Constant Discovery, My New Treatment

On Monday I had a long talk with Jen because I was a crying mess in the 40 Days To Optimal Health group and Red Tent last Friday, plus I missed my appointment with her in the morning because I was so out of it. I’ve been having difficulty planning and teaching my yoga classes while in a depressive low…something I was worried about but didn’t think I’d have to deal with until now because I’m actually in it.

I also had a long talk with her after my ER incident and we talked about meds, and the potentiality of me getting off my meds, but she said she hadn’t actually expected me to. After I was prescribed Lamictal though, I was pretty worried about getting that fatal rash it’s known for because I had already experienced some rare side effect and was afraid that…maybe I’m just unlucky. I don’t want that rash. I also found out that one of my bipolar friends was hospitalized on Lamictal for it making her too manic, and I don’t want that either. Honestly I’m starting to feel in my gut that part of my purpose is to learn how to fight this thing WITHOUT medication. So this was a serious talk on Monday about what she thinks I should do to stabilize myself without it. Thankfully she’s helped a lot of people get off their meds, so she knows what she’s talking about.

She said she wants me in CONSTANT DISCOVERY, and I think it just really hit me what that means. We only grow up once, which is why whatever comes our way we’re doing the best with what we got, cuz no one really knows what they’re doing. It’s all about building experience, and we build experience by going through things, making memories, and storing those memories within our hearts. Whenever we react to something, it’s like an opportunity to really DISCOVER what our past self is trying to tell us about the patterns we have built. Every time we react to something…it’s a chance to get to see ourselves, MEET ourselves, and the person we are becoming. This is what “constant discovery” now means to me, and I’m truly excited to go on this journey. Because it really takes the pressure off.

I see now that before my diagnosis, I was always expecting myself to do something. Be something. Build certain skills. Get certain jobs. Get a certain amount of followers. But these unrealistic expectations kept building and building the pressure until I was crippled and incapacitated beneath it all. I was trying to do too much while trying to “figure out what was wrong with me.” When I was diagnosed, I feel like puzzle pieces started clicking into place, but that was 2 years ago and I feel like I’m still discovering what that diagnosis even means. And I see now that what it really is is an opportunity…this opportunity for discovery, now knowing that I share symptoms with this bipolar population. It’s given me a chance to heal, now knowing roughly what to expect. This hit me today too…this kinda letting go of the pressure I was feeling before…knowing I’m committing to this constant discovery of myself.

As I was walking Han this morning I got choked up walking past Amy’s old apartment and remembering her coming out of her parking lot to pick me up. And I thought about Bre’s text to me yesterday saying she felt “haunted” and she proceeded to tell me her memories of when we saw this amazing meteor shower a couple years ago. When I was hit with these memories this morning I realized that this is how it is…we collect memories and they come up and affect us when we least expect it. Not even bad memories…but good ones. They remind us of what we perceive as “better times” even though we’re always struggling…there’s a melancholy to them…this simultaneous joy that it happened, but sadness that it’s over, and that’s just the existence we face. It made me even sadder this morning thinking of that…missing the past…and realizing that everyone feels this way. But that’s when this constant discovery really hit home for me…this “only growing up once.” When I was really manic in my early 20s life was a blur…my whole 5 year college relationship I can barely even remember. It’s now that I’m really choosing to commit to this form of self treatment, self discovery, that I’m allowing to slow down to see how these memories actually affected me. Changed me. And created patterns within me that affect how I live today.

Jen also mentioned pattern disruption, which is basically just rewiring your brain. Choosing to do something different when you can catch that you’re doing the same thing you normally do. So she told me when I start to isolate myself that I really need to reach out to my community…say that I’m starting to enter a low or high and get support for it. Enter a conversation about what it actually means, where it’s actually coming from…like detective work to really get to know myself, rather than falling completely in the hole and starting to wallow.

