Finding my way out of mental illness

We often think of mental illness as something that happens to other people. Even when we are struggling with mental illness ourselves we may not be able to see it as such. For most of my life I have been afraid of the darkness inside me, fearing that it would consume me or drive me insane. I was afraid of myself and of life, and it felt like I was just clinging on. I didn’t realise I had a mental illness. I didn’t think of myself as mentally ill. I just knew that life felt very difficult and I wondered how others managed to cope with it.

Several times my inability to cope with life reached a crisis point and I had what I understand now were ‘breakdowns’, but back then I didn’t even see them as such. I just thought I was weak and needed to toughen up. I wasn’t able to see myself as someone who could reach out for support, or even that my problems deserved seeking support for. I wasn’t able to treat myself with love or gentleness. I saw the world as a harsh, scary place where you had to be tough in order to survive, and I didn’t see how gentleness could help me survive it. I also felt that I didn’t deserve love; I had very deep feelings of unworthiness. It wasn’t until much later that I understood how important love and gentleness are; that without love I could not be healthy and that with self-love I could begin to heal my mental illness.

In my early forties I came across the Ageless Wisdom presented by Serge Benhayon. The Ageless Wisdom presents that we are made of love and that everything is energy, but that there are two different types of energy in the world, one harmful and one healing. Several times I heard Serge present on mental illness. I learned that our thoughts are a result of the energy we align to, and that if we withdraw our presence from our body to try and avoid feeling how uncomfortable we are feeling, this leaves room for harmful energy and thoughts to enter, and that these thoughts are not ours. I was willing to consider this, but I didn’t know how to apply it. My world was still a dark and scary place and I didn’t know how to deal with being me in my world. When I was caught up in the terror of my thoughts I would be spinning around and unable to extricate myself. Besides, I couldn’t see how my thoughts could not be mine… they felt like they came from me!

I recall one session I had with an esoteric practitioner when I spoke about my overwhelming and terrifying thoughts and she told me that they were like an addiction for me, and that it would help me to deal with them by developing more self-love. At the time I didn’t see the connection to self-love, but I decided to bear it in mind.

The thing with mental illness is that our medical profession understands so little about it, and often medication is the best they can offer. It’s seen as something intractable that people can learn to manage or cope with, but not change on a fundamental level. I figured that this was my lot, that this was something I would always have to deal with, and this weighed heavily on me.

As I continued on the path of The Livingness I reached a point where I was able to see how violent I was being to myself. I had an image of myself as a living doll being thrown against a wall day after day, lying in a heap, exhausted and broken. It was an inner violence – pushing myself to the edge with my dark fearful thoughts – and I was doing it to myself. But how could I stop it?

Up until that point I had been trying to work on self-love, but it seemed like quite a mysterious process, and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I viewed my lack of self-love as a separate issue to my mental anguish but in any case I knew that self-love was important. It seemed like too big of a step for me though, so I started with being gentle with myself. I connected with a sense of gentleness in my body, and I gave myself the grace of that gentleness as often as I could. That gentleness began to act as a contrast to the inner torment, giving me a sense of a different possibility.

From practising gentleness in my body I realised that self-love also had to be an embodied process; it wasn’t through the mind that I could tell myself to love me. So I began by connecting to a sense of love in my heart whenever I could and then moving myself with that love.

The more I did that, the more my inner world began to change; it no longer felt so brutal. Because I now had a sense of love in myself, I started being able to recognise in my body when I was being affected by harmful energy and how to align myself instead to the energy of love and to be more fully present in my body so that harmful thoughts and feelings could not have their way with me. The more I worked with my body in that way, the steadier my mind became.

These days I hold myself in a lot more love, which means there is far less space for the self-abuse of old. The process is so simple and makes so much sense to me now, and yet when I was caught in the mental illness I couldn’t see a way out. I can’t tell you how remarkable it feels to know that mental illness is something that can be healed. The sense of strength and freedom I feel now inspires me to continue on this path. It feels like this is just the beginning, a true beginning to something much grander. The possibilities I sense now within me are beyond what I could have ever hoped for or imagined. It is a whole different world inside.

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  • By Anonymous

  • Photography: Matt Paul