My Mind was Lost. My Mind was Found: Some Thoughts on Grace and Gratitude


–for J. K. and the other mental health professions who were part of my care at the Muskogee Regional Medical Center.

Whatever your religious belief, whatever your church, mosque, or temple affiliation, if the hymn “Amazing Grace” speaks to a deep place in you, it’s likely, not for its heavenly message, but for its very human one.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

The song says that grace gives us not only the blind-to-sighted experience, but an up-close-and-personal encounter with being found, as well.

And this week, in particular, I’ve experienced the latter of these.

I’ve been found.  I’ve reconnected with an important person from my past, and for that I am profoundly grateful.

This appreciation stems from just what an astounding experience it’s been, what an “amazing grace” it’s turned out to be. For the experience of being found is profoundly affirming.  It resonates deeply in us as human beings.  It feeds us.  It nourishes us.  It fills an empty place in the center of our forever-searching psyches.

But being found is a passive experience.  It depends on action happening outside ourselves.  It requires us to be receptive.  In fact, it may be because we are not the initiators but the receivers of “being found,” that it appeals to us so deeply.  Whatever, however, whoever makes it happen, this experience appeals to a primal place in us that craves connection, closeness, and belonging.

So, for me this week, a grace was given.  I was found; I’ve reconnected; and I’m humbled by that experience.

First a bit of background—

Many of you know about my mental illness, one that’s been well-managed for more than a decade now.  But two decades ago, I was very sick—and sickest, perhaps, in the early 1990s when one psychiatric professional in particular came into my life.  I was profoundly ill.  My grip on reality had slipped.  It was negligible, at best.

I lived in Oklahoma at the time, having moved there in 1986 to teach English at Oral Roberts University.  I was 24-years-old and on top of my game in professional terms.  It should have been the best time of my life.  And it was for a while.

But a number of factors contributed to my decline—a genetic predisposition to mental illness, a traumatic family history, and dysfunctional dynamics at the university where I worked.  I’d stepped from one sick family system into an equally ill institutional one.

I hung on for a number of years.  I spent every extra dollar I earned on psychotherapy.  But just before my 28th birthday my mental health took an almost-but-not-quite career-ending nose dive—one that would last at least a decade before I regained my professional wings and my work life righted itself again.

I’ve shared before how dark that decade of the 90s was for me.

I’ve shared how psychosis made me aware of my own nothingness, aware that at the center of myself a huge hole swallowed and indeed devoured all I thought I knew about myself.

My experience of myself shifted.  I was not who I thought I was.

I saw myself stripped of all that seemed solid and predictable. I was naked and drowning—bare to the glare of what others called crazy.

So, I wondered–if I was, indeed, out of touch with reality, as doctors said I was, what did that mean? And if I couldn’t trust my own mind, what could I trust?

I was alone in a most existential sense–exiled not only from the rest of the world by mental illness, but exiled by mental illness from myself.

This is the profound terror of mental illness.

But in the midst of that terror, one mental health professional in particular tried to comfort me.  And it was this woman who found me just two days ago.  She thought about me.  She googled me.  She found my blog and emailed me.  That action reconnected us.  She found me again after nearly two decades.

She’d sat with me on a psychiatric unit in Muskogee, Oklahoma, while we made art together, while I attempted to create a sane space inside myself, to paint my way there.  That hospital was a safe place for me—a home, a harbor—a place where I could cocoon myself—where I could recover—or at least begin to.

JK, my mental health angel (L) and me (R), spring 1993 in Muskogee, Oklahoma

So, I thank her.  Good God, I thank her.  I’m grateful for both the grace she was to me back then and the grace she’s shared in finding me this week.

The real miracle, however, is this– that in the decades between now and the early 90s, I have, in fact, found myself.  I’ve found the woman I love.  I’ve found my way back to meaningful work.  But more than anything I’ve found my way back to sanity itself.

So, please remember this.  Despite desperate and debilitating losses, even the loss of something as sacred as sanity itself, the world is still a staggeringly stunning place.  Remember that those of us who struggle with psychiatric illness and the professionals who treat us make our planet a richer place to live and love. Clinicians and patients alike dream about recovery.  Together we hope big hopes.  Together we dream ever more enduring dreams.

