We live in a world where often concepts of the mind and soul are ignored. Where mental health issues like Depression and Anxiety are ignored or made light of. As a society we are told that its “all in our heads” or that “it will pass”. We are expected to be able to just laugh and smile at everything.
To those without anxiety disorders, clinical depression, or any other number of mental health issues it makes no sense why a certain song can bring us to our knees or cause crippling panic. It looks like we overact to every little thing for no reason or for the smallest most insignificant of reasons.
These people don’t realize that there is an intense battle going on within our minds every day. Its expected that everyone gets sad so you will just power through it. When a person says that certain activities like going shopping make them panic they can get laughed at or told to just “buck up and do it”. Those who live with mental health issues often wish we would just snap out of it. Who wants to feel paralyzed by crippling anxiety and depression?
Those without mental illness may be able to meditate, be in nature, do yoga, exercise etc to work out depression and anxious feelings. Which is good for them, they don’t realize that it may not work for those with actual illnesses not just situational depression or anxiety. Many of us try to be in nature to relieve our depression. We may try exercise and meditation. It doesn’t always work, and sometimes the depression and anxiety can be so overwhelming that we can barely get out of bed, let alone do anything physical like exercise!
One of the many reasons why people dont get help for mental health issues is the stigma that they are crazy or that they feel they should be able to control all of their actions without the aid of medication or therapy. They believe that it should be possible to just shake off the depression and anxiety. They believe that since everyone gets sad and anxious and still manages to go to work etc they should be able to do it as well.
The above meme is dangerous. It gives people who would seek help a bad idea. At the same time when those who would seek help (therapy, medication etc) many people reply that they should spent more time in nature. That medications are poison and should be avoided. Often times people highlight the fact that several of these anti-depression medications have side effects that include suicidal thoughts and worsening of symptoms. To those uneducated in medicine it seems silly to take something for depression and anxiety that could make you feel worse. Memes liks this go around promoting this dangerous attitude.
Likewise you get those people who claim that herbal supplements, crystal therapy, Reiki, and prayer were all that they needed. That if you were in tune enough with your spirits and the spiritual forces of the universe you would not have these very real health issues. These people argue that if you were truly a witch and truly a member of the priesthood your connections to the spiritual world would make you healthy and secure in your health.
Mental health issues are not something to make fun of. Nor are they something to state is all in the head or a result of spiritual work and awakenings. Mental health issues can strike anyone of any religion, spiritual path, race, and walk of life. Mental health and mental Illnesses exist everywhere. No one person is more susceptible to mental illness than anyone else (except those who may have a family history, but that goes for any medical condition that can be hereditary).
There are those who believe that if you do work with spirits and are attuned to nature you will develop depression, anxiety, and other issues as a result of the spiritual work you have done. They attribute issues like anxiety, depression, Schizophrenia etc to being awaken to the worlds state. They believe that these illnesses are gifts from spirit to see the world and be able to help heal the world. They treat the illnesses as if there was no problem with them at all. That your spirits will care for you, and you should live with the illness.
All of these attitudes are very dangerous. They do not count for the fact that these are very real illnesses. They do not account for the fact that with these illnesses there are very real chemical imbalances in the brain which need medication to be corrected. They do not account for the fact that these illnesses present very real disabilities, disabilities that can make a person go from being productive and useful to curled up in a ball cringing at every little thing. Mental Illnesses are very real and cause very real problems in life.
These problems can not be fixed with simple prayers and crystal charms. These problems can’t be fixed with a spell and herbal teas. These problems have no single simple solution. Mental health is a complex issue that impacts the mind, the body and the spirit. This complex relationship makes it impossible for there to be a quick and easy fix.
It can take years for an individual to find the proper treatment for themselves and their particular illness. Some of these treatments may include different types of therapy (Cognitive Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Etc) along with medications. Sometimes several therapies and medications will be used at the same time. Until all parties involved believe that the best treatment possible has been reached finding the perfect treatment takes trial and error as well as time an effort. Everyone involved needs to be doing their part otherwise the treatments don’t work.
