An Example & Other Things

Here is a comment left by a bipolar who will remain anonymous unless she posts again.  I left the spelling, capitalization, punctuation exactly as it was.

people with bi-polar are extrememly intelligent and have insight beyond compare to normal people and its very hard to deal with the stupidity of so called normal people who will never be blessed with the gifts god gave us to rise above everyone else who isnt labeled mental, screw yas all, be thankful crazy people exist because they make life worth while, im done with rthis website and all the negative comments about us hard to deal with nut cases, dont judge til you walked a mile in our sheoes DUMMIES!

Notice the delusion of superiority (or adequacy), and wallowing in the joy of what everyone else calls an illness.  As to walking a mile in their shoes, how about trying to clean up the mess (both physical and emotional) that they leave in their wake?

Which brings up another topic I’ve been tossing around for a while but haven’t fully fleshed out.

When someone is first diagnosed with something, the doctors will usually go out of their way to tell them of famous people who have overcome their illness and gone on to to great things.  Lance Armstrong and Michael J. Fox come to mind, but all diseases have their stars and celebrities.

But WHY O WHY would you tell someone diagnosed with bipolar, which usually includes flights of fancy, invincibility, etc, of all the famous, talented, or important people who’ve also had bipolar.

Mom, in one of the rare instances where she briefly admitted that she had been diagnosed with bipolar, went on in the same breath to tell me that Robin Williams, Carrie Fisher, Mel Gibson, Winston Churchill, Vincent Van Gogh & Ernest Hemingway also had bipolar.  Unfortunately in her hypomanic state, she thought (and still does) that it meant that she was as funny as Robin Williams, as creative as Van Gogh, as articulate as Hemingway, as diplomatic as Churchill, etc.  Mom attributed herself with the best aspects of any famous person found to have bipolar.  From what I have heard from others, this wasn’t unusual.

And in lieu of another update post, I had two calls from Mom on my work phone last week.  Both were hangups, and came in back-to-back early Sunday morning.

~ by namegoeshere on April 25, 2012.

26 Responses to “An Example & Other Things”

  1. I understand that doctors are trying to lessen the stigma of mental illness and are encouraging the person who suffers from it that it is possible to lead a good life with the disease. The problem comes when the person doesn’t seen anything wrong with their behaviour, and justifies their bad behaviour. The words of the doctor at this point only serve to reinforce the grandiose ideas this person entertains inside their head. They unwittingly support the complete lack of empathy the person likely has for others, which is ironically often reserved for those most closest to them.

    It bugs me that there is such a lack of support out there for people who have to manage a person in their life with this disease. Yes, it’s way better to be the person that has to cope with the behaviour rather than be the person who has the disease. But on the other hand, coping with the behaviour is extremely taxing. We can have all the awareness campaigns we want, but they miss the mark by not acknowledging the pain that the healthy person in the relationship has to go through. I would like an awareness week just for us – a “hooray you haven’t gone nuts yourself – be proud” week. Okay, it would have to have a much more politically correct name, but it sure would make me feel better…!

    • I agree that it’s better to have to manage a relative with bipolar than being bipolar, although there are times that I truly believe Mom enjoys her bipolar more than anything I’ve ever experienced.
      She also seems to be completely oblivious to any kind of damage that she has caused, and no longer has any sense of regret or guilt. If I were free of regret or guilt, I would have cut her off decades ago.

    • THANK YOU! The public view is very skewed for both people living with bipolar as well as the individuals around them. My mother is bipolar (she was diagnosed years ago by multiple shrinks, but in heavy denial refuses any medication or therapy which made growing up an only child with her as my sole parent a rather painful affair). Now I’m 22 and married to a lovely, stable, wonderful man but as time went on I found myself acting occasionally as my mother did. Low and behold, I’m bipolar as well. Honestly, the first thought in my mind was that that despite going to a doctor, getting help, and working hard to maintain a healthy life and an even keel people would paint me with a broad brush based off of comments like the one written above. The idea that someone is always in hypomania all the time is a little absurd, the point is that you fluctuate all the time. The comment is self righteous as much as the post about the comment. Both have a tone that reeks with “I am better than you” “I know more than you” because of the way my brain works.

