“We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.” _Joseph Campbell.
As October passed away its now been a full 12 months since I returned to Thailand after seeking support from family and friends, towards the end of a six week un-medicated psychosis. I was very tired after riding the waves of emotive energy that manic-psychosis evokes for such a long period, unassisted and mostly alone. There had been many days during that October when emotive illusion blurred the objective lines of an everyday, normal sense of reality. In a trance like state similar to that which we feel when woken from a lucid dream I’d acted out impulsive energies with manic posts on The-Icarus-Project website and posted the same links here on Stephen Fry’s site too.
Unfortunately my return home to Sydney Australia did not meet with much understanding or offers of support due to my growing resistance to a mainstream view of my bipolar disorder condition. After a brutal first 24 hours of family rejection and the shock of my own cultures aggressive response to madness, I kept my own counsel hoping that time would heal my wounds and eventually bring rewards of new insight on my continuing sojourn of self revelation.
I'd allowed that psychotic period to unfold in its own way after thirty years of experience and education had given me the hope, that there is a natural explanation for the experience of classic manic depressive madness. Traveling back to Thailand only one week after my return home I was aware that my actions had been impulsive and that the shock of my family and friends reaction was concluding the manic energy phase. As I landed at Bangkok airport I wondered how long it might take for the depressive phase of my classic bipolar history to repeat itself, and if my attempt at self re-interpretation would be successful.
I was aware that the medical model of a diseased brain should be unavoidable and depression after such a long life history might be inevitable. “Wait and see,” I thought as I returned to my bed-sitter home and continued on with my reading education, after a month or two of relaxation and recuperation. One year on and depression has not yet set in, with my journey of self discovery continuing as I read, write and feel my way to better self awareness and a new cognitive interpretation. One year on I’m re-writing my core self narrative, my life story, as education insights and mind-less awareness exercises allow a better conscious identification of what happens within me, and how that stimulates who I am.
When I get those familiar up-spiral or down-spiral energies of bipolar these days I now know what it is and what to do about it. So now my left brained rationality is more in synch with my right brained emotive intuition and I don’t fret over the discharge of metabolic energy, that my frustrated heart is flushing through my brain and nervous system. These days I recognize the energy for what it is, as my natural capacities give vent to their heart toned sensations of life.
“Sit in a room and read–and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time.” _Joseph Campbell
Twelve months on from that last raging psychosis I’m still reading, still writing, still continuing my sojourn of self revelation. Following the advice of personal hero’s I read, read and re-read letting new knowledge settle in through the metabolic processes of my body/brain. I'm still delightedly bemused at the formation of intuitive new ideas born within those synaptic connections of my evolved mammalian brain. Still delighted at my flights of manic energy when this old heart of mine allows me to dance away the night, and these days the shameful arrows of condemning looks no longer evoke a depressive reaction, here in a different culture.
During the return home to Australia last year I took precautions for the future, I did buy the sleeping pills I’d used for over a decade to get me through manic sleepless nights. I’m happy to report that in 12 months I’ve only used them once though, just after my return when painful memories of that first 24 hours in Sydney kept me awake. Since then I’ve learnt to let the energies go better than ever before, after a breakthrough realization that muscular tensions underpin the energy tones of my heart and its blood infusion of my brain. Its a process I've written about and posted information links to on my Bipolar Batesy blog site.
A process like today when I’ve had all the familiar self stimulated thoughts of positive energy needs, required to motivate and move my writing forward. Emotively toned thinking with all the usual spiritual themes and characters has flooded my mind, yet I now know the positive intent and how not to amplify and maintain this energy state with continuous compulsive thinking. Today I know how to let it go through the practice of muscular relaxation, particularly the muscles of my face where I manifest so much of my intentional needs.
Today with a mindless letting go of mediation like practice, I try to catch the gap between the spark and flame as Buddha teaches, that point were my instinctual reaction becomes a mindful awareness. Perhaps I’m finding it in muscular tensions as the motor cortex fires intensional needs milliseconds before the neo-cortex firing of my conscious perceptions? Perhaps I’m finding a balance here between Western scientific research and Eastern philosophical practice?
Today I’m happy to report that my authentic journey of self revelation continues almost two years into my Thailand adventure. Today I welcome with joyfully open arms whatever life will bring me next, no longer ashamed, no longer afraid of my own body,/brain and its thirst for living, for life with all its varying degrees of good and bad experience in whatever particular circumstance.