Recovery is possible.  And that, like the friend who found me just this week, is an enormous gift–and an amazing grace, indeed.

What grace have you been given recently?  Have you ever experienced “being found?”  What grace in your own life are you most grateful for?.”

When I shared a draft of this post with JK, she wrote the following in response.  I thought I’d share it here.

“Sail on silver girl.   Sail on by. Your time has come to shine. All your dreams are on their way.  –Simon and Garfunkel

The synchronic event 20 years ago is timeless; it has no ending; it can grow but can  never be less than dormant.  The Unus Mundus is the most amazing psychiatric “tool” available to all but rarely used.  At a particular time in the lives of four people…Mary Kay, Mary, J.K. and Kathy…complete Faith in the connections between the four and The One in Many allowed each of us to grow, become whole, and be strengthened on our individual paths.  This was a “therapy” of Amazing Grace to which each of us submitted completely.  Its power was so strong and Present though not seen, it could not be denied.  And the proof of its healing nature is evident in her Art, in her Soul, and in the lives of those she touches……Its A Kind Of Magic!”

Note:   I’m participating in a series of posts that are part of the upcoming PBS documentary “Race 2012: A Conversation about Race & Politics in America.”   It can be seen on October 16, 2012 (check local listings).  To follow the conversation, please like Race 2012 PBS on Facebook and follow @PBSRace2012 on Twitter.  To read about the other bloggers participating in the series, please visit “Monica’s Tangled Web.”

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80 thoughts on “My Mind was Lost. My Mind was Found: Some Thoughts on Grace and Gratitude

  1. So glad that you’ve found yourself. In so doing, Sara was able to find you. What a gift she must be! Much like my Jim was for me, Sara is your gift for getting healthy, for leaving behind your demons, for daring to pull yourself up out of the mire. So thankful that your courage also allowed us to become friends. Take care, Sista!

    • Sara is all those things–my greatest delight and joy. This post, however, pays tribute to a professional who, in many ways, helped me get to Sara–get well enough for Sara to be an option. And, gosh yes, Jim and Sara have so much in common. Kind of uncanny, right? We love you both!

      It was so incredible to reconnect with JK this week, as she nurtured me at a time when things were very, very dark. Someday I may ask her to share with Sara what I was like back then, as Sara has a hard time imagining. I am so well these days–as Sara and I move into our 7th year together. Sara has helped me stay that way, loving me even when symptoms break through and I am less than lovable.

      • I’m glad you had JK to get to the wonderful place you are now. She must seem like an angel to you in many ways.

      • She was that, as were the women she worked with. I adored JK, however. Still do. She’s an amazing woman. Hard not to love someone who cared for me during such a difficult time–and nurtured me as an artist. I don’t emphasize that last fact enough in this piece, actually.

  2. Thank you. I needed a reminder today of all the people, especially those often unappreciated professionals who’s extra care and concern made all the difference. I do think grace is contagious, but I love even more the idea that it’s eternal. So glad you have found so much to be grateful for in your life.

    • It is, indeed, eternal Lisa. I think too often professionals get blamed for the inadequate treatment most of the mentally ill experience in America. Often that blame is deserved. But sometimes an angel like my JK steps forward and does things differently–and attempts to reconnect even after 20 years. Thanks so much for reading, my friend.

  3. What a path you have traveled Kathy. “Amazing Grace” has always been my favorite song. I sang it to my children at bedtime, and I think of it almost daily. I think you nailed it when you said ” if the hymn “Amazing Grace” speaks to a deep place in you, it’s likely, not for its heavenly message, but for its very human one.” I have long felt that grace has been a gift in my life, I just don’t think I could say/write it as beautifully as you have.

    Just the way you have described grace in your life, is a gift to others. Others who may be in their own struggle, or others who don’t know how to help a loved one struggling.

    What a great post. Thank you.

    • Oh, Colleen, your life is full of grace, and you spill it all around you, as does David. I’ve exoerinced you. Plus, I disagree that you couldn’t write this. Don’t your realize how damn eloquent and evocative many of your posts are? I look forward to them, my dear! Hugs to you!

