Let me start by saying I’m not “crazy.” Or at the very least, that no one has the end-all be-all definition of sanity. I have been intermittently clinically mad a couple times in my life. The lines between reality and delusion can be a very slippery place. I learned this first hand in March of 2017. With my second experience of manic-psychosis, I developed a messiah complex which lead me to believe I was doing healing work for those around me. It’s difficult to pin point exactly how it started but I was doing a lot of intense spiritual reading and meditation at the time. Every night for a few weeks in a row, I would do work internally, examining my ego, studying alchemy, the Kaballah, etc. I began to see the entire world in spiritual terms and every waking moment was a chance to practice alchemy.
On St. Patricks day, I began reading about how the saint was a mystic healer. As I read about his miracles, a strong buzzing sensation in my head. Something within me told me to go home and be around the plants in the greenhouse. The day before Spring Equinox, as my mania escalated, I recreated the Last Supper with friends…encouraging them to drink wine and eat bread with me in a candle lit room. After asking one friend to recall the story of Judas, I decided to light some money on fire in a spiritually symbolic act. It had become the Root of Evil in my mind and I wanted to divorce myself from it as much as I could.
By the next morning, I decided to quit my job and begin the healing work I was meant to do. My plan, with my bag packed, was to head downtown and talk with the homeless, to do therapeutic work for those with addictions, to talk to the lonely, to beg for food money if I needed to.
I felt like I was walking on air, my sense of certainty (and moral righteousness) was overwhelming. My purpose gave me joy. I went to my place of employment and again, concerned with the alchemical significance of everything, I decided to Sun worship to get even closer to the Mystery. Well, it worked. As I sang and prayed, with my grandmother’s rosary in hand, I saw the clouds part and the Sun entirely took over my being. I imagine some folks take a good amount of drugs to feel the level of ego-death I experienced. I was totally obliterated in a benevolent white light. There are no words for these kinds of experiences and I’m still unsure why some people get a glimpse of what can’t be named.
In a state of utter bliss, my thoughts began to take a turn. Not only was I put on Earth to do healing work, but I was actually Mother Mary chosen to deliver the Second Coming of Christ. I was totally blissed out, rubbing my belly when my boss found me and had to call the cops to get me off the property. Needless to say, I lost that job. And I ended up in the hospital, still believing I was going to deliver baby Jesus. It was a total, confused let down when I ended up in the psych ward instead.
The delusions didn’t go away immediately. I kept looking at the Bible in the hospital. Another patient kept teasing me about Satan, which was really freaking me out. And after my divine ego-death experience, I began to get very intense paranoia, convinced people in the hospital were out to get me. But that is another story.
No one can tell me if I will or won’t experience psychosis again. All I can do is look out for warning signs of mania…excessive energy, overconfidence, little sleep, rushed thoughts and speech. I’ve also been wary of picking up spiritual reading. I really have to take it in little bits and pieces so I can stay grounded in this reality. I refuse to negate everything I experienced as “crazy”. I know there was spiritual truth in what I was feeling. I try to look for the metaphorical significance of Mary…the embodiment of hope. For some people, this world that we depend on to be “real” can quickly become a collection of shadow-boxes. This is something both shamans and madmen know.