Hiking Trails of Communication and The Beauty of Being Broken

Today I was reminded that when I started dating my now husband, Eddy, I was unable to speak. Up until that point so much of existing in life was just REACTING to something, rather than REFLECTING, and TRYING to learn but not quite knowing how. When he would ask me questions sometimes I would grunt or whine or give him sounds in response because I had no words, and I told him I would have to wait a while because it took me longer to process things than it took him. He would remind me on so many occasions — “YOU’RE HUMAN. USE LANGUAGE!” But for some reason my thoughts would be in such a huge tangled mess that I couldn’t form them into anything coherent, so I settled on asking questions to try and figure out the world, even if whatever I “learned” just went into a huge muddled soup of ideas. It got to the point where I would just be so flustered and he would ask me the first things to come into my mind, such as “ostrich!” “airplane!” “desert!” or some other jumble of words, and he would try to make symbolic sense of it, even though I never could. I’m so grateful that there are people out there with the patience of dealing with minds like mine… Really, considering that everyone is broken in some way, we just have to find people who are broken in the way that fits our own broken like a puzzle piece.

I’ve come a long way since then, and have learned how to express myself clearly to those around me…for the most part anyway. Going to the ayahuasca retreat, I was told that I was a gifted communicator and I never felt that way before. It just sort of “happened” when I went down this road of trying to explain myself and my feelings to other people, because I became so desperate that I wasn’t able to express myself in any other way. I suppose this is something that could potentially be a “superpower” for bipolar people… this kinda “blurt out” communication style of just… trying to get your thoughts across because it’s constant vomit in your head. Or maybe that’s just me? Who knows. All we can do is share our story and hope it resonates with someone else.

Anyway, Eddy and I always come back to the conclusion of how language is so limiting. He describes communication as a hiking trail… which I took as constantly going down this road of sometimes ups, sometimes downs, exploring different paths, and eventually you get to a point where you understand the other person (hopefully… some people struggle with this all their lives). To Eddy, it’s the idea of finding a way to move forward regardless of what stands in your path, trees, forest, whatever. I’m grateful that I’m learning how to walk those trails and develop language in terms of understanding others and being able to communicate inoffensively to where others understand me as well.

When you think about it… we really are all just living in different invisible worlds, and communication is trying to to bring that inner world out to others. Of course there will be inevitable bumps that arise along the way, but I believe effective communication is something we all need to strive for as humans, because overall conflict would be greatly reduced.

We are all unique masterpieces, expressing dimensions of various degrees to those around us, hoping something connects. This is why we can’t be so hard on ourselves if it comes out wrong… we’re all speaking such different yet similar languages. Allow yourself the patience to recognize what the framework of the universe is trying to tell you. So much of the time I feel like I wish I could say things in more poetic flowery language, but people have told me that they like the clarity with which I speak… so I guess I just need to accept how these messages are choosing to come through. As we all should.

I’m starting to get it when people say stuff like “I’m a work in progress.” Our pasts may break us in certain ways, but it’s like Kintsugi–the Japanese idea that broken pottery can be fixed with gold, making it more valuable to have the gold in the cracks once the damage has been done. (The video below explains this idea very well.) If we’re lucky, we can find people who see the value in our broken-ness, and the progress we’ve made along the journey that’s come from that… the strength and beauty we’ve developed from those cracks.

Nurturing Issues

I find that Kundalini Yoga more than anything else is helping me learn to stabilize myself. The owner of the studio says that our minds are so busy that the yoga is designed to tire out the mind in order for us to be able to meditate. Especially for those of us with bipolar minds, they’re constantly going going going and it feels like there’s no hope of silencing it at ALL. But no matter how shitty I feel, how fast those thoughts are going, Kundalini Yoga ALWAYS makes me feel better, and I walk out having some sort of revelation about what my thoughts are trying to tell me. Tonight it was about NURTURING.

