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I had something incredibly strange, and on paper, quite unsettling happen to me a few years back. I've only ever told a couple people that were very close to me, and when I did, they looked worried about me. But now, I'm ready to tell the world at large. And I'll reveal my motives for doing so after I relay what happened.

For context, I was going through a divorce after I had discovered that my ex-husband had been habitually lying to me about our finances, among many other things. I was financially ruined- I had a foreclosure and then an eviction and Wells Fargo was suing me over credit card debt, for which I'd later have to go bankrupt.  My ex moved away with his kids that I loved and missed incredibly. I was living with my parents and working an incredibly stressful job for $8 an hour. I was losing my mind. I was not sleeping well, not eating much of anything, my hair was falling out in chunks and my always-there tremor was so bad that I was convinced I had early on-set Parkinsons. Thankfully, I did not. But to say I was stressed and depressed is a huge understatement.

One of the few things I took solace in was jogging around my parents beautiful neighborhood at night. It's a safe neighborhood, and the worst "tough" you'll run into is a possum or a fox. There's small hills and gently curving streets and plenty of stately trees. These days, I miss my night runs.

One night as I was running, it was a little misty, causing a halo to frame a street light. As I ran towards in, the light coalesced into an enormous, radiant lion with a mane of rainbows. He ran right towards and through me. It took my breath away and for a small moment I felt a deep peace and relaxation I hadn't felt in many months.

However, after that moment passed, I was left there, on the side of the road, completely afraid that I had finally and irrevocably lost my mind. I decided to shake it off, keep running and to never tell anyone for fear I'd be locked up and the key forgotten.

Did I hallucinate that lion? Absolutely. Again, I hadn't been sleeping or eating properly, and I was jogging on top of that.

But there is a nagging part of me that doesn't want to brush it away as just a hallucination. I have no particular connection or interest in lions per se, but what does a lion mean culturally, symbolically, spiritually?

Lions represent bravery, agility, and dignity. The qualities I needed to manifest the most desperately at that time in my life, if I were to survive it. With time, and few hiccups along the way, I did manifest those qualities. And I did survive.

Why am I spilling my (possibly crazy) guts to you? Because if you are going through a terrible and dark time in your life, I want you to know that you can and will survive it. Within you exists a lion of radiant light. If you believe in God, then you already know the lion exists and loves you perfectly. If you don't, then you already know that you are a unique manifestation of the universe- the most perfect result of eons of energy and chaos coalescing into your consciousness, a consciousness that eats void and converts it into experience, beauty and art.

You are the lion. I am the lion. We are the lion.

If you need mental health help, please seek it. I am much more stable, happy and a much better friend and family member because of the mental health care I have received. The road to to mental health can be a long one, but I promise you that it is well worth it. 

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