If you’ve had a breakdown and were treated like there was something wrong with you then you probably feel a sense of shame. But you might be missing the purpose of the breakdown and the potential it holds to transform your life.
I recommend reading Servants of the Sacred Dream, by Linda Hartley, which validates the experience of breakdown, helping us to understand it in a better light.
“A person going through a process of profound inner change is often viewed by society as mentally ill, suffering a pathological condition that needs to be treated or cured. But such a condition may be not only pathological in nature. Breakdown or mental illness may be caused by the awakening of new awareness and the struggle to be free of the power of old mechanisms of control, both internal and external; it may hold the potential for real and deep healing and change to take place. In such a healing crisis the individual, like the collective, is faced with the pain of past hurts and fears, deepened awareness of the present predicaments, and the need to resolve conflict which keep her bound within the old power dynamics. She is also confronted with the challenge to embrace new consciousness, open to a deepened sense of who she is, and through this, to accept more fully her purpose and responsibility in life.
“Within the healing crisis lies the potential for growth and change, a psychological and spiritual rebirth, but it is a delicate process and one that can easily be aborted. The attitudes of family, friends, professional helpers, and society towards the individual’s experience are crucial in providing a positive context of meaning. Although distress experienced must be acknowledged and appropriate care given, if the process is viewed and treated as purely a regressive and pathological breakdown, then it may become so; the healing potential may not be able to unfold in such an environment. The meaning and value that is given to the crisis is crucial; as more and more individuals are being confronted, or are confronting themselves through journeys of deepening consciousness, there is an urgent need to develop a better understanding of the processes involved, and the kind of support that is required.”
Extract from Servants of the Sacred Dreamby Linda Hartley
I felt so misunderstood by my experiences that were labelled psychosis that I wrote my story, not only to set the record straight, but to help others see themselves in a better light. My debut memoir, My Beautiful Psychosis is a first hand account of the struggle I went through to come to a more helpful understanding of what gets labelled psychosis. The memoir describes seven episodes of psychosis and the journey I took to make sense of them.
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