>It seems like I get more e-mail from Norway than any other country outside the U.S.
Here´s Lil´s story…a classic case of a spiritual awakening that almost went badly. Thank God she had the sense to listen to her intuition and avoid the perils of psychiatry.
Hi Sean Blackwell,
I just came across the blogs and videos on bipolar- spiritual awakening, facts, advice and your story, and after taking a day going through most of it I am so happy to see this and/or YOU expressed in the world! :o)
I of course have gone through a couple of intense experiences myself, the most previous at age 33.
I was not crossing the social acceptable line of behaviour, but then I as well did wake up walking, during a hike with just myself in beautiful wild, free nature of home that is Norway, and I had already months ago withdrawn from society to handle a lot of personal change that was going on after a rather traumatic breakup with the man that I had lived with, and really, unconsciously had created a good setting for what to come.
I felt I was just a millimeter from flying and if I had had a strong enough faith I would have left the groun doing exact that, at that hike. I still believe in that faith cam move mountains.
The state of love, oneness and wisdom and completeness was of course the best that ever had happened to me, and undescribable and lasted for about 3 weeks, changed me and my life forever, inside out, and I miiiight just have been seeming a little bit distant for people that saw or met me at that time.
I hardly spoke to anyone during that time, just withdrew and lived the experience in peace.
What was best for me doing was being in silence, hiking, writing, dancing, photographying, playing my violin and really just follow intuition of the moment.
One late fall night I was guided to a mountain out in “the middle of nowhere”, first driving then walking; and it was amazing to walk in the dark so full of trust and experiencing zero fear, me that used to be afraid of the dark. I felt surrounded and on a mission, like it was a test leading to an initiation of some kind.
The mountain showed to be, afterwards when I was researching a bit; to be a sacred mountain in older times culture and that exact night also one of the really powerful full moon nights of fall. I had never put feet there in this life, and knew nothing about the esoteric field or about nature religions or any religion really, and it was very fascinating discovering afterwards there was some kind of evidence for the feeling of importance and sacredness that I felt when I was following guidance there. I still belive in that feeling, but the reality around it is in continously evolvement, as I myself evolve and learn: What a fascinating life.
I was in touch with psychiatry afterwards for my emotional/mental confusion during the sort of crisis of identity and reality that this was for me and because I needed someone to talk to. I did not tell anything spiritual to my counsellor though, because when I sat there with her I saw how she would judge it if I did. Now I did not get much out of her help either, so stopped going there after a while.
Tried seeing another, now 4 years after, to get help with some mind reprogramming, was thinking about cognitive therapy that I believe can be very good, but came out of there reduced to a nobody without right to influence my own destiny and by her, with law in hand, kind of forced into a “judgement box” that I myself never really had been into or even did believe in.
It was really quite frightening, and did wake up more of a compassion within me, with people that really depend on the help of psychiatry.
I was “shotguninterwieved” by her in over an hour (I am not the one lying when people ask me something, so told her that I believed in spiritual dimensions and non physical existence and that I had a couple of experiences in my life, when she asked) and she of course by using her systems drew her conclutions, so that I went out of her office with the diagnosis too high dopamine and a minor psycosis plus minor schizophrenia, and the message medication was my only hope mastering life as I wanted, and that I would probably get alzheimers if I did not start the medications.
And my participation in her thought process was out of the question, she seemed very experienced controlling people to have her job done..
I do not take drugs though. I said thank you so much for the help, shaked her hand and walked out. And I did not go back. Found my help in a spiritually awake life coach that I worked with successfully through 6 months, and learned enough to become my own mind leader.
The experience with the psychiatrist really made me think a lot, and it kicked me forwards in my own research on holistic health that I have been doing for a hobby since the big awakening. Psychiatry led me to seek other, more alternative ways, and finding success with that.
Now your videos and blogs gave me a lot, and what you shared will keep on growing with me; thank you so much and all the best to you and yours always! :o)
>Here is a letter which describes just how direct the relationship is between trauma and mental disorders. “M” remains medicated, but as you can see, she is obviously healing on many levels, in your own time and in her own way.
Good Luck M!
I stumbled upon one of your videos from your series yesterday and was immediately interested. I watched them all. I am compelled to share (briefly) my own experience.
