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Hi everyone...I just wanted to share my experiences with my mother. She was diagnosed bipolar 6 years ago but never told me. My mother has always been difficult to deal with. For most of my life I thought my mother hated me mainly because she would become irrationally angry frequently and without warning. She purposefully embarrassed me and my siblings in front of family members and in public whenever she got the chance.

She makes every situation about her even my sister's high school graduation which she successfully ruined for her and all of her friends. They had to call family members in the middle of the night to come pick them up because of my mother. That night she told me I ruined her life by being born. I always thought she hated me. I avoided her physically and left the state for several years but she would call me out of the blue and tell me all of the things I had done to her, she would always say that she wasn't taking the abuse from us anymore.

I always felt so torn, I wanted to love her but I didn't understand why she was doing these things. While I was out of state she had a stroke and was hospitalized. After she recovered she began seeing a professional, I'm not sure what his title was. She would call me and that he told her things like she was right about us and needed to start taking care of herself. She could have me crying in under 10 mins every time. She never told me she was bipolar.

I moved back in state 4 years ago and avoided her as much as possible. I did see and speak to her but only when I had to. I got a phone call last year saying she was in a hospital in my town. I went there to stay with her and endured the absolute worst experience I have had with her since coming back into state. She verbally attacked every hospital staff member who came in her room. She told each one of them how bad her children were to her, she told them it was our fault she had a stroke and that we abused her. She made my life miserable, I wanted to leave but no one else would come for several days. My brother and sister refused to come at all. She called my grandmother, my sister, my brother and her sister to tell them how bad I was treating her. I could see the one nurse who didn't let her get under his skin giving me "hang in there looks".

I been working with people with developmental and intellectual disabilities for 2 years now. I started to see that my mother wasn't in control of herself. I went to the nurse and asked if they had found any drugs in her system. He said no but then told me her bipolar med levels were low because she hadn't been taking them. That's how I found out she was bipolar.

I has become easier to deal with her now that I know she has a disease and is not in control of herself all of the time. She still has bad times but I feel like I can deal with them much better now. I now realize that she never hated me and we have a relationship now. When she gets bad I now get angry at the disease and not her.

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It took some time for me to relate to her. I'm not sure it would have happened if I had not haphazardly ended up working in my current field. I deal with BPD on a daily basis (mostly parents) and think I am becoming quite good at being an understanding force for parents with DD children. I like to think the universe led me to this field although occasionally it gets to me in negative ways :).

I hate that you are unable to relate to your parents Finding. In my life it has been me trying to understand them, forgive them, love them and not so much them trying to do those things for me. Is it the same for you?

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In my case, I become mentally ill when I am around my parents. It's humiliating, but there hasn't been anything I can do about it, and I've tried a number of things. No, they are not about trying to understand me or know me. I do get that they have their own issues and I can forgive them and regard them as human beings on the planet and wish them well, but I am unable to be with them. But that's just me!:) I'm glad for you that you have found a way to make peace and have your health. That is what is important.:(

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Beautifully flawed and Finding my way.

Just wondering how you both cope/ have coped?

I assume you are both from th US? (I'm from Aussie Land) What kind of support do they have for mentally ill and for their families?

My mother has something along the lines of bipolar with schizophernic episodes. She has been diagnosed mentally ill for at least 15 years, though i am beginning to believe she has been unwell her whole life.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Binski,

One of the most difficult situations for children and adult children of the mentally ill when one or both parents have schizophrenia bipolar disorder or both. You are asking an excellent question: how do you cope. I am encouraging everyone in a similar situation to respond to this question. I will say one thing: I don't think anyone can cope well with these problems. Allowing yourself to know its ok to not cope well, how does one cope, what strategies for self preservation???

Allan

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Hi Beautifully flawed. I grew up with alot of issues with my Mom too and it seems her personality issues have affected me more then I ever realized. It wan't until now after I at 44 was diagnosed with Bipolar and found out everyone except my dad has had some type of mental illness. So, the genetics are there.

