How to recover from psychosis and live a meaningful life: A lived experience perspective
What qualifies me to write on such a deep, clinically focussed topic. Firstly, I have lived experience of the terrors of a psychotic episode and I have lived through first hand encounters of being on multiple medications at once and in a psychiatric unit with alot of my rights stripped away from me.
25th April 2015 was when I had my first psychotic episode. I was working on a prawn trawler of the coast. After years of binging on drugs and alcohol, I was drying out at sea. But this time it all got to much. The perfect storm had arrived in my head.
Time and time again in recovery I have Advocated for myself when the symptoms are just getting to much and this night was no exception. I knew I wasn’t well and I asked the skipper of the boat to take me into shore knowing full well it would cost me some of my pay. But the money wasn’t the issue, my life was on the line.
I spent 2 weeks in a psychiatric unit. I wasn’t made to feel like everything would be alright by the doctors there. They simply asked, I guess so they could throw a diagnosis at me and put me on a cocktail of medications. What I really need, was love and compassion and someone to tell me that everything was going to be alright.
Recovering from these types of events takes patience, hard work and resilience.
After many years, I have finally found solace in the spiritual world and the gentle nurturing of Buddhist and Shamanic practices.
It is by utilising the knowledge of these traditions and the faith and knowing that I am not alone which allows me to recover and to live, not only a life symptom free but also a life where I have seen my so called mental illness as a gift.
In many indigenous cultures around the world. When one is having a psychotic break, they are not seen as unwell and having to meditate and label them. They are seen as gifted and someone who can be of great benefit to the community.
Call me crazy, but since my own spiritual awakening in Feburary 2021. I have had many examples of the divine being in my life. Encounters with angels, direct love from God or my highest self – whatever you want to call it, I’ve channelled past love ones, not only my own but other people’s, I’ve learnt the healing power of reiki energy and I have communicated with spirit guides such as Buddha and Christ.
This does not mean I am cured. I still go through the shadow at times, as I peel more layers back and come home to the true essence of who I am. Love is who we all are.
Taking care of myself on a daily basis is not something I do to perfection. It is something that takes vigilance, preparation and dedication.
I am by no means out of the woods in terms of being free of mental afflictions but I am well on the way to feeling whole.
Using my lived experience of recovery is something I do to help others on an interpersonal level and a systemic level.
Bringing spirituality into the health sector is the next frontier and I believe if we meet every individual and go beyond our medical model then the spiritual world has something very vast and spacious to offer to all of us.