The story behind the music. #MentalHealthMatters #BattleMinded

Hello everybody!

It’s been awhile since I’ve taken some time to write an article unsure where to go with details and not sound repetitive. I began writing this back on May 2nd and intended to post it at that time, but instead here it is being shared with the world today. This is a little history behind the musical lyrics but through my eyes as his mom. You’ll find links to his music on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music and YOUtube here. His music is funded by the amount of downloads, streams or plays and so the more everyone listens the more he will raise.  

Onto the article…

From the beginning of the journey with having to watch my son battle with bipolar disorder.  I have ALWAYS tried to see the positive and the brighter future for him, in spite of how dark some days have looked.  We weathered this storm together, side-by-side.  I have always encouraged him, and telling him that one day, God will use him, God will give him a platform for him to be able to move in his purpose.  As a young boy, in 8th grade when this new normal began for him, it was tough for him to see those positives and even more hopeless because of the repeated cycling and horrible symptoms of what we now know was caused by bipolar disorder.  During this initial time, we were still at a loss for what in the world had just happened?  It was like some chapters out of a true story book or scenes from a lifetime movie.  Which is now our real life story book.

In anycase, we just never seen it coming, we never thought that our sons life would take this turn.  After all, I had a normal pregnancy, he was born on time, normal and healthy.  He was actually advanced in his development milestones and smart as a whip.  No one could have ever told me that when he turns 15 years old, he will experience a life-changing event that will bring so much trauma to his brain and impact his daily living from that point forward, as well as having our whole world will be flipped upside down and inside out.

It was difficult during those first few chapters of this whole new diagnosis of this mental illness / brain disorder.  I just remember feeling so lost and just scared for his well being.  Going through so many different diagnoses; before landing to the correct and most accurate explanation of what caused all of this to happen. I remember each time he became symptomatic, his symptoms would be different almost every time.  Which made it difficult to find an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan with the correct medication. 

Seemingly enough, after much crying, anger, rage, frustrations and more crying and praying for God to do something.  We finally were told about bipolar disorder and that it seemed to be what was going on with my son.  You best believe, I read up on everything I could, I wanted to know all about this brain disorder.  So I began to read real articles by people who’ve chosen to share their journey with it.  I subscribed to bphope, joined forces with NAMI, met and spoke with others who have been living with this lifelong illness.  Most are older and have now developed a courage to be open and speak their truths.  All of them admitting that they’ve had to overcome fear of stigma.  All of them encouraging me that one day, my son will eventually end his silence and be brave enough to share his own truths in dealing with the ups and downs of this life-altering illness. In coming to grips with this new found hope, I had to check myself, and succumb to the reality that I’m still raising an adolescent who is still yet maturing and more than likely trying to overcome and grasp ahold of things himself, only on a more intense and personal level.

Well, yesterday, May 1st, that was that one day.  He had been working around the clock on balancing college studies and creating music.  Yesterday, he finally used his platform, which is his home studio, to create and share his journey through words of expression in his songs.  And he released two new songs and he has chosen to donate proceeds during this month of May to charity for Mental health.  So now, 5 years later, I’m beginning to see the positive and what good has come from ALL of this somewhat clouded journey. And now I’m beginning to see a more mature young adult and someone who’s doing his best to cope with bipolar disorder.  He’s my inspiration and my encouragement.  Because to watch my own flesh and blood, struggle for years, and to see how resilient he is as a young man, and a young man who’s choosing to do something so powerful and so positive, while living with this invisible illness. It’s difficult for me to even find words to describe the journey.  All I can say is only those who have walked a similar path with bipolar disorder will truly grasp the depth of what this article is designed to exemplify. 

We’ve had our fair share of dark days.  So it’s about time that we are here to see the brighter ones!  My son’s journey is a unique one.  I just thank God that God has kept him through this journey.  Its been a long one.  We’ve had plenty of “walking on eggshell moments”.  But we’ve also had moments of love and laughter. 

The purpose of this article isn’t just to help promote my sons music, but it’s mostly to encourage someone else who may be going through some dark days right now.  It’s for another mother out there who feels that heartbreak and hopeless for their own child’s future.  It’s for that other parent or caregiver who might be feeling lost and uncertain about the future. It’s for that individual who is battling themselves, I’m hoping to encourage you NOT to give up or give into this illness. 

I have to be very candid and admit one thing here.  I’m a Christian and we have raised our kids with Christian morals, biblical beliefs in Gods word.  And I used to be against medications and had an idea that prayer and faith would be the one and only thing I needed to fix any situation, but I have to admit, this experience with mental illness, has changed that idea, but not my faith. There is need of a physician and medication in addition to prayer and faith in order to be able to live a stable and productive daily life.  At least that’s my newly found truth.  Trust me, when you’ve been through it enough times, and you see the difference of what being unmedicated or on the wrong medication to finally being on what seems to be effective and helpful in combating these horrible paralyzing symptoms can do, it might just be enough to realize, medications are necessary in some situations.

Unless God sees fit to do something that science and medicine cannot change than there is only one default in my opinion and that’s to have the appropriate treatment plan and a willing individual to comply. And let me further add, that this is my own experience with my own son. Everybody has a unique experience and their own decisions to make towards efforts for maintaining good health.

Anyways, that’s all for this article because I could go on and on and on…

I hope I’ve shared some of my hope with you.  I hope I’ve given you a little ray of sunshine in your dark moments.  I hope and pray for every single person who reads this, that might find themself on the edge or the verge of a nervous breakdown, I truly want you to know, YOU’RE NOT ALONE IN THIS WAR, THIS FIGHT, AND IT CAN AND WILL GET BETTER.  If God did it for us, he can do it for you too.  Just have a little faith, prayer and find the right treatment, and I can almost promise it will eventually get better.  It might be midnight right now, but the sun is going to shine again!

Thank you so very much for being here, for following my articles and for seriously taking the time to read them. I appreciate each and every single one of you. And I enjoy the comments and feedback I’ve received via email, inboxes, DM’s from social media’s.

Stay Blessed!

-Erika Brooks

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