Easter, March 27, 2016
This photo was taken at my friend’s family’s Easter dinner. It was just weeks before I had a manic episode which was my first and only major relapse since the hospital. The cross hanging in the background is fitting. I tend to adopt a fascination with religion, spirituality and the supernatural when my mind goes high.
Raised with little religion I remember going to church just a handful of times. My family is full of love, kindness, morals that Christianity touts, but without the structured formality. On my maternal grandpa’s side we also have a bit of Native American, of the Mattole kind. As a small child I remember swimming in the beautiful Trinity River of Northern California at a big family reunion. The water was clean and clear. At the time it felt special. As I grew up I began to understand the experience as a baptism of sorts. My grandpa always reminded us that we are part native and I remember this fondly.
Depression set in during college and I lost my way. I tried going to different churches just to see how it felt. I was searching for answers, but each experience made me more confused. I’ve tried church a few more times since and it just never felt right. I don’t like to be told what to do I think, in such a generalized way. Yet religion and spirituality are still ingrained in me and they present strongly during my episodes.
In my last episode back in 2016 I kept seeing the number one. I read once that the number is a divine. Especially in multiples, as in 111 or 1111. The ones appeared everywhere…on signs, in my phone, on TV…. they were clues that God was talking to me. Then when the mania fully ramped I hallucinated streaks of golden light, a huge mass of them. It was God. Pulsing, a golden filament connected it to a smaller bright mass just below. That was Jesus. So they are real. I no longer had to wonder what was true. Later that night I felt a dark presence enter the apartment and soon the devil’s energy pierced me from outside the bedroom door as I tried to sleep. I tried to hide but in my delusion, an evil entity threw dark energy at me from all sides as it seeped into the room from under the door. I was in so much physical pain that I couldn’t help but to scream. My body was slick with sweat as I endured the pain of the attack. I believed that even though it was painful, I was was destined to survive. To endure.
Many cultures see episodes as holy. Maybe in some other society I might be seen as enlightened or something. I’m sure even in this one some might think so. I have chosen not to identify with these beliefs. Letting go of this idea has proven far more effective in helping me move forward in life. To be honest I just try not to think about it too much at all. That is, what does it all mean? With that said, I still have a deep faith. Did I see the divine that day? I don’t think so. But it still feels like a special moment. Maybe it just shows how these spiritual mysteries occupy my consciousness. I don’t know. But it is clear to me that the faith i do have bleeds through in the way I move through the world. I just try to be a good person. Love others. Enjoy my time on Earth. I keep those beliefs close to my chest and this helps me feel grounded. This helps me feel peace.
I have experienced a closeness with God during a manic episode as well but this as well and it helped me to lean on my faith and get me through my depression as well. Please continue to share your experiences. I have found that sharing helps others not to feel alone and we can all learn from one another.
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