      • Kathy, you are my absolute favorite today! :) Thanks for the kind words. I do feel grace in my life. Funny, I think it is more difficult to write about the “good things” in life, ie: grace. Probably because nothing I can “say” matches how great it feels. Does that make sense? Hugs returned! :)

      • Yes, I DO know what you mean. YES. However, I think what comes across on the page is more moving than you might realize. In fact, I was thinking just yesterday that you should write a book about how cycling or the martial arts have affected you. Ever considered that?

      • Well…yes and no. I have thought about writing a book about “me”. But I can’t do it. I start to write and I cut myself short. I can’t explain it, but I think that’s why I like to blog. I can write, it seems, in short blurps about “me” but when I go to a longer version, I draw blanks. I have written numerous “books”, but not about “me”. All fiction. All sitting in boxes, on shelves, etc. Don’t we need to get together again to talk about all of this? :)

      • Gosh, we do need to get together, Colleen. Need to hash all of this out. I don’t know if I mentioned this to you or not, but I suggest you take a look at a book by Andrew X. Pham called Catfish and Mandala. I hope I’m spelling his last name correctly. However, he uses cycling to tell HIS story. A refugee as a child, he goes back to Vietnam and bikes the length of the country. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I discovered it when we were living in Vietnam.

      • I am fascinated by bike life/adventure books. It’s something I wish I had the courage to do. Set out on a bike and travel the world, or a part of it. I will get it! So lets get to planning this next get together. Though it is messing with my head. Reading about Sara already being there (and being sick) and you getting to leave the country, then coming back to “NOW” and us talking about getting together. :)

      • Just get well. We’ll make a plan. Hate that you got so sick. Thank God you have Nurse David. The thing about the bike book is that it’s almost more of a memoir than an adventure story, since for every mile he bikes through Vietnam, he also travels back in time and tell his family’s story. Damn good book. Okay, I should write a review on Amazon or something. LOL

      • Yes you should! David is a wonderful nurse. And I feel much better today. It’s all in my head (hahahaha-no comments!) and my sinus/allergy stuff. Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. What a touching post. This really hit home for me “…psychosis made me aware of my own nothingness, aware that at the center of myself a huge hole swallowed and indeed devoured all I thought I knew about myself…
    …My experience of myself shifted. I was not who I thought I was…And if I couldn’t trust my own mind, what could I trust?”

    Add to that Beth Ann’s post today at “It’s Just Life” and my head is spinning. You have both touched on what I’m currently struggling with. I have recently changed therapists hoping to reconnect with myself and the Devine within me. Your re-assurance that recovery is possible gives me hope : )

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I thought if was so synchronistic that Beth Ann posted what she did this morning–at least in light of what I did. Our pieces echo one another nicely. And, of course, Echo is an important architype. I’m sure JK could speak to this beter than I.

      I agree that ultimately therapy is about attempting to connect with the Divine. And I think psychosis happens when the mind’s attempt to do just that goes amiss. Does that make sense? I don’t know anyhing about this in professional terms, of course–only in an experiential one. I think psycosis evidences the soul’s attempt to connect with the Divine. Art became a way for me to redirect that effort.

      GREAT to hear from you today!

  5. Beautiful post, Kathy! What a lovely tribute to JK. I think it is grace that brings the magical helpers (as Joseph Campbell put it) into our lives at certain times in our lives. I think you are on the Hero’s Journey he wrote about. I’m so happy that you all were able to reconnect. (The internet can be used for good! :) )

    I strive for grace every day. Some days I get closer than others, but the song always brings tears to my eyes.

    Hugs to you!

    • I love Campbell but I’m not aware of that term-”magical helpers.” I love that. That is PRECISELY what JK was and is. She is a source of magic for me. And the return of her particular brand of magic to my life is an “amazing grace.” I am so damn blessed!

      It’s so, so great to hear from you today, Jackie! Hugs to you, as well.

    • Yes, yes, Jessie. That makes so much sense. That must be another form of grace in and of itself–to see grace given to your child. Wow. Thats powerful to think about. Am I at all right about that in terms of your experience?

