Crazywise Transcript

 I feel like I'm working and fighting every single day    and I'm viewed as a complete bum.    That is my problem. I cannot tell anyone what's going on with me.    People will see me act quiet    and that's it. But what's happening in that quiet    is completely... it's just chaos.    I experience screaming voices.    I go into almost a paralysis from fear.    Just being absolutely exhausted and    frustrated and just tired of...    tired of everything. And just not wanting    to fight every single day.    People don't believe how insane I am.    At first it was human rights issues    that took me to tribal and indigenous    cultures around the world.    As a photographer, I wanted to bring viewers    face to face with the people who were struggling    to hold onto their unique way of life    and their traditional beliefs.    I became fascinated with the remaining    cultures, that commune with the spirits    of rivers, mountains, animals    and their ancestors.    While I was working in Northern Kenya    I met Sukulen. She was a -year-old mother    of five. When she was , she started hearing    voices and having visions, said she was feeling    terrified but her grandmother took her aside    and told her she had a very special    sensitivity and then helped    guide her through her crisis.    Today she is a highly respected healer    and predictor in her Samburu tribe.    Over the years I've met many people like    Sukulen who could be labeled as crazy in    our culture. But were seen as gifted in their own.    People who transform their mental and    emotional crises to become healers or    visionaries for their communities.    In the West, we often call them shaman.    And I began to wonder, could there    be something more to these experiences we call crazy?    When I was back home in Seattle, I met    a young man named Adam.    I was , it was four days after my    th birthday, I went nuts.    Very compassionate, be it animals, be it people    Uh, at a very early age, it just a really    a happy baby.    Absolutely amazing. He's the funniest guy    you'd ever know.    I don't know if you've seen that but hysterical.    Totally gifted athletically.    He rode a two wheel bike at two.    At five he got into karate.    He ended up as one of the youngest kids    to ever get a black belt. I think he got    that when he was .    So in high school when I met Adam,    I was , he was . He had a cool red    Jeep Wrangler, he wakeboarded and    he was really popular, outgoing, charismatic guy.    Uh, lots of friends and he was always    kind of challenging the status quo so to speak.    He just knew what I was thinking a lot.    He would, I could be thinking of something    completely random and he would know it and    tell me and I, I mean it would weird me out.    And I've heard that from multiple people too    Other friends of his.    I moved to Florida to pursue professional    wakeboarding. And in that period is when    I experienced that first depression.    July nd, . That was the date.    He started telling us a math equation that    would solve all the family's problems.    And it was a very simple one but it made    all the sense to him. Which of course, to    nobody else.    When it first occurred it was very fun    and exciting. It was just this total    shattering and my mind just opened.    and I started thinking of all these    different things.    And in that sense it was beautiful.    I found it was the first time I had ever    experienced a real connection to the universe.    Where I really felt like a part of this, that    I was this, this was me. It was    just like incredible.    Then I kept going and then I went way too far.    And then it got scary.    And it was terrifying.    Totally manic or totally depressed.    The rage that will occur in a manic episode    is so scary.    You know it's not who we knew as happy Adam.    Funny Adam. And then you had this Adam.    Like that.    I was surprised to learn how many people in    the US will suffer from a psychological    crisis in their lifetime.    And like many of the shaman I met, the crisis    happens mostly in their youth.    I met a young woman in New York    named Ekahaya who also had one of these    episodes in her s.    I didn't know what wash happening to me.    I felt like my whole world was just exploding.    Like I was going into a whole different    reality that that I knew nothing about.    I was very afraid to walk down the street    because I thought people were all focused on    me and judging me and I thought everybody knew    I had voices that would tell me to cut myself.    It was like the voices were taking control over me.    The visions were taking control over me.    I was very sensitive to music, to sounds...    I started to have very clear    visions of dead people like,    just appearing and watching me.    So I felt I had eyes watching me all the time.    I started to see my deceased father    and he would show up in my room    and really, it was the scariest thing that    I've ever experienced.    I literally locked myself in a room for months.    I took the lightbulb out of the    light fixture and I became completely    enclosed.    There was about a three day period of in    my room writing equations and finding God    in my notebook and then finally my parents    were like, what you doing? You know?    And then I checked myself into a mental institution.    That is not the place to get sane.    They put me in this holding room and there was    no door and there was a camera on the ceiling    and I was just laying on this bed    and this little girl walked into my room    and she was just staring at me. Just, with    this just blank bizarre stare and I kept    asking her to leave and she wouldn't.    And there's more, all these crazy people everywhere    and they were able to just come into my room    I immediately felt in danger and scared    and so I just decided NO    and we went back to my parents house and    just kind of tried to figure out what to do.    They put me on depakote and then that just    started the whole process of ope, no,    now he's crying all day, let's feed him this one.    Ope, no now he's barfing all day.    Feed him this one.    And we went from one doctor to another doctor    and one prescription to another prescription.    He was one every medication, I think, made for bi-polar.    And they always say well every brain    is different. Sorry if this makes you crap    your pants, maybe it will work,    maybe it will make you kill yourself.    I mean like the disclaimer    on these pills, that's typically the first side effect.    is suicidal thoughts. And that's what the    doctor is giving you to feel better.    I mean it's, its crazy.    Hearing of the struggles Adam and Ekhaya    were going through made me want to learn    more so I started interviewing experts    in the field of mental health.    In the United states we've come to believe    in the chemical imbalance theory of mental    disorders. So we believe that we have some    known deficiency with the neurotransmitter    and the drugs fix that like insulin for    diabetes. It was a valid hypothesis that    arose from understanding how the drugs    acted on the brain and then it was    investigated and found out basically not to be so.    I believe it. When I was a reporter I    wrote about it. How depression is due to    low ceretonin, schizophrenia is due to    too much dopamine and I called up some    top researchers and I said,    "I just want to see the research that says you found    that people with Schizophrenia had too much    dopamine or that you found that people    with depression have too little ceretonin" and I'll never    forget the answer. The answer was "well    we never found that. And I said, "what do    you mean you never found that?"    