Now we have some leverage with the changing climate in mental health, what happens next?

It’s been really refreshing to have the opportunity to speak with newly qualifying Psych nurses and clinical psychologists and to know that the majority of them support the shift in clinical questionning from What is wrong with you? to What happened to you? as the Power, Threat, Meaning Framework suggests.

But as someone recently quite rightly said, this is not enough.

We need to know what can be done with the information coming out of what’s happened to someone – what support is there which is conducive to helping that person?

Come and discuss this here;

CLICK HERE TO ATTEND THE LONDON EVENT ON 17th JAN 2020 

Some people may wonder what this has to do with spirituality… Trauma and spirituality are intrinsically linked.

I’m currently listening to the brilliant book In an unspoken voice by Dr Peter Levine  and it really struck me listening to him talk about how catatonic effects are made much worse in animals when they are restrained when in fear…this causes a feedback loop of PTSD on the nervous system and PREVENTS recovery.

This can horrifyingly be likened to the re-traumatisation of already traumatised clients during clinical restraints in the name of ‘care’ in hospitals and during arrests… iatrogenic trauma is still rife today and we have to develop alternatives if the downward spiral of mental health problems in our society is going to improve.

We need to be looking for patterns of traumatic imprint on our physiology and neurology, and working out how best to support people according to those patterns; NOT putting people into pathological boxes.

These traumatic imprints are passed down through generations – we literally carry ancestral trauma in our DNA.

One clear consequence of extreme nervous system response is dissociation, and this is where altered state (spiritual) experiences are most likely to occur, especially if someone doesn’t have a stable sense of self (Ego) from trauma in childhood.

These are complex issues which we desperately need to address if we are going to have a fully comprehensive alternative conceptual framework for mental health.

Are you passionate about this? Want to help look at how we tie all of this together?

PTMF event

CLICK HERE TO ATTEND THE LONDON EVENT ON 17th JAN 2020 

 

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Kelly is KindaProud that she’s learned to glean the gifts from her pain, and urges you to trust in the wisdom of nature’s grand design

Kelly’s story will undoubtedly resonate with many of you; trying for years to push away what are so readily perceived as ‘wrong’, ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ emotions, led Kelly further and further down a path of despair.

It was only when Kelly realised that there were gifts in her emotions; messages nudging her back onto her Soul path, that she learned to embrace them and in turn love herself.

As Kelly so rightly says;

We can never know where this life will take us unless we choose to continue on…

Kelly Martin copy

Journeying through pain was not something that I had anticipated would be such a big part of my life. Like many people, my life has been filled with challenges, from being painfully shy and self-conscious as a child to experiencing a lot of loss from deaths in my immediate family.

I guess I just thought I could simply find an escape route, something that would take the pain away.

My first way of dealing with this pain was avoidance. I did this through overeating, drinking large amounts of alcohol, to looking for escape in the arms of men.  This was how I lived for 30 years or more.

Distraction came in many forms, and even came through the spiritual journey by me hopping on the ‘positivity bandwagon’, thinking I could bright-light the darkness away with affirmations and visualisations.

I think the day it hit me that all these distractions were no longer working was the first of many times that I considered suicide. I remember lying in my bed wondering why I should continue living; I could not see a reason why.

In my mind, I simply believed I was a complete failure. Nothing worked for me and I was not fitting in with the ‘norm’ of what I perceived I should be doing in my life at the time. Sitting in bed one day I hit my head with any object I could find near me, to knock the pain away.

This felt like the only option. I never contemplated suicide deeply, but it remained an escape that I often considered.

Depression, anxiety and the failure story that I had believed for so long, really wore me down, until I started practising mindfulness. I began to see a pattern in my thoughts, repeating over and over again.

I could see that those thoughts were an illusion, not real, but I still couldn’t fully embrace what was happening with the compassion that I knew deep down I really needed.

That was until I lay in my bed during a lengthy dark period of depression and through tears and crying into my pillow I screamed out loud, ‘Why is this happening? What is the gift here?

And what I discovered was that the answer came in the form of space. It was like a pause that took place inside of me, that the space between the pain and the next thought gave me an opening which showed me that this feeling, this pain, was not all there was.

