a brave and inspiring account of Bipolar II

My friend Cristina shared this post on Facebook recently (and I share it here with her permission). Her post inspired a discussion of how these experiences may be humans developing superpowers ~ the idea of pathology being a healing mechanism advancing us toward a new kind of humanity is one that fascinates me. 

Brown eyed Hypomanic curling into the deepest void ~~

* trigger warnings *
Living with Bipolar II has been a challenge and a half; and like with all in depth processes there are a lot of contributing factors as to why that is… I have chosen to share a week in my inner world displayed with careful but dramatic articulation through words appearing on your screen at present.

Bipolar III’ve had control problems since I was a young child; so being diagnosed with this ‘dis – ease’ of the mind was a greater shock to my ego than I would’ve liked it to be because ultimately – bipolar prevents me from having control over my mind. *cue screaming * the movements of inconsistency that swirl through me are truly suffocating, limiting and extremely embarrassing. At some point last week I started waking up at 5am every day.. requiring little sleep… and by 8am in those days I was very aware of the fact that I was entering a hypermanic cycle. I had been running around non stop, didn’t stop talking, felt like I was running a marathon that I didn’t exactly choose to orchestrate, I was very observant of the fact that I was laughing about 50% of the day, I didn’t feel the need to eat because I was riding a high that tasted sweeter than heaven on a plate.. and that delights my eating disorder! How wonderful! ultimate bliss…. I felt like an empress… a glowing light beaming brighter and brighter by the minute, my self confidence was elevated, my thoughts didn’t disturb me… it’s sort of like feeling high – but once you realise you’re high ~ you can make yourself feel higher and higher at your own accord. Your senses heighten, you can feel people’s energy different – things look brighter, you feel alive … you have no problem going for a run at 5am and then another run at 6pm and still have energy pumping through your body all through the night.

It feels superhuman really, almost like some alien being woke me up in the middle of the night, passed me an energetic bubble of abilities and then flew away back into the cosmos with a cocky smile and a familiar glint in its eye. It feels like getting a beautifully wrapped present – one that I rip open as quick as possible because my heart and mind knows what’s inside. The gift of hypomania feels like electricity fluttering through me, like an endless tickle with a feather just below the surface of my skin. I’m jovial and invincible, I feel the need to comment (or interrupt everything) I’m productive as a person can be, I start new projects…feel inspired. I feel helpful and giddish….

One of the most prominent symptoms of my hypomania is this incredible urge to create something and follow it through to completion to the exclusion of anything else…. this could be anything! For me – it’s often romantic relationships, but it can also sometimes turn into something that would be classified as a ‘psychotic breakdown’ (yes, I’ve tried to ‘break’ reality multiple times) and as you can imagine … going through that path is quite literally other worldly – it feels like you are on mushrooms 24/7…. best part is – I’m overly optimistic about everything! My energy is infectious.

Many of my romantic connections or profound friendships start when I’m in these states – and I can see why people are drawn to me during that time…

Sounds phenomenal, doesn’t it?

Well… well well….
The greatest part that hypomania brings is the dread of its inevitable end. (Please note my cynical humour) We know it won’t last forever, but we want it to. We want to feel that electric energy and invincibility just one day more… and sometimes we are willing to risk just about anything to keep that hypomanic euphoria, even if our symptoms lead us to do dangerous or careless things like drug use (stimulants) or promiscuity, or over working yourself. We crave that sense of elation so much we are willing to risk it. Nothing bad will happen to us, right? We are invincible!

But eventually…. we know the gift of hypomania must be put back into the box and returned and our days must go back to the looping darkness that is depression. We’ll wait patiently for the next gift from the glowing … but cheeky alien passing us the wrapped package of hypomania. The depression swoops up out of nowhere and it passes you a red hot ball of humiliation as well… one of the other downsides of mania is the fact that because we roll through it like an actual cyclone of energy ~ we can often destroy things without realising.

