Michelle contacted me, having heard that perhaps Human Givens could help her. She lives in Scotland and was looking for therapy using Skype.
Below are extracts taken from a letter that Michelle wrote to a good friend after our four sessions of Skype therapy were over. She shows clearly what her terrible depression has meant for her and hints at the all too familiar failings of many self styled experts to help her. It is also a powerful illustration as to how Human Givens trained therapists help their clients. Finally it is a quite humbling and for me moving testament - to gifts and experience that perhaps I have that can help others who are also terribly afflicted with emotional and mental problems.
Michelle is very happy for me to share her thoughts.
Michelle on her depression
I think that the cruellest thing about depression is that when you are trapped in it, you really really believe it’s never going to end, and so you just can’t bear to endure it.
It’s like one is so exhausted with thinking and being; it seems relentless, ever present, constant, like there is no way out, which is why so many take their own lives. I have to be humble enough to accept that journeying in those dark realms is part of who I am as long as I don’t get stuck, imprisoned and trapped there in the catatonic state called depression.
It appears dark and vast but I feel it and see depression visually. For me it’s like being stuck inside this vast huge barrel (a cylindrical vault) and I am desperate to get out. I feel like a dog desperate to dig its way out, so my mind is racing, spinning round and round and I am not present. I am petrified that I will remain here in perpetuity, empty timeless eternity, a kind of purgatory.
And yet it is paradoxical as there are flashes of hope. It reminds of a feeling I felt about twenty years ago when I was in this James Turrell installation, in total darkness, that incredible feeling of not knowing the way forward, of just not knowing where to step, but intuiting that there is light if I moved forward. When I get to the barrels inner edge, it is so rich. The rust is so beautiful, vibrant and alive. It’s strange but during these descents I feel strongly connected to the myth of Persephone and Demeter, pulled down by plutonian energy.
Michelle on how Human Givens therapy worked for her
Human Givens is really amazing stuff that has a totally different approach to so called mental illness. It’s the storytelling aspect of this therapy that I enjoyed most, it’s full of Sufi tales.
I have already decreased my meds to 20 mg Prozac which I will slowly wean myself off. I have just ordered this book called Godhead: the brains big bang; the explosive origin of creativity mysticism and mental illness by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell; they are the founders of Human Givens. There is also this theory they call Caetextia which is very interesting stuff in my opinion.
When Andrew promised me that I would feel better after a few sessions, (so grounding the therapy in real time) I laughed and told him that he did not know how deep and ingrained my depression was. After all I have been (on and off ) in therapy for most of my adult life.
He was confident in his abilities, approach and methodology; he also respected and understood how mentally exhausted I was, how sick and tired I was of this mind fuck spell that had taken possession of me. He respected me as a person and did not label me a patient; he understood that no one is harder on me than myself and that I put myself under so much pressure already without being told to do this or that and that if I could snap out of it I would have already done so. It’s like he took me seriously, he was a witness to the real me; that I was not mentally ill, just mentally exhausted, that years of not using my mind correctly had taken their toll.
He was going to show me how to think in a different enriching and constructive manner and to be curious as opposed to confused and stressed; and underneath this blockage that was now manifesting as me was the real me longing to reveal herself.
He somehow took the pressure off me so I could relax and break this spell. I literally felt my depression lift dramatically after the second session and without having to dwell on the story of my wounded childhood.
I am so sick and tired of being told I have a genetic chemical imbalance and that I need to stay on meds forever by countless psychiatrists, when I innately know that that is not true.
Michelle's observations on me
I am not ashamed to admit that Andrew has given me my life back, my peace of mind. I feel ignited with light. The unbearable weight of being me has disappeared! I can’t sing his praises enough. He is the real thing. I liken him to an alchemist of the mind; His dross was my exhausted dysfunctional mind and in a totally grounded pragmatic manner, like a plumber unblocking a clogged up drain, he helped me to shift my perception and to put the light on.
He is the most unlikely of therapists; he does not have a traditional psychology/therapy background, he was an Economist up until I think ten years ago and he is a staunch Tory!Andrew has this gift; a kind of unassuming Uranian electrical surcharge; he somehow empowered me, turned me on, retuned me to my own unique frequency so that divine energy could flow thru me on all levels of my being.
Michelle on healing
I feel that I have found not only a strategy for keeping sane but to focus the lenses of my mind, so divine energy can flow thru me. I still get stressed, overwhelmed and angry but it’s like I am able to witness myself and change track immediately and implement my various strategies to get back on track. It’s all a process, not necessarily easy but I am no longer lost, the flame within is a light. It’s like I am no longer in vacant possession.
Maybe healing and being is like this; a holographic magical alchemical process that is out of time and dimension, it’s about being present to the invisible divine energy, that no matter how chaotic and crazy the mundaneity of being is, to feel charged with divine light and know with one’s heart that one can do whatever it takes.
Thank you Michelle