Bipolar and the Spiritual

Hot topic I know.  This may put some people off.  But this may help other people. Because I know many many of us struggle with this issue.

So many of us have experiences while manic that are basically mystical and if not full blown mystical are intense in a spiritual way beyond  the realm of the neurotypical. Even beyond what most super religious super spiritual neurotypicals experience.

Many of us value these experiences and they are influences in our developing sense of the world and our selves.

So once again the wack thud of the diagnosis takes these magical experiences and tosses them into the trash.

Now I am going to separate full on scary dark and maroon psychosis from the light filled euphoric all knowing mystic levels of “psychosis” or “delusion” or whatever. Just so you know.  I have a reason for that.  I will explain later.

I am also not interested in the “science” people try to tack onto the why of mystic experiences.  I will explain this later too.

Have I lost you yet?

on to the meat of it…


Why IS it that so many manic experiences are so spirit filled in nature? hmmmm

Could it be the a manic brain does not PRODUCE mystical spiritual experiences but rather FACILITATES them?

Most accounts of non bipolar mystical experiences are born out of a state of mind alteration.  Whether through fasting, or illness, or sleep deprivation, or wandering in the words, or sweat houses, or near death, or even (dare I say it) drug use.

Could it be that other realms of everything…the ones the even scientists are beginning to acknowledge…cannot be accessed within the confines of the normal human PHYSICAL brain set up?

Could it be that it takes an alteration in the structure and firing of a PHYSICAL brain to be able to access other realms?

Could it be that a brain that is not physically typical and that has a tendency to become altered grants it’s owner an entry point to that other space?

So do you see then how the scientific explanations don’t faze me? Okay they say that people have these experiences because of some sort of cascade of abnormal events in the brain.

Yeah that’s what I’m saying too.  We are agreed.

It is just our interpretation that differs.

And once again I’ll do the thing I do where I say that I wish scientists and doctors would stop acting like they know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING.

That just gives me cognitive conceit for them. And I’ll do that other thing I love to do where I say…

If you haven’t experienced it….don’t tell me you understand it.

And now some of you may be thinking…

Are you saying having a Bipolar brain is good?

Are you saying that Bipolar itself is divine gift…a entry point to the other?

Are you saying all Bipolars are mystics?

No, that isn’t what I am saying.

And then you may be asking me this…

What about all of the bad parts of Bipolar? It can’t be a gift.

What about depression and psychotic depression?

What about deep dark scary dangerous bad bad bad psychosis that can destroy your life?

Are you saying that these experiences are the divine as well?

No. I am not.

Not even close.

To be clear let be belabor this point.

Bipolar is a physical brain disorder that means that things are just different in the Bipolar brain.  And within the Bipolar population our brains are all differently different.

Because of this disordered brain functioning we experience all sorts of states.  Almost all of which are horrible.

But because our brain is different and alters in different ways…sometimes it alters in a way that opens up a path to a new space.

Just like what happens when a person alters the functioning of their brain by fasting.  Fasting is not without its problems.  But the changes in the brain may open up a path to a new space.

It is not ANY alteration in the brain that opens a path….it is a SPECIFIC cascade of abnormal brain activity.

It is not Bipolar disorder itself that does this.

Unlike most people….Bipolars live with altered brains and every so once in awhile they alter even more in a way that is actually….a gift.

So no I am not doing that thing of jumping to the conclusion that we Bipolars are gifted mystical beings with important evolutionary purposes although I do not actually know and all of these are my personal, speculated, ideas.  Lots of people do believe that we are squashed squelched misunderstood mystics.

So maybe I have alienated the logical, rational, earth bound, scientist minded among you.  But my hope is those people out there who are hurting because of this issue …..feel better now.  Have a structure for hanging some thoughts onto this super complicated and yet profoundly simple idea.

In her book, A Brilliant Madness, Bipolar Patty Duke describes an experience she had one night.  She was plagued with a terror of dying her whole life to a debilitating degree.  One night while lying in bed she experienced herself floating out of her body into some sort of warm, good, light filled something.  And she felt assured that death was not a thing to fear.  She knew.

Obviously her psychiatrist had his own opinions about this which he did his best to ram down her mind.  But she would not let this be written off as manic bullshit…

His feelings didn’t change and neither did hers and she still holds the experience in a place of reverence.

So yes, go ahead and say euphoric manic light filled magic is just the product of faulty brain chemistry.

But I will say,

It is not the product

It is the result.

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