Tuesday 6 October 2009

Towards An Animistic View Of Mental Illness

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As an animist, my relationship with my spirituality has frequently been positively provoked in discussions with people who function much of the time from within altered (as in altered from the norm) states of consciousness. For example, I spent an amazing night shift packing plastic bottles in a factory (before my nursing days) with a gentle young man, discussing the story of Lot in Genesis (Chapter 19) in which Lot is visited by angels (unknown to him) and insists on offering them hospitality. To this young man, these angels were messengers from God and in his realisation messengers from God came in many different forms, from the casual crossing of paths with a total stranger to the fall of a leaf as you passed a tree. And to him, all experiences were to be welcomed as being potentially such a messenger. In some respects, he was one of mine and I remember that one night, 25 years on,with much fondness. I didn’t see him again, but I did hear three months later that he had been forcibly detained for treatment in the local psychiatric ward.

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