I had found the right question.

Before, my question had been, ‘What is wrong with me?’ but ‘What is the gift here?’ – that question stopped me in my tracks.

As humans we are encouraged to rush through life, making happiness our goal or receiving momentary pleasures. We are shown that to be happy we need certain things, stuff, people, material objects to live a worthwhile life, but it’s not true.

These momentary pleasures are simply filling the void that needs entering from within. The gap, the journey, the time when we are genuinely and wholeheartedly giving ourselves space to simply be with whatever arises, regardless of how painful it is, is the key.

One major recognition came for me when I realised that the thoughts of wanting to escape from the pain were the very things causing the struggle, but that there was no struggle when I stopped and allowed the pain, the pain that needed to be felt, to be witnessed, to be held, to be owned.

We are far too keen to grab onto happiness or joy or peace, and we desperately want to rid ourselves of pain, fear, anger, rage and sadness, but life in its wisdom knows that our attachments to these emotions is perpetuating the suffering we feel.

I used to hate who I was. I envied those who seemed to love themselves, have self-confidence and felt happy with their lives. I yearned so much to love who I was and to feel enough, but in my attempt to escape the darkness, I missed the very road into the jewels that lie within the pain.

Like diamonds that are born in the darkness of the earth, it is often the sorrow, the anger, the fear, that brings us our greatest challenge but also our greatest learning.

Once I started to view each feeling as a long-lost child in an orphanage of rejected emotions, I began to have compassion for myself, for the feelings that arose and for my journey. I began to realise that the pain is not meant to be pushed aside or that sorrow or fear will be something we can get over and never feel again, was very freeing.

Suicide, leaving this planet, while it was tempting, always brought me back to here now and I knew somewhere inside of me that real peace comes from acknowledging all that we feel with the kindness we would show a hurting child and more importantly, to know that when joy or love appears at our door, it is as fleeting as sorrow or anger.

To let go of holding on or pushing away means that true transformation can happen. We emerge from our stories into a new life where the meaning of living becomes deeply rooted in allowing our humanity the sacred grace that it deserves and needs.

My life has been very unconventional and because of this it was very easy to get lost in feeling like a failure, not fitting in, not belonging in this world.

I often thought someone had dropped me onto the wrong planet many times over, but even now as I enter another time of not knowing who I am, where I am going in life, in my early forties, after ending a big mental health radio station project, for the first time at the end of what would have been perceived a tremendous failure in the past, I see only appreciation.

I feel pride in what I had accomplished and in my knowing that with each ending comes a new beginning and that all perceived failures are not failures, but successful stepping stones on the road to who we are growing into and becoming.

We can never know where this life will take us unless we choose to continue on. What may look like a painful ending, be it a relationship, a job or business, to a health challenge, could be the exact journey our souls need to take to become exactly who we are here to be in this lifetime.

So, for this reason, while thoughts of suicide may arise from the pain of depression and other mental health issues, we need to keep going and to know that life is very wise, even if our human minds may think otherwise at times.

We were never born into this world broken or as a mistake. We just need to look at the rest of the world and see that everything and everyone has its place in life from the clouds in the sky to the creatures at the bottom of the ocean. Nature is one beautiful grand design and we are part of this design.

Keep walking, one step at a time. It never ends and neither do you. Trust that what is happening in your life right now is sharing with you some wisdom that you may not be able to understand right now, but you will, at exactly the right time.

………………………..

Kelly Martin is an author, blogger and mental health podcaster who lives in Gloucester in the UK. She feels it is her role to help people feel good enough exactly as they are right now.

You can follow Kelly at her mental health blog kellymartinspeaks.co.uk or listen to her mental health podcast Kelly Martin Speaks on iTunes.

On her journey through the darkness Kelly also published two books to support people who feel lost or like a failure in life (more coming soon!), visit her author website kellymartin.co.uk to find out more.

Keep in touch with Kelly at ‘Kelly Martin Speaks’ on social media at Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and Instagram.

