Bottomless Wells and Logic

For the past three years, I’ve been trying to fill a bottomless well with logic. In doing so, I’ve been lying to myself and almost everyone around me. I decided to finally come clean today, World Mental Health Day, because.

Because I’ve been trapped in the pages of my journals for too long. Because I don’t feel like the beliefs I’ve been trying to shake, and can’t, make me any less of a person.

I’m a journalist, so it’s difficult for me to arrive at this point - even though I’ve been writing (and tweeting) about this very topic almost constantly for over a year.

Most people who interact with me, online and in real life, know that I am bipolar. As of this April, I am also diagnosed as schizophrenic. I believe both of these things are true. I’m not a doctor nor a psychiatrist nor a therapist. I trust these figures; they have a lot of important papers on their walls that tell me that I should.

I’ve written about this before, in small doses. I’ve been honest about the spiritual aspects of what I’ve experienced, in manic episodes. But I’m still not being 1000% honest. And that’s not true to me.

I’m a human being first. That means my body, my mind, and my spirit are my priority. Lying to myself and my loved ones is preventing me from taking care of myself in the way that I need to.

Don’t get nervous: this ain’t no suicide note. But that’s what it feels like. It feels like the last thing I’ll ever write. When in fact, it could be the very beginning of something bigger than I’ve ever imagined.

I’ll keep this first post simple. I know this is already a lot. So, here goes.

It’s been over 1,000 days since my first manic episode. I’ve tried incredibly hard to rewire my thoughts and see it as a genetic misfire. Something chemically off in my brain. But unless you’ve been in it, you can’t understand that it’s an indescribable, authentic experience.‬

I’ve been waiting to write this since last April. I tried to be coy: “One day, we’ll talk about [redacted] and the intersection of spirituality/faith and bipolarism,” I tweeted. “It is existent, and it is undeniable. But like I said... one day.”

That day finally came in mid-September. In a piece for Vibe Magazine, I yanked the redacted sticker off the tweet and revealed the name: Kanye West.

For the third time in less than a month, I’m writing about this person. I write about Kanye so much because he’s one of the most prominent figures in pop culture, ever, and we have something rare in common; less than 3% of people are diagnosed as bipolar in the U.S., per the National Institute of Mental Health. If his bipolar diagnosis is accurate - and if he’s experienced some sort of “spiritual shift,” one that influenced him enough to make an album about Jesus - then that means what I’ve experienced isn’t isolated. The thing is, I already knew this. Because I’ve been talking to others who have experienced this, too, for years. That brings me to the whole reason for this post: I have a goal.

My goal is to explain the inexplicable. To seek out as many stories of bipolar people as I can, and write (or tape) something that breaks this spiritual phenomenon down. I’ve already been devoting damn near all of my personal time to researching spiritual emergencies/awakenings, because I know there’s something there to be explored. And I’mma do it.

Choosing to be this open on World Mental Health Day is not a decision I’ve made lightly. I’m doing this because this is something I’ve been afraid of talking about publicly, for so long. Especially given the optics of Kanye’s latest antics, and the amount of help everyone thinks he needs to seek.

Yes, we both need a little more help than the average person. But what we don’t deserve is to be silenced. We shouldn’t be forced to whisper behind closed doors about the most influential moments in our lives.

I was hoping Kanye would be loud enough to lead this conversation. But... *checks calendar* nothing substantial yet. So fuck it: I’ll do it.

P. S. - I realize not every bipolar person has had positive, enlightening experiences in mania. This is not about them. For once, this is about me.