>Kerstin (Finland)

>Dear Sean,

It was wonderful to come across your videos about a bipolar episode being an awakening experience, they mirror my thoughts on the subject so well.

I had a bad psychosis at age 17, which put me in a catatonic state for a week, and I had to stay at a mental hospital for 7 weeks. Doctors told my parents that what I had was a reactive psychosis that might not repeat itself again. However, I had another mild episode a year and a half later, when I came off my medication. This time I didn’t end up in hospital.

What I experienced during these episodes was something very typical of a psychosis: being Christ reborn, being on a mission to save the planet, feeling I had healing energies, seeing reality in a totally different way. I felt tremendous excitement and that something very powerful was happening. Sadly, after coming down from my psychosis I totally bought the doctors explanation that what I had experienced was hallucinations and grandiose delusions.

When I was 25 I did a trip to Amsterdam where I met a man who I fell in love with, first time properly, it felt. This feeling really overwhelmed me and a few weeks later I ended up in a psychiatric hospital, after crashing my ex-boyfriends car and going swimming nude on a public beach… I spent 6 weeks in hospital. After coming out of hospital I felt quite badly depressed, and thinking this was mainly due to my numbing medication I stopped taking it some 3 or 4 months later. I moved to London, met a man, fell intensely in love – and had a psychosis again, followed by bad depression. This time I was given the diagnosis bipolar disorder.

In notes from that time I had written that I felt one with everything around me and that I had met God. I felt strongly a call to became a healer and got very interested in magic and witchcraft and borrowed a lot of books from the College of Psychic Studies in London. In one of the books, about shamanism, I found a chapter that described shamanistic initiation crises and how it can resemble a psychosis. I knew then that what I had experienced was indeed a shamanistic initiation crises and that I was called to do some healing work. I applied and was accepted to study psychology at a London university, however, I felt too restless to stay in one place for three whole years so I went travelling instead. On a trip to Central America I ran out of medication and discovered that I manage just fine anyway.

I felt pretty stable the following 10 years, I got married and I got pregnant. 4 months ago, after the birth of our son, I had a post partum psychosis, this time very mild. What was strange with this psychosis was that I experienced the full range of symptoms, started to see reality in a different way, but was at the same time anchored to normal reality. My husband, who had not seen me in this state before, got worried and called for an ambulance to take me to hospital despite my objections.

There was a screw-up with paper work and I ended up being driven around town and waiting for doctors several hours. This was too much pressure for me, going to hospital felt like being taken to prison, and I lost the grip. I thought I was in a movie like the Trueman show, that nothing around me is real, that I was being tested in this film and that I had the possibility to unite humankind if I did the right thing.

I thought the test was to chose the right path: I could chose to return home to my family and my normal life or I could chose to sacrifice myself and die and in that way save humankind. I felt very torn between the choices but in the end I was willing to die, and I was looking for a doorway out of the hospital to move into the next world because I knew that I had to go through the door myself, I would not be taken through it. No matter how many doors I tried to open and get through the transition just wouldn’t happen and it felt very hard that I was tested over and over again. In the end I threatened to kick in a window (which I really didn’t want to do but it felt like the only way) and I was given a few injections. When I was hospitalised first time years earlier I had been given injections which was very traumatising, I thought they were lethal injections that would kill me. When I was given the injections this time I knew that this was ment to happen, I had provoked this so that I could work through the trauma of the previous time. Getting the injections didn’t feel so bad, I still felt in control and knew that the injections wouldn’t hamper the process.

I fell asleep and woke up the next morning feeling fine, just not very happy to be in a mental hospital. When I saw the doctors a few days later they saw no reason to keep me in hospital against my will but still recommended that I stay there for a few weeks. I agreed because I did still feel wobbly and the experience had freaked my husband out quite bad, he wanted to follow doctors orders. I tried to make the most out of my stay, go for walks in the beautiful park, use the gym, do the activities that were offered. I didn’t feel I got the right kind of help to understand my experience but there were a few nurses on the ward with a genuine will to help and I had some good conversations. When I left and thanked the staff, one of them said: “well, you can mostly thank yourself.”

