Why write about Spirituality and Mental Illness?

Well, before I get back into my groove of writing about mental illness, it occurred to me that I should maybe explain the ‘why’ behind the decision to talk about mental illness and spirituality.

There’s a saying that goes (and I really don’t remember where it’s from) something along the lines of how the most earnest prayers come from people in hospitals. I think this is particularly true about people in psych wards, or who are dealing with mental illness.

People turn to spirituality when they are hurt, confused, or generally lost. And mental illness makes you feel that, in an strange way sometimes. Because mental illness isn’t seen as a physical problem, its invisible and most don’t realize it’s got physical roots, people don’t turn immediately to doctors. Sadly, people actually refuse to see doctors for mental illness because of perceptions and biases that have their roots in spiritual beliefs.

Some of these are ones like: mental illness is the result of a curse, or God’s punishment for a lack of faith, or the result of being estranged from God. It can also be believed to be an imbalance of chakras that only requires meditation to be cured, spirit possession, or (my personal pet peeve, and one that truly held me back) the belief that mental illness is some sort of psychic ‘breakthrough’.

A bunch of these are due to the conflation/mix of mental health and mental illness. Due to the lack of understanding on the difference of these two, people will often try and use spirituality and spiritual practices (which can be beneficial to mental health) to treat mental illness.

Personally, when I went out with my service dog for mental illness, people would often ask me what the dog was for. Once they found out it was for mental illness, these strangers would often end up giving me some sort of advice or opinion on mental illness. Most of these were spiritual perspectives that were against medication and ‘western medicine’, as well as conventional therapy.

Similarly, when I really struggled with my mental illness and was unmedicated, people often threw spiritual advice at me. It was all anti medication and anti conventional doctors. Now that I am medicated and happily so, I find it really disturbing that there is so much anti-medication sentiment out there! I sometimes wonder what my path to healing would have been like if I had been surrounded by more realistic approaches.

Anyways, now that I am in a better space mentally, I think it’ll be nice to get back into talking about mental illness and spirituality. I think it’ll do me good, as it’s something that I really care about, and love discussing with others. I find it nourishing and cleansing.

I also want to really show others that getting conventional help is not anti spirituality. I once met a doctor in training at a mental health clinic, and he was really surprised to hear that not all spirituality is against medication, and that I had arguments against those points. It made for a very interesting discussion, but also showed me that there wasn’t much perspectives out there that are spiritual and embracing of actual treatment for mental illness.

Anyways, that’s all I have to say for today! I will be posting a video to MY CHANNEL soon about these points, and it will basically be a copy of this post. I’m doing this because some formats are easier for some people and not everyone likes reading, and I’m hoping to make this as available as possible.

I wish you all a lovely day ❤

Back Again ~ Hopefully to a New Start

I had a dream last night. I dreamt that I was coming to the conclusion that it was wrong of me to have pulled this blog from the web, and that I would resume my blogging.

The truth is, I’ve been feeling guilty lately about pulling my blog from the web. Maybe it’s inflated of me, but I like to think that my blog posts help people, even in a small way, to understand and cope with their mental illness. So, pulling this blog from the internet felt mean to me. Like I was taking away what someone might need in their moment of darkness.

But the fact is also that I feel vulnerable. I’m no longer sure of my spiritual foundations. Mental illness, psychosis, and the weird nuances of it all are getting to me. How do I define my beliefs? I do not know anymore. I’m really not sure, and frankly, am not sure I will ever be sure.

The thing is, when you get feelings and calling that contradict your beliefs, life gets weird. It gets weirder when you’re not sure what’s psychosis and what’s medication and what’s genuine – and how does it all tie in?

Anyways, this post is just to say that I’m going to be trying to bring this blog back to life, but hopefully not too personal of a way so that I feel like taking it down again.

Wishing you all the best ❤

ANOTHER DREAM!!! (SPOILERS)

Lo! Be-holden! Y’all know that when I mention dreams – character lives are about to be fucked up, haha.

