My early years were infused with the expected challenges that accompany being a reserved, introverted, and red-haired individual filled with freckles. I grew up in the comfortable embrace of Greenfield, a charming town tucked away in the heart of Northern England. My small size and physical traits became a reason for harsh jokes, and self-awareness and self-consciousness were constant companions. However, weaved within this tapestry of life was a critical incident that changed the trajectory of my existence, and brought with it both agony and resilience.
At the age of 14, my world crumbled under the weight of a catastrophic incident that claimed my mother’s life. She embarked on a stroll amidst the hills behind our abode, never to return again. She was found on Mother’s Day. That was the day my world stood still. As trauma loomed heavily over me, the scope of my shock and sorrow felt limitless. In those early days of despair, any available resources for support were non-existent, forcing me to navigate the whirling currents of sorrow and bereavement in solitude as a child.After a few years had gone by and I had entered adulthood, the profound scars of that fatal day continued to have an impact on my life. When I got married and gave birth to my son, fresh challenges emerged as my yearning for an unmet motherly presence intensified my struggles with depression. Although therapy offered some comfort, it only seemed to scratch the surface without truly addressing the core source of my grief. The weight of undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) persisted, casting a gloomy shadow on my everyday existence. Even prescribed antidepressants merely dulled the pain instead of mending it.
The turning point came when divorce added another layer of sorrow to my ongoing journey. With an unwavering determination to transform this pain into something positive, I sought unconventional paths toward healing. During this journey, a friend recommended an extraordinary treatment: psilocybin (magic mushrooms), a natural chemical recognized for its curative effects. I was intrigued by the prospect of exploring it under the supervision of experienced individuals, so I embarked on an uncommon route less taken, in my mid-fifties.At the heart of this emotional maelstrom, a clear vision appeared an image that seemed like a soft beckoning from the immensity of creation itself. A tunnel with a window at the end, a beautiful sky and a grassy field, and a silhouette of someone in the center, who I hoped to be my mum.
As the intensity gradually subsided over time, an uplifting sensation replaced it. The weight that had anchored me for far too long was suddenly lifted away. Instead, there existed within myself a rekindled sense of purpose. However, crucial to note is that this journey had merely just commenced.
Upon returning home, I felt exhausted and fragile. Every sense seemed to be intensified on high alert, and an undeniable need for solitude overcame me. It was during sleep that fragments of beauty unfolded in dreams. The impact of this profound experience extended well beyond its initial session.
As months passed by, transformation continued to unfold within me. Positivity became a constant companion once again, focus returned, and a feeling of being reborn enveloped my entire being. Those who have embarked upon similar journeys often liken it to a “rebirth”, a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree.
I take the opportunity now to share this story as a beacon of hope for others who have weathered the darkness brought by trauma and loss. During my personal recovery journey, I discovered renewed strength and a warrior spirit that dared to face fear. As I walk along this path towards restoration, it serves as a reminder that each one of us holds within ourselves the power to choose our own direction in life; we may even embrace unconventional paths if they bear promise for growth and recovery.
The marks persist, yet they no longer categorize me. I find myself at the edge of a forthcoming time once obscured by suffering, now brightened with optimism. Should my voyage invite even one individual to discover comfort and recovery then it will not be in vain. This is only the beginning and we are all able to choose the right option that will guide us onto a safer path through the rest of our lives.
Karen Saint-Genies hails from Saddleworth, a town situated in Northern England. Following her training as a graphic designer, she dedicated several years to the Aviation sector. At present, Karen employs her artistic talents to foster an appreciation for art among others and actively participates in community initiatives. Focusing her current endeavors in Fort Lauderdale, USA, she runs a thriving pet care enterprise named 'Paws4thought'. Karen is also blessed with a remarkable son who currently resides and works in Washington DC. When seeking peace of mind, Karen finds solace by venturing outdoors on walks and finds inspiration through intricate illustrations that fuel her creative spirit. Karen's personal motto: 'Staypawsitive.'