Everything is Perfect
The thing I miss most about my "manic episodes" is my connection to God/The Universe/The All That Is and the deep feeling of peace and purpose that came with it. I had a deeply profound sense that "Everything is perfect." Not denial, just a real understanding that "underneath it all" all is well. I have never been able to convey this sense of connectedness (I also felt deeply connected to other humans) and REALLY be understood, except to a friend who was actually diagnosed bi-polar before me. I did not realize when I was having these experiences that she OR I were bi-polar, but since she was having extremely similar experiences, she understood. Sadly, she isolated herself and when she did have a "psychotic break" she felt so profoundly lost without that spiritual connection that she took her own life to "be with God."
Since being diagnosed (and medicated) I have had this profound sense of loss as well. In addition, the powerful creative link I had with the Divine, that fueled my "genius" (I am not the only one to use that word...others noticed) seems gone too. Well, not gone, but more like work, not as easy, less like "playing with the angels."
I don't miss saying wildly inappropriate things, being aggressive, having people not want me around and generally being unreliable, but being thin (without having to think about it), having tons of energy and creativity, having a sense of knowing what was REALLY going on in the world "underneath", "behind the eyes" I really do miss.
For what it is worth I also had some profound (for me anyway) psychic experiences. Knowing what a person was going to do or say next (which became annoying, as that lent itself to my over-talking and interrupting) and would/could predict little things...not like earthquakes,but I would just have that very ultra connected feeling and think, "Around the next corner is a woman in a red baseball cap," (useless, I know, but that's what would happen, just a flash in my head) and there she would be or I would be having that feeling and would see a license plate that said "Angels." Yes, since I live in Los Angeles, likely the baseball team, but still, you see my point.
When the darkness comes I am glad for the meds too, because I know it won't last as long, but the absence of that "certainty" of Spirit is profoundly felt.
Perhaps of lesser note is that during this mostly "manic" year I had I also kept seeing the number 444, over and over again. Everywhere. If I looked at the
clock it was 4:44. My bill at a cafe? $4.44. My new account number? 444smack in the middle. I found this so interesting that I just googled 444. I found, according to numerology (which, frankly, I really don't subscribe to) 444 was "the number of the angels." Take it as you will.
For what it is worth I STILL see the 444. My boyfriend (a spiritual person, but an atheist) sorta internally rolled his eyes, I think, when I told him this, but then I started pointing out all the 444s, and it HAS given him pause. They seem to find HIM everywhere now, too. Glad the angels saw fit to leave me with that "gift."
On a final note, often I wish that all these certain aspects of mania could be bottled, that I could take just the right amount everyday to feel The Connection, have all that energy, be a little psychic and a lot creative. If the pharmaceutical companies came up with THAT they would make more money than all their anti-depressants combined!
(P.S. You are the FIRST professional person I have ever heard give any legitimacy to this experience. My therapist is extremely supportive, and absolutely believes my experiences, but is also obligated to make sure I am safe (i.e. not suicidal), obviously.)Ben's Response:
Thanks for this very balanced and inspiring story Hannah. I believe in both safety and freedom. Some people find that they can't have both. But it is a good thing to strive for this balance. I think the 444 message is very fascinating and life affirming.
I also wanted to validate your experience of profound connection and feeling that "everything is perfect." It is not only in mania that some people experience this state of well-being and perfection. Spiritual masters, yogis, meditators, shamans and mystics, and people of all walks of life have had this same experience. I believe it is the truth of our existence. Sometimes we come to that experience through spiritual practices like meditation, or through prayer, or through psychoactive substances, through mania, or simply by grace. But no matter which path leads there, it is the same profound Truth. Even when we can't hold onto that blissful reality, it is a spiritual practice to continually and gently remind ourselves that this is indeed the higher Reality - beyond the appearance of separation, fear and ego.
Sri Nisargaddata Maharaj once said that the state of enlightenment is the deep and profound realization that everything is okay just as it is.
May we all find our way to that state of peace in this life.