The hospital was very sorry about the lost papers and me not receiving care straight away, but I feel it was a good thing that the psychosis reached its peak. I do think that interrupting the course of a psychosis only harms the process. Now all in all, this process was very healing for me. I quit my medication a few months after the episode, which my psychiatrist agreed to. He considered me healed and did not think that the mental health services would have anything more to offer me. He also confessed that he has been “going against the stream” a lot during his career. If only there were more psychiatrists like him.

When I came home from hospital I started to look for information, I keyed in “psychosis and spirituality” on the internet search, and was amazed to find so much that related to my experience, it had just not been available last time around or I just hadn’t known where to look. I read about spiritual emergency, Stanislav and Christina Grof, John Weir Perry, Daniel Fisher, David Lukoff… It was very empowering. I don’t know exactly where I would be with myself if I haven’t found all this information. Some part of me always felt that the psychosis was not treated right by the doctors, that instead of trying to be convinced that the spirit world doesn’t exist we would need somebody to help and guide us through it, preferably somebody who has been there himself. But finding this information really helped me to understand and integrate my experience. It’s given me strength.

I very much feel that I want to help other people going through the same. I am running a peer-psychosis group in my hometown and am thinking about maybe training to be a psychiatric nurse. I also plan to do courses in healing and shamanism. My psychosis really opened up my mind to understand spiritual aspects of our existence, and fortunately my husband shares my interest in the spiritual. I feel that my experience has made me stronger and happier and given my life new purpose. Like for you, my psychosis was a great experience to have.

Kerstin

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>Allison in Nebraska

>Hi Sean,

I just finished reading your book! I have been reading it a little each night as to not find myself too overwhelmed. Now that I am finished I am very overwhelmed :). In a very good way! I loved reading your story! It was entertaining and enriching. It was a great conformation to what I have been experiencing but in a seemingly more tangible way than I’m used to. It seemed to come out like a story your friend would tell you as opposed to what can seem like a far off mythical person. I love remembering and reinforcing what I already know. I love how you relay the importance of dreams and synchronism. That speaks to me deeply. The book brought a lot of past to the forefront of my mind. Leaves you feeling kind of manic 🙂 Better than being numb!

Allison

>Kelly and The Mercy of God

>Sean,

If it wasn’t for your video “Bipolar or Enlightenment,” my husband might have sided with the establishment and I would be taking Lithium for the rest of my life. I am very grateful that I was able to point and say:

“If this happened to you what would you have acted like?”

If it helps then I’ll share my recent experience. My experience started with a state of depression. I had been in depression about two months and was surprised at how deep it was. I felt my mind was on the verge of breaking so I went surfing for a solution. I found an article called “Depression, Creativity and A New Pair of Shoes.” The author suggested producing moments of “unexpected joy” such as buying a new pair of shoes to cure “writer’s block.” “Unexpected Joy” translated into “God” for me.

This former atheist called on God and He delivered.

On September 13, 2008 I wrote:

“Go to Hell!” I smiled with a grin
I’ve been there already because of my sin
I envied myself to the Pit of Despair
And found all the Joy missing from there.

Lucky for me I didn’t stay long
It wasn’t my fault my belief was all wrong
He gave me a choice; He gave me free will
I accepted His presence or I would be there still.

The second I did the dark became light
He showed me the heavens; What a beautiful sight!
He showed me the place that I couldn’t conceive
“Pure Joy” to experience so that you can believe.

When he brought me back to earthly ground
My heart was lost but now is found!
No words can describe this journey I took
You can rest assured I’ll be reading The Book!

On September 15, 2008 I wrote the following to the author of the article that helped me:

I was very fortunate to find the article here. The Truth in it gave me Light and showed me the Way out!

Before I found this very well-written article, I was so “dead” that no alarm clock could wake me. In my mind I wanted to escape so badly but couldn’t. I felt like I was on the verge of a split. The anxiety scared me into looking for a solution. Had there been any “bad logic” in this article, I would have discounted it and moved on. My mind thanks the author for taking such care in assembling the information. It literally trapped and saved my mind. With great respect and many thanks!
Kelly


PART 2 from Kelly….

I looked for Joy in all the wrong places
I found Him here on your website pages
I wasn’t expecting to be cured like this
A strong willed, BIG ego atheist.