Oh it's just a metaphor but it's not really    true. Well not really. And I was stunned by that.    I am very much against the casual and    careless use of medication    that characterizes American society today.    These medicines are very,    very powerful in helping but they can be    very powerful in harming.    Often the withdrawal problems will be worse    than the original condition.    I can look at any clinic I've worked at and    If they've been at the clinic for  years,  years    they've been on every category of    anti-psychotic in the process. And the    truth is that they still have the same symptoms    they still have the same effects,    they are still operating at the same level. They    may have been hospitalized , ,  times    during that process.    We've been primed to believe that with    medical research, we can find the causes    of things and that we can create these magic    bullets that fix these problems.    So it fit into the larger story of medical    progress that we believe in.    We've been embracing this    paradigm of cure now for almost  years    and we've seen the burden go up and up and up.    And, if you have an effective medical    treatment for a disease, at the very least,    that burden of disease should    hopefully stay stable or even go down.    And we're seeing exactly the opposite.    I didn't know why I was here. I had no purpose    I didn't think I had any reason to breath,    I didn't feel deserving of love, of anything    The first suicide attempt was I took a    whole bottle of pills.    The second attempt was    me walking out of the house headed into    busy street traffic. I just wanted a car    to hit me or a truck or just something to just    take me out because this time I wanted    it to really work. I always felt like I was    the problem and if I could get rid of    the problem, everyone else would be OK.    I decided to try to get some kind of help    and I was in the hospital for about  weeks    and I was put on several different    medications, heavy drugs, anti-psychotics.    And it really changed who I was completely.    I had gained  lbs in the first two and    half months. I just felt drugged up.    I felt like a lab rat. And the side effects    were just awful. Absolutely awful.    Vomiting all day, I couldn't leave my house    for so long from just like these awful anxiety    attacks and like the thought of interacting    with people would make me sick to my stomach.    I was the only one who he could be around.    She basically terminated her job and made    it a full time responsibility to take care of him.    It took five or six years to get him where    he could go to work.    You go through the whole gauntlet    Um, from was I a good father?    Did I cause this? Did we do something as parents?    And the pain that you see him going through    and the inability to do anything to help it    are the toughest things.    I had no idea who I was. I lost myself,    my identity, my friends, my family.    I lost everything.    After four years of horrible side effects    Adam quit all his meds at once. Which    I've learned is a dangerous thing to do.    And then he did a ten day silent meditation retreat.    I went there a drug addict alcoholic that    hated everyone. And came back a sober    life loving vegan complete health nut.    Like, no one knew who I was.    There was an obvious major change in his    serenity and his peace of mind.    He quit everything. He was a smoker, a drinker    a pot smoking and the meds and he went to that    ten day meditation and went cold turkey on everything.    I can't believe he did that.    Looking back at it now, I really wish that    I would have known these things and tried    the homeopathic meditative approach first    but it was kind of like a panic I don't    know, put some medication in this kid    and just hope for the best.    While doing a human rights story on Tibet    I had the rare opportunity to witness    a young monk known as a Kuten go into    trance and channel the state oracle of Tibet.    The ceremony took place in a monastery near    the Dalai Lama's residence.    Shortly after they seated him, his eyes rolled back and    he began speaking in a high pitched voice.    Suddenly he collapsed and as they carried him out of    room I was left wondering, what happened?    Two days later I was invited to interview the Kuten.    His name was Thupten. He was  years old    at the time. He said he began having intense dreams    severe mood swings, hearing voices and thought    he might be dying. The older monks recognized    he had the potential to become a Kuten.    We're so locked into our mind and the rational world    and the scientific world that when we have a    spiritual experience, it can literally blow somebody's mind    and they don't know what to do with it.    And what's needed    instead of stigmatizing people, and giving them labels    is to give people tools to learn how to ground    and to work with these expanded states of conciousness    For some people, they can be an opening to    a deeper self understanding, to a deeper psychological    knowledge or to spiritual realms.    According to the research, the best place to be a    schizophrenic in the world is not North America with all    it's pharmacopia. It's actually a village in Africa    or India where there is acceptance, where people    make room for your differentness, where the connection    is not broken but is maintained. Where you're not    excluded and ostracized but where you're welcomed.    And where there's room for you to act out what you need    to act out or express what you need to express.    And where he whole community might sing with you    or chant with you or hold ceremony with you.    Maybe find some meaning in your quote on quote    craziness.    As our film progressed, we began hearing from people    who had identified themselves as survivors. Meaning,    survivors of our mental healthcare system.    Many had come out of the shadows of their diagnosis    and labels by meeting each other online to share their    experiences and to form support groups.    Will Hall is on the forefront of what is called    the recovery movement.    When I first was hospitalized I was feeling so desperate    that I wanted to die. I wanted to kill myself.    And I was hearing very aggressive voices and I    ended up walking to the Golden Gate Bridge and I    remember dragging my arm against the chainlink fence    and my fingers were bloody and    when I got to the bridge and I looked down    I really felt like I needed to end my life.    I felt like I was this complete failure.    So I was in really bad, bad shape and the mental health    system only made that worse. I went to the clinic    in San Francisco. My therapist had recommended    that maybe I should try different medications    and I was buzzed into the clinic.    And I didn't know what was coming but the door locked    behind me. It was like there was this wild animal that    they had captured and that they were evaluating it.    And I was put into restraints and I was not resisting    or arguing or being hostile.    Finally after doing all these tests the resident    psychiatrist who had been working with me came in and    sat down and said, "Ok Mr. Hall, we have your,    your results of these test, we have your diagnosis."    It was this very solemn, ceremonial moment.    And they said you have a severe mental illness.    