“She must be crazy.”
Well, imagine that, perfectly normal me, crazy. I guess I had crossed the line of ordinary reality. I saw things that others did not see. I heard voices no one else could hear. I could speak without speaking and the spirit world flourished around me. I was living in a world of spirits, synchronicities, sounds, and souls. It is like the course of my life has already been properly drawn out. I was one with the universe, and I was crazy.
As I entered the mental ward I was taken to a room where it would be determined what kind of abnormal person I was. The questions began as the intake nurse started to fill out my form. Hearing voices – check. Seeing things that are not in the ordinary world– check. Reacting to the unseen world – check. All the information was gathered to obtain a label that I would wear the rest of my life. As behavior after behavior was examined and the boxes were checked I was getting closer to a final verdict on my ‘disorder’ which would stigmatize me as mentally ill.
On the shelf were the mental health bibles, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals of Mental Disorders, all full of behavioral descriptions and labels. Choosing one or several of these books for me would be the mechanism that would launch a psychiatric plan. These labels would be required by my insurance company to cover my costs of “care” and prescribe antipsychotic drugs. The purpose of these medications would be to shut me off from the sensory world that was overwhelming me.
My head was in my hands realizing that I would need to accept this fate as I was becoming a label. I knew I wasn’t crazy, but unfortunately, my culture and society thought otherwise. In our culture, abnormal is labeled and treated. Treatment would be telling me the voices did not exist, I was only hearing things. Another doctor arrived and glanced at the clipboard that had borderline schizophrenia written on the margin with a question mark? He asked if I was hearing voices. I now realized that hearing voices was not a good thing. It was best to backtrack my previous answers when I had told the truth and said “yes”. I paused, “yes I hear voices, but only when I have my iPod on” as I finally smiled. The grin on his face told me I would avoid a deeper dosage of medicine.
So who was I now that I had awakened from this human amnesia of the existence of a spirit world? Why could no one else see the extraordinary energy matrix that surrounds all of us? The pulsating field of possibilities on a cosmic grid waiting for us to manifest everything we want through our unwavering beliefs? My questions would have to wait.
I was now redefined. This would be the moment that the successful, intelligent, compassionate, caregiver, recently widowed, fun-loving human being would be no more. I was now “suffering from” something. The labels were plenty, Psychic Break, Nervous Breakdown (even though I wasn’t nervous), Bipolar, Borderline Schizophrenic, Severe PTSD and dissociative behavior. Did those labels really capture the essence of who I was now? Really?
Deep I went into the mainstream of psychiatric care. I got stuck in a societal solution that cuts us off from spiritually awakening and then lures us into “normal” with a pharmaceutical cocktail.
When I was finally able to abandon the conventional plan to deal with my unconventional reality, then I was on the road to recovery.
I walked out of the psychiatric formula to seek those on the fringe of solutions to heal a fragmented mind. Two women appeared in my life, like angelic beings, they became my mentors to the spirit world and saved my life. Deborah was a well-seasoned psychic and Marilyn came from several generations of shamanic healers, all from Haiti. They became my circle of sages, wise women with their feet in two worlds, the worlds where I existed. With them, I found acceptance of what I was seeing and found there was room for seeing the world differently. They welcomed my “insanity” as part of a bigger process of awakening into a place where I truly belonged. There was an embracing of my story and great meaning in what was happening to me. My insanity instead was now a “sacred journey,” “the dark night of the soul,” “finding myself,” “a shamanic initiation.”
On this alternative journey, I was valued again for the gifts of being me, the odd me now. When I realized I was not suffering, I was not suffering. I was being called to be in a world of love and compassion for myself, a place of spirituality. My little soul had just been trying to emerge out of layers and layers of others attempts to define me. I had been a nut in a well prepared greek dessert, baklava, sweet with honey but smothered with inconsistent layers of conditioning from a culture that did not understand the process I was in. I now share this story of mine in my book.
I was a caterpillar in a total state of destruction of the old self. With kindness and the understanding of my journey into a metamorphosis, I emerged better, wiser, stronger and free. No labels, no diagnosis, no “suffering from,” no abnormal behaviors. I had just become the extraordinary me.