It wasn’t the “new pair of shoes” that did me in
It was the “Unexpected Joy” that washed away sin!

On October 2, 2008 I was trying to sleep and I could hear bad news on the TV. In my hypnagogia state of mind I announced The World Was Going to End and The Second Coming was coming. My husband thought I was losing it. The next day I wrote:

I quit puffing for the moody dragon that lives inside of me
I fed him what he wanted: “Pure Joy” and set the dragon free
He breathed fire everywhere and wrecked havoc with my mind
I’m so much better when the dragon is locked up and confined.

While he was loose he prophesied the world’s destruction
And gave hope of a Savior; My that’s quite a seduction.

I wonder if the authors of the Bible suffered from this
Joy and Despair; the perpetual fight between the abyss and bliss.

The melancholy is back now that I smoked my two packs
It’s much more comfortable here so maybe I can relax
I won’t be feeding him positive feelings for quite some time
It’s funny that negative feelings can make me feel sublime.

In addition to feeling like a prophet, I felt like I was being tested by God. To prove my loyalty I sent two e-mails to my entire address book that were a bit on the bizarre side. At the time I didn’t care because I was emotionally bullet-proof. I was disassociated from my feelings.

On October 4, 2008 I sent an email out titled, “The sin of the world is not ours to bear. The world is not ours to save” that began:

Dear Friends and Family,
Peace be with you. As a serendipity magnet, I’ve been busy following “bread crumbs”. I assure you that I am not out of my mind. What follows comes from (openness) to the world and (insight) putting the pieces together. The world as we know it will end. The message I have with the greatest certainty is “Get your House in Order”. I found others that share the same message. The bread crumbs I’ve followed appear below. I’m not forcing you to do anything. It is your will. I surrendered mine to the one true God and am merely doing His. His Will be done.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Please don’t email me back or try to get me committed. Use your own senses and awareness. I am just helping to show the Way.

On October 4, 2008 I also wrote:

Ouroboros
The story has been told from ancient times
Christ was sacrificed for all our crimes
He’s the dragon slayer that bridges the gap
Between the abyss of this and the bliss of that.

I discovered the world of Carl Jung and learned of ouroboros from this website: http://www.sophiaandthedragon.com/dragon/lord_of_fire.htm

When I realized that Christ was the dragon slayer that bridges the gap between Heaven and Hell, I asked to be slayed. This was the beginning of the traumatic part of my experience. My ego broke down and I was forced to surrender my shameful memories. I would call it Judgement Day for me. For good measure, I also surrendered my gifts of creativity and insight.

So you believe! Then prove your Loyalty!
As I got down on my knees in submission
I took the knife and sliced open my own chest
Diced up my lying heart and offered it up
Layer by Layer. Piece by Piece.

Afterward, I felt raped inside and I couldn’t work. My boss realized I was circling the drain and recommended I use the Company benefits to get help.

I ended up going to Laurel Ridge Mental Health Hospital. The psychiatrist evaluated me to be hypomanic at the time. He and the therapists were watching to make sure I wasn’t going to go manic. I attended Group Therapy for about a month. I refused to take the Lithium but did take Seroquel for sleep problems (I was a 20 Diet Mt Dew/day caffeine addict.)

A few days before discharge, I filled the prescription for Lithium and tried it. I became the rock I used to dream of becoming. I couldn’t feel emotions good or bad. I stopped taking it because I really don’t believe I have Bi-polar. I prefer to call my experience “The Mercy of God.”

The Mercy of God

Have you gotten the call?
Have you picked up the phone?
Not the one on the wall
In your heart all alone?

“It’s a conspiracy!” I said
From the Pit of Despair
“All Joy lines cut dead!”
But I found my soul there.

And He lowered the stairs
So I could climb out
To show that He cares
It was just a “Time-Out”.

My Kundalini is awake
And the world is changing
It is not a mistake
Priorities are re-arranging.

I’ve been freed from myself
It is the Ego that dies
I’ll toss it on the shelf
It was so full of lies.

Now I can smile and see
Paradise below the dark
What was really meant to be
Was here all along. Hark!