      I’m not planning to have children so that they will not have such a high chance of dealing with this chronic condition, although I’d like to adopt if I find myself able to get into a really positive routine with the assistance of my doctors. There needs to be an understanding that mental illness isn’t a reason to attack or write people off nor an excuse for people to take no blame for their actions. We all need to be held accountable to our own welfare in the sense that if you’re given pills, take them. If you have a talk therapy session, go… but ridiculing and belittling people is not appropriate. I don’t judge all based on a few. You don’t hear about the regular people living with this because we aren’t out drawing attention to ourselves. My life is difficult at times, but I treat my family and friends with respect. I do snap still either with anger or sadness or joy- but I also apologize immediately after I calm down and people close to me have taken the time to understand what is happening. Don’t define people by what they can’t change. There are many people working as hard as their little bodies and minds can to contribute to society and be a productive friend and family member every day. There is nothing wrong with understanding each other more.
      The more I scour the internet to find support for my husband and I the more heartbroken I am over how hate filled people can be at bipolar patients. At times it makes me feel like a freakish monster that is a horrible abomination on humanity. It’s very demoralizing for the lack of help and actual information.

  2. I am a bipolar mother of two teenage kids. While I agree that an awareness week would be beneficial in educating the public especially families about the disease, it is still a long way. I have a family where they do not understand what bipolar is exactly and the truth really is, I don’t think that they really want to know anything more than how to deal with me. Honestly, even I don’t understand it all myself. All I understood from it is that you may have days that you are high like on a spree, and others where you are depressed for days. Still, if I made mistakes in my behavior in the past, I get pointed at, “you this, you that”, or blamed at from my children as if it is my fault that I had made the kind of decisions that I made. Keep in mind, that I get less respect from my children because of it. For example, if I decide what goes, and I have to repeat, because they are not listening, I start to get raise my voice, I show a serious response, they think I am being funny, and that I am in my moods and that it will pass. “Don’t worry about it, Moms being silly, ” So, it is very frustrating. Also I feel less of a person, because of the disease too. It isn’t crystal clear what is or what isn’t. Doctors need to convey that better and have pamplets to families so they can identify with what they deal with everyday. That’s all. Thank you!

    • You and your husband probably need to have a talk and make sure that you are on the same page dealing with your children. You might also need to have the entire family go to a few counseling sessions to give them a better idea of what is really going on. It is important that your family, or at least your husband, understand what bipolar is, and what to watch out for in case your meds lose their effectiveness.
      And teens are hard-wired to ignore their parents, your bipolar just gives them an excuse.

    • I haven’t gotten to the teenage years, so my comments might not be fully informed. But I do remember my bipolar mother getting over-the-top angry at me for really minor things, like not putting the paper away and leaving it on the table. When someone is yelling at you at the top of their lungs for something like that, it’s hard for the child distinguish when they have done something really wrong and need to change the way they are behaving. You learn to tune out your mom.

      I think discipline is hard, but with bipolar it becomes all the harder. When children feel hurt or experience loss of self-esteem because of irrational anger directed towards them, they have trouble understanding and/or respecting the person who is angry when they actually have a point to make.

      I wonder if it might be suitable for your husband to do the disciplining, and you take a back seat? I know in many blended families the biological parent does all the disciplining while the step parent sits back, and that seems to work.

      You are a step ahead because you understand that you have the disease. Trusting your husband when he assesses your behaviour will be critical to maintaing good relationships with those around you – you might not be able to tell when you are damaging them. I wish you the best of luck!

  3. …….Did you say Mel Gibson??

  4. Wow! That is all I can say. I was raised by a mother who is bi-polar. I always thought I was the only one. I didn’t realize that other people went through what I went through. The embarrassment, the guilt, the jealousy, the selfishnes, etc… Thank you for your site.

  5. I am bi-polar, as is my dad. I am terrified that I will be a horrible parent to my children. I don’t scream at my kids for minor infractions, beat my kids, leave them with substandard babysitters so I can go on a spur of the moment trip from Canada to Florida, or any of the other ridiculous behaviors my dad exhibited. I also haven’t let my children know of my diagnosis. Quite frankly, it is none of their business. They are minors, not anyone trusted with my medical care.

    Even when manic, I don’t feel superior to anyone else. I don’t care who else has been diagnosed as bi-polar, whether or not they are famous. I try my hardest not to do anything that will lead anyone to have to clean up the mess I left behind. It’s difficult and I’m not always successful, but I am more likely to clean up the mess than let anyone else do it for me. I am responsible for my own behavior, no matter what state of mind I am in. I know I’m not alone, although it seems like I’m in the minority.

