Written by Trish
I believe I am just right the way I am.
I believe every indication suggesting otherwise has been dead wrong. Especially my own thoughts.
I believe the same about you.
How do I know you’re just right? Well because we all deserve to live in acceptance of who we are. It is our divine right to take that back from the naysayers.
I believe if we could practice a state of acceptance instead of resistance then illness would decline, the earth would heal, and wars would end.
I was not born with this belief. It became established through my intention to achieve my most desired want; to accept who I am. This intention was born early on, in what continues to be a trippy and psychosomatic experience resulting from me going mad after spiritual shock in 2007.
Acceptance does not mean giving up
The last time I remember having delusions was June 2008. My delusional frenzy of saving the world to get back in the good graces of God was abruptly aborted when a practitioner suggested I was psychotic.
Suddenly I became hyper-vigilant to everything going on in my mind so I could judge the sanity of it.
Kinda like mindfulness’ evil twin.
To the relief of my family and most of my friends, I decided I had to find help in traditional western medicine.
It took 2 years to find the right combination of medication to begin to take the edge off the anxiety, depression and my psychedelic-without-the-acid experiences (often called symptoms of psychotic disorders).
This enabled me to start focusing on accepting my experience.
I could be in the middle of an anxiety attack with my body frozen in a state of tension, the sensation I was floating off the ground, and my mind dizzy with the fear of passing out and I would ask myself ‘what if I am just right in this moment? What if everything is as it should be?’ My body would follow by relaxing and I would become present for a millisecond. It was enough for me to recognize acceptance is powerful stuff.
So I applied it whenever I could; a mantra during meditation, an affirmation while working out, a coping mechanism when my mind was racing with anticipatory anxiety, ruminating on acts of injustice toward me by the Universe, problem solving to fix myself… whatever was causing me to tense and labour my breathing.
Acceptance does not mean giving up on what you would call recovery. It involves taking responsibility for your experience.
This was the jumping off point for me to discover the tools that have helped me the most so far:
- breath work
- the energy work modalities of:
- radionics (based on resonance)
- an advanced form of EFT called Matrix Reimprinting
- using my sixth sense to bring information from my subconscious into consciousness to gain an understanding of the root cause.
Prior to this, my fixation on being ‘cured’ and trying to get back to the person I was before the trauma had only resulted in relapse after relapse.
I have undergone a lot of healing since finding tools which support my potential to heal.
So to say I was distressed to find myself in the makings of a delusion two weeks ago would be an understatement.
But this time I wasn’t delusional.
Consider this for a second.
One evening I realized I no longer felt constant fear and most of the key memories that triggered my terror were so faded they didn’t even cause arousal.
Sounds like a good thing, right?
Well it wasn’t.
I thought ‘how will I be ready for the next unexpected event to transport me back to the crawlspace of hell if I can’t remember what hell feels like? What did this mean about me relating and connecting with others who have been to the hell only our minds can create?’
Our need to belong and protect ourselves is primal and when we feel it is jeopardized, we experience stress and fear. And if you’re like me, the engulfing feeling of terror that falls into the my-survival-is-being-threatened-in-a-really-big-way-and-I-am-not-safe category.
Delusions to cope
Immediately following the feelings of impending doom, I found myself in a fantasy and I let my mind wander until I fell asleep.
For the next day and half I kept returning again and again to this fantasy. As it continued to develop and become more vivid, I felt more and more elated. It was so compelling that my ability to do daily tasks on autopilot was disturbed by me forgetting steps. This got my attention and I started to tune into my mind.
What I found when my mind pulled to this fantasy was encroachment on my reality. I was doing dishes (in reality) and not only could I see myself in my mind’s-eye doing dishes surrounded by my fantasy world, I sensed the presence of the people, place and things in my fantasy in my kitchen. If I was not in a state of observation, I would have turned around from the sink expecting to literally be in my fantasy.
Of course my first thought was textbook; delusions are a symptom of psychosis. I pushed it aside.
I went with my instinct instead.
I have had so many trippy experiences in the last 7 years my first instinct is to go back to find a thread that might lead me to what could have been the trigger. I remembered the fantasy started the night I felt so unsafe by my realization.
I also remembered a TED talk by Elenaor Longden — a woman who hears voices and how these voices were not a state of schizophrenia but the result of her mind expressing the emotions related to trauma.
That totally made sense to me.
It occurred to me the fantasy turning toward delusion was a coping mechanism for the terror I felt when I thought I was not safe. This made sense because my fantasy was a creation of a world where:
- I belonged; and
- my past mental health experiences were not only remembered but valuable in helping another.
Both the things I feared losing that night by no longer feeling the constant fear.
What I found behind the delusion
It has been my experience my mind will show me what I need to ‘see’ to heal because the psyche will always facilitate coming back to wholeness.
I immediately began to use Matrix Reimprinting to connect with the parts of me that needed this delusion to feel safe. They personify as younger versions of me in my mind. I gave them compassion and assurance I had their back. I told them I loved them and accepted them just as they are. I asked them how they felt and worked with them to give them what they needed.
This turned into actionable steps of finding safe ways to express the emotions I have suppressed so long. I am now using outlets such as journaling, drawing and writing this story for Mental Health Talk. I also scheduled to further reduce my medication — gradually and under supervision. I feel my meds are playing a role in some of my emotional suppression.
It also meant having a backup plan if things got worse which involved keeping my therapist and husband informed.
The fantasy itself was telling. It brought to light my tendency to leave unacknowledged the parts of me I feel intimidates others. I realize now that until I accept these, it will be difficult to connect with the people who are interested in knowing and loving me for the full expression of who I am.
And in my darkest hours of questioning and wanting to know why, I reminded myself I have faith that everything is as it should be. That I am just right. That all things shall pass.
The delusions faded and went. I still veer off to my fantasy occasionally which now is a sign I am feeling unsafe and need to address it.
What does recovery look like for you?
I am now practicing acceptance for wanting to stay in my fantasy world—it was emotionally hard at times to maneuver my mind back to reality. If I did not believe with everything in me that staying present with the pleasure and pain of life is truly where I want to be, this story would have ended differently.
I have also finally defined what recovery means to me. I encourage you to do the same because if you go with what you’ve been told, it’s either 1) being 100% symptom free or 2) being a “productive” member of society again 3) cannot be defined because it is not possible.
I now define recovery as living with my mental health experiences in acceptance.
This definition comes with benefits. It has guided me to:
- a deeper understanding, compassion and love for myself, life and others;
- never a dull moment.
I’d really like to hear from you
I think the old phrase ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ is the best way to drive this story home.
So will you tell yourself right now you are just right as you are and stay tuned into how your body feels?
Please let me know what you experienced in the comments below.
Cartoon credit: Trish Hurtubise