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  • When I look back at my life, I have suffered – until now – from 3 chronic illnesses. First my Depression that started around my first menstruation, with 13 years old. Even though later I became a psychologist myself it took me more than 20 years to recognize that I simply was depressed, not all the time, but for long periods. It was a huge shock, when the psychiatrist told me and also a relief: I was NOT crazy, the strange thing that befell me for weeks in a row had a name and a thing that has a name can be explored and somehow dealt with. I did not find the psychiatrist until I was so desperate that I wanted to kill myself. Medication brought me back to myself and has saved my life and now, after Menopause asnd maybe some internal steps of recognizing my Ego, I have told you, I have been living without medication for 6 years now.

    My second chronic illness is Retinitis Pigmentosa, which means going blind slowly. Strangely, I was diagnosed shortly after letting go of Psychopharmaka. But really, I do not know if this is related. I wonder today, though, if slowly going blind and not knowing about this, was at least one cause of my bouts of Depression throughout my life: the brain does notice that something does not function well, that it feels more insecure in the world, more in danger, falling out of the world – or at least that is the fear, daily life turns much more stressful than it is for “normal” people, under stress the brain can react with Depression. But: I will never know if this is true, either.

    My 3rd chronic illness is the alcoholism of my husband. I am married for 37 years. My husband is talented, a great businessman, photographer, father and husband, but when he falls into his bouts of extremely heavy drinking, his shadow appears. We have been separated for 3 yuears 10 years ago. After I returned to him, he made great efforts, but never ever succumbed to therapy or AA. So, recently he drinks more often and I am the wife of an alcoholic. Right now I am living in a room in my hotel, which he luckily created. I am fine, my life is full, even with bad eyesight I can still do much, mostly listen to others. I have many projects…

    But: with all these 3 chronic illnesses I have been through stages of severe self – blame, self – doubt and self – hate, through a lot of therapy and quite some meditation. I guess I can say that I have grown and my own suffering does help me to be what I would call a fairly good therapist and friend. But I doubt I am in Stage 5. Basically stages change all the time and often within one day. I deeply long for a spiritual or what I call a mystic experience, but my encounters with alternative medicine and shamans – here and vack in Germany – have been BAD. I consider myself a scaptic and agnostic and what most convinces my brain is Existencialism. But then I do feel the yearning: feeling ONE with Creation even with all the pain in it. I can THINK Oneness scientifically, but mostly do not feel it emotionally. In my deepest Depressions many years ago, when I could not sleep for many weeks, I went out into the moonlit garden and called for God, but he did not come, instead I felt absolute loneliness and how I am forever separate from the tree, the moon, the flower, the Source…

    So, I cannot really say that I am spiritual. I do and like my Buddhist practice, because Buddhism – at least the modern Western kind – allows for doubt and does not make predictions about life after death and such things, it is constantly concentrating on Here and Now and a Zen Buddhist resembles an Existencialist in that he also would say that maybe there is no meaning in life and it does not matter if there is or not, it is beyond our reach – or so I imagine.

    Still: I yearn for meaning.

    Still: I am very afraid and also and mostly of Death and still: I do not know shit about anything. The only thing I know is that I need love, to love, be loved and maybe even more so if there is no Big Meaning. I try to live that.

    Kiki in Goche Ganas, Namibia, 2007, Photography by Gabriel Suarez
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