Shifting My Suicidal Mindset With Ayahuasca, Rapé and Sananga – Embracing Death With Plant Medicine

Now when I have suicidal thoughts, I try my best to shift the focus on accepting an INTERNAL death, rather than feeling like I need to take some drastic action to end my physical existence.”

There is currently a lot of positive movement in my life, a lot of meaningful connections and realizations being made, and I’m overall just feeling so grateful to have made the decision to do Ayahuasca in December 2018. Now, two years later, my experience at Dreamglade has helped me quit my job to work on my mental health, start my own business (that’s currently on hiatus), become a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, and join a social change organization, all of which has been teaching me the healing powers and importance of community (way better than any traditional therapy I’ve ever done). I’m feeling more fulfilled and stable than ever before, largely in part to learning how to repeatedly surrender to the unknown and change my relationship with pain through cultivating deeper connections with the Earth and my own natural cycles. Plant medicine helps a lot with that, and this new perception I’ve developed since the Ayahuasca retreat has no joke gotten me through the pandemic and this crazy time in history. Not to mention make peace with my dad’s death and build resilience and patience to feel capable of mentally handling life’s difficulties. As I do more and more healing work to untangle the programming that got me to where I am today, I see how Western culture and the polarities of my upbringing contributed SO MUCH to my bipolar tendencies. Now that I finally have a break to get to know myself, I’m finding that for me, it’s all about learning how to manage my energy and shift mindsets and patterns to rewire my brain.

A huge pattern for me is suicidal thoughts and ideation, which is so common for bipolar minds since we feel so deeply, and the pain to keep living can become unbearable. There’s no ceiling to the mental pain we can inflict on ourselves, whereas if you break an arm for instance you generally know that the physical pain is temporary and it’s gonna heal. Around the time I got diagnosed, I was feeling constant pressure from wedding planning, work, and life in general that these thoughts became so overwhelming I was actually making plans to do the deed. It’s a huge part of why I took the plunge and bought tickets to Peru. For me, I was ready to die and I was terrified I wasn’t long for this world if I didn’t make a drastic change. I was about to get married, and I knew I had to learn to manage these thoughts because I couldn’t do that to my husband, dog, and any potential future children. Ayahuasca was a last resort, and I’m SO GLAD IT WORKED. My internal landscape has been permanently transformed in a way I never thought possible. Integration has taken a while, but I’m starting to notice profound positive changes in how I show up in the world.

Ayahuasca is also called the vine of “small death,” and I owe my intensely life changing ego death experience at Dreamglade to the decision of opening myself up to doing kambo, rapé and sananga. I won’t go into what these medicines all are, but you can click on their names to read about them. You can also check out our kambo experience here. All of these plant medicines have vastly shifted my perception of pain and increased my resilience to my bipolar episodes, helping me stay grounded, empty my mind, and create space for the universe to step in. They not only remind me that life is a miracle, but also that death is an important part of the cycle of nature, and it’s to be embraced. Even though it’s super hard to do (at least for me because I’ve had a TON of resistance). But thankfully, after a couple years, now when I have suicidal thoughts, I try my best to shift the focus on accepting an INTERNAL death, rather than feeling like I need to take some drastic action to end my physical existence. I ask “What part of me has to die? To be reborn? What is lashing out that I still can’t let go of?” I guess this is process.

One of the reasons I’m most grateful for the internet is because I feel like the healing and integration happening with me, right now, is SO supported by having access to rapé and sananga. Our brains get so wired with bullshit throughout our lives that repetition is necessary to break all these bonds to suffering that become our comfort zone over time. It’s an absolute DREAM to be able to do them on a consistent basis. This is my little kit! I named my kuripe Raul after the shaman at Dreamglade ;_; You can hear one of his icaros here…so glad someone posted this on Soundcloud.

Got the rapé at Rainbowbridge.love (Promo Code RAINBOWHEALING for 10% OFF)

I see now that the weed actually made my bipolar worse, offering a temporary numbing solution but messing with my energy to contribute to rapid cycling patterns. As my awareness has increased, I notice how quickly I reach for my pipe when I’m feeling uncomfortable energy in my body.”

