As frustrated as I was the other day I can say that this early morning I do value the company of people going through different but yet somehow similar struggles and the company of people coming together for a common hobby.
The beauty of what I learnt in helping run a general mental health peer support group in the past was that regardless of the unique personal journey that someone had come down, there was always something that that person could find within the journey to relate with and connect to other people who had something different to tell. There’s common themes within that struggle, whether it be depression, anxiety or “psychosis” and so on, that all come back to the essence of being human. It’s the human condition that we can all identify with and it’s that which brings us together to feel less alone and want to help one another. It’s something that I can easily forget when I feel lost in the world and setting up a peer support group again is something which I feel strongly about in these coming weeks.
In other news I’ve been given one of my older anti-psychotics to replace my new (but ancient in the history of meds) anti-psychotics due to the side effects being preferable with my older one. There’s a transition period where I have to take both, but so far I haven’t minded the side-effects. In all this I met the Psychiatrist that currently resides at my local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) for the first time and we got on well enough as far as doctors go. Part of me wants to tough it out on the medication, part of me wants to be free of it. I think if I spent more time in nature and had more holistic options to help myself I’d be better for it and get a stronger sense of spirit, which I have lacking right now.
There’s a danger to be superficial and absurd when it comes to spiritual beliefs and I’m doing my best to remain connected to something grander than myself based on my own personal lived experiences rather than relating everything to something created by man as a means to make sense of the world. What I mean is that rather than accepting something as accurate and true from a spiritual source based on age old mysticism or elaborate systems and methods of working based on nothing grounded in actual research, I want to accept something that I can see working in action and feel with my own senses, perceptions and way of being. If I record something I want it to be as genuine as possible.
Psychiatry doesn’t allow so much for the pure experience found in what they call psychosis to express itself without medication in a safe environment. There are projects such as Soteria House here in the UK, which has once been established in the US, which offers the kind of environment for people with little to no medication which is very much needed, but to have something that caters for people who wish to make sense of their experience on a spiritual level is where I feel there needs to be something established. It comes back to having a unique therapeutic working relationship with a specifically tailored kind of Psychotherapy and a team to support that.
Of course beggars can’t be choosers and here on the NHS we have to accept the only kind of sanctuary that’s available when things go awry – that of a Psychiatric hospital where medication is compulsory and forced on patients if they refuse, along with the idea of Electro-Convulsive Therapy still being used.
I can only hope to one day live in a western world where what I “suffer” from is not considered as a disease or sickness, but as a profound condition for greater learning and understanding of the human condition that should be allowed to run it’s course if the individual so chooses. Until then, being there for my fellow human on that different but similar journey is where I’ll have to be.