How may times did I miss a social event or stay in bed all day because of absolute emotional agony?
There was that time I had to leave a wedding just as it began. Another time I drove all the way to work, only to immediately back out of the parking lot and drive for HOURS out of fear of being around people - too scared to exit my car.
I once went nearly two weeks without sleep and then was found walking around on a street with no idea where I was or why I was there...
I was told by several medical professionals that I would have to be medicated for the rest of my life for Bipolar Disorder Type 1, and given very little hope about the 5 other mental illness diagnoses I’d racked up along the way to that grand-daddy.
I was told I might seem better for years and then BAM, out of nowhere...MANIA.
Therefore, I better be medicated just in case the mania starts creeping in.
I was always told “horror stories” to remind me of the importance of this: “I had a patient, so put together, the leader of his company…he decided to go off meds when he felt better...then one day he was naked in the streets!”
Naked in the streets!?
I swear to god, if I had a penny for every “naked in the streets” story about Bipolar Disorder that I heard while in treatment, I’d be….well, just 10 cents richer, but STILL!
So I lived that way, under constant fear of mania, in constant fear of somehow wandering around naked in the streets.
But here’s the thing, if we’re told we’ll always be ill...we will always be ill. If we’re told there’s another way, our bodies (energetic, physical, emotional and mental) will all find another way.
If only the medical community were required to learn the Law of Attraction, so many people would have an easier time healing...but that's a whole other article.
The important thing is, we CAN heal mental illnesses. We can return to our natural state of blissful wholeness and wellness. We don’t have to live reliant on pills for fear of some dark illness returning or fear of the pain of depressing being too much.
I used to be so deeply connected to my six mental illness diagnoses of anxiety, depression, insomnia, bulimia, ADHD and Bipolar Type 1 that I probably wouldn’t even have wanted to read an article by some girl preaching about how we can heal them. (ahem, like I’m doing right now) It was just who I thought I was, and who I swore I had to be for life.
No other options.
But now here I am, BLISSFULLY medication-free and more grounded, happy, and deeply in love with myself than I ever thought I could be. In fact, those six diagnoses that once dictated my life, feel like an insignificant chapter - even though for over a decade I was in CONSTANT inner turmoil.
It doesn’t matter. That wasn’t the true me. That was a lost me. A sweet, uneducated me.
I was uneducated about the laws of the Universe and the methods by which I could benefit from those laws to live the extraordinary life that I live today.
If someone taught me the following lessons when I was in high school, my life would have been drastically different.
Here’s what I wish I knew before I let the internal suffering of severe mental illness run the show in my life for so long.
Lesson #1: We all have an overly protective part of our brain called “the ego.”
I used to think an “ego” was someone’s pride, but in this case it’s referring to the part of our brain that is there to protect us...which sounds great, but the problem is it hasn’t evolved as rapidly as our lifestyle has.
It was very useful when we were cavemen, hiding from tigers and befriending wolves (seriously, major props to the cavemen who started that trend - I’m forever grateful!). But now it can’t tell the difference between having to run away from a bear and having to check an email from your boss. It has us terrified of everything in the same way we were for LEGITIMATE fears.
When’s the last time you felt too scared to open your inbox? Or check your bank statement? Or go to a spot where your ex might be?
We treat these fears like they are real because the ego part of our brain is just doing its part to protect us. That’s it.
It’s our CHOICE to look at the fears and either believe in that fear, OR believe in another possibility.
There are a million ways to see things differently than what our fear-based mind is telling us, but so often, because of how we’ve evolved, that fear-based part of us is SUPER good at convincing us that it’s got a real good argument.
Once you understand that that part of your brain is just a hyper-active protection-mechanism, it’s time to move into lesson 2.
Lesson #2: Only Love is Real.
Every thought we have that isn’t based in love is an illusion designed by ego.
Let’s use this concept on a common situation: money fears.
Here’s the ego-thought (aka, fear): “I’ll never have enough money to pay these bills.”
Reality: The loving reality is that there are A MILLION ways you could have enough money to pay your bills and that the Universe is designed to support you. You are CHOOSING to believe the ego-thought (aka, lie) that you could never pay your bills because it’s super convincing and scary feeling. But here’s the thing, that convincing scary feeling is NOT REAL. It’s just an illusion. The reality is love.
You always have the choice to believe either in a loving reality or a fear-based reality, but here’s the thing, the choice is YOURS.
Our whole world is just a reflection of how we CHOOSE to see it, so even if you don’t believe me that only love is real, that’s fine but it means you’re ALLOWING yourself to create a reality where fear is your truth instead.
That’s cool, but it causes so much unnecessary headaches and pain. If that’s what you prefer, you do you, boo. BUT, it was choosing a new loving reality for me that healed chronic mental illness that had me locked in a padded cell on more than one occasion.
We have the power to think however we want to think. When mental illness runs the show it makes us feel like we are POWERLESS to our thoughts, but once we recognize that only love is real, it softens the fears. It begins to give us room to wriggle free.
It was choosing to see things through the lens of love instead of fear that began to heal the depression, anxiety, bulimia and bipolar type 1 that had plagued me for years.
And it was COMMITTING to this belief, and all the work that comes with that commitment, that allowed me to completely heal.
Additionally, since most of the work associated with choosing love over fear has to do with mindfulness, through my practice of living in the moment and meditating daily, I also healed the insomnia and ADHD I thought I’d never shake.
Which leads me to…
Lesson #3: Happiness is in the present moment.
When you’re worrying about the past or future, you are just ASKING for pain. What good comes from it?
Why allow yourself to dwell on things from the past or worry about things in the future? This is a crazy choice. We are the thinkers of our thoughts, they don’t think without us letting them.
Next time your thoughts go in the territory of worrying about something you have to do in the future, bring your awareness to the present. Smell an essential oil, smile at a person nearby, count your blessings, listen to my song that reminds you to stay in the moment.
The work involved in how to stay committed to choosing a loving reality and staying in the moment is on-going and it is a commitment I make DAILY!
It's a commitment I teach my coaching clients and a commitment I will stand by as long as I live because I refuse to live anything less than a miraculous life and neither should you.
Photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash