it, yet, but I can feel this. Could “madness” be at the other end of the spectrum from love in the continuum of human experience?

    And when I say “love,” I don’t mean one’s relationship life, I just mean loving life in general. That is a feeling much different than resenting life or living in fear, and more strikingly, these seem to at times be at irreconcilable perspectives.

    Really I’m just talking about the general feeling of love for SOMETHING for which one can feel gratitude, and somehow, hopefully get a daily dose of it, to fuel one’s personal growth and evolution. That’s a radical shift in, both, feeling and perspective from those of no love or gratitude, and that can apply to specific experiences as well as the overall experience of life, in general.

    Just thinking out loud, wondering about this. These last couple of blogs have been very thought-provoking. Also, feeling-provoking, which I quite appreciate.

  • Thank you so much for this comment. These are not empty words, but indeed, the very substantial truth and reality of the situation, imo also–

    “A conscience awareness shift is taking place. But I know when I nurtured my utter hatred and outrage at the mental health field for years it ate at my soul like a rabid virus, blocking a conscious shift from taking place. Whereas ‘knowledge is power’, love is even a greater power. And I’m afraid nothing will ever change in this Twilight Zone world we’re living in if it’s governed by hatred. That only feeds the beast.”

    You said it perfectly. And, I’ll add that one way it feeds the beast is that it creates business for it.

    If psychiatry fails because instead of love, empathy, and compassion it dispenses drugs and stigmatizing labels to those who were deprived of unconditional love, then it stands to reason that the more love in the world, the less need for so called “mental health care.” So in essence, love IS anti-psychiatry, in the most powerful and practical sense.

    More love = less fear, less distress, less hopelessness, so therefore less rage and despondence from feelings of powerlessness, leading to more ease, clarity, and loving kindness and co-operation, which is where good progress occurs, just naturally. Who needs a shrink, then?

    Dr. Breggin has tremendous life experience and wisdom. These are healing words he offers, and, I believe, clever guidance. Beautiful legacy 🙂

    Same with your post, Sandra, healing words and wonderful permission.

  • Withholding love from a child is cruel and harmful control and manipulation, and sadly quite common. Take away love and you’ve got fear and rage from lack of safety and feelings of unworthiness. Connecting with our innate love is healing, and can help to attract loving, heart-based relationships later in life, as opposed to power-based relationships, which is the antithesis of love-based.

  • Maybe this is about an aversion to irrationality? Life is not necessarily rational, it can also be quite irrational, or at least appear to be, from our limited perspectives. So why should “rational” be a standard that everyone agrees to go by?

    There is also creativity which follows an entirely different logic than intellectualism. One of the reasons why psychiatry is so hopelessly myopic is because it will not embrace creative thinking as anything but problematic and worthy of labeling.

  • “Responsibility requires knowledge.”

    I’m talking about taking responsibility for what we are putting out because that is what comes back to us. I believe that is the nature of energy.

    Being human is filled with twists and turns, we all face our obstacles, some people seeming to have way more than others, but still we each get challenged in life repeatedly. How we address these challenges as we go through life is our responsibility. If not, then whose? It is how we grow and learn. I believe this would apply to anyone, regardless of anything.

    So I would say that taking responsibility for our lives is how we *acquire,* both, knowledge and wisdom–as well as take control of our life experience.

    With this said, it is not my intention to blame someone for getting rooked at a time when what they need is help and support. That was my experience, as well, and I had to work hard to get out of that particular cycle. It was like a personal challenge to me. And from working with this internally, I was able to shift this troubling pattern in my life, and that’s when bigger changes began to occur in my life which supported my healing, growth, and freedom.

    So even though it is undeniably true that corruption is ever-present as a sabotaging factor in society, if we do not see how we, ourselves, can influence change in our own lives, then how could we possible expect to affect change in society? There has to be a balance between blame and self-responsbility.

    Again, it’s not black and white, so I do not believe there is an argument here, but more so, an integration to happen, a new perspective. That’s generally necessary to move forward when one feels stuck and unable to get past things that cling like shit on shoes and continue to recreate the same old undesirable reality. I’m saying it is within each of us to change this. That’s my hypothesis, in any event.

  • I see it as an exploration of issues on which people seek clarity and understanding, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than what is happening here. To me that is one of the purposes of this venue.

    I do not see these blogs and comments as simply a linear conversation within a group of people. There are many communications going on, and people reading without commenting. I believe we’re all contributing, one way or another, to the exploration of many interesting aspects of the human experience, based on whatever we know or think about it, and how it relates to (or hopefully, negates) psychiatry and its maniacal need to pathologize what it does not understand.

    I’m learning a lot here and thinking about how all of this relates to my way of thinking about not only my experiences but those of others when they talk to me about them, simply from how I am participating, and how the entire dialogue has been unfolding. This topic covers a lot about humanity!

    So personally, I don’t see this as an exercise in futility, but more so, as a valuable exploration of a charged and interestingly versatile topic which is not so easily understood and, even more immediate, tragically misunderstood. That’s what I’d like to see corrected, hopefully, thanks to conversations such as these.

  • KS–yes, you are correct and I apologize for getting defensive. You made a valid point which I take into consideration. Been a sticking point for me because it’s not a matter of what I believe, but of how I’m experssing it, feeling the limitation of language. I am looking at the impact and implication of what I am saying here.

    My response is a reflection of some of my frustration in this process I’m in, not at all on you. I’m thinking about this particular discussion a lot, and I appreciate your candor, and a lot of what you say. You have really good insights.

  • “beyond that it has no universal meaning, or anything close”

    That’s not necessarily true and if so, so what? That characterizes a lot of things said on here, nature of the beast. This is ALL about subjective experiences, so the arguments and *disagreements* about that are what make no sense to me, and which feel quite pointless.

    I’m not intending to imply anything about universality, although who knows what is universal and what is personal and subjective? That’s one of the things constantly in question here.

  • What I’m talking about when I refer to “madness” in the context above has nothing to do with so-called “mental illness,” not what I’m talking about, at least.

    What I’m referring to is a specific state of consciousness which is particularly expansive and ultra-creative, ultimately outside social programming in every sense. This state of being can be disorienting initially–which is meaningful because we learn profound trust in the process, which is invaluable–but with grounding comes the clarity from it. Tons of beautiful inner work to be done here, while we gain all kinds of wisdom.

