For the lack of a better term I am using “Mental Issue,” M.I. for short, as a blanket term to describe what we have and deal with on a daily basis. I want to use “Issue” because I don’t want to call it an “Illness.”

Illness, to me anyway, implies that it can be cured, it’s something that you caught and didn’t have before. It’s a part of us, it’s in our DNA, and it’s something we didn’t choose to have but something we live with on a daily basis.

When our M.I. kicks in it’s called “An Episode.” An Episode of what? Are we a sitcom or drama that people sit back and watch? While it may certainly feel this way for non M.I.s, for those of us going through said “episode” it feels more like a storm. Comes on with little to no warning. A lot of huffing and puffing, with loud crashes of thunder. For this reason I will refer to them as Storms and not “Episodes.”

By talking we can begin healing and understanding on both
sides. Ask questions and listen to the answers, don’t judge, don’t speak, just listen.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Just Leave Me Alone

There’s an internal struggle going on deep within each person living with a mental issue.  It’s so simple and basic yet so difficult to understand at times.  When a storm begins brewing these emotions grow deep and strong.

We want one to win out over the other but usually the one that does win is not the one we want.  Deep inside we are screaming which we want yet those screams rarely reach the surface.  We are left spiraling deeper into our own personal abyss.

We sabotage ourselves by saying we just want to be left alone.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We are at our most vulnerable when we make this request.  We truly believe that if we are left alone no one can hurt us.  But we hurt ourselves more than anyone else ever could.

Like a static electricity charge, our emotions build up with each passing moment.  Just like when you touch something that charge is released, it’s the same when we have human contact.  A hand resting on our arm, sliding back and forth across our back, or even fingertips holding fingertips, this contact helps to discharge our build up.

A hug will often work best but sadly, we will shrug it off.  Do not take this personal, it’s not us but our demons lashing out, wanting to drag us down into that abyss deep within our soul.  We must do battle with this demon and no one else can do it for us.

It’s always easier to fight our demons with someone by our side rather than watching from a distance.  Never leave us alone, no matter how hard we roar.

For those who do not have these issues I know it seems so easy to say, “Stay,” but those words can not escape our lips, no matter how hard we try.  Just because we do not utter the word does not mean we want you to go away.  Never leave us alone.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Goodbye My Fair Lady

Saturday, April 16, 2016, at 9:15 am, Pacific Standard Time, my grandmother, my mother’s mother, took her last breath in this realm.  While we knew this had been coming for some time, the sting of a final goodbye still hurts.

Her pain and suffering has come to an end.  No matter what your belief, or hers for that matter, I can take some comfort in that fact.  Yes I should be in great pain, yes I should hurt as my family hurts, yes I should break down and cry, and I may yet still do so, but as of right now I am numb.

My grandmother, one of the strongest people I ever met, had a good run.  Actually she had a great run and no one can ever dispute that fact.  To say she left a legacy in the wake of her great wave in this life is an understatement.

It’s amazing how such a small woman has literally touched hundreds of lives.  From her spirit has spawned numerous souls and ways of lives that her spirit will truly live on forever, so long as those of us who loved her pass on what she has taught us.

You only need to look at any of her great grandchildren to know this has come to be.  The passions she possessed are evident in their personalities and will be passed on to the next generation to come.

A love for the written word.  While most in this generation will not read anything that is not on social media, for those of us connected to her, this is not so.  We will always read for fun, for information, for the mere fact that it was written down and needs to be read by someone.  Electronic or physical, we will always read something.

Homemade tortillas.  Just the mention of the words “homemade tortillas” will bring found memories of this little lady standing at the kitchen counter, rolling masa, slapping it from hand to hand before throwing it on hot metal, cooking it.

It became a cat and mouse game, trying to steal one as soon as it came off the stove.  It was a miracle that any tortillas even made it to the dinner table at all.  She always made extra masa because she would allow us one, otherwise we would eat them faster than she could make them.

A love of sports.  While I’m not one to watch sports on television, if I’m there live, you will see a different side of me.  Since we lived in a large city, when I was little my mother use to take my little brother and myself to the major league baseball games.  Not until I turned 12 did I understand why this was such an important thing for her, it was a lesson she learned from her mother.

