My life at twenty-eight was as normal as could be: a wife, five children, and a long-standing job as a state corrections officer. We had a house, a car and I enjoyed working out in a local gym four days a week, a hobby I had held since the age of sixteen. Life was exactly as it should be, but I had no way of knowing how quickly, and how devastatingly, things could change.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder, coupled with PTSD from childhood trauma and abuse. My diagnosis came after a period of extreme mental anguish, where my normal life was upended by my erratic and disturbing behavior. Suddenly, my violent mood-swings and increased mental agitation began to destroy the life I had built for twenty-eight years.
Within a year my marriage and career were over, and I was spending weeks in a psychiatric hospital. My relationship with my father suffered, and I haven’t spoken to him in ten years. The medications I was prescribed — mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, antidepressants, and sleep medications — were often ineffective, and I drifted between full-blown mania and deep, dark depression.
During this time I tried to rebuild my life, hoping that by taking on jobs with less responsibility I could create something for myself. But my mental health still suffered and I was in and out of psychiatric hospitals. I was advised to seek disability because none of the medications I was prescribed seemed to stabilize my mental health. This was a dark and trying time for me, and if it wasn’t for the knowledge of how my actions would affect my wonderful children, suicide was never far from my thoughts.
The idea for Nox Bedtime Stories came about because I was desperate to find something that I could create for myself that worked within the life I now found myself leading. In my thirties, living at home with my mother, struggling to maintain my mental health, I felt useless. But a podcast is something I could build within the environment I was comfortable within. I had come to realize that my personal triggers were often the terrible stories I heard and read in the news and on social media, and was looking for an outlet that could be as far away from that as possible.
Nox Bedtime Stories is a safe space, both for me and for my listeners. Each story begins with a positive, feel-good story from the news and transitions into a story set to relaxing, ambient music, and sound. There is never anything that could trigger the listener, no death or hardship or suffering.
In the first two months of going live, Nox Bedtime Stories has been downloaded over 20,000 times and been listened to for over 3,000 hours on iTunes. The Patreon continues to grow and I am proud to have created something that creates a safe and nurturing environment for my listeners. I can only hope that the trials and suffering I have experienced can help inspire others who deal with difficult situations and who find themselves searching for hope. It helps me to know that I can bring those struggling some peace, calm, and happiness at bedtime.