I could so identify with so much of what you said. I experienced psychosis when I was in my early thirties about 20 years ago, during which I remembered childhood trauma. The most traumatic event was being raped by my father when 13 years old. My psychosis involved thinking I was the Messiah and believing others (evil people) knew this and wanted to prevent me from being known. But it was always a “future” thing. I KNEW that I certainly was no more Messiah “acting” than anyone else. I also KNEW that if I talked about it, people would think I was crazy, so my ego apparently wasn’t totally disintegrated. I did not want people to think I was crazy. I eventually however ended up driving myself to the Psychiatric Hospital because I was very afraid and knew that I would be safe there behind locked doors. I had been there previously for “atypcial depression.” Of course there is a whole lot more to it, but for the sake of brevity…. One thing I was told by “God” during this time was to change my major to Psychology (I was an undergrad El. Ed major at the time). I did this and eventually got my Masters.
Another interesting twist was that at the age of 13 when this happened I was more interested in spirituality than my family members and was quite heavy into Christianity, reading the bible each night. At some point after the rape, I have no idea how time had passed, I just had no idea what to do. I knew that I could not live in this family anymore, I believe that on some level everyone knew what had happened and hated me even though I told no one. I prayed to God and I had an experience of being answered. “He” said I needed to forget. In order to forget I had to break up with my boyfriend and other things. I didn’t realize this at the time of course, but I realize now that “He” was telling me to forget all associations with the time period. The hardest thing of all was when He told me I had to forget Him. But that He would be back sometime. I felt totally abandoned by everyone. But I did forget, and I became someone new. A totally different person (Micky) rather than Michelle. I don’t know how much time passed before I had no recollection of the rape or of my former self but it wasn’t long. He also showed my some things that “would be” in the future.
So, I could very much identify with what you said about the different levels of consciousness and had already discovered this to be true.. When I became psychotic and remembered the abuse, my consciousness was right where it was at 13. And I had a lot of working through of this to discover the symbolism in what I experienced. Of course I understood this after the fact, not during. Many insights are gained AFTER the going through…….
Unfortunately, just as you state in the videos, I believed everything the doctors told me, succumbed to family pressure, denied my own experiences, and took medication. Of course, my family of origin has always had a huge investment in thinking I was crazy. Much easier to discard one family member as crazy then to disrupt the balance. It has been a rough twenty years. I did have the good fortune of having one good therapist who believed there was something to my experience, to be paid attention to rather than squelched. But, I didn’t have the resources to see her regularly.
It wasn’t until about 6 years ago that I said,” Wait, Stop….I KNOW what I experienced” and began the unfolding. I began reading books about spirituality, which became my “friend” in all this. I began to see myself in their experiences. I moved from traditional Christianity, up what you call the “Spiral.” I’m still very alone in all of this. My interest in Spirituality has also beeen percieved as weird, which simply verifies my craziness (within the family). I have so prolonged the process with meds, trying to live a “normal” life, working, doing all those things I thought I was supposed to do and did out of various fears. I followed my Heart and resigned from my last job about two years ago. I could go on, but there is no need…
This is such a brief, condensed version of the past 20 years, I’m afraid it doesn’t really convey all that I would like it to. But, my main point is that in each video I found so much truth when compared to my own “story.” When I read or watch something that lines up so with my own perspective I feel exhilerated in that feeling of not being alone. It’s like, “YES,THAT’S IT!” and I want to share it, but there is no one to share it with, no one who would be interested in hearing it. Thus, I am writing you an email, to express to YOU the excitement I felt which watching. Thank you.
I am writing you because I saw your videos on bipolar or waking up and I was very much inspired. I cried, I got upset, and I got very hopeful. I have been seeking since 2003 when a person gave me a meditation tool called Holosync it is a tool that greatly increases one’s meditation practice. I started doing the Holosync everyday and since than my spirituality has grown and matured. Through Bill Harris creator of Holosync I heard about Zen Master Genpo Roshi who created the Big Mind process. When I was 29 I attended one of Bill’s and Genpo’s events and experienced what it was like to be Big Mind, the going on of it all the good, the bad and the ugly.
That experience showed me that spirituality was not about being good or pure, but being open to the present moment. One can not even experience it, one has to be it or be Big Mind or the Buddha or the spirit. So I have had the experience without duality. After I had this experience I realized it was the same experience I had when I was 17 years old and that experience was labeled a bipolar episode by a doctor at a hospital. I was liberated because I felt like I was never crazy I just had a oneness experience. I talked to Genpo and he referred me to Three Treasures Zen Community where I met his dharma sister Jikyo Roshi. I started getting serious into spirituality I went to one day of a seven day retreat and I had a kundalini awakening and I had to revisit trauma of abuse that happened to me when I was 5 years old.
