Drug Rehab 2021 Round 1 – Escaping from the Bondage of Mental Health

Name: Elijah Moon
From: Tempe, Arizona
Votes: 0

Escaping from the Bondage of Mental Health

Everyone has a story. You can hear it and see it if you are willing to watch and listen. I capture stories through video: gaming stories, sports stories, and life stories. My story begins the first time I put my hands on a camera. It was in church and I fell in love immediately. I felt as if I controlled the outcome of everything I shot. My perspective was what everyone saw — from a sleeping baby to an open Bible–I controlled the outcome. However, when shooting for the church it was important to stay reverent and reflect the church’s story. When I look at my own life, the control that attracts me to videography was the control that I lacked in my own personal story. Living with a single mother who struggled with mental health issues was tough. A simple question would set off fireworks, but just as quickly the pendulum of emotions would go the other way and she would talk to me in public like nothing happened. It was like she forgot about the argument we just had. Even though it was toxic and confusing, and not all people would be able to deal with it, I would go along with the emotional rollercoaster.d

 It was not until this year that I realized this nightmare had a name. Bipolar disorder. Having a name makes It real and gives It meaning. Having a name cleared the questions in my mind. A  name also defined my experience, making it more concrete. Instead of an intangible Thing permeating every crevice of my life, It became a solid Thing that we could tackle head on. A name released me from my past and squashed my fears. I could breathe easier knowing my mom’s challenge was not somehow contagious, nor was I destined to follow suit. This also was not my fault. Simultaneously, it is a relief  knowing I am not alone, but also discouraging that others suffer a similar existence. A name also helps me to release the blame I held against my mom. I now realize this is her daily nightmare and constant struggle. A name exposed our family secret, dragging it into reality. The name also made MY situation a WE situation. I had candid discussions with my family, reviewing events of the past that baffled me, and I felt free for the first time in my life. My new fear is my younger sister and brother, born 10 years after me. I already see the cycle of confusion repeating itself, but am not sure how much truth they can handle at this time.

Videography gives children like me a voice. My videos speak for me. My videos can also speak for my mom. Our current challenge is that my mom has chosen not to take the recommended medication because she fears the side effects. Instead she uses a combination of diet and exercise to self manage her bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, our family continues to tiptoe around trigger points and we remain uncertain about how to support her. We have suggested family counseling, but she resists outside help. Therefore my goal is to use videography to expose public health issues such as mental health challenges. I have learned how to empathize with someone struggling with a mental illness because like me they also have a difficult time voicing their struggle. Videography can be a solution for both perspectives. Anyone can record an event, but it takes courage to unveil a dark, complex story that not everyone expects. Everyone has a story.