Bipolar. When we found the diagnosis of my mom at the psych unit in fifth grade I thought I understood what the illness was. Relating back to Katy Perry’s ‘Hot n Cold’ saying “someone call the doctor, got a case of the love bipolar”, I only had negative thoughts towards the illness. In all honesty the stigma is what makes this kind of illness so painful for all involved.
The hardest years of my live were in fifth grade when my mom had her first Manic Episode. Yes it was hard because we didn’t understand why she was saying and doing what she was. But what has and does continue to make these memories so painful is I had no one to talk about my experiences to.
At first I was too scared to tell anyone my mom even had the illness because I didn’t accept it yet. It wasn’t until 2 years later when I opened up to close friends, keeping it to “my mom has bipolar disorder”. This is when I realized how ignorant people are on the subject. People push it aside. Never had anyone asked me more about it. Every time people wouldn’t even reply.
It truly is sad when children only have the choice to bottle up all of their traumatic memories because society looks down on mental illness. Living with a Bipolar parent is the biggest part of who I am. This makes me feel like those around me don’t know the real me. I see friends pitying people with diseases like cancer, and yes that is beyond horrible as well, but when will people start to see bipolar as an illness not a label.
To all children and adolescents dealing with a Bipolar Parent. It is hard. You will feel alone. You will be scared to become like that parent. My advice: find someone to talk to it about. Do not be afraid to ask for therapy. Keeping it bottled up only makes the memories stab even deeper. You are strong. Though you may feel like you were shot into the realism of life too early, though you may feel like the adult in the relationship, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Do not let society make you feel that way. Your parents illness is serious, even though your peers do not treat it that way.