Walking Backwards

by Marie

I have considered numerous times to write about my experiences though feel they would do little to benefit another. I walk a fine line between the biomedical model and 'spiritual' path. At 21 I prayed with all I knew to love my partner as he needed since he was confused about his sexuality; that same month I was okay with spending time with him and his 'lover.' -no jealousy; no envy. I stopped focusing on how I had identified myself /who "I" was and became somewhat silent, though only to others; my mind had been racing quite a bit. I experienced coincidences occurring too often to call them such. I experienced paranoia though only b/c I fought to see the good in every action, even when they were put out by an emotionally abusive (once abused) roommate. The truth of another's darkside in that frame of mind is jarring to say the least. I wanted to heal her; help anyone though couldn't help myself and ended up in F/T 1-week long Day Therapy at S.Pratt. I was dosed with a significant amount of Zyprexa; gained 60 lbs in less than 2 months. Shortly after I began tossing the pills in the garbage. My greatest gift during that time was my mother; bless her heart, her pure spirit listened as I unloaded onto her every thing in my life that has caused me guilt -we revisited my toddler years through to that day. 10 years passed without therapy; without medication -excluding 2 short stints of full blown panic attacks which lasted on avg. 2 weeks each...

and then at 31 I was hospitalized, 4 times w/in 3 months -I was coherent enough to contact state-appointed attorneys to see me off of the unit, though was back on in a short span of time. The first time I accidentally checked myself in while living in New Orleans. I had been picked up by the police while watching the sunrise barefoot in the 7th ward- a few blocks from my home- eventually driven to the psych/med unit; in all that time I was never admitted to what lay persons call a psych-ward. This experience was similar to that at 21 though not entirely. At 31 I had meditated on detaching myself from someone I had fallen passionately for. A few thousand red flags pushed me onto a different path than he was on, but I couldn't keep from looking back. At first it was out of attachment; later b/c I felt as though I was abandoning him in a very dark place...since by that time, I was experiencing a beautiful peace. The experience was similar to taking a small amount of mushrooms (those that lead to hallucinations); colors were brighter; the power of the mind over the body and all external elements was strong/ overwhelming...the difference was the interconnectedness I felt to everything/ to God/ to all that existed. It was beautiful and scary, especially in a mystical space such as New Orleans. Some days it was like jumping down the rabbit hole. To some engaged with me, it was a reciprocated spiritual journey; to others it was like being at the Mad Hatter's tea party. In the end, I was heavily medicated (Haldol; Trazadone; Thorazine; Risperidol; Lithium; Zyprexa) -all w/in one month. Everyone has their own story/ own journey; mine was that I had to heal in the comforts of my parents' company/ in my childhood home. S.Pratt would of killed me between the lack of sun; no exercise; no talk therapy; no healthy food; no empathy; an excess of apathy. I navigated the system and when allowed, I contacted an attorney; went to court; was released... less than 30 min. later while walking out of the main lobby, was met by two police officers; when asked my name and I confirmed it, they placed me in handcuffs and had me readmitted to the hospital. Keep in mind that I have never attempted suicide in my entire existence nor threatened to harm myself or another. A call was made and back in I went. Nearly a month passed before I could see another attorney; return to court and be released again... this time I returned to my parents' home where I slept for nearly 21 hr/day, for nearly 1.5 months -due to the doctors passing along such strong doses of medication to my parents to administer to me. It has been 3.5 years since that time. Two years ago, I was titrated down to 675 mg of Lithium Carbonate which remained so until a little less than 2 mos. ago. Recently, due to a bad respiratory infection I had to use daily my nebulizer, inhaler and go on antibiotics. Given I have a heart murmur, the combination of Lithium and the above can be unsafe. I have not yet returned to taking anything, though have done so with some skepticism and a little fear. I have had to go off of the medication in the past for 1.5 months when I thought I was pregnant. Everything was fine except for what I experienced on one day. There were numerous 'coincidences' occurring once again that I was working to ignore, and then a time-shift took place. Doctors call them "triggers" -the best way I can explain it is if your existing in an opaque; white hour glass and it's slowly moving in a circular rotation, then with all aligned/ timing, there is an opening and you are existing in two spaces/ in two universes... or easier ...-you are on earth, and when all is aligned in the infinite numbers of galaxies that exist, your number has been called and all of your cells are affected. -If you're Catholic/ Christian, it's like living in heaven; hell; on earth simultaneously.
At that time I was working P/T in a casino so the old George Burns show where he played God w/a cigar in hand was closest to home. I made a choice that day to either follow it and land where I had in the past or shut it down and return to work the next day; I chose the latter. It's a bit sad to have traveled in my life to India to study mediation and yoga -to work to become more connected and guided by what is pure- and then to have to shut it off to return to rubbing the shoulders of gamblers in a casino in West Virg., but it was my reality. The alternative was worse. I have not yet taken the time to get back into a routine w/meditation or even a healthy; balanced diet though I have had to make significant changes in my life; one of the most significant is going to bed at a reasonable hour. At this time I am not sure if /when I will return to taking medication. Given my experiences I know it will take a lot more than what I had been taking for the past two years to bring me back down to earth if I end up on the same path as I had twice before; as I stated earlier, I had been on a level of Lithium barely detectable in the blood. My doctors and therapists have not wanted to adjust it since I have been 'fine' since -maintaining a career/ home... most importantly, maintaining 'balance' ...as much as possible as I've run on a higher speed since a child. I have asked my friends to keep an eye on me to see if they notice any differences. My doctor is aware, and I have increased the number of times I see her per month, as well as that of time with my therapist. For the record, I have a strong preference for transpersonal counseling over most other forms and in the past have considered sharing my experiences with a priest... actually contacted an Archbishop while "manic" to discuss what had been happening at that time. Well, it seems that is all I have the energy to share at the moment. Thanks for allowing me to do so. Happy New Year to you all.

Thank you for sharing your story. Wishing you peace and balance.
- Ben

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