Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the second time yesterday, I felt a profound connection to the idea of the dark and light side of the Force, and how something seemingly fictional, relates so well to us as human beings, particularly going through the extremes of Bipolar Disorder or spiritual awakening symptoms. (Bipolar Disorder as Spiritual Awakening)
The opposing symptoms of depression and mania could be likened to the dark and light sides of the Force. But also, as humans beings in general, I believe we all have the capacity for light and darkness.
The inner struggle of Kylo Ren between these light and dark side of himself is evident in his scene with his father, Han Solo, on the bridge. He wrestles with his own will and decision to embrace the dark side, and his inner light which he is reminded of by his father, and perhaps his own need for love.
Personal Experience *Trigger Warning*
I sometimes feel that my own spiritual journey (which has indeed been a journey with symptoms labelled collectively as Bipolar Disorder) has led me to experience a similar inner battle.
I have flown to the heights of euphoria, felt completely at one with the world, believed I could achieve anything, felt surrounded by God’s love, angels and the most beautiful Divine creatures and beings.
The devastation caused by my dark side can only be described as the most destructive tidal wave imaginable surging through my life.
I’ve felt surrounded by demons, by beings preying on my soul, manipulating and terrifying me for their own amusement. Psychosis one might question? It felt very very real to me and my own belief is that I should trust my experiences, feelings and intuition- this was real.
Self-destruction felt inevitable. Implosion of my soul, annihilation felt like the only possible outcome. To wrestle with the desire to take your own life is no mean feat. You are at the depths of human darkness with seemingly no way out, ready to commit murder of the self. To describe the devastation, the terror, the utter hopelessness is nigh on impossible to those who have not experienced it.
I called out for help amidst the soul-chaos and I was calling to the Light. I chose the Light and the Divine answered my call. I am so blessed. We are all so blessed. All we have to do is choose, and call out for help. Help finds us when we open our hearts to the Light.
I believe some humans are born into this life to experience extremes of emotion for their own spiritual growth and for that of the planet. I believe that all the good we create, the love we experience here is present in heaven. I believe any darkness created here in our lifetime is cancelled out by the supreme unconditional love of the Divine.
The Force Everyday
I also believe a battle between our light and dark sides exists in the everyday, in the mundane.
When we choose to believe a negative statement that automatically runs through our minds, we are choosing to believe in the dark side for example.
Upbringing may have left us believing that we are not good enough. The statement “I’m not good enough” may automatically play through our minds over and over. The darkness takes hold when we choose to believe this. We end up constantly playing out “I’m not good enough” in our lives, as some small failure or other, because our ego needs to know it is correct- it feels safer.
But we can turn to the light by recognizing when we are thinking or playing out “I’m not good enough” and choosing more self-supporting and loving thoughts about ourselves. We can create “I am good enough” and play this out in our lives to create a more joyful and fulfilling life.
In the case of my own particular challenge, binge-eating, I could give into the darkness to prove that I am correct when I tell myself “I have no self-control”, and give into the cravings to binge eat and ignore my emotional needs.
I could reassure myself that I am an incredibly strong person, as demonstrated in my own fight against self-destruction. I could acknowledge my emotional needs and meet them, not with food, but with my own love and light. I could tell myself that I have the capacity for self-control and that I have the power to make a more self-loving decision. I can accept any pain that is bubbling up inside me and have compassion for myself by doing something self-nurturing, possibly comforting to my inner child, like colouring, watching Harry Potter, or singing. These are just my own personal coping mechanisms. (For more ideas see 10 Ideas to Distract Depression: Don’t Feed the Monster.)
Everyday in life we can choose between the light and the dark- whether it be through an epic battle as seen in spiritual awakening experienced as Bipolar Disorder symptoms or otherwise, or through more subtle interactions.
May the Force be with you (the light side obviously).
Yesterday I went to a Mind, Body, Spirit Fair at a school near me. I really enjoy these events which are packed with complementary therapists offering taster treatments, such as massages, craniosacral therapy, shiatsu and reiki healing. There are psychic readers and mediums, and stalls selling crystals, books, jewellery, essential oils, incense and gifts.
Throughout the day workshops take place and I went to one by a wonderful psychic artist called Marilyn.
She spoke of her spiritual journey and how she’d learnt to be so much more loving and kind to herself, both physically and emotionally. She realised that when she suppressed the true desires of her heart that this frequently led to some kind of illness, like depression.
Working in jobs that did not fulfil her soul and true calling were self-destructive.