We are now collecting stories for our final KindaProud pocket book of Hope;

#Emerging Proud through Trauma and Abuse; if this title resonates with your experience and you’d like to take part, please CONTACT US HERE 

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A transcultural approach to the paradigm shift in mental health

This week I listened to a BRILLIANT interview with Dr Diana Kopua, Maori Psychiatrist on Mad in America radio; it was like music to my ears. Dr Kopua said;

I might have the same world view as you, or I might not, but all I care about is whether you get a good outcome.

One day all Psychiatrists will think like this; we have to hold that hope.

But what can we do in the mean time?

The Power Threat Meaning Framework, published by the British Psychological Society in 2018, predicts and allows for the existence of widely varying cultural experiences and expressions of distress without positioning them as bizarre, primitive, less valid, or as exotic variations of the dominant diagnostic or other Western paradigms. . . . Viewed as a metaframework that is based on universal evolved human capabilities and threat responses, the basic principles of the PTM Framework apply across time and across cultures. Within this, open‐ended lists of threat responses and functions . . . allow for an indefinite number of locally and historically specific expressions of distress, all shaped by prevailing cultural meanings. (Johnstone et al., 2018a, p. 22) …

Dr Lucy Johnstone asks;

“Is the Western diagnostic paradigm simply another form of colonialism, perhaps more subtle than earlier versions, but equally damaging in its impacts?”

I think so.

The evolved perspective of the spiritual emergence framework speaks to a 4 quadrant explanation of the roots of mental distress as such;

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According to Dr Kopua, New Zealand is in the middle of a major government inquiry into mental health and addiction services, which are seen as failing the population as a whole; suicide rates are high, as are addictions. A long period of consultation has resulted in 40 recommendations, which are currently being considered.

In the article in Mad in America’s blog, Lucy reports;

The summary document reads well—some extracts are given below (He Ara Oranga, 2018): We recognised from the start that this Inquiry represented a “once in a generation” opportunity for change. All over the country, people told us they wanted this report to lead to real and enduring change—a “paradigm shift.” (p. 7) People said that unless New Zealand tackles the social and economic determinants of health, we will never stem the tide of mental health and addiction problems. . . . A call for wellbeing and community solutions— for help through the storms of life, to be seen as a whole person, not a diagnosis, and to be encouraged and supported to heal and restore one’s sense of self. (p. 9) For Māori health and wellbeing, recognition of the impact of cultural alienation and generational deprivation, affirmation of indigeneity, and the importance of cultural as well as clinical approaches, emphasising ties to whānau, hapū and Iwi. (p. 9) For Pacific peoples, the adoption of “Pacific ways” to enable Pacific health and wellbeing—a holistic approach incorporating Pacific languages, identity, connectedness, spirituality, nutrition, physical activity and healthy relationships. (p. 9) We can’t medicate or treat our way out of the epidemic of mental distress and addiction affecting all layers of our society. (p. 10)

This all rings true not just for Maori culture, but for those in the West and other indigenous cultures who are waking up to the pain of our ancestral trauma. Our connection with this pain is necessary for healing our future generations.

I am hosting a unique event in London in Jan 2020 to look at the patterns of these experiences of ancestral remembrance, in order to create bridges by discovering the patterns of commonalities of humanity that connect us all in our shared pain, whatever our heritage – and there are many. Spirituality is ultimately about connection.

CLICK HERE TO ATTEND THE LONDON EVENT ON 17th JAN 2020 

We will explore the question together;

“How does the Power Threat Meaning Framework relate to those who perceive their experience in transcendent/ transformative, spiritual or spiritual emergency terms, and how could it be used to support this?”

My aim:

– To trust in the collective wisdom of those who gather, and to let inspiration emerge naturally

– To use the outcomes from the day to inform the possibility of expanding the Power Threat Meaning Framework, if this is deemed appropriate, and/ or to develop ideas for its practical application in this area.

  • To begin to build vital bridges… 

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AND THEN – my intention is to take this event out to other countries in order to collect transcultural research outcomes to present back to the Authors of the Power Threat Meaning Framework so that spiritual practice recommendations can be incorporated…

More on that later.

Think this is important? 