I used to smoke a lot of weed, but last month I developed a sore throat with occasional earaches. I took this as a sign that I probably needed to stop smoking. I’ve been doing a lot of embodiment exercises, yoga, meditation and the rapé daily (sometimes morning and night), but I was still giving in to the weed habit. As my awareness has increased, I’ve noticed how quickly I would reach for my pipe when I’m feeling uncomfortable energy in my body, either to soothe the mania or depression. I see now that the weed actually made it worse, offering a temporary numbing solution but messing with my energy to contribute to rapid cycling patterns. It works for some people, but I’ve definitely read it’s not great for bipolar minds… something I never wanted to admit to myself until now.

I’m grateful for this neverending sore throat because I keep getting messages of “you need to stop smoking weed.” I tried my best to, but the other day ended up doing it again… and ended up going to the doctor yesterday since my throat and ears were so bad. After the exam, he said I looked perfect. Just as I thought…energetic. Of course I could do edibles but… what this whole thing is making me realize is that I had actually gotten addicted to weed which I never thought would happen. I really don’t want to live like that anymore. My body is done with that, and I’d rather come into my personal power than rely on getting “high.” My mania is already a natural drug anyway. What now feels more productive for me is shifting that relationship to pain and discomfort and learn to stay grounded and connected to the Earth to not get swept up in whatever energy is coursing through me from my moods.

“Imagine if we forced the trees to not shed their leaves in the winter, what would happen? They would be stuck with a bunch of leaves they don’t need and be unable to adapt for the next season.”

– Kai Njeri

Growing up in America, I feel like I was taught to create unrealistic expectations for myself, and because those expectations would never be met, I’d just wallow in self pity, hating myself for not being able to make shit happen. We have also been taught to fear death and the natural cycles of life which are honored in other cultures. Just like the seasons, the moon, and everything else in nature… we have to die eventually, along with certain parts of ourselves. Otherwise, we’d have no space for anything new! One of my friends from Shakti Rising said the other day, “Imagine if we forced the trees to not shed their leaves in the winter, what would happen? They would be stuck with a bunch of leaves they don’t need and be unable to adapt for the next season.” Seriously. From everything I’ve experienced and have committed myself to experiencing… embracing death is the best way to peace.

Which is why I am SO grateful for the plant medicine! Rapé is like jungle snuff that you inhale through the nose, an herbal blend made by various indigenous cultures in South America. You can read all about it here, what it is, benefits, all that. The one I have is an Ayahuasca blend, which has been MONUMENTAL in continuing the healing work with Mama Aya that was started in 2018. When my friend told me she found a site where you could get this, I actually cried. If interested, you can order it here from Rainbow Bridge. Proceeds support the indigenous cultures they work with, their customer service is incredible and rapé blends top notch… I’d highly highly recommend ordering from them. If you’re feeling called, please use the promo code RAINBOWHEALING for 10% off!! 😀

I’m dying because I just saw that they now have these HUMMINGBIRD KURIPES!!! Even though I absolutely love my lil shaman… hummingbirds are my spirit animal so I couldn’t resist ordering a new one, especially because they have a new Ayahuasca blend! So excited to try it!! 😀 I’ve been doing the rapé pretty consistently since December, and it’s enhanced my dreams and really helps me feel connected to Mother Ayahuasca. And talk about embracing death…When this stuff is taken with intention, I can attest — It’s absolutely life changing. Every day when I inhale through the left nostril, I meditate on what I need to let go from my life, and on the right, I meditate on what needs to be reborn… the newness that will take up the space of that death.

To me, life is now a ceremony. Because why not? This shit is magical.”

Amy also recently gave me a vial of sananga, which we did together in Peru at the retreat. I told her that I had been using it whenever I had a weed craving, which helped so much. These cleansing eye drops make your eyes sting for about 5 min, but they leave you with clearer vision, an empty mind, and often soothing messages. Here’s a conversation we had the other day that I don’t want to forget. She has such a beautiful way of condensing information, whereas I word vomit all the time. I love how she recognized that I was working on “not being afraid myself anymore” which is exactly it… pretty messed up how easy it is to get caught up in that type of self hatred.

