Feeling Out of Touch with Reality?
I recently discussed mental health with a client. Helen (a name I’m using to protect her privacy) had been very depressed for a couple of years before she made changes in her lifestyle – career, relationship and geography.
Helen explained that her large Midwestern family, though dysfunctional, did not admit the existence of “mental health” and were all quite amazed and fascinated by her journey into therapy. Apparently Helen was the only person they knew who had ever been “mentally ill”. (Do you believe this?) Helen explained that a therapist had helped her get “more in touch with reality”.
This was my cue to do some spiritual teaching and healing. I explained to Helen that all behavior is learned behavior. Either in this or another lifetime, something awful had happened to Helen to make her feel that depressed. Helen’s reaction was appropriate in this sense and was a supporting indication that she was actually quite in touch with reality. The challenge will be for Helen to remember the things that made this negative impression on her so she can become more conscious and begin the healing process.
When family environments are less than ideal, families – even whole towns — collude in silence about events that shape and influence children, often because the parents are not proud of their parenting, because they have repressed these memories out of shame or because they are prominent people in the community who can intimidate others.
Please consider that if you’re acting paranoid, it’s not because you are out of touch with reality, it’s because you are in touch with reality – a reality that can change as you heal.
This is a very important spiritual concept because it immediately will help you to see that there’s nothing wrong with you. My clients who fear for their mental health invariably believe that their reactions are distorted and “sick” when in fact that are appropriate and were helpful as coping mechanisms.
Perhaps there are better ways now though! This is the important distinction between spiritual healing and some traditional therapies. Healing does not make you “more realistic”. You were quite realistic before. It doesn’t put you “more in touch with reality” because there is no “one” reality and the way you were acting before was in touch with reality. It’s just that it was a negative reality not of your choosing.
What spiritual healing does, is to permit you to heal your comprehension of the reality you experienced (perhaps “endured” would be a better word) and to consciously create one of your own choosing.
Spiritual healers have permission to come quickly into this area with you. You invite us into your lives for this very reason.
Imagine if you will, a child who grows up in a small town in the southeast, say Atlanta. This child is molested by her father who is a deacon of the Episcopal Church, a member of the Optimist Club, a doctor at a major medical facility and a major donor to the Salvation Army.
If this child goes to the school counselor, chances are the counselor will not be able to conceive of such a thing because she “knows” the father is an outstanding member of the community. Pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Who is out of touch with reality here?” The “realistic” counselor will add to the child’s belief that there is something wrong with him or her, that s/he is “out of touch with reality”.
Most spiritual healers live outside the box and are not influenced by what others think about anybody. We are usually so far out of the box that we are also not afraid of consequences such as losing our job, being snubbed or thought crazy. Heaven knows we’re used to that! Like Shakespeare’s fools, or Dostoevsky’s “Idiot”, we know the truth and have permission to speak it.
Another scenario, suppose the counselor has a good idea of what is going on but is well aware of the wrath she will incur if she speaks up and the impossible position in which she may put both herself and the child because of the stature and power of the father? This is a scenario that is repeated every day somewhere in America.
Suppose a young woman gets pregnant out of wedlock and is forced by pressure from relatives and the community to give the baby away. A common occurrence not too long ago was that the child would reappear within the close family, being raised by an “aunt” or “older sister”, growing up close by the original mother but never being told the truth of the situation. In fact this happened to Jack Nicholson. One day something or someone makes the child, now a young adult, curious. (By the way, being raised in an environment of well-meaning lies like this is enough to make you feel … out of touch with reality … which indeed you are!)
Many of these people arrive at my house for readings or send letters to my email inbox asking questions about the past … is this really my father? What happened to my real father? Is my aunt really my sister?
The true beauty and gift of the spiritual healer is that we have permission to speak plainly. We can (and will) corroborate your suspicions or we will help you clarify them to the best of our abilities. We are eager to shed light in dark areas because we know that the truth heals. We are not afraid of the truth. It is our Guide. Because we work outside the traditional framework, we may have a wider latitude than some traditional therapists.
A woman came to me for a reading who had been raped two times. She had been in therapy ever since the first incident ten years ago and it had just happened again. This situation outraged me so that I raised the Sword of Truth and cut through the Gordian knot of lies.
I explained to her in ½ hour why this was happening to her, where it had started and how she could stop it. When she left, she thanked me profusely, telling me that I had helped her more in ½ hour than ten years of therapy. (I might add it didn’t cost nearly as much either.)
Another woman came to me for a reading and I discovered that she was borderline adult onset diabetic. I knew this but she did not. She admitted she was addicted to “Reese’s Pieces” and other things she didn’t want to discuss. She was ashamed. I worked with this women to help her see that it was “sweetness” in life that she wanted, not this food item that was making her feel shakey and headachy.
With this understanding, her lifestyle changed easily, of its own accord, and she avoided the complications that might have come later in the physical world. Spiritual healers work with the mis-connections in the mind which lead to un-useful constructs in individual realities.
Unlike some traditional healing paradigms, we also do not believe in just one reality. We believe that each person creates their own reality. There are as many different realities as there are people.
Each person, truly, lives in their own world. We need to think about this. Our “world” at any given time is comprised of about 12 people, those we run into and interact with on a daily or weekly basis. If we were to change these 12 people, wouldn’t our “whole world” change? Sometimes rather than making difficult changes, such as eliminating the toxic people from our lives, we do this instead: we focus on a worldwide problem that is so big it keeps us far away from the things that are really bearing down on us in our own small world – the very things we could change to make our reality more positive were we wiling to become conscious of them.
A good example of this is 911. How many people do you know that had a nervous breakdown or “fell apart” after this event? These people were likely living on the edge for many years, unable to deal with ruptured experiences from the past, busy covering them up with “busy-ness”. When they saw something that big happen to that many people, they finally had the excuse they were looking for to get help! The truth is that this catastrophic event reminded them of something from their own past that they had repressed. Experiment with this and see if it isn’t true. If you knew someone who had an extreme reaction to 911, contemplate whether or not it reflected some aspect of their own childhood.
Spiritual healers look at life differently than traditional therapists. For some, this is a quicker, more productive path in healing.
Please also visit my article on Friedrich Nietzsche which also includes an article by Dr. Al Siebert on whether or not schizonphrenia is an illness.