One day, I got a phone call from a dear friend.
He started the conversation with “Anona, I’ve decided that I am ready to ascend.”
I was confused so I asked “What does that mean?”
He responded, “I will go to sleep tonight and in the morning my family will find the shell of my body empty.”
My heart had kicked up at this point and tears forming- something was wrong… “So you’ll be dead?”
*Full disclosure I basically freaked right the fuck out- and had to call all my mentors to calm me down*
The end of that story was luckily a happy one. However, it hasn’t been the first example in my life where spirituality/religion has clashed with a series of serious mental health concerns.
He said “Ascension”. I heard “Suicidal”.
At a health and wellness conference, one man with schizophrenia who was speaking at the event was publicly chastized out by another attendee for being on pharmaceutical medications.
Another time at group meditation, after sharing my experience with a major depressive episode a participant advised me that I needed to reconnect back to my Source and I would stop feeling depressed. After explaining that I still very connected to spirituality while going through my depression they promptly interjected “that I wasn’t allowing myself to be happy”. Some nice spiritual invalidation and bandaids to cover up that being sad is a no go.
A dear friend who sees “visions” has been abusing various substances to reach these states of “rapture”. They OD two weeks later.
A young lady who believes her ability commune with her guides can only happen when she’s off her medication. Sacrifices her ability to relate to human individuals, have a job and live independently so she can still speak to the invisible ones.
It boggles me but the health/wellness and spiritual community can at times further condone the already thick stigma around mental health.
A part of me feels a lot of shame for having been on medication. I am also really worried at how that would permeate the community.
I also think that the common belief that as an Empath you can absorb someone else energy makes people feel overtly responsible for everyone else reactions.
Like, Mom-Guilt on New Age spirituality is a beast all in of itself. A mother going through post-partum depression can feel like she’s inflicting the first root of trust and abandomnent issues in her children by feeling disconnected from them. Pst partum is a serious chemical imbalance due to hormones not to mention how it highlight a lack of support systems when you have a little one- not a fault of character or an enlightenment failure.
In my view, there is just a lot of noise around spirituality.
Alas, there’s not a lot of heart in the psychotherapy communities.
Balance and moderation seem to be the only sage advice.
What have your experiences been with mental health and spirituality?