You have a kind of schizophrenia called    schizoaffective disorder it combines    the criteria for schizophrenia with the criteria    for bi-polar disorder.    So it's kind of like this catch all diagnosis that's sort of    like winning the lottery of severe mental illness.    And they said, there's no cure, there's no cure for this.    You will be maintaining    yourself on medication, to manage your symptoms, we    really recommend that you re-think some of    your goals in your life.    That moment really was like casting a spell on me.    And they were in the process of transforming me    from an ordinary full human being into this second class    citizen of being a mental patient.    I interviewed a group of people that had been    diagnosed for their mental emotional distress.    And asked each of them what was your diagnosis?    Schizophrenia, schizotypal, schizoid personality um...    schizoaffective, bi-polar  and bi-polar .    ADD, dysthymia, depression and PTSD.    Borderline personality, they put autism, they    put uh, asbergers, they put uh, manic-depressive    I didn't think I was that.    Manic depression, bi-polar, bi-polar     and just the one time schizoaffective.    In the era of DSM, there were like  personality    disorders and, and I had eight of them    and, and uh, the perfectionist in me wanted to    try and get all .    I learned that all these diagnosis come from    a book called the DSM.    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.    Published by the American Psychiatric Association.    Over the years, the number of disorders has    increased dramatically with each new addition.    The problem with this advice is that it took    a number normal aspects of life and pathologized them.    Normal grief becomes major depressive disorder.    Um, over eating becomes binge eating disorder.    Temper tantrums become disruptive mood    disregulation disorder.    It's taking the experiences of every day life that are    unavoidable, part of the human condition    and turning them into medical disorders.    The diagnostic and statistical manual is basically    a sophisticated way of not listening to people.    You interview just so that you've heard certain key    words, you fit it into your framework    and then you have a whole    algorithm of treatments that you offer people    so that when your colleagues and supervisors    ask you what are you doing to this person,    you're following the protocol.    If we used all these psychiatric tests,    on the healthy population I doubt that anyone would    avoid to get at least one diagnosis.    We think there are people who are normal over here    and then there is the pathological ones who have    depression, or anxiety, or addiction, or schizophrenia,    bi-polar disorder, ADHD or any other known conditions.    What I see is a continuum.    These traits to one league or another    are present in almost everybody.    And it's a mythology to think that there is    the normal and then there's the abnormal.    Three months into our filming, Adam asked to be interviewed.    He'd just started his fourth -day meditation retreat    and painful childhood memories began coming up.    When he went to the retreat leaders and revealed    his mental health history they decided    it was best for him to leave.    The first time I went to the Vipassana center,    I had a memory of when I was really young    and just being in a bathroom.    It was involving a relative,    I'm just like dancing around what...    I was molested as a child.    And it was involving a relative.    Once I realized that my grandfather had    molested me, I went to speak to my parents    and they didn't believe me.    I'm losing my house, I'm losing my job    and I just walked away from all my bills,    just looking into the abyss    and that's when I began believing that my mother    molested me, my father molested me.    My mind, I think couldn't handle it anymore.    So if I have an unusual way of feeling and    my emotions are really big and I'm having a hard time    and my culture and my family doesn't support that,    I can go off into a really isolated way    and become very, very disturbed.    Alienated, isolated, more chaotic, more rigid.    and you give me a label. And then we look at someone    whose mind, that is there thoughts, their feelings,    their behavior, is off. And then we say "oh, they    have a bad brain" and then either you isolate them    because you're afraid of them or you give them    pills or whatever you do, and medications are sometimes    essential, but if you don't first start with the communities    of support then of course the brain is going to stop    functioning so well. Because the brain is a social organ.    Relationships are just as important as brain processes    and I feel very deeply that if we could make    that clear to everyone, we could have a shift in how    we actually take care of each other.    This is myself and my best friend Mya    and she was a huge part of my life.    Someone that I could trust and we lived together,    we moved to New York together.    We wrote together, we sung together, we managed    an art gallery together, we created a business together    so we were very much a part of each other's lives.    During one of my lowest points, she didn't quite    understand what was happening.    When I look at her, this is not the person that    I had originally met and then she was on medication    when she was in that hospital and it was changing her.    By my analysis and I may be clearly wrong,    but I felt like she was being very manipulative.    There was a day where she got out of the hospital    and I met her and I gave her money for travel and I    put her in a cab, I took her to lunch, and she was    supposed to go to kind of like a group home    and she attempted suicide again.    I couldn't be a crutch for her anymore and for a year    I didn't speak to her.    And that was one of the    hardest things I've ever done as a friend.    I think it broke her heart too.    I called her and I was experiencing some issues and    really depressed and I was like you know    I don't feel like I can live anymore.    And she told me to get over myself.    And, I just want to say    I mean we've reconciled our relationship    and she's back in my life    and we've talked about this    and we've healed over these things    but that is the worst thing that you can say to someone.    Another friend of mine understood what    I was going through.    I remember actually talking to her on the phone and    talking to her in person and smiling a lot    with her and saying this is not a break down, this    is a break through. It's kind of like literally    breaking down a wall and going through another    path to be that person that you're going to be.    and being willing to accept that people are going to    reject you on some level. Your own family,    your friends, the, and you know, I again I    connected with that. I myself had attempted suicide    probably  or  times in my life time and it took    me some time to figure out that that feeling inside    was about not wanting to be here the way that I was here.    Not not wanting to be here.    We don't have enough people in our lives    to look at it differently from a peer perspective and    say you know, I have been through this,    I know where you are.    I have actually experienced myself    Someone that hasn't had an experience    it's very, very hard for them to see through it.    Sometimes the music she's just like a lover    she'll try to lead you astray.    I've been living in my car for three months.    Or a little over three.    