Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Comments by Alex

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  • Psychiatry: “1. a medical specialty, now defunct, whose primary tenet was that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving were best conceptualized as illnesses, and best treated with mood-altering drugs and electric shocks to the brain. 2. (informal) an enormous hoax. 3. (informal) a shameful abuse of power and position.”

    This is sooo powerful! I’d say repost and repeat this everywhere. It is clear, direct, to the point, and, frankly and sadly, truthful. Why wait 20 years? Thank you, Dr. Hickey, really great.

  • “Our consciousness creates the reality that reflects it. If we feel apart, other, afraid, and deadened, we will live in a world that reflects and perpetuates these energies. Push out of your comfort zones, explore, and experiment with new ways of thinking, relating, and feeling. You may find that epic beauty dwells in the most unexpected places.”


  • Powerful story. Good for you for standing in your light of truth. There’s a reason they call it “courageous.”

    Just one factual correction, where you say, “I thought about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay mayor in the US…” HM was the first openly gay elected official in the US, but he was not mayor, he was a city supervisor. The mayor of San Francisco at the time of Milk’s service was George Moscone.

  • Wow, Juleen, perfect synch in our thinking, without a doubt. I’ve met a few other lightworkers on here who no longer post here. The focus is just so different, and yes, there is a lot of demeaning and patronizing “othering” associated with having a spiritual perspective. I believe this is academically based. I’ve been distancing myself. I hadn’t even checked this site in over a week, and had a whim last night, and happened to see your comment, which I otherwise wouldn’t have seen because this is an old blog, and I’d have had no reason to check it out. All sorts of synchronicity around here!

    There is so much here on which to chew and comment, I appreciate the rich depth of your wisdom. Indeed, like you, I believe it is the task of the day to create bridges of ascension. I think when we authentically and fearlessly live our truth, we attract a lot of help, starting with from the universe. Then guides show up, and on and on. I love that process, it is fascinating as it unfolds.

    This thread has gotten rather long, so I’m going to keep it relatively short this time, simply mirroring your truth as my own. We have so much in front of us to explore, discover, and learn. It is an exciting time, indeed. Our DNA is even changing and expanding. We can be transmuters of energy and ascension way-showers as a healing presence, and we are on our path.

    Victim/conflict/lack energy can always be transmuted into creatorship, inner peace, and abundance, working with polarities. I believe one informs the other, that’s the transformation. I work with the energy of abundance, that has served me miraculously. From that, all I need springs, like fishes and loaves.

    A couple of quick add-ons here. First, I just wanted to acknowledge this beautiful guidance—

    “Try envisioning the way first, to whatever feels like the next level of joyful expansion for you..instead of waiting for the way to be shown to you..focus on visualizing it more pointedly, even if it’s just feeling the essence of how it feels and what it represents. Your vibration is already so high that I bet if you do that in a more focused way than you have, you’ll start to feel the flow toward it being unblocked.”

    Thank you, Juleen, total light speak. I can feel it strongly because I’ve been working on just that, so you got me, here. I’m impressed, seriously! I’m taking this to heart, thank you.

    “…your intuitive guidance system which uses emotions to help you navigate by telling you how close or far from the truth of your true being you are (the worse it feels, the further from the truth it is!)”

    Esther Hicks/Abraham fan, by chance? Sounds exactly like her teachings, which I love, and indeed, I agree. Being out of alignment with our true being is what causes us discomfort, and which, in turn, guides us to our alignment, indicated by how we feel. It’s beautiful ease, I think.

    Thank you for this exquisite dialogue, it has been refreshing. Any chance you have a way to contact you via email? I’d be very interested to continue this discussion in private, but I don’t have a public address to offer any longer. This timing is actually rather uncanny to me, so I’m wondering if LOA is hard at work here, on my/our behalf!

  • Oh, and I really love this, emphatic yes from me–

    “… I’d love to see an interim “reverse Mental Health system”, de-conditioning, de-programming, learning how to experience and use the energy of unconditional love which is our essence. Learning to live within the new non-co-dependent relationship paradigm that is being templated now (a whole other thing!). But a system specifically for ppl who have chosen identities that involve mental/emotional/behavioral pathology. To un-do the damage as a way to help accelerate the higher consciousness shift for the collective…”

    That’s what I call creative thinking. Juleen, we are speaking the same language here! This is exactly what we do in our groups, we are deprogramming in order to know our true selves. We’re just a little country operation, though, I live in a small rural town. I’d love to expand, but at this point, I’m waiting for the light to show the way, that’s all we can do at present, as we do what we can with what we have. I’m always on the lookout for that opening, somewhere, somehow. Up to me to manifest this, right? Hmmm…

  • Juleen, awesome post (and powerful numerical synchronicity!)–and yes, exactly what I’m talking about, allowing a new reality to unfold, which is what happens as we allow our perspectives to shift. Releasing the old and allowing the new (aka healing and change) is a radical shift, the challenge of which is that all our resistance is going to come to light for us to face and sort through somehow.

    As we shift dimensions, we face our shadows and must somehow integrate ourselves with full on self-acceptance and true self-compassion. It’s a hefty clearing, very profound.

    That’s how this core shift is healing—at least, we are given those opportunities. As you rightly note, not everyone is into taking that particular healing journey, as it does shed light on all of our programming, about which we are faced with some challenging choices here.

    Are you familiar with the terms “ascension,” and 3D vs. 5D consciousness? From all you say above, I’m thinking you know what I’m talking about, you are describing it perfectly–how we are shifting from operating in a linear reality to a multi-dimensional focus, where present time is all that is, each moment a convergence of multiple realities and energies.

    According to the universal laws of energy, where we choose to focus is what determines the reality we are creating for ourselves. And we have a lot of choices with each and every experience, moment to moment, on where to focus and what story we create for ourselves as we go along in life. We can always shift focus when we are ready for change. That’s our creative process in full power.

    To my mind, this determines everything about ourselves and our lives, and we have all the control we need in terms of where and how we choose to focus our attention, and which perspective navigates our present time consciousness. We have so many choices here. So much follows from this choice, like a chain of energy reactions which leads to 1) how we feel in our bodies and 2) what we manifest for ourselves.

    Indeed, spirituality gets just as stigmatized as anything, it is so often confused with religion, which is more like a cult to me. I think of spirituality more directly as “pertaining to the spirit,” which to me, is what is way more vast than our physical selves, yet on the continuum of it. I see this as universal.

    When we expand consciousness, we perceive more of who we are, and some of that is physical and some of that is on a spiritual (energetic) level. I believe our emotions are the doorway to how we can be aware of this connection between body and spirit. This is where I did a lot of neural pathway re-routing, with very focused meditation and awareness work. It was tedious at first, and still fascinating. But given how we can program our neural pathways, it eventually becomes second nature to expand our thinking, it is more ease than effort.

    My brain and nervous system changed a great deal just from practicing this, really calmed the “fight or flight” issue, while shifting my entire self-perception, and therefore, my experience of life. This is where I feel my power to make change, beginning internally. I believe we change on a daily basis, that is our nature. Really, it’s a matter of awareness. When we connect with our ever-changing natures, we experience more ease in life, because we are allowing our higher consciousness to guide us, and that is who we are! No more “social approval,” we become our authentic selves, regardless of anything. That is how we discover our true path and life purpose, because we are listening to ourselves, not the judgments or expectations of others. And in the process of being true to ourselves, we create that which pleases us most, because we are honoring and expressing who we really are, no pretense (like, for political purposes, for example).

    To make it practical, I see spirituality in terms of energy. My healing was centered around the principles of energy and vibrational frequency of our thoughts and emotions, and how this drives the feelings in our bodies as well as what we manifest outside of ourselves. To me, it follows a very common sense connect-the-dots logic and is the most practical thing I’ve ever learned in my life. It is all experiential learning. Reading about it is one thing, applying it and living it is what counts. That’s where our energy and perspective shift.

    I had been a psychotherapist before going into the system for support as I withdrew from all psych drugs, and that’s where I discovered the extreme limitations of “mental health services.” I was ostracized from my own field because I came out as a psychiatric client, and plus, my personality did not fit the culture. I’m actually an artist (actor, filmmaker, music director and performer) so I was way beyond the scope of this narrow perspective. I have a wide range of emotions which I like to own, feel, and express, I think that’s normal for artists, and my entire life now is about creating art via one medium or another. I always know my center, no matter how far to the edge I go.

    I think that’s the key to maintaining clarity, a sense of control, and also general well-being and enjoyment of life–to know our center, and to know how to get back to it when we are triggered. Everyone gets triggered, daily, that’s a fact of life. But not everyone knows how to come back to center before spiraling downward, that’s the problem. This spiritual energy work is what connected me with this awareness of coming back to center. That made life livable again for me.

    However, a wide emotional range of expression does not go over well in the “mental health” world, as we all know. Without awareness of spiritual energy–to which we shut the door completely when we invalidate, shun, marginalize, and drug strong emotions–there is nowhere to grow, we hit a ceiling! Things get very frustrating here, and our clarity, grounding, and overall well-being become highly compromised–not to mention, our sense of empowerment. At this ceiling is where feelings of powerless creep in, and that can be extremely uncomfortable and produce all sorts of debilitating anxiety, depression, and rage.

    It was when I turned to a chakra and energy healing program that I learned how we operate as energy, and that is what opened the door for me to transformative healing. I healed by leaps and bounds in the couple of years I attended this program to both heal and train. This is how I expanded my healing practice, once I became grounded and clear enough to get back in the saddle. This also took me from mental patient to theater and stage performer (which I’d never done before, this all started with volunteer work), which changed my health and my life indescribably. I attribute this to knowing how to follow my spiritual path.

    Then, I studied Law of Attraction in depth, as a healing tool, followed by Kabbalah studies, where I learned about “co-creating with the light.” All of this added up to be the most practical and common sense healing and personal growth path I could imagine.

    I’ve been in practice for 12 years now, teaching what I’ve learned along the way and helping others to apply it, and am currently co-creating with a couple of partners what we’re calling “Healing Academy for the Performing Arts,” where I’m combining everything across the boards—meditation, energy work, spiritual growth and awareness, music, and the arts. We’re just finishing up our second quarter of meetings, and are rehearsing for our next series of shows, as a band which performs for senior residents of assisted living centers. We cater to them musically with songs from the 20’s-50’s. They love it so much, it is really fun and gratifying.

    To me, this is extremely spiritual, in every way—connecting to each other as spirits in this energy field of music. It is healing for everyone concerned, individually and socially.

    AND, no one gets categorized here in any way. I come from the system, but my partners do not. We have diverse backgrounds and growth processes. There is no discrimination in energy healing. We are all energy of varying frequencies, ever-expanding as per our nature; and somehow, we all fit together harmonically. That’s it–unity consciousness.

    So all of our healing and consciousness work is getting cycled into community service now. We’re having a fantastic time with this, all based on feeling and sharing joy. To us, that is the healing elixir.

    I’m curious how this all speaks to you. Seems we are similarly trying to integrate all of this healing information. It is sooo not easy! Lots of resistances to truth and light in our world. It is hard to receive love when one has been deprived of it for too long. I think that’s a core trauma, lack of love. We have to start with loving ourselves if we want to experience this shift.

  • Labeling an abused and traumatized person, rather than validating their story and reality and understanding that, regardless of anything, it has a root, is gaslighting, and downright cruel. Constant “you” statements (I notice you are this, I notice you do that, I’m aware you said this) is, both, self-conscious making and crazy-making, I consider at least a derivative of gaslighting.

    And yes, it happens all the time, it is sop, and not just by the therapist, but by clients, as well. I’ve known people who have been long term psychotherapy clients, and this is all they do, point at others the way are pointed at in therapy, ready to point out something wrong with a person, or some contradiction. People take the example from their own therapy, and pay it forward. I don’t find this a very comfortable in a relationship, to be so heavily projected onto, called this and that, being constantly told what is “wrong” with you.

    From Wikipedia—

    “Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.”

    This article elaborates–

    This passage got my attention:

    “The intention is to, in a systematic way, target the victim’s mental equilibrium, self confidence, and self esteem so that they are no longer able to function in an independent way. Gaslighting involves the abuser to frequently and systematically withhold factual information from the victim, and replacing it with false information. Because of it’s subtly, this cunning Machiavellian behaviour is a deeply insidious set of manipulations that is difficult for anybody to work out, and with time it finally undermines the mental stability of the victim. That is why it is such a dangerous form of abuse.”

    While it may really not be intentional, as expressed in this definition, and I imagine in the majority of therapy practices it is not, still, when it comes to compromising “the victim’s [patient’s] mental equilibrium, self confidence, and self esteem so that they are no longer able to function in an independent way,” sounds like the effect of psych drugs to me. This is a double whammy for clients, physical abuse from the neurotoxins and mental/emotional abuse—albeit unintentional—from the standard practice of projecting so heavily onto another person. That’s a lot of multiple trauma, caused by standard treatment, perspective, and paradigm. It’s why people can go downhill fast while in “treatment.”

    And yes, it’s totally advantageous to the abusers and oppressors to have this system in place, so that the “identified patient” is unmistakable. Takes the spotlight, and the responsibility, off of them. It’s a brilliant plan, totally double-binding, and extremely costly for people and society in so many ways.

  • I do love your vision, Dr. B, always rings true to me and speaks to my heart.

    “…a calling that proceeds from respect and love,” indeed. I also see it as an art of “responsiveness and intuition,” what I’d call being fully in present time, awake to our own inner voice in the process of listening actively to and being present with others. Also, “recovering innocence and authenticity” as source of strength. I love how you put that. I would also add inner power to that, including the power to manifest what we most desire.

    With respect to gaslighting, it is a term and practice of abuse which I’ve brought to the forefront repeatedly because I believe it is underrated in terms of its prevalence and psychological danger. It is subtle and insidious, and very hard to catch. It causes terrible post traumatic stress symptoms which can be very challenging to heal, because, in essence, we wind up mind-fucking ourselves as per learned habit, leading to chronic self-sabotage from having internalized such false negative messages, causing perpetual internal struggling.

    Imperfection is part of life and the creative process. The idea is to learn, grow, and refine as we go. It is inevitable that we reach a point of passage where we are called to transform our perspective, in order to allow change to occur outside of us.

    I’m very much aligned with the catch phrase “There is no excuse for abuse.” Especially in the healing world. That is more than abuse–it is betrayal and fraud, not to mention sinister. Sadistic personalities seek to have power and control over others. If this is the best we can do, then I’m not sure how to reconcile this, because it seems far and away from acceptable.

  • I think psychotherapy can be sound and supportive to gain clarity, resolve inner conflicts, and achieve personal growth and evolution. My concern, however, is that it can be so risky for clients. Aside from way better training with a few more perspectives to consider than what is currently offered by the mainstream–which is especially narrow and myopic, imo–there needs to be some kind of checks & balances system to protect the client, who is in the vulnerable position of needing to trust, from mental abuse. Unfortunately, it is common.

    In addition, it is not a stretch to imagine that if one is seeking healing from childhood trauma and wounding, it can easily be repeated in a clinical relationship. It isn’t always transference; sometimes it is for real. And that can easily lead to way more trouble for the client, rather than healing. I believe it’s a common problem, and people suffer because of this–sometimes without even realizing they’re being gaslighted. I feel so strongly that something needs to be checked, here.

  • “Psychotic” is such a relative term, in its most commonly used context–being “out of touch with reality.” And this is most often applied to those who have evolved or are evolving outside the norm–“the box,” as it were. That’s not at all an easy process, given the extreme limitations which we have internalized from social programming.

