Warning: This article is graphic and may have triggers for some.
The most seriously mentally ill win the award for the best vivid imaginations. They can conjure up all sorts of thoughts and ideas in their heads that are absolute nonsense, B.S. not proven, not even validated a little bit. And yet we all, at one time or another, allow self-defeating thoughts to enter our consciousness, roll around and around as if it is the Truth, making it the Truth with added imaginary thoughts to confirm our righteousness in our lying positions. There are degrees of mental illness, depending on the severity of the lies we try to hold onto.
This is personal for me. When my only child, Trevor, died at the young age of 25, my imagination almost drove me to the brink of madness, if it didn’t once or twice (or too many times to count) in the years that followed his accident. Where was he? Did he go to hell? He wasn’t a Christian and I know he was quite anti-religion period. So, what does this mean for his future in death? You can imagine my horror. A mother is a mother unto eternity and she will always have the intuitive need to protect her young, even in death.
How can I go on knowing, based on all of my biblical and religious training, that Trevor was burning in hell!? His car accident involved fire; lots of fire, 80% of his body was burned — what did I allow that little smidget of information about the accident do to my imagination? You can only guess. Finally, I went so far down the imaginary road of hell I actually believed for a while that I killed my son through my woeful anti-motherly neglect.
I allowed myself to remember every single parental infraction – that time I went off the deep end on him – and that look on his face, like he was slapped or something, was to haunt me forever now. I worked too hard, went to school at night. Belonged to every political and community organization that would have me. I wasn’t there for Trevor. He grew up to be killed over my early neglect. More fantastical thoughts came and I let them buggers have a seat and get comfortable in the confines of my vulnerable mind too. It was a party, complete with lots and lots of booze and pills to numb the fantasy when it got too much.
Soon, my imagination gave way to a complete emotional breakdown. There was no where else to go. Insanity, or death. That was it for me. I was weaning off of anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and even anti-psychotic drugs because I knew by then my life was a wasteland and not moving forward with them. I didn’t want to feel drugged anymore.
In avoiding pain, I accumulated more of it.
Suddenly, clear thinking now, everything I had stuffed for almost five years came at me like a tidal wave. My son was dead all over again. My marriage ended in my oblivion, We lost access to our grandson. We gained custody of our granddaughter. I was going bankrupt. Life was an utter mess and I was left to deal with it, chemical free. The emotional pain was too much to bear, friends. And I made the decision to end it. I could not tolerate the mental torture going on in my mind one more minute. My thoughts literally drove me to insanity.
I chose death.
That fateful night I swerved hard-right onto a mountain wall speeding at 110 kmph (about 75 mph I think). There was nothing but my car embedded into the mountain and me, as I was removed by emergency crews. I was in shock, trying to comprehend a completely totaled car, and not a mark on my body or ache to my bones. I didn’t tell the emergency crew who showed up in complete disbelief that I was alive, that I saw an angel in my steering wheel at the moment of impact. The angelic face was as clear as the wall that I smashed into.
Everything made sense to me in that split second, that moment of impact. I knew my time was not up. No one goes until it is their time, and this was not it for me.
I suddenly had a mission.
I didn’t even stay in the hospital for much of a psychiatric evaluation (3 days mandatory I think). I wanted to get home and get to work. I had to completely destroy those drugs and get help. I had to be honest with someone. I killed my son and I needed to be punished out right, or just let me go. (Don’t ask, this is the stuff that was in my head.) I knew I was at the bottom and there was no where else to go except up. I said these very words to myself, “If I have to live, I insist on living in peace!”
I decided to start with hypnotherapy because I knew it was a stress relieving therapy, if nothing else, and I was filled to the rim with stress. Little did I know that I would find myself in those 14 sessions. I learned who I was, and more importantly, what I was doing to myself. The abuse I managed to give and take (from myself) was more than most people could bear. I was allowing my imagination to be the Truth, when it was full of lies, judgments, misconceptions, ignorance, and being naive to the power of my own ability to drive myself insane.
My imagination got me into this mess, it also got me out!
So what is the Truth that set me free? In the safety of hypnosis my therapist had me imagine Trevor was standing in front of me. What would he say to me, regarding his upbringing? Is it possible he would hug me? She had me imagine the words Trevor would speak, because I knew him the best, she said. I sat and listened, …and the words he would have said came to me. Wonderful love and support and compassion filled my head. I was given my freedom back. Imagining the Truth, the real Truth, brought me home. I allowed my imagination to imprison me, punish me, and almost execute me. Now I was using my imagination to understand the Truth.
In fact, my love for Trevor is the Truth. The only truth that matters at all. And my knowledge of his love for me is the same Truth. There is no way my son would reject me, so I allowed myself to stop imagining he would. My own worst case situation was a lying fantasy all along.
And hell finally left me alone. Feelings of fear, worry, guilt, shame, anger, resentment, all receded, and were replaced with forgiveness, compassion and love. Now, to me, only love is real. Everything else is my enemy. I seek out the Truth in all of my emotions, and every time, every single time, I win again.
We use our imaginations to scare ourselves to insanity, or death. Now search for your Truth just by using your imagination to find it. Believe in yourself. Your good self. Your real self. Stop feeding the lies, and encourage the Truth in your own mind; it is what will not only allow you to survive, but thrive.
“That which can be destroyed by Truth, should be.” P.C. Hodge.
Do you like this article? Please share with your friends and help spread the word of hope for the ones who thought there was none.
Cherylann Thomas, B.Sc.Crim CH,t is now a Clinical Hypnotherapist registered with the International Medical and Dental Hypnotherapy Association. She specializes in helping her clients resolve anxiety, depression, grief, loss and abandonment, weight loss, fears and phobias. Cherylann has an extremely important ingredient to her successful therapy practice: Personal experience. Non judgmental and compassionate, you can count on her to help you find the root of your internal conflict; your Truth.