Uncharted Territory

I thoroughly enjoyed my day off yesterday, reading art magazines with an iced coffee at Barnes and Noble, purchasing a few supplies (on sale!) at Hobby Lobby and Archivers, and then finishing the day with my meditation group.  As usual, we sat around Barbara’s kitchen table to catch up with each other’s spiritual work and personal lives (which are often the same thing), enjoying Barbara’s brewed tea and delicious Ranger cookies.

I can always bring my questions and ponderings to these women.  They listen.  They offer their insights.  And they often push me to the edge of my comfort zone.  I felt that yesterday as I talked about my observations during my recent wide mood swing from full mania to depression.  Barbara commented that the layers of my depression and mania, with state-specific memories, brought to mind the different states of awareness we’ve studied from authors like Castaneda, Charles Tart and J.G. Bennett.  This chilled me, because I’d also wondered about a correlation and had sent that question to my teacher, Melanie.  Laney looked at me and said, “You’re doing new work.  No one’s done this before.”

Oh, dear.  All I want to do is learn how to manage my illness.  If I find anything useful, I’ll share with the class, but I’m not out to chart new horizons.  It felt pompous to me, grandiose.  Of course others have looked at these layers of symptoms and feeling states.  I’m sure every case is different, but there must be some similarities.  There must be something written about it somewhere.

But, when I got home, I found Melanie’s reply to my email.  Aside from being my spiritual teacher, Melanie is also a registered nurse and holds an MBA.  She worked as a psych nurse before becoming a college professor, so she understands the practicalities of mental illness.  After reading her note, I’m willing to hold the possibility that cartography may become part of my journey.

It seems that you have a better grasp of your condition than do most people with bipolar illness.  Given this ability, you may be charting new territory and you may be able to help others learn to discern the realities of their mental states.  In my past experience with bipolar students, I have observed that the difficulties of the psychotic phases have sometimes caused people to assume that they were clear when they were, in fact, delusional or even paranoid.  Assuming that you have cleared this hurdle, you will be a wonderful resource for others.

Love, Melanie

What I’d like to do is create a new page for this blog.  On it I’ll describe the different states of depression and mania as I experience them.  It will take me a little time to distill my notes and journal entries, but this feels like right action.  It feels like I’m stepping up to the plate without a head blown out of proportion with grandiose pomposity.

Of course, delusion can be tricky that way.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kitty
    May 28, 2011 @ 10:12:16

    Grandiose pomposity… I Am reminded of two things… The first came from a movie about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table that I watched a couple of days ago. In the movie, inscribed in the round table were these words… “In serving each other, we become Free.” The second is Marianne Williamson, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? …We are born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us… And as we let our light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.”

    I think what that says is, “Shine for you and you automatically shine for others.” It’s not a task. We’re simply called to do our best… and let other people watch. 🙂


  2. Josh
    May 28, 2011 @ 12:10:27

    Excellent post and idea. Go for it!
    Be well,


  3. ManicMuses
    May 28, 2011 @ 17:03:59

    You sound so confident in this post, Sandy Sue. It’s great to read/hear you feeling so good about something. Melanie is a special person and I think she’s right – you are a wonderful resource for others 🙂


    • Sandy Sue
      May 29, 2011 @ 00:45:41

      Bless your heart. Part of me wants to run from this “responsibility,” but that’s just the grandiose part of me making more of it than it is. All I can do is share my experience—like you do.


  4. Kathryn McCullough
    May 28, 2011 @ 20:21:17

    I can sooooooo relate to this, Sandy! But, I love the idea of charting the various forms your mania and depression take–excellent idea!


  5. Richard Olson
    May 29, 2011 @ 00:13:05

    I know that plane what we both ride is one that is especially charged with potential for spiritual growth. We are the pilot and sometimes the planes have a misguided auto-pilot. I can’t count the number of times I’ve taken offline that funky autopilot. Half of this struggle to consciousness is to keep learning new tricks to outsmart it. I guess that is the pattern of the magician.

    I’ve been instinctively working on the four Buddhist virtues and now one of them I can do at I will. Muditas – sympathetic joy.




    • Sandy Sue
      May 29, 2011 @ 00:42:23

      Yes, we are in flight with a loopy co-pilot! For me, it all boils down to awareness and intention. That seems so self-evident, but because we both have the additional challenge of a funky plane *and* a funky pilot the path to enlightenment is even murkier than it might be for our fellow travelers. It’s always a comfort to have your “come back” on the radio.

      Also, very cool about Muditas. I’ll want to hear more.


  6. aealmon
    May 29, 2011 @ 14:40:48

    I also have a weird hard to describe understanding and awareness of my different states, I would like us to consider exchanging ideas and interpretations as you take this next step. I’ve thought similarly that I was surely not one of few but I think we may have similar insights. AND THANKS for the birthday wishes, sincerely…. Ashley


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