I went to two more full seven day retreats and got into zen koans and started getting even more serious into spirituality. I was feeling great life was taking on new meaning. I started getting into Sahaja Yoga, (kundalini yoga) to understand the chakras and channels and nadis. I went another full seven day retreat at the zen center in September of 2009. Jikyo Roshi was not at the retreat and her student was leading the retreat so I believe her presence was not strong enough to ground me. I left the retreat feeling great as usual but I felt very ungrounded. I had an amazing and terrifying experience that surpasses all understanding and reason. When I came home everything was beautiful, vivid and bright. The trees the sounds of the birds, I felt an inner internal flow moving me forward an inner knowing. I was driven to walk at the park, everyday things were beautiful but time seemed to speed up things a little weird. Than time seemed to literally stop the chi or energy seemed so powerful.
I started running to get rid of the energy I literally took off like a rocket, running faster than I have ever run I collapsed on the ground I couldn’t breath because my body was not conditioned to run that fast. I started to see things access different dimensions or it seemed, my hands had trails and light. I thought I died, I must have blacked out or passed out. I woke up on the grass by my apartment naked and hand cuffed by the police. I ended up in the E.R. they gave me Haldol to calm me down, (awful stuff). I ended up in the hospital for 11 days with the diagnoses of bipolar. I was crying in the E.R. because I thought I was passed this diagnose but I couldn’t explain the experience.
Now I am confused I don’t want to be on medication, but I don’t know what map to follow. I have spent the last 3 years seeking and when I finally found something I feel lost and caught in a system. I don’t know if I just had a tremendous spiritual awakening or if I am just out of my mind. The highest truth I seemed to get was that I have no control I am literally the vehicle for life and my karma is plugged into the dance steps of life. The experience seemed to be so clear and vivid at the time that I had no control.
It was liberating even when I got wheeled into the psych hospital I felt like I ran the race of my life. Or the Buddha within or the Big self ran the me into a spiritual awakening or a higher understanding.
I am taking it slow right now, it has been 6 months since I have been out of the hospital. I have been taking my meds and see my psychiatrist because apparently it is a chemical imbalance like diabetes. I don’t believe in my diagnoses. I read David Lukoffs’ material about mental illness and spirituality and how he got spiritual and religious issues put in the DSM4. I was not aware until now that other people have dealt with an experience like mine and labeled it a spiritual emergency instead of bi polar disorder.
I read this quote by Stan Grof and it seems to fit me. “It is possible to undergo a profound crisis involving non-ordinary experiences and to perceive it as pathological or psychiatric when in fact it may be more accurately and beneficially defined as a spiritual emergency.” — Stanislav Grof.
I just got off my meds and I feel alive and full of joy again I have decided to take the risk you have explained. After all my study of kundalini I believe meds block the flow of energy in the chakras and sushumna channel in the subtle body. The meds have made a lot of my hair fall out and I believe they are toxic.
>From Holy Thursday to Hellish Sunday, I went on an incredible spiritual, physical, and mental journey. In the story to follow, I will try to take you with me as I recall the events as I remembered them.
Some memories are etched in gray matter forever, while others were kept alive with the copious amounts of notes taken in my altered state. I’m able to hear these stories now and sometimes laugh at my antics. I have found healing in laughter.
This story is not only about a psychotic break, but also more importantly, about a spiritual awakening, a re-birthing. It’s about what happens when you need to change course and the universe takes over and does it for you.
Thursday, April 1992 1:00am
Talked to my friend Toni, in Oklahoma for a long time. I had told her of my experience in the bathroom at the hospital. I had stood in front of the mirror to see if I had arms. They were feeling like all the life was draining out of them. She gave me instructions on what to do to rid myself of the bad energies that I was picking up at the hospital.
Here is a note I have from that evening:
Ring of smoke
Bathe in vinegar
Cage of Consciousness
Talk to Body
Later that night I was up and running through the house like a crazy lady, I was a crazy lady! I can remember standing outside my bathroom door, running in place as fast as I could. I could not force myself to enter the bathroom. It was as if there was an invisible wall keeping me out. The wall was “fear.” I was feverishly making the sign of the cross, one way and then the other, with sage in my hand. I wanted to be able to go into the bathroom but I was terrified of some unseen force.
I ran into the living room and noticed that the shades were drawn. I remember thinking, “if anyone saw me now they would think I was crazy.” I ran into the bedroom where I was keeping notes of the time. I returned to the bathroom and went through the same process of running in place, making the sign of the cross, one way and then the other, and fluffing my aura with sage.