CLICK HERE TO ATTEND THE LONDON EVENT ON 17th JAN 2020 

A new paradigm is coming…. can’t wait to see you there,

Katie ❤

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David is KindaProud that he came through a life of hopelessness to celebrate the miracle that he truly is.

David from Manchester is a shining example of having #Emerged Proud through a life of adversity to use his journey to do good things in the world; from numerous suicide attempts due to feeling a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, he’s gone on to be the head of services for a thriving residential support unit; what a transformation journey! David’s story goes to show that whatever your circumstances, there is always hope of a better life…

DRyan

(*Trigger warning* suicidal behaviour)

 

I used to consider myself the ultimate contradiction. I loved life and I hated life. In the early years I tried many ways to avoid day to day life. I found sanctuary at home with my family, but oftentimes this was the place that represented danger.

I found distraction through friendships and thrill seeking behaviour, which lead to life in gangs, drugs and crime. I felt safe and accepted and part of something bigger and greater than myself in the gang life that I became part of. This lifestyle soon became one of those things that I also loved and hated most and presented even more danger than anything I had ever experienced.

Between the ages of 12 to 15 I went through various phases of trying different substances, ranging from cannabis/LSD/glue and alcohol. When I was 15 I was introduced to Heroin. When I was 17 I was introduced to Crack cocaine. There are many ways to describe the effects of Heroin and Crack and everyone who has experienced them will have their own way that is personal to them. For me, it felt like the ultimate high and low/the best and the worst all rolled into one. This started the longest phase of drug use I was ever to experience.

Once again my life became a contradiction. I loved and hated Heroin & Crack. I loved and hated the things I did to fund my drug use. I loved and hated the lifestyle, the ups and downs, the twists and turns, the certainty and the uncertainty, the fun and the fear. My life was a paradox.

When I was 22 I hit my first rock bottom. I became so desperate, so full of guilt/shame and remorse that I just wanted to die. I took an overdose. I woke up in a police cell. I didn’t know how I got there. When I came round the police told me I had driven my car whilst under the influence of the drugs I’d taken to overdose and I drove head on into a brick wall. I was eventually released without charge and without any follow up or referral to drug/alcohol or mental health services.

I continued along the same path until I was 26 when I hit another rock bottom. My drug use and lifestyle had spiralled even further out of control. It was the worst it had ever been. I was on bail for theft offences when I was arrested again for breaching my bail by committing further offences. When the police man searched me on admission to the police station, he missed the cord in my track suit bottoms. After being in the cell for a while I started to withdraw from the Heroin. Once again I started to experience the feelings of hopelessness. This coupled with the ‘cold turkey’ sent me over the edge. I looked around the cell for a ligature point and noticed the sink. I took the cord from my track suit pants and tied it around one of the taps and then tied it around my neck and sat down. The next thing I remember was coming round on the floor in the cell with paramedics resuscitating me and then being rushed to hospital.  After a period in A&E I was taken back to the Police station and kept in custody over-night. In court the next morning I was sentenced to a community order and released. There was no follow up or referral to drug/alcohol or mental health services.

I continued along the same path until I was 35. For long periods during my addiction I made the choice to stay on the streets or in run-down Crack houses in Moss Side for days/weeks/months on end because it felt easier than going home and facing my family.  It was the year 2000 and once again I had been on bail for theft offences and yet again I had breached bail. I was placed on remand in Strangeways. I had been in for about 4 days and was still withdrawing. My cellmate had gone to court on the Friday and was released which meant I was on my own in the cell for the weekend. Over the years I have spent many days/nights/weeks/months and years in prison. Suicidal ideation was never about being in custody. For me, it is more about the hopelessness and helplessness that I feel when that veil descends. I still experience that to this day. On this occasion I was at an all-time low. The two most important people in my life, my mum and my nana had both passed away in 1992 and I had spent the last 8 years in grief and drifting further and further into the darkest and loneliest times of my life. People had stopped coming to visit me when I was in prison these days. My last remaining family had just about taken all they could handle of me. I was overcome by waves of despair and in that moment I decided once again that I’d had enough. It was the early hours of the morning, ‘the nightshift’ for an addict in cold turkey. I took a razor blade apart and I cut my sheets up and made them into a ligature. The sheets were made of fire retardant material and they were really strong. I tied one end around the bars in the window and the other end around my neck as high up as I could manage. There was nothing to stand on in the cell as all the furniture was made of steel and was fixed securely to the walls. I pulled the ligature as tight as I could and then I sat down as best and as low as I could manage. I started to drift off into the comforting nothingness of black out and then suddenly found myself in a heap on the floor. The sheet had snapped.  I was absolutely beside myself. For the life of me I couldn’t work out how the sheet snapped? I was thrown into confusion and then the deepest feelings of despair and hopelessness that I had ever experienced. I felt like such a failure and I cried and cried for what seemed like forever. The next thing I remember was an overwhelming feeling of calmness and peace like I have never ever felt before or since. I was then overcome by a strange and inexplicable sense that everything was going to be ok. To this day I don’t know where that came from, whether it was my faith, an angel or from God himself but it was so strong and reassuring that I just started to feel better, like I was in good hands and I was being looked after.

