“There’s a suicide in the observation room.” That’s what I heard them say. They called me “a suicide.” I no longer have a name. I want to scream out, “My name is MJ, MJ Sawyer!” But, I won’t. I’ve learned that a name is of little consequence once you’ve been committed and declared certifiably insane. They used to refer to me as “the manic depressive in 204 or 371” – or whatever room I occupied at any given time. Then one day that changed to “The bipolar in 117 or 306 or . . .” No matter what hospital they put me in–no one seems to realize there was once a time when I had a real name.

I can’t remember the days before the madness came to annihilate my brain. I can’t recall a moment when my mind did not choose my moods or when I would sleep, talk, scream, cry, rage–or when and what I’d be forced to think–or when and how I would choose to try to end my life.

I do remember taking all those pills yesterday. The only solution to stopping my errant mind is death. My attempts to end my life have nothing to do with life being too cruel. It is my mind–my mind is cruel.

The medications they have prescribed are supposed to tame my vicious brain. They do serve to deaden me on the inside, but they have no power against my particular brand of lunacy. The doctors say, maybe someday they will find a drug that will help. In the mean time, I pray for a way to still the violent jolts that shoot through my head at a rapid fire pace, to stop the nightmares that taunt me even when I’m awake—to quell the darkness filled with demons camouflaged as thoughts that prevail as terrifying tormentors inside my head.

They pumped my stomach so I can’t go home now. I just wanted to go home and sleep forever–to sleep in heavenly peace. Please God, help me find a way to come home. I need to rest now. Please God, please, please hear me. Help me rest.”

- Excerpted from MJ Sawyer’s journal, “An Account of My Madness”

Suicide, a symptom of bipolar disorder, used to be a primary focus in my life. For thirty-six years I lived with treatment-resistant rapid cycling bipolar disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, OCD, and symptoms of autism.

The bipolar disorder and the other manifestations of my brain imbalance surfaced when I was thirteen years old. That was over forty years ago so the behaviors I exhibited were not identified as a mental illness at that time. When I was twenty-four I succumbed to a nervous breakdown of spectacular proportions. I was committed to a mental hospital and diagnosed “manic depressive.” (The term “bipolar disorder” was not in use and the remaining aforementioned disorders were not recognized or considered in my case back then.)

This particular mental breakdown occurred in the early 1970s which coincided with the time that lithium and psychotropic drugs were beginning to gain recognition as viable solutions for manic depression. I was desperate to find relief from the tempestuous mood swings that had usurped my life. I was an extremely willing guinea pig in those days. For seven years I lived in and out of mental hospitals. I underwent several series of electroconvulsive therapy. Every variety and combination of mood elevator, MAO inhibitor, hypnotic and mood stabilizer was administered by my psychiatrists. These doctors were considered the best New York City had to offer. They were truly earnest in their desire to assist me with the relatively new-found medications that were considered great panaceas in that day.

I seemed to only worsen with each chemical assist. I was frequently lost and unable to find my own home, often hallucinating and at times, violently physically ill from toxic shock poisoning. I was prone to repeated suicide attempts that were not at all dramatic, but conducted in a rather incoherent daze. After every medicinal tactic had failed to bring relief, it was determined that I was not "a text book case.” The next I knew, I was facing a full year of observation in a mental hospital in Connecticut. One of my doctors said, "It's good your parents have money, you’d have to go to a state hospital, if they didn’t."

The realization that there were no viable treatment options, combined with an overwhelming fear of the day I’d be parentless and living in state institutions, served to catalyze nineteen years of denial about my mental condition. I refused to admit that I was manic depressive. I did my absolute best to function in the world without medical help. For nearly two decades, I sought out every variety of alternative healing to try to ease my mental symptoms, to attend to my emotional issues and to heal my physical illnesses. Nonetheless, these years—harrowing and exhausting at best—finally culminated in a mental, emotional, physical and spiritual breakdown that was more devastating than any I had ever known.

I subscribe to the belief that everything happens for a reason. I do not exclude the aforementioned breakdown from this notion. It was this event that forced me to accept that I had a mental illness, despite the fear of state hospitals that continually lurked in the corner of my consciousness. This was a gift. Had I not owned that I was sick, I could never have healed my condition. You can't fix what isn't broken. To attain a state of wellness, you simply must dispel the illusion that there is no need for repair.

Once I finally accepted the truth of my condition, I was able to apply the alternative healing techniques I had used to heal my physical body to my new found challenge: the complete healing of my own brain. I emerged from the darkness of mental illness through surrendering my condition to the Light and asking Spirit to guide me to whatever it would take to balance the biochemistry of my brain. The guidance I received led me to the tools for transformation that ultimately brought me to a place of complete healing.

The life I live now is impossible to describe to those who are afflicted with a brain imbalance-those who have no reference point for a so-called normal life. Joy is full and unadulterated; peace prevails in my body, my heart, my mind and my spirit; gratitude is boundless for the second chance at life that I have been so blessed to receive.

My brain chemistry is consistently in right alignment and so I am healed. My subsequent mission is to convey the discoveries that catalyzed this miraculous transformation. It is my hope that the information presented in this book will assist you or someone you love or care for in opening to the possibility of . . . choosing sanity.

Author's Bio: 

MJ Sawyer, a vibrational sound healer and therapeutic counselor, healed herself after a thirty-six year battle with treatment-resistant bipolar disorder.

MJ is considered a pioneer in the area of realigning brain chemistry imbalances through the use of sound and energy infusions. This specialty combined with the unique formula – MJ Sawyer’s Four-Part Prescription for Healing has led to her acclaim as a top expert in her field.

To learn more about, MJ’s workshops, presentations, private sessions and products go to:

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MJ Sawyer, The Official Guide to Bipolar Disorder