And that holds true for this time! For (LO!) I had a dream wherein (drumroll) a certain character woke up in the wrong body. As in someone else’s body. As in – they didn’t die. As in… am I far enough down that the preview won’t show this writing? Becauuuuse -> Kuryo’s story might be making a comeback, y’all!

Now, trust me, no one is more sick of the loop-de-loops of that story than I am. I’m almost ready to just chuck the whole thing from the tip-top most of a tower, but hey. I’m stubborn and I really like Kuryo and Chaos as characters. I keep telling myself (as in, today) that at worst this is all just more rough drafting and * eventually * it will make some sort of sensical thing. I hope. I really, really, hope.

I mean, I really like those characters. It’s just – the story derails from me and I feel like I get lost in the plot. If only I could finish the damned thing, sort it all out, and make it make sense. I’m sure it would be a blast, once it’s properly polished! But, I derail myself.

What happened in the dream? What can we expect? Well, the jist of the dream was ‘Kuryo wakes up in someone else’s body and has to deal with adjusting to that person’s life’. Like, wow. Not too drastic considering his story. But it would mean he wakes up in another of the five Kuryo’s bodies. And does it mean the evil stabber gets his powers? I considered that last night, and it came to me in my sleep that she (the god-slayer/stabber of Kuryo) would appear, and make attempt #2 at the whole murdering thing.

But in the meanwhile, there’d be this whole ‘Kuryo adjusting to his new life’ phase, which I honestly thought could be cute and charming. Or it could be boring. Either way, there’s a new girlfriend involved, university life, and a whole ‘was that real or did I dream that whole thing while I was in a coma?’ thing.

What else has been happening in my writing life? I had an idea the other day (while being unable to sleep) that it could be really fun to write a gay romance, with the main character having schizophrenia. So the next day, I sat down to try and write it. But (LO!) the main character was not schizophrenic but rather had DID (ba-dum-tiss!). Which, if you know about them, they are completely different things. DID is pretty badly seen, so after debating to myself about whether I’d write it or not, I figured ‘what the hell’ and asked around if anyone I knew had DID to help me as a reference. Well. Almost 6? 7? people came forward from various groups I’m in to offer and help. So now I feel like I should write the book, just because these people seem to want it. Or at least they want to help write it. So, I’m going to be trying to write that, which is really daunting, to say the least. A big challenge!

Speaking of challenges (my last point of the day!) I apparently succeeded in my portrayal of an intersex character! I won’t tell you the details, but there is an intersex character in my latest Farfadel novel, and my sensitivity readers LOVED them! They said I aced my representation. SO I’m feeling pretty capable and happy. Honestly, I know portraying an intersex character is not the same as a mental illness/disorder, but it makes me feel like I can manage. It makes me feel powerful, in an author-y sense.

Oh, and (the real, really, final last point) – I have a sort-of manager now! I found a fellow pagan who was willing to help me advertise and market myself slowly, along with some merch to go along with my stories, and so … hopefully there will eventually be a more organized version of me as an author? I probably won’t say too much about this, as it’s rather private, but I am excited to get help organizing myself! And wouldn’t Farfadel merch be great? Imagine the possibilities!

Anyways, that’s that. I really hope y’all have a lovely day/evening ❤ take care y’all!

A Publishing House for the Mentally Ill?

Hey everyone! So, originally I had a very boring post set up to post about how I don’t feel like writing Chaos & Kuryo’s story today. Real thrilling, I know. BUT! Then I was asked for a guest post about publishing and wham! Not only did I write up a post about self-publishing and mental illness (two of them, actually), but I had an idea! A very interesting idea, if you ask me.

Here it is: Wouldn’t it be epic (to say the least) if I was to start a publishing company dedicated to the fiction stories of people with mental illness?

