For decades I have danced with the mental/behavioral health systems of the western world. I began talk therapy and dabbling in anti-depressants when I was in my 20's. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am one of those people who is sensitive enough to feel the adverse side effects of a drug far sooner and stronger than the benefits. So I never lasted on any mind/mood altering medication for very long. Therefore I never had that magic pill to help me conform and function in a dysfunctional society.
Half a century later I still struggle to manage the depth and intensity of my emotional terrain, but I no longer pathologize it and diagnose it as depression or a "mood disorder". I now see it as my gift and burden of feeling what others around me repress. It is also the unspoken screams of a world that is suffering beyond its capacity or willingness to recognize or admit it.
I now know that I become soul sick when I allow myself to be drawn into circumstances and environments that do not honor and value my creative and empathic gifts. That is when the symptoms of "mental Illness" rise up to get my attention. It is my BodyMind beseeching me to wake up and listen to what it is trying to tell me. And I do not get better when I try and suppress those cries for help. So as challenging as it may be to stay true to our inner calling, or even know that it is there at all, it is the only true salve for our suffering.
I am here to use my creative gifts to express the full depth and breadth of the human condition and this whole, dynamic, living system we are a part of. I am also here to use the creative and intuitive process to help others to discover the voice and vision within them. Together we matter. Together we can find the strength and compassion to keep showing up with open hearts. Separate we can become despondent and hopeless given the enormity of the world's problems.
So I offer this gentle reminder that we suffer from soul's that are sickened by the suffering of this world far more than we suffer from mental illness. Yes there are times when medical intervention can be of benefit, but do not drown out the deeper voice that is calling you to see what really ails us.