How a Difficult Life Passage Taught Me an Important Life Lesson

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.

Life Transition

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

for me.

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

other ex-patients.

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.

Life Guides

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, ( 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 in the areas of

psychosis and anxiety. You can find him on Twitter


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About lifeofthedifferentlyabled

Laura Forde founded her blog through my eyes: my life with cerebral palsy in December 2009 out of a great need she had, realizing that there was a vast gap in firsthand accounts of what life was like living with Cerebral Palsy: she knew then that the only way to see this reflected online was to create the change herself and thus this blog was born Laura was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound three ounces and given ten percent odds for survival. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three. After graduating from college, she continued writing and doing what she loves to do most; speaking to groups about her life experiences and sharing what she has learned from her journey. Her blog lifeofthedifferentlyabled was created after discovering that the online community lacked the voice of people in her situation. In its first year, the site saw over 20,000 hits from all over the world. Her readers are from all walks of life; some with disabilities, parents of children, professionals, and others who seek to gain a better understanding of the world of the differently abled. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook
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