I mean, hear me out. I know there are a bunch of writing collectives out there like ‘the mighty’ and ‘the bipolar writer’ blog. But where do we, the mentally ill, publish our fiction? Well, probably indie, you see. But that’s a space wherein there’s already a TON of neurotypicals out there, publishing stuff that neurotypicals want to read. So where is the space dedicated to the mentally ill people’s fiction?

I don’t think we have one, simply put. We’re just starting to have spaces to talk about getting better and expressing our experiences. Our fiction, as of yet, is still mixed in with everyone else’s.

But, here’s another thing. I’m quite sure that people with mental illness have pretty bizarre and interesting ideas, which would make for very unique and interesting stories that step out of the ordinary. I think this could really be a fun initiative!

Sad fact: I have no idea how to go about making this happen. Anyone, any ideas? How would one go about doing this? Is this something that anyone would be interested in participating in? Give me your thoughts!

close up photo of open book
Photo by Bilakis on Pexels.com

Ways to Self-Care (ideas)

I need to be kinder with myself. Lately, I’ve been pushing myself to do so much, to perform so well, that I’ve been overlooking my successes and beating myself up mentally. I want to work on my novels, draw pictures, work on my birdie books, all that in the same day as well as functioning like a non-disabled person. Which I know I can’t do. I just can’t. I don’t have that many functioning hours.

Today we went out to get my meds and I was so anxious 😦 it makes me see just how bad my bad days lately have been. It makes me feel like I still need a service dog. Even just sitting in the car while my wifey drove (which I normally can do without stressing) was making me anxious. Because, hark! Curves were coming up! What if we took the ditch? Yikes! It was depressing.

However, once we got home and I realized this, I’ve decided to be gentler on myself. So I’m going to only do what I can do, and celebrate that. But how? Like, I can sit here and be all ‘yeah, I’mma be kinder with myself’, but what steps can a person actually take to be kinder on themselves? Here are my steps that I’m going to (try) and do in the next little while.

  • Set more realistic goals.
    • I tend to overdo it on the goals thing. I want so much done, and I want it all done well, and super fast. But life and disability doesn’t work that way. So I need to aim for less, so that I can actually succeed.
  • Listen to my needs.
    • Maybe not cut out all the sugar. Maybe allow myself some sugar, to, you know, live. Lately I’ve been on a ‘I must lose weight’ binge, which is actually really stressful. I need to get a better relationship with food.
  • Take concrete time to rest.
    • For me, I think I should rest more in the mornings. I have no concrete ‘rest’ time. I keep telling myself that I’ll rest in the evenings, but that’s when I do my writing, so… I have no down time.
  • Not overload myself.
    • I have a new commission coming along, as well as one underfoot, as well as all my writing… I sense that things can pile on quickly! Thankfully, nothing has definite due dates. In order to help with my workload, I’ve been very transparent that the artworks will take time. So far, no pressure, and I’m getting them done. But I need to keep that ‘no pressure’ and not heap too many more things onto myself.

I think, really, that the most important thing when it comes to self-care is to break it down into concrete steps, whatever that means for you. For me, this is enough structure, but for others it may involve more strict scheduling, complete with agenda markings and reminder stickers. But the important thing is to have steps. To know how you will take care of yourself, because if you just ‘wing it’, you might not get it done at all, and with self-care that just shouldn’t happen. You really need to take care of yourself, be it by taking pajama days or having a nice coffee date with yourself every so often!

Well, I hope this has been helpful to some people. For me, I find it useful to put my ideas out there and write them down. So, hopefully this will mark a new period of self-care and less self-imposed stress!

 

A Polytheist/Pagan Framework for Healing Mental Illness

IMG_3440Let’s talk about healing. But more specifically, healing as polytheists, as pagans, as wiccans.

I often see the ‘use nature’ way of healing promoted by these groups of people, as if nature alone can heal a soul/broken mind/damaged brain/whatever you want to call it. But, as someone who just moved back to the countryside and is in the middle of experiencing it’s effects upon myself, I’ve got some fresh arguments to post about that. In fact, I’ve had a flash of inspiration and have come up with ‘a thing’. Hopefully it’s the start of something positive. At worst it’s a flub.