Coming from a small town in Northern California, our baseball team was a minor league team but they were our team and we needed to support them.  That was a lesson I learned the first time she took me to a baseball game.

It’s a lesson I passed on to my child when we went to minor league hockey games.  While people always told me that they didn’t count, they weren’t major league, I didn’t care as I heard my grandmother’s words in my heart.  I would repeat them before talking trash to the other team.  It was the only time trash talking was accepted and allowed.

The same applied to football and wrestling.  You could not take the trash talk personal and you could only trash talk as long as you could take it in return.  It was a way to cut loose, have fun, and release stress in a healthy way.

While she had fun, and taught us to have fun, she also had her serious side.  You were never too old to get a slap upside the head if nothing else, or a scolding.  She didn’t stand for disrespectfulness and always spoke her mind.  As she got older she slowed down in what discipline she dished out but the last time I seen her, there was still discipline to be dished out.  Taking personal responsibility was something she believed in and made sure we all knew it.

I am glad her suffering is finally over.  I know the past few days have been hard for everyone to see but I like to think her last days of suffering was to spare certain people she loved from further suffering.  While April 16th will always be a dark day for all of us who loved her, the 13th, 14th, and 15th are dates that should have joy for three of us.

My birthday is on the 13th, my aunt, her daughter, was born on the 14th, and my older sister was born on the 15th.  My personal feelings was that if she was to pass on one of our birthdays we would never really be able to celebrate it the way she use to celebrate it for us.  I was told she is waiting for something, because she was supposed to last only a few hours more and it’s been three days now.  That was her final act of love, her strength wouldn’t allow her to cause us further pain.

I know this may sound selfish but it’s what I believe.  Now she could pass on, in peace, and she did.  I will love her with all my heart for she helped to raise me, even from a far.  She helped shaped me into the man I am.  She gave me many life lessons, some painful, but all were wielded with a gentle hand of love.

To honor her legacy I will pass on what I have learned and I know it will be passed on to my grandchildren.  They will learn great lessons that will span over more generations than they can imagine from a strong powerful woman they will never know.

My Story

Written in 2004.
This is a true story of my life.  You are about to receive an insight into the man I am.  I wrote it, not for pity or sorrow, but in the hope that others will read My Story and know that they are not the only ones in the world who suffer.  You are not alone, even though at times it may seem that way.  There is hope.  You can survive.

