Two weeks ago we looked at mental health for bisexuals through statistics, and of course, it was a downer. The statistics for depression and suicide and attempted suicide are staggering. As much as we put on the brave face, and tell the world the glories of bisexuality, there is another part of our community (and truthfully, a part of ourselves) that remains confused and ready to wallow in the old pain body at the next trigger. So what can we do about it? Lots. In the next series of blogs I am going to deal with Real Mental Health, the keys to maintaining and even thriving in spite of life’s ups and downs. Today we will start with my story.
After coming out to my wife and my subsequent divorce in a marriage that had held me together for thirty-three years, I was suicidal. I admitted myself to an eighteen week, five days a week, five hours a day program at the Mental Health Ward at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. I was diagnosed with Acute Generalized Anxiety, Clinical Depression, Avoidance Personality Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder with Sexual Identity Disorder. With therapy and heavy medication, I was able I get my “act” together and return to work as a psychologist for the next two years. I had new mental strategies and a functioning chemically-balanced brain, but nothing inside my mind or my soul had been healed.
I collapsed into a second bout of generalized anxiety and clinical depression, I was suicidal again. During my darkest days, that voice inside me urged me to remember the miracles of the past and believe that I was worthy of one more. I had witnessed and experienced happenings in my life which had no physical or human-brain-power explanations. When my dear French Canadian grandmother was on her death bed dying of cancer, the family gathered together for her last Christmas. She asked to be propped up on pillows in the living room so she could be a part of the gathering. When she heard the fiddle music of her French soul, she got up, and with one hand on the table, she danced the jig. When the song ended, she collapsed on the floor. They put her back in her bed and she never got up again. Like my grandmother, I decided to dance just one more time.
I gave up looking for answers through my mind and just tried to survive the best I could. In the process of avoiding the pain of my mind and soul, I created a time and space vacuum that needed to be filled. I sold or gave away everything I had except what would fit into two suitcases, took an early retirement, and headed for a mountain village in Costa Rica. For the next two years, I searched for moments where I could shut down my mind and just experience peace and contentment. These moments led to a sense of awareness of the beauty surrounding me that was available through my senses. I was able to find inner peace and gradually took myself off all medications. And then, the greatest miracle of all happened; I was able to get in touch with my inner spirit, the “I”, that part of “me” that is aware, conscious and eternal. With the help of a rejuvenated spirit, I was ready to start the healing process of my soul which has stretched on over the past twelve years.
I believe the natural state of man is the Self (or the soul), whole and complete. In my view, the trial of living, especially in our western world, and especially if we are bisexual, fragments us and destroys the harmony of the Self. I believe that living in the spirit is the key to restoring this harmony which can in turn lead to true mental health. I have come to the conclusion that there is a definite, powerful, spiritual energy which is available to all of us, that comes through the heart in the form of feelings. These feelings can guide and empower our thoughts and our actions. Therefore, the focus for healing and maintaining mental health, must be is on these feelings, not the twisted neural pathways of the mind.
In my bisexual journey, I have explored and tried various spiritual practices. For the most part, I have found them to be useful sources of imagery to assist my soul in visualizing the amazing spiritual world in which I live. I have attempted to narrow down my spiritual beliefs and visualization practices to those that have been tested and found true consistently throughout the trials of my life. Next week we will roll up our sleeves and get down to business.
Dance with Death
And having given all, having left nothing in the arena,
I stand exhausted, panting for breath,
Waiting for my heart to stop,
Letting my struggling mind slip into unconsciousness,
Releasing my tortured soul to give up its will to survive.
Having only the desire to raise the sword one last time,
I reject the rhythm of the unknown drummer;
I reject the solitude and the silence of the dark;
I refuse to close my mind to its fear and striving;
I refuse to seal up my soul and run away and hide.
I choose to dance the dance of my own soul;
I choose to let my feet flow
With the rhythm of my own music.
The dance comes on the wings of violence.
It begins with the girding up of loins,
By taking up the sword of truth,
By facing the monsters of the mind,
Matching blow for blow, breath for breath,
Smashing disillusionment, laughing at Fear,
Meeting Self-Hatred with righteous anger,
Disarming the Black Knight of Nothingness.
Then the dance seeks its own rhythm.
There, in the moment of defeat and surrender,
I dance, and I dance, and I dance
To the rhythm of the beating of my heart.
There, in the moment of defeat and surrender,
I dance, and I dance, and I dance,
Moving my feet to the eternal beat,
That guides my soul along the golden path of life.
The whole story can be purchased at: http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000021128517/Lawrence-J.W.-Cooper-Bi