Gavin T. Murphy keeps a blog on ilovebipolar.com and he looks to Ignatian Spirituality for strength and inspiration.
Last month my article on faith and mental health in the online British journal Thinking Faith inspired me to create a new ‘Free flow’ section in my blog. Also, since I don’t have a lot of time at the moment to write more serious blog posts, I figure that quickly written posts would serve readers best for now. So here I go…
An important first step when a person suffers with their mental health is to return to familiar people and surroundings that make them feel safe and secure. They may think that they are inadequate to do such a thing, believing it is possible to ground themselves anywhere, but it’s best to accept their weak, vulnerable position and do what is right. After a while of being with their loved ones, they’ll get the strength and nourishment needed to go further along their journey.
For some, a stay in a mental health hospital may be required in order to hold them in a protective space, a bit like a caterpillar in a cocoon. Again it’s best to accept their weak, vulnerable position and do what is right for them and their family and friends. Other options may include getting involved in a learning environment or social club for people with disabilities. The idea here is to connect with people of similar mental health challenges and to journey with one another in what is really a sacred thing.
A personal experience surfaces that may help the reader. I remember doing a weekly art class where I used to revisit my work again and again, whether to add a new colour, attend to finer detail, or sometimes to start from scratch. It dawned upon me that I could do something similar with my life, for example, I could take my time reading an article on my smart phone, leave it to one side, and come back to it later. This more contemplative pace of life helped to reduce my stress levels, and I think the same can be true for others.
If, for example, a person wants to return to work after a period away, they may need to consider taking a few baby steps towards connecting with that environment again. If they worked as a stockbroker a year ago, they may think it’s possible to return to that position as if nothing has changed. This can be dangerous because the reality is that they are not the same person as they used to be. Going back to the work environment with new eyes is very good news because they can then be more open to new dreams.
So go on…connect with your place of safety and security, engage in active recovery, and do what you need to do in order to be fully awake to your emerging dreams!