    I’ve experienced it, and I’ve also experienced a more mundane (of the norm) consciousness. Both have their place and value, and to me they complement each other. However, the difference in all respects is quite apparent.

    Not everyone has had this experience, but I do believe it is in all of us to access. I believe there are good and practical reasons to go there if we choose to, and often life throws us into this state of consciousness by default. Depends on many things about our own personal life journeys, goals, purpose, desires, resistances, etc. Regardless, it’s always an opportunity to grow and evolve by leaps and bounds.

    But in general, it is an amazing experience to navigate and from which to learn and create. Best schooling ever, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s practical because it helps in manifesting what we need and want as we go along in life, thanks to the expanded awareness of our process. It is a fascinating perspective of life, and quite real to those of us who have allowed the experience of it.

  • Ekaterina, I love the work you are doing here. I think it’s creative and relevant, and can open portals of new awareness and knowledge. My personal belief is that we all have our own “madness.” And I’m open to new language if this brings stigma with it, but personally, madness doesn’t bother me at all; it IS part of great art and culture, after all.

    I realy do believe that it is part of our nature, and it is useful in change and vital in evolution. It is a bridge to new ways of thinking, being, and creating. And while it can create conditions for suffering because of either how we are treated or how we think about ourselves, by no means does madness go hand in hand with “suffering.” That is something else, entirely, I truly believe.

    People can be very sane in their suffering, which is excruciating. It is less painful to check out, so madness can be a coping mechanism for suffering. It’s also how we find answers to tough problems, in other realms of awareness, and that can be so easily judged, labeled, stigmatized, etc. We tend to fear and be put-off what by we do not understand from lack of experience or ego-threat or whatever. It’s a common resistance to truth I think, as we talk about on here quite a bit.

    Madness can also be a tool for creating, and I like how you are highlighting this. To me, it actually normalizes it, oddly enough. I guess because I do believe we all possess the madness, and also the brilliance and magic of it. It’s a matter of knowing how to access these within our consciousness (hint: two sides of the same coin), and a rough journey can be an excellent teacher! It gets easier with each awakening, if we are integrating as we go. As I like to say, the guides do show up and we find good people when we keep the faith in ourselves.

  • “implying that we are all responsible for our objective oppression and need to learn to take a “positive” attitude towards it.”

    Not at all what I am implying, but I agree with you that articulating this can be a challenge, especially in a forum such as this one, where it is practically impossible.

    We live in one physical world with a variety of perspectives and levels of consciousness–different realities. As Seth or Abraham would say, different frequencies. Like trying to listen to an AM station on FM radio, can’t be done, it is physically impossible. Best we can do is live our truth, each of us, best way we know how from moment to moment.

    (My “oops” comment was because I had accidentally posted my response to KS here and then realized my error. When I went back to respond to Oldhead, I could not edit this and instead post the comment I eventually made, so Steve, could you please delete it? –the one that says “oops.” Thanks!)

  • Kindredspirit, I do very much appreciate what you are saying here and I certainly respect that we disagree on this point, which I hear you when you say it is “dangerously close to victim blaming.” I’ve had this discussion and my perspective is one of people-empowering.

    I am a bit shy to use the word “victim,” because I think that can become a state of mind which I don’t feel is helpful in the long run. That’s my belief in any event. Although I am aware many of us have been victimized by betrayal, family dysfunction, and systemic incompetence, corruption, and abuse/bullying.

    What I talk about isn’t a snapshot in time, it is an ever-evolving awareness around our experience, much like you describe. We do the best we can with what we know at any given time, and we have countless opportunities to learn as we grow in life. I believe there is a valuable discussion here about being victimized vs. living life from victim perspective.

    With that said, I went through all of this and have my own epic story of being “chemically lobotomized” when I thought I was being helped, being discriminated against and “othered” blatantly in the system, to the point of filing an EEOC complaint which I won. Did not cost me a cent but I had to be incredibly tenacious about it at a time when I was fragmented and feeling effects of severe trauma on top of toxic psych drugs withdrawal. I had my extreme emotional, physical, and financial hardships for years and years thanks to all of this, all just as I was shifting careers in life.

    I was on a variety of different neurotoxins for years, this is what I thought I had to do for my “condition.” Fortunately, I was able to work and go to school while diagnosed and on these things, but I was not 100% and had all kinds of side-effects I had to work around, and I thought this was my life, this was the best I could do. I didn’t realize it was eroding my organs for all those years, until finally I imploded and HAD to come off of everything. This was right after graduate school, 1999.

    No one in my life nor of all the clinicians I was seeing and all the therapists and professors I knew in graduate school, had ever heard of such a thing, coming off these drugs as I was doing. I had people around me, but that was more harmful than helpful. I was on my own with this. It was catastrophic for me, my life was going down the tubes suddenly thanks to all this, just like you and so many others describe.

    As I was finally withdrawing from all neurotoxins after 20 years (having culminated in 9 thanks to an over-zealous and basically bad psychiatrist) because the side effects kept landing me in the ER, that’s when I was getting bashed by another psychiatrist and a few therapists at a “day treatment” center. I’d been a psychotherapist intern, and I represented something very shadowy for them, because I was speaking my truth, and it did not look good for this field. You want to hear authentic victim blaming? This is where it started for me, in abundance.

    But I was not only speaking THE TRUTH, I was embodying it fully, and quite a mess I was, it was overt. But that was the end result of their work, because I did trust the field. That was my program from my culture, and I had to wake up. This is how I did it.

    So, I finally switched tracks and took all sorts of risks and chances, leaps of faith, and learned all sorts of new things and new perspectives which turned out to be my healing path. Taking responsibility for what I was creating in my life and then learning how I was doing that so that I could actually make a few changes and be more aware of myself is how I conquered all of this, without a doubt. Totally transformed my way of thinking to see how I was influencing the energy of my own life. It was either that or be miserable in life or die, so I faced myself squarely.

    I cherish my ability to be happy and enjoy life, and I worked hard for it, after this “mental health” crap debacle. Makes me cringe a bit when others begrudge me this. But that’s the world we live in now, sadly enough. I have to be very in tune with my inner guidance to keep growing in that kind of environment.