This led her to invest more time and energy in her natural sensitivity to the spirit world and to her love of colour and creativity, resulting in a fulfilling career as a psychic artist.
She also demonstrated how much she trusts her intuition whilst creating a portrait of a spirit guide for a workshop participant.
Her process involves connecting with Spirit, then allowing her hand to squiggle pastel all over the paper in one colour. From this she sees forms and figures emerging, and a face taking shape.
She was given various bits of information as she completed the portrait with different colours, information about the person it was for and messages they needed to know.
The recipient of the portrait was able to accept all the information given as completely relevant to her, and was grateful for the messages that came through.
It was a wonderful example of trust in intuition and the artist following her heart.
Intuition or Hypomania?
Following your heart is something that I really believe in, but something I also struggle with.
Due to my past experiences, and consequences of decisions I’ve made where I’ve truly believed that I was following my intuition, I don’t fully trust myself.
For example, I felt really excited when I got a job as a teaching assistant. I’d always felt called to work with children and was looking forward to feeling fulfilled in this way. I would definitely say I was hypomanic at this time and I was soon imagining the way I would completely change the entire teaching system in the country! I felt so amazingly confident in my abilities and that nothing could go wrong. This completely felt like the right thing to be doing!
Within a couple of months of working at the school I crashed into total exhaustion and panic attacks. I couldn’t talk to people without panicking, and had to give up the job. It took probably a year to completely recover. My confidence was completely shattered.
So, yes, I find my intuition difficult to trust, and question whether my decisions are coming from a hypomanic- type state.
I have had some success with following my heart too, and it is important to remember this.
I have followed my instinct to walk in nature, which has often led to inspiration to…
….write! I’ve followed this inner nudging which has resulted in this blog, which I see as successful.
The writing has also acted as a kind of therapy for me, helped me to get more in touch with my emotions and to help me feel that I am contributing something worthwhile to the universe.
I also joined a choir, as I love to sing! This has led to involvement with other choirs, one which I particularly love, to wonderful new friends, to participating in events all over the country, and even to my amazing boyfriend with whom I have found so much joy!
Moving Forward Into Love
Instead of worrying so much about what I want to do with my life, sometimes it is just about surrendering to a moment where I feel “that I’d really like to walk out of the house this evening and join this choir!”
Then I can let go and let nature take its course.
I didn’t join with the intention of making wonderful friends, travelling over the country to participate in amazing events, or even meeting such a fantastic boyfriend. I joined because at that moment I wanted to sing! I remembered how much I love to sing!
I didn’t overcomplicate the matter. I moved into love.
The Rules We Make
One of my other heart’s desires is to create more artwork. However I find it very difficult to sit down and draw something. I feel very resistant to it.
So is it that I don’t really want to create art? Or do I need to create in a new way, and change my beliefs and perspective about my intention?
I think I put way too much pressure on myself, and give myself unhelpful rules!!
“I’ll allow myself to create art if it is possible to make money from it, otherwise there is no point”.
“Art isn’t a serious career”.
“Art is folly”.
“What I create must be realistic and from a photo reference”.
“I must stick to what I’m good at, which is coloured pencil art”.
I didn’t even realise I was creating such boundaries for myself. I know it is to keep myself ‘safe’. Safe from ridicule if I create something that looks ‘weird’ or people don’t understand.
“The art that I create will be more saleable if I stick to the rules and has always fostered compliments in the past. Compliments make me feel good. Criticism makes me feel bad”.
In this way I have clouded the joy and love I felt for art as a child with perfectionist views and other people’s messages to me when I was growing up.
Letting go of that concern for other people’s opinions and of that need to control the process to avoid our fears is simple in theory, but not easy to do.
But I will try to let go of these fears and to create from my heart. I’ll look at the paper in front of me with the intention of enjoying filling it with colour and form. I will free myself from attaching to the outcome. I will trust the process.
It’ll be an experiment and I will observe what happens!
Visit the new sister site of Emotional Wellness, The Light Sanctuary– a website dedicated to spirituality.
Spirituality and working with energy have helped me so much to manage my Bipolar symptoms and high sensitivity that I wanted to dedicate a completely new blog to the topic.
Sometimes I just want to scream!!!! Doesn’t everyone at some point?
I feel like such a rubbish human being sometimes.
I’ve been through CBT, Mindfulness Therapy, counselling and have been working on personal and spiritual development with my teacher Dawn for a good 4 years now. I feel like I’ve done so much work on trying to improve myself and my life, so why isn’t my life perfect? Lol!!! I think I might be expecting a little bit much of myself!