I have incredible people in my life    and right as I lost my family, I found a brand    new one that is incredible.    This place, Soul Food family.    They are amazing. It is jut a beautiful    community of open minded, loving people.    I think a lot of people would say that    Adam was broken and I don't view it that way.    I think our culture is broken, not Adam.    We say "there's something wrong with you"    instead of actually addressing the fact that as a society    we don't have the skills to be able to support    somebody like that.    It makes your really wonder what the    mantis really wanted when she ate her lover after    sex in the garden. Did you think she missed him at all?    Oh did she miss him at all?    He seems to tune right into what people are feeling.    I don't think he knows how to to not feel it for them.    I think he'd be a great psychologist maybe someday or    work with kids and he doesn't need to end up    in the back of a car.    Guess I'll never know... oh, oh.    Being here and finding that love and comfort and    just the acceptance saved me.    Without that, with just being in your    head having nothing other than rejection to    what you're experiencing going on    is absolutely maddening.    One of the problems in this industrial society    is that the so called normal people, they don't    want to admit that they are psychotic, actually.    This is, we live in a psychotic society, I'm sorry, we do.    And what is meant by psychotic, out of touch with reality.    Where does somebody who is in this delicate state    your know, their inner process,    they're sent to prison, they're sent to jail,    they're sent to a psychiatric ward or    they're chemically incarcerated or they're homeless.    I'm not against medications, I'm not against hospitals    I'm not against doctors, I know may people who have    benefited by medications but we have a one size fits    all framework. We think that the issue is biological,    the solution is medical and pharmaceutical and we see it    as objective science. It's not objective science.    Most non-Western cultures, it's assumed that people    hear voices or they have very unusual beliefs    there's meaning to those experiences.    Only in the Western world have we developed    this bizarre idea that hearing voices and    having strange ideas has no meaning at all.    Um, it's just a symptom of these imagined    illnesses that biological psychology has actually created.    While mentoring young photographers    on the Navajo Nation, I met Morgan Yazi    he said he had been having dizzy spells and    hallucinations in his s but tried to ignore them.    They started to happen more frequently until he    finally had what he called stroke.    His friend Sam Begay,    a medicine man did a ceremony for him and told    Morgan he was ignoring a calling.    A calling to be a medicine man.    And I've heard this several times before.    If you ignore the calling,    there's good chance that you could get sick    and possibly die.    Many say it's a transformation waiting to    happen that has to be dealt with.    I couldn't go into the bathroom to shower because    people were smoking crack.    I felt like I was about to harm myself again and    I didn't want that so I called the    nurses' station and one of the nurses    said come back, come back and um, we'll help you.    I had an intake with the psychiatrist at the emergency    room and after him questioning me and seeing my    records and seeing that I had been in the hospital    for already  weeks,    he didn't believe me.    He said I'm going to send you home,    that you don't need to be here.    I walked out of the emergency room door,    I had just filled a prescription bottle of anti-psychotic pills    and right outside of the hospital    I took all the pills in the bottle.    When I woke up I was strapped to a bed.    When I opened my eyes,    I was like, how am I here?    Why am I still here?    I couldn't believe it.    But I am very, very grateful for that moment    because that's the moment    I knew that there was purpose for my life    there was reason, I didn't know it. But I knew    that there was some higher being, some higher    being, some higher force that wanted me to be alive.    And I knew I that I had to find it.    Born and raised in the city of rain and    life's rain and it's pouring, it's not letting up.    Soaked to the core but I'm...    Ever since I can remember with Adam    meeting him when I was in high school is    his confidence that was what made him very    popular and people love to have him around    because he was free to be him.    and I say thank you,    to the sunshine, thank you to the rain,    thank you to the good times    thank you to the pain.    And then I went into the army at  and that's when    we lost touch.    I just heard it through friends that something    happened to Adam and they said he was crazy    and they put him in the hospital and I didn't really    know what was going on but I was worried for him.    to the sunrise... to the sand    We started hanging out more and meditating together.    And at that time I was in a very dark place    and the things that he told me about meditation    in the quieting of your mind and in going to that    still place because of the experiences I had at war,    I was open. At this point part of me still thought of him    as unstable, you know. That he was as the doctors    diagnosed him, he was using meditation as a means    to cope with that.    and I say thank you to the sunshine    thank you to the rain. Thank you.    I would be like, well he may be crazy or not    but I'm still his friend    and I'm going to talk him through this.    But in going along process of    feeling that I was helping him    I realized that he was actually helping me.    In the shamanic traditions you're not ever completely    healed until you become a healer yourself.    It's the way of the wounded healer,    and as you heal yourself,    what has been before a great source of pain and    suffering, now becomes a source of compassion.    There are people who have gone through    psychotic episodes, can come out the other end    and say, that changed my life.    Those openings, or those things    that we call psychotic breaks    you know, I think why can't it be seen as a great    blessing that I open to something far greater that    was a holy blessed moment that released either the    angels or the demons so that I could access the deeper    essence of who I really am.    The Buddha wouldn't have been enlightened.    Jesus wouldn't have been Jesus without    going into the desert for  days.    There's a kind of arc or narrative that wants to    unfold in the psyche and if an individual is given    proper support, um a person can actually    reconstruct their life at a higher level.    I saw a flier about Baltic Street, it said it was for    people who had experienced emotional struggle,    and had mental health issues.    I went there and I met a beautiful, beautiful group    of people. And these people were telling me their story    and asked me what was happening with me and my    experience and there I was able to record in their studio    and get back to song writing and making my music.    I did some painting. I really got int touch with myself again.    It was like the first time that I was able to feel    myself through the cloud of the medication.    Going to their support groups, I met a lady who    offered to interview me for a job that was    coming up, they hired me for the position.    It was part time starting out and then about    two months later they hired me on full time.    