For the past 18 months I have been confined to my home. For someone who is and has been an intrepid traveller for the past 20 years this has been something of a sea change. The travel was my way of alleviating depression. As soon as I caught that plane and started the unknown journey into a new culture and new experiences, often as a volunteer and travelling on a shoestring my depression lifted as the plane soared. Often my journeys were only loosely planned, leaving plenty of space for the unexpected to unfold.
My depression I have come to understand has been the grace that suffering brings to motivate one to find ones joy.
Yet in the midst of that deep dark tunnel with no light and only the suffocating feeling of walls closing in on one the sense that this experience will turn into one of joyful discovery is as far from reality as one can get.
Yet it’s true.
I have recently listened to Matt Craig at Hay Festival promoting his latest book “Reasons to Stay Alive.” I could relate to his experience and he, like me, also discovered that travel was therapy, but only after the most debilitating part of the illness had subsided.
My last post was on suicide and how close I came some 22 years ago and how grateful I am for coming through that period and living to tell the story.
A few days ago I had an in-depth interaction with a colleague who perceives depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia, and other mental health conditions as illnesses and in many instances illnesses to be treated with medication. I have a different take on this but respect his as his suffering has also been great and his journey took him to and beyond the edge of reality. And I know of others who are grateful for being diagnosed with a label which describes their condition and medicated to have their symptoms relieved. But my own way of dealing with rapidly changing realities was through slowly making connections between all the experiences, and undergoing extensive research for which I took two years out from “Earning A Living” simply to do this work. What a strange terminology, to “earn” ones right to live?”
For 7 years I experienced a plethora of psychic, spiritual and multidimensional phenomena that saw me time travelling and meeting with alien beings. Most of these experiences were mind-blowingly exhilarating, some despairingly abhorrent but all of them without exception was educating. Although it took a great deal of courage to see them as such and only when I wrote about them in A New Human. Had I had the misfortune to consult a psychiatrist during the worst of these experiences I would surely have been given a diagnosis of schizophrenia and medicated and probably would never have written the book, which was driven out of me over a 16 year period and only upon completion did I feel the release that I knew to be permanent from the darkness of depression.
It was written after returning from India on my last and most challenging volunteer project to date, details of this can be found on Mission Neha.
Whilst the periods of travel lifted the depression as soon as I returned to the UK and my home in Wales I would be immediately weighted down with this heavy debilitating darkness. Matt Craig spoke at length about the connection between creativity and depression which dogs many writers, artists, composers and other creative people throughout history as well as some modern-day celebrities, some sadly resulting in suicide. My bookcase is filling up with their stories.
Whilst I may have burned away my depression through the writing of this book another kind of burning had taken place within me during the exhaustive and life changing experience of Mission Neha. I burned with fury. I never thought I could ever experience such fury, yet I had to transform those feelings into compassionate action in order to achieve what was urgently needed. Mission Neha actually began three years ago and only completed December 2013.
There is a connection between that and the writing of A New Human that is subtle and which I am still making sense of. Certainly Mission Neha tested my courage, determination, resolve and ability to face and challenge authority who were delaying the vital action needed to save two disabled girls from abuse and neglect, but surely I would not face such obstacles upon publishing my book?
But I did. My first attempt to introduce it and promote it within our local mental health fundraising group it was described as “wacky”. But then how else would one who had never had an Out of Body Experience, undergone shamanic time travelling and sacrificial initiations describe it? Whilst these catalystic life changing events occurred from 1984 through 1996 it was only after considerable research that I felt confident enough to “come out.” Little did I know at the time that I was undergoing a huge “Spiritual Awakening” which took many years to integrate, and many more to understand.
And believe you me it is a “coming out” that challenges all the preconceived ideas I previously held of what life is and how it works. It took my ego, tore it apart piece by excruciating piece before stamping it into the mud then tossing it into the compost heap. Where 16 years later it spread seeds of a new consciousness, the subtitle of my second book with the same title as this blog site A Multidimensional Paradigm.
Whilst I have shamelessly promoted my work and books on this post I hope I have also demonstrated that depression, no matter how deep, how excruciatingly painful and frightening, contains within it the seeds for transformation. You just need to hold on when there is nothing to hold on to, let go when there is nothing left to let go of, and harbour and nurture that inner light and allow it to grow and transform your suffering into the blazing light of your soul’s mission. Just don’t expect to be popular when you tell the truth like it really is. For a while anyhow choose your friends and companions carefully. But that is the subject of another post and I’ve sat here at the computer for 8 hours after a phase of writers block. I’ll share with you what cleared it another time. I love you all, we humans are unique and we have no idea of how very precious and special we are.
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.