    It could be a really beautiful, enriching, and fascinating period of personal exploration and discovery–not to mention, of glorious manifestation–were we to honor personal growth and spiritual evolution for what it is. It will never look “normal,” that’s the idea.
    “Fitting in” vs. “being outcast” is one of the biggest illusions by which we operate, and this alone causes suffering for people, from that dualistic “us and them” perspective. Spiritual growth is about not giving a flip about that, because one is focused on one’s own path and evolution, not on whether or not they are being “approved of” by society. That is a non-spiritual perspective, and compromises one’s personal power, we just give it away freely in this mindset. Plus, it merely serves as distraction as to our purpose in life, if we are always preoccupied with “fitting in.” Rather, I’d suggest no one fits in and everyone fits in. We are all unique aspects of one consciousness, which makes both statements true from different perspectives. Social harmony will occur when we honor our gifts and those of others–not by being opaque, controlling, and seeking power over others, using people for one’s personal gain. That’s called “vampirism.”

    Instead, drugging and blatantly stigmatizing human expression, experience, and evolution is our appalling (and dangerous) norm–utter darkness. Of course it pisses people off, to no end, and makes them feel hopeless, despondent, and powerless. That seems justified, considering what I consider to be the reality of the situation. To me, these perceptions and practices that are “normal” seem “psychotic.”

    The most expanded consciousness would argue that mainstream thinking is “psychotic” because it is rife with delusion, limitation, oppression, and corruption. It is based on brainwashing and social control. Enlightenment is way expanded consciousness, perceiving and experiencing beyond the ordinary. That could very possibly not only be more real than what is perceived by the majority (the norm), but it can also be extremely useful, relevant, and practical information, especially given the dark times into which we have fallen. We need new perspectives and creativity more than ever now. How else will we get through this time, to the other side of this collective dark night of the soul? I believe we have to create our way out of it, and our imaginations are being tested here.

    But if society continues to shun that which is “beyond the ordinary,” and considers it weird, bizarre, odd, off-putting, and/or terrifying, and therefore, does everything in its power to suppress it and keep it at arm’s length via marginalization, then it will never grow beyond the illusions of mainstream thinking, and that cannot end well, it is a downward spiral. At some point, we are going to have to respect and value those that go out on a limb and have the courage, integrity, and inner peace to live their truth, despite social stigma and marginalization, if we are to be saved from complete social annihilation because at this point, we’re basically killing each other, one way or another. If I were to call anything “psychotic” at this point, it is at least the USA society, on the whole.

    Regarding emotional suffering, I think we just need to be kinder and more supportive of each other. I think people suffer a great deal from being shunned, turned away, ostracized, marginalized, demeaned for having issues, profiled and feared, tricked, deceived, betrayed, gaslighted, etc. Were people to play fair and with integrity, so much confusion, disorientation, anxiety, and emotional suffering would shift pretty quickly, I think. But that is a choice people make. No one can force integrity onto another. We do the best we can with what we know, and hopefully, we learn as we go, seeing more and more truth.

    For some, truth can be searing. I think that’s where humane and compassionate support would be called for—support from those who welcome truth, not from those that shun it. The latter would be self-defeating, at best, and more than likely, dangerous.

  • Infuriating to read this. I’m so sorry for your loss, and for what you all have been put through.

    “Research natural alternatives. Don’t give your power away to people who deem themselves all-knowing simply by merit of their white coat and a medical duh-gree. Educate yourself so that you can be your own best health advocate, and that for those whom you cherish and love.”

    We definitely need to keep highlighting avenues of healing way above and beyond what is so glibly, and often so seemingly randomly and blindly, offered by “prestigious” mainstream western medicine. There are so many sound and natural remedies for everything, including multiple perspectives from which to consider what is happening in the body.

    Although of all the words in the above passage, I’d recommend simply, “Don’t give your power away.” I think when we do, that’s really the start of compromised well-being.

    Kind of a toss up as to what has most degenerated in our society–competence, empathy, human decency, common sense, heart intelligence, et al. Any or all, you name it. Thank you for sharing this so that others know the dangers of modern western mainstream health care. I’m so sorry you found out the hard way. I did too, almost lost my life–and for a while, my heart, mind, and spirit–to pharmacology and grossly incompetent care, came very close, but I was fortunate to have survived. My entire perspective on life has changed since then, that was an awakening for me, regarding to where our society has sunk, on the whole. It was a slap-in-the-face wake up call, and it got my attention but good.

    My very best wishes to you and your family.

  • This is relevant to the dilemma of psychiatrists, but the idea of relating the intimate details of another, in this case, clients–whether under pseudonym or not–for professional gain, to prove a point, or to navigate one’s own internal paradoxes seems explicitly cold, dissociated, and dehumanizing to me. I wish even this practice would cease, as a way to show respect to one’s clients.

  • I wanted to add this, your example reminds me so much of what this statement is communicating. I’ve posted this on MIA a few times when it feels relevant, as it does now. I have two groups with whom I’m working at present, and we start with this–it is the cornerstone of my practice, because I find it so liberating in all the right ways, to bust through the most inhibiting and stigmatizing of all that social programming. By Marianne Williamson, from A Return to Love–

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  • Congratulations, Monica and happy anniversary. Beautifully authentic and real, as always.

    I agree that by choosing to follow our bliss, we find our true spirit nature and from that, we can make more inspired choices for ourselves, moment to moment. Following the path which society expects or dictates (social programming) indeed causes a core split, because we are not following our true nature. To my mind, this causes suffering, and it is chronic until we discover who we are and make choices based on that, and not based on the judgment of others.

    The path of healing is one of true creativity, so we connect directly with our creative essence when we choose this. I believe that from the “going toward bliss” intention and momentum, we are creating a more light-filled society, by example. This energy ripples outward, as is the nature of energy.

    So it’s true, I think, that those of us who took on the burdens of society through our sensitivity can help influence healing and change by, once and for all, being ourselves, and letting the chips fall where they may. In other words, we can always give it back in order to create healing opportunities for others. We cannot heal others’ issues, but of course, we can always help to transmute the energy.

    I always say that no one heals another, we can only speak our truth in the hopes of influencing others to find their own unique healing path. You are a shining example of this. Thank you for your voice and enormous influence to create sorely needed change in the dynamics of our society.

  • LavenderSage, I haven’t yet heard back form MIA nor have I heard from you, and since the spam posts are still active, it seems as though no one is around to help us with our request to connect with each other. I no longer publically post my address because when I was, I got all sorts of unwanted emails and all kinds of spam so I’ve stopped doing that. I’m also moving away from MIA for reasons having to do with letting go and moving forward. You actually just caught me, I thought the first post I made on this article was going to be my last on this website, then I saw your response, so I’m hanging in there until we can connect.

    Still, considering your post, I thought I’d go ahead and say here that after I came off the drugs and did all the healing work to support the withdrawal–which was all about energy, chakras, grounding, and clearing blocks (Chinese Medicine)–I had to, at the same time, consider how I was perceiving my reality. So I began to consider the values and beliefs I was raised with, and realized how much they just did not fit who I was. I had internalized my families value system–very middle class, social hierarchy, norms of society, all that crap–which put me in conflict with my own spirit, so that’s when I began to totally individuate from the “family voices.”

    What was causing me so much pain, which was uncovered when I got off the drugs and cleared my head a bit, was the inner conflict between these internalized beliefs of old vs. my true spirit, wanting to lead me to where I really desired to go, my true calling, as we all have a path to follow. When we don’t follow our true and natural path–which is programmed into our intuition I believe–because we are, somehow, stopping ourselves, we suffer because we are not following our true spirit nature, to be in affinity with ourselves. That is a core split, like playing tug-o-war with ourselves.

    So that was the start of the next phase of healing–in addition to the energy work–discerning and separating out internalized family energy and beliefs from my own true heart and spirit voice, my real desires. That set me free on a whole new level.

    After that, I learned all I could about Law of Attraction, and that really moved me way forward, quantum leaps. There are a lot of LOA teachers out there, some are better than others. I happen to really enjoy Esther Hicks’ teachings on LOA, she has hundreds of videos and clips from her seminars which I find fascinating and so relevant, a real game changer, whole new paradigm. Search Abraham-Hicks on YouTube, tons of stuff will come up to explore, on how it relates just every subject imaginable.

    At the end of it all, learning about Law of Attraction and other universal laws of energy is what got me past all of this, once and for all, because it guided me as to how we co-create our realities, so I felt more control over my life experience.

    I did my withdrawal from 9 drugs in 2001-2002, and by 2007 I was singing and acting on stage (which I’d never done before until then), thanks to the Chakra and energy work, and then studying law of attraction and applying that to my healing. I was extremely dedicated my healing, it was all I focused on during that time, and all of that work got me far (as well as staying as far away as I could from anything called “mental health services”).

    It took my a bit longer to consider myself completely well, and for that, I had to heal from all the gaslighting and mental abuse that took place alongside all of this, from the system. I found that to be much trickier and more subtle than the drug harm. The effects of gaslighting are devastating, really messes with one’s self-perception. Reminded me so much of what I went through as a kid, my family was the same way, all academic and competitive, whereas I had no such inclination.

    This allowed me to dig deep and release all the confusion and disorientation from having been chronically lied to, emotionally manipulated, stonewalled, and shamed for standing up for myself. Such is the double bind of our mainstream society. It’s lose/lose, no way to win in this. So that’s how I healed my core wounds.

    As I shifted all of these internal beliefs to align more with who I am naturally, as a spirit being having a human experience, I felt myself lighten up considerably, my thoughts changed to create a more positive perception of myself, and almost like magic, my environment changed. I attracted opportunities that allowed me to transition and that’s when I moved to a rural natural environment and found my true self, here. Pure transcendentalism, nature is beyond amazing in her healing support.

    These days, I’m moving further and further away from all this mental health stuff, mostly toward creating music and other community service endeavors, focusing on social healing. I find that the more I focused my attention on that which felt good and brought me uplift, the better I would feel. Sure enough, that’s what happened. So I continue in this vein, and I grow as a result.

    Overall, during healing, we tend to stare so much at our shadow, and I learned it is healing to go the other way–to stop staring at the shadows, and instead, look for the light. That creates a new inner landscape for us, based on light rather than shadow. This translates into what we manifest outside of us.

    I hope this has spoken to you, somehow, while we are waiting for MIA moderators to respond to our request. I felt compelled to offer at least something here, even though I don’t know your specific issues at present. Hope it helps!

  • I emailed Hana, too, and didn’t hear back, so I guess she’s off work these couple of days. I just now emailed Emmeline to see if she can help us out, pointing her to this dialogue and asking her to forward my email address to you. I imagine you’ll be hearing from her sooner than later. I do look forward to connecting, sounds like we’re on our way!

  • Sure, LavenderSage, I’d be happy to dialogue with you in private. I used to offer an alternate email address on here which I no longer have, so all I have is my main address which I don’t like to post publically. Perhaps you can email me a brief note through MIA and have Hana forward it, so I’ll have your email and can respond that way? Would that work?

  • Thank you for this, Dr. Steingard, a lot to chew on here.

    “If we all have confirmation bias, how do we decide who is correct? How do we know what is true?”

    What a gorgeous exploration these questions make. I can’t imagine all the diverse responses these questions generate. At least that I know is true.

    “While I like to think of myself as deriving my conclusions through careful research and reason, I am also told — repeatedly — that I am passionate and some have suggested my passion clouds my reason. I like to think my passion drives me to reasoned inquiry, but who knows?”

    I think passion makes us human. All of us are right sometimes, and wrong sometimes. Who cares? Life is not an exact science, it is a creative endeavor. Without passion, we are totally dull and spirit-less.

    Healing from what I experienced as a psychiatric client involved a great deal of forgiveness, in addition to actually fixing the damage. In addition, I could begin to harness gratitude for the experience of awakening to my true path and spirit (my personal truth) to which all of this led me. In the end, we are all human beings doing the best we can with what we know, learning as we go–hopefully. How we affect others is something we might or might not consider along the way.

    I can forgive what psychiatry and the mental health system did to me–the deep harm and betrayal–but that’s not a pass to continue doing it. It means that I’ve released my resentment, because I recognize how this all adds up for me and my life, how I’ve been guided to where I need and want to be at present. This is for my good, and for my holistic well-being, makes me feel lighter and clearer when I release resentment.

    But it still makes me angry that it continues, despite all of the obvious protests. So many of us call psychiatry and the like social abuse, purely. There is a lot of gaslighting that happens here, and that is very dangerous for people, can really mess people up. Can we perhaps look into this and see what this over the top oxymoron is about, that psychiatry is actually crazy-making? I believe it goes way deeper than the psych drugs, that’s just a symptom of the core issue here…

  • “The same goes for the EEOC. If they have been notified of a case where a man becomes unemployed because of discrimination based on disability, they have a duty and an obligation to represent this man in court. For free.”

    This is exactly what happened to me, I filed a discrimination suit based on disability (ADA violation) lawsuit with EEOC, after getting fired from a voc rehab agency as a client-to-staff employee, they had drafted me for their staff after I went through their program. I was succeeding wildly with clients, they were getting jobs they loved and were excelling at, and then management started reprimanding me for pissing off the CEO. I wouldn’t sign the reprimands, they were absolutely ridiculous, so they fired me, took three of them to do it, and I had no advocacy whatsoever. I asked why, and they kept it vague. I told them they were required to give me a reason (I’d been a manager for 17 years before this, I knew employment law), and they noted an email I had sent that they felt was inappropriate, which was really quite benign.

    I went to the EEOC on my own and filed a complaint, and it was denied.

    Then, I scoured the city for an attorney would not charge me, and I finally found one at a non-profit employment law teaching center. She was outside the “mental health” system, thank God. I think that was my saving grace. She heard me speak the truth, and not through the filter of stigma, and I was able to back it up because I requested my notes from the agency, and it was quite clear. In fact, the CEO had written exactly what Katie says above, “Alex doesn’t fit in.”

    What was interesting is that I made a lot of friends there, with other staffers. Of course, they abandoned me when all this started, they were so scared of losing their jobs. Although they did admit to me that they felt that managers were “torturing” me. Which is true, they bullied and gaslighted all over the place, rather shamelessly. I wanted to change agencies, and they refused to help me. They really wanted me out in the streets! It was very obvious. What could be more ironic than a voc rehab agency that cannot handle the “rehabilitation” part of their mission, and knows neither ADA nor employment law? Travesty.

    The attorney was great, I won the mediation, and she was extremely generous and gracious to wave the fee. EEOC awards aren’t that big. The mediator said I could go father if I wanted to but they would make life hell for me. This had already gone on for a year, I was in the middle of healing from psych drugs withdrawal, so I was totally spent by this time. Plus, I was more interested in getting back to work, so that was that. I was extremely fortunate to find this attorney. I do wish there were more like her out there.

  • “I imagine lots of survivors come from narcissistic families in which they played the scapegoat while their siblings became the golden child therapists”

    That describes my family dynamic, except that my sibling became an elitist academic, he’s the dept head at a prestigious university. Although the way I handled that part of my story of healing was to speak my truth about it, directly. My family story, and how I surpassed it, is in a film I made, where 6 of us speak very publically about our journeys through the system.

    I’ve been challenging my family system for a long time, with fascinating results. While rugged and unpredictable, overall, it’s been working in my favor and causing all sorts of shifts to occur, along with releasing their burdens I inadvertently took on.

    If you’re interested in seeing this film about healing through truth-speaking, here’s the YouTube link. It is feature length, 96 minutes, our stories interwoven throughout.

    This was made in 2011, and our stories have evolved from this point in time. I’ve learned a great deal and have refined my perspective since then. But at the time, this is how I was driving my healing, by speaking my truth. That was revelatory to me, the enormously powerful impact of this, and have been doing it ever since.

