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alternate methods of managing serious mental illness (tl;dr)
Chordal
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Post: #1
alternate methods of managing serious mental illness (tl;dr)
The reason I'm posting this here is that anyone who's been following my activity around the site will already have some knowledge of what's been happening over on my end.

I've been posting elsewhere, and I think I may post elsewhere again -- one of my medications seems to be causing an unwanted, stigmatizing side effect. I'm not totally sure about this, but it's been bothering me for at least eight weeks now. I know from past research and discourse that if I let it go on for too long, it may become permanent. In addition, I'm having an upsurge of a "spiritual" type of thought process, which in the past has been key to letting me know that my medications aren't working as well.

What I can say at this point...I don't know everything. I don't know what's going on with my spirit helpers, only that it does seem that I *do* now (at least, for now) have spirit helpers. I've also picked up a book I found which describes Asian shamanism which was recommended to me by someone at a store which I had an urge to visit today. (The crystals drew me, though I didn't pick up any of them -- the closest two I could find to my purposes were pyrite and citrine, both raw, but I did not know how I would use them, and with a faint exception, none really stood out. I also already have a pyrite and a citrine...though the pyrite is itself a story, and they're both tumbled -- I'm not sure if that hurts their usefulness...)

The book I picked up, thinking it could be related to what is going on, is called Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, by Mircea Eliade. One of my family members is prejudiced against it already because they think it is full of "propaganda" and someone trying to appear "superior to" his readers -- both of these comments taken pretty directly from what they have said. On my end, even if it is a biased source (it was first published in 1951), at least it's a damn source.

So anyway. I'm having symptoms from my medication. I have mental tools now to help me manage my illness that I didn't have when I began the medication. If I can't get the side effects to stop...well, first off.

I might be able to get the side effects to lessen by taking a much smaller amount of medication than I'm taking now. The thing is that this *will* make me more spiritual, and it will probably lower my barriers somewhat because then I'll essentially be living in a different world than those around me. And it can be isolating. And I tend to talk crazy sometimes, though I'm getting a handle on it now, so that I only talk crazy at appropriate times. <!-- s:razz: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":razz:" title="Razz" /><!-- s:razz: -->

I know about the medication:spirituality scale from past experience -- at higher doses I'm more likely to be atheistic (that is, withholding belief); at lower ones...it's different. This would be a gradual taper, from what I'm taking now to 2/3 of that, and then half of that, if I can tolerate it -- bumping up the dosages as needed, when I'm starting to have an episode, or when things become too scary. I've been on this medication for about eight years now...so it's somewhat expected that this could have happened.

This is coinciding with everything happening with Shang. I have a feeling that Shang is a spirit helper specifically involved with me so that I *can* act as a shaman. If I've decided not to *be* a shaman, then Shang may not stick around. She feels she's here for a purpose -- to help others -- and I'm not using her for that purpose, and as well, I seem to be getting whatever syndrome that is where you fall in love with your counselor ("Transference"?); and I think that's feeding into her frustration.

From what I've read about shamanism in the past, my illness, which is commonly noted in people treated by the West as "shamans," could be an initiatory thing that I need to heal myself from. Of course, that means developing my own power, whereas I've been discouraged from holding, or pursuing, or saying I hold, power; in this household (I still live with family). This is even though, as I've read to be historically precedented, this ability has been passed on matrilineally. So my mother has it, her mother had it, and my grandmother's mother on my mother's side had it. And now I have it. We just differ in our abilities to understand and accept, or embrace it.

I mean, if I look back on some of the visualizations Shang (then Bell) taught me as a child...that was some pretty...well, strong (or at least, stressful) stuff. But we were working within the bounds of what I knew and could conceive of at the time, and I still had ideas of Hell and evil spirits. As versus...misled and confused or aggressive or deranged spirits (or all of those combined). And there is a difference between "deranged" and "evil". Fiore was deranged. Derangement stems from intense suffering. But he wasn't evil. And though I've encountered cruelty, I now consider most acts which others would call "evil" to stem from delusion. The problem with dealing with people who hold delusions about the nature of reality, though...is that they often will not let them go.

And I say that being fully knowledgable that my own state could be considered delusionary by someone who could not connect with my reality. But in my own life...I consider delusion to be an unquestioned and strong belief that something is as it is not. I've questioned myself for the last 18 years. Maybe it's time to be brave, take the risk of being wrong, and have a little faith.

