I am ashamed. I fear much of what I've written since August has been as much the result of mania as any spiritual inspiration, and I cannot separate the two out. But after every mania comes a depression, and I have entered depression. I plan to see my shrink tomorrow and have already started myself back on medications.
To admit this is frankly devastating. I really did believe I was healed. I really did believe all the stuff I wrote about battles with Satan and Christ's second coming. It was all more real than real--real in the way, say, dreams are more real than reality at times. But now I've lost the feeling, the connection, and I don't really know what to do with myself.
Meanwhile I have some mementos of my journey. I have the necessary papers to change my name to Craig Erickson but I don't have the heart to file them. I have a totem pole that was carved for me with my three spirit guides: my animal spirit, the bear; my wise spirit, the frog; and my spirit guide, the raven. It was carved out of redwood by a man I met on my journey to Oregon and now stands planted in my garden. I like it there but it does remind me of how high I was.
In "Flowers for Algernon" a retarded man undergoes a clinical trial of a drug which increases his intelligence exponentially, only to have the drug fail and all his love of Mozart and philosophy and such taken out of his hands and his being left empty. This book has haunted me since I was a child, and it mimics the manic-depressive experience: "Riding high in April, shot down in May."
So what can I say about everything I've written during this manic journey? Surely there is truth in it, but truth mixed with error. Signs that I was out of control include a rupture with my daughter, my wife leaving, and the loss of one of my best friends. Thankfully the rupture was repaired, and my wife has returned, but I fear my friend is lost forever. I guess I just scared him away. It's a terrible loss, although the friendship always did have its difficulties.
When my tears started I at first thought they were grief, but now I find that diurnal urge to cry--in the late morning and late afternoon--which is typical of my depressive phases. I suffer anhedonia--I take no pleasure in anything. One thing is like another and getting through each day seems an impossible burden as I don't know what to do with myself. When I was manic I was active, I always knew what to do next. Heck, I had new business cards printed up as a doctor, a "Soul Healer," and set aside the extra bedroom in the house to see patients. Now the prospect of practicing medicine seems frightful to me. And my chronic back pain would limit my ability to practice in any case. But I thought that was to be healed as well, along with my manic-depression and metabolic syndrome (a fancy word for being overweight or obese). Thankfully I did lose fifty pounds in the course of my experience, something I thought a healing, and it is the only evidence I have that anything I experienced was lasting or real.
Yet it felt so real--I cannot begin to describe to you the heightened certainty, the angelic surety of my convictions during this period. I felt as if my body was slowly being resurrected, that I was growing younger, and that eternal life would spread like an infection through the human race and the millennium would arrive. More importantly I thought that I participated in a direct battle with Satan which resulted in him being bound for 1000 years so that righteousness could reign on the earth. All of this is evident in my postings, which I will not delete as an example to posterity. But imagine my embarrassment at being reduced to a mere "Craig," just one more mental patient gone awry.
Those closest to me suspected this all along. Some few friends and acquaintances believed in my journey. I am grateful to them for their faith. But now I am faced with the horror of depression, and typically, a post-manic depression is the worst and most untreatable kind because of the heights from which the bipolar patient has fallen. There is nothing like the bliss and confidence I experienced while in that state; it was like an acid trip that went on for five months. And what's really puzzling is that some miracles did occur, as witnessed by others: healings, casting out of demons, and two sightings of Viking boats lit up at night sailing off the coast of Mendocino which I and my friend actually saw. Can two people share a hallucination? These sorts of questions can drive one mad.
I don't know what to do with myself now. I have no confidence and no direction. I feel snake bit, sucker-punched by my own defective brain. And the sorrow of descending from feeling like a god back to a mortal worm is indescribable. Still it would be remiss of me not to salvage something from the experience, so let me still sign off with