    In addition, I filed a complaint with EEOC against a voc rehab agency exactly because of all this we’re discussing, and I won, although it did get me professionally blacklisted (not the worst thing that could have happened, but of course it tested me financially, as is so common from all this).

    Although, years later, after distributing this film throughout the system, this agency lost its funding and closed, so I guess they got what they had coming. They could have made changes, but, instead, they chose to insist on their discriminating ways, despite the slap on the wrist they got, and it caught up with them. Perhaps they know no other way?

    All of this led me to alternative healing, and then training, and also to theater, filmmaking, and music, where I found my true calling. I keep experiencing that when one door closes, others open, and new parts of me emerge to meet what life puts before me. Life is a path unfolding unpredictably, teaching us our true nature through the process of evolution…

  • “These people, before they ended up in these largely useless institutions, may have wanted to be engineers, doctors, programmers and what not. Instead those desires and dreams, which are the desires of ordinary everyday people, get replaced by hopeless desires to change garbage. If you, who were a subject of the system, end up trying to be reformer of the system, you will always be consumed by the system and what happened to you in there. I don’t want to see that anymore. Instead, I want to see people achieve the dreams they had before all this junk took place. I don’t want to see them reform the system. I want to see them get rich as hell…”

    Amen. I’d call this shifting the poles. That is where true and real change will occur.

  • Katie, I think the truths you are speaking here are the Gordian Knots of the mental health system. I believe you have pegged exactly why “chronic illness” is the mythical order of the day within the system. This is energy draining for all concerned. As you so rightly say in your response to my above comment, everyone is diminished in these situations.

    Personally, I fear commonly disingenuous and extremely narcissistic staff more than the psych drugs. I believe the people we’re talking about here are more dangerous than the drugs, and the post traumatic stress from gaslighting can be very tricky to heal. After all, the drugging starts by people who choose to do the drugging, it is that very attitude that leads to the entire psych drugs debacle. There is such a cognitive disconnect here, it is so obvious.

    I healed after withdrawing from 9 psych drugs after 20 years of taking one thing or another, and it was very rough for me, of course, but with diligence and perseverance, I finally made it to the other side after a few years of intensive and creative holistic healing. But without a doubt, it took me a lot longer and the deepest healing imaginable to me, to heal from the utterly toxic relationship dynamics perpetuated in the mh system. I’m not even sure that is totally healed, the confusion from this can still pop up from time to time. Meditation serves me well in this regard, to get clarity and trust my gut instinct.

    I hope this article is widely read. To me, it is the bottom line truth of the matter, when it comes to wondering why the system is such a failure. Systems are made up of people with a common focus. Single mindedness is required, and in this case, it’s to keep people at least *believing* that something is inherently “wrong” with them, which, in turn, keeps clinicians/staff believing and acting as if they are the ones who are sane, stable, and, therefore, superior and the ones who are “accurate” in their assessment of “reality.” It is the essence of duality, discrimination, and marginalization, all systemic abuse.

    And to think, this is supposed to be about helping people who are seeking support due to trauma, and in so many cases, toxic family dynamics. It is an impossible situation, as long as staffers refuse to take responsibility for their own shadowy perception of “others.” That’s a huge leap in consciousness, so I don’t see it happening any time soon.

    But articles such as yours here, calling it out so clearly and reasonably, sure do move us in the right direction, so thank you again for this, very much. It is extremely validating, and obviously, from the comments on this blog, for so many of us.

  • “Learning how to love is itself where healing begins.”

    I agree–starting with learning to love one’s self, then learning how to extend it to others, or at least how to feel the feeling of love in our hearts. When we do, we feel the healing happening. A heart opening is evident, the feeling is powerful and unmistakable. Apparently, we have a long, long way to go, as a collective. Imagine the transformation. One heart at a time…

  • Your story is not only extremely inspiring and courageous, you have also perfectly captured the “mental health world” culture, as I experienced it as well, as, both, a client and an empathic clinical professional, one who has “been there.” Even as a graduate student in counseling psychology, I was privy to these kinds of dialogues and attitudes. It was disheartening, but I did my own thing, not really into these conversations, I was very focused on my training, very dedicated. At that time, I was not really getting the impact of all this on clients.

    Then, I discovered how it felt to be a client on the other side of this attitude, and it was more crazy-making than I can describe. I was unprepared to be treated this way, and it was not just me, it was all of us. It was an awakening to me, of the underbelly of our society–stemming from the professional side of the system.

    I found it over-the-top appalling, and it inspired me, as well, to look for a way to correct this, to influence change at that social dynamic level. Of course it led to all sorts of troubles for me, calling this out and challenging the system like this, but it also led to desirable change in my life, so as a result, I found my path, so it was all worthwhile, without a doubt.

    Still, it is thicker than tar and leads to a lot of needless pain and suffering for people, and it is precisely systemic gaslighting. All illusion, no integrity whatsoever. This is not truth or anything even close to resembling honesty and compassion; however, it is a travesty of deceit, pretense and duplicity. And who are you going to complain to? Another cog in that same corrupt wheel of stigma, discrimination, and utter lack of discretion? Guess what makes people feel insane, more than anything? That is some serious oppression leading to powerlessness. There is no safety here.

    This, especially, is vivid and rings true–

    “I remember one very revealing lunch when my new supervisor introduced me as a student in a work-study college program to a case manager colleague. The colleague went on to regale the lunch table with bigoted jokes about bipolar clients. It was like a comedy routine, and I could tell the table was used to joining in the laughter. She’d just won the agency’s case manager of the year award and was in high spirits, displaying her utter contempt for the clients she considered herself the savior of.”

    To me, this is the core of insidious mental abuse, because these authentic feelings of mockery do translate to the client, on at least an unconscious level. Although most can read it quite easily, these are not great actors, they don’t need to be, other than for their colleagues. Lack of client credibility due to stigma is easy fodder for two-faced hypocrites who gaslight by second nature. So calling them on it only makes it worse. It is a treacherous situation, insanity creating more insanity.

    “But I also decided I never wanted to work in, around, or in the neighborhood of anything that had to do with mental health ever again.”

    I don’t blame you one bit, that is self-respect in action.

    Peace and best wishes on your continued journey. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It speaks volumes with great wisdom and clarity.

  • “I have known people who looked back on careers they regret, and tried to do the right thing, and were just blocked and hammered. They died bitter.”

    Hammered, blocked, and dying bitter simply from trying to infuse the “mental health” field with a bit of integrity? Sounds more like a cult than a professional field, and with vulnerable clients, nonetheless. How dangerous–and seriously ironic–is this???

  • What a wonderful and courageous story. Congratulations on healing from psychiatry and reclaiming your life. You are a stellar example of natural healing, very inspiring.

    I think when we experience quantum growth and healing, it challenges those around us. That’s a good time to discover where our support and friendships truly exist, and a whole new reality emerges for us–much clearer, and filled with compassion and wisdom, as you talk about. That’s what I refer to as “transformation,” which, I feel, has the power to change the world. I’m so glad you found the inspiration to tell your story!

    I believe in the wisdom of what Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    Very best wishes on your continued evolution.

  • My pleasure. I had a meeting with a weekly group this morning, and we were talking about some of this, I directed them here, to view the video. We specifically addressed the heart and spirit wounding in all of this, and the challenges of healing from that, to learn trust and tolerance. Not only is the world in dire need of significant change, we also have to heal from the trauma it has brought about en masse thus far. That is a daunting task.

  • Love the video, and I love your social welfare model of mental distress and emotional suffering. It all rings true to me and it speaks to my experience. I especially appreciated this slate in the video, and I am shortening it here, to extract the core meaning–

    “The DSM worsens outcomes by gaslighting… stigmatizing…promoting long-term drug abuse and…coercive ‘treatments.'”

    Unfortunately, people have taken this example and are paying it forward, big time. I believe once we understand exactly how gaslighting and stigma are expressed and projected, in so many ways subtle and overt, and the devastating effects these have on individuals and communities, we will be a step closer to resolving some of these socially distressing dynamics, the polarizing issues they create for all of us, as a collective, and the always eventual catastrophic effects thereof. Problem is, it can be quite challenging to change habits of thought, belief, and social programming/brainwashing.

    I will share this video when opportunities arise. Thanks for providing such good clarity so articulately and accessibly. We needed something like this. I look forward to subsequent videos.

  • Borut, I won’t argue at all with you that hormones play a critical role in all of this that is probably overlooked. I’m sure you know more about this than I do, and I would take you at your word, it certainly rings true to me, just intuitively.

    Re the mh system, I think there is a lot of information that would cramp their style, that they’d prefer to not consider, and simply invalidate off-the-cuff, and often with judgment based on ignorance (not having all the information). I actually talked about alternative perspectives and modalities to a group of public mh system clinicians and social service staff when I gave a little presentation a few years ago, and the response from them, as a collective, was, “the government doesn’t fund it.” So that’s what determines “healing” in the mh system, and even framework and perspective–what the government will fund. Hmmm…

    I don’t think everyone on here wants to see the mh system demolished, but I do. And when I say “demolished,” I do mean that I would like for it to go away, however best that could happen, and I’m not into violence or destroying anything. And some people do rely on the system at this point, for better or worse, so there are considerations here about transition and change happening to the point of paradigm shift, that’s not so easy.

    But admittedly, the system makes me angry enough to use your term, because, well, because it is what it is, and I think it’s a big mess and on top of that makes a big mess for its clients continuously. This is what it is sending out into the collective, aggressively, defensively, and insistently.

    I am being very frank and honest when I say I think it’s a menace to society at this point, and doing so much harm, it just can’t help it. There is no clarity or even desire for clarity to be found in the mh system, just ongoing power struggles, arguing, and severely polarizing and marginalizing systemic dynamics. That’s what keeps the system in business.

    I just have nothing nice to say about it at this point. I believe it is beyond redemption. That’s my personal conclusion, at the end of it all, after 21 years involved in all of this, starting with graduate school, and all through the layers and tangents.

    And that’s very unusual for me. I try to see something positive in everything, even if it is a life lesson through adversity. But as far seeing anything at all even remotely resembling positivity, light, or integrity in the MH system, I am truly stumped to come up with one single item.

  • If a person is drunk, then they have altered their naturally functioning mind and have also relinquished control, relying on others around them to accommodate him/her, which, in essence, is rendering one’s self powerless and burdening others unfairly. So of course they shouldn’t drive, their mind is not in control, the alcohol is. If their mind were functioning normally, none of this would be an issue.

    And if they are drunk and don’t see that driving is dangerous, then my attention would go to their spirit, and by that, I mean their heart and “emotional intelligence.” Imo, something would be amiss, here, like a disconnect, which makes life dangerous for them and others. Of course, that’s my personal interpretation of wanting to drive while drunk, others may have a different one.

    I can only hope I answered your question satisfactorily, AA. I did take it seriously, and this is to the best of my ability. I’m learning as I go, like anyone else.

    And btw, these aren’t my “claims” and “theories.” This is a school of thought, I am by no means alone in it, and in fact, more people are catching on to this and benefitting from it a great deal.

    I just happen to subscribe to it, because it gave me clarity whereas before I did not have it. This is what was on the other side of the dark night healing journey. It’s called LIGHT.

    Google this stuff, YouTube it, this is an option for people to get past the glass ceilings. These are not my original thoughts, I studied, learned, and applied them. It’s a choice. I just happened to make this one. I don’t want to burden others, just share the options.

  • Not sure if you’re referring to me in this generalization, but if you are, I can assure you that I’m not an academic. That’s an ivory tower perspective and rarely, if ever, applies to the true nature of humanity. Academia is where “cognitive dissonance” is born–the mind outside the body. That will never work, because that separation is purely illusory and leads to all sorts of misconceptions, projections, and delusions. It also leads to control, gaslighting, and marginalization.

    Where you and I seem to be in disagreement, Borut, is that you seem to feel that the body has power over the mind, and I’m saying the opposite–that the mind (and the inherent spiritual nature of it) actually has control over the body. The difference between your perspective and mine is a big gap, I think. This is a radical shift in perspective and paradigm–not just of healing, but of living.

  • I said nothing about religion. Having a spiritual perspective is not the same as being “religious.” I do not belong to or identify with any organized religion, but I do have my beliefs about energy and our spiritual nature. I don’t see how it is harming me, quite the opposite. Walking my talk and living consistently with my belief system is only healing and clarifying for me, allows me to create fruitfully. I have clarity about my life, process, and purpose.

    And we’re in complete disagreement when you say nothing is “above the mind.” To me, that is very limiting in perspective. There are many schools of thought about this from which to choose, based on what feels right to each of us, and that will always be diverse, as is our nature. These are personal choices we all make–or not, and that is a personal choice, too.

  • I agree, these cannot be separated. It depends on our unique nature and process, and where we are most inclined to focus. For some, the focus begins with something physical, because that can seem easiest to perceive for some, when it is affecting our bodies, and it seems concrete. If holistic healing is being applied, then from there, that will inevitably lead to emotional and spiritual issues–that is, pertaining to our spiritual inclination. Sometimes, scary and traumatic situations propel us to seek greater understanding of things, to expand our perspective. That often brings us relief because it opens the door to new potential solutions.

    For others, chronic discomfort is best identified as emotional, first, that is what they are most perceiving, so you’d begin there. Our emotions do affect our physiology, so eventually that would lead to explore physical issues as the result of chronic stress.

    And finally, some would begin with a spiritual perspective and perhaps their anxiety and depression, for them, begins with feeling disconnected from all that is, believing in nothing and feeling despondent over the meaninglessness of life, especially if one has been plagued by trauma and can’t seem to get out of that cycle. That would eventually lead to exploring deeply one’s emotional landscape and emotional responses to life–on what beliefs are they based? Needless to say, this would more than likely adversely affect our physical health.

    So like Monica, I believe mind/body/spirit is connected in everything, and the gestalt of our life experience is what we consider when healing, not just one aspect of it. That would not amount to core healing because it is inherently limited in perspective.

    How we perceive this and how we take our journeys of healing and personal evolution is going to entirely depend on where each of us, individually, is inclined most naturally to focus, I think that translates into ease. In the end, we are all looking for relief and a sense of peace about life (at least that’s always my intention with myself and others), so however we get there is up for grabs, to be discovered for each of us.

    Personally, I always start with energy, the spiritual nature of an experience or feeling. That info comes to me very naturally, I have a knack for it, so it the first thing I will notice, without any effort. That takes me to my emotions, to see what shifting I might be able to do here to meet my objective in the moment, and from that, I have found that things take care of themselves on a physical level, if I stay grounded, nourished, and always know my center. But that’s just my inclination, because it is ease and clarity for me, and my process of healing anything unfolds quite naturally and accessibly.

    My belief is that our spirits guide and heal us, so I make sure to stay clear on my spiritual beliefs, and live by them. That’s how I keep the best and clearest flow of energy, and am free to live my life as I wish, with intention and integrity. Keeps me healthy, relaxed, creative, and optimistic.

  • AA, in order to pursue this, I’d need to ask you a few questions to give me a picture of what you’re dealing with. I wouldn’t do this on here, that would not be appropriate. Plus, I’d only be willing to work with you if you identified yourself.

    As far as my professional qualifications go, I am trained and certified as an energy healer, spiritual counselor, and integral health practitioner. These are all based on subtle energies which are part of our life force. What I learned was how to identify, work with, and direct this natural healing energy to where we need it. That is a multi-dimensional process which involves emotions, beliefs, and our innate creative process. As we heal, we manifest a different experience of life because energy is shifting everywhere.

