Welcome to Nuts About Melons – I’m crazy about my brain!
7 years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder after experiencing altered states of consciousness. I am sharing my lived experience as I feel this is key for finding more options of ways to navigate Bipolar. I’m not saying the way I do things is THE way. I explore many things at the same time and am always learning and changing my approach.
If you want to explore empowering yourself to “self-direct” your life and rely less and less on the mental health system, read on 🙂
I have been in the psych ward 5 times. I was in the hospital twice initially and then I was doing fine for 3.5 years. I then decided to taper of medication with the help of my psychiatrist. Soon after, I experienced three recurrences of what is commonly known as hypomania and then “psychosis” and I was hospitalized 3 times in a 14 month period. The first two times weren’t too bad, but the third time was not a charm. I had a really bad experience and decided to do my best to learn how to go through the intermittent mental health crises without going to the hospital. It’s been 2 years since I’ve been to the psych unit and I’ve navigated two major crisis events without the hospital. I’m expecting another crisis in the upcoming months and I’m going to see if being over-prepared reduces the harm of these troubling times.
In my experience, I feel it is possible to live well much of the time after a diagnosis of Bipolar. And I feel the fear and pain of the worst times can be minimized. In the good times, dreams can be lived and thus give fuel and inspiration to weather the bad times.
In order to start manifesting this, I have found it essential to do several things:
- Make safety plans with many layers in order to know what to do when crisis (thought storms) come
- Create a mountain of wellness so that after crisis it’s easier to climb back up to the top
- Explore and educate myself on alternative perspectives to the mainstream mental health paradigm
- Be open and always learning and willing to drop what I’m exploring and try something else
- Utilizing supplements to minimize medications and the long term harm they do to the body
- Designing sanctuary for times of transformational crisis
- Re-creating a new “life scaffolding” instead of trying to fit back into mainstream life
- Pondering ways to “avoid the fall” after reaching reaching a peak after prolonged “over-flow”
There are several aspects of living with a mental health diagnosis that I feel are not addressed by the mental health system that perhaps we can go into together.
- Health and Wellness
I am passionate about change in the Mental Health system towards a “Transformation Friendly Mental Health System”, as I heard Ron Unger say. I’m not sure if this change will happen fast enough so in the meantime I am learning how to create safe spaces to go through transformation events. Designing and creating time and space to metamorphose is very important. I will share what I’m doing along the way.
The possibility of what is called “Self Direction” in mental health is being studied in the USA. This could mean that one day, we can have absolute choice on what we decide will help us to integrate and heal after a transformational crisis (or mental health diagnosis). Can you imagine being able to get funding for reiki, yoga, MDMA psychotherapy and Holotropic Breathwork over monthly visits with the clinician? I have been self directing myself towards wellness most of this time and I have explored so many things. I want to share these options with you.
Here are some of the values that I’ve connected with through experiencing non-volitional altered states of consciousness:
Money, success, stuff
Energy, creativity, possibility, lateral thinking, generosity, innovation, manifestation, wonder, curiosity, re-languaging, beauty, nature, magic, miracles, wholeness, oneness, integration, nonlinearity, spirituality, questioning, dialogue
These are some of the “manic/magic” traits that I feel I have more access to because of transformational crisis:
childlike, comedic, silly, perceptive, insightful, sensitive, visionary, synchronicity, altruistic, best self blueprint, playful, language creation…
Other considerations of surfing the waves of consciousness: (it’s temporary and all that is lost returns and more)
Fear, confusion, desperation, grandiose, guilt/shame, boundaries, paranoia, injustice, offended, stress, delusions, over committing, starting but don’t finishing, moving too far away from consensus reality, loss of executive functioning, can’t do linear tasks, technology not working, over extending oneself, disorganized, terror, dissociation
We can be a swarm of “positive social contagions” with our “spontaneous social behaviours” (look up Swarm Intelligence)
I will be trying to fix up this blog with my limited skills over time and make it easier to use.
If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to reach out. Please use me as a resource. I have lots to share and I want others to live well like I do.
All the best on the journey to create wellness and a more beautiful world.