I eventually got up off the floor and tidied things up, brushed myself off and sat down at the steel table to roll a cigarette. I noticed the local paper, The Manchester evening news, in front of me on the table. I hadn’t noticed this paper at any point before now. I started reading through it and around a third of the way through I came across a story by a woman who had opened a day centre in Stockport for recovering addicts and alcoholics. The woman in the story was also in recovery from addiction. There and then I wrote her a letter asking for help. 2 weeks later she came to see me. When I walked into the visit room and saw her for the first time she had an aura like I have never ever seen before. When I talked to her about the behaviours/thoughts and feelings and the lifestyle that came with my addiction, it was like she already knew me and she had already lived most of my story herself.

4 weeks later I was escorted from Strangeways to Manchester Crown Court for sentence. I was supported in court by a representative from the day centre and there were reports from my drug workers in the prison and the community and my probation officer all supporting placement at the day centre. For the first time ever in my life I was placed before a Judge who spoke to me in a way that I have never been spoken to by a Judge and I had been before enough of them in my time. This man seemed to really pay attention to the situation rather than just to the problem. He gave me a chance and sentenced me to a community order so I could attend the day centre.

I attended the rehab the next day for the first time and then daily for the next six months. I went on to attend aftercare two days a week for a further three months. After completing nine months in treatment I was offered the opportunity to volunteer with the service which I accepted. Twelve months later I was offered a full time paid role as a support worker with their very first supported housing project. Six months later I was offered the role of deputy manager. Twelve months later I was offered the role of manager. Three years later I was promoted to head of service, responsible for managing 72 beds across Greater Manchester. I left the service in 2011 to pursue other opportunities and I have managed several projects and services since. I now manage a 16 bed residential rehab as a CQC registered manager for one of the biggest health and social care providers in the country. Our service was inspected by CQC in May 2019 and we were graded as good across all 5 domains. Our rehab is one of the longest standing residential rehabs in the history of residential services to be still operating in the country.

Away from my life as a professional I have since remarried. My wife and I have 7 children and 8 grandchildren between us. I have done lots of personal development work and I have completed various rites of passage and initiation ceremonies in the 19 years that I have been in recovery. I am an active member and co-facilitator of abandofbrothers and I have the shared responsibility for the growth and development of abandofbrothers in Manchester. I still experience fleeting feelings of hopelessness and helplessness and not wanting to be alive today. I have learned to live with and to embrace my shadow, but more importantly I have learned to love that part of me. Thoughts of suicide are a constant companion. For me the blessing is that I have not tried to take my life since that dark and desperate night when I was last in prison in 2000. Today I am grateful for everything that life throws at me and I have learned to celebrate myself as the miracle that I am.

About David now;

I currently manage a CQC registered 16 bed residential rehab in Oldham Greater Manchester by the name of Leigh Bank, which is a Turning Point service. Responsibilities include managing the rehab team, day to day operational functions alongside all of the internal governance and quality assurance. I have experience of preparing for and overseeing CQC inspections and to date all CQC reports have resulted in good standards of service across all 5 domains.
My approach to life is based on connection with people and with communities. I take the approach that our communities are rich in resources and that we should be the co-producers of our own health and well-being, rather than the recipients of services. I promote connection through community networks, relationships and friendships which empowers people and provides caring mutual help.

