This is a guest post by don karps
Everyone experiences their own hero’s journey and dark night of the
soul. The content varies from person to person. By observing with
awareness, more universal life lessons emerge.
I am going to describe a difficult part of my life and how I recovered.
I was 26 and at a pivotal life juncture. My marriage had failed. After 7
years pursuing a Ph D in biochemistry, I realized academia was not
It was the late 1960′s. I got caught up in the emerging counter culture.
Experiments with inner travels using LSD, and other psychedelics
replaced my lab experiments. I smoked a lot of hashish and
sometimes experienced flashbacks–thinking my food was poisoned,
people following me, etc. In addition I heard voices.
I wound up in a mental hospital, labeled “paranoid schizophrenic.” I
decided to drop out of college. For the next ten years I spent about a
month each year in the hospital. Finally I was very fed up with this
behavior and determined to end it.
There are three aspects to my success at recovery:
1. Listen: I paid attention to my inner voice and what I knew was right.
I did not listen to the authorities or friends. No medications, no going
to community outreach programs and not living in neighborhoods with
2. Intention: my intention to stay out of hospitals and to heal was very
3. Persistence: To get a good therapist, I had to wait two years for her
calendar to clear. My friends told me I’d never find an apprenticeship
with a weaver, but I did.
The therapist was very understanding and sympathetic. She also
taught me life tools. And noted, after a couple of family sessions, that
my family was sick. She said that I was the one showing the
symptoms. As far as hearing voices, She mentioned that my hearing
voices was about experiences of deep rejection–a way for me to feel
more important. She suggested whenever I heard voices I should not
keep listening, but instead check my current life to determine where
the rejection was happening. Gradually the voices lessened and then
I decided that taking the psychedelics opened me up to realities about
my past. This happened too rapidly for me to comprehend.
In my case, I not only survived but am thriving in life. After a career as
a research chemist, I retired to Mexico where I’ve been living for 12
years. I self-published my memoir. I have a web page where I help
those caught up in the mental health mill find self-care alternatives to
speed their recovery.
My recovery revolved around three points that are good life guides for
anyone. My personal healing method can be summarized by an acronym:
L = listen to your inner voice paying less attention to what authorities,
your family or friends have to say.
I = intention, develop an unshakable intention to heal and thrive.
P = perseverance, persist in your intention, but also know when it is
time to shift gears.
Do these common sense guides make sense to you?
Please let me know in the comments below.
Don Karp helps others survive their life dilemmas by providing self-
care for recovery based on his own life experiences. He created
Bumpy Road Work, (https://bumpyroadwork.instapage.com) and
published “The Bumpy Road: A Memoir of Culture Clash, Including
Woodstock, Mental Hospitals, and Living in Mexico” (see Amazon
under Don Karp). He is a Top Writer for Quora.com in the areas of
psychosis and anxiety. You can find him on Twitter
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