Who I am Vs My Mental Illness Vs Spiritual Crisis

Ah, our favourite topic returns. Mental illness! I saw this post topic floating around some time ago on the bipolar collective writing blog, and thought it was a fabulous idea. How do we understand ourselves vis a vis our illness, an illness that so often influences our mind and thoughts?

Well, to me it is simple. I am how I choose to react to my symptoms. It is not ‘me’ to have racing thoughts. It is ‘me’ to try and find a solution, panicking slightly along the way. It is not ‘me’ to have terrible mood swings. It is ‘me’ to isolate myself during them to try and minimize the pain I might cause those around me.

You see, people are still the same people they were before a mental illness struck. A mental illness is nothing but a list of symptoms affecting one’s brain chemistry, in turn affecting our mood, thoughts, etc.

Interestingly, though people LO-OVE to compare and conflate a mental illness with a spiritual experience, you don’t see people wondering who they are vs their spiritual experiences.

And yet, I found my spiritual crisis of late to have been quite distressing, out of the ordinary for me, and indeed, to be something that made me wonder about myself MORE than my normal symptoms do.

Maybe it’s because I’ve become used to my symptoms. Maybe it’s because spiritual crisises are made to be acute. But still, there is this all-pervasive notion that one is intrinsically ‘you’ and the other is a force acting upon you, and one is negative and the other positive.

Here’s a hint: they’re both forces acting upon you. Screwy brain chemistry vs spirit messing with you with neon signs, both are forces acting upon you.

My point? Surprisingly, they have something in common. It is our reactions that define us, not the actions hoisted upon us. And so I encourage people to think not only of their symptoms, but also of their spiritual experiences. After all, I am a hard polytheist and I believe the spirits to be exterior and independent to us. Because of this, I do not believe that having spirits contact you makes you special. Rather, it is how you choose to respond to them that makes you a shining star.

 

 

‘Beards’ Book Review

‘Beards’ is one indie book that I actually knew about before the author approached me for this book review (or maybe I hounded them until they gave me a free copy? Who knows, really?). Back when I was hoping to buy books and was unable to afford them, I had looked at ‘Beards’ and wondered if I would like to buy it, were I to have the means to do so.

Now, as a book reviewer I’ve tricked authors into giving me their books! Unlimited books muahahahaha!

Alright, in all seriousness, what’s the good, bad, and short stick of this book? Uhm, well… it’s kind of not well written.

Now I don’t mean this to be mean. But it all felt too short. Under-described. Character conversations were stilted and felt fake. And YET -> it still managed to be a good read.

Yeah, the characters sometimes felt a little bit like charicature-like lessons (I’m looking at you, Early). And sometimes the situations felt overly dramatic and predictably so. And yeah, the back and forth between the past and the present wasn’t always that ‘smooth’.

But you know what? It somehow still manages to be a good read. The author wanted it to be a bit of an lgbt timeline about acceptance, and it accomplished that, to a degree. And really, it made for a pleasant and entertaining read, DESPITE all its flaws. Which somehow boggles me. How did this author make so many mistakes and still make a book that’s entertaining? Must be the characters. Or their interactions. Or the funny premise of the book.

But all in all, this review is going to be short because that’s it, really. I could write up a giant list of flaws, yet this book still was in no way a waste of time. This book was fun, light, and really gave insight into the history of the lgbt movement in a vivid way. I would recommend it for young readers, for people trying to grapple our history in a more intuitive or ‘lived experience’ kind of way, without being all about protests.

I would also recommend the book to polyamorous couples/polycules, as it delicately bridges the gap between family and different kind of relationships that make them.

And that’s it folks! I hope this was interesting/useful!