WAKING UP FROM MADNESS
The morning I woke up and realized I was not going to be a famous rapper was sometime in May or June. I was back in my old bedroom above the kitchen, void of my belongings because I wasn’t supposed to be there anymore. I woke from a heavy sleep to the most deflating experience of my life. My entirely fabricated inner world collapsed in that one single moment of realization. To those who had witnessed my ‘madness,’ it was clear way before I knew it, that my world had been smashed to pieces long before that day. But for me, it happened that morning.
I fell into a humiliated, self-hating, pit of despair. If it wasn’t for my mum coming into my room every morning and refusing to let me wallow in my shit, I think I would have stayed there. I couldn’t face the world. I was so embarrassed at being ‘off my head’ for so long. The worst of it was that everyone knew it but me. It was painful and confusing, “how could that happen to me?” My mum was so annoying in the following weeks, she refused to let me stay in bed and be depressed. I had no other option than to find work and find a way to leave my mothers home… again.
I found work, locally at The British Legion in my village, on the outskirts of Bath in England. I didn’t dare go into the city and show my face after everything I had done, I was so ashamed. The job suited me perfectly. I only had to mingle with old veterans from the area and occasionally watch them squabble. While, I ate pub snacks and served them wine coolers, lager, and ale. These dear old prunes were blissfully unaware that I had recently been locked up in a psychiatric unit.
I made a friend in an old man, who stood every night at the bar and chatted to me. A lonely old orphan, who told me stories of his early life in ‘Eagle House’ the local boys home, turned private house. And, of his service in the army. I had a real sense of his inability to maintain relationships, with anyone, least of all his two grown children.
My mum remembered him from the days of his alcoholic stupors and nights in Julian House homeless shelter. In the late 80’s she had worked as a social worker in Bath and knew of his struggles, she was glad he had managed to calm down since then. He was in his 70’s when we met in 2000. I kept a friendship with him for a few years after, visiting now and then for a cup of tea and to cheer him up. Eventually, he began to have unrealistic expectations of me and we drifted apart.
Back then mum’s life had taken a different course and she was now ‘balls deep’ in meditation and healing courses. Her school and retreat center, ‘The Self Realization Meditation Healing Centre,’ set in the beautiful Dorset countryside, was a strange place. The people who lived and served there ‘The Spiritual Family’ spoke quietly and followed a monastic lifestyle. There has been quite a lot of bad press around that place and their sister centers all over the world, Guru led and all that jazz, but that’s another story.
So in between shifts at work, I began to return to myself, helped by my mum who paid for me to visit the center and receive reiki healing. I took an ‘introduction to meditation’ course and received my first session of ‘Progressive Counselling’ which was like counseling of the aura. I found out what happened to me in Thailand in terms of colors, shapes, and sound. My counselor was a softly spoken man named David. It was a surreal experience to sit in a small quiet room opposite this small man and take in his neatly trimmed brown beard, thick-lensed glasses, and attire; brown trousers and a thin yellow shirt and tell him everything that had just happened.
EVERYTHING IS ENERGY
He explained slowly and quietly to me that a combination of factors had contributed to my experience of ‘madness/ awakening.’ According to David, the doors to the heart chakra open and close naturally. This allows the energy center to let in love and protect you from unwanted energy when needed. Apparently, when I took drugs, the doors to my heart chakra were forced wide open and all manner of energies were free to flow through without discrimination. Over time, it became too much for my body to handle. Hence, my breakdown.
There was no balance. The body, mind, and spirit must always be balanced like the legs of a stool. A weight lifted off me after that one session with that strange little man. The shame and guilt disappeared and I didn’t feel like there was ‘something wrong’ with me. It was a combination of factors that had led to my ‘madness/awakening.’ I will get into that in more detail another time. Understanding the spiritual and energetic factors at play helped me to feel less broken.
MY NEW BEGINNING
10 years later, on January 2nd, 2010, I booked myself in to do 10 days of ‘loving service,’ at the center. This is when you stay for free, join in with the daily meditation, and work for your bed and board. It was such a strange place to be. Certainly, it helped to come out of the meditation room into the snow and look up at the stars filling the sky and know that this was the beginning of a new life for me. I was finally going to start my abstinence from all toxins including cigarettes.
My sobriety date is January 1st, 2010. My recovery was made strong by those long days working and meditating. There was no more running I had to face myself and feel my feelings. Mediation has been a big part of my life. I am no expert. Undisciplined and sporadic in my practice, nonetheless, meditation has helped me create space between my reactions and choices. I don’t do it perfectly but I have taken that tool with me through life and the benefits are peace and feeling grounded. Meditation is a part of my continued good mental health.
Progressive counseling helped to explain the huge rush of information that came through me when I ‘broke down’ in Thailand. He put it into a language I could understand. The medical profession doesn’t talk about the spiritual aspects of being humans. They are not taught about the human spirit. They are taught to believe that something is wrong with you.
DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
Nothing was wrong with me. I simply experienced, ‘the dark night of my soul.’ Many people experience it, and it takes many forms. I experienced something on the other side of madness and it was beautiful. Mental illness is so far from being just a ‘mental’ issue that the term is useless. My experience has given me a perspective on the nature of reality and that is priceless. It was a deeply worrying experience for my family and I never want to cause them pain, but it was part of my soul’s journey. If I had the power to change what happened I wouldn’t change a thing. I am forever grateful that I had access to sensible spiritual guidance.
Thank you mum 🙂
Love from Lizzie xx
Here’s a fascinating TedTalk on the subject of psychosis and spiritual awakening!