    • Great to hear from you, Shaki. I’m glad you appreciate this post–the “poignancy” it offers. You’re right–this experience has shifted my perspective. And I’m so grateful for that grace. I hope reading it has been a grace to you. Hope you’ll come back by soon.

  6. People from our past thinking of us is one thing … searching online is another … but then contacting you out of the blue had to deliver a wonderful feeling. That’s something that each of us should do to someone on occasion. Thanks for sharing!

    Oh … and thanks for the Race 2012 info. Go get ‘em!

    • Yes, Frank, you got it! It’s the contact from long ago being reestablished out of the blue–especially when that person was so important to you. It was a wonderful gift.

      Glad also that you appreciate the Race 2012 info. Go get ‘em, indeed! Great to hear from you today.

  7. ~~~I appreciate your authenticity & honest ((VOICE))!!
    I love that you found yourself.
    I cannot listen or sing Amazing Grace without sobbing….sobbing. Especially now….
    Without His grace, I am nothing. I would be forever LOST…

    Sending you kisses from Minnesota. Xx

    • I’m so please you enjoyed this post and love that song as much as I do. It is so incredibly moving. And it’s been equally moving to reconnect with someone from so long ago. Great to hear from you to day. Hugs and kisses back to you!

    • Isn’t it a gorgeous song? I don’t know why is moves so many to tears–or, perhaps, I do. I suppose I tried to offer an explanation here. Thanks so much for your comment. Hope to hear from you again soon.

  8. Such a gift, Kathy, to find someone who made such a difference in your life. I’m happy for both of you.

    I sat in New Orleans last week and listened to a man belt Amazing Grace on a street corner. I welled up. I always do when I hear that song.

    • Oh, yes, Andra–don’t you think the song is even more powerful when you hear it sung in person? Plus, on the streets of New Orleans–gosh, what a setting!

      But yes–a huge gift to reconnect with JK. It was just so surprising to hear from her out of the blue. I was and remain so, so moved.

    • Thanks, Betty. Funny thing is that I’m not usually one to use music on my blog. I suppose I have been through a lot–and overcome just as much. Things were bad back then. Thank God that’s over! Happy Thursday, my friend.

  9. For all those years at UK we shared a friendship and office, you gave me the best laugh of my life, Kathy. Better than the joke was the way you told it.

    Three Nuns died and met Saint Peter at the pearly gates. “You have to answer three questions in order to get into heaven,” Saint Peter said to them.

    “What is the name of the first man?” he asked the first nun.

    “Oh my!” she said, “That’s an easy one. Adam.” The trumpets sounded, the pearly gates opened wide, and the first nun entered into heaven.

    “What is the name of the first woman?” Saint Peter asked the second nun.

    “Oh my!” she said. “That’s an easy one. Eve.” The trumpets sounded, the pearly gates opened wide, and the second nun entered into heaven.

    “What’s the first thing Eve said to Adam?” Saint Peter asked the third nun.

    “Oh my!” she said. “That’s a hard one.” The trumpets sounded, the pearly gates opened wide, and the third nun entered into heaven.

    • Ha! Can’t believe you are somehow telling that story in connection to this post, John. I remember the moment exactly, and I don’t remember much from those years. I was headed in to take my oral exams and defend my Milton thesis. It seemed appropriate with Paradise Lost. I suppose the “lost” thing triggered that memory for you. How funny! Hugs to you, my friend.

  10. You were not only found, but had the where-with-all to know it. I’ve been into the dark depths you write about, not as the patient, but as a parent and as a sister .. and the terror and the horror is overwhelming. To come out of it, not just survive it, but to triumph by living, loving and being … and then, to reconnect with someone who was not only a witness but a lifeboat? Precious beyond words.

    She googled and found you? Just think, 6 years or so ago, how impossible that words would be.

    “Coincidences are just God’s way of remaining anonymous.”

    Bests to you all,
    MJ

    • Yes, yes, it is precious, indeed. I’m so happy you used that word, MJ, cause that’s EXACTLY what it is-”precious beyond words.” And I’m with you on the coincidence issue, as well. I don’t believe in them. But I wish you didn’t have to know about this, my friend.

  11. After all you’ve written about it, I don’t think I’ve ever fully grasped the terror of mental illness before this post. No wonder you needed an angel so desperately. I’m so glad you found each other then and have found one another again.

