Learning to Handle Bipolar Crisis On My Own
Learning to Handle Bipolar Crisis On My Own
Very few people will read this through so I can write anything. For 3.5 years I have been on a journey to figure out what it means to be or have bipolar through my own understanding. 7.5 years ago I was told I have bipolar disorder right after I was hospitalized for being in “psychosis”. My first reaction inside was “that’s not it” as I was confounded by how they could know more about what just when though than I did. I couldn’t understand how they could sum up two months of everything in between rich profundity and beauty to extreme fear and terror. Plus, so much of it has a spiritual flavour I couldn’t believe that it was all a disease. I’m not debating whether it’s a disease or not as I still use tools based on the illness model, such as medication. What I am pointing out is that buying into the label fully can stop us from seeking to learn and understand for ourselves what could be happening.
For the last 3 years, I searched in books and at conferences for some kind of understanding that I can make sense of, and I’ve discovered that all understanding comes from inside myself. I’ve seen that there is nothing in particular to make sense of. What I mean is, we need the capacity to understand life from moment to moment, not to understand what bipolar is.
If I try to understand what is happening in any giving moment according to what I’ve been told about bipolar, it will most likely increase the fear of any given phenomenon. The fear of fear is more of a problem than the experience of fear itself. If I am afraid of the experience, it will likely create the behaviour of trying to get help, and that kind of help if it is a crisis often means hospitalization. In my experience, once I had a really traumatizing experience there, I never wanted to go back. This could lead to more fear as I don’t want the help that is available to me in worst case scenarios.
I wanted to understand more of the factors that lead to the fear of the experience of psychosis. Recently, I planned a trip around the time I was likely to experience a crisis. Someone where quiet and peaceful. I had my arsenal of meds and supplements. I wanted to see what would happen when I didn’t have any triggering people around me. Often times, when I go into lower states of consciousness (see Dr. David Hawkin’s Scale of Consciousness) such as fear, anger, shame, blame, I look for someone to project that onto. Those states of consciousness want to manifest themselves in reality. They want something or someone to feed off of. Since I wasn’t around anyone I know, there was nowhere for this energy to hook onto. I could then see it’s subtle movements for what they were. For example, I felt some anger to come up, but when there was no one to be angry at, I could see that it just wanted to feed and propagate and create chaos.
This is super complex and it took a long time for me to get to the point where I could see this by creating a situation that was an empty mirror with nothing I was experiencing inside to hook onto the outside. The other reason I wanted to get away was because over the winter, I was staying with family and I had the experience where I was in a good state of consciousness and then my parents literally started just coming up to me and yelling at me for things in the past and about how I live my life now. They were angry and wanted me to be further ahead in life than I am. I literally felt my brain being damaged by this violence. At one point when cornered, I yelled back and it was an ugly scene. Oh how past patterns want to repeat themselves. This kind of pattern is as old as the hills. By going away, I was trying to test the chicken vs egg scenario. I basically know the timeframe when my energy is going to switch from being a bit sped up and in a “good” state of consciousness to a lower energy or “bad” state of consciousness. I put good and bad in brackets on purpose because thinking in terms of good/bad is one of the things that I’ve found exacerbates the condition. I will go into this more later but in short, resisting “what is” makes it go on longer. The statement “what you resist persists” is very true in bipolar. More on this later in a process I used to get though a crisis on my own.
Back to the chicken or the egg. Over the winter, I knew it was time for a crisis to happen. This is when everything is going completely fine and the rug is pulled out from underneath me. In the Winter, I felt fine, but it was as if the shift in energy was sensed by others and they felt it and just decided to yell at me in order to create an angry or fearful reality, the lower states of consciousness. They yelled at me many times and since I was in a low energy state, I couldn’t get away due to low functionality. I was trapped. I was hoping the crisis wouldn’t happen as I was experimenting at the time with micronutrient supplements and I was totally med free for 5 months and I felt great. But my reality conspired to bring me down.
What keeps me going is my ability to keep learning from everything that happens, “good” or “bad”. I still managed to get myself to California for a month long trip after the winter. Since I learned, I never wanted to in the same house as family members when the crisis started again. So I planned to be away for the next time. This I can do because the switch between the rise in energy to the sudden drop in energy happens every 7.5-8.5 months. I managed to get myself to my destination and it was challenging because there was already a field of drama starting. I had fear and anxiety and as soon as I got to my destination, it all went away. I had 20 days of enjoying nature and silence and reading. I think this really helped to lower the strength of the crisis. I was literally starting to feel it and it all went away. Another theory I have is by being in a high vibration environment of nature and silence, it helps to neutralize some of the bad energies. Compare this to the low energy environment of the psych ward. In a high energy place, the chances of dealing with it on my own were increased. On June 20th, the crisis started.