    That’s just me. If we don’t agree, we don’t agree, and I believe we can do that respectfully. But to call my truth injurious to others—well, then that is two separate and distinct realities and I don’t see how they are reconcilable.

    Still, I know I’m not nearly the only person in the world who believes what I believe, this is based on teachings I learned over the years as I healed from all I described above. It’s a truth that works for many people, the basis of tons of healing programs. From the perspective I’m coming, this is how energy works. It’s the nature of things.

    I also know I am a sensitive individual who wouldn’t hurt a fly, certainly not intentionally. But I’ll certainly defend myself against any kind of abuse or injustice. I respect boundaries but I also reserve the right to speak my truth about my healing. I expect that to be respected as well.

    I understand this is not black and white. We’ve all had different experiences and we all respond to life in our own way. We can all have our own story without invalidating others. Our stories are not always going to be in agreement, and that’s when I think we can learn the most, lots to explore when this happens.

    But not if we bash the story or beliefs of others. That is what keeps the status quo in power, all that conflict. Rather defeating and self-sabotaging if you ask me, especially considering our goals to help others. You don’t do that by maligning fellow human beings.

  • No she didn’t. That was on the bogus orders of the wizard, which was merely a projected hologram of power, and which she bought into out of fear and desperation. She went sincerely for help.

    And it wasn’t to kill the witch, it was to get her broom. The witch died because she tried to kill the Scarecrow with fire, and Dorothy threw water on it to save him, and it happened to splash on the witch. Dorothy didn’t intend to kill her nor did she know water would melt her. But it did free the witch’s slaves, so it served a bigger purpose.

    In the end, none of that mattered otherwise because it got no one what they asked for, it was all a hoax and it almost got everyone killed. Sound familiar?

    It turned out that the man behind the curtain was kind-hearted, but he did not know what he was doing and put them through all kinds of hell and torture, and on top of that, Dorothy was sol with this guy. He couldn’t get her home, even though she did kill the witch and free the slaves, and brought him the broom, exactly as he had instructed.

    In the end, she just needed to get back to herself and trust her heart. That was her power, regardless of anything.

    Too simple, naïve, and “Forrest Gumpish” for today’s world? Everyone has to decide that for themselves. We’re each responsible for our own lives.

  • You’re talking about power over others and I’m referring to power in and over our own lives, to manifest our deepest desires. These are not only two entirely different things, they are antithetical.

    We all have the power to be free of oppression, the way Dorothy had the power all along to get home. But first, she had to take a journey in order to experience and learn many new things. She was in a dream state, an altered state of consciousness. She had company along the way.

  • Yes, I was thinking of Abraham teachings when I used that particular phrase. Of course, all-that-is=God=inner being=higher self=Source energy, etc., and I try to use language that I feel will most clearly translate in the moment. Not suprised, Oldhead, I’ve seen you refer to Seth. I also agree with you that evolution is inherent in the revolution we’re talking about here. I’ve gotten accustomed to writing (r)evolution.

    More than science, I believe these teachings challenge world religions because they are based on the idea that we as humans are the co-creators of our reality, and that we as humans are an aspect of all that is/Source energy, so we inhernetly have that kind of power, equal to the power of God because we are inhernetly that energy–divine beings having a human experience. When we know this, we are awake to our spirit/soul, and then we can navigagte our lives with infinitely more awareness and a much broader and heart-based perspective, aka heart-mind alignment. It is an expansive, warm and loving feeling of safety, well-being, and innate abundance, and can easily be perceived through synchronicity, if this is our focus.

    Problem is all the brainwashing and programming which has taken place for so long, which makes us feel separate from our own power source/inner being. “Listen to us, not yourselves,” creating dysfunction through co-dependence en masse. To me, the (r)evolution is the healing of this separation of human self from divine self (spirit/soul/higher self), which is heart healing. That would evolve us by quantum leaps, without a doubt, while disempowering oppressors and oppressive systems.

    It is an emotional journey, because when we heal our hearts, we are releasing a lot of old pent up emotions in order to achieve a new present time clarity. It is what makes us abundantly human, which I believe we are validating fully and unequivocally here.

  • Close! This would be more influenced by Esther Hicks, who studied and was highly influenced by Jane Roberts. I love the Seth material but haven’t looked at it in a while.

    What I mostly recall taking from Seth is around the nature of our personal reality, creating it as we go from our thoughtforms and practiced self-beliefs. I do very much believe in and focus primarily on the vibrational nature of our physial reality, as per Seth (and Abraham, which Esther channels). So what I said above really is my truth, it’s the awareness by which I live and operate. I’ve integrated this and it’s totally consistent with my experience of manifesting.

    The foundation of this did come from my journey into multiple states of consciousness. Once I was able to ground and streamline the information, this was the result of that particular consciousness work. I think what occurs as we grow into expanded awareness and then ground it (the lack of which is what causes extreme distress and disorientation) is that our innate gifts do begin to come to light. I think it’s natural.

    It may feel like superpowers when we’ve been particuarly harsh on ourselves and systemically demeaned into chronic self-doubt, but to my mind, it is really who we are. I think that’s the path of self-discovery and soul growth, which is way different than the typical “social expectations,” which are what create that boxed-in, limited, and opppresive reality which is really what drives people crazy. I believe Seth and Abraham would both concur that shifting our focus is what changes our reality. I think so, too.

  • “Madness can never be truly understood, and madness is something that is still very mysterious, unique, and belonging to the other world, a world that only few of us have access to.”

    Disagree on all counts. We’re all one consciousness, each person expressing a unique aspect of that oneness. Everyone and anyone is capable of experiencing their self-maligning voices, which is where madness gets its power. In shadow, everyone is mad. In the light, everyone is a unique experssion of all-that-is.

  • The relationship between individuals and their environment is, both, complex and subtle. Add to this that being adjusted to a dysfunctional society only means that one is playing a role in the dysfunction–at the very least enabling it, which is a hefty contribution to its existence.

    Once the dysfunction is called out, then the individual who spoke their truth and blew the whistle shifts their role to outlier and usually becomes ostracized or “marginalized.” Naturally, truth is threatening to a dysfunctional community, and it will band more tightly together to keep the truth at bay so that it does not come to light. That would challenge the entire system more than it would want because then each individual would face their own hard truths. It’s a catch-22–either play into the system, or you will be marginalized.