My Story

Survival.  That was the name of the game: survival.  It is a game I was forced to play very young and a game I learned to play well.  The fourth largest city in the United States is where I called home.
Unlike New York or L.A., Houston does not really have “Projects,” but the area is still poor.  The houses were not always run down and falling apart at the seams but the neighborhood was still poor.  One look around and you knew you were in the ghetto.
My father was a school teacher, which naturally meant he did not get paid much, and my mother was a stay at home mom.  To earn extra money mom use to baby-sit for other people.  In the early 80’s a dollar stretched farther than it does today.
My journey bounces between Stockton, California, my birth town, and Houston, Texas, the place my father thought would give his family a better chance at life.  Total, my parents had six children.  I came out number four.  I had one older brother, two older sisters, and way too many cousins to count.
Clothes were never an issue in our family, hand-me-downs were plentiful.  As far as shoes were concerned Payless was our best friend.  K Mart knew us well.  Layaway was a way of life.
As I grew out of infancy my baby fat decided to stick around.  Hand-me-downs were hard to find for me, but my mother refused to have me looking like a jungle boy so Husky became the brand of choice.  The Donkey Kong gorilla became my logo.
I do not remember much about my parents before we moved to Houston, but I do remember my first job.
California is the state for produce.  Everyone grew something different in their yards and come harvest time we would trade and share.  Our house had a cherry tree in the back yard.  One neighbor grew bananas and the other raised chicken.  At one end of our block was an abandoned lot where the house burnt down in the late 60’s.  In that lot was a fig tree, a plum tree, and a lime tree.
Across the street from our house was an open field owned by the Santa Fe Rail Road.  Sugar canes grew in that field directly in front of our house.  A quarter-mile away at the edge of the field was two peach trees.
Two miles north of our house was a huge strawberry patch.  When I was four I went twice a week with my neighbors to pick strawberries, my first job.  See, at that time child labor laws did not exist.  Hard work for little money, but thanks to “Progress” none of these places exist anymore.
Kindergarten was the next step for me.  Four of my cousins were going to the same school I was, so I would not be alone at school.  At the bus stop, however, I was on my own.  Simpler and safer times back then allowed my parents to send me to school on my own.  Unlike today, where a route may have many “little” stops, the route was one stop per neighborhood.  Our stop was on a busy main street.  No kids running out into traffic back then.
I had three long blocks to walk to catch the bus.  For a five year old it might as well have been a mile.  I had to travel west to get to the bus stop.  We lived in the far back corner edge of the neighborhood and the bus stop was at the main entrance.  Walking to the stop I had three challenges to overcome each way.
At the end of our block, Mary, the owner of the house had a huge tree stump in her yard and no fence.  Tied to this stump was her Saint Bernard we called Cujo.  My idiot brother and sisters told me if Cujo caught me he would eat me.  Being a fat kid I would have fed that dog for a week.  So I ran.
Once I pasted Cujo I had to cross the haunted train tracks.  The tracks were no longer in use and when it got real hot outside the bridge under the tracks would catch on fire.  It actually happened so often that the fire department never came to put the fire out.  The bridge would burn but NEVER fell apart.  Haunted.
No ghost was going to catch me so I kept running.  On the next block was another dog.  This one was not on a chain, like Cujo was.  I never stopped running until I got to the bus stop.  After school was the same thing.  My little fat legs were pumping for dear life.
After I graduated Kindergarten we moved to Houston.  Dad packed us all into a huge blue moving van and hauled us from a three bedroom, one bath house to a two bedroom, one bath house.  The type of neighborhood was the same, poor.  But Houston was suppose to give us all a better life.  Eight people and a small dog under one roof.
My older brother and oldest sister had dropped out of school.  They did not want to go anymore.  My sister was not going to come without her boyfriend David, so he came too.
Not long after we settled in we were introduced to things in Texas.  Roaches were tiny in California but in Texas they are HUGE!  OFF bug spray was a must when we found out about mosquitoes.  Then there was a Hurricane, Alicia.
We had never been through anything like that before.  We were all angry with my father.  It took weeks before things went back to normal.  The Red Cross Wagon Wheel was a God sent.
Soon summer was over and it was back to school for me and one of my sisters.  The school was two blocks behind our house.  I was in Mrs. Walker’s class.  This was going to be her last year teaching.  I was about to learn a few more things that were done different in Texas.
Unlike in California, corporal punishment was aloud in Texas.  To Mrs. Walker we were already thugs and hoodlums.  She had a thick wooden paddle full of holes.  It whistled when she swung it.  Like the horror stories of nuns and rulers, Mrs. Walker was not afraid to use her paddle.
My first meeting with “The Whistler” was when I had to pee.  In California if you had to go to the bathroom you were allowed to just get up and go.  I had to go so I got up and walked out of the room to the restroom.  Mrs. Walker’s hand grabbed me and pulled me back so hard I got scared and pissed my pants.  I was whipped and learned that no matter how bad I had to go I had to wait till break time.