I was trying to fall asleep and I felt this substance coming out of my heart. It felt like black poison much like the ink coming from an octopus. It diffused through my entire body and I felt a body pain and extreme terror that felt like death. I have had variations of this occur at other times in the past few months too. This one was more in the body. Others have felt like they are in a mind space. This pain in the body made me feel like jumping up in terror to try to do something about it. This is where the fear of fear coming into play as a problem. There was definite fear/terror/pain in my body. But what I’ve learned is to not do anything about it, meaning to not be afraid of the fear/pain/terror. That would be a movement of fear of the fear. It’s fear of the fear that would make me jump up and call for help. But I didn’t do that. All of this is a process of understanding this for myself and testing it out. So, by not being afraid of what was happening, I laid there and watched it without moving a muscle. I didn’t let the fear or pain drive me to do anything about it. Doing something about it is trying to escape it. Also, on another level, doing something about it creates a duality between the experience in consciousness and the one who experiences the phenomenon, when no such division exists (this is one of the fundamental errors – there is no separate self that is ill and illness mainly stems from a belief in separation). There is only what is happening in consciousness. It can be witnessed but there is no self. The self is that which would label the experience according to what it knows and then resist it. It creates a resistance to “what is”. In realizing this and not doing anything about it, not allowing a moment of the fictitious self, in my experience, the worst of it goes away within 2 minutes or less of it’s happening. It has taken some time to learn this. To learn not to be moved by it. I feel, each time I don’t do anything about it, or the self doesn’t move, it loses it’s power. Think about addiction for example. Every time we don’t act on the urge, it loses it’s power. It’s a bit like weight lifting to be still and not move when the self want to get up and cause chaos. It doesn’t want to die and it would rather create chaos than lose its grip. I feel the crisis is the self dying and when it is dying it makes a last ditch effort to assert itself in any way it can. Even if it mean psychiatric hospitalization. When we don’t understand the process, this is often inevitable.
After the intensity is over, I may get up and take something to help me sleep. I probably took a sleeping pill. But I didn’t do it until the experience was over and I could calmly walk over and grab a pill like nothing happened. The reason this is important is that I have had the experience of taking the pill while the terrifying energy is there. What happens if I do that is I end up taking more pills than necessary. So what can happen in some cases is that it’s so extreme that we take more and more pills hoping it will stop, and then it looks like we were trying to kill ourselves. That could be some peoples intention. I’ve always felt that it will look like I wanted to kill myself if I took too many pills, but really I just wanted the agony to stop. I’ve never taken too many pills that resulted in me being carted off to the hospital. In October of 2017, I took the pills while the extreme terror and pain was happening, and I ended up taking more because I didn’t wait it out. Either way though, it doesn’t matter. What matters is keeping oneself safe and each step is a learning process. What I’m learning is not to be afraid of the process of death of the self. Sometimes the body gets confused and thinks it will die. But really this is the self trying to save itself by making the body reach out to others to continue its existence. The self can and does die many times in one life. It is dying in general as we need to start cooperating as one humanity and one Earth. So the work of allowing the self to die is not personal and does affect the whole of human consciousness.
Since I had that scary hospitalization in 2016, I’ve never wanted to go back. I also knew, just not wanting to go back wouldn’t be enough to prevent crisis. Since then, I’ve had 3 crisis events but I’ve managed them without the hospital. This doesn’t make it easier as I’ve had to learn how to be strong enough to help myself in those moments where there is very little control. That’s why I’ve come to see that in the scariest moments, it’s important not to do anything at all. To wait it out, then calmly initiate the carefully laid plans.
This time the crisis went from June 20-July 4, but the intensity was quite low compared to the past. I think being in a beautiful setting was very helpful. But I had to be sure I could handle it on my own. There were no chickens to come around and yell at me to help to create the lower states of consciousness and my experience of them. I understand what is going on here on many different levels and it would take an entire book to unfold all of it. And whatever I think I understand is not important at all. This post isn’t about you understanding what I understand, but that you can via the capacity of your own brain, understand for yourself. By pointing out a little bit of what I understand and that I have a bipolar diagnosis, I hope I give you permission to start to understand for yourself. That’s one of the reasons “mania” is felt as so beautiful, is that we see and understand everything for ourselves for some time. This can be true anytime and by refining that capacity, mania becomes less intense because the braincells are filling in in all situations, not just when there is extra energy for it to be so.