    The message in the post disturbed me. I do not enjoy having bipolar disorder. I am erratic, impulsive, and can be self-destructive. I forget things easily, especially things that happen or that I agreed to while manic. When I make poor decisions, I regret them after and can easily spiral into severe depression. I am intelligent, but I doubt that has anything to do with the mental illness. My brother is also very intelligent and is not bipolar. I am not necessarily more insightful than anyone else. The person that sent that message would scare me if I ever met them.

    • Your post was ok until you said ‘frankly its none of their business” in regard to not telling your kids about your illness. It is their business. This is exactly what a selfish bi-polar person would say! Frankly of you have bipolar you shouldn’t have kids! My bi-polar mother has destroyed my life.

    • Good for you…you appear to be doing your best while not abusing your children…i also belueve minors dont need the stress of knowing your issues…its too much for them and kids use things aganist you!
      I grew up with a bipolar abusive mom who tried to kill me..a father who ignorned me…a brother who is mentally ill and a very jealous sister.
      I had years of tneraphy to learn to love myself…etc. I can say disconnecting is sometimes the only answer.

  6. This could be my mums twin. She knows everything about anything and no one else knows what they are talking about except her. Doctors, scientists, teachers, my chiropractor, the list goes on of people who will present facts that she will disagree with because she thinks she knows better. Infuriating to say the least but I’m definitely learning how to filter everything she tells me and do my own research on everything even when she cracks the sthis at me for not just taking her word on everything.

  7. I am collateral damage of a bipolar mother. I am a 30 year old mother with 4 wonderful children. My childhood pointed out the many extreme my mother would take us through. SO many extremes that none of our other family member communicated with us because of her extreme nature. As I became an adult I wondered why no one took the time to review her moods and symptoms. I believe I am the child ( it is 3 of us. 2 boys.) that has suffered the most. Always feeling like I needed to be there as much and often as I can. Listening to her ultra depressing venting all day – draining my mental sanity. She refuses to step foot into a hospital… or doctor for diagnosis. When I brought the notion of being bipolar to her – she said everyone around her was crazy, not her. *shrugs* I mean…circumstances has it where I had to block my mothers number from my 14 year old daughters telephone. I want to contact her but its been almost 2 years. She has 2 new grandchildren that she doesn’t care to meet. It is depressing, saddening and etc. I miss her everyday and every moment. When she isn’t manic – she is the absolute best person to laugh and spend time with. I just want her back. I keep seeing her in my dreams.. some are of us rekindling – others are of me being notified that she has passed. Thank you for reading this. To some of the people dealing with this…does the pain of losing the relationship with your mother get any easier? I am going to write her a letter every month with only a few words. The first one will say – You are missed. Always thought of. Loved dearly. Never forgotten.

    • I’m not sure I ever ‘missed’ Mom. I think I held out hope for a normalized relationship, but it was always stressful to be around/interact with her. I felt guilty (manipulated) about not visiting or calling, but I tried to put it off as long as possible.

      Any pain of a lost relationship was far outweighed by the serene (by comparison) home life after I broke contact with her.

    • I still feel very badly that I have no relationship with my mom. It’s only been 18 months, though, since I last talked to her (she hung up on me) and going on a year since she last wrote me and told me to think of her as dead – so maybe it’s all still too fresh. But at the same time, not having to deal with all of her bizarre behaviour outweighs the baffling hurt that comes when interacting wtih her. When I start to feel stressed that I have no relationship, I look at the family I’ve created and I realize how lucky I am to have my girls and my husband. We care about each other and want the best for each other, and we laugh and have fun together. I never had that with my mom because she was so focused on herself, and I think she was jealous of me (such a different emotion from the intense pride I feel for my own girls). Sometimes you have to write things off and start anew, and be thankful for what you have. But yes, it still hurts…

  8. I stumbled across this blog while reading up on bipolar disorder. My daughter was recently diagnosed, and my mother is bipolar as well. I, on the other hand, am not bipolar.

    To be honest, all of you seem so incredibly selfish. “Oh, poor me. My mother/father/etc. is bipolar, someone please hand me some Kleenex and pat me on the back for being such a martyr.” You’re adults. Get over yourselves. You can all sit there and blame your mentally ill parent(s) for your shortcomings as adults, but how long and how far do you all think you can play the victim role?