Also, in Kindergarten we got out at noon so I never ate lunch at school.  On paper, my father made too much money for free lunch and not enough for me to pay full price, so I received reduce lunch.  Of course that was on paper.
You have to eat to survive and we did not always have money for reduce lunch.  On those days I brought a sack lunch that was often eaten by Moses, the class bully.  I worked hard once before, now I was about to do it again.
Mr. White, the school janitor, saw what was going on and intervened.  He would pay the breakfast and lunch fees if I agreed to help him.  So I did.  For four years I worked for Mr. White.  He was a true friend to me, sneaking me extra food whenever he could.
In the morning I would help roll out the tables and put them down.  During breakfast I was stationed at the trash line.  Kids would bring their trays up to the line and I dumped the different sections into the proper trash can.
If there was a program happening during the day I came to the cafeteria to set out the folding chairs.  After school I went back to put everything away, tables and chairs.
Now we fast forward to 1988.  My little brother, two years younger than me, was left behind in elementary while I moved on to Middle School.  My baby fat had only gotten fatter, and was a cause for teasing.  My belly made me a target.
I was on my own again.  My parents were expecting child number six which now put us into a different tax bracket.  We now qualified for food stamps, government cheese and butter.  We also qualified for free lunch.
My older siblings were now out of the house and I was the oldest one in the house.  Things were changing for me again.
Sports were now available to me but my father wanted me to be a “Brain” not a jock.  That was another thing that made me a target.  I have to give my family credit though, I was never without books.  My parents always made sure I got the books I wanted.  During the summer the only place I was allowed to go alone was the public library.
My Grandma Margaret and my Uncle Herman were always giving me books, believing at that young age I was smart enough to understand Robin Cook, Michael Crichton, and Tom Clancy.  If not for all of them pushing me I would not be here writing to you today.
Well, in 5th Ward, where I grew up, when you went to middle school you only had one choice, McReynolds.  The Bears.  Since my parents did not allow me to play football, and the coaches wanted me to play because I had a good arm, I joined the band.  Music was in my blood.
My family could not afford to buy or rent an instrument so I received another hand-me-down, my older brother’s broken coronet.  Its bell, the end where the sound comes out, was crushed inward.  I was the joke of the band.
There were now more bullies than when I was in elementary school and I was their favorite target.  They would corner me in the locker room and beat on me for no reason another than I was fat, hitting my body so no one would know.  They threatened to kill me if I ever told; if I only knew it was a lie.
These bullies would break the lock off of my locker, leaving it open.  Taking my books and flushing them in the toilet happened often.  Soon I had to start carrying all of my books home with me.  In addition to that I had to carry the coronet case too.
I looked like a soldier carrying a fifty pound rucksack on my back and a radio in my hands.  Adding fuel to the fire, I was forced to walk home because McReynolds did not have any buses.  I lived a mile away and most of the time I ran it home.
At the end of the school year my mom told us we were going to California for the summer; my little brother, my new little sister, and me.  My grandma, my mother’s mom, was now living in our old house so I was back in the same neighborhood I was born in.
By this time Cujo had died and the strawberry patch was now a highway but all the fruit trees were still there.  I did not mind picking the fruit now, I was an active kid, fat but active.  Climbing those trees I looked like the Donkey Kong gorilla that was on my pants.
The summer flew by quickly and school was about to start.  My parents were having trouble and separated for the year.  I was about to go to school in Stockton again for the third time.  Kindergarten, fourth grade, and now the seventh grade, but the only question was where.
The district had redrawn the lines a week before school started.  I was already enrolled in Hamilton Middle School, the Hawks, the same school my older siblings had gone to. 
I could either go to the new school or take the public bus to Hamilton.  The district provided a bus but only after it had finished its first route.  That meant late to school and late getting home.  I could have walked and it would have been faster.
I took the city bus to school and walked home.  This time the distance was two and a half miles.  The lockers had locks built in so I did not have to lug my books around everywhere.  I was in band again and my Uncle Gerald let me use his trumpet.  A real trumpet.
Since my mom did not work we were on welfare.  I was back on reduced lunch.  Money again was not always there in the beginning.  The school let me work my lunch debt off.  Ten minutes before lunch started I went to the cafeteria and got ready.
Paper hat on my head and plastic gloves on my hands, I was ready to serve lunch to my fellow students and teachers.  My job was to make sure there was plenty of milk stacked and pass the trays down on the hot plate.
I was laughed at and teased but it was survival.  The gangs in Stockton were a lot tougher than the ones in Houston.  Before Christmas there were three drive-by shootings at the school and two more before the school year ended.
Gym class looked like the “Yard” at San Quentin State Prison.  If you were in trouble you did P.T. (Physical Training).  Jumping jacks, sit ups, and pushups.  The girls were watching boys as they walked around and flirted.  The boys were either playing basketball, volleyball, or lifting weights.
