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FMTV - Crazy Wise

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 / 54

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Barbara Mayers | 4 months, 2 weeks ago
What a great story. I'm an empath and so I felt the hurt they went through and kept hoping throughout the video that they will not only survive, but win absolutely, and realize their potential, and fulfill their gifts. I'm watching this in 2018 and this was done so many years ago when, I believe, society was not aware or awakened to our (humanity) deep spiritual gifts and the consequences for some who were fortunate enough to experience them at an early age, but were not spiritually aware enough to know, and to follow their purpose for incarnating here on this earth, to utilize their gifts to help others. So a sickly, medicated society punished them instead. Kind of like Jesus' experience in his lifetime, but he kept on teaching nevertheless. We now know better, and I hope for those who are upcoming humans that are born awakened, never give up and that they are able to find solace in a better society now that there are so many organizations that can help them to find their gifts and use them to heal human society at large, so that we all can wake up to who we truly are.
Thank you so much for this documentary, it is very, very encouraging.
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Iris Aguanta | FMTV | 4 months, 2 weeks ago
It is our pleasure to be able to share this life-changing film with everyone, Barbara and thanks so much as well for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts on this topic :) ~ Iris
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Laura Brow | 5 months, 1 week ago
Beautiful, thank you for this documentary. I'm a nurse and struggle with my own beliefs and working that into our western medicine. It surprises me the push back I can receive from my own colleagues, even when I talk about simple solutions such as nutrition for healing. I remember this one patient when I was a younger nurse. In my busy schedule I took time to just sit, just be present with this patient. He was from India and his family was not with him. I just sat in silence with him. As I left the room after about 30 minutes he asked me to come closer to him and told me that I was brought to him for a reason and brought him comfort. Again, thank you for sharing.
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Micky O'Toole | 8 months ago | Edited 8 months ago
(There are *spoilers* in this comment.) I'd give this 100 stars if I could. Adam''s and Ekhaya's story is so like mine, and my son's. My son Ben disappeared over two years ago after a breakthrough that he described to me that was so similar to what Adam described. His friends that he met when he first chucked his job, house and entire life and traveled and lived out of his car were the ones who began to teach him that he wasn't crazy. Jimmy Hornfeather in Arizona and another couple New Mexico s mentored him. Jimmy taught Ben how to carve bison-horn jewelry which was really beautiful and which he and his girlfriend sold during their travels. These wise people, who live surrounded by nature and who were raised with a strong sense of community and respect for the shamanic journey, were the ones who told me, when Ben disappeared, that he was on a vision quest. This comforted me, but fear sometimes takes hold. For myself, I have had so many unexplained things happen -- beginning in childhood -- an extreme sensitivity, psychic type stuff that runs in my family and is joked about..."fae-touched." But no training. I can't even put into words how much this movie spoke to my soul. My son is still missing. The police, a PI we hired, and all the dead ends I've met in my own search -- these have not made me lose hope. But I wish Benny could see this movie. It would help him too. He is so like Adam - gifted musician and athlete, so many friends and so beloved. We both have been chewed up and spit out by the system, by relatives who gave up, by friends who found labels so much more comfortable than compassion. Yet I found a new tribe, like Adam did, and those are my truest family. I hope my Ben finds a safe place like Adam did. The vicious attack on Adam just broke my heart. Open-hearted vulnerability is how Ben lives. It's the only place I want to live but, like Ekhaya, I have felt so unsafe there. I'm so glad she found her teacher. Wow! To be embraced so fully like that. It's like a birthing into a new life. Like Ekhaya and Adam and so many you spoke about in your beautiful film, I believe I'm here to help too and have always felt like a wounded healer. My blog sub-title is "I feel the world and want to help heal the world." LIke Ekhaya, I'm a survivor too. The photos, and the faces of these beautiful people in the movie, their stories, will stay with me for a very long time. Thank you for this story. With all my heart. thank you. ♥.
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Jasmin Habelito | FMTV | 8 months ago
Hi Micky. Adam was given hope when he joined the community. You're a survivor and for now, all you can do is to believe that Ben is a survivor too and that he'll find hope in his journey. Thank you for your touching testimony. Sending you virtual hugs 🤗 ~ Jasmin
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Lana Trifkovic | 11 months 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 | 11 months, 2 weeks ago
Truly amazing`film.
Thank you!
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Pauline Balidiong | FMTV | 11 months, 2 weeks ago
Yes, indeed, Eileen! :)
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Diane Darcy | 11 months, 3 weeks 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 | 11 months, 3 weeks 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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