The day came yesterday. I was lying in bed actually, deciding whether it was worth getting up early or not when the phone rang. It was the doctors surgery. The medical records I requested from 1987 had arrived and were ready for collection. 1987 was my final year at college in Liverpool and the year I was diagnosed schizophrenic.

I had asked to see them because before I started talking about my past too publicly. I wanted to make sure I had the ‘facts’ that the doctors were working with at the time. I don’t have my full record, just my transfer letters from one hospital to another which were filed with my GP.

Who I used to be

Reading the letters sent me on a journey to another time where other people defined my reality for me, assuming they knew what was going on in my head and my heart. It sent me back to a time where I struggled to define my own reality because nothing had prepared me for being isolated  in my life and alone with my higher education ambitions. Inside my head and heart was my family’s calling to stay small, deny my larger self  and quash my ambitions. And yet a part of me felt so suffocated that despite the existential discomfort, I had to break away from my roots. The breaking away left me with internal contradictions, a tortured heart, and a desperate need to explore my inner world, to gain mastery over it and to find peace and equilibrium. It feels somehow now like I had to plunge into a dark and terrifying world of ‘schizophrenia’: I had to meet my darkest fears, in order to see what I was up against.

Did anyone really know who I was?

Some of the facts of my life are wrong in the letters. The assumptions that have been made about my life and background are superficial snapshots of me with no depth of insight. It’s sobering to realise that such big decisions should be made about my health and welfare and big socially dangerous labels used without knowing who I am.  In the early stages of my loss of contact with concensus reality at least, my reality, my history and circumstances had to be reported by parents and other people who also didn’t know me.  I can see how those opinions of others could come to be internalized by less fortunate individuals who fail to go deep enough to find their true selves.  And therein lies the dissonance: head versus heart, external versus internal realities.

I’d been up to that point on a journey of self discovery all my life. For some curious reason, even when a child I was always sensitive to having others attempt to scramble my reality.  And even as I lay writhing around in a living hell of my own confused fabrication in my early 20’s, my parents apparently believed it was just pressure of exams.  I grew up deeply contemplative, curious and angry when my reality couldn’t be heard.  Although I don’t ‘do’ past life stuff, it’s interesting to muse why I sensed injustice and contradiction so keenly.  I see that thread from the present to the past so clearly now. It’s what drives me today to continue to seek my authenticity and to resonate with others who are seeking theirs.

Seeing the real person inside

I still react strongly to incongruency, to artifice and to insincerity.  To me they are like enormous neon signs plastered across a persons identity. I can detect it from a 100 paces. I don’t care for it. I can’t take it seriously. I want to know YOU not a substitute or understudy. For many that’s scary. Seeing into someone’s life and looking at their real selves can threaten to dismantle the false self they’ve carefully constructed to survive an outside in existence.  And people will fight to maintain their right to their false self.  And of course, they can do what they wish. Yet our capacity to witness our own true selves and to see others clearly is the key to developing real human intimacy and to healing hearts and souls of slights and hurts.  Having xray vision can be both a blessing and a curse.

The gift is my personal journey to the core of my being

I have crossed over a precipice more than once in my life.  Once traversed one can never return.  Each milestone takes you through a new portal, a one way gateway forward and the rules that used to guide you and govern your thoughts crumble behind you. There is no going back.  There is only forward.  And as you step into the new comfort of knowing and trusting yourself instead of the rules, your faith in life expands and incorporates others.  As it expands it senses rather than thinks.  It tends to check our experience against our inner reality instead of outwards appearances or social conformity.  And it brings great fortitude and groundedness on the one hand and great human fragility on the other.

I see this insight now as a gift I have invested in over 30 years and more and one that I want to share with as many people as possible. With clients and supervisees alike, it is my desire only to show you your own heart, so that you can come to trust yourself, and know that whatever else happens out there, your unique human expression is your greatest and most valuable possession.

So I’ve decided to start writing. I have a book in my head that describes how we therapists, as the uninvited mentors of society, need to come home to ourselves if we are to help other people come home to their true selves. And despite all academic or intellectual pursuit, there is one fact we can never deny: We are healers of the human soul and spirit and no amount of intellectualising about that will make it any different. Find mentors who can help you on your inner journey of awakening.

Our experiences in life, however adverse or tragic, are never wasted. All experience, can be used for the awakening of our fellow human beings.
My message today? Seek mentors in life who are seeking their own authenticity. The soul of our world needs it. And if you resonate with me, I’d love you to join me.  Click on the links  to join my mentorship group or my telephone mentorship and supervision service.

 

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