Find out more about David and his Band of Brothers at:

http://abandofbrothers.org.uk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ABOBcommunity

Twitter @band_brothersuk

David’s work links are;

www.turning-point.co.uk

www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-3955478171http://wellbeing.turning-point.co.uk/residential

We agree that David is a miracle and are so proud that you are shining your light! ❤

Do you have a transformation story to share? CONTACT US HERE 

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Claire’s KindaProud of thriving after refusing to be broken

The human survival spirit is nothing short of miraculous, and Claire’s story is a stark reminder of this. Sometimes it takes being broken over and over again until we are finally forced to stop running and accept the help we need. In that there is no shame, in fact as Claire found, there in lies the very reason to be proud. Claire’s incredible journey through not only surviving trauma and abuse but now thriving because of it depicts exactly what #EmergingProud aims to demonstrate; that however bad things can get, there is always hope of transformation.

Ultimately, as Claire so eloquently says, the only way through the pain is to let it be painful…

Claire R for Mandy's book

(*Trigger warning* overt violent behaviour)

I am sat writing my story whilst looking out over my beautiful, sunny garden.  My faithful furry friend Iris is laying at my feet, snoring and content.  I am finally happy and at peace.  Iris was a rescue dog, but I was most definitely her rescue human, and there is no doubt that we saved each other.

10 years ago, it was a very different picture, although, strangely, there was an element of peace.  Later, I read that that feeling of peace was the fight or flight instinct kicking in, with an almost overwhelming amount of adrenalin flushing through me, that acted like a buffer against the violence being inflicted on me.  The ‘kill her, kill her’ chants of around 20 young, drunk and drug-frenzied girls sounded muffled now, the repeated kicks to my body and head, pairs after pairs of feet taking running jumps and landing on my head trying to crush it, insults and laughing fading in and fading out.  I even heard a couple of boys who were just passing, asking one of the girls who I was, then saying ‘give me a go’ before kicking me in the head a few times.  “Nice to meet you too!  Thanks for helping!” says my saviour and friend – my own gallows humour, which has long since been one of my own trusted survival tools.

Looking back, it’s all so vivid still.  I was in a high state of alert, but didn’t stand a chance against this frenzied gaggle of girls.  I had an eye condition at the time, that needed specific eye drops that would be difficult to get if lost.  While my body and head were being kicked and broken, I just focussed on those eye drops and not letting them go, because it was going to be so painful if they were taken!  I was in my own bubble.  A strange bubble of peace, protecting me from the horrific reality.  And then someone very heavy jumped on my head with both feet.  Right there, right then I thought that was it – I am worthless enough to be killed for nothing.   The reality that I was about to die broke that bubble of peace.  Then, suddenly, flashing lights and the girls scattering in all directions, and my visceral reaction just to run and hide.  It was over, and I was still alive.

I would rather go through all that again than have to go through what followed.  A 9-month court case that emotionally exhausted me and a new boss at work that was intent on getting rid of me by bullying and humiliating me almost daily.  I did not see how vulnerable I was at that time and I didn’t understand what was happening to me.  I just took it and focussed on my job, which was all I had left that made me happy.  I must have broken a very important mirror at some point in my life, because the next 7 years were above and beyond just simple bad luck.  I attracted in people that used me for their own gain, but when I stood up to them they beat me down harder.  I pushed any friends I had away, I took up binge-drinking to numb the pain and convince myself of happy times.  The job I loved became a chore and, even though I was still performing and achieving, the bullying and humiliation left me feeling worthless, alone and completely cast aside.  I was in constant high stress.   So many horrible things happened to me over that time and I just became completely alone, empty and dead inside.  I was struggling with Post Traumatic Stress, while being subjected to more through sustained bullying at work and abuse from strangers.  There was a questionable encounter that, when laid bare I would say constitutes as rape.  I was conned, beaten, robbed, drugged, attacked (I assume anyway as I woke up in someone’s bin shed covered in bruises to the face) and threatened to be murdered (another lucky escape).  I was 2 people. One in pain and one fronting that all was well.