    Have I ever been found? Yes. By those from my past who I thought would remain in my past. (Thank you, FaceBook!) And in other ways too – by someone who has seen something good in me that I didn’t see myself; a skill, a talent – and has encouraged and brought those strengths out where I could see them and nurture them. I think that’s my favorite kind of being found.

    • It is incredible to have your talents affirmed, and I think that’s part of what was so important about the care of got at this facility in Oklahoma and what JK spent hours, days, months–even years encouraging me to develop–my work as an artist. You’re right, it’s an amazing thing to have your talents affirmed–live changing actually.

      So happy to know you understood something new about my story by reading this post, Terri. Angel,indeed!

  12. During one of my many nights of insomnia, I read back through the entries I wrote during my divorce. Personally and professionally…everything in my life was in chaos. My mother had stopped talking to me abrubtly and without reason (and it was eleven months later when we finally started communicating again).

    I’ve never gone through anything as tramatic as your experiences, but it was one of the lowest points in my life that I can remember. Bing eating on comfort foods, sleepless nights, crying every night as I drove home from work, and out of control drinking on the weekends. I very easily could’ve lost everything…my job, my home, my friends.

    Thankfully, those friends stood by me and while one sacrificed our friendship to tell me just how bad I was, it was the wakeup call I needed and got me back on track. I never would’ve dreamed that I would be where I am now; living with the love of my life, relocated to a beautiful area that I can’t imagine ever leaving, and starting a new career that promises to be just as fulfulling and rewarding as my last.

    I may not have had any saving grace, but your post reminded me that we’re all capable of overcoming our obstacles and even at our weakest, we’re so much stronger than we think we are.

    • Sorry to hear your divorce was so painful, Tara–and I hate that your mother stopped communicating with you during those months. That’s very painful. I think part of what was even more painful to me at this time in my own past was my mother’s complete unwillingness to support me. She never once visited me during any of these hospital stays–more than 25 of them. That made the support of women like JK all the more important. My family abandoned me during this time. I’m sorry to hear you and your mom weren’t able to talk. My mother and I communicate these days, as well.

      I know I’m DELIGHTED for where you and Mark find themselves these days. How fabulous that you now have the love of your life.

      Great to hear from you, Tara. I love getting your comments!

  13. Since I’m a little less spiritual than a table leg, I never think in terms of grace. I think more in terms of luck such as when I was running late to get to The Grind this morning but all of my connections on the subway worked so in my favor, I arrived basically on time. I’m glad that someone so vital in helping you recover your mental wellbeing found you and you connected. I’m sure she’s thrilled to know that you’re in such a good place today.

    • What? Table legs not spiritual?

      I’m inclined like you not to necessarily spiritualize things like subway timing. There are other–big issues–that I am inclined to attribute to something greater than chance. One person’s miracle is another’s good luck, I suppose. But, thank God, you arrived at The Grind on time. Oops, there I go again–thanking God and such.

      Hope your film festival continues to please.

  14. “This is the profound terror of mental illness.”

