I, just like you, am here to Serve. To live with joy, love, and to give hope to people that are looking for it. To show others that anything and everything is possible. I feel inspired and passionate to fulfill my calling and show you that no matter where you are in your life you are always capable of aligning with your highest self and live the life you are destined to live. It’s a calling that is so deep within me that it is part of me. I didn’t have to search to find it, because it was always in me, and when I look at the way my whole life has played out I can see how every experience has guided me and led me to where I now am.

But the thing that I feel the strongest about, the thing that lights a fire in my belly and brings up so much inspiration, dedication and emotion within me is the thing that I am probably the most scared to talk about. Mental Illness. Depression, anxiety, labels, medication, hopelessness, despair, suicide. These are the topics that I care most about and intend to base much of my work on, purely because of the huge impact they have had on me, and my family’s life. This is where there has been so much hurt, shame, disconnection, grief and silence. Even now as I am sitting here writing this my family is currently in the middle of living with the reality that comes with loving a loved one who is in the grips of mental illness.

It brings up so much emotion. Pain from the past, fear of what might happen in the future, disconnection and judgement within our extended family, frustration with the system. The never ending cycle that shakes us all to our very core and in the past has caused us to shut down from one another and deal with it in our own individual way. Something which we are beginning to change. The feeling of hoplessness, of not knowing how to help, what to say or what to do. The heaviness that we carry with us throughout our day; trying to hide it from others. The constant reminder of the statistics, the number of people taking their own lives, and the reality of how many young people are now being affected. Now I KNOW there is another way to do this, to support one another and to come back to the only thing that matters LOVE.

Mental illness is cruel and ugly and the discomfort is unbearable. It brings so much fear with it, and it is easy to fall into the trap that any form of mental illness is nothing but a curse. But from my history, my past, my own experience of living with severe symptoms of mental illness I know it also has the ability to do something else. To move us back in to the truth of who we really are.  It comes to shake us up, to disrupt and it comes as a potent reminder that we are not living our life in the way that is true and meaningful for us. That something (or many things) within our body, mind and soul need our desperate attention. Mental illness is the sign that we have moved too far away from who we really ARE. It’s our higher self screaming at us for attention, forcing us into a stillness so that we can STOP and LISTEN to the only person that matters- OURSELVES.

In many cases the lower energies of ego have taken over and we have become disassociated and removed from the essence of who we really are. We hold on to pain (and find ways to numb) from our past without ever feeling and confronting it, we care too deeply about what others think of us, we try to fit in to society that focuses greatly on appearance/achievement/money, we live in our heads and fill our bodies with toxins and foods that do little to nourish and nurture our bodies, and we beat ourselves up for not being stronger/smarter/prettier/busier/more capable.

I had a long list of mental health diagnoses and I suffered immensely with severe depression, anxiety, mania, voices, PTSD symptoms, and suicidal ideation for over 2 years. My whole life fell apart in a way that I could never have imagined and I was forced to concentrate only on finding ways to stay alive- and that meant healing from within. There was no label, no tablet, no treatment program that was going to cure me. I was pulled apart and then I had to put myself back together in the way that felt true and right for me.  Nothing has ever scared me more and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel immense appreciation that I am now well. I have made a full recovery and I am now living my life in alignment with my true self. I struggled with some form of depression for 13 years, I have a long family history of depression. I know how easily I too could have been living the rest of my life managing these symptoms, relying on medication  or succumbing to suicide. To be living my life now medication and symptom free is nothing short of a miracle. I believe that its also a miracle that is available to so many others who are struggling with symptoms of mental illness.

I  believe that mental illness has many blessings, but I don’t believe we are supposed to live with it for the rest of our lives. Rather than looking at it as a curse, or something that is purely negative I believe we are being called to look at mental illness in another way. Perhaps as a valuable wake up call. An opportunity to investigate ourselves at a deeper level and to pull apart our lives so that we can make the adjustments and changes we need to move back into a way of living that is true for who we really are. To begin to live the life that you actually want to live, to find ways to re-open your heart and return to love, and to heal yourself from the pains of your past. A chance to un-learn all of the things you thought mattered and re-focus on what really matters. A chance to come back to the free soul that you once were and to let go of the restraints and constraints that others and society have placed on you.

Mental illness has so many complexities, and there are many people who have very strong opinions on how this should be managed. I too, have many thoughts related to the underlying causes of mental illness and alternative ways it can be treated and also prevented. I don’t pretend to have the answers for everyone, there is no right way or wrong way to go about healing yourself (and yes in many cases this means finding the RIGHT help), there is only the way that feels right for you. This is an opportunity to go deep within yourself, to begin to listen and unveil the real you, and to most importantly make peace with yourself and connect to your true SOURCE.

I know its possible to live the life you dream of living. I am proof. All you have to do is begin to believe that this is also a possibility for you.





Kylie West

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