Let’s Get P.C. on MENTAL ILLNESS!

When is society going to start getting politically correct when it comes to mental illness? When are words like “crazy,” “nutter,” “looney ” going to become just as offensive and disgusting to use as the words nigger and fag? When someone utters those words everyone stops and stares–it defines that persons way of thinking. But when someone refers to a person with a mental illness as a “looney” no one even bats and eye. As a friend said, “its much more acceptable to be an alcoholic than mentally ill.”

We have a friend who is a paranoid schizophrenic. He refuses to get real help, even though several people have talked to him about it. And yes, sometimes he is a bit much. He has rants and conspiracies–talks to otherworldly beings etc. (and as a Shamanic practitioner–I do not doubt that he does!). His reality–what he sees — is not our definition of reality. His reality is defined by his illness. The schizophrenic mind does not agree with reality. It is a psychosis. And, he cant help that. He is a good person with a good heart who is very intelligent. He cant help having a mental illness. No one knows what deck of cards they are going to be handed when they are born into this life.

Yes his behavior can be erratic and yes you do have to constantly redirect him during conversation. But he is not a bad person. He recently has been kicked out of a cafe for his rants, and has had altercations with other folks. In the past, he has had the shit kicked out him from police and people in society who don’t understand the simple fact he is sick. I am not saying that he should get away with every little thing–and that his behavior is always justified. But he is ill. His angry outbursts are not out of malicious intent; he can not help what is brain does. Outbursts and angry rants are par for the course. Its part of the illness which is schizophrenia. And like cancer or any other physical illness, schizophrenia varies from person to person.

What upsets me, is the reaction people have about him. Not compassion. Not empathy. But utter disgusting hypocrisy and hateful words. For example  (and these are direct quotes):

” I can read a loon as soon as they open their mouth to speak.”

Ask the alien race hes hangin with…they might be able to shed some light on the dysfunction.”

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“Loon”—“dysfunction.” Would you say this about a person with cancer? Parkinsons? Would you tell them they are full of shit? Would you call them names? Absolutely not–because its WRONG.

And yet, when it comes to mental illness…people say whatever they want about the person because they think, “well,  they are just crazy.” And that is why society can be a disgusting hypocritical beast. Its not OK to use racist or bigoted words, but it is OK to use hateful mean words to someone with a mental diagnosis? How is this acceptable? And people who find it funny, should be ashamed of themselves. No matter how a person is reacting with mental illness–no aspect of it is funny. No one makes fun of mentally disabled people–Asbergers, Mental Retardation, Down Syndrome….because they can SEE the disability. Well guess what–mental illness is no different!

I cant tell you how many times I have been called “crazy,” “emotional,” “full of shit,” “faking it.”—And you know..that used to really hurt me. It hurt because no one understood the battle I deal with every single day of my life. When I am a happy person and and yet my brain is full of despair and anxiety. Now, I get pissed off. And I get pissed off when people in my tribe are called these things because society thinks its okay.

Its about time that society start getting PC about mental illness. People should think about their words before they open their mouth about someone who is mumbling to themselves on the bus, or crying all the time, or fearful of going out to go shopping because their brain is on constant fight or flight–or any of the other mental illnesses out there that appear to be “crazy” to society.

 

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Turn The Light On

Living with depression is hard. And well, people don’t get it. I cant tell you how many times I have heard people say, “why are you depressed? you have a job, a good man, money?” Trying to explain to them that the depression is not due to “outside” things but more inside things is nearly impossible. So I don’t talk about it much to friends and family, unless I know they really truly understand.

My depression seemed to be under control. Now it feels like I am crawling up the rabbit hole once again. Its obvious my medication is no longer working. Which makes me feel more depressed-if only because my primary care provider has recommended I see a psychiatric nurse since she can no longer help me. So, cry, sleep (when my anxiety is not feeding my insomnia), eat little are pretty much my days now until I get put on something new and start all over. Of course, in public, at work, I have my happy face on. But as soon as I get in the car—I start crying. I smile through a thousand tears. I smile through unexplained sadness and pain. Its hard, knowing you have everything you could need in life, but your brain decides to make you feel sad and miserable just because. While I am a non-traditionalist wild woman, sometimes…I wish my brain would be normal. I wish I could wake up and not feel like doom and gloom. 

