Susie beautifully explains her journey here:
At the age of 18, despite being outwardly successful, with a place at Cambridge university and high achievements on my violin, I was depressed and suicidal.
That summer, I was told by a renowned voice coach during a theatre course in London, that my voice seemed trapped at the age of thirteen, and that perhaps this was caused by a traumatic incident at that age.
I completely dismissed this and even became angry that he should suggest it.
However, just a year later, while undergoing therapy, I was flung into an intense spiritual awakening experience. I was led back to my childhood to relive certain events, and an outpouring of emotion culminated in a complete liberation of my voice. Suddenly it was deep, resonant, and the range of notes I could reach was staggering.
Not only my voice – my whole body felt free of tension, and my mind felt free of fear and chatter.
I wanted to dance and sing. I felt a strong sense of oneness and connection with all peoples of the world. As I watched people walking past me in London I felt I had known them all before, and a synchronicity seemed to flow as I swapped belongings with different people I met, and was led from one interplay to the next.
This was my most intense extreme state so far, and although it was immensely healing, I had no framework to fully integrate it, and as it faded I stopped thinking about it much anymore.
In my twenties I was diagnosed with bipolar, and advised to take mood-stabilizing medication. This meant that, together with the anti-depressants I’d been on previously, I ended up taking psychiatric medication, on and off, for around fifteen years.
In my thirties, stuck in an admin job that meant nothing to me, and following a relationship breakdown, my extreme states intensified, and I was sectioned three times. Despite becoming wildly out of control, these states were still of enormous value to me. I again relived parts of my childhood and felt the subsequent outpouring of emotion. I let go of all fear and felt a deep knowing that my soul was eternal. I felt intimately connected to nature and cared deeply for the Earth and all living things. I did not care about any of the usual written and unwritten rules of society, and walked through the streets early in the morning, singing. I had not played my violin much for years, but suddenly it was with me all the time, out of its case – I played on trains and buses, in the doctor’s surgery and outside people’s houses. It was as though my soul knew its true vocation, even if I did not. Sometimes I felt slightly psychic, as though I could see what people needed, or what would be healing for them.
One time, walking through a wood at night, I felt pulled into a pool of water. As I went deeper and deeper in, my soul seemed to travel back in time showing me all the traumas it had experienced, leading me back through childhood and then on into glimpses of past lives. I came up, gasping in the moonlight, cleansed like a newborn.
Being in hospital was traumatic, and the treatment was sometimes brutal. I did need help; however no one working on the wards understood my interpretation of what was happening to me, and the medical model completely invalidated it. I was ill, I needed medication – that was it. This made it difficult to integrate my experiences.
Thankfully, in the months and years that followed, I was gradually able to meet others who shared my views, and I discovered the work of Stanislav Grof and others, which gave me great comfort.
I now have not taken regular psychiatric medication for ten years. Led by spirit, I work as a violinist and violin teacher, which brings me great joy. I live with my partner and we have two beautiful daughters. Over the last few years I have been able to embrace and integrate my unique experiences more and more. Every day I feel connected to my soul and seek guidance from spirit. I feel that I can more easily dip in and out of extreme states, which sometimes give me insight into a relationship difficulty or a path to follow. Sometimes the connection helps me to see what people need when I’m teaching them, or helps me to understand the dynamics within my own family more clearly. I still often describe myself as bipolar; however I do not see this as a disorder. I see it as a gateway to a higher consciousness, which, when open, can lead me to great insights, guidance and healing, connecting me to my soul, the greater whole, and to what lies beyond.
I still often feel afraid and ashamed to speak out about what I have experienced. I fear ridicule and confusion. There still seems to be little room in the mainstream for a discussion on spirituality, and the psychiatric medical model continues to dominate, blocking people’s healing, invalidating their spiritual experiences, and preventing the soul connection which is their birthright. I am so happy to be part of this campaign, and I hope that in the future we in the West can discuss spiritual matters much more openly, and that people in crisis can eventually be treated gently, with validation and understanding.