Another subtle thing I noticed was that after the crisis this time, there was some angry energy. I saw it clear as day. And what I saw was that it wanted to hook onto someone or some thing. But there was no one around to attach itself too. It wanted to yell at someone so that it felt less alone. We’d rather have dysfunction than realize that we are entirely alone with ourselves. So, there was anger and a blank mirror of the situation I’d created for this to unfold. I saw the fear and anger as a mechanism to reattach to those I’m attached to. For example. Say that I’m really happy and everything is great and I go on with my life to the point that I’m on the other side of the world living a good life. I would lose all that I’m attached too. The anger and fear is a process of trying to reattach to that which I know. The anger doesn’t want to be alone, but I was alone with it. Since it had nowhere to go, and I saw what it was trying to do, I saw the danger of that anger being enacted. This is similar to not moving when experiencing extreme terror. The anger wanted to move towards someone and it was stopped in it’s tracks. Sometimes I wonder if this is my family calling me back to Earth because I’m vibing too fast.
The fear of fear would reattach me to the psych ward. Then at least I wouldn’t have to be alone with the fear.
After the crisis, I experienced extreme body pain. In the past, I have resisted the pain and it only gets worse. This time, I used a process to transform or transmute the pain. Basically, what we are is awareness. Conscious experience happens in awareness. The mind is experienced in consciousness, and the body in the mind through the brain. So, I zoomed out and “identified” with awareness itself, and not the body. When I did this, the body seems relatively less important, as awareness is a vast space of emptiness. I had listened to a Rupert Spira talk and it seemed to come into play at this moments. I felt the sensations in the body and dropped the label or word “pain”. I then felt the sensations in the empty space of awareness. I was approaching what was what happening in consciousness from a place of neutrality instead of resistance or escape or not wanting it to be or fear. From this neutrality, after not too long a period of time, the sensation switched to a burning sensation (which I wasn’t naming burning, just feeling). This shift made me even more neutral and curious as I’d never had it happen before. I’d only experienced more and more pain in the body. After a time, the burning sensation seemed to heat up the border of my body. Some time later it started to feel like the heat was releasing and it felt a “menthol-like” sensation through my whole body. This could have been due to a feeling of freshness which I realized later. After that, the pain was gone. The pain came back a number of times over the next few days, but I was disinterested and just watched it with the same neutrality. It transformed.
All of this is done by non-doing. By observing, witnessing without judging what is occurring. When we judge it or think we know what is happening, we collapse the wave function on that being so and it prolongs it. It makes it into something that “the self” has to do something about. This process that I described could be summed up as transforming the phenomenon into emptiness or nothingness. If we approach it as emptiness, it dissolves. I have so much more to learn with this. I still take 50mg of Quetiapine a day, and lately I take trazadone and even zoplicone to sleep sometimes. I’ve never had to take a sleeping pill before. What I feel is happening is that I’m living in the wrong environment. For 6.5 years, I lived on my own. Now I’m living with family and I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. As much as they love me, our brains work on totally difference frequencies and living in the wrong vibe is super detrimental.
I know this for sure as I was in Cali last year for 5 months and was able to take no pharmaceutical drugs. I come back home and live with family and I have to take more and more meds. This is because my world moves faster than theres. Einstein created his theory of relativity and I feel that part of what leads to us manifesting as up and down is that our brains move relatively faster and then we appear as talking fast etc. We literally have to tranquilize our brains to slow down to the speed of the mainstream. If we were all sped up, time would dilate and we’d experience each day as much longer, as many of us bipolar people do. The trouble is, then we can’t sleep because to us, the days are different. Tranquilizing the brain helps to keep it at speeds that prevent some of the pain of the brain spewing up and slowing down.
What I’ve learned is there is no “self” or “me” there that is mentally ill. There is a brain that speeds up and slows down. When my brain slowed down during the last crisis, I had no depression at all. I laid there and watched Netflix, but it wasn’t a problem. What I’m learning is to take the self out of the equation and experience all manifestations as discontinuous and not personal. It may seems sometimes like I am taking it personal, but that is helpful because most others see life that way. The brain can slow down but there is no need to bring in an “I” that feels sad about it. The “I” stems from our need to continue. I’m learning to take the “self”, the illusory entity that would want to do something about whatever is happening out of it. This releases the resistance and allows things to change without doing anything at all. I feel stronger that the self can’t make me do anything. This means, I have to be comfortable being alone and relying on my own intelligence. I have to understand for myself without seeking authority. There is strength in emptiness. When I can understand anything for myself, or understand that there is nothing I can do, the non-doing undoes what’s happening.
What I’ve learned is environment, where I live is important. Family members want me to be the same. They want me to be as they know me for their own comfort. When I change, they have to change too, and they don’t want to. So it’s part of compassion to get out of their way and let them live their life. One of the reasons I shrink is so they can interact with me. They come to see me in the hospital. They can’t know my true self, and neither can I. But I can work to understand the factors that promote flowering and those that lead to withering. It’s nobody’s fault. Not even psychiatry. They are there because we think we need help, because we don’t understand ourselves. And we do need there help until our brains are quick enough to be with whatever is happening moment to moment.
