A Conscious Bipolar Life


My intention is to give you a glimpse – or perhaps a doorway –

into the world of consciously living with a diagnosis, or symptoms of bipolar disorder. Finding order and flow within the patterns often associated with bipolar. Maybe even healing, thriving, and flourishing.

If you’re feeling suicidal

Much love. Consider calling a suicide hotline. Or calling / visiting a local crisis center, like Colorado Crisis Services. If you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, 911 (if you’re in the US) might be your best option.

Breathe. I didn’t have to tell you do to that – you were doing it anyway. But the simple act of bringing a bit of consciousness to your breath can change everything.

Exist in this present moment. You already are. Most of the problems you’re thinking about exist in either the past, or an undefined future. Here and now is the only place you can do anything. Ever.

If you feel like you have a bit of control in this moment – you can let yourself cry, or scream, as long as that won’t get you into trouble. An understanding and supportive friend or family member could be helpful.

Maybe distraction, exercise, fresh air, journaling, meditating. Staying home – or going to work/school/social engagement/whatever. A near-infinite number of activities could be “good” or “bad” depending on you & your situation. There’s no “one right answer” to how to get through feeling suicidal.

And try to remember – we are not our emotions, we are not our thoughts. We are points of consciousness having an experience lived through these bodies and brains.

The less you identify with your thoughts and feelings, the less painful they will feel. Your thoughts alone won’t kill you, even if it feels like they will. I’ve been there. It will pass. And it can get better.

And, last but not least…I feel lots of tension in writing this next part, but it’s important.

Your life is your own. I believe it is within your right as a human to make a choice to leave this Earthly realm. If you don’t have autonomy over when you die, do you truly have autonomy over your life?

A conscious choice to end your life would include a comprehensive understanding of how your death would impact those around you, and ideally would have plans enacted to reduce the burden on those you would leave behind. I’ve had a handful of family members, including men in my direct lineage, die by suicide. ( I use “die by suicide” and not “committed suicide,” because I don’t believe they committed a crime)

Their deaths were devastating to my family, to their loved ones, and to their communities, and beyond. Generations-worth of heavy trauma that is not easy to process, where “traditional” treatments like medication and talk therapy are unlikely to get to the core issues. The kinds of topics that families can go for generations keeping secrets about.

I imagine their suicides were related to why I felt tormented in fear of dying by suicide, on and off, from ages 4 to 32. And as difficult as it is to be with, I still believe it was within their rights to choose when they died.

Chances are, if you feel suicidal and are looking for resources, reading articles, calling hotlines, talking to loved ones, etc – you don’t want to continue life as it is, but you aren’t ready to physically die yet.

Consider Eckart Tolle, one of the most famous spiritual authors of modern time, who describes his awakening coming from a bout of suicidality:

“I couldn’t live with myself any longer. And in this a question arose without an answer: who is the ‘I’ that cannot live with the self? What is the self?

I didn’t know at the time that what really happened was the mind-made self, with its heaviness, its problems, that lives between the unsatisfying past and the fearful future, collapsed. It dissolved.

The next morning I woke up and everything was so peaceful. The peace was there because there was no self.”

Eckart Tolle, “A New Earth”

*This blog is not medical advice. I could tell you to talk with a physician, but isn’t that medical advice? Hopefully, if you need a doctor, or a nurse, or a therapist, or a shaman, or a coach, or a death doula, or whatever – you can find people that respect you and listen to you.

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