This time I was able to go into the bathroom but I was terrified of looking into the mirror. I ran quickly and looked in the mirror. What I saw was a wild-eyed face that I did not recognize. I wanted to scream. This had to be me, but I didn’t recognize “me.” I fled in fear from the stranger in the mirror. I ran into the bedroom, through the hallway, and back to the bathroom. I needed to look deep into those eyes that should be mine.
Running, as always, I’m able to enter the bathroom without stopping at the invisible wall. As I stand in front of the mirror, I stare at the wide-eyed stranger and search for recognition. I find none. I flee the room and return to my bedroom. I begin to twirl, arms extended and eyes closed. I’m a whirling dervish going faster and faster, trying to rid myself of the demons within me.
Then I’m in darkness, floating free and unencumbered among the stars. I’m in total peace. I want to remain this way forever. I am given a choice to stay or return to earth. It’s not a voice I hear telling me this but “a knowing.” I feel that I must return, for reasons I did not know. The next memory I have is finding myself on my knees, prostrate on my bed. Today I can still feel the peace and serenity that I felt as I floated among the stars. It was out of this world and so was I. My notes show that this episode took place between 3:26 A.M. and 4:26 A.M.
Here are my notes that were written simultaneously with the events:
Awoke at 2:59 my watch
Shit at 3:00
3:26 writing this
Cleansing myself with sage in hand
Need bath with vinegar
4:16 sitting down with sage in hand
4:26 headed for the bath, one step at a time
Called Toni at some point to tell her “I’M AWAKE.”
Years later I was reading the book, “Living Buddha, Living Christ” by Thich Nhat Hanh. On page 22, I read, “the word ‘Buddha’ comes from the root buddh, which means to “wake up.” A Buddha is someone who is awake.” I found that quite interesting as I felt that I had experienced an “awakening.” I awoke from the “darkness” that had been with me all my life, to the “light” of a new life, and the beginning of being the person I was meant to be.
Thank you Rita for this very intimate description!
>This story from Piiia in Sweden helps confirm the suspicions that many people have about two things. First, that a Kundalini awakening and a manic episode can often (although not always) be intimately related. Last year, for example, I had a Kundalini experience on a 10 day meditation retreat and never lost touch with daily ‘reality’ like I did during my spiritual emergency. However in Piiia´s case, the Kundalini definitely lead into ‘psychosis’.
Piiia´s other insight is that psychiatrist Dr.Jill Bolte Taylor, now famous through Oprah for attaining ‘Nirvana’ in the middle of a stroke, was in fact having an acute psychosis not much different from the ones many bipolar people have and are medicated for life for. It´s a shame that Dr.JBT couldn´t put 2 and 2 together and figure it out. She could have helped our cause immensely.
Unfortunately, Piiia is still being medicated and has not had the support to help her heal her process. However, as you will read in her story, she´s a bright spark -if anyone will make it through, it´s her!
Hello there Sean,
I’ve been watching many of your videos on You Tube… what a relieving info you share there! So there is actually hope for me!
