From psychosis to spirituality,
one woman's journey….
I recall the sensory experiences of psychosis quite clearly, the visions and the voices that tumbled through my tormented mind. I recall the multitude of labels that were attached to me - schizophrenia, manic depression, paranoia, multi-personality disorder, sociopathic tendencies and psychotic episodes with suicidal manifestations. It was finally agreed, after my being treated for over 12 months, that the most appropriate label was “neurasthenia” as my symptoms were unusual and did not fall into ‘typical' categories.
This condition necessitated, over the course of two years treatment, ingesting 18 different kinds of medication from anti-psychotic drugs to sedatives plus several other soporific medication along the way so I was constantly in a twilight world between consciousness and comatose.
The condition also necessitated a barrage of invasive procedures in an attempt to discover an underlying cause to a condition that seemed to mystify the medics. I recall seeing the capillaries in my brain fluorescing on a monitor as the radio-opaque dye coursed through my bloodstream, the electrodes attached at various points on my skull endeavouring to trace a reading of my brain waves which were so active they almost short circuited the equipment when I went into a fit. The crack of my head when it hit the concrete floor of my mother's kitchen. The lesions that were seen during the many scans taken during this period. Still the answers evaded the medics.
Why, the medics said, would someone manifest such a range of symptoms without any clear medical or psychological basis. Why, the medics said, would someone manifest such a range of bizarre behaviour such as smashing windows with a baseball bat, hiding from some unseen force, attempting to physically harm those closest to her? I knew the answer but it was so deeply buried within my subconscious mind that no amount of psychiatric/psychological probing and digging would reveal the truth to a stranger.
In time my mind and body made a decision to reunite. Where I had been over those two years was a dark and frightening place but it was also a place where a miracle was born. The miracle was the metamorphic transformation of self. The person before and after the event being almost entirely separate entities. The person before was someone who had characteristics that I now find I abhor in others, characteristics such as manipulation, hedonism, selfishness and dishonesty.
The transformation of self took a long time and is still part of the path I now follow. It started with simple things, like buying my first car to give a sense of freedom and independence from the restrictive confines of the medication and treatment I had received. This led me to try new things that were now accessible, my first step was to train in typing and word processing – simple yet very useful skills. My mind began thirsting for knowledge, I could now type effectively but wanted more and with my new found confidence I approached a University lecturer and persuaded him to allow me entry into university without any formal qualifications. How I managed to persuade him is anyone's guess but he said yes and two years later I walked across the stage of the City Hall in gowns and a mortar board to collect my first degree certificate – I had obtained a BA Honours degree with a 2.1 classification – a very proud day for my family and myself.
The birth of my son followed a few years later, a magical moment, which again led to further transformations. Having nursed my son for his first year of life I returned to University to pursue a teaching degree so that my job would match the needs of my son as he grew. Another proud moment when it was announced I had exceeded all expectations and achieved a First Class Honours degree in Science Education.
So what has this story to do with spirituality? It starts with faith and hope. Faith that one can recover from the most adverse of circumstances and hope that the transformational experience will continue to grow and develop. These qualities opened my spiritual doorway. I had faith and hope that one day things would be ok and that what I had learned could be taken forward on a new path.
Scanning through the yellow pages my eyes settled on one particular entry, a school of Reiki . I had heard of it and experienced it but at the hands of someone who had a set of issues that seemed to interfere with the channelling process and as a result I inadvertently took on board issues that were not my own. The conversation with the Reiki Master proved the most inspiring thing I have ever done and through his gentle guidance over the next two years I reached a state of peace and calm never known before. The path was difficult as I progressed through the rigorous training, revisiting those times when my thoughts were not my own and sending healing to that tortured soul and the events that led to the separation of mind, body and spirit from 1989 to 1991. Reiki has had such a profound and deeply moving effect on my spiritual development, it has also brought me to a place where I have healed my old wounds so effectively that I am now able to channel healing energy to my closest friends and family. From that selfish, manipulative, dishonest and hedonistic individual that I was, I am now a woman transformed – honest, loving, giving and caring. My son tells me I am the best mum in the world – what more could I ask?
My Reiki Master told me that things tend to happen for a reason, I now know that my illness was part of a bigger picture and is one of the reasons for my being able to move forward on a path that is full of light, love and Reiki.
Thank you Richard and Ev
Written by a Colours of the Dawn Reiki student
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article please email Richard with your contact details.