May 2022 Series part 2, Shifting our Focus…

“When we shift our focus from ourselves to the world around us, we often find contentment, fulfillment and purpose” Viktor Frankl

Frankl’s works have given me new reason to not only live but to thrive after the passing of my dad last September 11, 2021. There has been the desire to die and go be with him; he was and is in a new way my biggest supporter in my life. My dad instilled in me not only values but much philosophy about how to treat others from family and friends to strangers. He did not write his philosophies down, but led by example which I will ever cherish the many memories of seeing my dad in action with whomever he was with.

I have decided to take on new writing projects because of the inspiration I have learned from my dad and the many books written by Viktor Frankl. Of course most people have heard of Man’s Search for Meaning and many have read it and found it profound. But I have also found much benefit to reading some of his other books.

The Will to Meaning: Foundations and Applications of Logotherapy by Viktor Frankl is my new current read. It discusses much on the topic of body (somatic), mind (psyche) and spirit (logos) being interconnected. I am still trying to grasp its deep meaning so will share more as I am able.

It is my hope to spread his views on the principles of Logotherapy (healing through meaning). He gave hope to many people, from when he was a prisoner in concentration camps, to his practice where he could be found at odd hours helping people he didn’t even know find meaning in their lives, to his family, friends and associates.

Frankl often writes about other peoples’ observations in the field of psychology and philosophy in his books. I intend to focus solely on his pearls of wisdom from these books because while I don’t agree with every word in the books, there is plenty to begin to understand Logotherapy and what he writes about in terms of healing through meaning. His most famous book, Man’s Search For Meaning sets the foundation with these pillars.

The 3 pillars of Logotherapy are:

  1. The Freedom of Will
  2. The will to meaning and
  3. The meaning of life

So it is inferred that Logotherapy teaches that through an individual finding meaning in their life through exercising free will, and by finding meaning in one’s life, one will choose hope over despair and ultimately, life over death. He used this model in the concentration camps where many prisoners, starting with himself, lost hope until he found meaning in his life, as did many other of the prisoners thanks to Logotherapy he developed while still a prisoner.

This has also happened to me in my experience of having Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective disorder. Through finding meaning in my life through my writing and other healthy habits (yoga, walking, gardening and meditation etc…) my life now has purpose and my self study of Frankl’s works has come at the perfect time in my life. More to come in this May 2022 series.

Peace

V

Schizophrenia and Logotherapy

Upcoming blog post on looking at Logotherapy in terms of Schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder.

Studying Viktor Frankl’s books on vacation, mainly Man’s Search for Meaning and The Will to Meaning. Light topics on Frankl’s theory and practice of Logotherapy he wrote from his experience in Auschwitz’s concentration camps.

He wrote Man’s Search for Meaning in ten days and its ways of giving meaning to the other prisoners who had lost hope is just incredible.

I would like to briefly interpret it in terms of Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder or any heavy mental health diagnosis.

There are 3 stages to explore. The first stage is shock, disgust and delusions of reprieve. The second stage is acceptance, apathy and routine and the third, which is where I am, is freedom, release and liberation.

I have been examining my stages and the hardest one was the shock I realized I was first diagnosed in 2008. It was a turbulent time of recognizing that my mental health was and continued to be precarious up until recently.

The second stage of routine, apathy and acceptance was the longest by far. I felt like a robot and that this was how it was going to be forever on heavy antipsychotic meds, many hospital stays and an apathetic existence.

Now that I’m in the third phase of release, freedom and liberation, I can use my experience to write about it. I can easily revert back to old patterns though with stress, lack of sleep and/or exercise and poor nutrition.

More to come in May as we prepare to celebrate mental health awareness month.

“If man has a why to live for he can bear almost any why” Nietzsche

Aloha

Victoria