I realized that since I’m always bouncing back and forth between the extremes of depression and mania, it’s been difficult to form any type of self care routine. I used to think this was primarily a discipline issue, but I feel like discipline can only come if you can sustain the motivation to follow a routine. What am I saying?! Isn’t the point of discipline supposed to be that it happens even when you’re NOT motivated? In any case, struggling with extremes makes it seem IMPOSSIBLE. When I’m manic, I feel like I can do ANYTHING. Like run a ton of miles, lift a buncha weights, go to yoga, draw, go out to lunch or dinner with EVERYONE… all in the same day on like, an hour of sleep. I always get excited and tell myself that I’m building all these great habits and that it’ll be easy, but the routine ultimately ends up being completely unsustainable because it’s set up during my manic high where I feel like I can actually accomplish things. Then when I fail to do all those things and crash, I have even LESS motivation to take care of myself due to all the self hatred of being unable to follow the routine. It’s been like this for YEARS, and I KNOW that I do it, yet I haven’t found a solution… the mania is always so strong that I haven’t figured out how to create realistic goals, and the depression hits so hard that it makes it nearly impossible to recover before my next manic phase comes along.

Today in yoga we did a set called the “Foundation for Infinity,” and were told that it’s when we’re in that flow state where everything seems to be going right, that we’re flowing with infinity. It’s within infinity that anything is possible, and you can only feel it when your mind is at peace. This is why it’s so important to tire out the mind in order to be able to meditate and experience that this is actually possible! After our set we did this meditation to the chant of “Hur Hur Mukanday” which is a mantra for releasing blocks so we’ll be able to nurture the seeds that we sow in order to manifest what we want. During this meditation I saw a child version of myself with a watering can, watering seeds that had just been planted then sitting patiently waiting for them to grow. Then that child turned into me, now as an adult, getting FRUSTRATED that they weren’t growing quick enough, and throwing a fit over it. Then I felt like a seed of light was beginning to sprout at my chest, and immediately it got stomped down by this dark energy within me, before it even had a chance to grow.

This is what I’ve been doing to myself my ENTIRE LIFE, and to visualize it in such a way… I felt like I was punched in the gut. Patience and nurturing are clearly something I need to work on. I instantly thought “If I can’t take care of myself, how will I be able to take care of a kid someday?” And also, I’m 30 years old… I should be able to know how to take care of myself by now. I also thought about my husband… So often I’m stuck in my own thoughts or self hatred that I don’t pay attention to his needs. He’s even TOLD me this multiple times, yet I haven’t gotten much better at it because I’m still so wrapped up in MYSELF. Thankfully he’s really understanding and knows this is difficult for me, but it makes me feel terrible and selfish, always like “HOW AM I STILL NOT ABLE TO DO THIS?!”

Normally all this would’ve bummed me out, but after the meditation I felt a really strong resolve to start taking this more seriously one small step at a time, because really… that’s all we can do. The dwelling HAS to stop. The unrealistic goals have to STOP. The self hatred has to STOP. But none of it is going to happen overnight… which is where the nurturing comes in. All of these things are just seeds that need to be watered… and I have to actually ALLOW them to grow rather than stomping on them before they can even turn into something. And maybe that’s something that this inner beastie is trying to tell me.

A New Chapter of Discovery

Since I’ve last blogged on here, I got myself a “Sacred Storytelling Priestess,” basically a Life Coach who also does Sacred Storytelling (her name is Leah Lamb and she is AWESOME). She’s helped me out more than any therapist ever has because we’ve been working on learning how to harness my creativity. Since our journey began together back in April, we’ve been adding some structure into my life, developing better habits, and building my voice. Even though I’ve been making great strides, so much of the time it doesn’t feel that way. I’ve had to get back on medication (60mg of Latuda) in order to function enough to be productive in any capacity, and sometimes, like a couple days ago, I still have earth shattering episodes where I feel like I can’t possibly come out alive.

But I always do. I’m still here, and I’m gonna keep fighting.

During said episode, I finally feel like my bipolar showed itself to me, in a physical manifestation. I started this blog a while ago thinking of the bipolar as a creature of darkness, but until now haven’t been able to visualize it in any capacity… and I think that part of me was afraid to. But it was something Leah had mentioned a couple times since we started meeting, how I need to put a face to this thing. Well… now that I have, I have big plans, and part of it is bringing life back to this here blog.