I feel like I know what I should be doing to improve things for myself: walking in nature, meditation, eating healthily, journalling, talking to friends, going to choir, playing the piano, drawing. So why don’t I do any of it?!!!
Angry & Annoyed!
I get annoyed with myself when I get bored. I’m not working at the moment, so I beat myself up about that. I’m living off benefits.
I find regular jobs so tough to hold down- I end up depressed and anxious. All I can do is sleep in between part time shifts. I get so exhausted that I can barely walk- I’ve always seen this as psychomotor retardation, my thoughts become very slow too, I can’t look people in the eye, I become a shell of a person.
Right now, I know I’m going through feeling like a victim and I know I’m not really. But I think I just have to get these thoughts written out.
Even though regular jobs don’t work for me, I still fight with myself: “why aren’t you working? You should be working, you’re so lazy.”
And I know these thoughts aren’t productive!
I know how to change my thoughts. I know how to look for the things I’m grateful for in my life. I know how to foster and nurture this emotion to bring back the loving, joyful, abundant state of mind. So why do I feel so rubbish right now?!! Knowing and doing are two different things! Lol.
But maybe I feel the need to wallow for a few hours. Maybe wallowing and allowing these feelings, of “life’s not fair” and anger with myself, just to be in existence for a little while will help to process them.
I think I deny the darker feelings as much as I possibly can sometimes. My mind chews over and over- “I shouldn’t be thinking these things, I must get rid of them quickly”. When really I need to allow them to be.
So this is what I’m doing right now: allowing my thoughts and feelings to be.
Where did my peace go?!
Last Friday I had two teeth taken out. The injections were a lot more painful than I remember in the past. The needle went very deep into my jaw. I wasn’t prepared for the pain. Now one wound is infected and another tooth has been aching and I’ve had a temporary filling put in. The extraction seems to be causing me to clench my jaw and I’m having facial, head and neck pain due to this. I guess that’s going to make me feel a bit fed up!
I feel angry with myself for letting it get to me and angry with life, I guess, for not letting my inner peace last.
The challenge I’m learning is to keep the inner peace and love, return to the state, even when I’m feeling out of sorts, even when life is throwing me curve balls. To return to the love and peace in my heart. I know it’s there. I know writing like this helps to get my irritation and frustration out, to a place where I feel less overwhelmed and can get more perspective.
I was at my job in a fashion retail store when I realised I had absolutely no energy. I’d noticed I’d been tired recently, but this was something else. I could hardly walk, or only extremely slowly, and the thought of having to stand up for even the next ten minutes caused me to panic. Needless to say I went home sick and I haven’t been back since.
(I had experienced this kind of tiredness as part of depression before: a symptom known as psychomotor retardation.)
The last six weeks have been their own journey. I was relieved to have been given the time off work to rest, but was immediately faced with a strong sense of failure and frustration. Why couldn’t I work for more than a few months at a time? I was also panicking about money.
My energy levels still haven’t improved- a cause of further frustration, as I have been resting and sleeping lots.
But it wasn’t until last Saturday that things began to change.
Last Friday night I contemplated visiting a twice-yearly Mind Body Soul fair held at a school on the other side of the city. I knew it possibly wasn’t sensible due to my depleted energy levels, but I love these fairs and am intrigued by the many different therapies on offer there and the stands selling spiritual books and crystals. I listened to my intuition which was nudging me to go.
So after a complicated and exhausting journey to the school, I turned up at the fair and immediately booked in for 30 minutes of Reiki and Crystal Healing with Kerry Kwiatkowska. She had a colourful marquee set up in the large school hall to create a more private environment whilst having the treatment, which was a strong attraction.
Reiki & Crystal Healing
Reiki involves lying on a massage table fully clothed with a blanket covering you. The healer connects internally with universal healing energy and acts as a channel- focusing the healing energy on the seven main chakras.
She began by taking me through a gentle meditation to help me relax and allow my focus to return to myself rather than be distracted by the bustling hall outside the marquee.
As the healing energy was channelled, I felt a strong heat coming from her hands and also an intense sensation of the energy throughout my whole body being pulled downwards towards my feet. I had been so ungrounded and hadn’t even noticed! It was as if the healing were pulling my dislocated soul back into my body.
After 30 minutes I felt blissed out and totally relaxed!
