innerlight


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What does recovery mean? | One in Four Magazine

We all think we know what recovery is and what it would look like, but do we? Seaneen Molloy explores

We are told that recovery from mental health difficulty is possible – probable, even. The people we are exhorted to admire, from Stephen Fry to Ruby Wax, are people who have recovered from mental illness. ‘Look!’ they seem to say and by they I mean everybody; from the medical profession to mental health charities. ‘Their lives are great now! Yours can be too! You can recover!’

Recovery. It’s the buzzword. I believe recovery is possible, too. But what does recovery actually mean? That is a question I have been exploring in my own life.

via What does recovery mean? | One in Four Magazine.


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positive thinking was not what i needed — this video explains why

It’s not that I don’t believe in the power of our thoughts, but I have also definitely experienced the immoral potential of positive thinking the video at the link below is talking about. Emotionally repressive, ignorant, insensitive, isolating, and invalidating. Probably not the intention in most cases, but almost every day, I still hear snippets of this, and have to remind myself what it is for me.

Unfortunately, this was my experience of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). I didn’t need to change how I was feeling; I just needed to understand what my feelings were responding to, and be validated for feeling that way. That my feelings were normal and healthy, and that there is actually nothing distorted in my view of reality, and there never has been. I realize this might not be true for everyone, but for me, my feelings were a normal response to an abnormal situation; the only way through the feelings has been to feel them, and appreciate how normal they are. CBT did not honour that for me; instead, my experience was that CBT was saying my feelings were the problem. Depression, anxiety — they were something to be gotten rid of, not honoured and listened to! Talk about the OPPOSITE of what I needed …!

Change my thoughts, change my feelings, change my behaviours.

Would you tell that to someone in grief? Probably not. I didn’t need to change anything; I just needed to feel, grieve, understand. That was the way through it for me.

And so here is a link to the video that spurred this whole out-pouring. Enjoy! Tell me what you think! This could be an interesting discussion …

Why the religion of positive thinking needs to be burned at the stake


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Farther On

This song, by the Alaska String Band has been replaying over and over in my mind for the last week since my roommate first played it for me.

All religious language of God and Jesus aside here (I am not a religious person in any sense of the word), it’s as if my inner one wanted me to hear this when I tried to take my life two and a half years ago. She wants me to hear this now, to comfort me, and reassure me, and help me heal from that time. I’m not sure where she ends and my higher power begins. She and my highest self are the same. This was her voice, steady and unwavering, and which I couldn’t hear. It’s as if she is singing it to me now, telling me how much she loves me. She takes my hand, and tells me she is there, has always been there, and will never leave me. She will never stop singing this song to me. This is her voice now and always.

“Farther on, still go farther … Jesus will foresake you never. It is better farther on.”


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atonement

I had a constellation done this weekend around the school. The experience was disappointing at first, and felt somehow incomplete, as if I had wrecked it by shutting down my feelings. I wanted to have it done, but I could not show up with all my feelings to be healed.

What it ended up being was an illustration of how all the individuals and entities involved could offer nothing to me in terms of the reconciliation I seek and have sought so deeply for so many years. There were representatives for the school, the teacher, my inner child, the police, and my parents, and all hands were tied. “Sorry, we can’t do anything; go deal with it by yourself, and have a nice life. Only you can love yourself.”

And so this was the constellation that happened for me as I withheld — no, I shut down — my feelings. I went into shut down (in retrospect) because I’m ashamed of my feelings, ashamed of even my desire for reconciliation. I still doubt whether or not my feelings are justified enough to exist because everyone in the story’s “hands are tied”, so no action was taken. No action was taken, telling me that neither my perceptions nor my feelings can be trusted. I — my feelings and my perceptions — am all wrong, and not worthy of love or support or action on anyone’s part.

So it is circumstance that abandoned me, more than any one heart. So who is there to atone for this loss and injustice, this exclusion, secret, banishment, dismissal.

Such a feeling of abandonment and the need for protection. Aloneness. World-unfriendly-ness. No support. No validation. Chronically needy, wanting to be seen, causes me to act like a child, doing childish things for attention.

The other internal pattern that came out of this for me is one of doubting myself, dismissing myself, wondering eternally if my feelings are real or justified.

This confusion, this neediness, keep me in my cage. The cycle of shame that goes on and on and on, around and around and around.

So I withheld both the story and my feelings for fear that they are not real, made up, coming from an impure place; and in so doing, I wasted the moment of healing.

When I block my feelings, I block their healing.

I do this uncontrollably, over and over again. I betray and abandon myself — and others — uncontrollably, by shutting down and failing to be present to the moment.

I also feel ashamed of my feelings because I’ve done so much therapeutic work and sharing on this issue that I’m embarrassed I haven’t healed it yet. That I need to share it again, spend more time and energy on it, take more from others on it.

So then I shut down again, so then I waste the moment, and everyone’s time again. So then I feel ashamed again.

The guilt, shame, despair and hoplessness get worse every time this happens.