Many people are working very hard to change the system. For me, the changes won’t happen fast enough. So I have to rely on myself to create the conditions that I can continue to learn and understand what is happening. I can’t wait for someone else to build a psych ward paradise. A big beautiful property in my area with all the right staff trained in the perfect way to guarantee it won’t be traumatic. It’s not going to happen. Maybe it will in 20 years but it will already be out of date. The only thing that isn’t out of date is using the brain in the moment to understand ones subjective experience moment by moment in the now. I still utilize some elements of of the system and I no longer see it as a threat. It’s only there when I call for it. If I rely on myself, it can’t touch me. And if it does somehow, I can start over and try again. The system helps us get up and try again. It’s like playing a video game where you have 100 lives. We die and start again. As long as you have a body and one brain cell, you can move towards living the life you want.
There are so many things that are involved here and this is a grain of sand in the ocean. Something else I’m learning is how to function without executive functioning. The importance of this is that executive functioning often fails people diagnosed with mental illness. But we can learn to use other areas of our brain to operate instead of forcing executive functions to come back online. There are many reasons why it is resistant to coming back. No time to go into that now.
If you want to learn to rely on yourself, it does take time to do that. I would suggest reading:
The Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle
Healing and Recovery pg 265-328 by Dr. David Hawkins (then all of it)
(You might need to read Power vs Force to understand it – it’s also available on audible)
This Rupert Spira talk:
Start trying to get your brain adapted to Krishnamurti’s teachings which are available for free here:
Now that I’ve handled three crisis events without the hospital, I feel free of the fear of the experience. Not only that, it’s lessoning in intensity since I can see it for what it is and what it’s trying to do. It’s not able to trick me out of the strength within myself and my capacity to understand. The part that is fearful is that we don’t understand so we seek the understanding of others. Professionals can tell us we are ill and that is helpful for a time, but it could trick us into thinking that we can’t eventually understand for ourselves. Relying on the interpretation of another is the most dangerous thing. Think about how we were when we were children. A young child gets mad when we try to help them with something they are struggling with because they know they have the capacity to figure it out, and that is part of the joy. The brain loves to learn and not to be told. In school we are taught that learning is memorizing what other people say and taking it on as our own. This is what we do when we stop learning about ourselves as a result of being told what is going on with us. This is a helpful beginning but a cataclysmic ending. If we did everything for a child, it would never learn. I feel part of the reason these “illnesses” happen is because we don’t know how to learn for ourselves. So by learning for ourselves, even if it’s not perfect, we are restoring the brain to its original capacity and impulse.
After being on psych meds for so long, I’m pretty sure as I try to taper off one day when I have the right environment, there will be lots to transmute into emptiness. This could be a belief that might be able to be transmuted in one go. When one realizes the power of ones conscious awareness, there is a strength that transcends all “ups” and “downs”. I’m still taking lithium orotate but after my recent experiences I’m feeling that it’s best to taper or switch when one has a suitable environment and does not live with people that an be triggering or go on the attack due to fear of the rising energy. They don’t want to change as vastly and rapidly as we are able to. When we change, others feel it and must change too, but they don’t want to. Hence eventually the one with the energy gets attacked and contained for the comfort of everybody else to stay the same and keep going on this path of slow continuous progress. We’ve seen heaven is right here right now in a nanosecond shift. I tranquilize myself for the sake of others and this could be compassion. They don’t want to know that they don’t exist. There is no such thing as separation and that is the only belief that needs to be healed. There is nothing to believe. BE-LIVE.
This post is not medical advice and I do take medications and supplements to help with the process which I didn’t go into in this post. I do feel that we can learn to transmute some of this and not have to deal with the extremes. There are some thoughts out there about learning to function even when feeling extreme energies. I feel and I am learning, even though I’m still experimenting, that we can find appropriate environment and transmute some of this and not suffer as much. In experience that my own consciousness can transform what is happening by releasing how it’s being judged and known, I feel more hopeful. I also feel that bipolar people are meant to function differently or have a different function on this Earth. I don’t know what that is but we have to create it. And we won’t create it by trying to function like everyone else, by forcing ourselves to be a cog in the broken machine and then learning how to just function anyway with the pain of mistaken identity and the resulting ways of living. I’m not saying we are special or better, but the brain is trying to differentiate as we need new perspectives and new sources of information if we are to move into the heavenly realm that is already here-now together. Why should we suffer to make others comfortable? What I’ve seen lately it that the more I understand myself for myself, the more I can communicate it to others, and they are willing to listen. Isn’t this what we are trying to desperately do? Help others see what we see and have seen? It’s okay if they don’t see it or don’t want to, but to feel like one understands for oneself is enough. Then one doesn’t ask for help from those that we need to learn to communicate with in that we have access to information that could help the world if they would only listen. And again, they don’t need to listen, but we don’t need to make ourselves into mental patients where they end up listening to “our symptoms” of their inability and unwillingness to listen. Blah blah.