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Crazy Wise

Runtime: 82m 12s | Release date: 2017

What can we learn from those who have turned their psychological crisis into a positive transformative experience?

During a quarter-century documenting indigenous cultures, human-rights photographer and filmmaker Phil Borges often saw these cultures identify 'psychotic' symptoms as an indicator of shamanic potential. He was intrigued by how differently psychosis is defined and treated in the West.

Through interviews with renowned mental health professionals including Gabor Mate, MD, Robert Whitaker, and Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD, Phil explores the growing severity of the mental health crisis in America dominated by biomedical psychiatry. He discovers a growing movement of professionals and psychiatric survivors who demand alternative treatments that focus on recovery, nurturing social connections, and finding meaning.

CRAZYWISE follows two young Americans diagnosed with "mental illness". Adam, 27, suffers devastating side effects from medications before embracing meditation in hopes of recovery. Ekhaya, 32, survives childhood molestation and several suicide attempts before spiritual training to become a traditional South African healer gives her suffering meaning and brings a deeper purpose to her life.

CRAZYWISE doesn't aim to over-romanticize indigenous wisdom or completely condemn Western treatment. Not every indigenous person who has a crisis becomes a shaman. And many individuals benefit from Western medications.

However, indigenous peoples' acceptance of non-ordinary states of consciousness, along with rituals and metaphors that form deep connections to nature, to each other, and to ancestors, is something we can learn from.

CRAZYWISE adds a voice to the growing conversation that believes a psychological crisis can be an opportunity for growth and potentially transformational, not a disease with no cure.


Adam Gentry
Ekhaya Esima
Dr. Gabor Mate 
Robert Whitaker
Dr. Roshi Joan Halifax
Phil Borges


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Comments / 49

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Lana Trifkovic | 2 days, 11 hours ago
Inquiry, not opinion is the phrase Adam said that caught my attention.... Curious as to what is going on instead - judgement and quick fix of symptoms (not!!).
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Eileen Perrier | 2 weeks, 2 days ago
Truly amazing`film.
Thank you!
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Pauline Balidiong | FMTV | 2 weeks, 1 day ago
Yes, indeed, Eileen! :)
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Diane Darcy | 2 weeks, 4 days ago
My son is one with the majority of the so called mental disorders. Tgis film has awaken me to how very funny and created and sesitive he was as a child. He hears voices and can be very abusive verbarly and physically. Our health system helped push him further to where he is today. The health system also labeled me bi-polar, because I was different. Funny thing though I could never hold on to being depressed. I always found ways to hopefulness and joy. But it is very difficult today to be the self I have always been. Even the medical system in treating diseases, such as Lyme/and the various co-infections. As I am one of those victims of not being treated and not being believed. It took 6 yrs and having a dr. almost across the other side of the U.S. from where I lived. I had been in for all those years. Was never provied with any thing to help with that. Today I amstill sick and my brain does not function very well at all. Interestly my son was also diagnois with Lyme... and with the knowledge I now know about Lyme, he had phyical body marks that can also occur with that disease. Plus so many events occurred after being divorced, when he was living with his dad. Drugs people in the home that my sons did not even know. And so much more. The father just stayed in his room and ignored all of it or maybe approved of ir. As he knew that was the only thing in this world that would hurt me. Today I am going to see in my one son mentioned above with my heart and the love that I have hidden within my self because it is very painful and also being sick also. Today is again THE START of Giving BIRTH to my son with LOVE and AMAZEMENT that I felt then and many times though his childhood.
Thank you for helping me to remember who he is. Plus I do believe that all that he has experienced, one day will bring those others needing help and HE WILL BE ABLE TO HELP THEM THRU IT. BUt today I must remind him of what he already knows from within. Pray that I have the strength to help him begin to get to that place.
Much Metta to all,
Metta is a buddhist's term, meaning "loving kindness"
Note: forgive any misspelled words and grammer.
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Iris Aguanta | FMTV | 2 weeks, 3 days ago
Hi Diane, I'm sorry to hear about your son's current health condition and thank you for sharing your story with us! We would also suggest watching these films about Lyme Disease: https://www.fmtv.com/watch/under-our-skin and https://www.fmtv.com/watch/under-our-skin-2-emergence. Additionally, here are some articles that you might also find useful: http://www.foodmatters.com/article/a-new-cause-of-lyme-disease-discovered and http://www.foodmatters.com/article/are-you-a-fighter-or-a-healer-a-reader-s-battle-with-lyme-disease. Lastly, if you are looking for more individualized support, you can now work one-on-one with a Food Matters Health Coach. We created this unique online platform after receiving lots of requests for recommendations for Health Practitioners. No matter where you are in the world, you can access highly qualified and affordable Health Coaches for personalized guidance and support on your journey to wellness. You can browse all of our hand-picked coaches here: http://www.foodmatters.com/health-coaching/open. Hope this helps and we wish you and your son every wellness on your journey to healing! :) ~ Iris
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K D | 1 month, 4 weeks ago
Long overdue and so needed today. Thank you to those involved in this awesome documentary. It took a lot of strength for them to share their experiences, compassion and expertise on a subject too many find scary territory. I worked for many years as a medic on the streets and felt so many of my 'mentally ill' patients were lost in an ignorant system. I felt so sad at the loss of so much human potential. I hope this doc is part of a new way of thinking about mental health and how it needs to change. Thank you for your strength.
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Brenda Simmonds | 1 month, 4 weeks ago
Thank you for such an inspiring documentary. It served to remind me that we are all one and we all need help sometimes to move to the next path of life. It was most powerful in the realisation that the works model has been created to serve a purpose for one small group of people and there is more to this life than what convention wants us to be constrained by. Thank you once again for your amazing insight and drive to develop FMTV
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Iris Aguanta | FMTV | 1 month, 4 weeks ago
You're very much welcome, Brenda! Happy to know you loved this documentary and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts :) ~ Iris
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Leon green | 2 months, 1 week ago
This was just beautiful. Eye opening. Has given me a better understanding. Thank you!
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Pauline Balidiong | FMTV | 2 months, 1 week ago
Glad to know that, Leon :)