Coming out of the retreat mindset is a unique experience that must be "cushioned" by a daily sit practice. Good morning, it's time for a sit in the city. But I must share something on my mind that I couldn't speak aloud (alas, a silent retreat) and feared to tell the teachers, or anyone for that matter: I am a #voicehearer I have been #hearingvoices since I was a teenager, after being put on the incorrect medication for the first time for an incorrect diagnosis. With over ten years of trying to figure out why this happened, it is my belief that a broken mental health care system and medication triggered a genetic vulnerability to a #psychotic disorder. It is not who I am. It's not who I was supposed to be. I wasn't born with this. It is not my fault, but it is my life's challenge. I must say this too: I have episodes, but in between episodes I still experience light auditory and visual hallucinations and am able to discern them. It is important to me that people realize I am capable of dealing with it when I am not in an actual episode. I practice Theravada Buddhism (with teachers from the Thai Forest lineage) because it teaches me how to discern delusion, to note the voices as simply sound, thought as sound, visuals as image. On retreats for some people they begin to hear light voices and it is considered normal, since one is so deeply concentrated strange things can begin to happen. However, for me, the intensity of it is visceral -- in my body, convulsing, energy pulsing like being washed in electricity. I discovered this retreat I may have a mild form of #epilepsy or #tardivedyskinesia from being on anti-psychotics as a teen. Again, my sadness and rage and helplessness flares up, for I know I could have been without these convulsions were it not for the broken mental health care system. As for the voices, well, let's just say it's easier to deal with thoughts than its audible equivalent. A whole extra layer of challenge. What teacher can I talk to about this that won't dismiss it or fear for me? For the voices that repeated to me "you are safe here" as I cried meant so much.