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Articles/Essays From Pagans

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Being Pagan, Being Bipolar

Author: Gina Lopina
Posted: April 27th. 2014
Times Viewed: 4,350

I always had issues with depression and anxiety ever since my teens, and it was in my teens that I became a Pagan. At that time, I used to have many clairvoyant dreams. It freaked most of my friends out, especially when I had a dream of a dying baby, and later that night my friend and I learned that the baby of someone we knew had died of SIDS. The dreams were not always pleasant. Since Iíve been diagnosed as bipolar, the medications Iím on have suppressed those dreams.

I was 38 when I was diagnosed as Bipolar I Disorder, the more severe forms of bipolar. I am now 43. My bipolar disorder went mistreated for 5 years. I have just switched psychiatrists and now my moods are becoming more stable. When I had my first manic episode, I was on a course of self-destruction. I was working as a special education teacher in a very stressful environment, which caused the manic disorder. I started drinking heavily (60% of all people with bipolar disorder have substance abuse problems) , driving drunk, trying to pick up guys in bars (even though I was happily married) , and my mind ran like hamster on Red Bull. I became very belligerent and my husband became very frustrated with me. My kids were embarrassed by me. Fortunately, I wasnít practicing any magick at this time.

The problem with mental illness is the stigma. If you suffer from cancer, or any other serious or terminal illness, people have great compassion for you. When you are on a self-destructive course and alienating everyone you know, people donít have compassion, they have disgust. Even though my bipolar disorder was being mistreated and I was having many ups and downs, I was significantly better. It was then that I started doing my solitary rituals again. These rituals brought a feeling of peace to me. Unfortunately, solitary was the only way to practice because I didnít belong to a coven and I didnít have any friends left so I was always alone. This was, however, the first time I had created a permanent altar in my home. I had made a blanket of fleece with moons and stars. I draped it across two TV dinner tables. My children added interesting objects found in nature and I included my Goddess statues, which did include the Virgin Mary of Christianity because I was raised Catholic and Iíve always believed she is the surviving Goddess of the Judeo-Christian religions.

Later, I found that the Unitarian Church near my home had a Pagan group. I started attending events and felt an uplifting. I started making friends and, for the first time in a long time, I felt like I belonged. I even attended a service at the Unitarian Church and I plan on attending more. I confided in one of the elders that I was bipolar. I thought the worst was going to happen, that they might not like me, but she was very kind and compassionate. For the first time, I did not feel like a pariah.

At this point, I became very interested in following a Goddess path. I started reading the book, The Goddess Path by Patricia Monaghan. I was also using the Goddess Oracle and the suggested rituals to connect with the Goddess. My spirituality was really growing. At night, I would count down from 108 (which somewhere I learned is a number of the Goddess) and then would recite in my head Goddess names till I fell asleep. This helped ease the dependence on Valium, an extremely powerful sedative that I became addicted to. I am still trying to wean off of it.

Then, I had a setback. I had another manic episode and all of a sudden I had a horrible episode of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I had tests. I went on a variety of medications, but nothing worked. I was stressed and anxious and it was making the bipolar disorder worse. It was a vicious cycle. I asked my Pagan friends to send healing energy to me, I performed magick to heal myself, but the IBS got worse, the anxiety got worse, and every day I felt horrible. Then I learned about Kuon-Yin.

Kuon-Yin is a Goddess of suffering. If anyone was suffering, it was I. So I performed a simple ritual. I poured a glass of water, squeezed half a lemon into it and added some rosewater, both healing herbs. I wrapped my hands around the glass and prayed with everything I had to Kuon-Yin to end my suffering. I drank the water and went to bed.

The next day I awoke with no stomach pains. I was a little wary at first, thinking it was just a coincidence, but for the next several weeks, I had no symptoms of IBS and my anxiety decreased dramatically. The most interesting part of all this is I have a Christian friend and I told her what I did. She was very interested since she was suffering too. I told her about Kuon-Yin ( I also reminded her that Jesus suffered) and that with concentrated prayer and visualization she could ease her own suffering. Pagans arenít the only ones who practice magick!

My point is, my bipolar disorder has caused me to experience serious deficits. I suffer from short-term memory loss. I have been unemployed since 2007 and only recently have my ups and downs started becoming more stable. I believe my prayers to the Goddess have helped me tremendously. I urge everyone, male and female alike, to read the book, The Goddess Path, and to begin praying to the Goddess. Even my Christian friends are interested in how Iíve been healed. We always hear about Christian faith healers, but spiritual healing happens to Pagans all the time, too! Have faith. Pray. And grow in your spirituality.

Blessed Be.





Footnotes:
The Goddess Path, by Patricia Monaghan



ABOUT...

Gina Lopina


Location: Lockport, Illinois

Bio: I have been a practicing Pagan for 29 years. I practice with a Unitarian Pagan group and solitary. I am a homemaker.




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