"I have struggled with Anxiety, Depression, and suicidal thoughts since I was 13-years-old. I have also struggled with Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which led to Bulimia off-and-on throughout my teen and early adult years.
It wasn’t until I was 29, however, when I had my first manic episode, and was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder after a week’s hospital stay. It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced in my life, and I felt completely alone. I felt like bipolar was a death sentence, and seriously struggled with suicidal thoughts again. I felt like a burden, who everyone would abandon eventually.
But, I knew I couldn’t give up— my wonderful daughter, boyfriend, and loved ones needed me, and I know the pain of losing someone to suicide all too well. I have lost three good friends to suicide, one in just recent months, and it has been a struggle. But, I try to constantly remind myself of the pain I feel after the loss of my friends, and that many would be in the same pain if I decided to give up.
I still have serious struggle days, which isn’t easy to handle, on top of being a teacher, graduate school student, and mom, but I know I have to keep pushing. Music has been very therapeutic for me, and I try to live by my favorite band 311’s mantra: 'Stay positive and love your life.' Their music has definitely helped save mine.
The Master’s degree program I am currently working on would enable me to work for a nonprofit organization, and I’m hoping to find some work for a mental health nonprofit once I graduate, so that I can help others who are struggling with mental illness.
As 311 says, 'Don’t give up the fight to stay alive and even if you have to, find the reason of another’s pain if they lose you. If not for yourself, than those around who care like I do, one day you’ll see the clear blue... beyond the gray sky."