I started Bipolar Beastie  to document my journey being off medication. I’ve learned a lot since then, part of which is that I’m currently too unstable NOT to take medication. I found that last time I tried taking it, my doctor put me on too high a dose too quickly. This time, I don’t feel numbed out… I feel more of a calm, and it helps me get sleep. It gives me a clear enough head more of the time to figure out better ways to function, like through yoga, meditation, or creative expression like art. When I wasn’t on the medication, I was overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions ALL THE TIME, and although I was trying a lot of things, I was spending ALL MY TIME just trying to cope and keep my head above water, rather than realizing what actually helps and how. Being on the meds and figuring stuff out, I’ve been able to build more awareness to begin to discover who I actually am in the in between… even though that “in between” feels very rare… When you’re being flung around so often by the depression and mania (I’m very much a rapid cycler), it’s tough to see who YOU actually are.

That being said, I have a project I’m working on, and I’m going to now be using this blog to explore it. Leah suggested writing one paragraph a day about what I’m learning from the bipolar, and allow it to be organic. Some days it might be a paragraph, other days a doodle or a poem… we’ll see what happens. The important part is that I’m actively engaging with this thing, and that I’m sharing what comes of it… something I’ve been afraid of doing for a really long time for some reason. When it comes down to it, I want this blog to be a place of discovery… somewhere I can say whatever I want, however I want and share things I would never be willing to share anywhere else. I’m really going to make this a home for my emotions and my creativity… a place where I can feel safe to grow. That’s something I’ve always wanted 🙂

Yay for new life chapters!

Sometimes…

I wonder how I’ll make it through life without actually killing myself. I’ve learned so much from about how to move through pain and still the pain of living through this bullshit is just too great…I am so tired of shaking and crying and screaming until my throat is raw and it fucking sucks so much fucking ass that I have to go to work today, try to put a smile on, kick assignments out, then do more work when I get home for 2 other projects and it’s all fucking art but my heart is fucking breaking how am I supposed to pull any good shit out of my soul to get any of this shit done this week I’m so fucking sick of being me and acting like balance is really a fucking option with a mind like this I’m so. Fucking. Over it.

This isn’t fucking worth it.

Exploring The Bipolar Extremes of Life

The universe has been telling me to start blogging on here again, so I’m finally gonna listen! Two days ago I watched Captain Fantastic and it changed my life, so I had Eddy watch it and it changed his too! 

fantastic

My whole perspective has also shifted like crazy over the past couple months, and even the past 2 weeks because I also just got back from a trip to Antarctica!! Both other posts entirely…

Today I cried. A lot.  And that’s what finally pushed me to start again. I also can’t go into full detail about this, because I’m still processing… All I can say is that I feel like I’m starting to really embrace this whole “life as an ayahuasca ceremony” thing I came up with as a tool for myself. Thinking back to how I felt during a ceremony… this almost “excitement” for the pain that was to come, knowing that it would be healing… this is probably another post entirely as well. Moving on.

After ACTUALLY doing Ayahuasca, I wanted to discount the bipolar label entirely. The experience at Dreamglade really opened my eyes to how Western diagnoses truly DO only address symptoms rather than the root cause of things, and offer only bandaids as solutions because people are so afraid to face the truth of who they really are. However, coming back to the states and trying to explain what I go through and how my mind works, I see how labels are pretty much just definitions that make things easier for people to understand. Unfortunately it also creates boxes for people to be trapped in, rules to adhere to, and excuses to be placed on ideas and concepts, rather than worked on and understood.

Considering I’ve been subconsciously trapping myself in boxes of my own doing for my entire life, I naturally wanted to get away from something like the label of bipolar. I wanted to focus more on healing, so I made another blog… but now I see that doing so was almost another form of “classic Elora escapism.”

I now see that bipolar doesn’t have to be a “label,” but an exploration.

What does bipolar actually mean? At some point, you answered questions for someone you don’t even know (your doctor/psychiatrist) and they made a judgement about you, without even knowing YOU, or what you’ve BEEN through in life. Yes, there’s a reason that certain traits and symptoms fall under that category, and honestly… it’s nice to know that we highly emotional, EXTREME people are not alone. However, we can’t just use that as an excuse for our behavior once we find out that we fit under some umbrella term. But identifying as “bipolar” and committing to understanding what that means to ME… now that’s PLENTY healing. Rules are meant to be broken, and I feel like what I’ve been discovering about myself is actually HELPING, WITHOUT meds. And it’s something we can all do.