As I lay back on the massage table Dee tested various points on my body with a pendulum and performed a simple kinesiology test. She received intuitive information about an area of my life which was out of alignment and needed healing in order to bring my physical and emotional bodies back into health.
She focused in on 14 years ago, when I was 20- the year I took an overdose. She asked me to tell her a little bit about it, which was difficult to tap into such a painful time, but I was willing to try anything to work towards healing! I had been depressed for about a year at that time and told her that I’d woken up that day not feeling at all myself. I felt as if something else had taken over my body and willed me to take the overdose. It was a very impulsive and violent act against myself and connection with the despair and self-hatred I felt at that point took a lot of mental strength.
This was the first time I’d said out loud to anybody that I felt I had experienced some kind of possession by a dark and sinister entity.
Dee then asked me to revisit the time in my mind again, but this time to call on God for protection. I needed to really feel His protection and strength, which was difficult at first, but given a few minutes of focused concentration I felt as if a strong protective golden light was shining out from my heart. It grew in size and strength and the feeling of protection was intense. For some reason the image and voice of Aslan from the Narnia films popped into my head and I realised this was helping me to have a focused vision and feeling of God’s energy through a familiar character.
Dee was all the time dowsing at this point- amplifying and sealing in the positive, protective energy I was experiencing.
As I walked away from the therapy I felt stronger and more protected. It also brought up some fears I had held unconsciously about dark, sinister entities. Every time I felt this fear creep in, I imagined the strong, golden, Aslan- energy around me, and an intense booming voice commanding any dark entities to leave.
I never realised how fearful I had been of dark psychic energies. I knew supernatural horror films scared me senseless and had caused nightmares in the past, but I thought this to be true of most people. I really feel so much safer than I did.
During the therapies I received a clear intuitive message- that I am worthy to receive God’s love, abundance, grace and blessings. I consciously opened up my heart to allow God’s light inside me and to flow through my body.
Yesterday was the first day I felt able to ask for help. I rang my spiritual development teacher, Dawn, who helped me to understand the lessons I’m currently learning and what had caused my depression.
I had been giving 100% of my focus and energy to my new job in retail and had become materialistic, causing me to veer away from my life purpose again- I’ve done this quite a lot!
In the last 3 years I had found love for myself through focusing on spiritual and personal development, healing, writing, art and music. But since working again I had replaced this with my ego’s desires for money and beautiful things. I was spending no time at all on my spiritual growth.
I’d cut off the energy from God/spirit- mistakenly thinking I could do it all myself and wanting to have complete control over my life.
Dawn also reminded me of the power of gratitude in raising my vibration again. So every spare moment I’ve been thinking about something that has made me really happy in the past, in this case, singing in a great choir with a fantastic group of friends. Once I had this is my mind, I focused my attention on my heart and nurturing a feeling of love and genuine gratitude for the experience and the people. This has the effect of raising mood and attracting other experiences which have the same energetic vibration.
I’ve done this exercise with small things throughout the day too and have definitely felt brighter and more positive for it!
When you’re deeply depressed I think it’s easy to feel great resistance to thinking of something that makes you happy. It’s almost as if the ego doesn’t want to let this positivity in, as it would prove the ego wrong: “I’m so depressed”, “my whole life is a disaster”! The ego hates to be wrong so will be resistant to anything that challenges it!
I think you have to have the intention to allow love, positivity and gratitude in. Even if it doesn’t come straight away- keep thinking about letting it in at various points throughout the day. Allowing yourself to feel gratitude and positivity will follow.
I think we also have to let go of our innate human need to be in control. If we’re allowing Divine love into our lives and surrendering to God, we are NOT in control, and have to trust and have faith in God.
Not beating yourself up if you are finding this process difficult is also extremely important. I’ve had to gently remind myself this a few times!
Just accept each moment of life for what it is right now. It is exactly how it is supposed to be. However you are feeling is okay and safe to feel.
We are all worthy of love, joy, health, abundance and great blessings!!! ALL of us!!!! There is plenty for everyone!!!!!
This depression has been about getting me back on track to work on my life purpose. I went off path in a belief that the job in retail was my only hope of paying my bills and that to keep the job, I had to give everything 100%- all my energy and focus.
But I am so grateful to Dawn for confirming what I already knew deep down, and to God for setting me straight again.
My energy levels haven’t yet returned to normal, but my mood is much brighter and more positive and I know I’ll be back to normal functioning soon!! . Now I need to rest and return to meditation, spiritual development and writing, before progressing to study different healing modalities to help others like me!!