What do you want?

I have this friend from high school I’m reconnecting with via social media whose life is carrying out wonderful and much-needed healing work. It’s unique, smart, kind, communal, and fills a gap that is missing in so many different systems we live by culturally,—ie, mental health, religion, and school. But before they could get to where they are right now, they were first misdiagnosed with a disorder they didn’t have bc they were living a life that was unsustainable for their authentic self. Top religious trauma on top of it, and you’ve got a recipe for a breakdown that is actually a trauma response.

There are a couple of things that are highlighted in their videos that are important (well, way more than a couple but I’m highlighting a couple): 1) science is a process, not a piece of information 2) a lot of people are diagnosed with bipolar disorder bc they are exhibiting certain symptoms that fit bipolar disorder, but these symptoms could be caused by a number of things: grief, trauma, present-day stress, and other health factors. Having a chemical imbalance is a theory; it hasn’t been proven—they remind us.

I share this for a number of reasons:

  1. This is not a post to say meds are never needed or bipolar disorder isn’t real. My friend is not saying that either. They work with people who are on meds and they will neither encourage or discourage any of the meds. Just to be clear on that. They just know from experience that treating a chemical imbalance that isn’t there with meds doesn’t work. They said my body was sick and was letting me know.

What they are saying, and Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, MD who wrote the book “The Body Keeps the Score”’ says this too, we are over-diagnosing with meds bc there’s money in doing it. And it’s easier than going deeper. We could be exploring other factors that are causing these systems like the ones mentioned above and trying different treatments. Bessel van der Kolk says we know scientifically yoga is good for treating trauma, but it won’t be prescribed as treatment bc there’s no money in it. (Also, some religions are against yoga—there’s spiritual violations going on here too).

I’ve also learned from mental health professionals that women are a sect of the population over-diagnosed with this disorder. Women are carrying way too much of the burden of society—also why women drinking too much is on the rise too—and our bodies are showing the symptoms. We are medicating instead of looking for the source of the problem.

  1. I Love my friend says science is a process, not a piece of information. I say this about our spiritual life as well. It’s a process of discovery.

We set up systems that want no responsibility for the added trauma they are causing by remaining uniformed and allowing certain patterns going unexplored. I was watching a New Amsterdam episode where a mental health professional went through something that was almost identical to our situation. The system was wrong and apologized profusely for its mistake (we did not get that) and thanked him for being who he was bc they found out what was really wrong through him. Here was the Drs response:

I don’t know if who I am is good anymore. You put my medical license and reputation on the line in this haste.

Then he experienced a trauma response in the following episode when someone needed his help in a way that almost took him down. What this person needed was a basic need for human survival.

I am sharing this bc it’s time to break the cycle of trauma we are systematically spreading and not getting to the source of the trauma. We are making people pay large amounts of money to treat the poison the system put in us. These systems we have set up with prescribed methods responding to unexplored symptoms is causing deeper trauma and taking no responsibility for it. Individuals are having to do their own healing work and are becoming the cycle breakers.

I know I’m being called to help heal too. Spiritual trauma is real, and it’s prevalent. Fundamentalism is functioning just like an addiction. I’m not afraid to meet it where it is for all who want to get better.

I think of Jesus when he asked the man in the gospel of Mark: What do you want me to do for you? The man wanted to be well.

Jesus: your faith has healed you.

This may mean meds are needed, by the way. Needing meds is not a lack of faith. But, it’s important that we are exploring what actually is happening.

Even the doctors will say: I can walk beside you and give you all the resources you need. But I can’t make you want to be well.

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