For us nerds, we either prayed we were invisible and ignored by the bullies or we were their toys.  I was too big to be invisible, so I hid and ran.  I did not have to run often due to band practice after school.  Most of the bullies were gone by then.
One day I was caught in the hallway by a “Muscle Head,” the weight lifting bullies.  He grabbed me by my throat and my balls, threatening to rip them off, as he slammed me into a wall.  That day I decided if I was going to survive bullies I needed to fight.
Out of rage I had beat up one bully back at McReynolds so I figured I could do it again.  The Karate Kid was my inspiration.  I could relate to Daniel.  Martial Arts were the way to go.  I watched Marshal Arts movies over and over, copying their moves, go Ninja Turtles.  I had boards in our back yard that I used to practice with.  I learned about pressure points, spin kicks, roundhouses, sweeps, and punches.  I would not be picked on again.
With band practice over after Thanksgiving I was now at the mercy of the bullies.  I had to strike first. 
A week before Christmas vacation, as I was walking to the front of school, I saw the “Muscle Head” who had grabbed me.  Butterflies filled my stomach as I attacked him, punching him in the back of the neck.
The fight lasted only a minute and I had won.  A sweep to his hip and three hard kicks to the groin was enough to bring him down.  Muscle did not matter and I was never picked on again.  From that day forward I was not going to take shit from nobody.  Nobody!
My parents made up three weeks before school ended and we were on our way back to Houston.  I returned to Houston totally different than I had left it.  All the running and playing I did helped to slim me down.  I had to be twice as active than most to stay in shape.  I was still over weight but only by ten pounds.
School started and I was now in all Honor classes.  There was only one set of Honor classes so all the students were the same in every class.  No one recognized me.  I thought I could start over fresh.
I was known only as the transfer student from California.  Girls that laughed and teased me for being fat were now talking to me.  At the end of the week I was discovered.  My good arm and broken coronet gave me away.
Fat or not, the bullies wanted their easy target back.  They wanted the girls laughing at me, not talking to me.  One day I walked out of History class and went to my locker.  Band was my next class.  Band was at the front of the school and the rest of my classes were at the back of the school, so I had to run.
As I closed my locker and turned to leave, I was tripped and fell hard.  Laughter rang out through the hall.  Quickly I got back on my feet to face my attacker.  Two guys pulled me back and slammed me into the lockers.  They did not know I had learned how to fight.
The boy in front of me found my foot in his groin.  My elbow flew into one boy’s nose and my fist into the other boy’s face.  The fight was over.  I had three more fights that year and never lost once.
I was glad to leave that hell hole when summer came.  My father insisted I go to Barbara Jordan High School for Careers, a magnet school.  I studied hard and was accepted.  There was no way I would have gone to my home school, Wheatly.  If I had I would have been killed sooner or later.  I would rather have dropped out. 
To my father, dropping out was no longer an option.  I was going to be the first in my family to graduate high school.  My father took on a second job to help keep food on the table and a roof over our heads.  I hardly ever saw him.
The ninth grade brought a fresh start.  Mostly the brightest of the bunch from 5th Ward went to Barbara Jordan.  I did not have to worry about bullies anymore.  With this new school I was suppose to learn a trade.  Without trying I learned many trades and life lessons.
My first kiss, my first girlfriend, my first breakup.  Making friends for life that I would never see again after graduation.  My first failed grade, allowing my brother to catch up to me.  We may have come from the same place but we grew up opposites.  I fought, I loved, I cried, I made my own way.
When I turned sixteen my older brother paid for my driver’s education.  With my license in hand, I received my first paying job.  My father was angry and cut me off with money.  I had to buy my own clothes, school supplies, and pitch in for food.  If I wanted to go out I had to pay for it myself.  If I wanted to work then I had to be responsible.  I was not afraid to work; I had been working all my life.  The only difference was now I was getting paid for it.
After graduation came the REAL world.  Nothing in my fourteen years (K-12th) in school prepared me for real life.  I got my own car, fought my parents over it but I got it.  Less than a year after graduation I was living in my own apartment, leaving because my mother did not approve of my girlfriend, who is now my wife.
Money was tight and life was hard but I was out of the ghetto.  I swore to myself I would never go back again to live.
The circle of life is funny.  Every child wants to do better than their parents and every parent wants a better life for their children.  I find myself taking on traits of my father, something I never wanted to do as a child.  But I also try not to make some of the same mistakes.
I have worked two jobs at once just to keep my head above water.  I try to give my daughter what she wants without spoiling her.  She likes books, writing, aviation, and music, just like me.
My wife thinks I’m trying to make her grow up too fast when in fact I’m scared to death of it.  My daughter is very outgoing and not shy.  She loves to sing and dance.  She is so big and yet so small.
We do what we can to keep her safe.  She is the light of our lives, she is our baby.  She will help me keep my promise of never returning to the ghetto.  I escaped and have not looked back.  I survived.
From a pile of manure can grow a beautiful rose.  Granted, I am no rose but my family is.
There you have it.  That’s my story.  So what’s yours?
- Max M. Power