The agony of being trapped inside myself.


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Shame and Attachment — from Attachment Disorder Maryland

Shame and Attachment

The page linked above is talking about ‘wishing to disappear’, states of experiencing the world in slow motion, and the endless cycle of sabotage. I’ve possibly never been so relieved to identify so deeply …

Description: The feeling of shame can be described as a sense of smallness, worthlessness, and powerlessness in a given situation.  …  It is triggered by a “perceived” break in one’s connectedness to others or to oneself. This is compounded by feeling exposed and extremely concerned about another’s evaluation of oneself.  Shame can be defined as the emotional experience of another’s devaluation or disgust, real or imagined. It is a self-absorbed, self-centered, and isolating experience.  While acutely feeling shame, an individual is not considering the implications of his behavior for others, but is focused solely on the possible impact on self.  Shame essentially splits a person into both an “observer” and “the one being observed”.  The observer part witnesses and criticizes the part being observed.  Sometimes, the presence of another is not even required to generate shame.

Shame & behavior:  Shame is self-perpetuating.  Internalized shame tends to induce behavior in the future that will lead to an outcome of further shame.  This is not recognized at the time.  The original motive for the behavior appears to have nothing to do with shame.  Yet, shame invariably results, and this final outcome indicates the true, underlying motive for the behavior as being the generation of shame, rather than the prior illusory motive.  Behavioral attempts to escape shame always work this way.  This can easily lead to an upwards spiral as increasing amounts of shame accumulate within which then fuels further shame-creating behavior.  …

Systemic impact:  Shame is more than a feeling.  It is an entire organismic state that affects multiple systems in the body.  Shame operates at primitive levels below the reach of rational thinking.  Shame brings with it a subjective sense of time slowing down which serves to magnify anything that occurs during a state of shame.  It also is accompanied by intensified feedback from all perceptual modalities, particularly autonomic reactions such as blushing, sweating, and increased heart rate.  These autonomic reactions induce a state of heightened bodily awareness which combines with the slowed sense of time to produce the extreme self-consciousness that is a part of feeling shame.

Shame and trauma:  Shame both mirrors trauma and is bound up with it.  Much of the power of what we term traumatic events lies in the shame bound up with these events.  Through traumatic events, perpetrators can download their own shame onto the victim who ends up being pervaded by it.  For the victim, this becomes an experience of powerlessness or helplessness.  Perceptions of being powerless create shame, for the self is seen as being weak / ineffective.  This often leads children to vow to “do it right” the next time in an attempt to overcome the trauma and prevent further trauma.  This can easily evolve into a perfectionistic stance which, in the end, only fuels the shame, as perfectionism generally guarantees failure.

Shame signals:  In addition to aversion to all eye contact, shame can manifest as fragmented thought and speech including: pauses, repetitions, false starts, inaudible voice level, and unclear diction.  All of these are common with AD children.  Subjectively this often gets reported as “going blank”, somewhat like dissociation.

Coping Defenses: The primary defenses for handling shame are denial, dissociation from all feeling states, splitting, withdrawal, perfectionism, entitlement, externalization, rage-driven behavior, pre-emptive shaming of oneself, and inability to give or receive praise.  With repeated use, these defenses, like all defenses, can function so quickly that the child never even consciously experiences any shame….

… Attempting to counter all this with positive reassurance is potentially damaging, for it can accentuate the shame by being so at odds with the self-image, and it can make the person offering such feedback seem completely out of touch to the AD child.


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Determining factors in Recovery from Rape and Sexual assault

“The way the woman is treated as a victim may also influence her ability to cope. This includes treatment by:

  1. The police. Of necessity the police are required to question the victim thoroughly. If this is not explained to her she may perceive that she is not believed and this can reinforce feelings of guilt and self blame. If she is unable to accurately describe her assailant or recall details of the attack, this may reinforce feelings of low self worth and inadequacy.
  2. Hospital service. If the victim is treated in an impersonal manner then the feelings of depersonalization are reinforced. If hospital staff offer judgement comments on her behaviour then feelings of guilt can be produced.
  3. The courts. The above comments apply here as well. The cross examination can seem like a repeat of the rape experience.
  4. The circumstances of the assault can affect the victim’s coping capacity.”

Dr. Nicholas Jenner PsyD, MA

(Rape Trigger warning)

I was rather disturbed to read a recent newspaper article stating that certain sections of the police force in the UK had been encouraging rape victims to drop cases in order to keep statistics on the good side. READ.  This is horrifying and makes a mockery of the “serve and protect” stance taken by law enforcement.

Rape should never be encouraged and certainly not in these times where one cannot pick up a newspaper without reading about some vile act committed in one country or another. Anyone who has been raped,whether male or female will attest to the trauma experienced, the overpowering of will, the helplessness, the violation and the long, hard road to recovery. Some never recover (as I know from my clients) and spend their lives dealing with the ongoing effects of being attacked . So to have the very institution that is responsible for catching…

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