It’s a pleasure to have Nicole on the blog today to share her personal battle with mental illness. She’s striving to find her own journey to happiness, and I know that she’s doing a great job. Just a warning to those in the depths of mental illness, this post does pose a possible trigger for some. Please tread lightly, and if you need to talk please let me know. I’m here for you and I will help as best I can.


Lowest of Lows…But There’s Still Hope

I sat in the toilet stall of the campground bathroom bawling my eyes out – snot mixing with tears, unable to breathe, hiccupping because I can’t catch the breath that is attempting to calm me down.  I’m having a really, really bad low, something that happens to me occasionally, though a lot less often when I’m on my medication.
Mental illness can affect your quality of life. But finding your purpose and your journey to happiness will light up your life. Find how how this mom created her own happiness & now lives the life of her dreams.
At this moment in the bathroom, I have no real reason for being upset, nothing happened, except a looming black cloud overtook my brain and made me hate myself.  In this moment I just want the pain to stop – I want the hurt to go away – but the only option that would allow the pain to go away instantly is a horrifying reality that I will never give in to.
 
So I cry, I sob, and I blubber – I text my husband from the bathroom stall and he talks me down through text– and then a lightness starts to penetrate the dark cloud and good thoughts begin to chase away the horror.  I have a wonderful son, beautiful stepchildren, wonderful husband – and we are on the journey of a lifetime – I am on the road of healing.

My Diagnosis Won’t Define Me

I’ve been plagued with mood swings like this since I was a child, and most of my life I just dealt with them, feeling the incredible highs and the horrifying lows. In my early 20’s, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, something that made complete sense and explained the raging mood swings. I’ve had suicidal thoughts, I’ve placed a knife to my wrist, and I’ve known that a bullet to the brain would be the only thing that could stop the black cloud that puts so much pressure on my brain during my lows, but I’ve also been incredibly strong in fighting these urges.

I’ve known that I am meant for more than what this illness wants me to believe – so I’ve always kept fighting – sometimes with medication, sometimes with things that were probably not best for me, but fighting is what I did best.  When I had my son the euphoria of having this wonderful bundle of adorableness seemed to make the fight in me a little greater – he was a reason I couldn’t slip up, that I couldn’t let the black cloud pressure my brain into that horrible oblivion.

Fighting the Trigger

Boredom is another thing that has inundated me forever.  I start something, a career, a hobby, a relationship, a place I’m living, and after a year or more I’m ready for a change.  It is like my brain needs consistent change to stay happy.  I get bored and then I get depressed and then the black cloud is given a greater opening to pressure and hurt my brain.  So I’ve always switched careers, taken different courses, moved around, whatever I could do to keep up with the happy side of myself so that I could fight off that dark cloud.

When my husband and I began discussing living in an RV full time, homeschooling our son and traveling the country, my brain began doing cartwheels!  I was already bored at work, even though I was doing well and making good money, it wasn’t making me happy, and when the boredom and unhappiness begin it is only a matter of time before the dark cloud begins roaring its ugly head.  So I dove into researching this type of lifestyle, became obsessed with living on the road, and after months of research, we did it!  We sold most of our belongings, sold our home and bought an RV to start our new life as nomads.

The journey to happiness is paved with a big open view and plenty of sunshine.

Finding My Journey to Happiness

We have been on the road for three months now, just the beginning of this wonderful journey, and it isn’t always perfect, especially with three kids in such a small place, but my brain is constantly occupied.  New places and new people keep me from being or feeling depressed most of the time.  Full-time RVing hasn’t become a miracle cure for my bipolar disorder – I still have lows and highs – queue the bathroom scene from above – but what is different now is that I have this open space in my brain that is filled with happiness from my family and from our road life, so when the dark cloud is overtaking my brain, when I’m a blubbering blob of mess in the bathroom stall, I have a new weapon to fight back the darkness.

