the uncertain seeker

by Nicole
(Regina,Sask Canada )

I have never thought that I had any type of mental disorder, however, looking back to my childhood I would say that there was depression and social anxiety. So maybe mild depression.. but About 6 years ago I had my first experience of what I considered a spiritual awakening, as I was walking to my car my whole identity just kind of fell off of me, and after that I was reborn. I didn't once consider myself to have a mental disorder as I was actively participating in spiritual practices of meditation and self awareness. This state made me full of love, life and peace. So much love exuded from me. This high state of being stayed with me for about 3 months or so until it came crashing down. That put me into a depressed state for 2 years after, where I had a few suicidal thoughts and just didn't understand what the point of life was. All I wanted was to go back to that state. It seemed like that was a place where we should all be living. It was the true meaning of bliss. Since then I haven't quite reached that state and have been waffling through highs and lows. The highs seem to be getting higher and the lows aren't so bad... but now it has been so long I am questioning whether this is even a thing. Was I just having a manic episode and were all of the profound thoughts that I had just illusions or hallucinations.. Is this really just a boring and mundane place without a purpose? Was the magic that was felt in the highs just fantasy? Am I just mentally ill?

Ben's reply:

Thanks for your story... interesting questions. I have a few questions for you to consider: Did other people think you were acting "crazy" during that time? Did you do things that you think were socially far outside the norm, any dangerous or high risk behaviors? Were you still able to function in your life independently? (Keeping in mind that even some people who have spontaneous spiritual awakenings sometimes go through a period of divine intoxication and are barely able to function, yet are in a state of bliss). In our western culture we label that "mentally ill," whether it's actually "mania" or "Psychosis" or a true spiritual awakening. Often simply a matter of perspective and belief.

But in the classic sense, psychiatrically speaking, if you were not doing things that were dangerous, violent, wildly out of control, or obnoxious... and if you were still able to take care of yourself, it would be hard to prove the case that this was mental illness.

Typical manic episodes also usually involve very impulsive behavior, grandiosity, high energy and drastically reduced sleep.

Profound thoughts are not the same as hallucinations.

The decent into depression does sound like what many people with bipolar disorder experience after a high/manic period. But even this can be seen from a non-pathological perspective. On rare occasions people have spiritual awakening experiences and never fall from that state. But most do not maintain. They get a glimpse and then they have to work to cultivate that higher state and establish themselves there. This may require some guidance and a solid spiritual path.

It's important to get a reality check from someone other than yourself... but choose wisely who you accept that from. Find people who you trust, and who have a balanced spiritual perspective. And always be safe.

Don't give up on yourself. It sounds like a profound experience worth exploring.

Love is not an illusion.

Take Care,
Ben Schwarcz

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