Beautifully Human: Thoughts on Being an Energy Healer With Mental Illness

Updated on March 21, 2019
Holley Hyler profile image

Holley Hyler is a freelance writer and has been published in Adelaide, Buck Off Magazine, Rebelle Society, and The Urban Howl.

What Is the Intention?

"You don't have a mental illness. That's just something they tell you to make you feel like you've got something wrong with you." These were the words of an energy healer that I go to and like, but I strongly (silently) disagreed with her on this point.

I got my first certificate for Reiki this year in January. I began to use this form of healing on myself, then family and friends I felt comfortable with. In July, I opened a metaphysical business with a friend, intending to do Reiki on clients. But I regularly see people in the energy healing world who might agree with the person noted in my first paragraph, who might even judge or look down on me for my struggles and seeking treatment for Bipolar I.

Just this morning, as I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a post by another Reiki/IET practitioner who mentioned "fakey Reiki" and how a lot of people who give energy healing have no business doing it (because they drink, don't clear themselves properly, etc.). But in the Reiki manuals used in the classes, it says anyone can give Reiki because we are not the healers ourselves. It is a fallacy and fear-mongering to say that we can pick up the ailments of the healer or the recipient when giving/receiving Reiki. The so-called "healer" is merely the channel for it. I have witnessed a lot of pressure being put on those who practice a form of energy healing; we feel like we have to give up our human-ness and be living and walking Buddhas to be "good enough" to channel this healing for others. But my teachers have repeated again and again: your intention is key.

And I have to wonder: what is the intention of those who judge or who tell someone diagnosed with mental illness that they are not mentally ill? What is the intention of those who deem others unfit to channel healing energy?

Whatever that intention is, it does not seem to align with what I know and understand as Spirit.


Mental Illness Isn't a Choice

In my own energy healing practice, I would never go against a medical doctor's diagnosis of a person or contradict anything that the doctor said or told the patient to do. You play a dangerous game when you tell someone that their problem isn't real, and you can also cause them a lot of undue confusion. You could literally be playing with his or her life. As a channel for Reiki, my only job is to listen to the client's concerns, channel the healing energy, and allow it to work for the highest good (as it always will) of the recipient. I never wish to cause any confusion or further anxiety for the person.

That aside, mental illness is real, and for quite some time now, we have known it is backed by science.

My mother was diagnosed with chronic depression. She was an extremely intelligent woman, and after she passed, I was astonished as I went through her library. She had so many self-help books, including several of the ones I have heard about and read for myself. Her intellect was not only evidenced by how she lived her life, but by what she wrote.

My mother was well-versed in spirituality and self-help, but she still struggled. I have been attuned to Master-level Reiki and Advanced Integrated Energy Therapy, received multiple healing sessions, rearranged my life and habits in an effort to feel better, gone to spirituality groups, maintained healthy social connections - and I still struggle. Hard and often.

"Madness is a rotten guest," Marya Hornbacher wrote in her book about bipolar, entitled Madness. "You can tell it to leave till you're blue in the face. Eventually, you give up and go back to bed, shutting the door."

Feeling Nothing About Everything

I can imagine that the practitioner I went to, who told me that I do not have a mental illness, had kind intentions. If I had a tumor and went to her, and she told me I didn't really have a tumor, I'd probably be thrilled. But I would also want a second opinion from my medical doctor. I am not going to treat a mood disorder differently just because it is invisible. It is invisible to the rest of the world, but not to me.

Today, I was having what, in Holley terms, is a good day. I was productive and went for a walk. I met my step goal on my Fitbit. I finished a book. I talked to some friends. But after dinner, just like that, I came crashing down. The racing thoughts and doubts weighed on me. I climbed into my bed, promising myself I wouldn't bury myself under the covers and sleep. I looked at my phone. Looked at my cat. Tried to wrestle the blankets from under her, but she wouldn't move. I lay on my stomach and fell asleep, telling myself I'd get work done later, feeling nothing about everything. And sometimes that's what it is like. Sometimes, that is a whole day for me rather than just a small portion of it.

For someone to tell me that's not —that I have power over that crushing nothingness, that I can easily just choose to be happy—that's like telling me I don't have a virus when I'm throwing up everywhere. That if I just hold in my puke, I'll be fine. (Sorry for the analogy. But it's true.)


Keep Shining Your Light

After I saw that post on my Instagram feed about "fakey Reiki" this morning, I honestly felt like throwing in the towel. Doing regular work at a retail job and writing my book in my spare time felt like the best way to go because it seems like people are not as much in your business (quite literally) when you are not active in the field of energy medicine. I have wanted to talk a lot more about mood disorders in my writing, but I haven't for that very reason. The stigma is still, unfortunately, very real.

I hope that in the near future, the world—spiritual sector and all—can be more welcoming and less judgmental. I try to stay in my lane, for the most part, but it felt necessary to be a voice for those experiencing this same dilemma. Perhaps the more we can put it to words and bring it to awareness, the more we can help people see that it is not a choice. Let's put to rest the belief that we cannot be beautifully human and a channel for higher energy, simultaneously. Of course, I would never try to channel an energy healing when I am in a low place. But on my better days, when I am hearing Spirit and feeling connected to all that is, I know I can truly help people. I have helped people.

To withdraw that gift entirely from the world, just because I am not perfect, would be a tragedy.

Madness: A Bipolar Life

Madness: A Bipolar Life
Madness: A Bipolar Life

This book by Marya Hornbacher really helped me understand and accept what I personally have been facing. She also seems spiritually aware and does the mindfulness exercises, but she shares in a way that helps you see and understand how crippling and uncontrollable mental illness is. She also puts it into words in a poignant (and sometimes disturbingly humorous) way. I will probably write a review of this book soon but wanted to share it here too because it helped me while I was stewing over the naysayers.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Holley Hyler


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Holley Hyler profile imageAUTHOR

        Holley Hyler 

        3 months ago

        Hi Sheri, thank you for reminding me that this content is helpful, and for providing encouragement to others having this experience. I'm so glad you found a way through this struggle. Much Love.

      • profile image


        3 months ago

        Thank you for writing and posting this. I find myself in this predicament myself and have struggled with the same things. The older I got it seemed the more of a struggle it became. Almost wrecking my whole mind, body & spirit - life in general, my family.

        I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel and it got brighter and brighter each time I would allow myself.

        Thank you for reminding others that we are not alone in this.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)