 

So why am I writing this post—when most of my other posts are about happiness, joy, spirituality and self love? Because the light cant always be on.

I am an intuitive empath. I have helped so many people with my gift. And I am also a healer via movement and dance. But, sometimes even my light switch gets turned off and I am left standing in the dark. And that’s not always an easy thing to accept. I know I am not a failure. And I know this illness is not my fault—–but when I feel this low, its hard to believe that I am anything else. In my heart I know this is not true–in my head its a fact. 

I think being a spiritual person with depression and anxiety is very difficult. We are truly wounded healers. We have to experience both sides–oddly enough–so we can help others. Even when I feel crappy, I like helping others. I struggle with feeling that connection to The Universe–but find when I am down its nearly impossible to see anything but the darkness.  And that hurts. 

Healers cant always have the light switch on. Sometimes our dimmers get turned down and then we switch into darkness. Temporary of course. But we cant always be “on,” despite our deepest desire to be so.

Close Your Eyes and Listen

There are moments in our lives when we have to accept that we made mistakes. That a choice or choices we made were not the ones we should have, and sadly, it was a choice we knew all along was wrong to begin with. There will come a time in our lives when we do not listen to our intuition and just do what we feel we “need” to do. 

I have always listened to my instincts. My intuition runs deep and strong and it has always guided me to make the best choices I need to on my journey. Sometimes the choices are hard, but nothing is ever easy. I have always listened to my heart — except once — and I hurt a lot of people – including myself. If I had only listened to begin with–none of it would have happened.

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Yesterday was my court date for my divorce. Its over now. Things ended badly because we had grown apart. We both made mistakes. Divorce is never a one sided issue. It takes two to tango and its the same for the end of a relationship. There is a reason why someone isn’t happy and there is a reason why someone wants to leave. Truthfully, however, I knew in the beginning my marriage wouldn’t last. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my ex. I did. But to get married–I shouldn’t have done it. My “reasoning” for getting married was because I felt I had to. I was 29 years old. All my friends were married. All my friends were having children. I felt left behind. I also felt some insatiable need to prove to everyone that I could be a “wife” — that me, the most nontraditional, free spirited person, could settle down and be normal. I felt that I needed “stability” – which in itself is a false word. Nothing is ever stable. Things are always changing.

Throughout the entire wedding planning process, my gut and heart kept telling me it was wrong. So much so that I became so that I was having anxiety attacks every day, sometimes to the point where I would pass out or vomit. My intuition was telling me to stop while my head kept telling me to keep going. I didn’t want to be alone. I needed to have someone. I needed to have a husband. It got to one a point that it was so bad that I had almost called off the entire thing, which, would have left me between a rock and a hard place. I would have lost someone I loved and also proved (at the time in my head) that I couldn’t be “normal” — I couldn’t be like all my friends — I couldn’t be married and happy and have a house and babies running around. So I did it. I got married.

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I hated my wedding. The whole time I felt like I was living in someone else’s body. My intuition, my soul, it left me when I stopped listening. I got married and I shouldn’t have. I tried hard to be the wife — but I was also married to someone who wanted to the title of husband, but not the responsibility that goes with it. In turn, because I sent that energy out to the Universe – because I didn’t listen to myself to begin with — he picked up that energy. And then, over and over again, I was never made a priority. I became second or at times even third in his life. Eventually my soul was so tired of lying to itself. I had become a shell of who I was and was not becoming the person I was meant to be. And neither was he for that matter. And thus the end. 

I hurt a lot of people because I didn’t listen to myself. All of this could have been avoided if I had just closed my eyes and listened. Followed by heart to do the right thing. Unfortunately I didn’t. I cared about my ex – but I shouldn’t have said “yes” and I shouldn’t have walked down the aisle. 

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In the end, I learned a major lesson. Always, always, always trust your gut. Listen to what it says. Don’t do things or feel you need something because someone else has it. What you have you are meant to have at this moment because its what The Universe wants. Do not force something that isn’t meant to be.

Sometimes we want our lives to be a certain way– to be the way that we WANT it to be. So we make it. Like taking clay to mold- we think we can just make our lives so it will be a duplicate of someone else’s. We also think its because its what we are supposed to do in someone else’s eyes.

