My Mystic Bipolar Autobiography
By David Dalton
How I Reconciled My Mystical with My Mental Health Experiences
In this article I claim that my mood cycles have been affected by lunar and solar cycles, and that I am similar to some past major pagan and non-pagan religious figures.
In 1986 at age 22, during a low year of the 11-year sunspot cycle, I suffered a long mild depression. It was treated first with desipramine, which didn't work and had too many side effects, and then with nortriptylene, which eventually worked but did cause my only epileptic seizure that December.
Early in September of 1991, while organizing orientation week activities at the University of British Columbia Graduate Student Centre, (having been inspired by musician-songwriter Sarah McLachlan and some others, and having experienced shaktipat from my yoga teacher), I went into my first manic episode. It began with a shower of ideas early on September 1st, and culminated in a naked sun stare, thorn hill climb, and blue rose vision on September 5th and 6th.
Just before my manic episode started, I witnessed some clear sky lightning, which I relate to an M-class solar flare that took place two days prior. This manic episode occurred during a waning crescent moon in a high year of the 11-year sunspot cycle. During the sun stare, I observed a curved tunnel effect, like a divine horn of oil with its wide mouth toward me, and then giant butterfly wings of space folding in on me. Then I blacked out and fell into the water.
After this experience, I remained at a mental health ward for five weeks while my lithium level was adjusted. In May of 1992, during a waxing gibbous moon, I smoked a marijuana joint on Wreck Beach intending to relax. Instead, I went into a mixed/psychotic episode resulting in a week-long hospitalization. I emerged from this stint on 5mg of haloperidol per day, in addition to the lithium. In early July 1992, during an early waxing moon, I had a suicidal period which ceased when my psychiatrist told me to come off haloperidol. After that, I would only use haloperidol as needed and on rare occasions.
In the next two and a half years I experienced three more waxing gibbous moon trials, triggered by alcohol use, and three waning crescent hypomanias with onset 5.5 lunar months after each waxing gibbous moon trial onset. Based on the first two 5.5 lunar month separations, I predicted the late August/early September 1994 high.
After the March 1994 trial I gave up drinking alcohol during the week before a full moon but continued to drink at other phases with no ill effects. I had one more waning crescent high in early July 1994 that did not have a waxing gibbous moon trial precursor, but like the others had an M-class solar flare two days prior. Similar to the September 1991 high, my June 1993 high and August-September 1994 high had clear sky lightning at their onsets. The early January 1994 high occurred during highly variable weather. The highs were pleasant and characterized by playfulness and creativity accompanied by a feeling of mystical connectedness within nature. The trials were unpleasant and characterized by a feeling of the world turning sour around me.
Beginning early in 1996, I entered into low years. They were low in terms of creativity, at times in terms of mild depression and anxiety, and at other times in terms of delusion and even paranoia. For some past figures such low years seem to have lasted seven years, but for me they have lasted 18.5 years (as of July 29, 2014). So far, I think since I have had modern medicines, and since lifespans are longer today on average, it could be that my low years will not last much longer than 18 years (7 years plus an 11 year sunspot cycle). I hope to come out of them soon after this writing date, which is August 20, 2014. But on my current medication regimen, 1250 mg divalproex sodium and 10 mg olanzapine nightly, the low years are not very low except in terms of creativity.
I have also done comparisons of my cycles to those of past figures. The three figures I have the most evidence that I am similar to are Gwion (Taliesin), the Turquoise Bee, and Jesus (the heavens opening and wings descending during Jesus' baptism I liken to my sun stare experience which I described earlier). For more detail on my comparisons to them and several other past figures, and on my mystic bipolar autobiographical details, please do a web search for Salmon on the Thorns.