I’ve destroyed relationships, close friendships, job prospects, my body, other people’s feelings… without even being aware of it… one of the reasons for this is because at the back of our minds we still know that at some point or another we will come crashing down; hardcore so we can overdo the mania in hopes to cling to the sense of freedom before the cycle turns again.

I feel almost unconscious when I’m manic, so falling back down to depression (saturns void I call it) is so humiliating because I don’t recognise anything I’ve done or what I’ve done. I’ve often developed Romantic connections in mania and then as I come back down from the high I don’t remeber how it happened, or what we connected on – and I push the person away out of fear of them seeing me in my hole. I do this to my friends too – when I’m about to go down I unconsciously destroy my connections so that I’m alone when I go down. I can get aggressive emotionally and intimidating – and I can watch myself morphing into a strange person but cannot do anything about it.

Earlier in the week I went to my friends house for dinner and I couldn’t stop moving, cleaning things compulsively, jumping up and down at 8pm after a full day of intensive excerise… and work and uni …. she looked at me and told me I was manic and I joked – but my mind was angry because I cannot stand admitting it. I’ve fallen back into a depression now… they usually start with me feeling overcome by vulnerability, fear, paranoia…. feeling isolated and alienated or having a dissociative panic attack (one where I get so out of my body that I cannot recognise where I am location wise) and then …. I become the spiral. I can’t move out of bed, my muscles ache and my whole body feels like I’ve been bashed and left on the side of a road, my eyes get covered by the heaviest fog and I can’t see hear smell properly, I either eat a lot of food, or eat nothing at all (both ruining my self esteem) simple tasks like getting up and changing clothes become an effort, I can’t look in the mirror, I sometimes can’t even talk, tears flow out of my eyes endlessly.

It’s petrifying… I could be laughing one day and the next I’m isolating myself from my family and friends – spitting poison darts at them to stay away because my head replays vile thoughts (you’re worthless, you should be ashamed, stay away from people) I become easily irritable … have panic attacks at the smallest things (the other day I broke a vase on purpose and sobbed in the broken glass for an hour because I couldn’t find my keys) Like with my mania – I can see the impacts that my moods and changes have on people but I can’t do anything about it…. last month I hit a very bad low and ended up on my best friends balcony sobbing for the whole day because my mind was SCREAMING at me to end my life – when I say screaming I really mean it … it feels like your brain is failing you and gets hijacked (by that cheeky little aliens present haha)

I shape shift into a fucking petrifying demon looking thing on the hunt for my own misery. The process is tasteless – and it feels like eternity when I’m in it. It scares my friends away sometimes – which feeds the depression demon more … the depression feels like broken glass is moving through my blood stream … my heart reaches with fear but I’m somehow numb at the same time. I acknowledge silently that there are very few people who know how to help me. Not many willingly plunge themselves into a storm. Those who do, have their battles of their own too.

Understand this this expose of my inner world is not a call for sympathy. I’ve found some solidity and acceptance in the chaotic ebb and flow that is my own – I have chosen to share this as a way to shed light on a ‘dis – ease’ of the mind that is often heavily misunderstood… with a hope to potentially assisting in educating some people who might have bipolar friends / family in their lives… and to share with my friends … so they can ease some of their own confusion ❤

I want to mention also, if you experience any mental disorder – know deep and true in your heart that itdoes not define you. If you managed to read all of this – thanks! I appreciate you. — feeling exhausted.

fractal sheep

From the website:

Electric Sheep is a collaborative abstract artwork founded by Scott Draves. It’s run by thousands of people all over the world, and can be installed on almost anything. When these computers “sleep”, the Electric Sheep comes on and the computers communicate with each other by the internet to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as “sheep”.

Anyone watching one of these computers may vote for their favorite animations using the keyboard. The more popular sheep live longer and reproduce according to a genetic algorithm with mutation and cross-over. Hence the flock evolves to please its global audience.

55

The Electric Sheep are a free and open source service. The Gold Sheep are an HD premium version. Learn more and sign up.