After my estrangement from my Mom after a disagreement about me wanting to protect my kids from what I grew up with her negative conflicting ways, she never saw my last 2 children out of stubborness and then she died and she told them not to tell me well I found out anyway even though she lived far away from me. She took our argument or disagreement right to the extremes and saying she would never ever be a part of my life. Clearly not a healthy coping skill on her part....

I guess my point is, is that I feel the same as you. I can better understand and accept it and maybe could have related to her differently if I knew there was a mental illness going on. I'm not sure if she ever even thought of it, denyed it but i didn't recognise it and that really bothers me because I really think she had some abuse as a child too and it is so odd but the more I think about her, hers and my reactions to things in life are the same and again I wish I knew, I wish my Dad knew so he could help not only her but me as well.

But that generation didn't think as we do now, they were taught not to talk about it and accept whatever happens.

And to answer your question Allan, I guess I coped with it by throwing my walls up and keeping out of her conflicting personallity issues. And at a younger age, I knew I didn't want to always be in that type of relationship so I took the strong road and coped by never letting anyone bother me and if they did, I would just shut them out. Probably not the best coping skill but thats how I survived and boy is it kicking me in the butt now....

Beautifully flawed, we can't be responsible for what our parents did or didn't do. I can see that because I have 7 children and I wonder how they will be affected by me and how drastically it has changed their lives because of my bipolar and PTSD.

I chose to include them right from the beginning and help them understand and accept that mental illness is just as important as heart disease or any other physcial disease. So they have the knowlege and the ability to comprehend all that I have been going through, the good and the bad.

But the most important message to them is how I tried to help myself and no matter the outcome of my illness, I have tried all that I could to get better.

Hang in there :(

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Guest ASchwartz

Linda,

Beautifully flawed, we can't be responsible for what our parents did or didn't do.

Right on target. :)

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I just avoid my mother like a contagious plague. My sister is also believed to have bipolar disorder but has not been tested but i think she does, she acts like it. I can't wait till im old enough to leave lol can't take the craziness, and my lil bro has ADHD as well so my family is a mad house. My father is messed up too but i will not go there right now im in no mood to think about him at the moment. Anyways i hope all of you are having an ok day :)

Looks like you have a whole heap going on Sedsed! Do you think avoiding your mum helps? How old are you by the way? Do you have someone you can talk to about all of this? Lots of questions :)

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Binsky,

You are welcome and you have given me an idea for my next article: What is it like to cope with a mothe, father, spouse, etc, who has Bipolar.

What do you think?

Allan

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Beautifully flawed, we can't be responsible for what our parents did or didn't do. I can see that because I have 7 children and I wonder how they will be affected by me and how drastically it has changed their lives because of my bipolar and PTSD. I chose to include them right from the beginning and help them understand and accept that mental illness is just as important as heart disease or any other physcial disease. So they have the knowlege and the ability to comprehend all that I have been going through, the good and the bad. But the most important message to them is how I tried to help myself and no matter the outcome of my illness, I have tried all that I could to get better.

I wonder about my kids too. I have also chosen to tell them I have a mental illness and that I'm trying to get better for both our sakes. I tell them I love them every day but it is heartbreaking knowing what i put them through when I fly into an uncontrollable rage. My youngest has come up with a "pattern interrupt" for me (imitates me yelling at her, which usually makes me laugh). I need to find something the older one can use on me. My kids have similar rage problems - my oldest came up with one for me to use on her "what would the nice Cr----- do?" We are kind of learning together.

Edited by Athena
daughter's name

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Guest ASchwartz

Athena, Linda, Binski,

I am up for any experiences, feelings, ideas, etc, you could share with me for an article? I think its important to write.

Allan

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Allan,

I'm the one who has the bipolar so I can only tell you what I observe in them after/during my "rages".

My 9 year old wrote a note to me during a recent one and handed it to me. "I wish you would have more love to give me. I need more love from you. Do you forgive me?" She drew a picture of herself crying beside the note. My 6 year old typically says "I feel like you hate me" when I'm in the throes of one. It is so horrible to hear that from kids you adore and I can see some of the damage it is causing already. My 6 year old crawled under the furniture while at therapy the day after one of my outbursts. The whole session was spent trying to get her to come out and talk. The therapist is in the process of getting them in to see the on-site psychiatrist soon.

