Searching For Truth: A Blog by Sherri Smith
I have been talking a lot in the last few weeks about this topic and felt compelled to share some of my thoughts on it. It particularly resonates with me as it is a situation that is prevalent in my life at the moment.
One of my favorite movies of all time is ‘One Flew Over the CooCoo’s Nest’ and its because of the quiet message that is threaded through the movie, it is a very precise representation of the time and how we managed anyone with a mental health disorder. Now I am so not fond of labels as I think they bring about opinions, which hold judgement to them. I am a huge supporter of discovering your own truth about a situation and perhaps that is my fuel in working in the alternative health field. The words ‘mental health’ likely conjure up some thoughts, biases and images for you, and these very opinions are the results of a very crafty medical and government system to dismiss those with health issues we knew very little about in our studies. They were drugged, locked away, sometimes having lobotomy surgery if they became unmanageable much as what Jack Nicholson experienced in the movie. And yet if you look at our truest nature, the ones that were crazy were Nurse Ratchet and her crew. Robots conforming to the system.
Perhaps some of the other reasons that I am so passionate about this topic is the experiences I had working at the Psychiatric Hospital many years ago. I was horrified daily of the abuse these human beings underwent and the disconnection the staff had in regards to their well-being. I watched as one resident had his hip broken by a steel toed boot, which because of his age, led him to a very quick death thereafter. I witnessed them being corralled into an open shower area and being blasted with a garden hose on jet stream to wash them down. I could have written a book on those years and I know it had a deep impact on my essence. They were treated like cattle; poked and prodded and left in the pasture for most of the day alone, once they were administered their mind altering medications. I spent the day in the pasture with them and found some beautiful souls underneath the hazy mental states they suffered. I found ways to interact with them, to bring joy to their lives and to show that someone cared. It was a deeply rewarding experience for me but also one that impacted me to be some advocate for change.
We have come a ways down the road now in recognizing there are alternatives to care but the stigma still remains with anyone suffering from a mental health disorder. What we need to embrace is that the brain is an organ, just like a kidney or a heart or a liver and that it can go into a state of imbalance or malfunction, just as any of the above mentioned organs or systems and create disease. We really need to get this….for the ones that suffer are not only trying to find a way back to balance, but they are also suffering a quiet shame in not being able to manage their mind. How often do you hear someone say about an elderly person ‘well she still had her wits about her’. Why is that more important than a funky kidney? It is because our medical system does not know how to manage it and our social system is not set up to embrace these disorders. It requires community, support and balance.
I won’t get into my feelings on what each disorder means because that is a whole new blog or book, but I felt it important that we REALLY start to accept that our brains hold the same status as any other organ in regards to care. It is certainly one of the critical ones in our physiology, but should hold no more judgement when it malfunctions than any other aspect of our bodies.
My mother is failing in her physical and mental state now, it is really difficult to witness one’s mental decline because there is a level of dignity and pride that is lost. And to be cognitive at some points and then not breaks my heart because of the shame one feels. Beneath the disorder is still a sweet soul. Give them comfort, don’t judge and hold your hand out in support where you can. Find some connection with them that still allows them to shine and their eyes to sparkle, you know you have touched their soul. We are all suffering some form of internal battle.
Sherri Smith from A State of Bliss has trained extensively and globally with ancient modalities and traditions to combine the wisdom these teachings into her own unique therapies. We are deeply connected to the natural world and many of the ills of society today are a result of our separation from this. Sherri's commitment to her own journey keep her immersed in teachings, experiences and advancement, in turn providing rich and rare content to her offerings. There is a yearning within each of us to live a greater life. Discover your power, your gifts and your truths.