You can design your own sheep and submit them to the gene pool. The result is a collective “android dream”, blending man and machine with code to create an artificial lifeform. Learn more about it.

the “new limbs” of consciousness

are the symptoms of ‘disorders’ such as bipolar actually superpowers?

A few thoughts (and leading questions) about bipolar and other symptoms of acute mental and emotional distress:

a friend shared on FB a brave and detailed account of her bipolar cycle, including a description of the mania phase being lke ‘being on mushrooms 24/7’;

another friend saw the post and said the cycle described her own experience pretty much ~ possibly the first time she encountered the idea she might be experiencing bi-polar-esque symptoms;

reading that about mushrooms made me realise that yes, my own experience in Jan was quite like being on mushrooms at times ~ heightened sensory perception, possible hallucinations.

What I’m thinking is:

these symptoms (of non-ordinary states of consciousness) are caused by acute mental/emotional pain;

pain has been an evolutionary force since we crawled out of the swamp, driving adaptation and producing ‘new limbs’, appendages to our physical bodies that made us more fit for survival (if not actual appendages, then new ways of using our existing appendages, such as standing upright, poking sticks into ant holes for food);

could it be that the symptoms of such ‘disorders’ as bipolar are producing ‘new limbs’ of consciousness, (by)products of mental/emotional pain?

Are we becoming super- or suprahuman?

Is our modern suffering compelling us to evolve new dimensions of consciousness?

Is the theorised multiverse coming into being because we are experiencing profound collective suffering?

Where there was once a (material) universe, is there now an ethereal (non-material) multiverse because we have needed to create these other Verses to contain the myriad emotional and mental dimensions of the human experience? Or have they always been there and we are only now beginning to perceive them, as a coping mechanism that also serves as an evolutionary force?,

remembering that Gautama Buddha allegedly said in the Dhammapada: ‘mind is the forerunner of all states.

Is this us returning Home to the unified multiplicity/singularity of the godhead?

 

the emerging awakened humanity

I was watching DMT: The spirit molecule again; I’ve been reading some stuff about ego and the spiritual universe, and I’m starting to see that maybe we haven’t lost our connection with Spirit after all.

We tend to blame our modern malaise of technological enslavement and mechanistic reductionism on our lost contact with the spiritual part of ourselves, or we say that science has displaced Spirit. We hark back to an elusive Golden Age when our ancestors were more spiritual, an age when people were less concerned with consumerism and material wealth, with worldly concerns, when the richness of our spiritual life was felt more fully.

It is certainly true that our preoccupation with external things ~ with objects of consumption and salvation … with materialism, politics, economics and technology … leave us oriented in a direction that is not holistic. We need to reacquaint ourselves with the spiritual aspect of our existence, find more soul, live more from the heart … we need to stop deriding the immaterial as unreal and the nonrational as absurd or illogical. But we also need to stop seeing our misdirection as a decline, and start seeing our evolution as being exactly where it needs to be, ascending as always.

The stories we always told ourselves, about the cosmos and our place in the world, were and are products of the culture of the times, and we can’t be sure about how people in history thought or felt. We can deduce things about their beliefs and stories, but we can’t know for sure there were more people who were more spiritual. We look at some isolated Amazonian tribe and we assume they’re more spiritual because they’re less technological. We say that the technology of civilisations and the worldview it springs from has displaced our connection with Spirit, but how do we know earlier generations were more connected?

During periods before, say, the invention of the printing press, it could even be reasonably assumed that the general population was less spiritual because the scriptures were kept from them by the priesthood ~ the general population’s relationship with God and the spiritual realm was mediated by the priesthood. In the last few thousand years in what are now developing countries like India and the regions of Asia, the daily grind to survive before industrial mechanisation might have been such that there was little to no time for the average person to even contemplate, let alone experience, spiritual realities.

Even with teachers like Buddha and Jesus coming on to the scene millenia ago, it seems that few have realised enlightenment, and we are still in the mess from which they started trying to save us 2500 years ago ~ for millenia before that, people were striving to know the truth, yet here we are.