    I think I’m more of a teacher, because in reality, I don’t heal others, I don’t think that’s how it works. Instead, I help people to discover what tools and perspective would work to their best benefit, based on their own process, and then I help them apply these and witness the changes.

    I’ve never worked with anyone with “sleep disorder,” but I have helped people to heal very quickly from what they were calling “chronic fatigue syndrome” and “mononucleosis,” and I’ve helped people who used to call themselves “mentally ill” be at peace with themselves and go on to create their dreams.

    These are terms brought to me, I rephrase them to reflect energy. The first two labels connote energy depletion, so I start there, asking “what is depleting your energy?” and “How would be best to rebuild it.” Then we discuss possible root causes, and then move on to solutions.

    For the folks who call themselves “mentally ill,” it’s been about feeling very depressed, anxious, and chronically worried, and general internal chaos and lack of ability to focus, which, of course, merits various explorations in order to get to the core of what is going on, and then deciding what changes to make in order to feel grounded and in synch with one’s self, to find inner peace and clarity.

    For me, it’s never an illness, but always a matter of energy and how it is flowing. We easily develop blocks in our energy, and that can be due to chronic negative thinking, that’s energy 101, and it stands to reason. I know you may not like hearing this, but I am by no means the only one that believes this, it is rather common thought that we get in our own way with chronic negative thinking.

    Once those blocks dissipate, which occurs when we expand our self-awareness and relax our heart, then our energy flows naturally and smoothly, and that’s when we are on our way to healing, simply from growing and evolving, allowing things to change. Nothing is forever, in terms of the physical. We are in a constant process of change and growth.

    Thanks to neuroplasticity and practicing new ways of thinking, our neurons shift as we practice this with intention, diligence, and focus, and eventually, it becomes second nature and we self-heal as we go. Our bodies have innate wisdom, but it is up to us whether we trust it or not. It is an evolutionary process, never-ending. I believe there are always new things to learn in life, each and every day, and you never know when it will be exactly what you need.

  • Noted, AA, thanks for the feedback. My only desire is to offer hope for people, by telling my own story of success in healing from something which I was told would never heal, that there is no healing from what ailed me. Fortunately, my story and films have done just that, so I know that some people value my perspective and benefit from it, but of course this would not be universal, I wouldn’t expect that to be the case. I cannot presume what is possible or not possible for everyone, that is beyond my scope.

    Although when a client comes to work with me, it is because they know I believe anything can heal, and they want to know how that works and apply it, to take that particular journey. If someone has an issue with this perspective, we would more than likely hit an impasse sooner or later, which is fine, not everyone is a match when it comes to healing support. I see what we believe as a matter of personal choice.

  • I’m done with mental health anything, rebel. That stuff doesn’t exist any longer for me. My entire perspective of reality and sense of self has shifted, and there may be more of that to come because life is fluid and ever-changing. I’m living, learning, creating, and contributing to my community by way of opportunities that arise. I enjoy life a great deal now, have for a while. I’m part of a community of working healers, teachers and artists–these are my friends, partners, and those with whom I create. That’s it, and life goes on.

  • Response to oldhead, from the middle of this thread–

    “…isn’t psychiatry malpractice by definition?”

    I’d agree with that and I’m sure others would. But a lot of people don’t feel that way, and feel very strongly about their need for psychiatry and “medication,” so proposing it this way wouldn’t get very far, it would be battle among survivors who feel betrayed and harmed and clients who swear that psychiatry saved their lives.

    But, I think that there are a lot of people who can make a case that psychiatry led to trauma and injuries which only made matters of health, life, and relationships worse than ever. Were there enough of us who could persuasively articulate this, with evidence, reason, and consistency, then I think that would be a powerful case against psychiatry. I’ve never had trouble convincing people, at least not the ones who know me. My story was witnessed by a lot of people, we all know what happened, it is clear. I’ve already won one legal mediation against the system.

    This would have nothing to do with people who feel supported by it, that’s another group of people. If they don’t have a grievance, then they wouldn’t be participating in this. This would be for those who feel harmed by psychiatry, beyond the shadow of a doubt. I’m aware it’s a long shot, and I can’t say if anyone would be willing to go this far–either survivors or attorneys–but in theory at least, this would be an option.

  • “Depending on how one defines “clinician” — whether you’re talking about psychiatrists or so-called ‘psychotherapists.'”

    Referring to both.

    “My position is that regardless of the individual, psychiatry by definition considers itself to be treating diseases, which is inherently harmful regardless of whatever else is going on.”

    I agree!

  • That would be another topic of conversation. For now, I’m sticking to talking about healing brain injuries, to stay on topic with this blog. Main point here is discerning what gives hope vs. what communicates hopelessness, and the importance of that distinction when it comes to human potential.

    If we distinguish “good” clinicians from “harmful” clinicians, this would be a good way to assess that. Do we feel encouraged and inspired by the feedback we get? Or do we feel doomed and forever compromised? I don’t think there is any in-between with this, that I can think of right now, it’s either one or the other.

    I’d say the same for my friends and personal relationships, too. Mutual encouragement and support is an important quality for a relationship to have, I believe. Otherwise, I don’t much see the point in the relationship. It would be self-destructive, I think, in the end. Taking away hope is neither supportive nor encouraging, and can be devastating to people.

    In the power differential of therapist to client, messages of permanent damage will do the client in, without a doubt.

  • That’s why I stress self-healing. That was the most important thing I learned in all of this, that we are our own healers. Starts with self-compassion and heart-healing. There are tons of YouTube vids from different perspectives by folks from all walks of life, on how to develop this awareness. Just search “self-healing” and pages and pages of vids pop up from which to pick and choose.

  • Monica, thanks for being so direct and unambiguous. I agree with absolutely everything you say here, and my experience speaks to this as well. Neuroplasticity is vital in this healing, and that is a limitless process, a game-changer. There is no predicting the future, but we can influence our own in the best way by staying open to all possibilities.

    Like so many of us, I was told a lot things during my withdrawal that turned out to not only be completely false, but which at one devastating time in my life, led me to believe I had no hope of ever being functional again, so I tried to take my own life, thinking that must be true, because life had become hell, and I was asked to accept this. I guess because none of the many and varied clinicians around me had a clue how to help me, so to them, that meant that there simply was no help for me. If they couldn’t do it, no one could.

    After recovering from this profoundly dark period of my life, I was eventually inspired to learn all I could about self-healing, because what I was offered by the “mental health” field was just not good enough for me. In fact, I discovered ultimately that it was undermining and destructive to my well being–both, the drugs and the “therapy.” All of this was driving me crazy, in every sense of the word, and I had to heal from what I’m now calling “post-mental-health-system-traumatic-stress” (PMHSTS). That takes clever and creative healing. It’s new ground, with extremely rich and fertile soil.

    Since then, 14 years ago, I’ve had a fruitful practice which has helped many people heal and grow and make their dreams happen, I’ve made two well-regarded public service films about healing through truth-speaking and music, I have a band which performs as community service, and my partner and entire family have done remarkable healing and growth, spurred on by mine. I have two business partners for my Healing Academy for the Performing Arts, which is now growing, both of whom learned about new paradigm healing from me, and have applied it to themselves and their families, with tremendous benefit.

    Had I believed this bullshit about permanent damage, it wouldn’t have been just about me. There are many of us who would have been affectedly adversely by this pessimistic version of reality.

    We have a choice–keep hope alive, or kill it. It not only affects the person in question, but absolutely everyone around them, and their extensions, filtering in the community, then society, then the world. Think about how this ripples…

  • Plus, I can’t think of a better way to get the world’s attention than to file a class action suit on behalf of psychiatric survivors, against the APA. I’ve a feeling that would open up a dialogue like no other, and provide multiple platforms for exposing psychiatry for what it actually is. It would probably expose a whole host of other things, too.

  • Wouldn’t a class action malpractice suit against the entire industry be warranted at this point? I think that would be a good way to utilize funds, to bring justice, and allow survivors to be compensated for what was robbed from us in the process of making us sicker and sicker under the pretense of being some kind of “healing profession.” And we offer them evidence of our truth, and they keep doing it, as if our voices carry no weight or legitimacy.

    Julie’s right, the client’s voice has always taken a back seat, that is exactly the problem. No doubt in my mind that this needs to change. That is EXACTLY when the necessary paradigm shift will occur. Otherwise, it’s more of the same.

  • Hi Eve, thanks for sharing your position regarding present day psychiatry. What a tragic situation for so many people, as well as for our society in general. And there seems to be no end to it, despite our best efforts to bring to light the truth of the matter, in all different voices. It has become a vicious cycle of malpractice and social abuse. And the law just doesn’t seem to factor in here, somehow. It’s pure oppression, and extremely dangerous, to my mind.

    It’s rather mind-boggling, I think, that this continues on such an enormous scale, while we’re all grieving about it, and with quite a bit of clarity, I think. Talk about deaf ears and heads buried in the sand! I think the psychiatric field has taken “denial” and “avoidance” to new heights–as well as “cover-up.” Oppression is, both, supported and fueled by corruption.

    I had my own horrific experience with all of this–from which I had to heal, it was extremely traumatizing–as a former client of the system and also a former clinician. I now do healing work from an entirely different perspective, which would never be accepted or acknowledged by mainstream medicine, least of all psychiatry. Yet, it is exactly what worked to heal me and set me free from this utter chaos and confusion they call “the mental health field.”

    I love this line and agree with you wholeheartedly, “The whole universe of ‘mental health’ has gone mad.” You are so not kidding!

    Best wishes on your mission to help bring much needed change, and perhaps bring some clarity to this “madness.”

  • I feel extremely fortunate to have found the right healing path for myself, and gifted healers along the way. Referred by a friend, I went to see a medical intuit who reads energy, to see if she could give me guidance about how to get off all of these drugs. I had a 15 minute reading with her for $45, and she was able to tell me the root cause, how to heal it, and how to get off the drugs and back to my center. Over the course of a few years, I implemented what she had suggested, and it worked.

    It was rough, because I was on my own, and didn’t know anyone at all who had done this, nor had I read about anyone doing this. I was going totally by my personal experience, and the desire to alleviate all of this chronic pain and suffering I was experiencing, and get back to my life, once and for all! Total blind leap of faith, for reasons of survival. But I persevered and was systematic about it, and I won out.

    As I healed along this path, I trained in what I was learning, and I’ve had a practice for a while, and have recently established a healing community with a group of healers, teachers, and artists with whom I work, so I’m paying forward what I learned and it’s helping others now, both in and out of the “mental health” community.

    I found it to be a fascinating process, and it did lead to my connecting with my gifts in a profound way, as all that dense energy cleared away as per my healing, allowing me to find my center and grounding once again, leading to an entirely new sense of self. That’s how I ended up on stage, singing and acting, and now music director and piano accompanist for a local band. I seriously had no idea I could do any of this, and during the course of my healing and getting back into the community, it all clicked. It was a bit startling, but really, manna from heaven, just what I needed. It’s been an amazing journey so far, extremely creative in nature.

    That’s really great you were able to get off the drugs, rebel. My mother doesn’t really understand me, either, although I think I understand her pretty well. We’re able to have a good relationship now, as I have with my siblings as well. We did a lot of family healing, that was a huge part of this. I had to speak my truth to them about the family dynamics, and the role it played in my issues. That was an interesting time, and well worth the effort, very clarifying for us all.

    We’re all good now, for which I’m also very grateful. Not sure that would happen, but it did! I figure if I can heal myself, then extend this to my family and community, then who knows how far that will continue to ripple outward? I keep the faith…

  • This has triggered a lot of thoughts for me, there is so much to say about being on and coming off of these toxic drugs, and how all of this so intensely impacts one’s life, and often in the most devastatingly catastrophic ways. I consider myself extremely lucky and grateful to have made it through it as I have, but on the whole it is such a disaster, hard to say enough about it.

    So I will just add this right now because it is on my mind and relevant, and hopefully be done with it at this point. The issue of psych drugs is near and dear to me, I’m sure it’s one of the things ruining people, families, communities, and society in general.

    That’s fine for the folks that feel it helps them, that is not my place to question. But I do know that these are still utilized as tools for controlling and disabling people to keep the cash flow going–and a lot out of ignorance, too, and following “the norm.” I think it’s dastardly in all ways, and making a total mess for humanity in the most blatant AND insidious ways.

    While we’re talking about “reversing damage,” I’m also talking about other vital organs, aside from the brain. For 20 years, I lived with slightly elevated blood pressure, compromised liver, kidneys, and pancreas, according to levels taken at my routine Dr. visits (also a thing of the past, I will not see an M.D. any longer), and at one time there was talk of “pre-diabetes.” Of course I had my bi-yearly kidney checks, and watched those numbers shift over the years, along with lipids and sugars, up and down, often cautionary, giving me a bit of chronic stress I had learned to live with, and definitely affecting how I lived my life.

    From ages 21 to mid-40s, I felt like a borderline “sickly” person, always having to watch it, e.r. visits here and there, that would turn out to be panic attacks, which also began after I started taking psych drugs, I’d never experienced this before. So that got “medicated,” too, and let’s add “dual diagnoses” to the mix now. That was the start of my journey on benzos, on top of others.

    Eventually the ER visits were not panic attacks, but other crazy and extremely painful neurotoxin-induced symptoms.

    Since coming off of these, now at age almost 56, all of this has completely stabilized. I’m healthier than ever, active, present, focused, creating, working, living and loving, no medication or health issues of any kind, other than minor rashes now and then from allergies. That’s it. I can also stand on a bridge, look down, and then dance on the bridge, feeling great and alive, no panic, sweats, vertigo, nothing.

    Off the drugs, with subsequent herbal regeneration of organs and nervous system, along with other kinds of very interesting healing and learning, absolutely no panic attacks now. My nervous system doesn’t even register this any longer, “perceived dangers.”

    I began to perform onstage professionally, which was unexpected and new to me. Did that for years, as I detoxed and regenerated. It all started with a singing and preforming class I took, thought it would be a fun way to heal, if not a bit intimidating. I’d never done anything like that before, but the opportunity came to me.

    It became part of getting my nervous system stronger and more resilient. I had to take giant leaps of faith and trust this process. That was a mixed bag, kind of a wild ride. I was self-conscious, but I got away with it and it did the trick, got me a lot stronger and confident again, as was my intention.

    I still perform as community service. I get normal nervous, no panic attacks. No way in hell I could have done this on the drugs, I’d have had panic attacks, would have been paralyzed with fear. I worked during those years, but without an audience. I was able to handle any pa’s discreetly. It did not stop me from working or from going back to college. I sweated it out, but it was exhausting.

    I maintain naturally now, and no need for Drs. At my age, that’s a blessing and humbling. I can only feel grateful for this, after what I’ve been through medically. For me, it’s been a bit mystical, definitely miraculous.

    It’s weird, wouldn’t have thought it, but somehow, the process of flooding my system with these drugs over the years, in order to continue living a “normal mainstream life” (at the time, my goal, just to be on track like those around me), and then withdrawing completely and going through this exhaustive healing process seems to have impacted my auto-immune, self-healing, and overall resilience in a really powerful way. I’m a bit stunned by it, but certainly I’m physical evidence of bouncing back from the worst of it, after having ingested these for 20 years, compliantly. I just followed Dr’s orders, until it almost killed me.

    I don’t know what else to say about this that a lot of people don’t know already. It’s just such a sham and scam and I could rant forever about it, or at least until this is all brought to light, in a very public kind of way. If anything sickens me these days, it is merely the thought of taking these drugs.

