“The secret to life is to “die before you die” — and then you find that there is no death” – Eckhart Tolle. Those were the last words I heard before I shut off my audiobook and decided to write. I have been fluctuating lately, up and down the bipolar wave that I have come to find is a mixed state.I often associated mixed episodes with extreme highs and extreme lows in a short amount of time, but I am now understanding that they can be a bit more subtle.
I have fought with myself my whole life. My weight, my appearance, my career, and even my relationships have all been battles that I have chained myself to, and eventually whipped myself for doing it. What I mean is in each part of my life I was a masochist; crying about things that I couldn’t change and staying miserable in circumstances that I had the power to walk away from at anytime. Why do we do this? Because of labels. Something we all have and we all subject ourselves to. Do you realize that when we die, none of those labels goes with us? Maybe they will stay in the minds of those that know us once we have passed on, but do you we really care what labels are placed on us even after death?
I attempted to read, (now listening) to Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, many times over the years, but just couldn’t get into it. I told myself it was just a bunch of hokey mumbo jumbo that really didn’t impact my life. Boy was I wrong. That last simple sentence of chapter two, “The secret to life is to die before you die, and then you find that there is no death,” hit my heartstrings in a way that not many books have done. I have read self-help and so called “spiritual” books before, and it all seemed like a bunch of New Age nonsense. But those simple words deeply impacted me.
I began to think about my life, and the time I actually did take it back in 2005. When I did succeed in committing suicide and was pronounced dead at the scene. In that moment, that instant, nothing had mattered. It had all become crystal clear, and all the baggage and excess weight I had been carrying around in my mind was no longer there, and there was a peace there that I haven’t been able to relive until now. Of course, the doctors had locked me up in a mental institution and pumped me full of so many drugs that I was basically comatosed for a year, so I never was able to really reflect and revisit what had happened. Sure I thought about it, but I was always fearful that if I thought about it too much, I would fall back into that depressed state and find myself there again.
But to actually do it. Now. To actually die before I die, in this present moment, after actually having experienced death — I find myself in a state of awareness that can’t be classified as mania, but just as peace. I feel connected now, and whatever was ailing me these past few months don’t seem as big anymore.
I am desolate. Since quitting my last job, I am unsure how I am going to make it to the end of the month without starving or God forbid ask my folks for help. I have been never one to ask for help, even when I am down to my last dollar. But none of that matters, because somehow, I don’t know how, things will work themselves out. I guess I am giving myself some sort of false hope, because I KNOW I will eventually run out of money, but that doesn’t concern me. I KNOW that I desperately need another job to get through February but that doesn’t concern me. What matters is here, now, I have dinner waiting for me, I have someone in my life whom I love that I will call in less than an hour, and that life isn’t so bad. Whether or not it’s mania or depression, bipolar doesn’t have to rule my life and dictate my actions.
Too many times people have let their illness control them, rule them, govern them. We forget that we are here NOW, right NOW, living, breathing, with food in our bellies and a roof over our heads being able to come on the internet and read my silly blog post. Or you could be fortunate, (where so many are not), to have an app on your phone where you can read this. But if you are reading this, I want you to know that enlightenment comes from being kind to yourself, building relationships instead of abandoning them, doing something small like taking a shower or burning a candle. It is not some magic thing that I found in Eckhart Tolle’s book. All the book did was remind me of the illusion I was living and how things really aren’t as bad as they seem.
Look, joy is something most people never feel. When watching a video today on Simon Sineck’s views on millennials, I was faced with a great truth. He said that most millennials will never experience joy in their life. Whether it be because they live in a world of instant gratification or constant disappointment is beyond me, but I can certainly identify with that, and if I could speak to Simon Sineck I would tell him that it’s not just millennials who feel that way. We as a society have lost our ability to actually find joy, and it is so very sad.
So today, do yourself a favor, find some joy. As stupid as that may sound, just find some. Eat your favorite ice cream, watch your favorite show on Netflix, call up a friend you haven’t spoken to in ages just to see how they are. But DO something. Get off your ass and stop whining about your life. I have been doing way too much whining lately, and I am aware of it. Now it’s time to treat myself to a little joy. I hope you can too.
Stay tuned. xoxoxo