In 2012 I was diagnosed with manic depression, or bipolar disorder. I was prone to fits and outbursts. I cried and screamed (daily) and tore into my own skin. I shattered my most prized possessions, even things that didn't belong to me. I was, for lack of better words, out of control.
I went into mandatory therapy three times a week. I was doped up until I couldn't do much but put one foot in front of the other. On top of my mood suppressant cocktail, I self-medicated, mainly to sleep. I swear I stopped seeing colors. I hated my body, not the way it looked but the way it anchored me here. I starved it. I scarred it. I started to disappear.
In 2014, I quit all medications at the same time and it almost killed me. It all came back, the smothering lows, ecstatic highs, the uncontrollable fury, and it buried me.
I am telling you this because, two and a half years later, I am still breathing. It was the hardest work I have ever done, and is work that I continue to do every day. My return to health is undeniably and directly connected to my relationship with nature. Through plant medicine, tinctures and teas, oils and salves, through frequent re-wilding adventures around the magical Pacific Northwest with my wild man, through primal and intuitive movement, meditation and ritual, through relentless support from my community, my tribe, I have collected tools to tame my nervous system.
I have learned to honor the days I cannot leave the house, and celebrate on days that I don't cry or sweat through my outfit. I have learned which flower essences stop my heart from racing, which herbs help keep my energy up. I truly believe in the healing power of this Earth. And I want you to know this because I am alive because of it.