My greatest aspiration as a youth, feeling called to become a shaman...as I'd been told from a young age that I might be called to be...was to become wise. As, what use is there in becoming old if one refuses to learn -- not just experientially, but in the sense of developing wisdom? But what use is there in wisdom if it goes unexpressed and without effect to anything outside oneself?

But one also can't deal effectively with troublesome spirits if one is unwilling or unable to find the root of their suffering (which can really only be effected by compassion); or else unable to wholeheartedly defend oneself -- by banishment or absorption or shielding, or...as a last resort, battle. And that's where boundaries, and force of will, come in. One can't be afraid to deal with entities one wishes to evict, avoid, or destroy; and that was one point at which I failed as a youth. I was afraid to be strong.

But I'm older now. And I have more tools. And I'm wondering...if I can use the tools that I have now, and the tools that I know I can gain; to effectively compensate for and fight for my own autonomy, apart from my brain's organic disorder. Can I turn this into a "sacred madness", a harmonic madness that assists myself and all those who surround me; that is, instead of letting the madness devolve into a self-referential cesspool of delusion, pain, sadness and anger, from which the hope of escape is dim or very distant.

There *is*, for me, at least at this moment, an "abort" button. It may not have existed in prior generations. That button is targeted chemical assistance. But that button has its drawbacks, one of which I'm experiencing as we speak. And the other "abort" button...let's say I don't have to go there in this age, though I certainly considered it when I didn't know what was wrong, and had no context for my experiences. And that certainly might just have been a test.

But like I said. I have more tools.

So to get to the point of this. I'm uncertain I'll ever be able to 100% come off of my medications. But I can certainly reduce their dosage. And maybe I can reduce the dosage enough so that I'm shielded from the vast amount of mental clutter, but also do not have these side-effects. But that will entail...it will entail opening myself back up to unusual experiences, some pleasant; some not. And my cognitive self will be affected, as well.

Of course, that's assuming I can't just change the meds and switch out to a new set of side effects. But the medication I'm on now is actually supposed to *protect* one from the side effect it seems to be inducing.

What I know is that...going on without Shang seems a little frightening. And lonely. And even though I've had a ton of synchronicities within the last few weeks...which point to the spirits helping...it's hard for me to trust my well-being to them, and to myself. Because I don't know the future. And I don't know, really, what lies beyond the singularity that would occur if I *did* accept the role of shaman. Would I then be well? Would I be able to heal myself? Or would I just be delusional, unwell, untreated, and unemployed?
2011-03-14 6:28
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Miniar
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Post: #2
Re: alternate methods of managing serious mental illness (tl
I can't give much advice other than suggestion caution in altering your medication yourself without doctor's advice..
But I can say this...

Chordal Wrote:One of my family members is prejudiced against it already because they think it is full of "propaganda" and someone trying to appear "superior to" his readers -- both of these comments taken pretty directly from what they have said.
This quote right there, this little line, it made my head go "uh.... like the bible?"
I don't know.. it made me chuckle a little bit.

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"Those who can't approach discussion with a basic level of intelligence and maturity shouldn't expect to be taken seriously." ~ Qualia Soup
2011-03-14 13:58
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Chordal
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Post: #3
Re: alternate methods of managing serious mental illness (tl
At this point, I've contacted my doctor. There's some risk involved with my going down on my dosage at this point, but I'm hearing that I'll be all right. I'm not on the lowest effective dosage...the concern is just with my symptoms worsening. And going down on these meds too suddenly can trigger an episode. I plan to titrate down slowly, over a period of about a month and a half, though the main work should be done after the first 36 days. This is adjustable depending on my stress level and tolerance. I also need to check with my doctor, and see if this is too slow.

In the meantime we can see what can be done about the side effects, and if, or for how long, I'll have to take another medication to block them. I'll also have to see if I can control the symptoms that will likely strengthen, in the coming weeks -- I'm already in the "mystical" zone, which objectively means that I'm currently vulnerable to what are seen as symptoms. But if I can harmonize my mind enough -- the symptoms may not be disturbing.

The whole, "Hell and evil spirits," thing, I recall getting from a friend of my mother's when I was very young. No one should really be subjected to that, at that age...but then...I should keep my thoughts about her private. Then there was the "Children's Bible" which I put down because it was too violent...

Good times?
2011-03-16 5:06
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