I picture my family, smiling by the side of Niagara Falls or swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, and the darkness loses some of its power.  So while I will always be beset with being bipolar, with having extreme highs and abysmal lows, the lows aren’t as low now and don’t last as long, and the highs are just perfect.  I know the RV life or road living life may not be the classical prescription for mental illness, but it seems to be doing wonders for me – I’m rarely bored and I have much more to be happier about.  My fight is stronger and my happiness is greater.  Life on the road for me has become the road to my mental health.


Nicole is a mother, writer, and explorer that currently lives full time in a 28’ Class C RV, traveling the country with her family and learning to become a digital nomad.  Her path to happiness is found in her family, her passion, and the road.

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Thank you for joining me for #MentalHealthMonday and be sure to check out Nicole’s blog! She’s a great woman and I loved working with her. Have you had a personal struggle or triumph with mental illness? I’d love to hear your story, you can comment below or go to my contact me page if you’d rather keep it private. I can’t wait to hear your story.

8 Replies to “The Road to Mental Health – One Mom’s Journey to Happiness”

  1. Oh my goodness. Living on the road sounds awesome and something that really seems to suit your family. Such a brave decision to make. Thankfully I have no experience of mental illness but I know it’s a long and rough road. Thank you for sharing with #StayClassyMama

  2. Wonderful post. Im rooting for ya girl. Anyone who can jump into a RV and hit the road has got what it takes in my eyes. I homeschool my 2 kids and the freedom it gives you is immesnse. Stay strong my lovely. Remember, thoughts are transient. If you can remember that and wait for 5 seconds every time they are plauging your brain, it helps. They’ll move on, and the next one will arrive( that one might be what shall we have for tea?!) Its so difficult but I admire you and your husband immensly for being so open about this subject. Please don’t be too hard on yourself. One step at a time.
    #stayclassymama

  3. Hi I’m Nicole’s husband. I want to start out by saying that I hate that she has this disorder in life and wish there was more I could do to help her.
    I know sometimes it’s not easy for her living with me a lot of times and it don’t help her disease. I’m not the easiest person to live with. I stress a lot about cleanliness cause I have to have everything in place. I guess it’s because we are in right living spaces and when I can’t move around cause the kids left toys all over the floor, are there clothes, blankets, and pillows on the floor I get stressed. I start getti g upset and raising my voice, and it I believe it upsets her.
    What I really need is more information on how to help her and keep her happy. I love her more than anything and our little boy which is so smart and very dependent. I love that he wants to do stuff on his own.
    If anyone has more information to help me help her deal with this more please let me know. It’s not easy for me to be really living are romantic , but I do my best to let her know that I love her.
    Thanks you ,
    Greg (concerned husband)

  4. Oh my goodness you made me tear up! Such an important topic to discuss and one that is rarely brought to light. I don’t have any mental health battles but reading this made me think of my grandparents. I wonder how much their lives would have been improved by having doctors who understood the true problem, if they had understood each other better, and if medication had been more widely available. My grandfather was part of WWII and never really recovered and while he was as loving of a husband, father, and grandpa as he could be, he still had his struggles. My grandmother came from Italy when they got married and when they lost their first child to Reyes disease, all the doctors told my grandpa was “get her pregnant as soon as you can. She’ll be okay then,” which of course, she wasn’t. They had six children in total, but the loss of their first never really left her. They both were wonderful people who were insanely in love with each other until the very end, but I can’t help but think of how their lives could have been improved with some more understanding and care from the medical field and each other.

    1. It is a shame to think of how much better off our older relatives would’ve been with more understanding. I’m thankful to Nicole for sharing her wonderful story and she does have a way with words.

      My father had, I can almost guarantee, depression and he also had an addiction to alcohol. After losing his sister to a tragic accident in his teenage years he never really recovered. And I’m sure that led to his drinking problem. Unfortunately, the depression took him from me 18 years ago.

      I’m glad Nicole’s story touched you and thank you so much for commenting.

  5. Thank you for sharing. I recently lost a friend to mental illness, and it has been a rough road. I love your writing, your story will impact so many others. Keep moving forward, and sharing.

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