    The other choice would be to detach from the dysfunction, heal the trauma and negative self-beliefs from that oppressive relationship, and be free.

  • I appreciate this work very much, Lauren. I began learning and integrating a variety of these practices over the years as my healing path through psych drugs withdrawal. I went from 9 neurotoxins to 0 in 6 months, at age 40, after 20 year of diagnoses and some combo of psych drugs or another.

    My best guidance came from a medical intuit to whom I turned regarding how to free myself of all of this, as I was beginning to feel hopelessly entangled in the “mental health” industry, and seriously disabled from it. She started me on this path of energy and awareness. $45 for a 15 minute reading, the protocol of which I followed diligently, and it totally did the trick! Took years, and I learned patience and deep trust in the process. Layer by layer, my health and life came back into balance. In the process, life became a way different experience for me, and that is exactly what I was needing, and for what I’d been hoping. Biggest shift ever.

    I’d just finished graduate school, in student debt up to my eyeballs, living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, and terribly desperate, so I was open to anything at all. I’d never before meditated nor was I terribly familiar with any of this, wasn’t part of my life or reality.

    The truth is that this saved my life, and that is no exaggeration. I was in dreadful shape, and had been for a good long while, feeling profoundly hopeless from time to time, thanks to all the misinformation I’d been receiving, the damage that had been done by those psych drugs, as well as the energy it took to battle the plethora of negative projections from the system. No grounding, filled with dread, no sense of having a “center.” Thank God, that all changed, once and for all, and I completely credit things like grounding meditation, Qi Gong, etc., all leading to heightened self-awareness. Slowing down big time was hugely healing.

    Consciously grounding and centering is what allowed me to find a bit of inner peace for the first time in a good long while, and which, in turn, allowed for a new clarity to emerge, followed eventually by a new paradigm of living. For me, it was healing at the core, and sure enough, radical inner change led to radical outer change. I call it “rippling transformation.”

    So I’m with you completely on “healing from within.” Taking that perspective is what led to my own personal liberation, and for my life dreams to come into reach, finally. Very best wishes for distribution!

  • Thanks for bringing focus to the family in this way, Chaya. I think it’s the most tricky and sensitive exploration of these issues, understandably, and also vitally relevant. One needn’t be a parent to understand a child’s needs given how we were all children at one point, without exception. How to balance needs of self without somehow depriving or expecting sacrifice from others is something we all learn to balance in any relationship. Unconditional love is not an easy practice in today’s world.

    Society is a mere reflection of how we’re doing as a “society of families,” and given the rampant abuse and marginalization (and the volatile and weighty emotions which accompany these) which seem to be the dominant social make-up at this time, I’d say the picture is obviously troubling and needs attention.

    I think we’re trying to heal generational abuse, and the effects thereof, and somehow transmute all that trauma energy into something meaningful and forward moving, a new clarity. Can we learn and grow from a history of trauma rather than to repeat the same mistakes made by others? Somehow, we have to do better than what has come before, which is what has brought us to these crossroads. Good time for an awakening.

  • If it’s phony, then the “happiness” is merely a front, not really happy of course. In fact, it doesn’t sound like a very enviable position to be in. Projecting a phony front takes a lot of work and effort and generally carries a great deal of anxiety from all that splitting. I think being authentic is relatively easier, and is where truth comes to light.

    I do agree that the lack of senstivity and empathy in the mh industry is over the top. The most memorable line I ever heard from a group therapist in social services was “take your meds and don’t make waves”–not to me, but to a group member who was experiencing crime in his housing. Doesn’t sound like a very happy therapist to me, in fact I’d say she was quite angry, and she said a lot of stuff like this, and indeed, was blatantly ridiculing. Consistent with the rest of my experience with the mh world.

    That is one angry and fear-based industry, projecting tons of phoniness, which is why it resorts to control and manipulation, followed by avoidance if questioned. To me, this is the epitome of *lack of integrity.* And that’s the nicest thing I can say about the industry, in all sincerity.

  • “If you’re freakishly happy all the time you must be stupid, insensitive, selfish, sheltered, or a combination of the above.”

    Not sure what would constitue “freakishly” happy, but overall, this sentiment evokes sadness in me, and feels a bit double-binding. If we have a right to unhappiness–which I would agree and to me it goes without saying that we all have the right to feel our true and authentic feelings–do we not also have a right to be happy, without being judged or labeled for it?

    I believe what causes problems is when people try to impose their feelings on others, rather than simply owning how they feel toward anything as their own experience, and not necessarily that of others. “You should be unhappy” and “you should be angry” are just as imposing, oppressive, and unrealistic as “you should be happy.” But I do think lableing people for how they feel in any respect is, to me, where psychiatry and DSM go way wrong. I also think that labeling people for being happy is the same thing.

  • My anxiety used to be extermely disabling to me until I began to perceive the inner dialogue going on. Most often, the anxiety came from not believing in myself and for taking on and internalizing negative projections, which I no longer do take these on and have learned to individuate from negative group dynamics.

    Healing was about learning to trust my own judgment and sense of self regardless of anything, and to stay connected to my own truth over and above the projected judgments and opinions of others. That was the advantage of unwittingly hanging out with bigots/snobs/elitists/marginalizers and becoming the target of their prejudice because they did not like my truth. A true lesson in “whose reality is it, anyway?” It has never been my goal in life to climb that social hierarchical ladder. That’s neither my desire nor my reality.

    These days, when anxiety pops up, I dialogue with it in order to understand what it’s wanting me to see in that moment. That has become my practice now, to engage directly with the anxiety, given it is a part of me and my experience at that particular time. As this inner dialogue ensues, which tends to be very engaging, eventually everything I need to know in that moment comes to light and the anxiety turns into guidance and creative energy. Moving forward and personal growth happen automatically at this point.

  • Extremely thought provoking. Thank you for speaking your truth with such power and conviction. Looking at ourselves is never a bad idea, imo.

    When you consider the whole of humanity and each person’s personal experience, these are in no way black & white issues, to say the least. We each have to take care of ourselves our own way. I think these are good personal boundaries to set and respect.