Many people may have realised enlightenment, but they are neither the majority of people nor the minority of government ~ politicians and business leaders often seem the least enlightened, yet they wield such control and power in our communities. The minority, our leaders, may not be very much awake, seeking satisfaction and pleasure only from the finite material realm, but many othes among the majority are highly enlightened people, serving the world with compassion, and striving from all angles to realise direct experience of the true nature of things and pass on spiritual insight in their community.

In deed, there is a major spiritual revolution underway, and millions are growing more and more disillusioned with the dominant material paradigm of economic growth and environmental irresponsibility, the empty power struggles and the pursuit of happiness in all the wrong places. The world is waking up at a rate of knots we have no precedent for.

The premise of many a self-help book and many a cultural critique is that we have lost connection with Spirit, but I think this premise is based on a misconception of previous cultures and times we can only know through deduction from secondary sources. I think there is a tendency in our culture, and maybe in all cultures before us (maybe it’s a quality inherent in the human condition), to assume that our modern times are somehow lacking. Maybe that inherent quality is the motivating force that drives all of our metaphysical enquiries, all of our endeavours to know more about our true nature and to facilitate our evolution. Without that tendency we would soon fall into complacency and our evolution would stall, if not our survival.

There is evidence to suggest that we are actually more connected with Spirit today than we have been at any other time in our history. Michael Talbot’s book The Holographic Universe is a good example, a proposal that many ‘paranormal’ phenomena like out-of-body experiences, telepathy and remote viewing may be understood as normal when viewed from the holographic paradigm.[1] Another profound proposal is in the book Ego: The Fall of the Twin Towers and the Rise of an Enlightened Humanity by Peter Baumann and Michael W. Taft ~ the authors contend:

we are not falling into the grip of a new dark age at all; rather, we are on the verge of a much brighter one as the Darwinian process of natural selection continues to advance humankind

It’s inevitable that when we first become disillusioned by Western materialism and start looking for alternatives, we are going to think our culture has lost connection with Spirit. I was always saying that ‘in the West we have no sources of spiritual succour’. So, like countless others before me, I travelled to the East, where I found, instead of spiritual succour, a train wreck where Eastern and Western culture are colliding.

It has only been in the last year that I have been coming to realise that our culture is brimming with spirituality ~ once you start looking for it, it starts looking for you, and pretty soon we start to realise that where no spiritual culture exists yet, we must create it, attract it for ourselves.

That’s how spiritual culture existed in the Golden Ages we imagine ~ it wasn’t some self-generating meme that just one day emerged from the walls of caves in the form of rock art. It was created, nurtured and develop, the same as it continues to grow in the lives of those who cultivate a Connection.

Rest assure, if you found yourself here in your search for ideas about spiritual awakening ~ the world is becoming more and more alive and aware. If you know of other signs we are waking up, please share in the comments below.

a statement of Mission

after Snowden

I was watching a documentary about Snowden recently, and I was inspired again to start educating myself about a basic truth that our culture hides in plain sight: our government is not serving our best interests.

Maybe I can’t stop/change this entirely or totally, but I can inform myself enough that my complicity is minimised, and perhaps I can be involved in some community project that undermines the elite’s power over us, the ~pawns~, like maybe a community bank or helping to organise and distribute organic food from independent growers ~ Monsanto would hate that, right? Even publishing this website and blog is an act of dissidence, a way of challenging the fear-mongering of mainstream media, which the doco refers to as ‘the corporate media’.

I shared a video on Facebook recently, by a guy called Rob Dial, who explains that any piece of information we absorb is ~brainwashing~ us, which means that we can choose to watch the nightly news and scare the crap out of ourselves, engendering distrust of our fellows, or we can choose to watch … well, videos like this one, which explains that, contrary to what we are told by the corporate media, the world is actually a profoundly safer place today than it ever has been in history:

As a somewhat-serious student of psychology and as a human being who desires understanding of and a modicum of control over his own mind, I am fascinated by the very concept of brainwashing. I’m somewhat reluctant to indulge the subject because it sounds so conspiracy-theory-ey, but the reality is that brainwashing is happening to us at all times, whether it be through advertising, news media, unscrupulous religious leaders, or even just the things we unconsciously choose to give more of our attention to, whereby we brainwash ourselves. So it’s definitely somethig I’m trying to keep my eye on.