Who Am I?

It’s a loaded question and can be applied to those with M.I. with ease.

Hanging by a Thread

For those who have cut the thread.


Some people think they can judge you, forgetting they too are in the same boat.



In high school when I was at my darkest, thought to be lost to the demons within, one person was able to bring me back from the void.
She would repeat, “You are not a monster,” over and over until I was able to take off my dark cloak… until she too became one of my demons.


Love truly knows no bounds.

Life's Dance


A fact that is hard to deal with.

Hungry Eyes

A memory that is both joyous and painful.


When demons attack, you are not always alone.


Remembering a past love can be painful.


Some people feel they are monsters and that all anyone will ever see is their demons.  If someone truly loves you they will not be frightened away.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Memories are our most powerful assets and nothing can stop them when they appear.  Sometimes they say, “Hi,” and sometimes they pull a Samuel L. Jackson and say, “SURPRISE MOTHERFUCKER!”


We have all had someone in our lives that we loved dearly and they have been taken away from us.  The memory of them is strong and time can not take that away.


For some reason family can be cruel.  If they are related to you then the bite always stings worse.  No matter how much you tell yourself you don’t care what others think, family can still find a wound and rip it wide open.

Prisoner of Depression

No one wakes up thinking, “I’m going to be depressed today.”  It just hits you unexpected and when depression does hit this is what it feels like.


When I say I’m fine doesn’t always mean I’m actually fine. I just don’t know to explain what I’m feeling yet.

Robin Williams

1982 Warner Bros Pictures

On August 11, 2014, I lost a personal true hero, Robin Williams.  While the word HERO may mean different things to different people, to me, Robin was a True Hero.
Tears Of A Clown
I am not the type of person who really cares for celebrities.  I’ve met a few and they are just regular people like you and me.  For that reason I do not go out of my way to bother them.  I will just shake their hand, say hello, and move on.  With that said there are only a handful of people that if I ever met, I would want to take a picture with them and have a conversation, a chance to pick their brain.  They are Danny Glover, Morgan Freeman, George Noory, Erich von Däniken, and Robin Williams.
Sadly, I must cross a name off that list now.  I am sadden that I never was able to meet this beautiful genius but I rejoice in his much deserved peace.  While everyone else was in shock and sad when hearing of his passing my first thought was that he is no longer suffering.  This is what came from that first thought.
“My favorite actor died today. His soul was in a constant state of civil war. The war is over now. You found the strength to win it. I salute you Sir. Rest in peace until your next life.”
Robin Williams brought joy to a lot of people.  He made us laugh, cry, and sometimes creeped us out.  As I said, he was a genius and while he could bring joy to the masses he suffered in silence for much too long.  Sadly most people do not realize that, to quote the song, “there’s nothing sadder than, the tears of a clown.”

Hidden Tears
There was always pain in his eyes when he smiled,
But he made you laugh so you didn’t look.
His soul was being tortured,
But he endured the pain so you didn’t have to.
He was surround by millions,
But inside he was always alone.
He had a big heart,
But for him it was never enough.
He wore the badge of a clown,
To hide the tears inside.
He roared with laughter,
To keep his demons at bay.
He will always be my hero,
Even though he has gone away.
- Max M. Power