For people diagnosed with schizophrenia,    if we take a Western construct for a second,    the average recovery in the Western world    with all of our sophisticated diagnoses    and medications and huge, highly paid experts    is about one third.    The recovery rate in the developing world    is about two thirds on average.    I find that kind of interesting.    How mental illness is constructed in different places    in the world is very, very different.    I believe myself, if I hadn't chosen to live in Nepal    I probably would have been medicated or institutionalized.    I knew for myself that I couldn't be in a society    or a culture that was high paced.    I needed to move down slower. So it was easier    for me by being an anthropologist    creating a lifestyle where I could be out in villages    on agricultural time. Not on industrial time.    I met a lot of people who might have seemed crazy    by our concepts of mental health.    There's something over there that's called "crazywisdom"    In Tibetan medical tradition, illness is not just an    individual, it's something larger and it's related    to the environment so when we start    to lose that connection with the environment    in a very deep way, I think other illnesses start to    manifest.    Mengatohue is known a powerful shaman    and the leader of the Huaorani tribe in    the Ecuadorian Amazon.    As hunter gatherers, an intimate    connection to nature is critical to their survival.    This is the root of this tree the um, this is    somewhat of a grass that is growing up the    trail here. And evidently there is a fruit of    another plant in this case it's for respiratory problems.    How they came upon this by trial and error over,    over the centuries I guess is quite amazing.    Every five to seven days, Mengatohue goes into    trance and takes on the spirit essence of the jaguar.    It's a process called shape shifting that he uses    to guide his people.    At the time I looked at this with curiosity and skepticism.    Now I wonder if these rituals could be a metaphor    that helps the tribe connect to nature in a    very deep and spiritual way.    They're not free of mental health issues and not    everyone that has a crises becomes a shaman.    But they often believe that non-ordinary states    like hearing voices or having visions indicate    the person in crises has a special sensitivity.    A sensitivity that can actually be a gift to the community.    Then they give that person guidance,    meaning and purpose.    I believe that is something we can learn from.    Oh my god.    Adam flew back to Seattle the next day    and Ron offered to let him live in his garage.    They turned on you? One of them?    Yeah, they all just started hitting me like,    all from, like every side of me.    I dropped to the ground and just shielded myself    and told them that I didn't want to fight them.    And they continued just to beat me.    And one of them picked up, I guess a rock, that was    guessed to be the same size as my own head    and just picked it up over his head    and just spiked it down on my face.    And it fractured my jaw in half right here.    Just totally, all the way to the teeth just separated this.    And after they smashed the rock on my face then    I guess one of them was coming at me    with a knife to stab me.    While I was unconscious,    my friend Rico shielded my body with his own.    We were sitting on Baby Beach in Lahaina.    We had a fire going, we weren't supposed to have a    fire going. It was magical place for a minute and    everyone just went in the circle of sharing how    they ended up being homeless right next to me.    It was amazing to hear    how broken all of these people were.    And how broken I was. And that that was what    brought us together and    what was making us all stronger    and it was just truly incredible.    These people that had absolutely nothing    were the people that were helping me.    The following day after being assaulted,    my mother called me to tell me that she had    terminal cancer and was going to pass soon    and so that was incredibly devastating.    I can't be there for her.    I wish that I could and I want to you know love her the    best way I know how, but without    my family's acceptance    I have nothing to give them because I literally can't.    There is so much about me that is not    accepted in my family. The majority of what makes    me who I am is not accepted.    Take medication, you're crazy.    That's all they will say to me.    Often families would come and they would have an    education on what the symptoms of bi-polar disorder    are for example or they would    know the symptoms for schizophrenia.    But they weren't educated on seeing the strengths    in their relative and noticing the things that their    relative is really great at and pointing those out.    They weren't educated on how to have hope for recovery.    There's sort of a continuum of involvement    there's like, neglect on one end of the continuum    and then there's over protect    on the other end of the continuum.    And sometimes the families kind of    oscillate between the two so,    they'll be really protective, over protective,    over protective.    No you must do this, you must take your meds,    you must, all these ideas of what everything    their relative needs to do to stay well    and it's just you know, big eruption,    so much fighting, crises and they just    swing to neglect. And it's human nature. It's frustration,    it's a lot of things but then neglect is like    "You know what, you figure it out.    I'm done, get out of my house.    You just figure out this whole thing yourself.    I'm not doing this anymore."    They want to fix that person they love    but they don't know how.    Because in fact, it's not easy    and there is no obvious answer.    We don't do this in isolation. We do this in relationship.    Healing is about relationship    with our psyche and with each other    with the natural world.    Being socially marginalized and psychologically    vulnerable is usually characterized in the West    by lots of suffering.    This is in Kindergarten.    Although I'm smiling in my eyes I see sadness because    this was around the time that my father started    molesting me. So it's a bittersweet picture.    I was really confused about the world,    about adutls    There was a time when my mother    dealt with the situation and took me to the    precinct to speak to the police about what had    happened but you know my father denied everything and you    know, it was just swept under the rug and my mother    let me go back to him after he molested me.    And she even married him later in her life. Again.    So I felt really betrayed.    You know I was always wearing a mask.    You know, I was smiling just    pretending to be happy.    To be what everbody expected me to be.    It begins with the denial of childhood trauma.    In our whole culture, which then shows up in the    medical profession.    When I was in the hospital, I was asked about my    family history of mental illness, but what I was    asked about was about the presumed genetic origins.    I was never asked about the violence and abuse    and the history of trauma that I had been through    and that my family has been through.    When I was a beginning psychiatrist, there was still    kind of a two schools, there was the uncovering    and the covering. Covering was used as suppression    of symptoms, the uncovering was you do something,    some process of psycho therapeutic process    depth psychology and so on.    