Author: Maria Jacobs
Hello, I’m Maria Eva Jacobs, and I have lived with Bipolar Disorder my entire adult life. The dark details of my life-long struggle, include a dual diagnosis and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder such as persecutory delusions, paranoia, suicidal ideation, subsequent inpatient treatment, and the loss of faith in God, whom I was raised to believe in since birth. That is all in my past.
I am in remission today. Essentially, all of the major areas of my life are stable, and even thriving; my work, my relationships, my craft and most especially my faith. All of which suffered tremendously as I tried desperately to navigate my life amidst the grueling effects that this disease had on me over the years.
For anyone who knows the ugly truths of Bipolar Disorder, the reality is that even in remission like I explained above, the road can still be bumpy, and pharmaceutical regimens may still need to be adjusted. That’s what seasons and cycles are all about. This is what happened to me recently.
At the end of 2020, a very difficult year for everyone, a lot came to a head, including some personal matters like divorce, caring for a mother with dementia, working five jobs to stay afloat, moving, and living in a pandemic. Suddenly there were nights again where I found myself crying myself to sleep with ideation and catastrophic thinking, reliving past trauma and isolation that went with the current pandemic. On paper, I have never been happier or more productive, and nothing appeared broken. What was going on behind the scenes was different, it was dark, it was bipolar, and it required the first medication adjustment in years.
These transitions can be brutal. I was still working, and praying that it would not cause disruption in my life. It didn’t. Have you ever looked out a dirty widow you could hardly see through, then wiped it crystal clean and enjoyed the view? That’s the best way I can describe what this new regimen has done for me, and it is the reason I tell anyone who is afflicted, just how important it is to go through these “adjustments” when they are having difficulties that obstruct what would otherwise be a normal life.
Seasons, and cycles are real for anyone living with Bipolar Disorder. The light changes in the Spring and in the Winter, so do our emotions, moods and thoughts. Life changes come along, they cannot be stopped. They are real, but then again, so is remission.
I went through all of this without really missing a beat. My work, relationships and faith remained in tact through it all. Was it easy? No, but did it derail my successful life? Also no. I am back to the joyful, normal life I was enjoying before this season and cycle began.
Seasons and cycles are real, but they do not have to be real bad.
Maria Eva Jacobs
Author, “Grateful: Faith, Healing and the Gift of Music
Voice Professor, Kent State University
Maria Eva Jacobs is the author of the soon to be published memoir, “Grateful: Faith, Healing and the Gift of Music,” which details her life, afflicted with Bipolar Disorder since age 22.
She is the vocal jazz professor at Kent State University, a licensed music educator and a national recording artist. She speaks and advocates for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, (NAMI Ohio), and Free Agents 4 Recovery (State of Ohio Certified Peer Recovery Group). She and her book have been written about in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and by the Kent State Marketing and Communications Department. Find out more at www.gratefulauthor.com