One main question I have been fighting within and outside the mental health sector is this:
Can one really heal from (severe) mental illness or not?
My short answer is ´Yes´. However, the longer answer is ´Yes, but, under certain circumstances and only when its meant to be (in this life)´. Let me explain further by telling a bit more about my own story first, followed by a more general analysis of recovery and healing.
16 February 2011: I was hospitalized at the Radboud Hospital, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Just across my former university. A deep-seated shame took hold of me, defeated I felt. I just came from the best University in the World, Oxford, where I was accepted as one of the fastest prospective Phd students ever, and now I´m sitting here, by myself, surrounded with other ´lost´ patients (yes, back then, I was a patient, not a client yet). I weighted only 52 kilo (normal is 58 for me) and there was nothing left in my eyes then mere fear, defeat, shame, a sort of ´crazyness and confusion´ and a major depression that took hold of me for 2 years long. But, and here is the most important ´but´ in my life, I had a plate of food in front of me and thought:
- I WILL eat, because if not, I´ll die. And I don´t want to die, because I love Life (still) too much.
- So, then I concluded: I will get out of this. And when I do, I want to help others to get out of it too! That was my biggest motivation to continue!
Indeed, those 2 conclusions kept me going for 9 years long. Off course I had many ups and downs and I often nearly died because of the episodes, while going on and off in psychosis and depressions. And losing both my parents at age 26 and 32 didn´t help either. But, about the psyshosis: I´d rather call them ´Speedchosis´ because that´s what happens with me: I get into one in 1.5 weeks, and get out of one in 1.5 weeks too. Speedy, as I have always been, even in mental illness. The irony... But off course, the nagging and dragging effects of my ´Speedchosis´ lingers longer than 1.5 weeks. I always notice it with my sports and climbing if I´m ´off´: it doesn´t really work, I have less energy, less strength and power, etc. I used to ignore those signs and just push through (even through injuries), but since I know the reason, that something is not right if I´m like that, I finally learned to listen to it. A pitty, because I no longer suffer from ´Speedchosis´. But, anyway, it will be beneficial to know also when I´m having a regular ´off´ day, just like any other ´normal´ person.
Anyways, if you want to know more about my sports career, coaching and so on, then check out my new website: Conscious Climbing.
Back to recovery and healing. So, I decided, that in this life: I would get out of it, and I would heal and fully recover. I healed, because I did all those things stated in the 7 principles of self-healing. Most importantly, the meditation and ego to eco self-coaching that I applied to myself. I also regularly went to neurofeedback: electrodes on your brain to stimulate brain healing. Now, I know I´m an exception, because I have quite the brain, perseverance, endurance, power, energy and optimism not many have. Not to downgrade anyone here, but that’s the way I function and I am. So, I healed and fully recovered. That dit not ´magically´ happen off course, because it was really, really, really hard work. The hardest I have ever done, and that for 9 years long! Imagine a marathon with different sprints (speedchosis) for nearly a decade straight! And besides, I think that if I go to an extremely unsafe environment, like Syria, that would not turn out to be a great trip, even despite being fully healed and recovered.
Now thát is me, what about others?
With 7 principles of self-healing, I think anyone can get ´better´ compared to ´sick or before´. Even without a mental illness. But when you have a mental illness, the question whether you can fully heal and recover, that is a up to your ´life-contract´, karma, and/or past and future lives to live. That is certainly not up to me, and maybe not even up to you either. Maybe more up to the ´stars´.
My former psychiatrist from Nijmegen once told me the following: ´psychosis is like extreme Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. So, if you treat the trauma´s, you treat the symptoms, and thus, you treat the psychosis and one can heal´. But this is not for everyone, like I said, because some people are that severely traumatized that they may never come out of it (in this life).
But, it is good to know that the 7 principles of self-healing can get you at least better than where you started. And thát is always worthy! Love yourself, care for yourself, and then you can care for others too!
Contact me for (free) coaching if you are in need. Please do so, because it would surely support and help you, not that I can ´heal´ you, but I can at least help you to find your way to a better life.
Picture: The Monastery