Now here’s a thing I was told by a social worker. They told me that 30% of the work in healing comes from medication, and the rest is all therapy and self-work.

And that’s a balance I think we can all strive for. To take our medication as well as working on ourselves spiritually and enjoying nature.

Here I’m going to go out on a limb and propose a thing: a polytheist schema for healing mental health. I’m totally making this up and pulling it from my own experience and have Zero Sources for this. So take it with a bit of salt (and sage too haha).

I’m proposing that we, as a community, approach healing as necessitating 30% medication, 30% self work, 30% environmental help, and 10% divine intervention.

Let’s break this down.

30% medication

Well if you’ve been on this blog for a second or two, you’ll see that I am a huge advocate for medication. You’ll read that it’s really helped me, and that I have a sliver of trust in the doctors and social workers that treat me. Hence, I am following this, and sticking to their 30%.  For those who may be new to this blog: I believe that medication can be effective, wholesome, and positive if well done and properly supervised. Pro tip: not all doctors are wholesome and count as proper supervision. Sometimes they rush the process and don’t listen. Get one that you click with.

30% Self Work

Why such a big percentage for self work? Because I’ve found it to be exceedingly important. Or, as someone else I know was told by their doctor ‘you have to want to get better’. You have to be active in the process. Are you anxious? Work on it. Are you psychotic? Work on it.

How do I propose we ‘work on it’? I propose meditation (within reason), self-reflection, journaling, and basically anything that makes you conscious of yourself and helps you improve on that.

30% Environmental Help

Now here’s where my recent experiences come in. Yes, being in nature helps. But it’s not always all about nature. Sometimes it’s about the people who surround us, talk with us, and who are our therapists and doctors. These people and spirits (depending on how involved you are with your spirits) have a large influence on us. They can support us or tear us down. Having support around us is immensely important, so that’s why I’m boosting it up to an equal 30%

10% Divine Intervention

I’ve had divine intervention in my life, in my healing process. And I truly think that they have a part to do in it all. They are the door openers, door keepers, and opportunity presenters. But will they open the doors for us? Will they zap us better? Very rarely. It’s mainly us who has to do the work (up in that 30%). So that’s why I leave divine intervention at 10%. You can expect their help, but not too much, and not too often. You can expect to do the hard work yourself, because this is your path.

I’m not saying that spirituality need only play a 10% part of your life. I’m saying that’s the work your Deities will do with/for you. But the gods count as support and spiritual activities can count as self-care and self-work. Spirituality in itself overlaps in all the layers, even in our approach to our medication.

In conclusion? I honestly just came up with this, but it rings true to me (can we call it divine inspiration?) and more importantly, it gives a framework that, I find, encompasses my experiences. I will be writing more, hopefully coming up with more details and a healing system/process for pagans and polytheists out there. Details may change, I may recant and decide the whole ting is schmuck, but I’m trying to reach out and help.

I really  believe that, as a community, we need to come up with methods and techniques and frameworks within which to heal and help those with mental illnesses and mental health problems. I’d really love to hear your input on this, in order to help start a conversation. Each and every one of you has experiences that can help us, as a community, move towards more methods to heal.

I Might Need Some Help…

This is not a call for help… at least not a desperate one. I mean, I’m fine. Crazy, seeing funny things here and there, but fine. You see, as if being unhinged wasn’t enough, I’ve added another thing for myself to take care of.

A book.

No, not my fiction books. I’m going to write a non-fiction one. And for that, I need help. I have NO CLUE how to approach writing a non-fiction book. Like, I know how to do a research paper. But a book? How many sources do I need? How many people should I poll before making a statement? How just – how?

So that’s it. I’m looking for a publisher. I’m looking for people willing to be interviewed. I’m looking for help, largely, in this massive undertaking. Any advice, really, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks y’all!