Remaining balanced when you live life with bipolar disorder isn’t some magical trick and it isn’t some tricky formula that only those who have super powers have figured out. However, stability I can say is a magical place to be after years of living in the rat race of mood swing after mood swing. It took years of practice for me and I am just now to a place I feel mentally strong enough to return to the real world of employment and job-related stress and the rest of the real world after a psychosis episode of mania caused by a job that went poorly.
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I am a lucky suicide survivor. In 2008 I tried to end my life after a hard day at my job. I came home, and I said good-bye to my children, and I climbed into bed to snuggle with my middle child and say my good-byes to him. My husband knew something didn’t seem right and knew how my state of mind had been in the previous days. He asked me what I was doing, and I quietly said to him, “I am saying my good-byes” and he didn’t hesitate; he knew what I had done and he grabbed the phone and called 911.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and so many things come to mind when talking about this subject. I personally am happy to say I no long experience suicidal depression but many people with bipolar disorder have thoughts of suicide regularly. If you regularly think about ways to kill yourself, I am here to tell you it isn’t normal. It isn’t how normal people think. I thought when I was thinking of suicide all the time that everyone was thinking about killing themselves too. I thought that it was how everyone felt.
Music is a special thing when you have a mental health disorder like bipolar. When you are feeling manic it works off some energy but when you are feeling depressed it really gives you something to look forward too. Recently I was going through a bad depression and my favorite band went above and beyond to be a light for me.
I am what I consider a true manic these days. For me, I teeter more towards mania than depression more often than I use too. It is still a constant balancing act and I still have rough days where I have depression. However, it is not the suicidal depression that once accompanied my bipolar disorder and that is thanks to medication.
When my father became sick about three years ago, I started to wake up almost nightly with night terrors. I would begin to cry and scream in my sleep to the point that my husband would wake up from a sound sleep and hold me as I tried to regain my composure and find a way to go back to sleep. Most of the time I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep at all and I would give up and just get up for the rest of the night, even if it was 3 AM.
I get to speak with a lot of different types of people every day. It often comes up that I am a mental health advocate; most of the time I get very positive responses. I will hear things like “thank you for the work you do” or “we need more people like you.”
Tosha Maaks is a mom and a wife who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when her youngest boys were only 2 years old. She raised all four of her children in a house where the topic of mental health was openly discussed. After going back to school in 2012 and a turn of events wound her up in jail because of mania, she decided that recovery was a thing that was going to take 100% of her focus. That the only way for her to be well and in recovery from her illness was to tell her story.