Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside-down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.” -Chris Hedges
It’s 2:48AM on an early Wednesday morning. I’m sitting on a blue suede bean bag chair in front of my altar, doing pranayama and mindfulness meditation with candles and sweet incense burning.
I’ve just finished several hours of writing and study, reading everything from social work and calculus textbooks to Buddhist sutras to Descartes and Thomas Szasz.
Now, after meditation, I’ll pray a few Psalms and then nestle under my down comforter for the night.
Schizophrenia has allowed me the luxury of being able to pursue this lifestyle, and I’m so, so grateful.
As I write, meditate, and make a life for myself as a creative and Internet entrepreneur, artist and mental health activist, I rest secure in the knowledge that my basic needs will be cared for no matter what.
My life isn’t perfect.
I live in a treatment apartment program with a mentally ill, sometimes violent roommate who has smeared shit on the walls of our bathroom. I go hungry sometimes. I am perpetually, soul-crushingly lonely.
But I recognize just how lucky I am.
It took a long time to get to this place. In 2014, after decades of being stuck, I went through a personal transformation.
As a result of the rapid self-healing that I was experiencing, I eventually decided to take formal vows as a lay Kemetic-Buddhist nun.
I initiated myself and set up multiple altars and shrines in my room, taking up the wearing of head wraps and long flowing clothing.
personal photo from cell phone
I began meditating, using the Psalms for black magick, and studying sacred scriptures like the Corpus Hermeticum.
As part of my meditation practice, I began doing exercises that eventually led to the sharpening of my intuition. These exercises helped me experience my schizophrenia in a more holistic way.
As I wrote compulsively, meditated, and fasted, powerful ancestral wisdom began to bleed into my awareness – wisdom that I had long forsaken in my hot pursuit of success, status, and sexual thrills.
I began to remember about secret societies and metaphysics, thought control and mass hypnosis. I began to remember about black genocide and white slaughter.
I began to remember about alien abductions, huge surveillance apparati in space and tracking devices in cell phones. I remembered that psychiatry is not my friend, that there is an established institutional order in place in this society to rob me of my power.
As I remembered these things, I began to place my schizophrenia and depression in perspective.
I realized that I am operating within the context of a racist, sexist, ableist, beauty-biased culture that devalues all people as a rule.
I realized that being bullied, ignored, and dismissed were everyday experiences for me, and that such was not normal and should never be. I began to understand that I wasn’t crazy, just consumed by fear and pain… like everyone else.
It was at this point that I understood the role that schizophrenia had played in protecting my personal power until I was ready to claim it.
Despite the fact that I’d been paranoid and depressed, had delusions, and even heard voices a time or two, I wasn’t crazy… if crazy meant unattuned.
Instead, my symptoms were warning sentinels, keeping me insulated from the crazy world around me until I was ready to claim my soul identity again and move forward with integrity.
Today, I view my symptoms as a built-in bullshit detector that alert me to situations that aren’t working in my life.
While I recognize that my experiences are distorted, I also recognize that they exist because I’m unhappy and unsafe. In response, I withdraw from unhealthy situations and spend a lot of time and energy nurturing myself.
And I’m militant about doing everything I can to claim my power.
Schizophrenia and depression are my superpowers. I didn’t always see them this way. For many years, they were a curse.
But today, I clearly see that they’re coping mechanisms that keep me attuned and force me to stay humble.
And they force me to claim both my light and my dark sides.
As a schizophrenic, I’ve been called to go to war against the forces of sociopathy and abuse, and I wield my sword with pride. The dark goddess is an integral part of my spiritual practice, and honoring Her sets the stage for mental health.
Instead of a mental patient, I view myself as an empath, psychic and witch whose symptoms act much like psychic premonitions, attuning me to aspects of reality that are unhealthy.
In going to battle, I both create my best life and create a better world.
As tempting as it is to lay down my sword and succumb to my lust and greed, I’ve learned by now that feeding my demons only strengthens them.
Instead, I must face my fears, deny my flesh, and shoulder my cross.
In doing so, I tap into deep reservoirs of cosmic power. This power has allowed me to turn down a variety of jobs in favor of focusing on manifesting a creative career for myself.
It wasn’t easy to turn down those jobs – the money, status, and independence that they offered were seductive.
But because I’m doing the Work, I can embrace my disabled status and stay focused on the greater goal – a life full of meaning, substance and joy.
I don’t have to focus on someone else’s idea of what success looks like – it’s completely different for someone like me.
As time passes and I grow ever stronger as a schizophrenic, my power becomes nuclear as I spend more and more time pursuing my dreams, goals and general happiness.
I don’t have to play the game like everyone else, selling my soul for status and wealth. I can make my own rules and live life the right way, whether I choose to work or not.
I don’t have to wear the makeup, chase the model-actors, roll my eyes dutifully with the others in Accounting about “pathetic” Jim who messed up the annual report so badly that the status of the entire department is in question.
Instead, I get to write articles about how the Jims of the world are actually child rape victims who have OCD and consider suicide every day. I get to wear ankhs and Aum tattoos and date morbidly obese men with cystic acne. I’m free.
Mental illness has forced me to seek meaning and substance in my relationships, my professional goals, and my personal life. It’s also helped me tap into deep reserves of intuition and personal willpower.
My life is not easy, and I struggle every day. But I know that as long as I stay on the Path, peace will come.
While in the short run my disability makes life difficult and painful, in the long run my disability is my superpower, keeping me close to the Goddess and offering me the chance to step outside of the box and create a more meaningful life. And for that I’m grateful.
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About the Author:
Helen is an author, actress-playwright, documentary filmmaker, entrepreneur and lay Kemetic-Buddhist nun living in the Bronx, NY. She is a survivor of severe childhood and adult trauma, and healed herself using a unique system that she invented. Today, she offers her wisdom to other self-healers free of charge. Her interests include gender and sexuality, mixed-race issues, disability and mental health, brainwashing and mass hypnosis, and eugenics. Helen posts on Facebook and Twitter and blogs at Priestess in Shades of Grey, where you can e-mail her for more information.
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