Talking about the hard stuff.

The clocks have changed in my part of the world and the days are getting shorter, the air colder, and the nights darker. I am faced with the same challenge I face every year at this time; the intensifying of my mental health issues. This is not a post I have looked forward to writing, but I write it at the behest of Mr. Mister, as nothing is too private to display publicly in His name.

It seems to me that having mental health issues are the big skeleton in the closet of spirit-workers and other God-touched people and I both get it and don’t. There is a huge cultural stigma in Western cultures about being mentally ill; we are seen as somehow less trustworthy, less capable, less dependable, and less able to function as adults. We are ascribed the place of a broken toy; somewhat entertaining but, in the end, flawed in ways that preclude serious use.

And yet, in my experience, many of us, if not most, who are God-touched in whatever way are often touched mentally as well. In my experience, a large number of spirit-workers ARE mentally ill in one form or another and we don’t talk about it even though it can have a profound effect on our Work.

That’s the thing that, to me, is the scariest—that my personal crazy has the potential to, and has in the past to damaging ends, affect my spiritual life. It’s like dealing with an unknown entity sometimes—you have to work out what you’re hearing and where it’s coming from and, when it’s coming from within you instead of without, that can be kind of traumatic to realize and experience.

But we don’t talk about it, at least not publicly. We don’t talk about wrestling with our personal wellness/illness or the systems of checks and balances we put in place or what happens when we find ourselves walking down the crazy road instead of listening to the God-voice. We don’t talk about what happens when we see other people walking down the crazy road and what we do about it, if we do anything at all. I sometimes think it’s one big missed opportunity to learn valuable, if painful, lessons.

It’s no secret to any of my spooky friends that I am mentally ill. Before I got into treatment, I manifested loud symptoms and often inflicted my crazy onto other people. I was very rarely in control of my emotional responses and had absolutely no control over my spiritual gifts and talents. For a great many years, my life was tumultuous. It was uncomfortable to be in my own skin.

When it was clear that this was not going to clear up on it’s own and when I realized the toll my behavior was having on my life, I sought help. I think, in hindsight, there was a bit of a Divine kick in there. After all, I was starting to waste away and go to places where there was the potential of no turning back. For my path, if my mental illness takes over and I go to a place of irretrievable craziness, I am no longer a useful tool to Mr. Mister. He values my sanity, not my lack of it.

After a false start, some lies on the part of a provider, and a misdiagnosis, I am appropriately treated and medicated for my bipolar disorder. I no longer am the absolute bitch I was for years on end. I have patience now where there was only anger, resentment, and swirling chaos. I don’t push people away or wreak havoc on their lives. I no longer experience depression so crippling that I can’t get out of bed. When I take my medication as prescribed, I am somewhat stable or, rather, as stable as anyone with BPD really gets.

It’s a fickle and compelling disorder. Fickle because it is hard to treat and there is no solid ‘cure’–most people with it are on medication in a long-term manner. I find it compelling because it is utterly persuasive and, in that persuasiveness, completely dangerous.

I often think and talk about my illness as if it were a separate person from me because, when I am stable, that’s what it feels like. It often feels like there is someone standing just behind me, trying to compel me into behavior that, while possibly feeling good at the time, will just burn me in the end. That’s the real catch of bipolar—it’s not all bad. The mania isn’t always painful. In fact, when I’ve been severely manic is when I’ve felt closest to Divinity. Whether I was truly close or whether it was a deeply disturbing manifestation of my illness remains up for debate, but there it is. Having a taste of that IS dangerous because I am, as a rule, a rather insatiable person and I always want more, even when I know the fall-out will be incredible. I could have that high, sure, but I could also lose my job, quit going to school, and kiss my important relationships goodbye. These days, the possible loss is more acutely felt than the momentary gain.

So, here I am at the dark part of the year and I feel like I’m ready to fall apart again. It happens every damn year and you would think I would have learned from it by now, but I haven’t. It always takes me by surprise and leaves me feeling a little less than, even though I know this is implicitly not true. It’s okay to be depressed when the world gets dark, but it’s not okay for me to willingly stay in that depression.

I never used to fight against it, but it makes sense to and, moreover, Mr. Mister insists that I do. I can’t give in and allow it to ride me roughshod, as I have tools these days that actually work. I can get myself out of bed and out into the world without too much of a hassle and today I am grateful for that, as it hasn’t always been that way.

