At some point throughout the night a tree fell across the path, blocking the gate out of the graveyard. It wasn’t there the night before and I didn’t hear it fall, even though I laid on a makeshift bed of leaves ten feet away. Perhaps it fell when I was led briefly through the dark to the back of the yard with a song stuck in my head.
I hadn’t had peace and quiet like that for a couple of months, but as usual in the onslaught of mania, my thoughts were racing and I heard every song I had ever listened to in my life loud and clear in my mind. In my state, these songs led me every step of the way. Sometimes into magical moments with complete strangers that became best friends and sometimes into delusional traps that turned best friends into perfect strangers.
Maybe the tree had fallen during the chaotic noise of rapid-fire mind tricks and perfectly-timed tunes. I’ll never know. All I know is that I left the gate open after I climbed the bank around the broken limbs to leave in the morning, trailing what was left of my belongings behind me.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have dug myself a plot and settled in for the long haul.
Within seven short years, ‘Bipolar’ had stolen most everything from me and has stolen some closest to me. Each time I go through mania and psychosis, it just gets worse, mostly … almost solely due to the fact that there is a lack in validation, support and exploration into those ideas I hold most dear.
My stories and experiences pile up on dusty shelves in my mind and I can’t find the courage to just finally tell the world exactly what was going on in my mind in the hopes there would be clarity, understanding and perhaps .. I don’t know … maybe, healing.
I never intended to drown in this. No one ever does. I saw the beauty in all of it and I fought so hard to articulate it in creative ways. Yet, fear kept me from just leaping into faith that it was worth sharing. Some may think they know, but it’s only a fraction. It gets weird. Fast.
Yet … it’s fascinating.
However, the wounds get deeper as years go on without exhaling fully.
Understandably, friends grow weary. Family disappears. Devestating assumptions are made and any hopes of redemption are lost. You become a stranger even to yourself. All of your happiness gets put into a box labeled, ‘delusional’ and you begin to question every smile that stretches across your face and every bolt of lightening that hits your heart. You accept it’s an illness and give up on what you held dear .. there is something more to this. Suddenly, there is literally nothing left to live for.
Except the stories.
So, expect the stories.
Because, by now, I should have realized that there was nothing left to lose. Through these stories that have profoundly shaped my reality, I have found the strength to leap off the fence where I sat for years on end; a space that stood, seemingly steadfast, between mainstream psychiatry and a call to attend to a fasinating, yet natural, spiritual crisis that eventually led to awakenings beyond my wildest imagination.
In leaping off that fence, I have in turn, become happier, reached a new personal potential and I have finally merged with my authentic self. There is no faking it. One must do the work and it’s not going to be easy.
But it will be worth it.
Enlightenment is a personal journey and spiritual awakenings are somewhat paradoxical. In gain, there is tremendous loss. In becoming new, one must shed. In death, there is hope of new life. In transition, there is a solid foundation being built upon the sacred Earth. In facing your shadow, one sees the light. In pain, lies the cure. In times of great obscurity, true clarity is restored. The old becomes new. And in wisdom there is a child-like wonderment to it every last bit of it.
Like the wild birch tree, I will forever stand malleable, yet firm. Wiser, but youthful still. I will grow in truth in the midst of new beginnings. I will cleanse my past and be renewed once more.