The following is, as ever only my take on a certain aspect of life. However I have seen many posts and have received messages to my blog as to what this subject. It has been a concern of mine for a long time that generally Western Society does not effectively support people who undergo spiritual experiences.
I will not try and differentiate between mental illness and spiritual growth as that is beyond my remit and extremely complex. However it is worth bearing in mind that profound spiritual experiences have been a regular occurrence for people since time in creation.
One can only really speak of our individual experience with any true objectivity. Of course most of us agree on similar themes as our human senses incorporate our world in a non dissimilar manner.
However it seems to me that certain people ( be them described as empathic, HSP or simply sensitive) are able to sense certain energies outside of the perceived norm.
It seems it can take many guises e.g being able to feel other peoples or places energy, being able to communicate with spirits and the ability to heal energetically to name a but a few.
Along with these differing perceptions often comes a strong sense of spirituality. An awareness that there is more to the world than meets the eye.
This ‘ sensitivity ‘ leads can often lead some of us to experience a spiritual emergence or transformation.
This may be completely by accident, as a result of spiritual practice or by taking mind altering substances.
For instance, a spiritual emergency is described as a crisis often resulting in intense emotions, unusual thoughts and behaviors, and perceptual changes. This crisis often involves a spiritual component—such as experiences of death and rebirth, unity with the universe, and encounters with powerful beings. Such crises bring about the potential for profound psychological and spiritual change (Grof & Grof, 1989), but often appear to be similar to psychotic disorders.
As I myself found that if this occurs in one’s life, there is often no-one to turn to for support or guidance. Certainly trying to discuss it with friends and family was met with dismissal or avoidance ( understandably).
After some research I found that my experiences were not at all uncommon, however were still treated as mumbo jumbo by the medical field at large.
Fortunately there has been some progress in recent years in that there has become a growing awareness amongst some professionals. It is still a little sporadic but seems to be slowly gaining ground.
Therefore to conclude, if anyone you know seems to be experiencing something similar, at least offer a listening ear and support as it can be a very scary place to be.
There is a charity called Spiritual Crisis Network who can offer advice / support if necessary.
Sorry for the more ‘ informative ‘ type post but I feel some may find it useful.