  • “the very idea of “reversing” a brain state from a present condition to an earlier one doesn’t make a good deal of logical sense. Our brain chemistry in the future will never match exactly what it was in the past. There is no reversion, but rather progression and constant change.”

    While I agree with this in terms of how we grow naturally, and our minds and bodies change as we go forward, as that is the nature of things, and of course, there is no going back to what had been, in this regard, what I’m talking about by “reversing damage” means that during the time of my withdrawal, the brain damage had gotten so bad that I was not able to add 2 + 2, suddenly (and I’d been a bookkeeper, payroll administrator, retail manager, as well as an advanced math student during my school years), nor could I find the language I needed to communicate, and my reading comprehension went by the wayside, among other basic brain functions which had become impaired.

    I’d just finished graduate school when all of this started, and by this point, I was extremely nervous (putting it mildly) that these were permanent impairments, that I had suffered permanent severe brain damage from the neurotoxins. Scariest time of my life, thanks to this crap. I thought I was cooked.

    All that hard work I had done in my life, for nothing, I was thinking and feeling at the time, because the drugs seemed to have ruined my life. Sure did ruin a few years of it, but I’ve tried to make up for that, and to give those horrible years meaning. I did learn a lot that I otherwise wouldn’t have, that’s for sure. And in the end, it led me right to my true path, so ultimately, I could accept it all. Still, it all stank to high heaven because this was so obviously medically induced hardship on my entire quality of life, when I was trying to get help, and NO ONE WOULD ADMIT IT!

    Still makes me mad to think about it, though, because it seems as though nothing has changed! I deserve an apology and compensation, as do sooo many others. Like that’ll ever happen. Ah, the hell with it…

    Turned out that it was only temporary, thank GOD! I’m back to being able to do math like before, my language skills are fine again, and eventually, I could once again do all the basic things I could do before, and then resume with my natural evolution, unencumbered by interfering psych drugs, back to my natural way of being, evolving naturally. (Can’t emphasize enough the word “naturally”).

    Thank goodness I found remedies for this, but it was far away from the mental health world. The more I tried to get help and answers there, the worse things got, like salt on the wound, insult to injury, pick your metaphor.

    I focused really hard on fixing all of this, as at this point, my brain was, indeed, broken. The psych drugs had broken my brain.

    Fortunately, I was well guided to where I could fix it, so that I could once again do the 3 R’s. I started with children’s books and worked my way up. Felt like I was coming out of a coma and had to learn to walk and talk again.

    That’s what I mean by “reversing the damage.”

  • This is the most direct, clear, unambiguous absolute truth (to my mind) I’ve ever seen written about psychiatry. I reposted these words below, and took off quotes (to simplify) and numbered each of these perfectly justifiable reasons that psychiatry would not only merit abolishment, at this point, but also be taken to task, one way or another. I think each of these deserves distinction.

    These are the exact conclusions I’ve drawn from my experience, up to and including “creation of a ‘United Front’ of Professional Vanity to prevent criticism.” Damn if that doesn’t say it all, and what makes it an absolutely impossible situation, toxic and dangerous. It’s bad enough for any reasonably grounded and calm person to face this, but for someone who is vulnerable and justifiably angry, confused, in fear, being coerced, what have you, and at several disadvantages to begin with, I can only see this as social abuse and total violation of human rights. What else? I have faced this before, and it is treacherous. I did fight back though, but it is not made easy, not in the slightest. How on Earth could this ever translate to healing, or anything good, for that matter. These are social ills! Or at the very least, the root cause of them.

    And when you compound it with the other 6 reasons, I think it’s a lock. Especially #6 for me, is powerful. I’ve complained about this often, the utter lack of safety and reliability of 1-1 meetings. That is a risk, no doubt. Not always of course, but all too often, the power differential is totally taken advantage of, resulting in power abuse, which is what I think all of these add up to. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell in the moment when one is being gaslighted. But it is felt later, I guarantee it. I see it as a form of post-traumatic stress. It’s a rude awakening.

    I’m sure there are more, but these are all totally true–again, from my experience–and flagrant in their power to marginalize select people (usually the ones who are awake), by bullying and overpowering, then avoiding responsibility, simply from trying to get support. So much lying, passing the buck, and cover up take place here. That is one helluva betrayal, and extremely costly for unsuspecting clients. The veil has lifted, thank goodness.

    I think these are relevant here in the USA, too. UK is being a role model here, imo. Thank you!


    1. Psychiatry is under criticism for its subjectivity and unaccountability.

    2. Brief crises are defined as lifelong conditions. There is no recognition of this ambiguity.

    3. Complaints are seen as symptoms.

    4. Patients are misunderstood or slandered.

    5. The pessimism of working in a Hospital causes Confirmation Bias.

    6. Psychiatry in its present form is based on a one-to-one interview that is then written up from the memory of the person who conducted the interview. This leaves a lot of scope for misrepresentation, and hard evidence such as videotape is not used.

    7. Nor is there group inter-rater reliability, but instead the creation of a “United Front” of Professional Vanity to prevent criticism.

  • “There’s a tendency to follow what’s around us as the right message – but it’s usually a kind of socially created message.”

    I think that’s a bulls-eye, Fiachra. What I learned that helped me the most to heal–by far!–and what I help others to do in my practice, is to get our own information. I can sometimes bounce something off of others to get another perspective, and I listen to what others say, as teachers, to consider new things to see if I can apply them with relevance.

    But in the end, it is my own personal perspective and viewpoint in the moment that is going to influence me the most, regarding my own personal growth, healing, and evolution.

    As you know from practicing meditation and mindfulness, when we practice these, we reduce the noise around us in order to hear our own inner voice, what some call our inner guidance or “spiritual voice.” THAT is our true guide and healer–our higher selves. That’s all we can really trust, because you’re right, messages from the outside are socially created, which can be for all sorts of cynical purposes and which also can be just terribly misguided for us. These can be mindless rules and guidelines, which serve those dishing it out, but not others. They can be touted as “truth,” when in fact, it is merely personally subjective, illusory, and even double-binding oppressive.

    In addition, these can be outdated, passed down generationally–because “that is how things have always been done.” But times change, along with society, and these messages can lose their relevance, and still be practiced, if we act simply like sheeple. Waking up means realizing that it is time to update our information.

    With the world in such chaos, I would say that anything that’s being done simply because that is the way it has been for a long time, should be considered archaic at this point. This is the time for groundbreakers and pioneers. Nothing will look as it does now, when it is being done for the good of all, because right now, that is not happening! Our world leaders are in disarray, hording resources, and lying. So curious what a world led with integrity would look like. Have we EVER had that?

    We, ourselves, know ourselves the best. We’re allowed to make up our own rules for living, because we have free will. If the choices involve harming others, then I believe those doing harm will pay for that in the end, one way or another.

    Relying on others for information without getting our own not only creates chronic dependence, it results in giving away our power. That will never work when it comes to healing anything.

    Now, that is *my* truth, I think it stands to reason. It may, however, not apply to others. That is not for me to say, but for others to decide for themselves.

  • Thanks for the link, Fiachra.

    “…improvements must be made in mental health care both within and outside of the NHS, to make sure people get the support they need before they reach crisis point.”

    I agree of course that so much neglect and misguidance happens along the way, that it is easy to reach a crisis, which points to everyone along the way who was not paying attention–system, family, self, et al. Neglect is a huge factor in all of this, I think, as is being guided down the wrong path. Seems to have happened a great deal, from all that I’ve read on here over the years. That was my experience, as well, and I had to take back control of my own life. It was my fault I gave it away in the first place. I thought I was helping myself and doing the right thing, but in the end, this was not the case. Lesson learned!

    But I don’t exactly agree with this–

    “She [spokeswoman for the prime minister] said extra money being invested in the NHS this Parliament would help ensure improvements take place.”

    While funding always helps, a true paradigm shift would come from perspective and attitudes changes. I think where true change will occur is when awareness is expanded around what it means to be a human being.

  • What’s interesting is that while I was on the drugs, toward the end there, I did have a brain scan, as per a psychiatrist. I was having all sorts of weird symptoms that no one could put into any sort of context. I was suffering from them, and they were bizarre and painful, kept taking me to ER. Last thing he’d think was that it was because of the drugs, he was looking for something else to be wrong with me, on top of what had already been established as being “wrong” with me.

    This was the start of the psychiatric calamity for me. The scan found nothing unusual, but on my last trip to the ER, the attending physician said, “You have got to get off of all this medication!” That’s what did it, and I sought the path off the drugs, which turned out to be an easy recipe, but hard to put it all into practice right away because of the loss of functioning I was experiencing, as well as the organ damage that had been done.

    But I persevered, followed the instructions I got from the healers I began to work with–in that new paradigm–and succeeded in the end. Took a few years and tons of faith and trust. There were times I didn’t think I’d make it to the end of all that, but I did, most thankfully. The experience changed me, grew me, and gave me clarity about my life path and purpose.

    And of course, all of those disabling, disorienting, and extremely painful and bizarre symptoms completely disappeared, been gone for over 14 years now. I’m in perfect health, and with no complaints about anything at this time, other than what is going on in the world around me. That is most troubling.

    My measure of health and well-being would not come from a brain scan to prove anything, but more so from how I feel in my body and how I feel about the way my life is unfolding. I’m happy and settled with it all, and I live a good life, feeling fulfilled in it, plenty of fun and joy in living now, and I’m helping others in a variety of ways whenever I can, including people I don’t know, through my YouTube vids. Sums it up for me.

  • “I would say, given those pervasive negative outcomes, there is definitely a need for a paradigm change when it comes to treatment modalities.”

    No question about it. The drugs interfere with our natural process of growth and evolution, at best, and kill us at worst. Most often they compromise one’s well-being and overall quality of life, and they are so often used as ways to control behavior, so that one “fits into the norm,” which I think is an abomination on many levels.

    It took me years to wake up to the damage they were doing to me. I discovered that on my own, from the increasing pain and lack of functionality I began to experience after a while. All psych drugs related, without a doubt. That was an extremely costly experiment for me.

    There are many established better ways of healing and navigating our personal growth, which work to support our nature rather than to dangerously suppress it, as these psych drugs do.

  • “there is strong evidence from brain scans, neuropsychological testing, and clinical evaluations that every class of psychiatric drug causes irreversible damage to the brain, especially with exposures lasting months and years.”

    This is not across the boards. I was on many of these psych drugs for almost 20 years–tons of them toward the end of that time frame–and while at first I did have brain injury, it eventually healed with a lot of hard work, and by addressing the injury from a variety of perspectives. My mind is clearer than ever and my brain functions just fine–in fact, better than before I started taking these neurotoxins, because the process of healing is powerful in its ability to increase our clarity and resilience, while offering new perspectives by which to experience life. For me, coming off these drugs meant a whole new life and reality, way more expansive, grounded, and creative than ever before.

    Saying it is “irreversible” only spells doom for a lot of people, and I know with certainty that it is a false claim, from my own experience.

  • “When I learnt in Buddhism that no one person was (very) ‘special’ I was very disappointed…”

    Fiachra, this made me think of a quote I love by Marianne Williamson. I guess in one respect, no one is “special,” above and beyond anyone else; and the flip side is that we’re all special, in that we are all uniquely gifted, one way or another, so why not own it and enjoy it, as we share it, for the benefit of the greater good? And, encourage it in others…

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

  • I have no problem with exploring language as we wade through all of this, but I was going with what I understood to be the spirit of these words, which to me translates into the stages of radical change and transformation, in which a breakdown of the old is necessary, and this is met with all sorts of responses from different individuals. Change is easier for some than for others, depending on flexibility and grounding, I think. I believe it’s an internal process which translates into an external one, because it is universal.

    For me, personally, it fits the bill–having fallen into an “extreme state of being” while withdrawing from the psych drugs, which is what I’m referring to in my experience as the dark night of the soul. And then working through all of that systematically from a variety of angles–mind, body, and spirit–is what led to a new sense of self and personal reality for me, based on entirely different beliefs than what I was raised to believe, and that which mainstream society dictates and projects, via media and academic education. It’s quite a contrast in, both, feeling and perspective, and therefore, in my perception of reality, as well as my experience of life. Much, much better now, major relief, expansion, creativity, and freedom to be, in this realm.

    Thanks for the link, very interesting! This is actually precisely my area of focus in my life’s work. I have a group now in which we are specifically working with this shift in reality. We call it The Healing Academy for the Performing Arts, where we work with principles of energy and creativity in order to manifest that which brings light to the planet. I’m working presently with a social service agency that wants to learn these new ideas and how to apply them to their services; and we’re also a band, bringing music to senior communities.

    And in the process, we’re expanding our awareness and raising our energy. It’s all based on what I learned and applied in order to come out of that dense state of being, brought on by my experiences in the mental health system.

    So much to explore, learn, and discover here. Personally, I think this is the game-changer. At least for me, it has been.

  • Great stuff here, Matt, thank for bringing it to the forefront. A lot to comment on, but for now, I will keep it brief.

    This really stood out to me:

    “Psychotic breakdowns are important in many respects despite their painfulness, their scariness. They break apart old systems of belief at the foundation and force a re-evaluation of life, of one’s relation it, to the journey and the work that one is here to do.”

    Yep. Perfection. I’d call it dark-night-of-the-soul. It’s how we see the light, by contrast–what many call “awakening.” Takes work, creativity, and trust in going way outside the box to unfamiliar territory and embracing the unknown–well worth it, imo. That was my experience, in any event.

    I believe this is happening on a global scale now. Old systems are breaking apart, having become so corrupt at this point. This is a necessary and unavoidable step in the process of healing, change, and transformation.

    Nice way to end the week, thanks again 🙂

  • “I struggle with accepting that these type of people are like the rest of us, who are able to feel a wide range of emotions such as guilt and shame.”

    I respect your confession here, Shaun, but this is a really powerful and revealing statement. Guess again if you think “these types of people” (that phrase alone says it all, along with “like the rest of us”) do not feel a wide range of emotions. Guilt and shame are imposed on people who go through the system, and it is felt profoundly. Where do you think the rage comes from?

    Trust me, we feel a wider range of emotions than you could ever imagine. You need to go through this as a client in the public system to get it, that’s the only way. Were you to feel guilt and shame deeply enough, you’d know what I mean.

    And btw, “these types of people” and “like the rest of us” is the essence of discrimination, marginalization, stigma, and social oppression leading to systemic abuse. It’s called “bigotry.”

  • I know this question was directed at Matt, but I like the question and would like to take a stab at it myself, because it is direct and relevant to our current social dynamic.

    “How would you describe someone who presents as unable to feel empathy and enjoys hurting others?”

    Deep, profound suffering due to chronic heart and spirit wounding. A lifetime of getting kicked to the curb, resulting in feelings of powerlessness. Hurting others is one way to demonstrate power over others.

    I do wonder where it all begins, what are the core wounds? That would be different for everyone. And then, how to heal those wounds, and all that has piled on as the result of them over the years, in order to alleviate the suffering. That would also be unique to each individual.

    What I’m not at all fond of is the DSM version of human suffering. That is based on the illusions of separation and elitism, and sorely lacks empathy in and of itself, as well as any sense of the human experience or true diversity. It’s actually quite insulting to humankind and causes only more suffering, confusion, and wounding for people–literally adding insult to injury.

  • That’s ok, felt good to write it out.

    Regarding Shaun, out of curiosity after all this speculation about him, I googled “shaun f psycotherapist Colorado,” and a linkedin account matching this and all that he has stated–80 patients, skiing–did come up, exactly as he said. So unless he is committing identity theft, which I very seriously doubt, I know he is for real. I really had no reason to believe otherwise, but like I said, the speculation made me curious, and it was easy enough to find this information.