So what about those who have an aversion to prescription medications but would like to treat with herbal supplements and natural medicines? There are hundreds of memes going around that discuss the virtues of herbal medicine. Some of them list herbs others list various natural remedies to treat depression and anxiety. What’s wrong with using some of these remedies?
If you have access to a Naturopathic Doctor and pharmacy for Herbal prescriptions than go for it. A naturalpathic doctor is the only one who could safely prescribe you medications for your illness. Other than that unfortunately i have to say you have to see a doctor and get on prescription medications. These medications can and do save lives.
I’m not saying that herbal medicines aren’t useful or effective. I’m saying that if you are going to go that route you need to understand that there is a lot to look at. It is better to work with a trained professional in herbal remedies and natural medicine than experiment on your own. I’m also saying that these remedies work best in trained hands and in cooperation with trained medical professionals. If you use herbal remedies and folk medicine let all your health care providers know.
Those are steps that you can take to address the physical and mental aspects of Mental Illnesses. How are you going to address the spiritual aspects of the illness? This is where some people have issues. They aren’t really sure how to deal with the spiritual side of mental health issues. Once they have chosen to deal with the mental and physical aspect of the health issue, sometimes they can have difficulty finding ways to address the spiritual aspects of the illness.
Many pagans and witches believe in true holistic health. They believe in a connection between the mind, the body, and the spirit. Mental health impacts the mind, the body, and the spirit together. So it makes sense that there would be treatments spiritually for mental health issues.. For the treatment of mental health issues the alignment is no different. The use of therapy and medication treats the mind and the body. The treatment for the spirit is very different.
Spiritual work is an important part of maintaining mental health. It can be a powerful partner in treatment of mental illnesses. Performing rituals, casting spells, and going to powerful church services can leave a person invigorated, feeling powerful, and cleansed. It can be a way to connect with yourself and be motivated beyond anything you had before. Spiritual work absolutely plays a part in healing mental health issues.
This is where spiritual work comes into play. Treatments like Reiki, Soul Retrieval, Chakra Alignment, and Sweat Lodges are all spiritual work designed to heal the spirit and align the mind, body and spirit. Aromatherapy and crystal elixirs would be a useful one to include with spiritual treatment. These wok on the mind and the spirit together while Chakra alignments and sweat lodges combine the physical and the spiritual. Reiki does all three in one.
None of these practices should be done without the practices of modern medicine and therapy. Spiritual treatments are designed to be used along side of modern medicine. Those are treatments and practices that can attune to the spirit and heal the spiritual aspect of the illnesses. They are used with the modern medicine and therapy to create an approach that is holistic and will heal you completely. Modern medicine, therapy, and spiritual work together provide a holistic health plan allowing you to become your best self.
Even knowing that spiritual work can be useful maintaining it can become difficult. The spiritual side of things can be very hard to deal with when you are at your worst. It can be the best thing for you, but it can become the hardest thing for you to deal with. At times mental health issues can be overpowering where even the most devout priest or active witch can be paralyzed to the point of no practice.
Often times in these situations the witch and or priest may know that doing cleansing work and prayers could be some of the most useful things to help break the cycle, yet they are paralyzed and can not get themselves to do the needed work. For people in this situation the statements about faith and depression can cut deep and deliver a sense of failure as a witch and or as a priest.
This is where your spell casting and ritual work can be useful. Doing a spell and ritual to break the blocks keeping you down can invigorate your spirit and release the mind. Spells that would be good here are cleansing, protection, and self love work. These spells boost positive energy in the spell casters life. Starting with a few simple spells or rituals is an excellent way to get back into the swing of things.
This will allow you to be more open to the regular daily practice ( if you are looking for a good guide line to developing a daily practice check out :Starting a Daily Practice ). Through the use of a Daily practice and spiritual hygiene (protection and cleansing, blocks and filters etc) one can treat and realize that your spiritual practice can be helpful tool rather than a hindrance in your mental and spiritual health treatment.