Trying to go to the core, to the underlying reason    And now what we see more and more for a    variety of reasons not the least of which is the    influence of the pharmaceutical companies,    you see more and more a shift to try to solve everything with    this with this suppression of symptoms.    What become suppressed is our authenticity, our emotions.    And then we become  and  or ,  and    we don't know who we are.    And somebody asked us what we feel and you say,    I have no idea. So then, it becomes not our first    nature but our second nature to suppress our feelings    to lose touch withourselves    and to suppress our gut feelings. And then    we pay the cost later on in the form of addictions,    mental illness or any range of physical illnesses.    This photo was a beautiful, beautiful time.    I had just given birth, I was married    and I was just so happy.    I had custody of my children and it was a lot    of pressure for me now being single and so    I became really, really depressed again.    I started to treat my children differently.    I always wanted to be the best    mother I could be. So when I found myself doing things    like yelling and lashing out, it wasn't right    and I became depressed and I said, I have to leave.    I have to get away. Because they don't deserve this.    Living in the car, I mean it's nice I have my own little    meditation pod.    I think a lot of people would imagine this    to be miserable but it's not that bad.    Like, this was given to me, this car was given to me.    It's so hard to even figure out if I should complain    or celebrate.    I wake up and meditate and try and get over whatever    nightmare I woke up into.    The voice in my head that tells me to kill myself,    to kill other people    it's just chaos.    I walk to town and hopefully sell weed.    It's about three miles to Soul Food I guess.    And that helps me ground and breath and gets my heart up.    Go and try to get what I need to survive,    and then come back.    I'm amazed that I am alive for how close I was    to jumping off of a balcony.    Three years ago I was completely sober, vegan    didn't smoke. And active. I mean, it's, it's    And now, how would you describe yourself?    Just a shit show. Like, an alcoholic, a drug addict    a nicotine fiend.    malnourished and crazy.    Adam is not alone. Many of our homeless    are struggling emotionally and it seems our    jails have become our new asylums.    A prison bed can be $-$, a year.    It's more expensive to put someone in prison    than Harvard tuition. It's much less expensive to    provide housing and to provide adequate treatment.    The best place to handle psychiatric problems is    in the community. And the problem was that    the funding for all this has just disappeared.    This is the one business where we're supposed    to be spending time with people.    The king pin is talking and understanding, and learning    and listening.    If you talk to patients, for example with schizophrenia,    And although they might tell you many strange things    that they might think they are Napoleon or Jesus,    if you show them respect and talk to them, it has an effect.    They need less medications,    they need less forced treatment.    The solution that is offered by our society is a bandaid.    It really isn't a lasting solution.    During the time we've been filming Adam, he was trying    to qualify for any type of housing    through various local and state agencies.    But up to this point, he'd been unsuccessful.    Just because there's a violent image or a violent    words doesn't necessarily mean that the person is    actually going to do something,    That the behavior is going to result.    That's a conclusion that we jump to.    The truth is that somebody with schizophrenia is far    more likely to be a victim of violence than perpetrated.    I have had a serial killer in my head.    I feel like what I'm experiencing    is the integration of a fragmented    personality that I've had my entire life.    It's like I'm waking up the forgotten me.    And it's the scariest thing in the world.    I rarely express even to myself when these thoughts    occur, I suppress them.    And this side of you over here is the happy Adam,    the part that everybody loves that helps them    with this or that.    He lives here.    He lives in your heart.    yeah.    And then the shadow is up here.    By the time my heart gets over here,    it says some crazy things.    And they scare you.    Yeah, I actually force myself to listen to it    and write it.    And I would like to read that.    Wake the fuck up cock sucker. Wake the fuck up.    I wish you were dead. I will fucking kill you and    everyone that you think you know.    This is the place where evil thrives.    Fucking kill yourself. You need me.    Your father hates you. You betrayed me. I leave you    alone for two fucking minutes and you get fucked.    Literally. You pathetic incompetent fuck.    How the fuck can I trust you?    I am the only one with any fucking balls.    Step down and I will show you what pain is.    I don't want to read any more of this.    Adam, had he'd had the same experience in an Eastern    culture where there's mentors and shamans,    he might have had his experience formulated    in a completely different way.    He might have been told he was gifted with sight    but that that sight needs to be employed and    deployed within a certain tradition.    Where there is teaching and there's guidance.    Because it's too much for the individual ego to handle.    Now, in the Western world, there is no such    framework for that.    I met Namid in the very remote Darhad Valley.    At , she had an active healing practice    working day and night, seeing people one after    another during the time I stayed with her.    One night while going into trance to help a woman    who was having trouble in her pregnancy,    she collapsed.    Then she got up and kept going.    When she as about  or  she started    having intense dreams, hearing voices and    feeling confused and frightened.    She would often go into the forest alone    and be gone for days.    And her parens were extremely worried.    Her grandfather who was a shaman    recognized these traits in her and began mentoring her.    While making Namid's portrait the next morning and    looking into her face, I thought of her devotion    to her patients and how much time and energy    she gave as a healer.    I was reminded how important our    relationships are to the healing process.    Peers are taught to meet other peers where they're at.    And a lot of time in other medical or clinical settings,    you have this hierarchy. But in peer work    it's almost like talking to a friend.    It's like saying, I've been through this,    what have you been through?    Share your story with me.    I really truly value my life now. And I have a focus    and awareness that I didn't have before.    What we're seeing happen in the US and internationally    is a grassroots democratization of mental health.    We have lost touch in our medical system    from some of the simple needs that people have for connection.    The simple needs that people have for community.    And because the mental health system isn't providing it    people who have been in the system    are starting to provide it for ourselves.    Today's session is about finding    strength after trauma.    As a survivor of childhood trauma, as someone    who was sexually abused by a family member I can    say I am a survivor of trauma, you know, of trauma    and I know that I am not alone.    