    Regarding Shaun’s statements and attitudes, that’s his truth, not mine to judge or to argue with. That’s my position. Other than on a few days of internet, I don’t him at all.

    Although I do make it clear that I’m no fan of “mental health” anything, and one of those people who are dubious about psychotherapy, based on not only having been a long-term client before I realized it was leading me down a big rabbit hole, but also on having been a psychotherapist myself, before defecting from the field, because I thought it was bullshit, and it served only to screw me up, in so many ways, which I had to fix going another route entirely. So that’s my truth of the matter.

    I do feel that anyone is entitled to what they feel helps them the most, so on that I agree with Shaun. If someone is going down the “wrong” road (which I’m not sure that can really be, so maybe if he or she going down a road that would wind up being harmful to them in the end, would be a better way of putting it), then that is up to that individual to discover on his/her own. I cannot judge accurately another’s path, that’s impossible, and I’d feel extremely presumptuous and arrogant doing so.

    Otherwise, I think he is honest and transparent, and I respect that, regardless of anything. Fwiw…

    And to Shaun, please forgive me for talking about you in 3rd person, and we never have interacted. But I’ve been reading, and I wanted to answer oldhead’s question, out of respect.

  • Not sure what I was ambiguous about, but for the record, I’ll be as clear and direct as I know how—

    I do believe that humans suffer from all sorts of life trauma, inner conflict, and energy-draining events and people. I believe that when we have good examples of unconditional love, self-responsibility, and boundaries when we are kids, then these traumas and conflicts integrate in a natural way as we go along in life, and we grow and evolve as we do, according to how our hearts and spirit nature dictate, because I believe this is where our inner guidance resides, what I would call our “spirit voice.” When we connect with this, we relax entirely because there is a kind of clarity that is extremely reassuring, and it doesn’t go away.

    However, when we grow up in chaos, confusion, isolation, and neglect in a stigmatizing, bullying, or gaslighting environment, then our stuff doesn’t integrate, but more so, it fragments us, because our processes have been misguided. I believe that is when extraordinary anxiety bubbles up, and this can be debilitating in many ways professionally and socially.

    I do believe that there is a condition which exists in our society, which some refer to as “mental illness,” which to me, would amount to chronic and never-ending internal conflict which is powerful enough to distract us from our life path and personal creative goals, and which can also easily cause self-sabotage.

    I also believe that most peoples’ perceptions are distorted these days, because of all the brainwashing and social programming that has taken place due mostly to media, I think, and also thanks to academia. I think the academic world is rife with brainwashing and programming, and it pits people against each other, so it’s more about personal professional agendas than social well-being. I come from a very academic family, and they drove me nuts with their oppressive way of thinking, all focused on “being right,” as opposed to getting clarity on truth, which is a humbling endeavor.

    I’ve awakened to some things, having worked hard to deprogram from all the falsehoods I had taken on as “truth” (like the fact that I had a “chronic illness” and needed these “meds” for the rest of my life, that turned out to be utterly false, which I discovered only after they caused me life catastrophe, from which I’ve recovered, thank God); but still, one never knows the false programs they are carrying around, we’ve all been duped, so I still work with this, but guided by my own information, not on what others tell me is *their* truth. I find the truth of others interesting, sometimes, but it is easily not mine, and I think that’s natural diversity.

    I think we’re in a collective process of waking up to all this, and it is causing tremendous anxiety in a lot of people, even panic. That can be the result of facing hard truths, and not wanting to accept them. That can also cause profound internal struggles and enormous fear/dread.

    I think it’s fitting that you lumped me in the same category as Matt in your statement above, because where I wholeheartedly agree with Matt is that whatever you want to call these conditions, they are curable. One can heal, grow, and move on from these by resolving these inner conflicts and shifting one’s self-perception. It’s very hard work, and hardy, too. Pays off big time, from what I’ve experienced and witnessed in others.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, I was on these drugs for 20 years and accepted my diagnosis for a long time, believing in this programming, although I was totally active, social, and I had a successful career, got two degrees, lived a successful mainstream life, even though I was on a lot of drugs for different things by then. The first drugs I was given went on to create all sorts of other issues inside of me, which I did not realize was happening until I as almost 40. I had started taking these when I was 21.

    So right after graduate school, I chose to come off them, and that is when the real adventures in the system began for me, followed by spectacular healing and very positive and fulfilling life changes, part of which included suing an agency and speaking my truth about discrimination. Winning that legal mediation gave me the confidence that my truth was being heard, so aside from getting me out of the system, it began my journey as an activist.

    While I have nothing personal against psychotherapists and psychiatrists as individuals, I have disdain for the entire “mental health” field because I feel it is sorely misguided and based on severe power differentials, economics, gaslighting, Munchausen by proxy, and is inherently dehumanizing. I say this from my own education and training, followed by being the client of many therapists while in social services and group therapy. I saw it across the boards, over and over again. I think this field largely makes people sick and keeps them sick, because that is how they get business.

    My healing came from an entirely different perspective, far and away from “mental health” anything, and it was amazing the difference between what I learned in graduate school, and what I learned in a real healing environment, like night and day. So I continued my training in this direction, as I healed by leaps and bounds.

    Today, I take no drugs, I haven’t been in therapy for almost a decade, and I am on my own with my health and life now, creating tons, including films and music, as healing tools and community service. I’m grounded, healthy, happy, productive, and fulfilled. I love my life, and I never thought I’d be able to say that.

    In addition, I am teaching what I learned to others, including presently to the Board of Directors of a social service agency that wants to be as unlike as the system as they possibly can. They want to learn how to actually heal what some people call “mental illness,” and have contracted me to work with them and to teach them how this works, which I am currently doing. I also have a second group, having nothing to do with “mental health” anything—mostly a group of artists and teachers—and they are learning to manifest what they desire, from this very same information.

    Other than that, from all that was said on here, I would never, ever challenge anyone about their healing path, I think that is their business, and if they feel good about it, there is nothing to address. I feel strongly about that. Otherwise, I see that as a violation of personal space, and can be really detrimental to a person, in very subtle ways, to challenge their own sense of self and their reality.

    It also makes me angry that people are falling through the cracks and suffering every day, while others are fighting over who is right vs. who is wrong. I think in this movement, or whatever it is, there is more emphasis on activist ego than on resolving these issues. I also think a lot of activists here are merely jet-setters, out for their own gain, and to be hot shots.

    So while I continue to post here on occasion, it is only to offer alternative perspectives from the mainstream, and also to get some clarity for myself, for my benefit and that of my clients and students. I don’t see a lot of power here to create change, as a unit, as it is too fragmented and in disarray, I see no cohesion, and therefore, diminished power. We teach by example, not by forcing others to believe what we believe. That will never work.

    Although simply by virtue that some people, like me, can get further clarity participating here, then that is beneficial to society, in the long run. But I personally got off the drugs and changed my life about a decade before I even heard of Mr. Whitaker and his work. I came on here referred by someone, because of my story, and it has been educational as far as group dynamics go, and internet communication.

    That’s where I am at present with all this, more learning to come, I’ve no doubt. I hope this clarifies unambiguously my position.

  • “We are a shame-free zone. Language that primarily exists to disparage, shame, dismiss, taunt, bait, exclude, or otherwise diminish another person is not allowed on Mad In America.”

    I addressed this specifically with Mr. Whitaker a few years ago, before I even got involved here, just from reading, given the issues discussed on here, especially trauma from the psychologically violent chronic social abuse that occurs within the system. That conversation went nowhere. So, I dove in, trying to address the bullying on here, myself, including the cultish-like group bullying that I think goes on, and I got beaten up for it. My point proven.

    It has degenerated even more since then, and I’m not sure what this is resolving in society. It is hard for me to reconcile that “social justice” is part of the MIA tagline, and yet, I see people demeaned, baited, shamed, marginalized, and called all sorts of disparaging names on here constantly. Seems to be built into it, somehow, just like in the system. This is terribly unsafe, especially for a lot of survivors. Not all of us are callous.

  • Jeez, this entire discussion feels “bipolar,” or whatever. At the very least, makes me feel a bit seasick. I guess I don’t have the constitution for this–or the desire to convince of/persuade/prove to another my personal reality, to be perfectly honest.

    I’ve shared quite a bit over the years, and very publically, including on YouTube, my own story of healing from bipolar diagnosis after releasing the psych drugs, to help encourage others who want to take that path. And I specifically say “healing from the diagnosis,” along with the medical malpractice, social abuse and flagrant discrimination from the system that accompanied this. I actually don’t believe in the “bipolar” label, I find it very misleading. I think that is entirely something else happening, on a few different levels. In any case, naysayers are part of life.

    I think that’s what really drained me the most going through my own personal “mental health system” disaster, needing to explain myself and prove my reality, repeatedly. That, alone, is demeaning and terribly patronizing. It’s also extremely and chronically stressful, feeling like one is always on trial–not just distrusted, but always trying to be proven wrong. Horrible doesn’t even begin to describe it. That is some serious mental, emotional, and psychological abuse.

    And worse yet, it was always to no avail, that is a bottomless rabbit hole. Getting away from all that was extremely freeing and grounding. I call it “therapy brain,” incessant chatter, never a resolution, constant endless rumination; and ultimately, needing to be “right” in order to feel resolved, kind of black & white thinking–as if there were ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ when it comes to personal realities. That’s what it felt like to me, anyway, until I broke those habits and found some sustainable mental peace. Biggest relief of my life.

    RIP Carrie Fisher, a brilliant talent and extremely courageous human being.

  • “…the values (or lack thereof) of inpatient psychiatry do not include basic human dignity and the need to experience nature. The benefits of nature could help so many, but that would depend on creativity, initiative and “outside of the box” thinking that is entirely missing in so much of modern mental health care.”

    Very well said, and I agree. The mental health system/field is Dickensian, to my mind. Seems to be a complete disconnect from the human spirit, which is how it is dehumanizing.

    In healing myself from post-mental-health-system traumatic stress (my coined term for 2017, PMHSTS), I was able to get pretty far while still living in San Francisco. But eventually, to really fully evolve out of that and shift back into a self-respecting identity and feeling, I had to move to a natural rural environment. That was a trick to make that happen, as the system had drained me of resources, but I followed a certain path which lit up for me, and it worked, I landed next to a Redwood forest in a very grounded community, surrounded by nature. Biggest relief of my life, and a lot of quantum healing has occurred, mainly through making inner peace my goal.

    Getting away from the scene of the crime and then grounding in pure nature has had the most amazing healing effect on, both, my partner and me. We figured that would happen, but the depth of how this feels cannot be done justice with words, it must be experienced. I get the transcendentalists now–we ARE nature. It is when we forget this, and in turn, deny our nature and that of others, that we run into trouble, I think.

    Plus, I’ve been able to create tons and move forward in every respect. Nature is also creative, and a most supportive tool for our own innate creativity. Nature is both teacher and nurturer, like universal parents, so it can fill that gap, too. Trust in people is one thing, and most often rather dubious these days, unfortunately; but nature something I can ALWAYS trust to be authentic and real.

  • I am committed to helping the world become a more supportive, nurturing, inclusive, and joyous place to live, promoting music, the arts, and new perspectives and explorations on what it means to be human.

    I also will continue to speak up about social bullying and counter it with unconditional kindness toward others.

    In addition, I will continue to teach about self-healing.

    Hopefully, one day, this will add up to the world realizing that there really is no need at all for any of this–psychiatry and the like. All we really need is to be a much, much, much, much healthier society. And by “healthier,” I mean one in which people are not annihilating each other on a daily basis, one way or another, either physically, emotionally, or spiritually, but instead, at least respecting each other.

    Can you imagine the blow psychiatry would take if people actually treated each other with kindness and respect? There’d be no need for “mental health” anything! We’d actually be at peace, if we can even imagine such a thing.

    That’s my vision. Thanks, as always, Bonnie, for your commitment to global well-being. Happy New Year to all!

  • Courageous truth-speaking from the voice of lived experience, thank you Jarett. Psychiatry is a train wreck, no doubt, and tragic. Congratulations on finding your way to clarity and for taking action in the direction of your well-being, based on your own self-knowledge and wisdom.

    “I’m convinced that I’m on this planet to help others find the same kind of peace.”

    Inner peace is, indeed, a gift we can share lovingly with others. Very best wishes on your noble mission, and your continued healing.

  • Ekaterina and pulpamor, thank you both, I really appreciate your kind words. It is always so gratifying to hear when the film speaks to others and gives hope, and perhaps a bit of clarity around these complex issues, from the inside out. I’d never felt so vulnerable in my life as when I published this on YouTube! I’m grateful for your comments, makes it all worthwhile.

    *Sorry, just noticed this posted above where I had intended. I’m referring to the comments below this post.

  • Indeed, it is all so personal depending on your life circumstances. We’re all on a learning curve, that is human, which I believe we ALL share, regardless of absolutely anything.

    Thanks for asking about it, here’s the link to my film, Voices That Heal (96 minutes). 6 of us share our stories of healing and of going through the system. We discuss a variety of related issues and are all on different healing paths and not necessarily of like mind, we are highly diverse. We were all part of the same speaker bureau at the time (5 years ago), which is how we came together for this.

    What we really explore here is the notion and feeling of being “othered,” as a primary cause of chronic distress, where this originates and how we inadvertently internalize these stigmatizing messages, and how we shift this through our self-perception. To me, that is how we can be our own healers.

    No book yet, I’m working on that now, with a co-author. Stay tuned! I hope you find the film engaging and valuable.

  • Ekaterina, your courage and integrity are so clearly evident, and I believe these are the true measures of one’s heart, from where our light shines. This is what I feel from your article, the magic of your light, your personal truth and how you embody it. How you choose to take your journey of life and speak your truth is what makes you uniquely you, as is the case with any of us. We are inherently diverse in this regard, and I wholeheartedly agree with you, that there is no reason to disrespect others for how they live their personal truth. Nor do we need to take to heart others’ opinions and responses, that’s what I’m saying above, about freedom from shame and judgment. That’s not heart-based, but ego projections, clearly.

    Yes, open hearts vs. constricted hearts is a good discernment to make, I think. We do live in a chaotic world at present, very confusing for lot of people, understandably, and a lot of heart wounding, betrayal, all sorts of issues people are sorting out these days. There is tons of anxiety in the collective now, it is hard to escape at the moment, I think.

    I think your clarity about how you choose to walk your path is your gift, and exactly what is needed at this time of global confusion and conflict. I think this makes you an example of heart-based living, which I applaud and cheer.

    At the same time, life is ever-changing, so one never knows what’s around the corner, and how that will impact us, or how we will impact others. So I do believe open-mindedness and flexibility in thinking are also admirable and generous qualities to possess. But I think as long as we are true to ourselves, than we’re always doing the best we can in the moment, and these are the examples I look for around me. I call that “alignment with one’s spirit,” which we do not have enough of in this world, as far as I’m concerned.

    No way to control others, if we are serious about abolishing oppression (or maybe “ascending from oppression” would be more accurate?) via the oppressors tools of force, deceit, and blatant manipulation (gaslighting). Trust in our own process is vital. I believe this is what most of us are complaining about when it comes to the “institution of psychiatry,” on the whole. It’s really a crap shoot, from what it seems at this point.

    My experience with the entire mental health field–from training, to interning, to being a client, to being a social worker–was beyond horrendous and totally catastrophic, and I was 100% compliant and respectful to the protocol, as I would be with anything that I thought was there to help and support me in healing.

    I was wrong, though, as it nearly destroyed me, after 20 years of trusting it. And I’ve also talked and written about it quite a bit over the years, including in a film I made about truth-speaking as a healing avenue, for the purpose of helping others to avoid the pitfalls I did, and to offer better (to my mind) pathways of healing.

