4 May

I was in a really crappy relationship with a man who had an undiagnosed bipolar disorder.  I chose the relationship, and after a long time (way too long) I chose to end it.

But how do you cope when the person who has a mental illness is related to you?  How do you cope when you didn’t choose to be in the relationship?

I always wonder what it must be like for parents… You have a baby and watch her grow.  You can see that she has your husband’s nose and your eyes.  But the personality developing inside that little body has little to do with the genes you and your husband gave her.  And yet, you have to accept her for who she is.  But do you?  Many parents try to mold their children to fit the expectations they have for them, with mixed results.

What about the other way around?  The child has to accept her parents for who they are, with all their imperfections.  Some people think babies choose who they’re born to based on what they need to learn in this lifetime.  I wonder what lessons I’m supposed to be learning right now about my choices…


4 Responses to “Diagnosis”

  1. Ms. Jeter May 4, 2010 at 4:20 am #

    I have a hard time accepting that my 14 year old daughter has her own thoughts. Yes, my five year old is strong willed; she does not always agree with me, but she has not yet challenged my core assumptions of her identity.

    I’ve read My Mother, Myself, and have had many conversations/ thoughts concerning the child’s unique identity. However, accepting theoretical differences did not prepare me for the shock, and panic when she first staked an actual claim to her own destiny. I have found that a good hour of deep breathing can introduce me to the joy of her emerging independence. I don’t know how she feels to have me as a Mother. I do know that she gets a pained look on her face when I wear certain outfits.

    It’s too bad your friend wouldn’t get treatment. There are effective treatments for bipolar.

  2. Marcy May 4, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    This is an issue we grapple with every so often, as mental illness runs in my husband’s family. He has both an aunt and grandmother who suffer from severe mental illness, and I worry about whether our children might inherit this predisposition. The worst is when you can see someone battling with mental illness, and they refuse to get help for themselves (or don’t believe they need it). The thing is, even with family you can still choose to end the relationship. It sucks and is a horribly difficult decision, but sometimes the only one available to preserve your own sanity.

  3. Hlin May 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    You being one of the smartest and wisest persons I know about, I’m sure you will make the right decision. It doesen’t make it less painful and hard, but I believe that every individual has the ability to ‘do the right thing’. The choices will probably differ from person to person, however, I think what is more important is that we all respect each other for the choices we make (much like what @Marcy talked about).
    Good luck!

  4. Aly in Va May 4, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    It is difficult indeed. I just wrote a post about it (about 3 posts ago) talking about my mother who has SchizoAffective disorder.
    I think the main thing you learn- is that it’s okay to seek help and to seek help immediately should you feel the pressures becoming too much for you.

    Good luck.

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