My Demon Tried Killing Me Last Night

Your demons are just that, yours.  No one can fight them for you, just be there to support you as you do battle. Demons are evil and they fight very dirty. This is one of my battles.
My Demon Tried Killing Me Last Night
My demon tried killing me again last night.  For some reason I was at a station waiting to depart LaLa Land, as I call it.  I took my seat and off we went through the wall of Reality but after breaking through the haze I was back in the parking lot, trying to get back inside the station.
This continued over and over.  Each time it happened I felt more confused and scared than the time before.  The air was cold and reeked of fear.  A dark cloud of anger hovered over the station.
As I walked back through the doors the people in the station were becoming clearer, they were my family, each giving me a look of utter disgust.  Ready to lash out at me and rip me limb from limb.
Each time I walked back in a new family member would appear, adding to the negativeness, their anger crushing my chest like a soda can in their hands.  Meer whispers escaping their lips, unheard by me but sharp enough to quickly cut as I passed by.
The more family member that joined, the louder they became, and I could finally hear their whispers calling for my death.  Those that were closest to me in life where telling me the loudest that I should just die already.  Everyone’s life would be better off if I went through that haze and never returned.  Each time I returned disappointment clearly visible in their eyes.
It was so overwhelming the last time I walked into the station that I ran straight for the platform to depart through the haze once more, hoping it would be the last time.  On the track I had seen my youngest niece dancing in her white dress with the pink bow, without a care in the world.  I smiled, finally, a family member not wishing me dead.
I called out to her and as in life she did not head my calls.  I could see a light coming toward her and I called for her to get off the track, my words falling on the deaf ears of a child.  I moved to pull her to safety and she pushed to escape my arms.
“You’re going to die,” is all I heard her say before everything went dark.
I looked above me and could see a face with large black glasses staring back at me.  Its mouth wide open, as if laughing, but now sound coming forward.  The face came into focus and I could see the face of my daughter’s stuffed nerd Bugs Bunny.
“Scream,” it demanded, without warning, in a dark cold voice.
I complied.
“Scream,” it demanded louder, harsher.
Again I complied as my heart began to beat faster, an invisible hand pulling it slowly out of my chest.
“SCREAM,” its eyes turning blood red, telling me I was about to die.
I complied once more as my body was being shaken.  Light began to break through the darkness and I could see the world around me coming into focus.  I was awake, fully awake, yet my body was still immobile, frozen from fear, my heart pounding so hard it was cracking my ribs.
“SCREAM,” came the voice one last time as I looked up into the ceiling and seen the face laughing before flying off into the corner, disappearing up into drywall.

- Max M. Power

I Am Bipolar

“Now there’s some sad things known to man
But ain’t too much sadder than
the tears of a clown
When there’s no one around” – Smokey Robinson

