After my last prolonged and acute psychotic episode, I was very wary of spirituality. Upon graduating college, I took a deep dive into occult knowledge. I studied the chakra system, crystals, pendulums, tarot, astrology, numerology, alter building, spirit guides, Orishas, and ancestors. I became very in-tune with my intuition, the unseen world, and the energy that connects humans to each other and everything in the cosmos. I was living in flow, constantly being led to the next connection, the next opportunity, and the next path to take. People, who also have bipolar disorder like me, may resonate with this feeling. But the experience is more complicated than the way the medical model frames it.
First of all, this experience wasn’t all in my head. Numerous people resonated with the readings I gave them, the wisdom I channeled, and the visions I was seeing. At one point, I started using my hands to play with my energy. I could feel it and manipulate it. When a friend who was a Reiki practitioner joined me in a playful energy work session, she too could feel the energy I created between my hands. Dancing was another way that I expressed this energy. I found many opportunities to dance when I felt the impulse and people would remark that my movement moved them in some way. People who I didn’t know, but clearly had spiritual gifts of their own, would come up to me and tell me what they saw in me, be it an angelic presence or the energy of a goddess.
I was also hypersensitive to people and objects. For instance, when I touched crystals I could taste their energy. I remember buying my first Rose Quartz crystal and meditating with it before I cleansed it (a step I was not aware I had to do). Immediately a horrendous metalic taste invaded my mouth that I could not wash out. When I went back to the crystal shop to ask about this, the only person who had an answer for me was the tarot reader sitting in the back who warned me that the foul taste was the uncleansed crystal. I got these kinds of confirmations of my extrasensory abilities wherever I went. I attracted a lot of people (for better or for worse) into my life as a result. It was a wild experience to magnetize synchronistic situations, but also feel compelled to serve as a vessel or a medium that gave encouragement or insight to people right when they needed it.
I have no scientific explanation for these occurrences, except that the longer that I stayed in this energetically and spiritually open state, the further I fell into hypomania, mania, and eventually a deeply dangerous and disturbing psychosis. It’s so funny the way this side of the bipolar spectrum works because the initial phases of hypomania seem benign or even a sign of wellness. In hypomania I am more productive, sharp, and focused. I have more energy. I have great ideas. I am more sociable, funny and fun to be around. But after that initial phase, things start going down hill. I am less in control of what I say and how I behave. The visions and extrasensory input becomes harder to manage. I become completely consumed by the other dimensions I am living in and the unseen beings of those realms almost completely take over. It’s a form of possession. My vessel becomes so available I am not longer in control of who or what has access to it at any given moment. I am still there, but when the possessions happen I am stuck in the backseat as these other forces take the wheel. I remain a mute and immobile observer, unable to take the reins of my own mind and body.
Given this terrifying experience that altered the course of my life in 2019, I stayed away from spirituality when I regained stability. I feared it. I became so committed to staying grounded that I would not even meditate for 5 minutes out of fear that something outside my control would take over. During this period, I worked diligently on being here in the 3D and getting clear on the basics — what I eat and drink, how I move, what I read and watch. Anything that was physically tangible was where I put my focus. Even praying was not accessible to me. I did not want to engage with entities I could not see and other people could not hear, especially if I started hearing voices.
Two years later, after returning to the physical foundations of my existence, I finally feel like I have a sure footing from which I can re-engage with the spirit realm. I started taking spiritual paths again, allowing myself to envision the things I want to manifest them into reality. I’ve returned to my cards and my crystals. But it doesn’t feel the same. After working so hard on my stability, I feel like I am back in the driver’s seat. I have better physical and energetic boundaries to repel any person or energy I do not want near me. I am so excited to reacquaint myself with my spiritual practices because I feel like my growth will be that much more expansive now that I have deep extensive roots tethering me to the earth.
This week I gave a friend a tarot reading. It was the first time I read for someone other than myself in two years. I thought I would be rusty or that my reading would not resonate because I was not imbued with that hypomanic je ne sais quoi. But his response to the reading was so conformational. He felt resonance. He felt alignment. And he talked about the experience with his friends and now I may start reading tarot as side hustle! This experience was so pleasurable and such a mirror for my growth. It confirmed that all the insight and gifts I possess belong to me, not my bipolar diagnosis. Bipolar definitely factors into the intensity of the experiences I have, but it does not define who I am and what I am capable of. It’s just another tool to work with rather than against. Respecting my cycles, my need for stability, but also the energetic forces that mania and psychosis bring allows me to strive towards the highest and best version of myself.
What is your relationship to spirituality?
Photo Credit: @juni.artist
Image Description: A Black girl meditating with the planets surrounding her and her third eye open.