I’ve experienced 7 different states of psychosis since November 2003. During my first episode I ended up in Paris and the most beautiful thing happened to me… in all of that “chaos”… I sensed that I was in Nirvana (the thing is that I had practiced Kundalini yoga during approximately one year and had what they call a rising of the Kundalini energy up to my crown chakra)… I was completely open and lay on a bed, naked, feeling intense energies through the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet. People around me heard me talk about Buddha, Christ, Nirvana… and I also spoke some, to them (and to me as well?) unknown language. I was completely, calmly euphoric and sensed perfect oneness, unconditional love for the entire universe… + + +… there are in fact no verbal words to describe it, so I stop here… but I guess you’ve had a similar experience…
The other week I watched a video about Jill Bolte-Taylor and her stroke… she experienced a similar thing… look her up on You Tube, if you haven’t heard of her… a friend of mine actually recommended her video, for I contacted him… I just felt so confused… the docs just keep on giving me medicines and saying that I will always be sick and forced to take medicines… and people around me get “scared” when they see me do “strange” things… Like last autumn when the entire town celebrated a “Cultural Day/Night” here in Norrköping, Sweden, with happenings on the streets… artists performing and selling stuff, etc. I worked for an environmental organisation and I just ran around all day doing my thing… mainly trying to get people to come in to visit us and get info about ecology/how to “save the Planet”… after many hours I got really energetic/agitated… a feeling that guided me into performing a spontaneous dance out in the cold September air… I danced to a lonely rhythm: du-dunk du-dunk du-dunk coming from an old machine (exposed by the Museum of Work just 100 meters from where I worked). A big crowd of people gathered around me, fascinated by my moves… I danced, danced, danced barefoot and got really sweaty… ecstatic… and felt like a child… so I did like kids generally do when they get hot… I got rid of my top and continued to dance bare-breasted… after a while I stopped… exhausted… and people did not look very happy at all… no applauds (observation: the crowd mainly consisted of middle-aged+ slightly conservative people)… so I went inside and two persons instantly attacked me and pushed me down on the floor… BUT I managed to get free from their grip and ran away after having collected my clothes…
I then ended up in a place packed with artists and I talked with a guy I had never met, told him everything, cried… and he thought it was weird… I/he mean/t, it was the right “forum” = Cultural event… and he said that during the Gay Pride in Stockholm people walk around half naked… so why cannot people be able to do this in Norrköping when it’s the right forum for it…
Anyway… later on that evening I danced half naked one more time (I guess I had so much energy which just had to get burnt)… in front of McDonald’s on the Main Street of Norrköping… three guys performed folkloristic music, dressed in green clothes and being all smiles and happy… So I danced, and a crowd gathered around me again, people enjoyed the dance, smiling… positive atmosphere… and I felt like an innocent child performing some kind of “trance dance” once more… got rid of my top… without sexual purpose… and after a while I stopped… and…. people applauded!! This time the crowd was more mixed, with adolescents, foreigners, adults… Afterwards a lot of people came up to me to ask me how I had the courage to dance half naked in Norrköping… I cannot remember exactly what I told them, but most probably that I just felt like it and just was in the present moment… I gave them all a “multi-hug” and continued, harmoniously, my walk in the night.
A few days later my therapist came to see me in my home. I was calm, offered her a cup of tea and felt that I needed to tell her everything that had happened… which I shouldn’t have done… after more than one hour of discussion she asked me if I could come with her to the hospital and as I trusted her, I came along… saw a psychiatrist… couldn’t lie… ended up in the psychiatric ward… felt like I was suffocating (I mean, “average Joe” probably wouldn’t enjoy being locked in either… and would react when people use violence), resisted and got chained in one of those beds where one cannot move and gets really non-respectably treated… One “funny” thing in my story is that I have done voluntary work for a non-profit Peace and Non-violence Movement with people like Dalai Lama participating ;-).
Sean, you’ve really inspired me to actually do something actively to help myself to get a descent life… for I do not wish to continue to take 4 different medicines… 8 pills a days and feel like a robot.
I shared info about your way of healing with my psychiatrist… he wasn’t very happy… but I gave him some links to your You Tube info and said that I’m going to try to find my own path to become healed. I do not believe in medicines anymore… but I won’t just stop taking them all on one day… I think it’s better to do it gradually…
Now my problem is that people around me want me to go to the hospital when I get “messy” and they do not recognize me… my best friend, for instance, has the same diagnosis but she believes in the psychiatrists/medicines… so I don’t feel very unconditionally loved when I meet her when being euphoric and sensing oneness with the universe… and my mum absolutely wants me to end up hospitalised… I just cannot trust people I know when I get “unbalanced”…
Well, Sean, all of this is not your problem. I am sure I can find people who I can trust and who are ready to lovingly take care of me if I get psychotic again… All I basically wanted to say is that I am eternally grateful to you for showing me another way out of this Bipolarity that I have gotten tagged with by the docs.
Thank you for doing such a great job inspiring people to Wake Up!
And thank you for having reached these lines 🙂
Pi i ia ♥
>Back when I first started bipolarORwakingUP, I discovered one guy on YouTube who was talking about his manic episode in the same way that I had described mine. His name was Jan. By the time I contacted him, he had, in fact, returned to medications and was quite depressed. Jan and I would talk often, as I would share with him how I thought our stories were not much different.
Over time, Jan worked hard to heal himself, slowly weaning off his medication.
It´s been over a year since Jan has taken any medication. And since that time, he has had quite a bit of contact with a new clinic opening this year in Amsterdam, based on the model of Dr.Loren Mosher´s Soteria House.
Ever since I met Jan, I was sure that he would make a tremendous advocate for our cause. Here, he shares his story with the people from Soteria, Amsterdam.
Good Luck Jan and Soteria!!!