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Reclaiming Your Life: Letting Go Of the Tyranny of Labels

You know when you know that something isn’t working and nobody is willing to listen to you? It feels so frustrating and invalidating on so many levels and yet, because you are the one who is sitting in the therapist’s office, you are the one with the problem, and you are the one suffering and yet, they won’t hear a word you say.

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This is my story of how I overcame a mental illness that dominated my existence for almost 15 years. I did what everyone thought was impossible, all the way from my psychiatrist to my younger sister who has a degree in music therapy. Because while they were learning and applying abstract theory. I was on the ground dealing with the reality of my situation.

So, here I am sitting in my shrinks office for the sixth month in a row, telling her how I am totally over medicated on the lithium I was put on to keep me from going ‘manic’. All I know is that I am so over medicated that I couldn’t figure out what to buy in a huge supermarket full of food, to prepare a simple dinner the previous evening. My mind was so depressed in its functioning from all that medication, that I couldn’t think as I stood there right inside the supermarket door wondering why I couldn’t figure out what to purchase, being pissed off at the fact because I am a really good cook – when I am able to think, that is.

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I remember going to the laundry mat to do the laundry one summer day. As I was finishing up the clothes I felt so exhausted from the whole procedure, I dumped the clothes on the floor in the living room and told my husband that I couldn’t do this anymore. I was so totally depleted.

Then I got the idea of having him come in to talk to my shrink since she wouldn’t listen to me. To the fact that I was totally over medicated, couldn’t think, was useless and here he was working a full-time time job while being in school full-time, and I couldn’t even figure out how to put a simple dinner together or do a couple of loads of laundry. It was humiliating. It was a terrible place to be and a place I needed and wanted be out of so desperately.

My husband did agree to come with me to see the shrink and told her exactly what I told him to say putting it in his own experience of how dysfunctional I was. He requested that she drop me from the 1,500 mg of lithium I was on to a smaller dose and see how that works. It was dehumanizing as I sat there in the office crying wondering why it was that I wasn’t being believed when I was able to speak my truth, what my own body was going through – and yet, given the diagnosis as a person with bi-polar 2 how could I be trusted to know that my own body was telling me that this was the wrong course for me to go? Miraculously at his accounting of his experience living with me, the dose was dropped by 300 mg. The following month I told her that he still thought that I was on too high a dose and miraculously she dropped me another 300 mg. I stayed there at that dose till I got a new psychiatrist who thought that being even on 900 mg of lithium for so many years was bad for my kidneys so she dropped it even more.

My situation begs the question as to why it was that my husband was listened to as I was ignored. In the conventional mental health system one needs a strong advocate to get the concerns of the client across to the medical personnel. Have you ever had such an experience?

Several years later I am working at a supported housing program and there was a male client who was my age, 33. He was always very polite, yet wouldn’t take showers, wouldn’t change his clothes, wasn’t eating correctly and definitely was not interested in taking any of his medications saying that he was allergic to them. The staff was always polite with him, saying “hi” and then basically ignoring him. Then one day I noticed that he was indeed having a reaction to his medication seeing that his lips and nails were blue in color – demonstrating that he wasn’t getting the amount of oxygen he needed in his body. It was then that I was willing to go out on a limb and figure out a better treatment regime for him, because it was obvious that the mental health system did not have his wellbeing at its core. Last year, 17 years later I found out that he is living in the community with a roommate doing quite fine. This result came into being, even though that during the time I was working with him, he was paranoid of all his roommates. Something changed and that something was the fact that he finally had someone who was willing to listen to what he was saying, despite the fact, that he was labeled as a paranoid schizo-affective. He knew his body and he needed a change.

Years later I realized after working in the conventional mental health system that there had to be a better way of treating these individuals, a more humane way. I wasn’t sure what it was, though my last psychiatrist, a very humble and caring provider asked me the question, that I believe stimulated me on a very unconscious level to find a different way to treat people with mental health issues, issues that were thought to be incurable by the powers that be. She asked me “What would you do if you had your own way of treating yourself, instead of my way?” All I could say at that point was “I don’t have a ‘my way’ so I guess I have to do it your way.” Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you wanted a ‘different way’ and didn’t know what that way was?

About a year later, I was at a training that I knew I needed to be at with my trainers in NLP at the time, feeling so depressed and nonfunctional.  And, it was there that I was healed of an incurable mental illness in all of 5 minutes using a technique called Time Line Therapy ®. I didn’t know what needed to be cleared for my own manic depression through the training in the technique, because this wasn’t something that they wanted lay people to be able to do. However, given that I had this illness, I could now easily apply this process to myself and rid myself of my manic depression if I chose to. The problem was that I was so depressed while I was at this training I couldn’t remember how to do this for myself. That is the way depression works. One can’t think of even the most simple of things. So, I had someone else do the first clearing with me and then I remembered what I needed to do and the rest is history. I no longer take medication since March 12, 2004 nor have I seen my ex-psychiatrist with her blessings since January 5, 2005. She had the decency to tell me what she had learned from working with me for the past 13 years. It was that someone didn’t need to be a manic depressive for the rest of their lives because I had proved that theory wrong.

The unconscious mind is a most valuable resource when one knows how to access it and get to the cause of the problem. The only road block is that the conventional methods are what everyone is brain washed into believing work. This even though the research over the past hundred years or so demonstrates that it really doesn’t work for the majority of people. Yes, your medications may cover up some of the symptoms if you are one of the lucky ones. However, healing yourself of the cause of your problem is totally different level of healing.

I can’t tell you how many of my clients have told me how they were told that they were wrong about their own body’s responses to medications, or how often they were wrong to believe that they didn’t know what they needed. It was, of course, all in the hands of their providers. Worse is being on medication and realizing that the value of it is negligible while creating terrible side-effects. This is what ultimately lead to my going off lithium for the damage it was doing to my kidneys as seen by the permanent damage it has done to my thumb nails to date. At least my last psychiatrist was willing to listen, realizing that being on a strong medication of that sort could cause such problems when taken for over a decade as was the true in my situation.

Over the years I have had so many ‘hopeless cases’ come in to see me – people who have been in therapy for decades with little to no changes. People who have been in and out of drug rehab programs, and people who have been in and out of programs for the eating disordered. I have even seen sex addicts who were told that their problem was all due to anger (not true) who have been able to release themselves of their problems because they were willing to allow for the fact, that if that was what they decided they wanted, they could make that be their truth.

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I won’t lie to you and tell you that it is an easy way to go, because the work still needed to be done when I got home in confronting the perceptions that were my projections of my anger and feeling worthy. My clients needed to create better boundaries in their lives so that they could live without their defenses any longer, while finding that they too were worthy of a fun and fulfilling life. What I will tell you though, is if you are willing to do the work, you can, once again, own your own life and do so without the old labels that no longer serve you.

I am taking a stand for helping those who are willing to help themselves to create a life that isn’t just one of survival, because that isn’t a life that is worth living. I am here taking a stand for those who desire to have a life that is happy and fulfilling because they are ‘sick of being sick’ and ‘sick of being stuck’ and know that they deserve better. This is the quickest method I know to help you to the other side. Click below to continue your journey to finding out more.

 

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