Seeing these experiences in a new light.
It’s often the stories that embarrass us most which – in sharing them, liberate us from feelings of shame and unworthiness. Of feeling like we don’t fit in, or that our experiences are too shameful to speak of.
Some embarrassing stories of mine are on the tip of my tongue at the moment, and I’ve found in recent years that this normally happens when it’s time to release them from my heart and mind…
I have fallen from grace more times than I care to remember.
I’ve lost sight of myself, and others in the clouds of stormy thinking and misunderstanding. I am not a saint by any means, but nor am I an intentional sinner.
I have been a shitty person, and have done shitty things throughout my life— and I often conclude that the overarching source of experiencing psychosis is that it was a spiritual reckoning in facing up to the things I’d done that I wasn’t at peace with.
It was an enlightenment to the truth that I was on a path of taking action that would inevitably bring me face-to-face with the worst that life could offer me, and thankfully, in my wisdom, I saw the sign that it was time to turn my life around.
In the act of ‘turning my life around’ I noticed that it wasn’t so much about changing my circumstances (although changes in circumstances is what happened as a result of the actions I took), it was more about understanding how my experience of life functioned within the wider picture of reality.
I started to see — in this journey of understanding — that I was the one creating the experiences, and circumstances that I (innocently) believed were the cause of my shitty behaviour.
Once I saw this for myself I was able to then make better choices. Choices based on what I actually wanted to do, not reactions born from unhealthy conditioning.
I came to understand that my behaviour was inspired by nothing more than experiencing, believing, and acting on the thinking I had about life; but until this understanding came to me, I didn’t have the insight to realise that my experience of life was subjective, and so I would act as though my behaviour was justified in an assumption that everybody felt, and saw things the way that I did.
I thought, in my misunderstanding, that everyone was pretending to be happy and I was wise enough to be in on the joke. I thought that true happiness was a myth, or something that only ‘other people’ — people with wealth, status, or achievements could experience.
I would try distract myself from this hellish experience and would seek out anything that was louder and more intense than the thoughts I had which convinced me I would always be inwardly miserable.
I turned to things like promiscuous sex, drugs, loud music, probing arguments and being toxically involved in other people’s lives. I would create drama, lie, gossip, be disloyal and unfaithful in my relationships. I would use any way I could find to distract myself from this underlying, ever-present feeling of doom, being lost and uncomfortable in not knowing how to be myself in this life.
I become the chaos that I experienced within, and life — being a mirror — reflected this chaos right back to me through my external circumstances.
I didn’t feel a lot of love for anyone back then, not truly, and I didn’t think that anyone could truly love me, and so I did what I thought anyone would do in a life without love — whatever they wanted, without care or consideration of how that behaviour might make others around them feel.
“Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll” became the best forms of distraction I could find, and so while I felt unable to love myself, I could at least distract myself with these things… and I had fun, but it was a kind of superficial, egoic ‘fun’ that was short-lived, destructive and that ultimately led to more feelings of being detatched, dark, lost and desperate.
I wanted something deeper. Something more substantial. Something enduring and secure.
I wanted intimacy that felt real and true.
Something holy, but without a need for religion, cults and rituals.
I wanted to find a piece of home in life that felt like mine to be in.
I wanted to feel like life could contain all of my experiences, my form, essence and creative expression.
I wanted life to feel like home, and not just something I had to tolerate in pain until the day I died.
In having a breakdown — and feeling inspired to explore things like spirituality, psychology and philosophy — I found some of the answers to the questions I was looking for like “how to be happy” and “how to find peace”.
I learnt that I had to love myself and be responsible for my needs — and it sounds cheesy, if you have spent most of your life being a survivor, tough and independant. Being kind to yourself, and loving yourself can take some getting used to, but it’s been the only thing I’ve found that has helped me in turning my life around.
It has allowed me to see that my experience of life wasn’t hell on earth, but was me believing my own thinking and then playing that thinking out through my behaviour.
As I started to become more aware of my thinking, and more importantly how I didn’t have to believe or act upon it, I started to settle down. I started to become more aware of my ‘response-ability’ and how I could choose what I wanted to do with my body and time on earth. I could choose how I wanted to treat the people around me.
“Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll” became less like distractions I needed to block out thoughts, and appeared to me more like experiences that are present which I, as an individual, can choose to engage in — or not.
Sex to me now is not something I need to feel attractive, worthy, or loved, but is a celebration of our human form.
Of life, love and intimacy.
Of connection, expression, trust, care and kindness.
Drugs and alcohol are not things I need to get by in life and use to deal with stress, but are an expression of life that offer an experience that I can choose to engage in, or not.
Rock ’n’ roll is no longer a crutch I need to support me to feel like I fit in with life — with all of the emotions, fear, pain, darkness and desires that come up with it.
It is an opportunity to experience music in a heavy, captivating form. One that acknowledges and appreciates the expression of raw unfiltered emotion…
The need for relying on distractions from thinking dissolves in this understanding that the thoughts we think do not have to be a source of misery, pain or separation.
Nor do they determine how our behaviour has to be. Thoughts are a creative expression that provide an opportunity for us to experience something about life.
They can serve as ongoing reminders that there is more beyond our conscious individual selves at play in the universe.
We have this ability to observe and question our thoughts, as we experience them, and can decide what activities we want to engage in — based on what feels good to our mind, body, heart and soul.
Lots of love, Shaneen x