My poor girls also witnessed the aftermath of me cutting back in July. I had thought I would never do it while they were with me, but their fighting has become a big trigger for my rage, so it happened while they were here (they go back and forth between their Dad and I). My family has told me they think it traumatized them. I had got so used to it by that point, plus I'm never rational when it happens, so I didn't appreciate the potential consequences.

I want to tell their therapist more, but one time she called Children's Aid on me. I'm perfectly fine with that as they are there to help my kids, but unfortunately the next call was to their Dad who used it against me in marital proceedings. So I will tell her everything once the divorce is finalized. It's not like I hit them or threaten them, but furniture, walls, doors, myself - is all fair game. I also try to reverse the damage (wrote and sang them an apology song, extra hugs and I love you's and extra Mommy time, plus my best explanation of my problem). They tell me they'd still rather be with me than at their Dad's.

On that note, I'd better go check on them. It's snack time!

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I have found it incredibly difficult coping with my Mum having a mental illness. It is incredibly stressful to live with her and i had to move out. It's hard to know what's Mum and what's the illness?!? I'm not sure if i have ever known my Mum.

I think i just began to become numb, i didn't really have anyone to talk to, there was no support for the family from the health professionals. Having support i think is crucial as well as knowing that it's OK if you're not coping.

My Mum is very manipulative and needs to be the centre of attention. She also gets very aggressive.Its hard to know where you stand with her sometimes.

The worst thing for me is that she doesn't seem to want to get better or even try.

I have to say that looking back on some of the stuff that has happened i can't help but crack up laughing! Once she told us that we only followed and obeyed our grandmother because she had a carrot on her head. Haha what the?!- Bipolar i think not!

Edited by Binski
Just too sad for me to have up & probably not that relevant

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Guest ASchwartz

Thanks Athena, that helps.

Binski, to answer your question, my father suffered from something, not sure what but I suspect Bipolar disorder untreated. I did not grow up with him around so I don't know.

Allan

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Thanks Linda :D

Yeah my Mum certainly has more going on than Bipolar. Something like Bipolar with schizophrenic episodes-I'm sure she has a paranoid personality to boot!

I will certainly use my experience as a stepping stone rather than a hindrance.

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My mother's father also was believed to be bipolar, he killed himself when my mother was 13. I often wonder if I could also be like all them and have any number of a things wrong with me, because I believe most of what people in my family has is hereditary. My sister I know for a fact has insomnia and I wonder instead of possibly being bipolar if all her mood swings are just from not sleeping. I don't know the thought if having one of any of the disorders that runs through my family is frightening.

Also my mother told me something interesting and I wonder if it is true or not, She said that you cant be bipolar if your more schizophrenic and you cant be schizophrenic if your bipolar. Is this true?

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I think I wouldn't trust your mother for medical information.

Bipolar is about mood; you get depressed (low) and you get manic (elevated), in alternating cycles. We don't hear as much about mania, but a manic person feels excited, alert, on top of the world. We don't hear about it as much because to the person feeling it, it feels great (at least, a lot better than the depressions.) They think they're fine, and often refuse treatment for it because it feels good. But in fact, they also have a tendency to be impulsive when manic, spending unreasonably or doing things they wouldn't otherwise do. Sometimes, the impulse can be suicide, especially if the mood is mixed or the cycling is rapid.

Schizophrenia is about altered reality, rather than mood. It is possible to have a mood disorder at the same time, though.

Two women on my mother's side (my grandmother and one of my mother's sisters) have had schizophrenia, that I know about, and it has been shown to run in families. Yet, I've never had any symptom of it. I know from observation that my mother was depressed, at times, and I know I have been. The possibility of bipolar was discussed, for me as well, because of the impulsive behavior that got me hospitalized. Yet, it has not recurred.

All of that means ... I don't know. My own resolution has been to just live my life, and keep an eye on things. I hope that works for you, too.

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