    I’ve been off all psych drugs for over 14 years now, after having taken a variety of them (including lithium, klonopin, the usual suspects) for almost 20 years. That is what saved *my* life, I would have been dead or institutionalized or homeless had I stayed on them, they made me so ill and eventually severely disabled me, which was temporary, thank God. At one point, we weren’t sure about that. It was quite scary, but all worked out fine, for which I’m grateful on a daily basis.

    Instead, I healed from the drugs, healed from my original wounds, and all that came from the psych world, which was more social abuse and spirit wounding than I could possibly write about it here, and moved on to a grounded, stable, creative, spiritual and fulfilling life. I did a 180 after coming off the psych drugs, life has transformed for me.

    So our experiences have been opposite in this regard, still we both know and recognize the magic. I think that’s totally awesome 🙂

  • I believe that when we live by, and are grounded in, the wisdom of our hearts, then we are inherently powerful and unlimited in our creativity, like magicians. I think it’s a matter of attuning ourselves to who we really are, as spirit, and living by that inner guidance, authentically, and not by anyone else’s rules, opinions, or expectations. From my experience, that is true freedom, and when life becomes entirely magical.

  • Lovely read, Carina, thank you for sharing these touching thoughts. I felt it as a prayer, had that energy all over it. What a dispiriting world we have created.

    While I think that simply being alive at this time is courageous, I join you in the commitment to expand my courage and refine my focus in order to flood the planet with light, so perhaps from here forward, we can co-create a just, peaceful, and inclusively sound global society–one based on truth, integrity, and diversity, as opposed to the deceit, illusions, and violent intolerance we’ve got going on now.

    Human beings should not make other human beings suffer, yet it happens all the time, on a daily basis. It has become a way of life to hurt others, to take our anger out on those around us, projecting outward our fears and insecurities, rather than owning them and taking responsibility for our own feelings.

    Given that we are all one energy and consciousness (to me that’s a given, in any case), we’re basically just hurting ourselves when we marginalize others. So really, we live in a self-sabotaging society. That’s a sobering thought, but empowering nonetheless, as it points us to the seeds of change, I believe–within ourselves, always.

  • I joined a T’ai Chi group and also a Qi Gong group (the individual exercises which make up T’ai Chi, the dance) as a basic feature of my healing from psych drugs toxicity and post “mental health” system traumatic stress, and it is fantastic on so many levels, truly holistic healing. Balances energy on all levels–physical, mental, emotional, it is grounding, quiets the mind, clears blocks, integrates masculine/feminine energies (yin/yang), etc. By amplifying our chi, we regenerate our cells and core energy, to kick in self-healing. I ended up integrating Qi Gong as part of my lifestyle, 15 minutes in the morning, and I teach it as part of my healing practice. It is extremely gentle and healthful maintenance.

  • “I know there are extreme states which represent transcendence and reaching another spiritual level, but if they do not fundamentally impair a person’s ability to function and relate, I would differentiate them from the experiences being discussed here.”

    Matt, from what I understand about this, a true and authentic spiritual awakening in our society will undoubtedly cause confusion, chaos, ungrounded-ness, and some level of temporary social impairment. It may not necessarily impair one’s ability to function as far as survival goes, but on the way to this awakening, one is flooded with doubt, fear, and questioning their entire reality on the most core level. It is always disorienting, by design. That’s how we find our strength, power, and the clarity of our hearts–the purpose of it all–by overcoming these extreme emotional experience through our faith and trust in the natural order of things, ultimately leading us to our own sense of self-synchronicity, aka alignment.

    A spiritual awakening happens when family, social, and media illusions/programming dissolve, leaving one with the feeling of being in a void (dark-night-of-the-soul). It is how old internal systems, beliefs, and dynamics break down, which is a hardy state of transition.

    Emerging from the dark night into the light of awakening means a radical shift in perspective, which will more than likely not be harmonious with one’s environment, until more and more people awaken. But there is definitely suffering involved, because old wounds must come up to heal in order to awaken, and that can be rocky, especially when people are in the habit of suppressing their feelings and being in denial, by looking outward, through projecting filters, more than inward, in ownership.

    Still, the tools and faith we acquire in order to overcome this are what become part of a new way of living, from new beliefs and new ways of perceiving reality, and self. We learn our heart’s truth, our inner guidance, way above and beyond what comes to us from the outside, all those opinions and judgments. They have no bearing on an awakened soul, other than as a reflection of the world around them.

    When we drug or otherwise interfere with a natural human process, as opposed to supporting it and seeing it through, then we disrupt the awakening, and that’s when people get STUCK in suffering, because the process of human nature and evolution is being tampered with aggressively. That will never lead to anything good, not ever. I don’t see how it could.

    This is my own personal perspective of this, based on my experience and others I know who have gone through this process. I’ve heard people say they’ve awakened because at one moment in their lives, they experienced being “one with everything.” That feeling comes and goes, whether or not one is awake. I believe it is more complex than this, and reaches deeply into our heart, spirit and overall awareness. It is life changing in the most fundamental way.

    Spiritual awakening is often called “re-birth,” and births are not pretty, they are messy and painful. But from the mud grows the lotus, and therein lies the prize of the arduous process of spiritual awakening–just like a newborn baby, so eager to give and receive love, simply by natural instinct.

    And when love is not flowing, then there is no light, it gets dark. That would cause all sorts of extreme states and a whole host of potential issues, health and otherwise, because it means we are operating purely in illusion.

    When we start feeling the love again, we begin to awaken to our spirits, which is our inherent manual for living, unique to each of us. That is healing, 100% of the time.

  • It’s why I talk her up whenever the opportunity arises. She was humanistic AND scientific about it. She was a straight woman, but her social community was mostly gay men and women. From these interactions, she basically said to the psychological community, “Being gay is an illness? What the hell are you talking about??”

    And then she proceeded to prove, with her research, that as far as health and well-being are concerned, gay or straight is an indicator of absolutely nothing in this regard, that it was purely made up, fabricated from fear–as is the case with all bigotry. It is the fear which needs to heal–not gay people–for social evolution to occur justly and soundly, the way we desire it to.

    I think that maybe the reason she is not more well-known is that my impression is that she was extremely heartfelt in her work, and it sprang from her sense of truth, not desiring to be a celebrity or anything like that, not a media whore. She was dedicated to her work with humanity, from the heart. I believe her heroism springs from the fact that it is probably the last thing she had in mind, to be a hero. She was authentic and sincere, completely in her integrity. To me, that’s a role model.

  • I always think of 1973 as the landmark year where “homosexuality” was removed from the list of “mental illnesses.” While Stonewall was definitely influential, as it had occurred a mere 4 years prior to this, I always attribute liberation from this category to the brilliant and groundbreaking work of Dr. Evelyn Hooker.

    **Great composite of her work and the effects thereof–

    There is a wonderful documentary about Dr. Hooker and her pioneering work in this area, called Changing Our Minds: The Story of Dr. Evelyn Hooker. I love the title, I think it speaks volumes.

    **Here’s a brief clip of the film–

    I consider her a hero.

    **WARNING: both film clips contain a few graphic images.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this video, Sera, I found it to be extremely riveting and enlightening in so many ways. I really could write a dissertation on all of this, and in fact I took notes and noted time codes as I went along, everything she said was so incredibly interesting and noteworthy. But for the sake of making a comment here, I will highlight a few things which I found to be particularly powerful and relevant, and it addresses a lot of issues I see made in this discussion. It is a bit lengthy, but I’m trying to cut to the chase, here.

    First, I do like how she begins the video, and I’m thinking this is a lot of what you all (authors) had in mind, that laying this all out directly and authentically would basically light up people’s shadow tendencies—in this case, racist inclinations. Which, I think is totally legitimate and to be expected, when at the bone like this with such a charged issue. As you say in one of your comments, it is, indeed, part of the healing process, to expose the root causes.

    And it affects us all so profoundly, we’re talking about severe social ills, is how I would put it. And it causes suffering which I think can be alleviated, and we can perhaps do some social healing here, were people to tune into each other with compassion and empathy, rather than defensiveness and entitlement. Although, that is a choice, as we do have free will. As Dr. DeGruy says, we’re all at different levels of awareness, and I think it is sound to honor that with compassion, universally.

    I think for this blog article, personally, I would have included this video up front, in the article, to be transparent about your intention. I think it still would be a hot and crackling dialogue, but people wouldn’t feel set up, as it seems some have felt this way, simply by responding authentically. I think it would have felt a bit safer, rather than to risk being interpreted and accused. I think that’s where a lot of the downward spiral came in the dialogue.

    I did a lot of inner work reading this, as I kind of outlined transparently in my comments along the way, and it really helped me understand a few things I’d been thinking about regarding my own identity, internal culture, and personal reality. To me, that is the value of bold writings such as this, to be a great healing tool, as well as a teaching one.

    Still, it’s true, that when we delve into topics such as racism, homophobia, sexism, etc., we all become vulnerable to the truth and rather naked. However, I don’t think we need to feel shame when we discover our “inner racist,” but more so, courage and humility to own it, and to really think about how we treat and think about people, simply by habits of social programming.

    We all have this in us, and we could all use self-enlightenment here. How can we expect change to happen outside of us if we don’t examine what is inside of us? That would be impossible. We can’t change others, we can only change ourselves. I love what Gandhi said and I personally go by this—“BE the change you wish to see in the world.” I believe that is energetically sound, it is the only way change happens, really, to my mind.

    So much more to comment on, but I don’t want to write a book here. A couple of other things, though, before I sign off, just to touch on them, I think they’re important—

    I heard a lot of parallels between slavery and what if felt like for me to go through the system– mostly, the feeling of being dehumanized, quite brutally, where realities are concocted to soothe the cognitive dissonance on the part of the system/clinician/social services/abusers & oppressors (DSM diagnoses, for one thing, I think that’s a great example of this).

    I do not see my plight through the system as “slavery,” however, as it was not slavery, the way I understand it. But still, there are powerful parallels with the feelings of 1) dehumanization, 2) being dehumanized for the purpose of making others wealthy, and 3) lack of reparations.

    Like Dr. DeGruy says here, sure, it’s ok to heal, but don’t ask for reparations, keep your hands off of our resources. The mh system, et al, also gets filthy rich for how they dehumanize its clients, the way she described wealthy slave owners becoming filthy rich from their slave trade. I have yet to feel vindicated for all the money that I feel was literally stolen from me, under false pretenses. While I don’t think psychiatry is slavery, I do think it is FRAUD, pure and simple.

    I was treated as though I had no feelings, as though I had no sense about anything, like life, and they were shocked when I knew the law and got an attorney that saw my perspective and advocated for me. No slave would have that luxury, so I see a huge difference there.

    So while, indeed, there is no way slavery is the same as being a mental patient, to my mind, there are definitely overlapping very deep feelings of entrapment, helplessness, powerlessness, and punishment for saying “boo.” It’s also very paranoid-making, because of the utter lack of protection from social abuse. Those in the system do have their humanity robbed, I think that’s apparent.

    I have tons of examples from my own experiences that would lead me to believe that many of the clinicians and social workers I dealt with would have more than likely been slave owners in a past life, if one believes in past lives, because the attitude and energy feels exactly how I would expect that to feel. But certainly, it is not at all the same, because no one is really being bought and sold. That is a whole other level of sinister and dark insanity within humanity, to be sure.

    Finally, at 34:00, she says exactly what I was thinking as I read through this discussion earlier—have we forgotten that humanity is all one consciousness? She says, “Isn’t it a shame that we’re still debating that in 2008?” (when this video was made). My answer is, “Yes, indeed it is, and it’s 8 years later now.”

    This perspective applies here very practically—we are really just fighting with ourselves. Outer conflict and struggle is a symptom/indicator of inner conflict and struggle. When we heal what is inside of us, then we have the power to influence healing outside of us, but not until then. Inner healing is a precursor to social healing. This is what I heard Dr. DeGruy saying, and it is also what I believe, I’ve written that here often.

    Overall, I think what she says here echoes exactly in the intention of my film, Voices That Heal. As human beings, we cannot see each other with any clarity because of these filters we carry around, and in turn, we are afraid to tune into what is around us, for fear that it is a reflection of who we really are, and is that who we want to be?

    In short, we run the risk of seeing and feeling our own cognitive dissonance, and that can be a hard truth to face. It is humbling, but it is also totally empowering, when we own our shadow like that.

    We are human, human, human, each and every one of us. We all have interesting stories, backgrounds, cultural heritage, and unique perspective. Why on Earth can we not find peace????

  • Looks awesome, Sera, thank you, extremely interesting. I’ll be watching this this week, I imagine I can learn a great deal listening to her. I’d never heard of Dr. Degruy until now. I like what she has to say, it all rings true, very direct and clear.

    As you can see, I got tons out of this. I feel expanded awareness coming on, so much to learn here that I think is of value–the subtleties of human interaction coming to light. Curious to where it will lead, but I do feel a lot of energy on this.

    Really powerful stuff, so again, I’m grateful to the authors for going to the edge with this. You gotta start somewhere! Always takes courage, because I think it’s inherently uncomfortable, until it no longer is. At that point, we’ll feel the progress, and following that, will be the witnessing of it, I do believe.

  • This discussion brought to mind a scene from an old film from 1947, Gentleman’s Agreement, and I happened to find that exact clip on YouTube. Not the greatest sound quality, but it’s doable (turn volume on high), and even though they are talking about anti-Semitism, I think this dialogue they are having is relevant, if not chilling in its truth. Dave Goldman (John Garfield), who is Jewish, is asking Kathy Lacy (Dorothy McGuire) about her experience at a party when the Jewish jokes and slurs started happening. What was her response?

    And then I searched Racism and White Privilege, I wanted to hear different perspectives on this, and found this, also extremely eye-opening, and to hear this perspective, and it is totally the other side of the spectrum from the above clip—

  • And if that’s the case, then we see what happened–cause and effect.

    I’ve been wanting the dialogue to be more in depth about our own experiences with racism or being around it, what have we internalized from our racist society that perhaps we can become aware of, own and shift, all that good stuff. That’s my intention with these dialogues, per my comments. To me, that would be moving forward.

    I know that a lot of suffering in society is due to the HORRIBLE way people are treated, due to their differences. Society seems programmed to sabotage people based on race, and other differences. At the very least, it makes life extremely more challenging for some more than others, simply from prejudice and bigotry, and by habit, simply not being aware. In my world, that is unacceptable. People need to wake up.

    I’m about to make a post below, which I came on here to do, and then saw your comment, so I responded to that, first. My next post is an example of what I’m talking about, with respect to how I, personally, would direct this dialogue, to more neutral territory.

    I really think there is a lot to learn and think about here, at least this has been very enlightening for me, to think about these issues and apply them to my own experience, while hearing those of others. Not into the personal squabbles, though. I think that is distracting from what is really important and interesting here, imo and fwiw.

  • I’m thinking this was more about grinding personal axes rather than actually having a spirited and enlightening conversation about racism, which, indeed, would be valuable to one and all. But when it becomes personal about specific people, the dialogue will undoubtedly tank. That’s when the community turns on itself–which, of course, is exactly what the powers that be enjoy so much, right? To keep oppressed people (already filled to the brim with anger, resentment, fear, and blame) from uniting on a common front?

    And if that is the intention behind the blog, to out others, then I believe the results are destined to be quite messy and bad-feeling. That’s what I’d call a negative agenda, and I believe it stands to reason that, in turn, it’s going to lead to a negative outcome.

