how can i be an artist and not go insane (again) and other thoughts on whether I’m a shaman or a maniac

*For the past few months, I have made it a habit to write 400 words a day of just random crap that comes to my mind.  (It clears out all the gunk in my pipes so I can actually get in touch with myself to write and create freely.)  The following is one of those journal entries and contains my real, sometimes excruciatingly honest thoughts about the fears and frustrations I have regarding manic episodes.  These are unedited, raw thoughts that some might say “romanticize” mania.  I would have to agree.  This is not necessarily meant to encourage people to go off their meds and go nuts…It is just meant to show what goes on in the mind of someone living with bipolar disorder.  I just want to show you around my brain for a second.  WELCOME.

M i n d    D u m p:

 June 28th, 2014

 

“I believe your truest work, and the greatest gift you can give this world as an adult, is re-becoming who you were as an innocent child. Re-discovering, re-meeting yourself, and living your life out of the overflow of that purity of heart.

“He who becomes like a child will enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Oh yes!

Regardless of your specific religious affiliation, I believe we can all learn from that simple truth: To be re-born…to get back to the guttural innocence, to dig up the bones of your inner child and sing them back to life, to allow the heavens to breathe spirit into the core of what you once were.

You know…all of that sounds lovely. Airy. Fresh. But I’m honestly scared shitless of that way of living. I feel like the more open I am to digging beneath the layers and reviving the purest form of myself, the more I become like an alien to this 9 to 5, linear, western world of ours.

But seriously, guys.

How can I really let the creative energy that lights up this universe IN to my heart and soul without being swept away into starry oblivion?

How do I live with one foot on this dirt beneath me and the other in the Milky Way?
How can one be loyal to your art and to this Western Way all at once?

I’m scared of losing my fucking mind (again. ha.)

I’m also honestly fascinated by it. I’ve never been more simultaneously terrified and intrigued. Equal amounts of terror and wonder come to mind when I think of what it was like to completely loose my inhibitions and rational, grounded thought during that manic episode back in September.  Yes. I spent 8 days in a hospital. But, there were times during that period where I have never felt more connected to the earth and its creative energy.

Things I remember loving about Mania:

I remember bending over the bathtub, naked, dripping wet, after a shower and watching my hair curl. It was the most fascinating thing to me in that moment…The more energy I focused toward my head, the curlier the curls became. My hair hadn’t been that perfectly ringlet-y since I was a child. I remember somehow connecting the ideas of natural outer appearance and self-actualization. Like the more in touch you were with the wildest part of you, the curlier your hair became, and African women and their descendants must the most gloriously wild of us all.

See? Thoughts like that sound BAT SHIT CRAZY to me in this moment. But then, it made perfect sense, and I wanted to write a song about it.

I remember being hyper sensual and feeling my hips sway as I walked, marveling at my own body and it’s ability to pass life through those same hips. I remember never feeling more connected to Dustin, kissing electric lips and trembling under the slightest touch or when he pushed my hair behind my ear.

No barriers. No shame. Always thinking. Always creating things in my mind. Books of insight in 7 different trains of thought at once. I wanted to capture them all. I tried! I broke my Siri! She’s still never been the same because I asked her to remind me of things 50 times a day.

I remember connecting how I was feeling to the battery life of my phone, because the more I used my phone the more I was reading and thinking and processing. My manic brain made the connection: if my phone is about to die, then I’m about to die so I need to recharge.

I remember letting typos happen, thinking that’s what I really wanted to say.

I remember being overwhelmed by energy and needing to get alone and sit on a toilet. I thought that the toilet was a profound portal to the spiritual places in me. It’s where I felt the most free, the most vulnerable, the most myself. It was an excuse to sit and think uninterrupted. “Oh, I was in the bathroom” was a perfect excuse for checking out of social obligations and getting alone with my thoughts.

EVERYTHING was holy to me.

I remember feeling like a Queen, and that queens knew how to bow. And that’s what made them Queens: their compassion and the way they surrendered to the fact that people needed to see them in a certain light for their own peace and survival. That the only people who truly “saw” queens were their spouses and vice versa. (WHO THINKS OF THESE THINGS)

I lived in a spiritual realm where everything meant something and I was high on the electricity of it all.

HOW DO I DO THAT AND SIT STILL AT THE DMV OR GO TO THE POST OFFICE OR PAY MY INSURANCE BILL ONLINE

HOW DO I DO THAT AND NOT SCARE PEOPLE

There is an anger in me that that’s a thing. You have to figure out how to live your life without making people feel uncomfortable.

Why must I be a slave to your fear of the unknown? And what the fuck is up with the over-sexualization of nipples anyway? Why can’t I be naked at my ocean?! Why can’t I be at least topless? You know, Victorians used to have covers for the legs of their TABLES because it was too “sexual” to look at. If you showed your ankle, you were a strumpet.

Who decides which areas of my own body are “private”?

Who deems things as “socially acceptable” or “taboo”?

What’s wrong with breast feeding in public every once in a while?

What’s wrong with a psychotic episode every once in a while?

If I were an indigenous tribal woman I would be prized. I would be a fucking shaman for God(s) sake. A fucking holy woman!

priestess

It makes me want to go to the mental hospitals and unlock the cages, screaming, “YOU’RE NOT CRAZY! IT’S THE ONES WITH THE KEYS TO YOUR PRISON! BE FREE AND CONNECT WITH YOUR DEITY!!! YOU ARE THE SHAMANS, THE PRIESTS, THE HOLY PEOPLE AND YOU WILL BE CRUCIFIED NO MORE!”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

(I’m on a tour bus with men that have already seen me go through a manic episode so I will keep my Avatar-woman guttural tribal call to myself. See? Ugh… censorship.)

I have to pee so bad.
Ugh!
Life!
I want to get these thoughts out and edited and write a book.

I want to liberate.
And I want liberation.
I want to get to the end of myself and still discover more.
I want to be satisfied with the search but push toward the discovery.
I want to die fully alive.
I want my peace to come from the recognition of my own journey to live connected to my creator and the creator in my own self.
I want to die fully alive.
I want to live free.”

________________________________________

So yeah welcome to my brain.

 

 

 

 

HAVE A GREAT DAYYYYYYYYYY!

2 Comments

  1. I love my Nena! I love you, I love you and I love you. You are one of the most incredible people I have ever meet. I love all of the many modes you are. I will always be here for you as long as my journey through this life and whatever comes next allows.

  2. I think that “mental illness” is a misnomer. While it is true that people in such states may need support, while it is all happening, and perhaps can’t go on with everyday life, still perhaps it is not an “illness” pure and simple. There is something valuable to be gained by going through such feelings/thoughts/experiences. In the past, in other cultures and countries, people who heard voices were considered holy, sometimes even considered to be shamans. I hope that some day the importance of so-called psychotic experience will be recognized and even revered. I hope that some day a so-called “breakdown” will be supported as potentially positive by others.
    Also, as a poet /writer myself, I have long been aware of the tradition of psychotic poets. And writers, artists. There is something there to study and learn from –Anne Sexton’s poems on bedlam, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Elizabeth Bishop’s drinking and depressions, and so many others. “Mental illness” (so called) is a creative tradition. I did not choose it but it chose me, and although I finally recovered for now, I am glad of the fuel it has given me for my writing work–especially poems. I do my best work when I am feeling better, and well. But the illness I had in the past somehow fuelled me, fuelled my perceptions. Perhaps in stead of dreading a “breakdown,” we should embrace it. Painful as it is.

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