Teresa tells us a powerful overview of her personal experience:
My first experience of unwanted extreme states of consciousness occurred in January 2003. Convinced God was informing me that the world would soon come to an end, I left university and flew home to my family in Calgary. By the time I got on the plane, I was feeling euphoric and frantically writing down the messages I was receiving. I couldn’t sleep so my mother took me to the doctor for sleeping pills. The doctor sent me to the hospital where I stayed the week. I was told I had experienced brief episode psychosis and I would need to continue to take these little pills called ‘antipsychotics’. A bit disoriented, but no longer overwhelmed with channeling the divine, I found a less stressful place to live and returned to university in Toronto. By February, I was cursing society more than usual, and having troubles concentrating. After another short hospitalization, I told I was probably bipolar and needed to take ‘mood stabilizers’ as well.
Stressing out about a flight in April, I unintentionally took too many of my pills. I knew my cognition was impaired but I didn’t really know what to do about it. So I tried to get a group of people in my residence to sit in a circle, chant OM and welcome the coming of the New Age. That didn’t work, I missed my flight, and they took me to the hospital. No one was attending to me in the busy waiting room so I reasoned that I must be invisible. I pulled the IV out of my arm, walked out the door, and returned to my residence. The police came and escorted me back to the hospital which was under quarantine for SARS. There I was strapped down to a gurney and had strange people in yellow masks jabbing me with needles. I was pretty sure I had died and gone to hell. Maybe, I was in limbo waiting to be reborn. Perhaps, I was an android that had malfunctioned and needed to be dismantled and reprogrammed. Nothing made sense. When they released me, I got the hell out of Toronto, negotiated my way out of the diagnosis, got off the tranquilizers, and worked on finishing my degree from home. I packed away my journals and hospital art for future integration and analysis and tried to forget all about those embarrassing, shameful four months of my life.
The birth of my boys and transition into motherhood forced me to revisit this past wounding and demanded its integration. What happened? What caused it? How could I prevent this from happening to my children or guide them better through it if it does? I still don’t really know the answers to these questions but I am getting better at living with the unknowable and ineffable. My focus now is on how to best live my life to maintain my health, honour my ancestors and the more than human world, and prepare my children as best I can for an uncertain future. The past five years have been very challenging and I have learned so much. I am Human and I am Emerging Proud.
Thank you for sharing yourself so openly in order to normalise these experiences for others Teresa ❤