This is gonna be really difficult, cuz it’s going against my natural instincts. But if it means really getting to know myself and I can frame it in that way…it actually sounds pretty cool and interesting. It’s like getting to know a new friend 🙂 It’s a constant unfolding, and the more I embrace this, the more my brain patterns will shift…the key is patience, consistency and commitment. In this same vein I’m choosing to commit to more consistent journaling and I’m gonna try and rewire my art habits…get used to expressing myself and my emotions…using it as an outlet. It actually makes me nauseous just thinking about how tough that’s gonna be but that’s why I gotta do it. Sigh 😦 It’s what I’ve been avoiding for years…but that means it’ll be worth it. There are probably a lot of answers waiting for me in my art.

Constant discovery right?

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.

Day 11: The Soul of the World

“People looking at what was occurring around them could find a means of penetration to the soul of the world” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I started reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist last night and finished it today. It was such a trippy read because I can honestly say that this would’ve blown my mind a couple months ago, but now I feel like it’s mostly validation for everything that I’ve learned. How is it possible that humans come to the same conclusions once they go on this journey into themselves, the journey of self discovery? Is it just because we’re the same species that we feel the same emotions and so many of us feel the need to go on this journey? Why is it such a THING for us to find answers? For such a long time I’ve thought “Consciousness is a BITCH. It’s the only reason I’m feeling SO SHITTY right now” but now I swear I can FEEL my mindset shifting to “no… consciousness is a MIRACLE.”

I didn’t need to read this… because I’ve been feeling it. But reading it is a huge relief 🙂 Sometimes I can’t help but doubt the path…. but now I know I really shouldn’t. It seems like the ultimate conclusion people seem to come to since the beginning of time is that we are divine energy, we are all one, and everything happens for a reason.

I’d be lying if this book didn’t blow my mind at least a little bit xD Actually, toward the end at about 53 min left (I was listening on Audible) I started getting all teary eyed because of the boy’s conversation with the alchemist. For SO LONG I’ve worked against myself, against my heart, and it caused SO MUCH PAIN. I wasn’t sure WHY I was feeling the pain, all I knew is that I was feeling it, and I needed to explore that a little bit.

Cut to now… I can honestly say that I feel like I’ve progress, which is a lot for me to admit. Prior to this moment in time, I couldn’t say that genuinely… I always felt like it was a lie, that I was just trying to kid myself. Just yesterday I was thinking about the past and how I’d suffered for so long, battling myself. But in this book the Alchemist says:

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered in search of its dreams because every second of the search is an encounter with god and eternity.”

He also says that “courage is the quality most essential to understanding the language of the world” the language of course being love. I was getting all teary because it was so sad to me how true so much of what the alchemist said. It’s just human nature to have our heart speak to us as children, but with age those hearts speak “more and more softly” because they “don’t want people to suffer if they don’t follow their hearts.” More and more I’m finding that courage is really hard to come by these days, because it’s so easy for people to hide behind screens and not actually talk to each other. But I think this feeling is starting to pervade culture more and more because as the years pass, people are beginning to speak out against this complex society we’ve created for ourselves.

Thinking about it though, this book was written in the 90s. Is this just a recurring theme that will span through all time? Or is it ACTUALLY getting better? Who knows… I feel like maybe it’s one of those “time will tell” sorta things? I mean, can any of us ever truly gain answers or do we have to just learn, more than anything to trust OURSELVES? Probably that one. I mean… it’s like people say. Speak your truth.

But it’s so hard to speak your truth when you don’t know what it is… and that’s where the courage comes in. Courage to pursue it, courage to seek the “omens” the “signs” that you’re on the right path. All that “follow your bliss” shit… it’s all just to get our hearts closer to the “soul of the world”

Man it really hit me hard how the whole point of all of it was so that the boy could befriend his own heart, with neither being “capable of betraying each other”, a line I think is SO beautiful. Lately, that’s been ESPECIALLY my battle. Since this bipolar diagnosis and taking the Latuda, I’ve seen that my mind IS actually capable of befriending my heart… it’ll just take time. And I think a huge reason it takes so much time for me personally is because I have to FEEL the answers. If I had read this book years ago when I knew NOTHING… it wouldn’t have had any impact. But because I’ve lived an adequate amount of life… the feels were intense.

Please heart, continue to speak to me and allow me to return to the soul of the world.

“Very few follow the path laid out to them.”