It's very, very important that we have storytelling    from people who've lived through psychosis and    who have discovered alternatives to medications    and alternatives to diagnosis    because that's really the expertise.    Your story's important. You are unique.    Own your title, "trauma survivor". Find your strength.    Come on Apple...    My mother, now she's facing death, me sharing my    spiritual side with her, it was, she was open to it.    And it was amazing and she really did listen    to me and it was one of the first times    in so long that I had been able to share my heart    with someone in my family.    It's been really intense on the family,    It's been really intense on me.    I see the death of my mother being a catalyst    to bring a whole lot of necessary love and    appreciation into my family.    And that was what she was about.    The first time I was diagnosed insane,    I had something to say.    And I look back at the things I had to say    And I don't think any of it is insane.    It's a very damaging thing to be able to not be able to    trust your own perspective.    when you can't do that, that really fucks you up.    What we do in the West is to constrain individuals.    People start to manage your experience at a level    which takes your agency away.    Robs you of your autonomy,    makes you feel like they don't trust you.    That's not what you want to do.    Once I internalized the "mentally ill identity"    Once I came to see myself as having this disease    living in side of me, I stopped trusting    in my intuition because it was sick.    The only way to find myself again and to get    back to an authentic sense is self is to feel this    and to listen to it and to explore it and    to not be afraid of it. So that's what I started to do.    I traveled to the Amur River in Eastern Siberia    where the word "shaman" originated.    There I met Lindsa.    A very respected healer for over  years.    She was forced to practice in secret for decades until    the Soviet Union collapsed in  and was just one of    two remaining shaman in her Nanai culture.    Nine year old Sascha is Lindsa's neighbor in their village.    Her grandmother told us that Sascha has    fainting spells and hears voices.    Both considered signs of shamanic potential.    Unfortunately, just three weeks    after my visit, Lindsa passed away    leaving Sascha without a mentor.    At the time it seemed I was witnessing the    disappearance of an age-old tradition    in this corner of Siberia.    However as I later discovered Shamanism    is re-emerging in very unexpected places.    Ekhaya met a South African Shaman    known as a Sangoma    living in Baltimore and began working with her.    She told me that I was called to be a healer, a shaman.    And I had been feeling that inside of me and a lot    of times we need confirmation and so that was in my    absolute, as soon as she said that I was in tears.    She said, her exact words were,    "you should be doing what I'm doing"    You know, "you have priesthood responsibilities.    you should be doing what I'm doing."    I get on a packed bus for a four hour trip to    Baltimore, Maryland where my Baba is, my teacher.    And during that time I'm just really meditating    and just preparing myself for everything because    it is a lot of intense work.    Beautiful work but very intense work.    The Sangoma training involves humbling yourself    completely to your teacher and to your ancestors.    What you have to do as a Twaza is submit    yourself. Your ego, all of your beliefs, you have to    sit on the floor. You have to eat with your hands,    you have to surrender to your ancestors.    A Twaza is an initiate to become a traditional    South African healer.    During slavery we lost a lot of who we were.    But what you can't take from a person is what's    in their blood. So if it's in your blood it's    going to be in you. The only way that she recieved    the calling is because someone in her family    was a traditional South African healer.    Her ancestors that are in her blood, that they are saying    "wake up, wake up," they are waking her up to them.    To say "you are our child and    this is how we want you to live".    At the start of my initiation, I experienced all    of the problems that I was having, all of the    anxieties and depression and I was being pushed    And I hurt. And I cried. And my body ached.    The medications drown you out. They mask you, they    put a fog over your problems and you really aren't    in touch with yourself.    You don't feel things.    I've had to face all my fears,    All the things that made me upset and angry.    All the people that I've hurt. I've had to face it and    be with it before I was able to release it and let it go.    Adam started turning a corner    and moved into an apartment with a friend.    It had been three long years since he was turned    away from the meditation center    and alienated from his family.    I had an opportunity for about a year to be an    autistic counselor and that was really powerful for me.    I know that music therapy is a practice that    more and more people are looking into.    Maybe I should be one of those people?    My mind was just interpreting everything as hate    and rape and that's all it knew at that point    and that's what became this evil personality    in my head that has gotten a lot better.    Actually my dad just called me before this interview    and was saying, he originally just wanted to be    by himself and now he wants to come hang out.    I think he's coming over here    We're going to have beers.    Merry Christmas. That makes me so happy.    That's magic. Now he's coming over to my place.    I have a place for my dad to come over to.    And he's down, and he's actually down to talk to me.    Ekhaya has come a very long way.    When she first came to me she was very unstable.    All over the place, not sure of herself, confused    and just not clear about who she was.    I felt like, ok finally, I know why I'm on this earth.    I know why I'm so sensitive to all these things    and energies. I understand why I have visions now.    I understand and you know, I had to go find it.    You tell your therapist of your psychiatrist and they say    you're ill. They say you have borderline personality disorder,    you have chronic depression and these are    the drugs that you need to take.    This is what's going to help you    but nobody told me this is a spiritual matter.    And you are gifted and now it's time for you    to hone these gifts.    And it was just so amazing    I'm so grateful because it has changed my life.    I know who I am without a doubt,     percent I know who I am.    And it is the best feeling ever.    I have a purpose and I have a reason to live    and the reason is the best reason that god could ever give.    It's to help humanity, help other people that have    experienced the things that I have experienced.    To connect with earth, to connect with this universe.    It is magical. And I am so grateful.    It's part of being human to    discover meaning in our tragedies.    To discover meaning and    purpose in the pain that we go through and to look    beyond the specific suffering that we are going through    and fit it into the the larger story of our lives.    That's just human.    If you asked anyone how they    survived an extreme tragedy in their life,    most people are going to put spirituality    at the center of what helped them.    That's there's no difference    for mental health problems.    We have to recognize that people's    spiritual beliefs and their spiritual resources    and their religion are often central to what give    them the strength that give them to make it through.    