When I discovered that my spiritual awakening had just been a manic episode, it immediately took all the wind out of my sails. My heart plunged like a thousand-pound stone. Acting on a hunch, I googled the word euphoria, and found a psychiatric definition describing a feeling of extreme and unrealistic physical and emotional well-being, like being high. After reading that, I became very depressed.
Only a few months before, I’d been in Hanoi, Vietnam, ready to sail out to the emerald islands of Halong Bay, described in a legend as the teeth of the Mother Dragon. Since then, COVID-19 had shut down the entire world and I was squatting in my Mom’s backyard, broke and shattered. Anxiety had driven me to drink so much I’d had a seizure, and was suddenly twelve thousand dollars in debt and without a driver’s license.
It was a good thing I had the Holy Ghost Tribe gathering to go to every morning. At least it gave me some structure. The other ghosts all said the same thing over and over, take it one day at a time, and I tried. There were some very long days, so it was a challenge to even do that.
Everything in my life was either breaking down or broken. The screen on my laptop had cracked while working in Saudi Arabia, and the one that the Indian technician had replaced it with was too small, and would often slip out, then freeze up or go black. Frantic adjustments had managed to bring it back to life so far, but the dread of not being able to rely on it never dissipated.
My Dad’s old bike, which I needed to get around on since I couldn’t drive, had rusted too much to ride, and it would be months before I could schedule a tune-up for it at Jax, because of the pandemic. One day I had my Mom drive me to Target, both of us wearing masks and rubber gloves, so I could see about getting a bike there. They didn’t have a single bike in stock. Then we went up to Walmart. Same story. They had one kid’s bike and that was it. What about the pandemic had led people to hoard bicycles? There weren’t that many of them out on the bike trail.
My Mom was worried to death about catching the virus, and stayed in her house most of the time. When we needed to shop for groceries, we did the same thing as when we’d scouted for bikes, she did the driving and I did the shopping, both of us in masks and rubber gloves, using hand sanitizer every time we drove to a new location or returned home. I spent most of the time outside or in the camper, but whenever I went inside, would splash myself with sanitizer, like a teenager applying Brut cologne before his first high school dance.
The year before I’d been in South America, but had remembered the deadline for Medi-Cal in November and applied for it online. I’d been accepted into the program, but had never received my medical card or the information packet that allows you to select your provider. Now I had to get busy finding out why. My trip to the emergency room had resulted in seven thousand dollars of bills that I could barely even bring myself to acknowledge.
Covered California referred me to CalOptima. CalOptima referred me to Social Services. Social Services put me on hold. All their office hours had been impacted by COVID-19. Eventually, I was able to get ahold of someone at Social Services and they promised to look into it and get back to me.
As far as my driver’s license, I’d requested a court hearing with the DMV, and gotten a date that was still months away. About a week after making my appointment, I’d received a packet with medical forms that needed to be completed by a physician in order to be cleared. Just looking at that packet made me sick with angst, because I couldn’t even schedule a medical appointment until I got my Medi-Cal squared away.
All I had were problems that I couldn’t do anything about. My depression got so bad I’d be lying in the camper in the middle of the day, just wanting to die, and it would be hotter than a microwave. Until very recently, I was able to adjust my moods by heading over to the liquor store. Since that was no longer working, all I could do was go jump in the ocean and then walk on the beach until I was exhausted.
One day as I was slogging through the sand, walking mile after endless mile, I made a connection. The Middle Plane was purgatory. That’s exactly what it was. I was in purgatory, trapped between a life I couldn’t get back to and another, possibly better one, that I hadn’t arrived at yet.
The week of escalating mania, and resulting prophetic proclamations, had been what they referred to as a pink cloud at the gathering. Transformation wasn’t going to happen overnight. It was probably time to find a guide and get to work on the Twelve Awakenings.