Always listen to your intuition, even if the ultimate decision will be painful, its better than pretending everything will be ok. If your heart is telling you you need to let go of something or someone, you need to do it. Even if in the end you know it will hurt and be painful. 

 

The Weeping Trees

We all have been hurt by someone in our lives. Sometimes the people hurt us directly, sometimes they do it without even knowing. And hurt—hurts. The past 7 months for me have been an emotional roller coaster ride–albeit, I am the happiest I have been in years. But with my court date for my divorce approaching–I realized the most important lesson I have learned: when someone hurts you–forgive and forget about finding fault.

Relationships are a concoction of things. Like everything in life, there needs to be balance. Relationships are like pendulums. You have to keep it swinging in the middle–to far one way and the relationship is thrown out of balance. This is pertaining to all relationships-not just romantic ones.

We lose ourselves when we get hurt. Trying to find fault in the other person or beating ourselves up for something that “could have” been done. Those annoying “what if’s.” We try and wrap our heads around the reason why the other person hurt us in the first place. It becomes toxic. Toxic to yourself. When people hurt us intentionally or unintentionally—there is no sense in trying to find fault. No sense in perseverating on answers you will never get. 

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Its about the forgiveness. That’s the hardest part. Forgiving someone who wounded you deeply. But, you cant move on unless you are able to forgive. Even when someone has cut your soul so deeply that it feels like you will never be able to breathe-forgiveness must happen. Without that, a part of your soul gets lost. It stays in that place of pain. 

Your soul will weep with pain. You will feel hurt. You will feel confusion. But you need to forgive the other person so your soul can continue its journey and continue to have relationships—to live and learn from.

 

To A Great Friend

I lost a very dear and sweet friend today. Her name was Kaala. She was a snake. Not just any snake. She was an extension of my soul. Kaala blessed me the day she was given to me. She had this presence about her. I know people believe that snakes don’t have feelings. That they cant reciprocate human love and affection. I can tell you, they are wrong. Kaala’s energy was warm, loving, tender and wise. She was my spirit partner. We danced together. Worked together. Healed together.

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She would sleep with me sometimes. Curl up in a ball next to me under the covers, and stay there till morning when I would have to put her back in the tank to go to work. She had this pure loving energy. Our souls were entwined. She awoke in me a Divine power that only few will ever experience in their lifetimes. She was my spirit animal. My totem. My spiritual teacher.

When we performed together, there was a connection that was so deep that people always thought I had choreographed my numbers with her. We could read each others moves-know what the other was thinking. We adopted this sort of psychic connection. She loved people. After every show, when people wanted to take pictures with her she would remain calm for hours, be held by strangers and have her photo taken over and over. Its funny to think how many people out there have a photo with her and will never realize just how special she was. She loved the company of people. We went every where together. Performed at concerts, night clubs, parties, in million dollar mansions, at someone’s wedding, birthday parties, holiday events, and she even got her chance to shine in a music video! We were at our best when we did our “Snake Tango.” She had this magnetic way about her. She graced my business cards, website, and even became part of my logo for my show, “Kalliopes Karavan.” Its her around my neck for this very blog. We did a lot of fun things together. And all this from a snake! Now that she is gone, people have been sharing memories. She was that much of a presence. Strong and powerful.

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When I would teach workshops on Serpentine Mythology, she was always there.  When I would teach workshops on moving past phobias, on the power of serpentine energy as a catalyst for healing, she was there. She was by my side. A serpentine version of a human teacher. She touched so many lives. She made people change their ideas about what they thought about snakes. In fact, she was the first snake some people ever held. I remember we did a workshop together, and a woman in the room had such bad memories about snakes. I had her hold Kaala, and through tears, this woman was able to openly discuss a traumatic life event she had as a child where snakes were prominent. She was able to let go of the pain and move forward. All because this beautiful creature allowed her to heal. Just by this woman holding Kaala, she was able to have closure on her past and begin the healing process.