The paths are many, some find it through religion,    sometimes religion is an obstacle to that.    In fact often it is but it may be a conduit to it    as well depending on who and how and where.    There's this spiritual nature that if we ignore    we're actually ignoring an essential part of ourselves.    Human beings have certain needs for meaning.    For contact, for community, for acceptance.    For authenticity which is our capacity to feel    what we feel and to be in touch with our bodies.    And to express what we feel when we need to.    In the shamanic traditions, there are maps, and    there are compasses that you can use to guide    you through your night of the soul so you're    encouraged to explore the depths of the psyche    with all the despair and suffering and to not    get stuck there.    To use it as some point of initiation to    open you up to lucidity and a sense of personal destiny.    There is something so magnificently touching and    moving to see how people handle trauma because    you see the splendor of the human spirit for    those who don't allow themselves to be    victimized but become stronger and    more committed to making sure    it doesn't happen to someone else.    What I would like to see is    that everyone who goes through    the kind of crisis that I went through is given an    opportunity to explore what it might mean.    To present them with the possibility that maybe    it's not just a broken brain.    Maybe it's not just an illness,    maybe, and this is not just    something to hide and be ashamed of.    Maybe it's something to explore and learn from.    The film process has been a perfect    storm of everything that scares me.    The interactions with an older male and also the    just the experience of cameras, of invasion, of allowing,    sharing every, every aspect of this has been like a    a perfect thing for me to get over trauma in my,    or seeing it later, it has been terrifying in every way    but it's also been healing.    Phil has helped me so much,    someone coming to me with an honest curiosity    about my situation instead of an opinion.    I hope this film ends up showing people    that they are OK.    What helps all of us stay well?    Well it's shelter, it's exercise, it's good food, it's    meaning in life, it's socialization    and that immediately breeds    a sense of optimism,    a sense of hope that you can have a    breakdown but you can recover from that with the right    sort of environmental care.    How do we as a society provide those things to people?    How do we build up that foundation and not just put a    bandaid over it but to really build    a healthier society for ourselves?    I just think it's really important for people to find    some spiritual path. It doesn't have to be shamanism.    It could be yoga, it could be Tai Chi,    it could be meditation,    some spiritual path that opens people up to their    own creative impulse, into their own spiritual power.    There are millions of varieties of therapy and    alternative, holistic treatments but in the mental health    system, really all we offer is traditional psychotherapy    kind of stuff and drugs.    Now is the time for us to be pressing for alternatives    for new ways of looking at things.    For funding peer support groups    for getting options out there,    for bringing the holistic medicine framework into    mental healthcare.    Bring them out of the closet and that'll    help fuel a movement that says we're out here,    we're not alone and then we can    build a movement that can make change happen.    I want to apologize to my children.    Because of my depression, because of being, you know,    without shelter sometimes, I abandoned them for    months at a time. I wouldn't call, I wouldn't be in contact.    They wouldn't know what was going on with me.    I'm so blessed that their step-mother even called me    one day and said, hey we have space for you,    how about you come out to California?    It's a miracle, you know to be in a space where I can    come and co-parent with my children and that all    three parents in the household can get along and    agree to do our best for our children.    I've been away from my children for  years.    The suffering that they've been through you know, I have to    have complete compassion for that and it's    going to take time for us to build up a certain level    of trust.    She's a very different type of person.    But different in a good way.    What she's been going through this process, she's    been away from like, technology and everything else    that other people have been around. I think it gave her    time to find herself and figure out who she really is.    Miles did come to me and asked,    "Mom, what is it that you do?"    And I said, "Honey, I help people heal.    I help people get better."    The fact that I falsely accused    my father of molesting me    and the fact that he was able to forgive me    and still have love for me, it's just incredible to me.    I spent a lot of time screaming, punching things,    and just letting out pent up emotions,    crying, the whole spectrum and the more that I would    do that, the less intense those voices were becoming    I just really had to let it all out and not judge myself for it.    If my mom were here right now, she would be so happy.    The garden was something that was her focus.    I mean when she passed away our family was in    shambles. And if she's somewhere right now,    she's smiling.    While following Adam and Ekhaya's stories, I often    thought of the transformational process that takes place in    indigenous and shamanic cultures.    And I wondered, what if a mental health crisis    was viewed as a potential growth experience    instead of a disease with no cure?    What if everyone was supported and guided to seek    meaning and purpose in their suffering?    If we took more time to be with and listen to those    considered to be mentally ill, we might find there's    a relationship between Crazy and Wise.    I pretended to intent this moment    in attendance forgot yet again ascension, remembrance,    remember to forget. The graces of not yet.    I agree to see what, I agree to be    my moment of attention free of what you mention.    To be my deficit won't pay you attention,    you won't make sense of it.    All that I may give to you you take one less of it.    What it is you hear, see or feel, a reminder    of who and what you view to be real.    How you feel, don't pay me your    retention, I'll do you the same.    Appreciate the fires and the visual flames making sparks    within the dark for residual gain.    Make the fire grow higher in original names.    I am me, you are too, I am you who is who.    I am we. I am free.    Well actually ADD is what you may be and I faithfully    read the DSMD and it's been telling me that your sights    are unfit to see so I'll get paid to, yes paid to oversee    your baby test rat medicated slavery.    The only escape now is obey me.    So look, watch me pull this rabbit from this hat    look away and look back. Not there? Imagine that.    And we take notice one hour segments of your    deepest darkest secrets, on file we will keep it    you'll be shaking cold feetless in a permanent mental winter    where we'll leave this.    I could have a problem if a problem was a problem to me.    This less than perfect life is exactly what I need.    I could have problem if a problem was a problem    to me, this less than perfect life is exactly what I need.    This less than perfect life is exactly what I need.    This less than perfect life is exactly what I need.