It’s a shit ton of hard work, terrifying, and involves a lot of pain… but isn’t that life? I’ve felt the numbness, and to me… that’s not living.

A lot has happened in the past 6 months. I got married in Hawaii despite the threat of a hurricane, had a spiritual experience in Kauai during our honeymoon, was reborn in the Peruvian Amazon at an Ayahuasca retreat, and lived what I felt was an entirely new lifetime on a boat sailing around Antarctica for 10 days. Now that I’m back home in LA with no huge life changing experience looming on the horizon (well, except losing my job in 2 months), I’ve had to face what it means to stay put and stop running from my biggest fears.

After living this MOST EXTREME half year of my ENTIRE 30 year existence, I can now say that unfortunately… it’s what I needed to actually feel alive and begin to truly move forward. For the first time ever, rather than existing only in a scattered, painful cloud of thoughts, my brain might ACTUALLY be working! 😀 Sadly it’s also made me aware that this is the type of stimulation my brain has needed, and now I want to dedicate myself to learning how to be okay living WITHOUT such extremes… because damn it’s exhausting! And from what I learned while on the ship in Antarctica… not a lifestyle that I actually want anymore.

In addition to all these recent life changing events, I’ve become re-obsessed with the enneagram and archetypes, and it’s pretty insane how duality is EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE!! I really resonated with this guy’s description of the Warrior Archetype.

In this video he MENTIONS bipolar dysfunction, and in his video on the “The Lover” he goes into more detail about it, with this chart that I absolutely love clearly illustrating those poles within all of us! 

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The only answer is to explore this dichotomy, the “bipolarness” of it all! But that exploration requires courage to face ourselves, and it is what we all must strive for in order to GROW, but also to move toward a better world. I’m starting to see that being sensitive to these extremes really does seem like a superpower, a clear gift and curse. The ability to embrace these gifts in their fullness requires an awareness, not only of the  joyous extremes and how those make you feel, but also taming that dark beast that exists to balance that.

2019-03-30 bipolartweet

I absolutely love this tweet that a friend sent me 🙂 A “closer bond with the energy of life”… I would like to think so. Everyone’s minds work differently, but something that’s becoming more and more clear to me is that…bipolar minds allow us to feel SOOO so strongly that we experience a special kind of pain, but that pain can also be seen as fertile darkness from which the brightest of lights can emerge!

The brighter you shine, the darker the shadows.

There’s a reason so many of us kill ourselves… because it’s so much easier to do that than to live with feeling this way, and to know that whenever things are good, that crash is waiting just around the corner. But just think how STRONG we can be if we learn to fight it, and what JOY we can GIVE to the world!! 🙂 We feel stronger and deeper and harder than ANYONE ELSE… all we gotta do is learn how to lessen the crash! 

Along with the bipolar, I am an Enneagram Type 7, and knowing that my learning and excitement come from stimulation from the external world, I’m determined to shift that stimulation to what I fear most — the internal world… all those demons I THOUGHT I had faced, but realize are still here every time I attempt to create.

I have learned SO MUCH about myself, humanity, and the world in these past couple months and am SO EAGER to share my findings with anyone who will listen! However…it’s a LOT and I have a feeling it’ll take longer than I think to figure out the best way to do that. Going against my nature, I’m finally trying to be patient and learn to see this internal unfolding as the next adventure to move me forward. It’s such a struggle to learn to trust your intuition and observe and follow where the extremes take you, while at the same time trying to tame that wild beast within, to a certain extent. ADVENTURE INDEED! >:D

This site will be a perfect place to document that journey, because I am now accepting that I forever am, and will forever have, a “Bipolar Beastie.” Hell, maybe that’s how it is for all of us 🙂 It’s about time to start being proud of it!

Thank you to all my subscribers and people who have written comments to some of my posts…it means so much. ;___; Remember… you’re not alone, and it’s worth it to share your story. I’m struggling too, as are we all!! Embrace your beastie!

