Have you ever had an experience where you were not sure you existed or thought you would die and disappear from this life? Unfortunately, I have, and I do not wish this for anyone.
In order to cope with these terrifying moments, I would have to touch things around me to remind myself that I was still on this earth and alive. These experiences were the worst times of life.
I feel compelled to write about these struggles because I believe many people may have had similar experiences and might feel alone. I also know how that loneliness can make you feel crazy because we do not hear many, if any, people talk about these experiences and seem credible by our society’s standards.
My intention in writing a bit about my life as it pertains to these types of struggles is to shed some light on these experiences, which I believe are just human experiences that should not be stigmatized. I hope our society and culture can move more toward being open to sharing these aspects of our lives, those parts we may be afraid to share due to shame, embarrassment, or fear. I do not believe we should have to hide them, at least not from ourselves.
So, here I am, taking a risk, as I face the fear of sharing some parts of me and my story that I believe should be acknowledged more openly.
I began therapy (as they would describe to me later), as a feral cat, and as if I was afraid of my own shadow. We met once a week for some time and eventually ramped it up to three times a week, as, perhaps more formal Jungian analysis is conducted.
I was able to experience or re-experience trauma from my past and feel emotions that I could not feel before. I intuitively knew this therapist had experienced a similarly intense spiritual emergency, so they were able to help contain all that I was bringing, allowing more memories and emotions to rise to the surface. In essence, fragmented parts of my psyche due to trauma that were held by defenses were integrating into my psyche.
The defenses were able to go away and my ego was strengthening in order to navigate and contain the different emotions I might experience moving forward. There was less controlling by my ego, more surrendering to what was, and more complex operations of how to be in touch with my mind, body, and soul.
I was becoming who I was meant to be and continuing down that path in a process-oriented manner of always being and becoming. In accordance with Jungian analysis or analytical psychology, I was forming a healthy relationship with the Self, as my ego was differentiating itself as a separate entity, but also a part of the Self, too. This therapist was literally a life saver, and I now found myself beginning to thrive.
There is still much to learn, but my intention in sharing what I do know so far is to hopefully provide others an example of what it is to be human in “crazy” experiences that we may fear talking about or even acknowledging to ourselves. I hope that the intention I have in writing this will serve that purpose, and that other people can share as they choose or at least acknowledge to themselves that theirs are valid human experiences.
Our mental health system is set up to stratify and organize the human condition based on function and dysfunction from a place of not understanding fully—as I’ve mentioned, my belief is that what you do not know, you fear and judge or label. While labeling has some utility for determining how to help someone, the darker side of its impact could create powerlessness and stigma for those on the receiving end of such diagnoses, especially when not informed or consented to.
I believe the power of knowing and sharing ourselves can transcend the negative impacts of labeling and stigma.