My First Manic Episode

I was teaching 3rd grade Quran and Islamic Studies when I noticed something was wrong. My kids were young at the time, so initially, I thought I was just stressed about being a new mom. My youngest daughter was in preschool. Every morning it was a struggle getting her to class without incident. She would undo her child seat and find a way to get out of the car so that she could run away from the school. It was a trying time.

Between my classes and my kids, I was stretched thin. It began to wear on my mental health. I stopped sleeping and eating. I became irritable too. I would yell at the kids in my class at the slightest little thing. I felt out of control. We had bought a push mower for our lawn at home. Both for exercise and to keep the yard trimmed short. One day, I started cutting the grass. It seemed to grow back as soon as I cut it with the push mower. So I cut it again. Before I knew it, I’d cut the lawn 6 times that day. I only found out because my concerned neighbor said something to me. She asked if I wanted to let the grass grow a bit before I cut it again. I could see the pain and confusion in her eyes. And I knew something bad had happened.

Later, I told my doctor about the incident. He told me I’d experienced a manic episode. He put me on a mood stabilizer to get things under control. That was the first time I realized that my bipolar was out of order. It would take many years to get on the right combination of medications, but I’m finally on the road to recovery. I’m working on my sleep issues and I’m in therapy too. And I haven’t mowed my lawn like that since.

Sakinah Kaiser is a writer, blogger and mental health advocate from the Washington, DC metro area. She works to educate communities about the realities of stigma, discrimination and ableism. Follow her on Twitter @TheMuslimHippie