LISTEN, RESPECT, FOCUS – How To Connect With Your Soul

LISTEN
Listen to your breath.
This is your heart, your soul
This is me, this is you
And all that surrounds you

RESPECT
Respect the power of the divine light within
And recognize that it is also yours to wield
You are only a vessel
Allow me to propel you forward

FOCUS
Focus only on what lies ahead
And you can do no wrong
Observe the cycle, for it is you.
You are the universe.

Had a CRAZY experience when running this morning. I started off focusing on my breath like a regular meditation, but then the words Mother Ayahuasca kept harping into me during third ceremony found their way into me.

LISTEN. RESPECT. FOCUS. 

I realize now that this is a mantra! I’ve been saying it to myself, but never REPEATEDLY over the course of like… today I had to run 5 miles so I was out there for nearly an hour. Focusing on these words a strange thing started to happen… My eyes were being forced shut, similar to 3rd ceremony, and I found myself running with my eyes closed in a straight line for the first time ever. I love running with my eyes closed but I could never trust myself to do it for extended periods of time, but this mantra put me in a weird, trance like state where I was able to run with my eyes closed and messages started pouring in. The above is a paraphrased version of what I was told, but essentially what happened is that… I felt similar to I did in ceremony, being one with the universe, and so light like I was completely going with the flow of this “lifestream” the voice called it.

I was so amazed and grateful that I was able to enter this type of state that toward the end of my run I said “Thank you Mother Ayahuasca” and the response I got back was “I’m not Mother Ayahuasca… but she helped open you to me. I am you, you are me. I am your heart, your soul… I’ve been trying to get you to listen for so long… I’m so glad you finally did.”

I was shocked. I started bawling. What even is life anymore.

moon011919

This is what the moon looked like last night… never seen it like this before. It’s a preshow for the main event this evening 😀So excited for the Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse! I can already feel it… some strange magic is afoot.

(We looked it up and it’s actually called a 22 degree lunar halo. Never seen this in my life… I guess it’s pretty rare.)

Another bonus — I just finished my daily Yoga With Adriene and the theme of today was LISTEN!!! How weird is that!!! SYNCHRONICITYYYY!!! 😀 And it’s also… ALL ABOUT LISTENING TO YOUR BREATH! YOUR SOUL! YOUR SPIRIT! She calls it your “heartsong” 🙂 Anyone can connect with their soul in this way, as long as you take the time to listen. Gosh I love Adriene so much… totally affirmed what happened this morning. The universe is a strange and beautiful place. I’m glad I can finally see it for what it is…

Human Language Is Getting Exhausting

Feeling the duality hard today. Integration has been a roller coaster. Today Amy brought up her struggles with me and it made me realize how tired I am with speaking. Human language is so limiting, and since I’ve been back it feels nonstop recounting my ayahuasca journey to people on weekend excursions and weekday lunches…by the time I get home I’m just so drained and can’t speak at all. But then Eddy is going through his own shit and our conversations have just become a complicated miscommunication mess due to my state of mind.

I’m tired of constantly feeling the need to tell everyone about something I’m excited about. I need to learn to just be alone and keep shit to myself, but it’s almost like that goes against everything I’ve been for such a long time…I’m not sure who I’ll be if I embrace this type of life.

But She’s been telling me to listen and pay attention, and I think the thing I’ve NOT been paying attention to is how all this TALKING and INTERACTING is causing so much tension in my body. It’s no longer anxiety like before but…now it’s just tension from overexertion and I gotta cool it. Silence would be much appreciated…seems like I’ve had a constant headache from word vomit lately my goodness.

I wanted my next entry to be our ayahuasca journey but because of the state I’m in…I just can’t right now and gotta accept that this is ok. I need time and wanna do it when it feels right. THIS entry was more important right now. Gonna be patient with myself and take a break.

Amy suggested this lecture to me today cuz I’ve been going on and on about duality since I’ve gotten back and she said this reminded her of me. Lol I haven’t finished it yet but…it’s already been pretty helpful. I gotta learn to stop talking and just BE.

Haha I just realized that I created my last blog to document my bipolar journey after I got off my meds, and this blog is basically becoming my ayahuasca integration journal…and now I’m migrating back to the bipolar blog! It’ll be cool to look back at this in a couple years and hopefully say something like “look how far I’ve come!”

Turn off those expectations, Elora. You know better than that 😛