    To BE WITH someone in the midst of that terror, is to experience the illness in a sense and therefore to risk one’s own sanity in the process. I am convinced that this is the primary reason why so many “therapists” avoid the situation by substituting Cognitive or Behavioral methods. There is strength in numbers, it is true. The circumstances of our lives brought three gifted women together and Kathy was the fourth. It was as if we locked arms with her as we all walked through that fiery circumstance together; that was the kind of Therapy we did. Where she was weak we were strong; and where we were weak of understanding, she was able to articulate what was happening at her core so that TOGETHER we could all walk out of the fiery furnace alive…safe..Sanctuary. It is my belief that at the Core we are all the same…full of fears, paranoias, monsters, hallucinations and such. Most of us never experience having that Core laid bare as a result of life’s circumstances, genetics, analysis. Very few people would volunteer to jump into that Abyss with a stranger yet that was exactly what we did. HERE IS THE KEY: there was a Fifth in the furnace with us; greater than any of us individually and greater than all four collectively. William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910), the American philosopher and psychologist who had trained as a physician wrote Varieties Of Religious Experience in which he examines this Mighty Presence In Absence; because I had experienced It when I was twenty-three, finding his work in my late Thirties found me…or at least explained HOW I was FOUND and by WHOM (I’ve always called it IT) Carl Jung’s philosophies and theories provided the WAY ….the path to the Core and the WAY out. I’ve seen many movies about mental illness none of which I would recommend for giving you a clearer Idea of what it is like than Kathy has; however, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden starring Sissy Spacek would come closer than all the rest combined. Though Robin Williams’ movie What Dreams May Come was not specifically about mental illness, it did achieve some of all the elements related to the experience we shared with Kathy. I would never suggest to you, Kathy, that you peel back the layers again to write a book about your experience; in fact, I would spread wings to hold you back from the gates of Hell then call upon all the Saints and Archangels to lend their strong support against such folly. Its more than enough that you have risked so much, writing your notes from the edge; now let your readers rent a couple of movies if they’ve not already seen them, read Varieties and Jung’s autobiography Memories, Dreams, and Reflections; this assignment is sufficient food for thought and curiosity. YOU, my dear, have gone beyond the pale gifting your readers of being once lost then found. I need for YOU to know how very much I love and admire you; how happy I am for the life you and Sara have created AND I thank you, my dear, for loving all of us so much….SAIL ON S.G.

    • Dear JK,
      I wrote a long, long response to the comment you left on my blog, but it got lost in cyber space when I clicked the wrong button.
      What I wanted to say was thank you. Thank you for your comment. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with me. Thank you for risking the darkness. Thank you for your fearlessness. Thank you for you. And thank you more than anything for me.
      Thank you for seeing the real and uninjured me back then and reaching out to me now.
      I can’t tell you how delighted I am to share with you the healed and whole, the shining Silver Girl who has sailed twenty years beyond that time and place when we connected. This opportunity to sail full circle is the greatest of gifts. To return to someone who knew me back then and is able to see me now is a grace precious beyond words.
      You were one of several women who were part of my healing. However, so far you are the only one who has reaching out and inquired about where I am today. And to me that is priceless.
      However, it doesn’t surprise me that you are the one who’s done so, as you, JK, were extraordinarily precious to me even during that darkness. I saw something in you that mirrored something in me. In a way you showed me what I could become again. You modeled strength, wisdom, intelligence, caring, and creativity all in one beautiful soul. You were a mother I never had.
      And somehow you had the wisdom to give me what I needed. I don’t know how you knew to sit me while I made art, while we made art. But that sitting, that being present while I created strengthened something essential to my recovery. Do you remember all of the hours we spent doing just that? It’s one of my strongest and most profound memories of that time. How did you know? Maybe one intuits something like that. But you had the guts to go with what you intuited.
      Somehow I think that strengthened the creative me, the one that writes and makes art today.
      So often in that darkness I didn’t have words. I merely had images—ones I was able to express in art and poetry. But your simply being present with me while I created—simply sitting beside me—being present on that journey—somehow helped me feel safe enough to create, to make something lovely even out of the ugly. For me, art was the way out, but I needed someone to be present while I practiced art-making. And you sat with me. It seems to me you invested enormous amounts of time doing that.
      I have so much to say. So much I want to share with you. I want you to know my Sara.
      I had planned to write a memoir about my mental illness, but I put it aside last year as it was too painful. I decided instead to write about my father. That seemed a safer story to tell. I have no desire to go back to the pain of the early 90s—though I do want to share a bit about my journey out of that place. It’s a good story. It’s a powerful story. It’s one I want others to know, as it’s a story of hope.
      I’ll end this now. I just want to say thank you—and how much I love you. I hope we can meet again sometime soon, as I want you to have the chance to see who I have become. I want you to know the woman I love, as she’s an amazing, brilliant, gifted, and caring human being—and another great story in and of itself. And I want to spend time with you again—celebratory time—especially before Sara gets another assignment and we head back overseas.
      I have so much to say. So much I want to share with you.
      I love you, JK.
      Sailing and Shining,
      Silver Girl

  15. You have an exceptional story to tell. I am amazed, given what you went through, how far you’ve come. It’s like seeing two very different people. But then, I suppose you could say that about me, kind of. Me married and me now, are very different. As if I was in a trance then. Not myself yet. A cocoon, waiting to come out, for my moment in the sun. Kathy, with every post you write, I’m so glad to have come to know you through your writing. I’m so glad you came out of your own darkness and into the light! I’m so glad, too, that Sara came into your life.

