Chance Encounter at the Pool

Some friends of ours had a birthday party for their daughter the other day, and it was a pool party. We all went, and had a good time. While I was sitting (read dozing) by the pool, the boyfriend of the girl sitting next to us came over.   They ware arguing quietly, he wanted to talk, and she said it was over.  He left and came back, then she left and came back, then he left… it continued for about 20 minutes.  Eventually, she collected her kid (not his) and left for good.  A little while later, my friends came over to see just how much of an earful I had gotten.  They know him, and he came over a little while later to apologize.  He does something that is a horrible offense to her about weekly, and she has nothing to do with him for several days.  About the time he thinks that it is really over, she calls him back like nothing is wrong, and the cycle starts over again.  His boss has even noticed that his work is starting to suffer, and suggested that he may want to take corrective action.  He explained that she really is a nice girl, but she’s had some pretty bad things happen to her, which didn’t help because she was bipolar and wouldn’t stay on her meds.

Four pairs of eyes got wide and just stared at him for a second.  ‘Did you say bipolar’ my wife asked?.

He said yes, then he got a few different versions of what I expressed as ‘Run away.  Run far.  Run fast, and don’t look back.  Ever.  Did I say run away?’

He wasn’t sure if he was going to or not.  He’s really frustrated.  He’s also had the cops called on him a few times because she didn’t get her way.  He said that he would probably have to move to make a breakup permanent (they live in the same apartment complex).

Looking back on it, I should have sent him over to my 12 year old son.  When I asked him about it later that evening, his only response to what he would have said was ‘good luck’.


We had been out of town for a few days, but I did drive by Dad’s house a few times.  Dad’s car was there (I think alone) on Wednesday,  both Mom & Dad’s cars were there on Friday, and Mom’s car was there alone on Saturday.  I know that Mom has something to do at the beach on Monday or Tuesday, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Dad had gone down to straighten things up (read shovel out) before the vacation season starts.

I’ve also uploaded two more messages to youtube, which I got while the kids and I were out to eat with Dad.  Which is really funny, because Mom is yelling about how I need to go see Dad, and the first message I got was AFTER I had already picked him up.

~ by namegoeshere on June 8, 2008.

4 Responses to “Chance Encounter at the Pool”

  1. The young man was very sincere in his desire to remain with this lady….Just so you don’t think we are totally against those who suffer from bipolar….I gave some alternative advice to him. I told him it was commendable that he said he loved all of her and was aware that bipolar was part of who she was. I told him that he should encourage both of them to enter into a support group through NAMI or DBSA and that our county offered both programs. Currently they are in the “she hates him phase” but I won’t lie to you and tell you that we both shuddered and our initial reaction was run. I asked him if he had read any material on bipolar and suggested that he did so; that he would be able to recognize and help her to recognize her mood swings and manic phases. I didn’t want to be totally discouraging but it is difficult not to be that way considering what we have dealt with the past 15 years.

    A major part of me wanted to tell him to run as fast as he could and if he didn’t run, make sure he knew what he was in for when she cycled. Get help….get lots of help.

  2. I had already been committed by the time I was 19 (I was diagnosed with adolescent bipolar disorder at 14 but exhibited symptoms from birth) – which was when I met my fiance. I was off my meds for about six months at the time and the first thing that I told him (after he told me about his previous gf’s who were crazy) that I was certifiable and I had the papers to prove it. We’ve been together for five years now. I tell him that I am not allowed to break up with him or try to make any other kind of major decision when I am anything but normal (read depressed or having a mixed episode). There is also no violence – no hitting, slapping, etc. on BOTH of our parts. I am a verbal abuser when I am in a mixed episode (which makes me want to cry – just being normal and knowing this) and omg when I come out of it I feel so horrible that I hurt my beloved (or anyone else for that matter), that I turn the other way and want to self injure.
    I am of the non-compliant variety, but not to the extent as your MIL. I miss a dose or two every week. Frustrating, yes. Sometimes I really do forget and other times I’m feeling better so I don’t have to take the damn meds; there are other days where I am so sick and tired of literally being sick and tired all the time with no kind of cure to make my head from spinning, I throw a fit and throw all of my meds down the toilet. Which, by the way, was easier when I had insurance and could just go back to the Dr and the pharmacy and Poof! more meds. If I’m rambling, I’m sorry.

