I love your resilience and hard-won clarity. And that you’ve maintained a personal integrity in spite of or because of all you’ve endured.
I suspect our definition of and treatments (hospitals, therapies, meds) of what we call mental illnesses are terribly medieval, tho they’re what we have at the moment and something is better than nothing for folks struggling to cope. I’ve been fascinated reading eastern mysticism, New Age, and also what’s labeled “occult” studies of various concepts of self, mind, consciousness, phenomena of mind and spirit in this mysterious trip of life. We really have no idea who we are and what we’re about.
What some label schizophrenia another might consider divine or negative presencing from other realities! We still don’t fully understand what we label as schizophrenia. Only that it is very real to the person hearing voices. And what one culture would revere as traveling sages/saints/siddhas/saddhus who renounce attachments and possessions (and whose level of spiritual ‘attainment’ can involve special abilities) our western culture immediately lumps into one single category of mentally ill/homeless. And that other times and cultures would consider the mainstream western existence insane or insanity-provoking and certainly toxic on many levels, in spite of our advances.
I think other investigations and theories are also worth exploring – not being too fixed on our current western medical pathological models as the only explanation for nonmainstream experience and phenomena. Jeffery Mishlove, for example, explores paranormal fields of inquiry in his podcast New Thinking, and I find his interviews a wild and fascinating ride into less acceptable but plausible alternative theories in our human experience. He has a doctoral degree from the University of California in paranormal studies and talks with people attempting legitimate research and inquiry. Deva Brumi and Love Everyone are books I’m currently reading on Indian saints of our era. And a final quick example, Ayurveda has a completely different take on illness and well-being, far more holistic.
It’s humbling to read the varieties of human experience, including yours. The only thing I know is we really can’t judge, much less pity, what’s really going on.