Kundalini Broke My Brain

By Athena Kim 02/11/21

Seeing Michael Jackson's face in the clouds was the high point of the trip I was on.  I had been on this ride for days and all I knew was that I was being hurled towards some type of inner spiritual growth.  I was 33 years old.  The same age as Jesus when he was crucified and that meant everything to my manic mind.

It started in the office of a psychologist at the University of Rhode Island.  I was seeing her for severe loneliness, depression and anxiety.  The usual suspects.  Little did I know that my trauma would be exposed and that, when she offered to help me with EMDR therapy, she was barely equipped to handle my case.

About a week after one EMDR treatment from Dr. S, we'll call her,  she went on vacation and left me holding the bag with my brain in my hands.  This is when I found myself seeking emotional support at a yoga class nearby.

Dr. S had stressed how important it would be for me to have resources to help with the potential fallout from the EMDR trauma therapy.  I was living with my mother, trying to go back to school and had no friends.  I was estranged from my 12 step meetings and life seemed pretty bleak.

I had tried Kundalini yoga once before in Los Angeles and had liked it so here I was in the suburbs of Rhode Island trying again to get some peace.  The room was packed, the teacher was reading from a book.  Looking back I wish I had known better.

I left and instantly felt high.  I had never felt so good in my life.  For days I felt high.  I began talking to myself out loud and using what I came to regard as 'automatic writing' to talk to my spirit guides.  One of them, I was convinced, was Michael Jackson who had recently died.

After about a week the gig was up.  I came come from a vision quest on the local library grounds and started to hear voices in my mind.  They were vicious and menacing.  I called Dr. S in a panic, she was just back from her vacation.  She told me to have my mother drive me to the nearest mental health facility.  

That kicked off a one week stay at Butler Hospital in Providence and a bipolar diagnosis.  I had never had these symptoms before in my life.  Some awful blend of crappy Kundalini and poor judgement by a University psychologist had landed me in a situation that has plagued me now for the better part of a decade.

At this point I'm happy and fairly healthy with a young child but it didn't come easily.  I have replugged into my recovery community and I sometimes tell bits of this story at meetings.  I'm a slave to my meds and I wonder what could have been if only yoga came with a warning label.

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