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I know it sounds strange, but she had a humanistic quality about her. I have had many animals in my life, but she was special. I have never had such a deep bonding connection with an animal as much as I had it with her. I cant think of a time when I was with out her. Now I find myself experiencing just that. I literally feel like a piece of my soul went with her to the Summerlands. I cant believe she is gone from this earth. Its hard thinking of performing without her. Its hard imagining what it will be like in the summer, when I sit in my garden in the sun and have her slithering on me. It will be difficult to imagine healing work without her physically here.

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I believe in souls and life after death. I have seen people cross over. Can hear and see spirit. I know she is safe. Even now as I type this, I can see and feel her spirit and energy around me. In a strange way, she has become a part of my essence. A mingling of spirit and earthly body. But knowing that doesn’t make the grief any easier. It doesn’t take away the pain my heart feels. Nothing in my life will ever be the same, especially dancing. She gave to me what no human has yet to do. She became purely one with me–completely a part of me-mind, body and soul. I never doubted her, never lost trust in her, never felt angry with her. I never felt abandoned with her, never felt sadness or fear. I only felt one hundred percent pure Divine love. I felt such a healing warmth from her. I felt such a deep connection with her, that even in death, I know she is with me. 

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Some connections never cease to exist. Even when the physical body is no longer here. Rest in peace my beautiful friend. Guide me and protect me. Continue your teachings through your soul and know that you are forever a part of me.

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The Pain of Resiliency-And the Power of Vulnerability

Resiliency is often a word that people don’t fully understand. Often people associate the word with the ability to bounce right back up when you are kicked down. To be able to crawl your way back up to the light when you have fallen down a dark hole. People admire those who are resilient. The resilient folk seem to have some insurmountable strength that often leaves people asking themselves, “why cant I be that strong?” ~ and it leaves the resilient people saying, “if you only knew.”

I am a resilient person. I have been knocked down so many times in my life and have always found the ability to move forward-against all odds-against whatever the tides of the Universe pushed towards me. I held my head up high and walked against the winds and made it through. Always learning something about myself along the way. I have never allowed myself to be vulnerable. I most often allowed myself to cry behind closed doors….or not cry at all. Even when I have felt that my heart was being torn out of my chest-I would never cry. Crying is not something most resilient people allow others to see. Chin up and no tears, that’s what they let the world see. And that, unto itself, is painful. Resilient people feel that they need to move forward–no matter what they are feeling. And that is the main problem. Resilient people more often than not, dont allow themselves to feel. Feeling would be weak-and you cant move quickly enough to bounce back if you feel everything or anything. Resilient people are the ones who usually, are in the most pain-we keep everything locked up-its easier that way. Putting on a brave face and showing that indeed, I am the Warrior Queen. 

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But then again….we need to show our hearts. Put it on the table. Allow ourselves to be vulnerable. There is a strange power in vulnerability–we cant be strong all the time. And its through our most vulnerable moments-that we learn more about who we are, and what we can handle and what, after all, makes us so resilient. We have our emotions played with, our hearts broken, our dreams shattered. We learn who is there for us through thick and thin and who is only there for the moment. We learn what trust is and what the real value is in friendship. Who will be there for you when the ship is sinking….and who will tear your heart out. All of this so you can crash and realize that you are more stronger than you ever imagined.

Sometimes the pain in your heart makes you feel like you are choking. That you cant breathe. That you have been locked in a box and cant find your way out-because for whatever reason-you keep being pulled in one direction. And then sometimes, you wake up and realize who you are, and what you want to become. You realize that despite the heart splitting pain you feel-you will learn a lesson and become stronger. You will gain a new battle scar, a new wound, and look back on its cause and realize that there is nothing more powerful than allowing yourself to be open–even if it hurts like hell.

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When it feels like torture-to be able to open yourself up-and feel-and allow others in. To knock down a few walls so others can see what is behind them. Even when someone chooses another over you, or tells you they are in love with someone else. When someone walks away from you-or they push you out of their lives. Or even, when you need to spread your wings and realize that you are letting others float away from you–because you have to let them go in order to grow. To find some solace in the pain of vulnerability is what gives the strength that is found in resiliency. You are able to push forward because you know the pain of looking back, and the lessons you learned to get you where you are now. You can’t bounce back if you haven’t already fallen.

Resiliency isn’t always about being strong. Its about knowing when to let yourself be open to the power that lies in being vulnerable.