The exact part of that Little Witch Academia episode unfortunately isn’t on Youtube, but this wonderful analysis of it is!!! 😀 I was blown away by how beautifully Trigger handled an exploration of the inner psyche. Definitely worth watching…one of my absolute favorite LWA episodes. (This show changed my life btw, highly recommended especially if you’re into that magic vs technology kinda thing)

Anyway, I remember taking that sananga at the retreat two years ago before the ceremony that changed me forever. It made me feel deeply in my soul that pain is temporary, and that learning how to move through it with grace was the answer to regaining my power. Now, continuing these plant medicine rituals, I find that to be absolutely true. I’ve even got Eddy starting to see the point of them when previously he thought I was insane. He’s been having a ton of physical aches and pains from working at the computer, and taking the sananga and rapé was able to shift his focus on his physical pain to the pain of the plant medicine… but in a good way. If only more people were more open to this! Mother Earth really does have all the answers we need…

When we went to do Ayahuasca, we were told that she always gives you what you need, but not always what you want. They said it was important to not have any expectations and to PAY ATTENTION to what she was trying to tell us. I remember back then thinking “HOW DO YOU NOT HAVE EXPECTATIONS?!” And I see now that the way to do it is to listen. Listen deeply for what the universe is trying to tell you…what each MOMENT is trying to tell you. It’s all there, it’s all within us, because we ARE the universe. Everything is so deeply, unfathomably connected, and the more I repeatedly feel this IN MY SOUL, the more I find that it’s absolute truth.

To me, LIFE ITSELF is a ceremony. The more I am able to deeply listen, the more I find that every moment truly is a teacher, and the more meaningful and profound this adventure becomes. I think… maybe I’m starting to get it 😉

The Bipolar Is Back and I Can’t Help But Be Afraid…

I think I’m starting to understand why bipolar people are advised against taking Ayahuasca. This integration process is a bitch but I thought I was doing okay. Of course things come in waves… of course I have to learn to be patient with myself and allow the transition to happen. But I slipped into mania without even realizing, and came home to a rude awakening today with Eddy bringing to my attention how I’ve TOTALLY been neglecting him and Han.

“You’re a hero to everyone else but us, and it hurts because you don’t seem to care.” – Eddy

When he said that to me… I could tell just how hurt he was… and THAT hurt me. To be honest… I could FEEL the balance in my life being off (HA not that it’s ever been “on”) since I’ve come back, but I can admit now that I’ve been blatantly ignoring it because the high has been so great. And Eddy has been suffering. Not only because of the neglect, but because I’ve just been pushing my own shit on him constantly, reverting back to my selfishness of not asking him how he’s doing, not offering to help with the project that I was SUPPOSED to be helping him with… making excuses of “I’m just integrating! She’s telling me I need to be patient!” and hoping that he’ll support me.

Which he always does. He always supports me… but I feel like I’ve never learned to support him. I was hoping Mother Ayahuasca would help me with that actually. Help me fix my distorted sense of love… and I thought she DID help… but now I’m not so sure.

Although ayahuasca finally made me start to trust myself and I now have Mother Aya’s positive voice within me, I feel that it’s almost reversed the progress that I’ve made in learning how to center myself. Prior to dating Eddy, I was full on manic, constantly hanging out with people all the time, running on empty but not giving a shit and making everyone happy with my bubbly energy. But then I crashed super hard and didn’t understand why, but Eddy helped me start to decode my past and figure out what was making me feel so depressed. Then last year when I got the bipolar diagnosis it all made sense… and being at the retreat, people were constantly praising me. Telling me I was more self aware than I thought. That I was such a great communicator, a great speaker. Part of why I went there was to work on my problem with seeking validation, and today it dawned on me that this problem has come right back with the confidence that Mother Aya has bestowed on me.

Fucking shit are you serious???? Did I seriously regress???

Ugh I even stupidly got back on Facebook because I was riding the retreat high so hard… wanting to “keep in contact” with the people I met there… but is it because I actually like them or because they remind me of the high of the retreat? That’s always the question right? Are these feelings valid or are they just representative of an addiction?

Lately I’ve been telling people that ayahuasca has stripped me of the armor that I’ve built up until this point… that I’ve molted and now I’m just bare to the world, and I have to work that shit up again. But I don’t WANT the same armor… I don’t WANT to be the same person… how do I change? How do I become the person I WANT to be? I thought I had the answers… I thought I underwent a rite of passage… finally stepping out of childhood into adulthood…into responsibility. But the only responsibility that I’ve been delving into is the responsibility over myself, which isn’t much of a change from before. In fact now it could possibly be worse because I’m not as hard on myself.

Although I feel pretty hard on myself at the moment. And worry so hard that Mother Aya will even leave me now because of the piece of shit I am.

This is always a struggle with me and Eddy. This balance of the time I give to others and the time I give to him and Han. I feel so terrible for him because he’s been so patient for so long, and always takes the time to try and talk me through these situations. I honestly don’t think anyone else WOULD have this type of patience with me… I’m seriously such a child. Bouncing from one extreme to the next, without being able to live the life in between. “Extreme” constituting all these new experiencing, prioritizing friends and acquaintances because by this point, Eddy and Han are such a normalcy in my life, an “extension of me” that for lack of a better term they’re more “boring.” Easier to treat like shit BECAUSE of that normalcy.