  • I agree with you, Julie, and I think most people who post here would, too–that any kind of coercion is harmful and undesirable, whether it’s drugs or meditation or anything. That’s still forced treatment, regardless of what the “treatment” is.

    As far as imposing beliefs on another, I wouldn’t stand for that either, who would? Once it becomes an imposition, then it becomes pointless. I don’t argue, though, as that is draining to me, and also pointless, I think. I just walk away without looking back.

  • “Holistic psychiatry teaches that within each and every one of us there are great and latent powers, which are beyond the ordinary life. It also teaches that there are practical methods by which these forces can be released.”

    There are tons of people from all walks of life teaching this now. It is innate wisdom. When we release all of our family, social, and media programming and resistance to change, stop grinding axes, take responsibility for ourselves, quiet our minds, come into present time, and learn to dialogue with life with awe and humility, we get it, and we can unearth and integrate our natural gifts into our create process. That is the paradigm shift–an entirely new experience of life. It is within each of us, and not at all contingent on outside influences.

    It’s also important to stop caring what other people think. I believe that this is our biggest power and energy drain, to make the opinion of others our focal point in life.

  • I was out all day and came back to this tonight because I knew there was something extremely valuable for me, here, and sure enough, I found it, and something really clicked for me.

    It started with this article you posted, Iden, which I’m going to repost here because I read it and I got all this clarity suddenly about something that’s been gnawing at me for way too long, and this really helped to break that up. This is an outstanding article, imo, really deepened my understanding of this entire discussion–

    I do avoid “taking sides” because I don’t like to operate in that kind of duality. This is just my own process speaking, thanks to all this authenticity and very honest discussion. But I do have to say that I get now why using the word “slavery” as comparison to being a “mental health system client” is offensive, and why insisting on it is truly hurtful and lacking in compassion, as I see it.

    I certainly know how I feel when someone tries to tell me about my experience as a “mental patient” and all that I went through as a result of this, which, really, is practically impossible to explain the depths of the feelings this stirs, made to feel so valueless and expendable, and knowing this is being done either intentionally, or as second nature, because it is the norm of the culture, the dominant perspective. There is no winning there. Who does one complain to, or how does one find protection or even a bit of encouragement and support, if that’s the norm?

    Moreover, I don’t see why I have to keep explaining it, in order to justify my experience. I’m always happy to talk about it, I’m very open about my experience and my feelings about it, and I share for the reason most of us do, I imagine, to help others on similar paths, one way or another, as well as to help ourselves, using our voices and owning our power to do so. If it leads to an interesting discussion that is inclusive to all in the room, then that is great movement, and new clarity is bound to arise, and, most importantly, cohesion.

    But so often, rather than either taking it in as my truth discretely or offering some kind of compassionate feedback, I am challenged about my own experience in ways that feel so violating, because I am being told that what I’m feeling does not matter, but what another feels or how they interpret my experience, somehow, trumps mine, or simply that it should be considered equally. Maybe it could be equal and people can agree to disagree about something objective, like a movie or politics, but certainly not about my very personal life experience! That is mine to own, and if that cannot be accepted, then I’m in an environment that merits examination, because I’d say something is wrong with this. It is going nowhere fast, stuck.

    That would only discourage me from sharing anything (aka silencing), as this only continues to re-traumatize; whereas when our truth and deepest feelings are respected, then we actually go in the direction of healing. That would be a safe and supportive environment, which I think is inherently healing, it happens without effort in an environment where personal truth about one’s cultural experience is respected as is, rather than challenged or reinterpreted. Our truths morph and shift over time, by our own experience, not by the opinion or reinterpretations of others.

    Aside from therapists, which unfortunately, this happened quite a bit with me and I didn’t walk away for so many reasons having to do with social programming and what I believed about myself at the time, I’ve had a lot of people try to tell me about myself, completely disregarding the fact that they have never walked in my shoes, yet they have this opinion about my life experience and feelings about certain things, that they do insist is some kind of truth, when I am saying that it is most certainly not. And then they will try to prove it to me, by noticing things about me that are “inconsistent” or some such thing. That is pretty darn offensive, if you ask me, and should be seriously out of bounds. I think it’s rather abusive, to be blunt, (one way to gaslight someone) and these days, thanks to growing in my ability to discern what is good for me vs. what is draining, I would walk away from that person, and not look back.

    Thank you, truly, for this blog and discussion. It is so rich, and I feel I’ve grown in my awareness from it significantly, and can release something now that I’m ready to let go of. Very powerful, thank you.

  • I’m simply expressing what moved through me as I took in the discussion, mostly recalling the feeling of being dehumanized, and how oppressive that felt and how severely it negatively impacted my life, until I could find a new perspective and work with that internally.

    I don’t have a concept of people being “too angry,” people have a right to be angry, that’s human. Still, there is a lot of shaming others–dehumanizing–that goes on in our society (marginalization), and it is extremely wounding for people, and I think it starts in the one who uses shaming as a tool for power and control.

    To me, this is all relevant to racism, and it echoes how I felt going through the system. I thought it was an interesting and very powerful parallel, that’s all. Nothing aimed at anyone in particular.

  • Thank you for sharing these very deep personal truths, they are extremely thought-provoking.

    I’m first generation American, grew up in a Latino household. My folks had accents, and I’d hear quite a bit, “They don’t even know how to speak English,” which was preposterous, they were brilliant, well–educated, and extremely literate people. (My mother still is, my dad passed away 8 years ago).

    They prided themselves on being “liberal Democrats” and felt they were “the good guys,” and everyone else was either a bigot or ignorant or both. They liked using the word “stupid” a lot, to describe people. In short, they were two of the most patronizing and snobby people I’ve known,–judgmental to the extreme–that’s from where I come. I used to be really angry at them for so many reasons, but that’s in the past. We are who we are who we are who we are, and I learned to love them for who they are, even though I’d challenge them all the time, simply being myself.

    My family is also Jewish, and I was called names in school for this reason. Although we did not practice our faith, my father eschewed all of that that. He thought I was “ridiculous” for wanting to light the Menorah on Hanukkah. As a result of not attending services, the neighborhood kids, who were mostly Jewish, had their demeaning opinion about this, too. So I felt all that judgment and stigma from both sides in this respect, no one was shy about offering me their opinion.

    I’ve also been out of the closet as a Gay man since I was 20. To this day, people see my wedding ring and ask about my “wife.” I correct them with a smile, and say, “You mean ‘husband.’”

    Shortly after I came out, I was diagnosed via DSM, and I was out from the get-go, never kept that a secret. I could have, I was more turned inward than “out of control.” I just felt like I was a “wrong person” and had an extremely low-self-esteem, but I was not articulating this, until years later. At the time, my life experience simply caused me more anxiety than I could handle. It is terrifying to feel so unsafe and targeted, simply for being. So I went to see a psychotherapist, and one thing led to another, then diagnosis and pills, and after years of this, eventually, down the rabbit hole I went.

    Looking back, had I known then what I know now, I would have taken a different route to address my anxiety. But at the time, this seemed like the appropriate place to go.

    I grew up in Memphis in the 1960’s. We lived 2 miles from the Lorraine Motel when Dr. King was murdered. I consider this my first “awakening” regarding the issues of violent bigotry which we faced as a society. I was 7 at the time, and I remember that night so clearly.

    Today, decades later, I’m on the other side of this truly horrible and horrifying journey through the “mental health system,” and none of the above which I describe here is an issue for me any longer. None of that made me suffer as did the real and true oppression, divisiveness, and shaming that is generated from within the “mental health” world. That was extremely cruel, brutal, relentless, and consistent in every aspect of the “mental health world,” (starting with graduate school), and nearly destroyed my life, for no reason other than I was naïve about it all. I really thought it was there to help people, not brutalize and shame them.

    And I can seriously say I’m so grateful for that experience, because it continued to awakening me to the complexities of humanity in ways I could have never imagined. And that started with my own humanity, and discovering all that I had internalized from this bigoted and highly judgmental environment in which I grew up. As an adult, going through the system, I could process discrimination differently, more consciously, than when I was 10, including filing a law suit for discrimination, and winning it. So it was really a second chance to firmly stand my ground and heal from all that I allowed others to make me believe about myself, so negatively oriented, for being “different” in one respect or another. (As if anyone does not possess differences from others?)

    It definitely made me a better person, I think, because my awareness grew so much going through something like this. I could never, ever have anticipated feeling so dehumanized in life, but there you have it. That’s what happened, and it took a lot of healing and shifting my perspective so that I could align with myself in a way that I could breathe freely again, and feel good about life. Now, I feel my inherent value, and this is a good thing.

    What I learned as a result of this arduous experience, is that people really crave love and respect, and one way to get under people’s skin, of any color, is to withhold this, and instead, make a person feel really, really bad about who they are. I think it’s because that person doing the whacking cannot come to face their own hurt, so they insist on projecting it outward and blaming others for how they feel in life. It’s insane-making.

    These are the impressions from my own life experience that came to mind as I read this blog and discussion, so I thought I’d share. I always appreciate the opportunity to use my voice as an expression of my truth. Thank you.

  • I love the word “allow” here. Healing is not something one does to another, it is something we allow to occur or not. It can most often occur without effort or interference, quite naturally and unobtrusively, when we are truly at peace with ourselves. And that is something we can practice at any time, through meditation. It is a practice, we’re all human.

    Yes, worry and fear constrict our bodies, especially our hearts, and it distorts our thinking. In essence, they block energy, so when we embody these feelings, especially chronically, we are not allowing healing to occur. When we heal, we feel at peace, so practicing being at peace, regardless of anything (though the practice of detachment) is a great way to get on our true healing and growth path, and also the path to change.

    I’ve heard worrying described as praying for that which we do not want, because our attention is entirely focused on it, and that on which we focus dominantly is what manifests, that’s inevitable. I think trust (in ourselves, our process, our intuition) would be the remedy for this, while focusing more on that which we do want, rather than dwelling on all that brings us fear and resentment.

    When we are in a space of trust, that does produce a relaxed feeling in the body. Relaxation seems to have become a lost art. This is one way to bring it back into fashion. We’re so much more productive, as well as practicing well-being, when we are relaxed and clear, rather than uptight and worried about everything. I think that’s a given.

  • What I love about meditation, and how it most helped me, is that when I finally allowed myself to focus purely on the moment as my mind quieted down (that was a trick, but with practice, I finally got there), my entire nervous system began to calm down, and I’d find myself at peace. Even though that inner peace would go away as I went through my day interacting with the world and my life, I could still feel an ever-so-slight shift in my thoughts–less fear-based and more neutral and uplifting.

    The more I got into the habit of meditation, grounding, and quieting my mind to simply be in the moment, always going back to that little space of inner peace I could only find in mediation at that time, the more my thoughts shifted, and as a result of that inner shifting, my outer reality began to change. And then, it totally transformed into something I’d never expected–satisfying and fulfilling.

    So not only did a daily meditation practice shift my neural pathways to something much more light and desirable than that which produced only feelings of fear and powerlessness, it also taught me that when we shift internally our thought habits and how we respond to the world around us, then we discover the power to create desirable change that ripples into our personal reality, in the most uplifting and life-affirming way.

    I also studied healing and did a large part of my training with Buddhists (not exclusively, I studied a variety of spiritual healing paths), although I don’t identify as Buddhist. I’m Jewish and identify as such regarding my heritage, but I was ordained as minister in a Christian Church that was adjunct to a school for meditation and healing, based on the universal principles of energy. My work is as a non-denominational minister, spiritual counselor and healer–“spiritual,” not like in “religion” but as in, our spiritual nature, which I believe to be universal. We all have a spiritual nature to learn and explore, and from which we can manifest what we desire.

    The commonality between all of these different spiritual paths and healing perspectives is “Law of Attraction,” every single one of these diverse perspectives meet at that same juncture, so I began to investigate this via spiritual teachings and meditation. I found the evidence of it in my own life, practicing making internal shifts, which radically shifted my attitude and outlook along with overall perspective and self-perception. As a result of this practice, I witnessed the external changes around me, in my environment. It has been phenomenal and life-changing to discover how this all works, and it is how I found my true life path.

    So yes, I agree, meditation is a great start to opening new doorways of perception that can change reality to something better, because we can find inspiration from a space of peace, rather than acting out of fear or resentment–which usually, in the end, proves only to be sabotaging to ourselves.

    There’s more after that, but it does start with quieting our mind, focusing on our life-giving breath, and being in the moment, making a habit of that in order to feel our own sense of peace. From there, the possibilities are endless.

    So, indeed, I believe that mediation is a great remedy for depression, anxiety, worry, fear, resentment, etc. At least for me it was the way out of all that chronic anxiety and stressful thought habits. And when that went away, a whole new life was born, reflecting who I am as spirit, not as the mirror image of an extremely judgmental, competitive, stigmatizing and personally denigrating society. I learned this from others who had had the same experience of transformation, who were tired of the old ways of being, as a slave to society..

  • Ironically, I’d just been having a conversation with my partner about the “dark side of humanity” as it is coming so visibly into light these days, and I was feeling quite frustrated with it all. Then I came to my computer to check out the discussion here, and found your reply, which uplifted me more than I can say, so thank you again. You express it all so beautifully spot on.

    Indeed, releasing our fears, resentments, and judgments to allow for love, understanding, and compassion, as a general rule, would be the quantum leap of the paradigm shift. That will create a new and improved society for which I know most of us yearn. I think we’re doing it, thanks in large part to your tireless work, and that of others, myself included. I have a teaching and healing practice in which I help shift consciousness into the new paradigm, and I’m also musical director of a band which performs for senior residents of assisted living facilities as community service. My entire journey was all about pointing me in this direction. I learned the hard way to follow my own inner guidance, but I finally did learn.

    I’ve been dreaming of this social awakening for a long time, and it is enormously gratifying to see it come to fruition, finally. I know we are in transition now, as the old systems have proven themselves to be utter failures, and everyone knows this. This is our opportunity to improve on the situation, with our own examples.

    From what I see how the world is changing now, I really believe that you will fulfill your promise to your son, as his wisdom continues to inspire the way forward for all of us, through your heartfelt commitment to unity within a heart- and spirit-based society.

  • I won a legal mediation 12 years ago against an agency because I was able to prove that I had been discriminated against as a 1) disabled person, and 2) Latino. It was not that hard to prove this, and the legal professionals were able to see this.

    Were I to keep my mouth shut, no one would know I was Latino, Gay, that I’ve had a psychiatric history, or that I sued anyone. And yet, I’ve made a career of speaking my truth openly about such matters as discrimination, oppression, marginalization, and social abuse in general–and how to evolve and heal from such trauma–from my lived experience of this, speaking publically in person and on film. And as a result, I was ostracized from the mainstream, and from the field in which I had trained and dedicated myself to. Thank goodness, because that’s when I discovered real life, creative freedom, inner peace, grounding, fulfillment, and true abundance.

    So, in addition to other marginal identities which I took on, it was partly racism which, indeed, defined my path. FWIW.

  • “I hope we all can keep working towards expanding these holes in our hearts.”

    Yes, I agree, this is all about heart healing. But how can that occur in a world filled with hate, resentment, fear, and perpetual divisiveness? That is exactly what wounds the heart. I imagine this is universal, we all have tender hearts, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, state of health, culture, etc. The heart is what connects us to all that is.

    Takes a lot of courage, fortitude and faith to live in one’s heart, because it is rarely understood in today’s society and lends itself to all sorts of stigmatizing projections from cynics and naysayers. Takes a very strong sense of self, too, so that none of that gets under one’s skin. Heart healing is the most powerful healing there is, from my experience, and is exactly from where one finds the clarity to achieve holistic well-being, as well as the power to create desired change, quite naturally.