    • Yes, it sounds like who you were and who you are today are very different. The human capacity to adapt and evolve is amazing. It’s almost as if we are able to reinvent ourselves. However, who I was then and who I am now are very much connected. I think the problem comes when we try to think about personhood as something static. I think who we are lives and breathes and grows. We change. And you coccoon image is exactly right. We require the metamorphasis in order to emerge with spread wings.

      Great to hear from you today, Monica. Hope your day is going well. Thanks so much for reading.

  16. So much juice here, Kath.
    I have experienced being found, too—old friends or family members who found my blog and contacted me. But I tend to be the seeker, which is usually part of my mania—trying to reconnect with people I really need to leave in peace. I’m still trying to tame that impulse.

    When Artie started singing in this version of Bridge Over Troubled Waters, I got scared for him. “Oh, no! He’s lost his voice!” I bought all his albums when they broke up and always loved his sweet sound. Here, he was weak and had no breath control. But when his voice partnered again with Paul’s it came back. Full strength.

    Isn’t it amazing what partnering with someone will do for us?

    • I thought of you as I wrote this piece, actually–as I know you are someone who has and is taking a similar journey. I’m sure that’s why your blog feeds me, so I’m especially pleased that this post spoke to you. And you’re right–partnering is power and magic and emerging! Hugs to you, dear Sandy.

  17. How wonderful for your friend to have found you again. I feel blessed that my life has been mostly good. I had a happy childhood in a great place and things have mostly gone well for me. Obviously there have been some crummy bits, but I have been able to work my way out of them. I am enjoying this stage of my life best of all.
    I truly hope that all goes well for you too. You are very lucky to have found a wonderful partner in Sara

    • Sara is the greatest thing to ever have happened to me! And reconnecting with JK has been so, so meaningful for me. I’m blessed. I suppose we all have crummy bits, don’t we? May yours be few and far between, Deb! Great to hear from you today!

  18. One person….taking the time to reach out, help us, touch us…..They can be a lifeline. Just one person. What a wonderful reunion. And what a wonderful woman to make the effort to make it happen. So glad you found your way back to yourself, Kathryn. The world shines so brilliantly and gloriously with you in it! xoxoJulia

    • Oh, Julia, you aways say the sweetest, most supportive things. The reunion has meant an enormous amount to me. Feels like coming full circle. Thanks for your support, my friend. Hugs to you from Sara and me!

  19. “I was alone in a most existential sense–exiled not only from the rest of the world by mental illness, but exiled by mental illness from myself.”

    This is an excellent point, Kathy – and I never thought of mental illness in these terms before. Interestingly, I just watched “Girl, Interrupted” this weekend – a movie that I had never seen before – and it really opened my eyes to how very alone some of these mentally ill people feel. And truly are. Thanks for sharing this.

  20. I am so glad that you found yourself, that you bravely share your journey with us, that you inspire me as I continue to work toward my license as a counselor. Your experience affirmed once again that recovery is possible, and that humans can return from the edge to their abyss to live wonderful, healthy, thriving lives.
    Hugs to you.
    Cecelia

  21. Your writing about your own journey will shine a light for others. You know how important that might be. I admire your courage and strength. I’m so happy for you that JK found you. I can only imagine how that must have made you glow.

    That’s also cool about your participation in the Race 2012 project.

    You’re a fun person to watch. :)

  22. This is a very precious post. To have been lost–and to have been found–so profound. I think your blog inspires so many because you give people hope that they can find their way through the darkness to light. It is Amazing Grace.

  23. Kathy, This was so amazing and profound and deeply inspiring to me that your friend looked you up after all these years. It gives me faith that sometimes magical things from the past can indeed make a comeback and shower us in unexpected goodness. :) Thank you so much for sharing this story. I am filled with warmth after reading this.

    Hugs to you,
    Currie

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