equanimity-bliss in bipolar
by jennifer kiley
i spent most of wednesday and part of thursday in a depressed and suicidal state. when i wrote my post last night “when you believe: or that’s what you call confusion,” that is how i was feeling. at first, i was just going to post part of what turned into the poem i finished writing last night. i was so close to death, it was whisperng in my ear. but a strength inside of me, told me i needed to change the poem. it wasn’t finished. it was in that moment i began to write the words that poured out of me from a source close to me. my muse directed me and spoke through my fingers on the keyboard and the words magically appeared. they felt right. the meaning in the words changed from wanting to die to wanting to be hopeful and live. i sent death away temporarily. it wasn’t going to talk me into anything last night. in fact, death may have been a disguise that the demons use to try to control you. but they couldn’t beat me. i’ve been fighting off death all of my life, even before i was even born, i fell down the cellar stairs. my mother pushed me. think about what i am saying. not so cryptic as it seems.
so last night before going to sleep after 5am in the morning, i read from “bipolar in order.” i needed to read words that i thought might help me to understand what was happening to me. the author, tom wootten was talking about living with depression in a state of equanimity-bliss. to live with the depression. to learn from it. he says: “…my body, mind, and emotions may be very bothered, but when i focus on my soul i am in bliss. from equanimity (bliss) i can see that pain is part of bliss just as much as pleasure, happiness, and all other conditions…we cannot truly know bliss until we see it in our pain. once we find bliss in pain, we find it everywhere…it takes equanimity to fully understand how bipolar or depression can be seen as an advantage. once we begin to look at depression and mania from the perspective of equanimity, we see how such richness of experience brings insight and understanding that is beyond the capacity for those without such a perspective to even imagine.”
i am not at that place yet but if i can find a way to work toward that kind of awareness and level of acceptance then i will be able to survive and learn when i go into a depression. it’s unfortunate that we live in a world where most people want a quick answer or fix. a short term therapy that will heal them in six weeks. taking meds that dull your senses and destroy your ability to be creative. i did those psych drugs. they almost destroyed my mind and my body. now i need to heal from what they did to me. i am getting both my mind and body back and, also, my ability to feel. i use to think, throw the drugs at me, i can’t bare feeling depressed or any kind of pain. i wanted it to stop. now the approach i am trying to take, i feel is healthier but i know can be dangerous. i am really strong even though sometimes i feel i can’t bare it, i just push through it and live in it.
writing doesn’t come easily when i am depressed but i make myself write when i am down. though, i fear telling anyone when i feel that way. somehow, i feel i need to hide those feelings. when i feel suicidal i know i need to reach out but that is when i find it the most difficult. depression makes me pull away but that is probably the worse thing i can do. these are the things i need to change. i need to learn trust and believe there are people that will listen and understand and most importantly will not walk away when i need them. this is probably the hardest thing for me to do, is to trust anyone to be their for me or believe they want to be there for me. something i learned the hard way when i was just a kid. there are some very special people in my life that are teaching me to trust and i am beginning to do just that. it is their gentleness with me that shows me they can be trusted.
there was only one person i could trust when i was a child, and that was my grandmother, but she died when i was a young, abused, naieve, teenager and after her death i was left alone with all the dangerous people that surrounded me. they held me prisoner to their torture and continuous abuse. my parents and members of my family were among those i could not trust. as soon as i was able i left when i was a teenager with the help of my first therapist.
the night before i left home, i was having a bad trip on acid. while i was lying in bed, i was listening quietly to some soothing music to help me from losing my mind. it was sometime during this freaked out experience that my father broke into my bedroom. he was extremely angry. moments before he told me to turn down the music. i did but to him it wasn’t low enough, so he yelled at me again about turning down the music. that’s when my freaked out teenage self told him to “tell my mother if she wanted me to turn down the fucking music that she could get out of her fucking bed and tell me herself.” the music was the sound of a pin dropping and i knew even though i was paranoid by then, that it was her that really wanted the music turned down. well, my father broke into my room and the rest of what happened is blanked out from my memory.
my therapists think it’s a majorly repressed memory because when i left that house in the morning to go to work at the library, i never returned to that place, except with my sister, she accompanied me to get my things. i stayed with her for three days until i found an apartment almost right away. otherwise, i had nothing to do with them for ages after that and after a brief reconnection, i realized i needed a thoroughly clean break forever.
when i ask my therapist why i get so depressed and suicidal, besides it being one of the signs of bipolar, she reminds me of my childhood and the nightmare it was. i survived but i did inherit their dna which included bipolar and various other delightful side effects. fortunately, i did not inherit their nature to abuse. i do not believe in physical violence or violence of any kind. unfortunately, with bipolar comes rage. i’ve worked all these years in therapy to learn all about myself and how to heal myself. part of that healing is how to learn control of my behavior. rage or anger is difficult for me but i am getting better at it. in fact, i haven’t experienced any rages recently. maybe some irritation and a quick loss of control of my temper. but i never ever raise a hand to anyone. i am strickly non-violent.
that is why i am an advocate of bipolar in order and the bipolar advantage. i don’t want meds or to be hospitalized. it has never happened yet. at certain times when the suicidal feelings and self harm seemed exceedingly dangerous there were talks about the hospital but i have more of a fear of hospitals for psychological reasons, that it is an incentive to keep or find a way of having control from doing harm to myself. there is no fear in me that i would ever harm others at all, human and/or animal. being abused does not have to lead to being an abuser. it certainly does not exist in me. and controlling bipolar and learning to find bliss in all of lifes forthcomings is something i want to learn to master. i want to learn to find equanimity-bliss in all and everything i do and feel and experience whether pain, depression, pleasure, happiness or any other conditions in life.
equanimity in bipolar
Bipolar IN Order – From Freedom To Self-Mastery