Many of the people I talk to are so busy with the work-sleep-eat hustle that capitalism forces us into that they don’t have time for the spiritual or the sacred in their lives. I know that as I put the pieces back together from my burnout and craft the life I want to lead, I’m realizing just how much the spiritual had faded from my life and the extent to which that affected, and made worse, my burnout and mental health.

I think it can be difficult to talk about spiritual things when we’re dealing with simply trying to survive. For neurodivergent (or neurospicy, pick your term) individuals, when so much of society is built to harm us, it can be downright impossible to see a connection to ourselves, let alone connection to others or something larger than ourselves. And yet, it’s at that time when we need it the most.

Ten years ago I finally became free of the clergy who were financially and emotionally abusing me, using DARVO (deny, attack, reverse victim offender) tactics and toxic spiritual positive to make me believe that “perhaps the goddess wanted to teach me a lesson”. Lest you think this was just a small, isolated organization, the truth was the High Priestess who said those words to me, did, and still does, lead a large, nationwide church with many local congregations. And when I tried to seek help from others of my faith who serve in leadership or even advocacy roles, I was told “oh yeah, we know they have problems”, and no help was offered. I realize now that triggered my cPTSD in a way that continued to spiral as I dealt with my mother’s health issues and abandonment by our local health community. It’s only recently that I haven’t heard the mocking words “you’re going to find a problem with everybody, because you like to be the victim” in my mind any time I wonder if it’s me, or is the situation really as it looks and feels.

I share this, because while not everyone will have underwent spiritual abuse and lost their spiritual connection for a decade, but I suspect knowing how the world treats us, that neurospicy individuals experience harm from individuals within their spiritual beliefs, and this harm serves to separate them from their spirituality.

We need connection and safety to feel comfortable in our skin and comfortable enough to tell our stories. Maslow placed it right at the foundation, the bottom, of his heiarchy of needs. The strongest connection we can make is with ourselves, and whether you consider that your soul, or your heart, or just yourself, that is spirituality–connecting with something bigger than your physical body.

That connection needs to be utmost in our minds. Not relegated to “when we have time for it” or the way we’d put a bubble bath for self-care on a long weekend’s “to do” list. Fostering that connection, bringing that connection, no matter how small, into our daily lives, will both ground us and expand us.

If you choose to use the word heal, then yes, it will heal us, but not in the way that many people think. And that is a blog for another day.