    My mother may be bipolar, but she was a fantastic mother. She still is! Granted, there were rocky moments here and there, but we came through it as a family. I wouldn’t change who she is– not one bit.

    Before you go blaming everything on the bipolar, consider that these ‘awful’ family members of yours might just be shitty people in general. The bipolar disorder could be a mere coincidence, or an excuse for their bad behavior. Perhaps your parents just suck. Period.

    • You have to be selfish when dealing with bipolar people, or it will only be about their extreme selfishness. It is extremely healthy to break away from someone who refuses to help themselves so as to NOT BE ABUSIVE TO OTHERS. If you choose to subject yourself to your bipolar abuser, don’t think that others must do the same. After a few incidents involving police, and hospital stays…it becomes obvious that it’s the bipolar, and not simply a sucky parent….DNA is no cause to subject yourself to them. DNA is no big deal, really. “Hey I love you, but GO F*** YOURSELF”

    • That would be a lot of coincidences…

  9. I read your blog every now and then. I stumbled upon it while looking for answers to my own experiences with my bipolar mother. I want to thank you for being brave enough to express your raw emotions with everyone. While I am not bipolar, my brother was. Right up until he committed suicide. His only resource was my mom who continually told him that “the shrinks were wrong” just as she believed they were wrong about her diagnosis, and therefore refused treatment. She eventually died of lung cancer. Probably from the self medicating with alcohol and a three pack a day smoking habit. I wish I could tell you that I felt awful that we had been estranged for many years before her death, but I didn’t. I found out days after her death from an uncle that she had died. I didn’t feel loss. Only relief. No more fear of her finding me, threatening me or blaming me. (I had moved 400 miles from home to get away from her) But, I still have nightmares occasionally. I actually had to leave work last week due to a rough night of insomnia from the horrifying dreams that kept me awake. So, as much as we are expected to understand and accept a parent with mental illness, I think it is only fair that those who suffer from a mental illness accept responsibility for the damage they inflict on others as well by refusing to acknowledge their illness, get treatment and take the necessary medications. I’ve never thought of you as someone who is bipolar bashing. I see you as a person who has been adversely harmed by a mom who was supposed to be there for you, but can’t. Speaking from experience, that hurts like hell. There’s a name for us. It’s called PTSD.

  10. Oh, I had to say one other thing! My brother was smart, funny, witty and creative as all hell! If my mother had sought treatment, I truly believe that my bipolar brother would have followed suit and my baby brother would be on a treatment regimen and stlll alive today, creating his amazing artwork and making me laugh. Acknowledgement and treatment is the key.

  11. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. It helps to know I am not the only person trying to cope with a mother with bipolar disorder. I feel I have a very challenging time ahead and may have to seek counseling if I cannot find the skills I need through information on the internet. It is just so eye opening to read some of these experiences, it was as if they experienced the same life as mine growing up. I had no idea when I was growing up anyone else had the family life I experienced, I thought it was just my family that was crazy and so abnormal. Thank you for the courage to tell your experiences.

  12. I am 26 and currently in counseling to help me deal with the problems that have arisen in my life from growing up with an unmedicated (though sometimes self-medicated) bipolar mother. Your story reminds me of my own and I have a question: do you find love in your heart for your mother? And if so, how do you deal with that along with the feelings of almost resentment towards her? I am struggling coming to terms with the fact that I love my mother, and do not want to blame her for MY problems.

  13. My mother is also bipolar and has lost her sanity as well.

    • 36 years of a bi polar alcoholic Mom. She called me this morning to tell me I’m an un caring jerk. I moved home, left a great job just to be here for her while my Dad was dying of cancer. But just like when I was a kid she is manipulative, drunk and all about her.

  14. Oh my goodness! My mother is bipolar and I love this blog. I am so frustrated and just tonight told her that I don’t want to speak anymore because I can’t handle it! When she emails or texts me she types just like this. Horrible grammar and ramblings. I’m so sad and don’t even know how to deal with all if this. Thank goodness she’s in another state 😦

  15. That comment sounds exactly like my mother. She was diagnosed with manic-depression at least 15 years ago but in the last 5 years or so has said that her doctor was somehow manipulated into telling her that. She swears up and down that she is better and more insightful at seeing people’s “real” motives and intentions because she “feels it in her heart.” She thinks I hate her because I won’t put up with her accusations any more and cut off contact. She has sent me horrible and cruel texts for 6 months now and my husband had to threaten to get the law involved if she didn’t stop.

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