SEVEN years of it.  Was I stubborn or strong?! It all eventually took its toll. Four breakdowns – nobody knew.  Two suicide attempts – I just wanted to disappear, just fall asleep. By the fifth breakdown and final suicide attempt, I let myself fall and let people in to help.  I couldn’t sustain it any longer.  I was broken.  I spent time in a home sleeping 20 hours a day for a month or so.  My father dropped everything to care for me and restore my faith in family, men and the human race all at once.  I got better.  I got a dog.  I got a new job and moved to the countryside.

I found my worth again and my creativity flowed.  Then, out of nowhere, my father – my best friend and saviour – died.  I then met a man (clearly, I was trying to fill Dads shoes) who then abused me whilst so-called friends turned against me.  I miscarried a child, alone, at Christmas.  A friend committed suicide on Christmas day.  My mother then died and not long after, I was made redundant.  All in 18 months.

I started to self-destruct again.  But I knew I owed myself, my Dad, my Mum, my heaven baby, my friend and my dog so much more than that.

So, I got busy with starting afresh.  I talk to Mum and Dad every day.  I called my little baby Pineapple and symbols of this are all over my home.   I rejoice in their memories, there are photos and songs that make me smile and I am so thankful that I had them in my life.  I have taken up gardening and plants are actually thriving now, which I never thought I would see in my lifetime!  I am setting up my own businesses and enjoying the journey.  I help those who I can.  I am creative and thriving and I am so proud of myself.  I am whole.

To ALL those people that hurt me over the years – I hope you too find the peace within yourselves that I have.   Please try not to hurt anyone else – just because you can’t see their pain it doesn’t mean they are not in pain.

To anyone else struggling – you are NOT alone.  I chose to be alone and endured it, but that was my life lesson – I had to let go and let others in.

Whilst in a moment of impending death my body buffered the pain and protected me, in the longer term, my mind became an escape artist, creating all sorts of paths away from the pain.  Arguably, my mind was creatively trying to protect me, after all, I had to endure so many different things and so constantly!

Ultimately, for me, the only way through my pain was to let it be painful (to loosely quote a certain Zen Buddhist).  Life can be so brutal.  Awful things happen all the time.  But all this too shall pass. Let it in…let it go…. keep breathing, keep caring.  It’s all so simple in the end.

All my love, Claire x

If you feel inspired by Claire’s story to share your own journey of transformation, please CONTACT US HERE.

Thank you Claire, we are very proud of you too! ❤

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Our 2nd KindaProud Pocket Book of Hope is released!

*DRUMROLL* Our 2nd KindaProud Pocket Book of Hope and Transformation is now on Amazon!

Officially to launch tomorrow; Friday 12th July – SoulShine day!

ALL proceeds from the book sales will go towards distributing FREE books to those in need of receiving these inspiring messages of hope…

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY – UK / EUROPE 

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY – USA / AUSTRALIA

 

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How can a crisis be a blessing? Catherine knows only too well how…

Many of you may recognise Catherine G Lucas, Founder of the UK Spiritual Crisis Network, but do you know what led Catherine to become so passionate about this field and her own work? Like most who end up feeling like they have a mission to re-conceptualise mental ‘illness’, Catherine experienced personal trauma which led to her breakdown. Catherine now views her breakdowns as pivotal catalysers of her awakening process; both necessary and bringing impetus for change that wouldn’t have occured without the crisis. Here Catherine gives a snippet into her trauma history, and what inspiring work it’s led her to do today…

Catherine Lucas copy

Transforming Trauma by Catherine G. Lucas

Why do I have an underlying mistrust, even fear of people I perceive to be in positions of power?’ I’m exploring this question with my wonderful Zen life coach when suddenly I have an ‘aha’ moment. I realise, to my horror, that it goes back 35 whole years. It goes back to when a person in a position of power had total control over me – the psychiatrist when I was admitted to an acute psychiatric ward.