It’s a curious thing though, that making ourselves aware of these unfortunate realities can sometimes have an adverse effect before they have a positive one ~ a scene from the Snowden doco that I could especially relate to, is where he says that the more he learned, the more the anxiety mounted up.

This is a normal and healthy response to the dawning awareness that our so-called leaders, who we hoped and believed were serving our interests, are actually serving theirs. It’s not fair that we are treated like pawns in the elites’ game of chess. And something I find especially distressing about the whole situation is I know they are seeking refuge in the wrong object.

Seeking refuge is an idea in Buddhism that can be understood as ‘seeking happiness’ ~ we seek refuge, from suffering, in all sorts of things we believe will give us lasting pleasure or contentment. Some people seek refuge in power, control and unnecessary wealth, by brainwashing and exploiting the weak or disadvantaged ~ such ‘leaders’ are causing (or contributing to) the suffering of others, and ultimately they are doing this to perpetuate their own suffering by pursuing happiness/refuge where it doesn’t exist. As well as people, this kind of misguided behaviour exploits the planet, our habitat.

Distressing, no?

When we begin to understand this, anxiety is a natural response because anxiety is a natural response to threat, to the perceived danger of, say, immanent ecological collapse ~ called ecoanxiety. In Snowden’s case, it seemed the anxiety came from becoming aware that our own governments are spying on us, and not for the sake of our safety, as they would have us believe.

Whatever the case may be, I’m interested in understanding how to raise awareness of these realities without catalysing massive panic attacks or debilitating depression ~ much of my own experience of depression has come from feeling disempowered in wanting to make positive change in the world. So I’m interested in how to minimise the psychological damage of becoming increasingly aware that our greatest threat may come from within our own culture.

I feel a strong duty to inform myself and to help others free themselves from a system that does not have their best interests at heart ~ well, rather than free ourselves from “the system”, it’s about healing ourselves so that we, as aspects of that system, can begin to improve the system from within. It’s not enough (in fact it’s not healthy) to blame “the system” for all of our suffering ~ to do so is an abnegation of individual responsibility, and an expression of Ignorance.

What we need to do is liberate ourselves from psychological enslavement to the systems of power that control us, which is an entirely internal process ~ we don’t need to change the system externally, but change ourselves so the control mechanisms of culture no longer have any power over us.

So I’ve come here to declare the nature of my Mission, which I choose to accept in pursuit of a Vision:

I imagine a world characterised by harmony and diversity in unity, a world where each and every individual has realised the true nature of reality and therefore is happy to serve the collective interests over their own ~ imagine a world where everyone was watching out for everyone else … we wouldn’t need to worry about anything, there would be no cause for regret and we would all be free to enjoy the present again.

It’s been bouncing around in mind lately that my mission is to

help people heal so that our world doesn’t continue down a path where it’s okay for governments to spy on their citizens people and for businesses to plumb the earth to line their rubber wallets. Entheogens are being used to evolve consciousness and of course modern-day shamanism and other ancient soul-healing methods exist (they have survived the onslaught of scientific materialism), and I yearn fiercely to be involved with such transcendental forms of transpersonal psychology so I can 1) heal myself and, in doing so, learn how to 2) help others to heal the will to power.

If we can help each other to experience the divine connectedness that is at the heart of these ancient traditions of psychotherapy, we can begin to eradicate ruthlessness from the world. Call me an idealist, but I believe we create our own reality and we define our own meaning ~ if we can imagine utopia, then utopia will cease to mean ‘no place’ and instead come to mean ‘our place’.