  • “As human beings we are creators, but, at times, we certainly can feel like victims. In my experience, we more or less consciously seek out challenges which stretch us to go beyond ‘our box’. We are surrounded by, and certainly history is filled with, inspiring individuals who have made their way through unenviable and unbelievable hardship guided by the resilience of their Spirit.”

    Yes, and so to know our spirit is to know our truth, unfolding from moment to moment, and that is our own personal GPS in life.

  • Will, thank you for sharing so honestly and transparently from your perspective, and I very sincerely respect your position and process here. Power dynamics and abuse bring up profoundly strong feelings and interpersonal issues, and can make each of us struggle to one degree or another. You articulate this well.

    I agree that we all play a part in the system we’ve created, one way or another, and we can be complicit with it in the most unconscious and unwitting ways, especially when suddenly thrust into that position. And, where there is money/salary involved, we all know the power of that persuasion. That is the nature of systemic programming, playing on our fears.

    Retaliation from the system only proves its corruption, and does not allow necessary truth to come to light, other than its own shadow which is already quite apparent to most of us. And this is what I, at least, seek in these endeavors–the truth and clarity that will lead to change.

    There are various parts to play in a dysfunctional system. One person, alone, cannot maintain a corrput system, an abuser has to be supported, so they create an enabling support system. Once we awaken to the role we’ve been playing and the implications thereof, that is an opportunity for great introspection, as you are embodying here.

    This is a highly relevant dialogue, imo, given the profoundly corrupt system, on so many levels, we’re talking about here.

    My personal experience comes from another perpsective, having played the role of “victim,” and then calling out power abuse and other potentially highly injurious practices based on power roles, and everyone protects the abuser, making it systemic.

    That experience has set off my own process of emotional journeying and trying to create meaning from it all, while learning quite a bit about how these systems trap and double-bind, completely oblivious to their abusive and injurious natures. Still a work in progress, but more and more clarity comes daily, from which I take my inner guidance based on my own personal truth and values, much like you describe.

    I don’t see anything wrong with consulting lawyers, however. There are tons of legal issues to consider when dealing with systemic power abuse. There are legal aid agencies for low income people, which I used once with success. The legal world is not easy either, but it can provide another perspective and one might just find a broad-minded and courageous attorney with insight and integrity.

  • Not everyone subscribes to the notion of rebirth. I do not believe it is dangerous, but more so a natural cycle of expanding consciousness.

    What some cultures call “death” others call “rebirth” because what we generally refer to as “death” has various interpretations. Concsiousness, for example, never dies, according to these beliefs. It simply shifts into new awareness, a new point of focus. That would create a new reality, like an upgrade. It’s one way of looking at things.

  • Really great to read this, David 🙂 Congratulations big time, I know the courage, tenacity, and transparency you have shown through this process. And as you know, Esther Hicks was a huge influence on me, too, and learning from her catapulted me forward into a new clarity. Would love to hear from you, if you feel inclined. All the best to you, always!

  • One strategy for change is to allow things (the old, outdated, dysfunctional systems) to fall apart and then seeing what emerges. That’s the natural cycle of rebirth. Could the planet be going through a rebirth at present?

    Hard to know what actions to take at any given time with such an event, but I believe being mindful of our own personal reality brings inspiration along the way. And I believe acting on inspiration is way more effective than acting out of fear and panic. There are also times where it is most effective to allow and see what happens next. We cannot control everything, that is impossible.

  • I appreciate Monica’s blog very much because it is all encompassing in the pros and cautions of increasing our self-awareness through mindful practices simply to pay attention to ourselves, as she states above. Brings up all sorts of stuff when we first start these practices, and it is a process of which to be aware, like with any learning curve from change. We do face our own programming here. That is our opportunity to ascend it consciously, should we so *choose* to do so.

    There are many and varied ways in which to deal with these newly unearthed feelings, depending on a person’s process, beliefs, experience, etc–a variety of factors. Support when learning this is valuable, and there are people trained and experienced in helping people learn to practice conscious mindfulness–from their own experience of learning, it is a paying forward kind of thing–when people so desire to choose something new and different for thesmelves. It can be a very healing endeavor for some people, on many levels. And yes, there are challenges and pitfalls, like with anything new, and this is simply an option for focus, motivated by a desire to change something in their lives.

    It is certainly not intended to be the only tool for living, the way breathing is not the only thing requred to stay alive. One needs to eat, too, and to self-care in many ways including nourishing one’s heart and spirit, creative expression, etc. There are many practices required to have the life we desire, just like there are many practices which affect our daily consciousness. There are so many generationally evolved practices and perspectives from which to choose, including creating one’s own, as there are infinite ways to practice mindfulness/consciousness/awareness. The idea is that these practices can be powerful tools for self-support in so many ways, if applied with conscious intention.

    Responding to the idea of “forced meditation,” I believe it goes without saying, especically aorund here, that nothing forced works in any respect, other than to make matters worse. In addition, I do not believe it is possible to force mindfulness, meditation, nor even one’s own beliefs, on another. That cannot be because, in the truest sense, no one can control what is in the head and heart of another. It is either a choice or n/a.

  • While a meditation practice might help someone clear their mind of clutter and help to sharpen focus, expand awareness and to perceive in new ways, it doesn’t necessarily change our heart or ideology and heal our wounds. That is a matter of heart healing, which is complex and is inherently about relationship to others. Meditation is about relationship to self, which is highly personal and individual.

  • From what I understand, the present moment is all that we can know with certainty is real–in the moment we are living it–and where our true power to heal, shift, and manifest exists. When we are mindful of our process and notice our response to life in the moment, then we have the power to take pause and shift that response, if we want to experience change. Or we can simply validate and enjoy the moment, which is the joy of life. Either way, present time awareness is where the power is.

    Great stuff as always, Monica. It’s wonderful to see the edge expanding. I’m all for however we can tap into our highest creative potential.

  • As someone who feels literally “saved” by having learned and maintained a specific meditation practice, I appreciate this article very much, Monica. I agree wholeheartedly that meditation is not simply about feeling “bliss” and sitting quietly–far from it–and that, indeed, carrying trauma influences our meditation space enormously, which we should approach with caution and awareness.

