The Role My Support System Has In Helping Me Through Recovery

By: Tosha Maaks

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.

At one point though I was very suicidal. I even tried to end my life at one point.  After that I started to work with a new psychiatrist and there came a time I said to him that I felt like I always had this voice telling me “to just do it, just get it over with, no one would care, no one wanted me here anyway, everyone was better off if I was dead, I just needed to end it.” When I explained this to the doctor he put me on a medication that changed the course of my life. That medicine took away all my suicidal thoughts. It didn’t take away all my depression but I no longer felt like there was a voice telling me I was worthless all the time and telling me to end it. I call it my life-saving medicine.

It also did so much more for me than just that. It also took away my manic rage. I no longer had my angry fits that would cause me to scream at my children and get so mad that I would slam doors off hinges and break plates against the walls just to hear them break. It began the healing process for me and my family. It honestly gave my husband back the woman he fell in love with, and gave my children a mom again.

I do, however, still experience mania more often than I would like. When I am manic it is often brought on by periods of high stress. I have learned that a lot of self-care during this time can prevent periods of psychosis for me if I stress the need to my loved ones and those around me. I will do things like work out, go get my nails done, go get my hair done, or go to lunch with a friend. I concentrate on my mental health recovery a lot; my whole family concentrates on my mental health recovery a lot.

My husband is very in tune with my illness and makes sure that I take my medication and even goes as far as to set it out for me daily. He makes sure it is called in to the pharmacy and picked up. He provides for me so I don’t have to work in a traditional work setting. He calls and checks on me numerous times during the day. He also supports me when I am feeling down, and even though he doesn’t understand what it is I am going through, he does his best to always let me know I am not going to have to face this illness alone.

I feel I am one of the lucky ones. I have a great support system. I have people who love me and I know that isn’t going to change if I continue to do the work to take care of myself. My family is a huge reason why I can live successfully in mental health recovery. I am fortunate to have the people I have in my life; others are not that lucky and we have to speak for them, we must be there for the less fortunate. We need to become their family. Never be afraid to be a friend to someone who may be suffering in silence because everyone deserves a good support system. Just because they may be smiling doesn’t mean they might not be hurting.

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