Saturday, November 20, 2010

43 pages

Songs I heard called out to me. I remember hearing Stairway to Heaven, I Can See Clearly, Bob Marley’s Get Up Stand Up, Natalie Merchant’s Wonder, and Joan Osborne’s One of Us. Books, movies, songs and even billboards seemed to call out the same refrain: Love Rules, and Heaven is Here. We all knew the song, we all lived the lyrics. We saw the message in each other. To this day, whether manic or not, I still hear the familiar song of hope and see the lyrics of love in print many times a day. It’s like I cannot NOT hear the song now that I have heard it once.

Since these trips to heaven, I have wondered if perhaps this is really how everyone lives their daily lives. Are happy, hopeful, caring interactions the norm for lots of you out there? Am I somehow specially chosen to live this happiness or am I just the last one to the dance? Is this feeling just a day in the life for all of you out there? How presumptuous of me to assume you have not felt this too. I cannot know what you have experienced. All I know is that these special times of God-love are so different from the regular rat race…so sweet and magical. If any of you have gotten to experience this feeling, I think you are lucky and I am glad to have felt the same thing.

There’s no doubt that my trips to heaven are involuntary and are signals of mania. They are exciting and jubilant times, but I know they represent a detachment from reality. They are like a waking, walking dream…a trip to an inner dimension of my brain, a trip to the transparency dimension. I never know how long the trip will last, and I do like coming back to the real world. I don’t want to live there permanently until we all do. But my God, do I want to take you all there.

These visits to heaven give me such hope. When I come back to reality, I feel bestowed with a purpose. Each time I see more clearly what I will do while on this earth. I don’t ever know when or if I will go back to heaven. If it means mania for me, I would rather not go again at all. What has happened is this: I have gradually been able to integrate bits of heaven into my daily life. I am learning how to walk in a peaceful living heaven in present day, how to incorporate it without losing touch with my daily life. Finding this balance brings me great calm and understanding. I’ve answered a lot of the questions for me; I’ve found the user’s guide for my life, and it is such sweet relief.


After I came back from heaven in August 2007, I had a very active and agitated episode, marked by anger at my family and stress at work and frantic writing in my manic journal. It was a time when God revealed a great deal to me in a short amount of time. It was an exhausting time and a time fraught with emotion. I wrote 43 pages of what God was showing me, what God was teaching me. At that time I again felt like I was a prophet. Like I may be the Second Coming because God shared so much with me to pass on to the world. What I’ve realized is that there are two types of mania for me: the one like this agitated episode when I am learning from God fast and furious and feel like I am God’s gift, and then the walks in heaven when I feel just as joyous and special as everyone else, no more touched or gifted than anyone else. At those times, I see we are all the prophet. We are all chosen. Not just me.

When I am depressed, I am nearly debilitated and can hardly carry on in my daily life. My suicidal ideations make me dangerous. When manic though, I am quite capable and am no danger to myself or others. I can keep a stable front for those around me. I remember that my mom came to visit me during one of my manic episodes and saw that I was frenetic and super-active. She knew I was manic, but no one else would have suspected. She heard me calmly and competently take a business call in my most professional and reasonable voice. This is part of why so many Bipolars will not medicate. They are quite self-sufficient during their mania and actually feel better able to manage multiple tasks. We are called “high-functioning manics.”

I’ve casually read the reports of some great creative minds in our history being Bipolar. It makes perfect sense to me. Your brain elevates to a higher level of insight and the creative and expressive parts of your brain work in elegant harmony. You feel a keen kinship to all those who walk the earth with you, which makes your “piece de resistance,” whether it’s art or music or writing, so relatable, and so convincing to others. Those with mania feel things so very deeply; this “hyperempathy” rings out clearly in the artistic expression of our furied mind.

So maybe we should hear what these manics have to say…..Maybe we can understand that these reports from the front lines of mental illness are a window to new capabilities in the mind. There is no doubt that some Bipolars have literally set the world on fire with their manic creations, so maybe we ought not be so dismissive of the by-products of manic episodes. Perhaps these waking dreams deserve some attention and analysis.

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God, to have these guys in a room together again....