    When we shift awareness, a process of transformation begins which includes surrender and stiving for neutrality, releasing judgments, which is a quantum leap in consciousness which is literally a shift in our personal reality, inside and out. Step by step, layer by layer, it is such a process! And as we all know and discuss on here constantly, everyone’s process is entirely unique. I’m always glad to see this highlighted because it is our individual spirits we are reminding ourselves of.

    “Many folks with psych histories have been denied inclusion when approaching mindfulness teachers too… sometimes in ways that are very traumatic.”

    I actually got very lucky here and attended a healing meditaiton program where I was very welcomed by the teachers and other students, so I got terrific support as I learned the process of meditation. I was the only one I knew of when I began who enrolled in this program specifically to help me with psych drugs withdrawal, first and foremost, and then to help me to heal from the core issues which flooded to the surface as I came off all the drugs. I did not know about “iatrogenic illness” at the time, never heard of that, so I was not factoring it in. I put it all under the heading of “energy,” and learned the chakra work through grounding meditation.

    Absolutely the worst and messiest time of my life, I was in the throes of withdrawal and dark night, and even in a social services day treatment program when I began at this school. Each community invalidated the other, it was fascinating and excruciating at the same time. Although the spiritual teachers were more open to “mental health” work than the “mental health” commmunity was to the energy work. They totally judged it and found it “symptomatic.”

    I finally ditched all the mental health stuff and went with chakra and energy route, and that was the way out for me. No looking back, other than to inform my work in the world.

    From what you say in your article, I now consider myself to be extremely fortunate. This school I attended is one place where I did not experience discrimination and exclusion, directly opposed to what I felt in “the system,” whether in groups or 1:1 clincial sessions of any kind.

    And while the meditation, grounding, and energy work were major factors in my particular process of healing, what was MOST healing for me at that time in my life was the fact that I was welcome and treated with respect like all the other students. In fact, everyone knew the healing I was doing and thought it was cool, I was respected specifically for that, and neither scorned, judged, stigmatized nor discriminated against because I was dealing with such issues. It was normalized here, everyone had something they were dealing with, given how human we all are. The teachers were transparent in their personal growth and healing, too. There should be more places like this, I think.

  • “My own working definition of love is “joyful awareness”—the experience of happiness over the existence of something or someone, including whatever or whomever inspires us, from family and friends to nature and God.”

    I love working with joyful awareness, that’s my healing path. To be awake is to know love because when we are awake, we know that we are more than just our physical selves. We are ever-expansive.

    Although being awake and experssing love in a fear-based and hate-filled society is the epitome of courage. And it takes courage to create change.

    Thanks for the love, courage, and inspiration.

  • Lots of profound truths here. I especially appreciate this direct and simple statement–

    “None of us are perfect and there’s no one right way to help people or engage in mutual liberation.”

    I’m sure there are many ways yet to be discovered in these groundbreaking pursuits. Personally, I have found that effective boundary-setting is always a work in progress, and inherently relevant to creating mutually healing and harmonious relationship, based on authenticity. Keep up the awesome work, Chaya, you’re expanding the universe!

  • I’d still distinguish between having predominantly positive self-beliefs vs. negative self-beliefs, and these do make a difference in how we create and experience our lives. These are also malleable and possible to shift, which to me is a transformational process. But personal prejudice is something only a person themselves can change, when they are ready to face their own self-judgments.

    And like I said, what actions anyone chooses to take or not take will depend on what they believe about themselves, what they are capable of, how supported they feel, how vulnerable one is willing to make themselves while challenging the status quo, how to navigate the anxieties of speaking one’s truth in opposition to “power,” etc. I think inspired actions comes from a commitment to one’s personal sense of truth above and beyond the prejudice which may surround them.

  • Given that self-stigma translates into low self-esteem and low self-worth, then healing self-stigma would indicate shifting to positive and validating self-beliefs, despite outside messages, judgments, opinions, projections and prejudices. That’s an entirely different consciousness, and in turn, would create an entirely new reality for a person.

    I believe that is *the* journey to take, from self-condemnation to self-compassion and even self-love. When we feel good about ourselves, our feelings, words, thoughts, beliefs, and actions are quite different than from when we feel negatively about ourselves, producing different responses and results.

    We have the power to change only ourselves, not others. And, I believe, that is enough to bring significant change to the world. One person’s transformation affects everyone around that person.

  • I also wanted to express that whatever spiritual awareness a person can own for themselves, one thing I learned along the way of my healing and personal growth is that what is really challenging is being human, regardless of anything. I believe it is set up this way, by nature, so that we can know our power of self.

    I believe “psychosis” (which I would say some people call a such–i.e., they project–when a person embodies a personal reality which well outside the norm and, somehow, threatening to it) is what occurs during transitional states, where we are growing, changing, and transforming, as per the nature of life and being human. We’re not static beings, and change is inherently challenging and uncomfortable, but it becomes more so toward suffering when change tries to happen in a society where it is so stubbornly resisted due to personal competing self-interests.

    Transitional states of being are natural and change is happening all the time; but judgment, shame, fear, and worry are human traits which are malleable. When we work internally, we shift what is external to us, goes hand in hand. Permission to be is a powerful healing tool and perspective.

  • I love this article, Ekaterina, for many reasons. In fact, I believe you illustrate perfectly the oppression which psychiatry practices, especially oppression of personal thoughts and beliefs while completely invalidating, negating, and unequivocally dismissing what one feels and experiences on their own terms. So add oppression of a person’s emotions and spirit, too. How is this anything good?

    Past lives, parallel realities, and embracing one’s God-self (Buddha-self, Christ-consciousness, inner being, etc.) is reality for a lot of people on the planet, and it’s completely reasonable, and I’d say even desirable. For me and sooo many others I know, this is the case at least.

    I’d love for everyone to know their higher self and be able to embody that wisdom and live their truth outright, rather than all of this pretense in order to “fit in” and “be acceptable” and “approved of.” I think the world would improve a great deal if we were to all know how to embrace our spiritual selves as well as our physical selves, because I think we would not live so much by our judgments and fears, but more so by what makes us feel satisifed and personally fulfilled, and not at the expense of others. That’s my personal opinion and perspective.

