I keep seeing all these articles like “Are We Drugging Our Healers” and “What a Shaman Sees in a Mental Hospital” about how mental illness could really just be spiritual or intuitive gifts that we are stifling with Western medicine. I am also kinda tired of reading about vile “big pharma” and the evils of insurance. Keep in mind that holistic practitioners, psychiatrists, medical doctors, “big pharma”, and herbal companies all make money trying to heal sick people. There are good things and bad things about both paths to healing.
I walk the line every day between mental illness and psychic abilities and I know I’m not the only one. I’m going to tell you a few things about my life not backed by scientific evidence, metaphysical laws, or spiritual jargon. This is my own personal experience with mental illness and . . . the magic.
Let’s start from the beginning. I have mental illness AND psychic abilities in my family tree. My mother’s side of the family is full of mental illness. My maternal great-grandfather and great-great grandfather both struggled with acute mental illness and were institutionalized. I, myself, have been diagnosed with severe depression, bipolar, and anxiety. I’ve experienced panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis, depression, mania, and hospitalization. This mental illness shit is no joke.
On my father’s side, there are tons of healers. My father has strong intuitive abilities. My paternal grandmother, who was Arapaho Indian, had dream visions and spirit visits. My great-great-grandmother Cassie walked the “Trail of Tears” and was a healer for the Arapaho tribe. Her daughter is currently a healer for the same tribe. I know I don’t look the part with my blond hair and fair skin, but I do feel a very strong connection to this side of my family. I have premonition dreams. I sense and communicate with spirit. I’ve been very sensitive to energy, both human and spirit, for as long as I can remember. This psychic shit is also no joke.
When I was first introduced to terms like, “empath” and Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I thought my mental illness was cured. I naively thought, “That’s me! That’s what I have!” And, you know what? It is me, but it doesn’t mean the mental illness and sensitivity are suddenly cured because I found some new terms to describe myself. Like so many things in life, it’s not that simple. I’ve worked very hard with the help of a very open-minded psychologist to identify psychological and physical symptoms. I also go to a local energy healer who helps balance my energy centers, or chakras, using shamanic energy healing sessions.
In addition to clinical therapy and energy healing, I do the work outside of these sessions: daily meditation, abstaining from binge drinking, raising my vibration, grounding my energy, not smoking pot, and self-care rituals. I take medicine and herbal remedies. I also try not to be so hard on myself.
I spent so many years being afraid to feel because I thought it was a symptom of an illness, when in fact, feeling was the key to my well-being. I had to retrain myself how to feel and how to trust my inner voice.
That being said, it has been my experience that mental illness and psychic gifts are two DIFFERENT things with very similar symptoms. Sometimes it sucks feeling too much. For example, social anxiety and racing thoughts from stressful situations are mood disorder symptoms that feel completely different than Spirit and actually block my psychic abilities. Now, anxiety that comes out of nowhere when I’m sitting on my couch watching “Friends”, that’s Spirit energy. Or thoughts that appear out of nowhere that have nothing to do with my life? I always give it time and double check, but that’s also spirit energy. Waking up with a song in my head? Thank you universe.
How do I know it’s not a hallucination or just my imagination? It’s not scary or paranoid. It’s not fear-based. There are no racing thoughts or fight or flight response. It’s subtle and it’s also usually validated later in the “real” world. You dig?
Even if you don’t have a family history or medical history like mine, you can still be struggling with this stuff. You’re not weird. Well, maybe you are a little weird, but that’s cool. I’m weird too. And guess what? My weird-ass goes to work everyday, and I have an Etsy business, and I blog. I do Tarot readings using my intuitive gifts and I take medicine and vitamins and meditate. I see an energy healer and a therapist. I eat Taco Bell and tofu, but not at the same time. I’m a pretty balanced weirdo. See?
In this day and age, with all the wonderful shifts in consciousness, it doesn’t have to be so black and white. We are lucky to have Western medicine, holistic medicine and Spirit to guide us on our journey.
For me, life’s all about balance and the magic–never forget the magic.
PS: If you have any questions about this entry or anything I write about, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!
P.P.S: I also have to stress that every person, every illness, every intuitive ability is different because we are all so unique. This is just what works for me. I am not a doctor and can’t give medical advice. I am just a Taco Bell eating Tarot reader and my advice should be taken as such. Kay? Kay.