If we can help each other to experience the profound empathy and compassion that is our nature, the world will begin to transform, which is already happening ~ we are very fortunate to be alive and working at this time, cresting a wave in the evolution of human consciousness and the planetary consciousness supporting such diverse forms of life.

I declare that I accept the mission to ride this wave along with the other awakening individuals I am beginning to encounter in the community. I declare that I will honour the powerful potential I need to fulfill by helping to create a world characterised by harmony and diversity in unity, a world where each and every individual has realised the true nature of reality and therefore is happy to serve the collective interests over their own.

In my burgeoning role as a transpersonal psychotherapist / shaman I imagine treating individuals who are operating at three levels:

  • the ~underdog~ who feels disempowered, so they might come into their own and realise their potential to contribute improvements as grassroots leaders within their communities
  • the ~average~ who is coping, surviving, but beginning to look for ways to pursue thrival instead of just survival
  • the ~leader~ who already has power, so they might wield it more compassionately and for the genuine benefit of all

I feel I am making the journey through these levels, having started out life as an underdog, raised myself to an average level of success and wellbeing, and begun to aspire to being a true leader in my community ~ when I say ‘leader’ above, I do mean ‘politicians, businesspeople, teachers and other heads of institutions’, but what I envisage is that in this millenium we will see a shift away from leaders and those who are lead, from elites and pawns, to a far-more-decentralised way of living and governing ourselves.

I am also interested in what I learned were the original aims of psychology ~ I don’t have the source with me here, but I recall from a textbook of positive psychology that the original aims of psychology were:

  1. the treatment of pathology
  2. the maintenance of wellness
  3. the nurturing and harbouring of talent and genius

Oh, I found the textbook!

In Positive Psychology: The Scientific and Practical Explorations of Human Strengths by Charles Richard Snyder and‎ Shane J Lopez, there is a quote from Martin Seligman saying the above three missions were the original aims of psychology, so, yay, I remembered!

What I definitely remembered (because I was especially impacted by it) is the idea, as described in the same quote (a breakout quote from the main text), that the second two were neglected throughout the twentieth century for reasons I don’t need to go into here, because the point is that I want to get behind the move in positive psychology to start focusing again on the other two objectives of psychology.

More than that, I would add that the fourth objective of psychology (or what I am starting to call ‘holosophy’ and what others might call ‘entheology’) is:

4. facilitate conscious evolution (the evolution of consciousness)

BAM! Homo evolutis.

 

morphic resonance and collective consciousness

I came across this guy called Rupert Sheldrake, who has proposed the idea of ‘morphic resonance’ to explain how and where we retain memory, an idea that has powerful potential implications for the development of our understanding of things like collective memory and collective consciousness. Here is an introduction from his website.

Morphic resonance is a process whereby self-organising systems inherit a memory from previous similar systems. In its most general formulation, morphic resonance means that the so-called laws of nature are more like habits. The hypothesis of morphic resonance also leads to a radically new interpretation of memory storage in the brain and of biological inheritance. Memory need not be stored in material traces inside brains, which are more like TV receivers than video recorders, tuning into influences from the past. And biological inheritance need not all be coded in the genes, or in epigenetic modifications of the genes; much of it depends on morphic resonance from previous members of the species. Thus each individual inherits a collective memory from past members of the species, and also contributes to the collective memory, affecting other members of the species in the future.

Something I wonder about frequently and somewhat obsessively, is the question of where dreams come from, where our predispositions come from and how mythology informs reality. I have this idea I’m calling “cultural archetypes” and I’m sure it’s just an idea that’s coming to me from the collective memory ~ it’s not my idea: I’ve just received it. I’m sure that Jung talked about it, but I haven’t yet come across where he wrote about it.

When we interpret the flux of reality, we perceive it approximately the same as the next person because our interpretation is based on cultural archetypes remembered from the past. This idea of morphic resonance seems to support this idea, so I’m excited to have discovered it.

What do you know about morphic resonance or the templates we use to interpret reality?