In my session with my coach, I was intrigued to discover that, despite having processed much of the trauma of that experience, remnants remained tucked away in the side-pockets of my psyche. Ending up in hospital is one of the most, if not the most, traumatic, terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. Psychiatric wards are not fun places to be and I was a naïve 20 year-old.

It was trauma of another kind that landed me there. We tend to think of trauma as being one-off, a single traumatic event or incident. The trauma that resulted in my breakdown was of a different, more silent kind, the kind that creeps up on you stealthily: years of emotional and psychological abuse growing up with an alcoholic father.

My sense of self was damaged and distorted, worn down by the years of abuse like the stone steps of a church worn down by years of being trodden on over and over again. I use that church analogy on purpose as I feel my childhood and teenage years were an integral part of my spiritual journey. They were the launchpad for my awakening.

Today, I have a wonderful relationship with my father. He passed over nearly 30 years ago at the age of 49 – yes, alcoholics die young. I feel no bitterness or resentment, only love and understanding for his own suffering that led him to drink. One of my published books is Alcohol Recovery: the Mindful Way. It played a central part in healing my relationship with him.

That period in hospital was the beginning of my journey to healing and growth, the beginning of my awakening, even though that only became obvious years later. John Weir Perry writes about the natural process of renewal that the psyche can go through when it breaks up. That process was completely interrupted for me by the hospitalization and medication.

Years later, when I finally engaged consciously on my spiritual path after my first marriage fell apart, I had some fairly major, deep healing work to do. The intensity of that healing process, along with a spiritual teacher of dubious ethics, tipped me into crisis again, in 2003 and then in 2006.

On these occasions though, I had the right support and understanding to be able to reconnect with the process of spiritual emergence that had been so traumatically interrupted before. I was able to move through to a more whole and healed place, the place of renewal my psyche had been trying to get to all along. I didn’t end up in hospital and I didn’t end up spending a year weaning off medication. Instead of losing a year of my life, as I had done previously, I was able to completely rebuild my life from a totally new, far more solid foundation.

Over a period of a few years I completely recreated my outer life to reflect the inner transformation. My healing and awakening directly resulted in my organising a series of residential conferences on spiritual emergency and setting up the UK Spiritual Crisis Network. I also wrote In Case of Spiritual Emergency: Moving Successfully Through Your Awakening (Findhorn Press/Inner Traditions) and qualified as a mindfulness meditation teacher. This is what Jung calls the process of individuation, where we align ourselves ever more with our true nature and what we incarnated to do. In retrospect, it feels more like being a channel for whatever wanted to come through from the Universe.

Having been through trauma both growing up and in adulthood, I’ve been blessed to be able to use my experience to help others. Through my writing, speaking and teaching, I give people the tools and understanding to heal and grow from it, using it as an opportunity, even catalyst for awakening.

The journey continues. In the last six months I’ve been aligning myself more and more with my life’s purpose. I’ve been able to ground, so to speak, the vision I had when going through spiritual emergency all those years ago. I’m now ready to bring that work into form, to follow through on my commitment to that in this lifetime.

As a result, I’ve been broadening the scope of my work out from personal to planetary crisis and awakening. The work involves holding the vision of the extraordinary potential this moment in history represents. It involves helping humanity move through the trauma of our global climate emergency to a new level of consciousness. My particular contribution to that right now is raising awareness and understanding of the parallels between the personal and planetary levels of spiritual emergence. I have a sense there is more to come.

Nobody would choose to go through trauma or crisis but when we do, with the right support and understanding, it can be such an opportunity for healing and awakening. That’s true both for each of us individually and for the world as a whole.

In one way or another the willow strands of trauma and crisis have woven their way through my life to create a beautiful sacred dome. As I sit on the grass inside it, appreciating the beauty and blessings of my life today, I can look up at the clear blue sky and give thanks.

Catherine

If you’d like to join an event to look at the Power, Threat and Meaning inherent in the spiritual emergence journey, such as Catherine describes, CLICK HERE 

If Catherine’s journey resonates with your experience and you’d like to share your own story of rising through a traumatic experience, please CONTACT US to find out how to get involved.

 

 

 

 

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