When I first heard those lyrics they did nothing for me.  Just another oldies song from my parents’ youth that I enjoyed.  Of course I was too young to understand what those words actually meant. 
My parents did the best they could at the time, I do realize that now.  Having to raise six kids not everyone was going to get equal attention.  By the time I was old enough to start helping out around the house my three older siblings were out on their own which left me as the oldest in the house.
My little brother and I were as opposite as could be.  On the surface I was the calm one and he was super hyper.  We also had nephews who were just as wild as the Tasmanian Devil.  To say we pushed my mother to the edge of breaking would be an understatement.  My mother was strong enough to endure the stress we caused her, however, I can not say the same for one of my favorite aunts.
All I knew was that she was “sick” and we should pray for her.  My mother had told me that she had enough problems with those younger than me so I wasn’t allowed to have problems.  I was the good child and I needed to help her.  I love my mother so of course I said yes.  Now the meaning of the lyrics became clear to me.
I became that clown.  My grandmother use to say, “Laughter is the best medicine.”  My family loves to laugh and I figured if I could be the cause of that laughter it could serve as medication for me as well.
Even though I was surrounded by people I often felt alone.  I felt I did not fit into my own family.  For years, once I found out what it meant, I actually thought I was adopted because I was so different.
When everyone wanted to run around and play outside, I wanted to sit and read a book.  When it rained and everyone complained about the weather I loved it and would be out in it if I could.  Everyone else could sleep for hours and I could never sleep longer than four hours.
I learned to burry my feelings deep inside.  I kept them bottled up as I projected a happy persona to the world.  I was helping.  My mother never had to worry about me, I took care of myself as well as those I was responsible for, my younger siblings, my nieces and nephews.  As the years went on the list grew and I was willing to do it if it meant keeping my mother sane.
Upon entering high school, unknown to anyone, I had attempted to kill myself three times, thinking the world would be a better place without me in it and no one would notice anyway.  As tough as I pretended to be on the outside, inside I was a coward.  Make no mistake, unless you have been to that point, you have no idea what real strength it takes to follow through on the act of suicide.  For those brave enough to succeed, I feel at peace for them, their suffering is no more.
Because I became an expert in hiding my feelings I was able to spot others attempting to do the same.  I knew what they were feeling and wanted them to know they were not alone.  I became a shoulder to cry on, and ear to talk to, a hand to pull them back from the ledge.  Helping others, all the while, unable to help myself, living in a constant state of fear.
That deep cold dark fear exist to this day.  After everything I’ve been through from those days to now, learning that I have clinical depression and bipolar disorder, learning how to control it, without medication, I thought I had overcome that fear.  One night, during a family discussion, I found out that that cold overwhelming fear never goes away.
A family friend had mention that his mother and sister has bipolar.  It was stated by my family that if someone who has bipolar is not taking medication then they are a danger to themselves and others.  When I heard that my stomach dropped to floor and an ice cold chill ran up my spine.  Fear wrapped around me and bundled me tightly in its grasp.  I was afraid, genially afraid in the one place I should have felt safe, surround by the people I should never fear.
My life from childhood to present flashed before my eyes in an instant, fear threatening to consume me.  Suddenly anger took over, quickly burning away that fear.  I was ready to explode, but that was due to having anger issues that is deeply rooted in my family.  I was ready to fight, a product of both sides of my parent’s families.  I was being pulled in many different directions, a product of my bipolar.  All of this in a time span of five seconds.
“I have bipolar,” I found myself saying.  “And I don’t take medication for it.”
Silence filled the air briefly then the conversation continued on, with me sitting back not saying another word on the subject.  It took three days for that fear to subside but I realized that it’s still there, lingering in the shadows of my mind, never to leave me.  I took a deep breath and a few other realizations came to me.
I know that some people do need medication, they can not function without it.  Others, however, do not.  It’s easier to take the medication and go through life without seeing the real world around you but what kind of life is that?
I am friends with both types of bipolar.  One needs the medication.  I can tell when it’s not taken because there is a slight change in attitude and while most people will never see that change, it’s clear to me as night and day.
Another friend was in that state of the world passing by.  Trusting the doctor, medication that was not needed was being taken.  Just like any dependency, there were withdraws as they slowly came off the meds, having them reduced.  It was an adjustment but a weight was being lifted as they understood they were not alone when they needed to weather a storm.
Either option does not take away the fear we live with.  Will those I love understand when I say I’m bipolar or will they look at me like the monster I know myself to be?  Will those I interact with daily treat me differently, afraid themselves of what they do not understand?  Worst yet, will I be taken away somewhere, locked up like a caged animal, no longer a human being?
These fears are very real for us but another thing I realized, we need to educate non M.I.s about our condition.  We do not need to live in fear because living in fear is not living at all.
Whatever your M.I. do not keep it to yourself, tell someone.  Talk about it, answer questions they may have.  You will feel a huge weight lifted if you do.  I know it’s hard, it’s hard for me, but we can do it.  I’m tired of living in fear, aren’t you?
- Max M. Power

To Those Who Hear But Don't Listen

As kids we’re lead to believe,
You need a reason to be sad.
And we’re taught by society,
That it’s okay to make fun of,
Those who are.

I once asked,
“How do I explain depression,
To people who’ve NEVER experienced it?”

Just because you’re sad doesn’t mean you’re depressed.

Depression is the feeling of drowning,
While everyone around you,
Can clearly breathe.

Like walking down the street
And it suddenly decides to swallow you whole.

That nightmare of that dark creature
You never knew but were scared of.
THAT’S depression.

The coolness of a blade as it slices your skin,
Is what some people rely on
To take away the pain.

It causes physical pain,
But mentally,
It’s as if everything bad
Trickles away with every single
Drop of crimson.

Everything wrong and cruel
Fades away in that moment in time.

People don’t realize that it’s not
Cowardness that pushes
People toward suicide.
They are brave.

Knowing you’re leaving and never coming back.
Knowing you’re hurting those that care.
Knowing you’re doing this and won’t know what happens next.
Walking into this blindly and being able to push the fear away.

They aren’t cowards looking for a way out,
They are brave enough to move on.

As I was once wisely told,
“No one wants to die,
But everyone wants to go to heaven.”

- My Daughter