    So much to learn, experience, and explore above and beyond the extreme limitations of “psychiatric thinking.” And by this I mean teeny tiny little boxes which amount to chronic suffering and cutting one’s self off from their own soul if one tries to fit in. This struck me specifically when you tell how the psychiatrist looked serious rather than laughed when you were joking with her. Embracing our soul path and growth is a lot more fun, interesting, creative, and freeing than is facing such a closed mind and heart.

    Thank you so much for writing this! I think it’s a powerful message and very clear. We do have a choice in what we believe, and what I believe is that our personal beliefs affect how our reality unfolds from day to day. Let’s not allow our choices and faith to be bullied out of being by this blatant oppression. I believe we have this power right now, to live our authentic truth, especially given all the oppressed voices speaking up and out these days.

  • Healing from whatever trauma one may have experienced is what leads to greater understanding of how things work as well as personal enlightenment.

    Also, what we observe in others is merely a projection of our inner world. A person’s reality is what they feel, not what others observe about them. That would be the reality of the observer.

  • Yes, very good distinction.

    And I would add here what I feel makes activism particularly unique in this arena, and ironically, I feel compelled to use the word “triggered,” because to me, this is exactly what I experience, so I’m speaking for myself with this word, it totally matches my intention–

    I know when I first started posting on MIA not long after its inception years ago, I was not prepared to feel as triggered as I was– not because of the issues being discussed, that I’ve been used to for years and that’s what I enjoy on here, the ability to be open about things where in most places I know it’s not so welcome, understood or even perceived as relevant.

    But I did feel a general lack of sensitivity, and even a bit more severe, kind of an “abusive energy,” and admittedly, I would unconsciously match it–not abusive, I don’t think, but insensitive and ranting. That’s what happens when I get triggered from a total lack of sensitivity in the air.

    I’ve been called “thin-skinned” on here which I cannot take seriously, as that would be impossible after all I’ve gone through, survived, and even from which I have thrived–from hospitalization to withdrawal from 9 drugs to legal mediation to being on stage (with anxiety issues no less!), and now doing very cutting edge work with people, so I do not take anything personally. I do know my truth, and I know who I am.

    But I am most definitely sensitive to energy, and I believe that is one thing that many survivors share. Not all, as I do not believe that this is a homogenous population, we are as diverse as anything. But I do know from knowing myself and tons of folks with whom I’ve spoken over the years, that being extremely sensitive to hostile negative and invalidating energies is quite a common trait among us. We each have to know ourselves in this regard, and then we can make wiser choices in life. Like HH says, to know how to best expend our energy. That is brilliant self-care and self-awareness.

    This brand of sensitivity is actually called “clairsentience,” meaning that we pick up energy from the environment on a physical level. It’s common, and something one needs to learn to work with so it is a gift rather than a crippling curse.

    So yes, it’s a delicate balance, and one I believe we can always be working to refine, if only for the sake of moving forward with all of this. In my work, there is something called “raising the energy,” which, when that occurs, a group can make great strides in accomplishing its goals. And the more one raises the energy, the more ease comes. That involves the values of mutual respect, sensitive listening and responding, from the heart, all that good stuff. I know I know–Kumbaya, as I’ve been called so often on here. But I’ll not bend here, either, because I know it to be truthful.

    One last thing, as long as we’re on the topic of communication–

    I guess it’s long overdue, but I do apologize for how I came on here and sent you a good blast of my anger in the way past, I did not handle myself well there. I’d been dialoguing with Mr. Whitaker just prior to this, and was super triggered by the article you had written. Not an excuse, but that’s the reason. I hope that in the meantime, I have grown in my ability to communicate with clarity and reason. That’s certainly been my intention. Takes trial and error. Your work is brilliant, no doubt about that.

  • In this case, “involuntary medication” is a silly euphemism which way waters down the spirit and intention of what we are communicating. Forced drugging is what it is, and the energy of this is accurate.

    There is a “violence” to it, or at the very least, intimidation, overpowering, and bullying. It is violating to a person. When we say “forced drugging,” we are saying exactly what we mean, and that’s where the power is.

    Here, I don’t believe it is an issue of language, it’s an issue of…I don’t know…power? Needing to be right? Needing to control? Other? Take your pick. Either way, the system never comes from a place of truth. It’s a rabbit hole.

  • Winning an EEOC mediation against a voc rehab agency took clarity, directness, and persistence. No word or mind games, and no attacking. Plain, simple, honest truth spoken from the heart. It all synched up.

    Of course the “powers that be” responded with retaliation when I accused them of blatant discrimination. And I proved it easily and without a doubt. It took its toll, but I recovered from the extreme stress of this and moved on.

    Standing up to them bolstered my self-respect, which, considering that this was my farewell to being vulnerable in “the system”– where I had given up my power to them by accepting a position with this agency after having been a client initially–this was profoundly healing for me in multiple ways.

  • That’s hard to answer out of context because situations, intentions, and relationships vary, and I do believe in a certain amount of sensitivity even when we are being totally honest in our emotions. Whereas clarity and whitewashing do not go hand in hand, I do believe that clarity and sensitivity can harmonize. I think it takes intention, practice, and trust in the process.

    I do know what you mean, in general, and I do agree, thinking of an example from years ago in San Francisco, when I was at a local activist roundtable, and I was directed specifically to not use “the D word” (Discrimination) because it is inflammatory. Of course that is bullshit and I said so, but I was alone in this. When I was doing this work in San Francisco, there was a caution about language that was over the top, and indeed, like you say, easily counterproductive. I’m sure it had all to do with appeasing power and not losing “status” in the community. Fakes.

    What I feel is most productive is that our words match our inention, and that we mean what we say and say what we mean–to be honest and straightforward. I believe that is the best we can do, to be authentic, while also being mindful that our words are matching our intention with clarity and purpose.

    That can still make people uncomfortable for one of two reasons–they are either hearing it in a way different than intended, projecting something onto what is being communicating, or there is a truth in what has been spoken to which people can be very resistant to hearing. I think this is where dialogue can help bring clarity, but like I said above, only if a neutral focus can be maintained. That’s generally the big challenge, from my experience, yet to be surmounted. People can get attached to a false belief and simply not want to let go, from all kinds of fears. That’s a problem when trying to resolve issues and create new clarity.