    I would also like to comment on the fact that part of you doesn’t want your mom to get help. Don’t do that. If you want her to get help, then go all the way. Otherwise it’s like telling a fat person that they should go on a diet and that you’ll help them, but consistently slipping them chocolate on the side. Another thing is, and I’m sorry to say this, is that I really don’t think your mom is a nice person. If she was, then when she in a normal (read: stable) mood, if even for a little while, then you’d see the niceness and concern. Being bipolar is not who you are, it is a part of you. You may not always know where you stop and the bipolar starts, but other people know and can see – especially the people closest to you. Also, one more thing. Your mom may not legitimately remember stuff – I know that my mind is really fuzzy due to the illness, but it in NO WAY WHATSOEVER excuses her nastiness, vileness, and her godawful actions and gestures toward you, your family, or anyone else. She has to take responsibility. I have, and she can.

  3. AlexisM:
    First, I don’t believe that bipolar is entirely an inherited disorder, so exhibiting symptoms from birth sounds a bit far-fetched. Even 14 sounds a bit early to me. I know that the trend is to diagnose earlier and earlier, but still….

    Comparing your occasional non-compliance with my mother’s complete refusal to accept the diagnosis is definitely an apples to oranges thing. I frequently hear of people who compare a person with bipolar and their meds to someone with diabetes or other medical condition that requires daily doses. The difference is that skipping or quitting meds for a physical problem really only affects the one not taking them. People with bipolar who need meds and don’t, tend to harm those around them much more than themselves.
    It’s good that you recognize what you do during an episode as a problem, and feel bad about it afterward. That you take responsibility for managing your condition to that extent is admirable. That is most definitely NOT the situation that I face with my mother.
    And that Mom may not be nice at the core is probably the reason that I don’t want her to get effective treatment. I can deceive myself into thinking that the bipolar causes it all. How much of Mom’s personality has been shaped by the half-century that she’s had it untreated, and how much of it was there before, I really don’t think anyone can tell. From what Mom has said, especially from what she remembers when she was at her worst before she was hospitalized while on holiday, she remembers enough. Her memory of it is somewhat distorted, but she remembers enough to convince me that she remembers parts of her other episodes as well. She has just chosen to justify her behavior and blame others for it.
    I have taken as much action as I can at this point to support and encourage her, but she consistently refuses to believe that the problem is hers. I have exerted all the influence that I have with her, and it has made NO difference. If she had any moments of ‘normal’ left, I would expect an apology of some kind. It has never, and will never happen. It’s always someone else’s fault. I’m left with watching from a safe distance.

  4. I am really sorry that it has come to removing yourself, but I understand, and glad you have the strength to protect your family.There comes a time where you’ve tried all you can and it still isn’t enough. It will never be enough.
    As for my young diagnosis, I had tried to commit suicide by 13 (and having thoughts of death for years prior), and had what the doctor called the terrible twos from the time I was an infant and beyond, except my “temper tantrums” would last 6 or 7 hours long. I would bite, scream, kick, and hit – and not because I wasn’t a nice child – I was – but because I felt like crap all the time and I didn’t understand it and couldn’t verbalize it. I’m sorry, that’s not normal. I had a ton of other symptoms accordingly – too many to list here – everything from a total feeling of “unreality” to having problems with textures (both food and clothes, among other things). I’m not trying to be nasty or mean – just explain how long I’ve been living with this..thing..inside me. You may not believe me, but I have lived every horrible – and wonderful – minute of it. It has given me creativity and a wonderfully high IQ, but it has taken away my energy to use either. There is a book, called the Bipolar Child by Dimitri and Janice Papolos that I recommend that you get from the library. I know you’re mom is not a child, but it starts with the inner workings and sensitivities. I didn’t believe really how bad it was until a cousin of mine was diagnosed at 6. I truly believe that bipolar is the “new” thing to be diagnosed with, but I was there before that and will be around after that. Even with my meds I can have a tendency to swing back and forth really quickly, so we really do know that it was the right thing. Same with my cousin. She has followed in my footsteps so closely it is scary. There is no way for her to “imitate” me as I only see her once every couple of years and she just turned 12. I’m solidly 24.
    I really do hope that your mother gets well. I also hope that if she does, that you can live with her that way. I’ve read your wife’s blog, and she sounds like a saint. You are blessed to have her as well. GL with everything. =)

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