I’m so fucked up.

My priorities are so fucked up.

But how the hell am I supposed to fix something like this? I DON’T. FUCKING. KNOW.

Am I supposed to ask for help? WHO DO I EVEN ASK FOR HELP? WHO EVEN KNOWS WHAT I’M GOING THROUGH RIGHT NOW? Honestly… I’ve been TALKING for so goddamn long since I’ve gotten back, I’ve let more and more shit pile up, been more and more distracted at work… I thought my brain was less chaotic, less scattered… but I just seem to once again be on autopilot and fooling myself that it’s different.

I wanted to think I wasn’t actually bipolar. I wanted to believe Stace. I wanted to believe that “getting my soul back” would fix everything… but again that’s my “extreme” showing up. With the talk that me and Eddy just had… honestly the only conclusion I can come to is starting to take medicine. Hell, trying to get work done over break I have to admit I actually took some of his adderall (he’s got pretty bad ADHD), and even that adderall basically did nothing. I feel like my problems with focus are really fucking awful BECAUSE my issues with highs and lows are so extreme. Western diagnosis or not, I can’t deny I have pretty bad symptoms.

And now… I’m not gonna lie. I’m scared.

And lost.

I don’t know whether to ask for help or not.

I want so badly to message Stace. Or Drew. But that “need” for help just makes me more scared. Since I’ve come back and been reflecting on my journey… I’m disgusted looking back at my dependency on Drew. I hate even typing that here… in public… but I’ve been basically imploding with this pain of really starting to look at how dependent I am on others for whatever fleeting “happiness” I’m chasing. So much so that I’ve now been obsessing about how I acted at the retreat… focusing too much on the past. Which is probably distracting me with other things too. Godammit.

So how am I supposed to know when I need help, and how am I supposed to know when I’m being dependent?

DOES ANYONE HAVE THE RIGHT ANSWER HERE?!?!?!

I SOOOO lack any type of foundation in my life that I really… I’m not sure what to go back to since I feel like I’ve never really built anything WORTH going back to.

Eddy says I haven’t been centered since I’ve gotten back, and I said that I haven’t felt centered ever. He said it comes and goes in waves, which I guess I agree with, but it’s so hard for me to search my memory banks for a time when I WAS more stable. I thought I felt stable because of the ayahuasca, but seriously now… I feel as though it’s added an extra layer of distraction on top of who I was before.

Eddy says that me constantly saying “maybe I need to go back on my meds” is SUCH an excuse. And I know he’s right… but I really don’t know what else to do.

He said it’s a matter of being aware of my patterns when I enter mania, but I thought that people at the retreat told me I was already so self aware.

Clearly I’m not. Clearly whatever I’ve become aware of has ALSO been a distraction. I’m never aware of what’s ACTUALLY important. And rather constantly obsess on things that AREN’T. But always SOMEHOW justify it in my own head. WHICH IS WHY MY PRIORITIES ARE SOOOOO FUCKED UP.

HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO PRIORITIZE ANYTHING EVEN!??! WHEN YOU’RE CONSTANTLY SO OVERWHELMED BY THE THINGS TO DO AND THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE?!

I’m scared. I’m scared not only because I’m not sure about what to do about asking for help, but because I can really feel the crash coming on… and I feel like it’s gonna be bad. And even just me saying this is setting up a bad expectation to fall into a deep dark hole… and I really hope I can recover from this one.

Talking about patterns… although I still have difficulty recognizing when my mania hits… I feel that once I recognize that it’s here, the patterns for the crash start becoming really clear. This extreme negativity, this feeling of being the most terrible person in the world… this feeling that I absolutely can’t go to sleep because I need to do as much as I possibly can to try and reverse the damage. Or is that part of mania? Dude I don’t even FUCKING KNOW ANYMORE.

WHAT DO I DO?!?!?!

I feel like… I might be breaking right now. I think the smart thing would be to just go to sleep.

It just really gets to me how I have so much love in my life but I’m still such a selfish asshole who doesn’t quite understand how to return it to those who mean the most. And I worry that I’ll never learn how and I’ll never be able to actually show them how much they mean to me because of some dumb bullshit…

I should just be alone forever.