How to Break the Chains of a Diagnosis

January 21, 2019

Avenging or lamenting over one’s friends, relationships, family or past is not the healthiest. It causes ego conflicts, and unneeded self defense. We need to forgive our past and shine as individuals who pulled through and made it unscathed to the other side: a life in the sun, with no more songs of pain.

I felt a huge weight lift when I finally managed to forgive both myself and my loved ones, and asked for their forgiveness for what pain I might have caused unwittingly. I never knowingly hurt my family, and yet always felt like I was the cause of their pain. That was heavy. I am not a bad person.

If you also realized you weren’t going anywhere after myriad doctors, counselors, MRIs, switched medications and treatments, or felt like a misfit and misunderstood and kept blaming “the others/medications” for creating a lesser version of your best self, you will know what I am talking about when I try to burst a huge bubble in your heads:

You are a hero(ine) and never the victim of negative, narrow-minded, opinionated or biased people who are ill-equipped to approach you with kindness, compassion and most importantly, the right knowledge, experience and empathy. I dare you to take on the task now: rewrite your life story and hop into the driver’s seat with confidence and an increased awareness of priorities to make you, and not others, proud or happy first!

Who better than ourselves can really know what is best for us? A well-trained professional or caring friend can say that you need a new life, but how can you take that first step if you’ve been conditioned to believe that you are a loser who can never heal completely or be as good as new?

In the last two years, I beat pre-cancer of my thyroid, kidney and other organ malfunctions simply by dropping the lithium and upping the ante on my yoga, diet and massage knowledge, all by myself!

It sounds simple, but I spent a good 9 months struggling alone to recompose my new theme song and review my priorities in life, with a lot of help from finely educated professionals, both in psychiatry and natural health. Thus, I want to make a point clear: we are not alone to take the necessary steps forward, and we are not victims who have to abide by opinions/treatments that do not work for us. We usually just desperately need the right people to help us translate bottled-up cries of misunderstood frustrations!

A young woman with her face on the floor but not looking unhappy.

Untitled by Serena Whaley

I always felt I was close to good health, alas I heard for years that the kid in me who wanted to dance, sing at the top of her lungs or paint all night was showing symptoms of horrible illness. Lack of sleep would surely kill me if I was enjoying my art. Whether I felt too creative or depressed/drained, meds were always the answer.

I finally did break through my seesaw moods and these outdated, mental barriers 2 years ago, and a new life opened up in front of me. It was as if chains dissolved around my neck, wrists and ankles, never to return!

I hope you too can join us in the same playground I dwell in now: I actually teach others who just cannot trust their inner voices for fear of being judged, labeled and worse yet, medicated until all of their creative juices and joys are numbed. If dancing and singing were made to be my so-called curse, they also play a crucial part in my total wellness!

I will hopefully share with you my infamous stories and the easy solutions to lead a “normal” and productive life later. Suffice it to know for now that I am a 48-year-old, extra healthy and productive Turkish/American mother of an awesome 18-year-old daughter; a mass media (journalism/production) veteran; traveler; English, kundalini/pre-postnatal yoga instructor and massage therapist; writer and very amateur singer, dancer, ceramic artist, photographer and painter. Plus I learned and practiced all I did while being bogged down by medication after medication for more than 30 years. All efforts by medical practitioners and my family focused on “fixing” what was “wrong” inside me.

I got labeled “bipolar” as a teenager in the mid-nineteen eighties, when new antidepressants popped up like candy creations and kids were given to eager psych doctors intent on testing and retesting—not on lab rats, but on unsuspecting families—and proving they had some new cures for old enigmas. The population of med-numbed, robotic or zombie kids and adults with side effects worse than their diagnoses skyrocketed by the end of the 20th century, while more creative, hyperactive and ultra-intelligent, as well as angry, depressed, dull and ADHD-stricken individuals blossomed across the planet.

The irony is that I have many maternal family members, including my mother, with thyroid conditions which mimic bipolar symptoms. One doctor who neglected my family history and put me on thyroid-killing Lithium at age 16 rocked me into tumultuous waters in what I now hope will always stay in my distant past.

Unless the family can take the right steps to connect themselves and their lucky, special member to the right resources, “illness” will remain a curse on that family, with the hero usually seen as the scapegoat who needs “fixing,” when he/she could be the easiest member to regain a life of brilliant new independence with the right approach!

I truly believe I am both blessed and lucky. I had to face myself over and over again, but I no longer have panic attacks before teaching a class. I share my goodies with a smile, while I get lost painting, singing, dancing and meditating with my shiny students.

Emotions make tricky enemies. Calm, rational, balanced bodies and smiling minds are golden at any age, and the reality of this will make mental health issues obsolete. Healthy bodies breed happy and healthy lives, and doing is always more effective than just knowing. Move, dance, walk, just tire that body a little more and see how fast you change dimensions!

If you feel unsettled in any part of your life for any reason, please reach out and get out. Earth angels are everywhere, except at home in your silent, lonely shell.


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