I have noticed, however, that I am falling into an old pattern that continues to kind of mystify me, and kind of not. When I become symptomatic in any way, I run away from Mr. Mister. I’m doing it now. I’m more depressed than usual and I’m staying away from Him. It’s one of my biggest faults and I’m just beginning to understand why I do it. I’m grateful for the clarity.

I have lots of baggage about being crazy. It’s been used as a weapon against me in past relationships and by members of my biological family. It’s been intimated that I ought not to be involved with the Gods due to my malfunctioning brain chemistry. I know that there are people who hesitate to be involved with me because of my mental health history.

I have lots of fear, too. I’m afraid that by writing this, people will automatically discount my experiences as invalid or as a product of my sock-puppets. I worry that Work will no longer come my way, which is silly because that’s God-ordained, not people-ordained. I worry that this will follow me in ways that I’m not prepared for. I’m worried that, someday, I will slip off to the Land of Crazy and never return.

This baggage and these fears pull me from Him, even though they are largely unrealized. It is my biggest stumbling block right now and I H-A-T-E it.

I know that, when I am symptomatic, I feel less-than and unworthy. I feel like He won’t want me when it comes down to it—why would He want something that is malfunctioning like a faulty circuit?

In all reality, this is the crazy-voice talking. This is not logical. He picked me up when I was incredibly crazy and put up with me until I managed to get my feet under me. He’s never once given me reason to believe that He cares so little about me that He would simply put me to the side and walk away over the state of my mental health.

In fact, I know for certain that He has put safeguards in place to keep from having to do that—Boyfriend wrote about that a little in his entry about how poly works with a God in the mix. I know that, at least for now, if I slip away or begin to behave in ways that show my illness is taking over, there is a distinct chance that I will not just circle the drain and disappear without a lot of effort being put into the opposite outcome.

That doesn’t negate my behavior right now, though. I don’t think He’s mad, but perhaps disappointed and patient. I sometimes hate it when He’s patient with me and I do right now, for whatever twisted, illogical reason. It just makes feel worse. Though, right now, I think I will feel bad if He blinks.

Sometimes it feels like three steps forward two steps back, but that, I suppose, is the nature of my crazy—it’s a fight to maintain appropriate balance. Sometimes, like right now, the boat is taking on water and is a little tipsy. I know it will right itself eventually, but I can’t leave it to just settle on its own—I have to do a little bit of work.

What to do?

I’ll continue to be honest with the people close to me about how things are going. Things get much, much worse when I try to keep the state of my mental health a secret. It just gets to be a stickier trap and I know that I feel better when I tell the truth.

I’ll continue to talk to my providers. I saw them this past week and they know about how I’m feeling. There’s a timetable in place to deal with the issue if it doesn’t resolve on it’s own. I don’t really want to adjust my medication, but I will if I have to.

When I’m finished with this entry and I get it posted, I’m headed home to spend a little time with Mr. Mister even though the idea fills me with all sorts of anxiety and dread. I shouldn’t dread my time with Him—He’s not out to get me [at least not in a bad way, I am reminded]. I’ll make it happen, even if it’s only a few minutes. It’s better than nothing and it’s important to me to break this nasty little cycle.

Onwards and upwards.

~ by Alex on November 5, 2012.

3 Responses to “Talking about the hard stuff.”

  1. I can profoundly empathize with this entire post — even though I don’t have bipolar disorder, my own battle for mental health has been similarly fraught with struggle and near-defeat. I’m glad you found treatment that worked for you.

    You’re very brave to write about all of this in such detail here. Thank you for saying some things that need to be said about spiritwork, mental illness, and learning to cope with both in a healthy way.

  2. Liking this simply because it is brave of you to talk about it. I don’t have a mood disorder, but I remember how very very erratic I was after I was raped, and having to deal with that on an ongoing basis requires a strength that I respect and honor.

  3. My best friend is bipolar and she gets a lot of flack from friends and family because of it. They tend to treat her as if she were mentally retarded instead of just someone with a mental health issue. For example, the last cell phone she had would randomly shut off on her for no reason prior to the upgrade. When she tried to explain it to her family, they told her to “just plug it in” since she, evidently, wasn’t even aware of how to charge the phone. Yeah. So, I can feel you on that one.

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