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Waiting for a Guru to Remove the Pain of Depression

A Personal Perspective: Enlightenment or bust.

Davide Ragusa/Unsplash
Source: Davide Ragusa/Unsplash

This post is Part 4 of a series.

In this previous post, I described my "tussle" with the psychiatric system over what I felt were spiritual experiences but what they saw as strictly psychotic ones. It was just me really who was putting up the fight. The "system" (the tightly-knit clan of doctors, psychiatrists, and nurses with the medical model as the foundation), didn’t really do any fighting. Said "system" just stood there being the unmovable, unflappable blob of a behemoth it is. Oh, and you probably know this but in case you don’t: the medical model isn’t some cute resident just out of med school who has a spread in GQ. No, the medical model is a health model that is disease- and symptom-focused and often uses medication as its first line of defense.

When I was slapped with the label bipolar disorder with psychotic features, I wasn’t going to accept that. I instead made my way to India to explore what those mystical experiences actually were. You can read what led up to this in these previous posts: Part 1 and Part 2.

In the last installment, I had landed in India, about to see a teacher who was to help me find eternal peace from the depression that had been dogging me for years and prove once and for all that what I went through was a spiritual awakening, not a psychotic episode. What follows is the first waiting to see the teacher: H.W. L. Poonja.

It’s taken a 23-hour flight, crossing two continents with a "sleepover" in Hong Kong, and 25 hours on a train in second class to reach what I have been waiting for for over six months. But really the journey has just begun.

I started off in Vancouver, feeling a strange combination of doom, depression, and glee. Afraid I would never move out of this existential, biological (according to psychiatrists) downward spiral, and this spring-in-my-step hope that the person I’m about to meet would change all that.

I’m standing against a crumbling concrete wall outside on a dusty side road near an entrance of a building. Morning, 8 a.m. Mu, my boyfriend, is by my side, like he usually is. Until he isn’t (more on that later). It’s overcast, gloomy almost. Others are leaning on the wall with us. A woman wrapped in swirls of pastel embroidered scarves. Only her face can be seen. A muscular, ruddy-faced, Slavic-looking man (quite attractive!) wearing baggy, what I think are linen pants. From the 30 or so gathered, low murmurs can be heard with occasional arrows of laughter launching like a firecracker in October.

It's February 3, 1995. I know this because I’m handed a small white card with the date on one side and my name on the other written in green felt pen. A fancy-pants kind of way to keep track of who is here, I guess.

I don’t know how long we have to wait. But what I do know is that once inside, I will be in the first row in front of the teacher I have been devotedly, almost feverishly writing to since my explosions of insights, bliss, and psychosis last September. He holds the last resort for me. Well, not quite the last resort, there is another one. A permanent one. But I’d rather not go down that path. Not quite yet, anyway.

I’ve promised myself I would do everything in my power to find a solution to what I can only call anguish. Melodramatic it sounds, I know. But if you have ever been severely depressed, and I mean bottom-of-the-barrel, you know I’m not exaggerating.

To be continued...