    In activism, however, how can one expect to not be uncomfortable? Seeking change will inherently make us feel our discomforts. Otherwise, nothing gets at all accomplished, status quo.

  • Having faced oppression in various forms, and then addressing what I had internalized in a healing manner by shifting my self-beliefs back to something more positive and encouraging to me, I agree wholeheartedly that language can be a powerful tool of oppression and is often used as such. It’s the essence of gaslighting.

    I also agree with HH that beyond words are energy and ways of thinking, which are inherently relevant to the subject of what words we use to communicate a specific intention.

    What exactly is our intention when we communicate a personal truth? To be heard? To make an impact? To create change? Or is it to hurt someone? Retaliate? Demonstrate power? Project our shadow so we don’t have to see or feel it ourselves?

    The last one I list here is how I most feel about what happens in the mh industry. And perhaps creating change will hurt some people. Is that a reason to not use our power of language in truth-speaking? These are conundrums I consider constantly as an activist. Who am I most responsible to, if not myself? Like anyone, I don’t appreciate at all being censored or silenced, but at the same time, I want to know how what I am saying is being heard.

    Sometimes, these are not in synch, and I find that always to be a most powerful space for new potential of clarity and understanding, if a relatively neutral focus can be maintained. If the intention of our words is to bring clarity to an issue or situation, then the outcome will naturally reflect either the power of that intention, or at the very least, it will highlight where the resistance to clarity is, which to me, is an obstacle to, both, healing and change.

  • Roles are assigned to children without their conscious awareness of how this occurs, but adults can choose to not play that role and dis-identify from a toxic system. That is transformational healing. Be the example of change rather than to continue playing the role of “victim,” and others will eventually follow suit. That is true groundbreaking and systems-busting courage.

  • “Authoritarian religious groups are [sub-CULT-ures] where conformity is required in order to belong. Thus if you dare to leave the religion, you risk losing your entire support system as well.”

    This goes beyond “religious groups.” This is cult mentality, and it is a norm in our society–corporate, poltical, academic–which translates into: 1) fear-mongering, 2) conditional acceptance, 3) shaming, 4) marginalization, 5) discrimination, 6) oppression (sound familiar?), and I’m sure much, much more–all designed to empower an “authority figure” and their chosen “elite group,” as per some made up dogma which serves the top echilon at the expense of the community at large, even though this is not seen clearly through all the smoke and mirrors. Playing on people’s fears and need for belonging is the most common way to amass “followers.” That’s generally the problem which can seem insurmountable to change.

    These extremely dysfunctional communities can be ruthless in their need to maintain power and control over others. The author calls it “toxic,” with which I would agree. It does require healing once one separates from this, which to me would signal a courageous and empowering awakening to one’s true self, separate and apart from this kind of brainwashing.

    Best way I can think of to disempower toxic, abusive, and traumatizing social dysfunction is to separate from it and heal to a new sense of self, which is natural evolution, and which is also a challenging journey which requires a lot of internal shifting and deep self-discovery–aka humility. But it does eventually lead to freedom once we can claim it and own it. That is profound change happening in the moment.

  • So many of us have said it so often. The stigma associated with marginalization is created and supported by the “mental health industrial complex,” (which includes associated entities and so-called “non-profit” social services). In fact, this field/culture promotes and causes marginalization in the first place. The stigma happens automatically, goes hand in hand with othering and marginalizing. All based on deceit, misrepresentation, mind games and gaslighting, and in general, an extreme lack of integrity–which is the antithesis of truth. That is crazy-making.

    What we call “mental illness” is often the end result of being othered by one’s primary group affiliation (e.g. family)–not always, but the family/community dynamic is a major player, given that othering does need a source from which to be projected initially, by definition–and that is repeated in the mh world perspective of what it means to be a human being, which is extremely limited at best, and overall terribly misguided. I believe that, by now, this is obvious. Eventually, this is internalized, and that becomes a profound internal split and struggle which can make one swing from despondence to rage, due to feelings of utter powerlessness.

    Once othering and marginalizing cease to be, then this will come into perspective and we can beging to heal as a society. But how to stop divisiveness is a head-scratcher. Perhaps to not play the game, on either team, would be a step in the right direction–maybe even a quantum leap.

  • I’d put quotation marks around “stepping out of line,” because of course we’re talking about people being themselves and following their own truth. We all have the capacity to live our truth, if we dare to be different and unique.

    The only “line” one steps out of is some arbitrary “line” drawn by the “APA clinical mindset,” which is, in reality, completely meaningless, unless one buys into it. Then, it is dangerous because it is inherently dehumanizing.

    I’d say having a moral compass would keep anyone more in line, in a universal sense, although I guess that can be relative as well. And whether that is innate or learned–or some combo of both–is something on which I’m not totally clear.

    In general, though, any sense of this seems to be missing in action among our leaders, and I could not locate it anywhere within the mh industry for years and years.

    Unfortunately, this has been the example as of late, to demean those who are different, rather than to value uniqueness. I think this is where the mh industry falls way, way short, to say the least, making it a strong arm of oppression and discrimination, if not the epitome of it.

    Apparently, this field and its many affiliations have no plans to stop hurting people, despite the overwhelming evidence that this is exactly what is happening, and has been for a long time. To me, that is a flagrant lack of human values.

  • So how does one teach respect? Other than by modeling it from the practice of it, as a general rule of living. It also helps to practice self-respect and radical self-care. These tend to guide a person in the right direction, and away from systemic abuse, bullying, and marginalizing–aka blatant stigma aka textbook discrimination. Then, wounds and post traumatic stress caused by chronic othering can heal, once out of the marginalizing community. That’s when good wisdom kicks in, from having lived the experience of it, and then healing from it with a lot of processing and shifting perspectives. That’s useful to the world right about now.

    Facing chronic blatant social and professional discrimination is treacherous, but it can heal in time, in a sound and just environment. And if that doesn’t exist, we have to create it. It has to start somewhere.

    For me, the irony has been that only in the mh world have I faced overt and chronic discrimination from the negative projections of stigma. I believe it originates in the “mental health” field of study. “Discrimination” is woven into the fabric of the education and training program and fully supported by the DSM. Without stigma, discrimination, and all-out othering, the entire field of “mental health” would totally fall apart. It relies on this for its own self-identity, and for business.