For many parents, perhaps especially single parents, our children become the center of our worlds. This is not necessarily a disorder, sometimes it is instead an expression of deep love. Other times it probably is extreme and not healthy for either the child or the parent. When I was a dating single dad during the years my kids were growing up, some women felt I was over-involved with my kids. I didn't want to change that, so there was a parting of ways. I guess the real issue is not so much whether the woman you are dating has a disorder as it is whether you can live with her level of involvement with her son. That's my two cents, anyway. Hope it works out for the best for all of you!View Thread
I want to share with others who have bipolar disorder that I am feeling good and enjoying life very much these days. Believe me, it has not always been this way, and in all likelihood I will have some rough times with bipolar in the future. But now. Today. I feel good and I am very grateful.
I have Bipolar Type I and have struggled with it on and off since I was about 14 years old. I am now 61. I've had three long-term hospitalizations, about 26 ECT treatments over the years, and boatloads of meds so varied I can't come close to remembering all their names. So you can say I've served my time in the "bipolar wars."
What explains that I am doing well now? I think it's partly because I am taking a med combination that works well for me without making me feel like an overmedicated zombie. I also am blessed with a psychiatrist I see once a month who cares about me and listens to me when I talk about my life, not just about medication. I enjoy creative activities such as learning to play the piano and writing memoirs and poetry, which I read aloud at a local arts center.
I enjoy my relationship with my adult children who are on their own but still keep in touch with me. I also am studying Buddhism and meditation, and have become more skilled at quieting my sometimes manic mind through mindful meditation. Plus I enjoy things like a good meal, nurturing my cat and my container garden, and walking along the water in the town where I live . You could call them "the simple things," and they are. The simple and beautiful things.
If you are struggling with your bipolar now, I have nothing but compassion for you. I've been there and at times I've honestly felt there was no way out of the misery of my mental illness. I write this message in a spirit of camaraderie with others who suffer from this complex and at times unbearable condition. There is hope. If someone like me can become a contented person who likes himself and loves his creative endeavors (most days, anyway) then I honestly believe almost anyone can. View Thread
Thanks for sharing your inspiration too, ibex7. The reason I wrote what I did is that I think we need to share the things that are going well for us, too. It's VERY important for people to be able to talk about their suffering and challenges with bipolar, but I think it's also good when we can share the good news that things really can get better. I am not overconfident that I'll always feel this stable, but I am hopeful that by living well, taking my meds, and staying interested and engaged in life, I can continue to be very happy to wake up in the morning to greet another day. And God knows I spent many mornings when I did not feel this way.View Thread
I'm very glad you are doing well, ginpene. My hope is that younger people these days will be able to get to a place of stability much more quickly than many of us old-timers were able to. I think the meds are much better now, and the psychiatrists have learned more about working with us respectfully and collaboratively than was my experience as a young person. Although it often takes time and a difficult trial and error process to find a treatment program that works, there are definitely good reasons to be hopeful these days.View Thread
I just finished reading "Marbles," a graphic novel by Ellen Forney, which was published in 2012. It's a true story of her experience getting a bipolar diagnosis and then over many years of working with her psychiatrist getting to a place where she is able to manager her bipolar well. It covers all the key issues about managing bipolar, including meds, dealing with the stigma, and finding a more balanced life by developing a yoga practice and other measures. Ellen also discusses at length the matter of whether bipolar is more common among creative people, and how creative people can manage their bipolar and still remain creative. It's a fun, page turning book packed with information. It'd be really good to give to someone you want to better understand your bipolar, and for me as a person with bipolar it was great to read such an entertaining, condensed account of what I've been living with almost all my life. I got it on Amazon "used" for a fairly decent price. Five out of five stars.
My feeling is there is no "one size fits all" with regard to working and bipolar disorder. I worked almost all my life, including teaching at the college level and working as a professional business communicator for corporations and other organizations. Then in my 50s I had two horrific episodes with my bipolar that required ECT and longterm hospitalizations. After the second episode, I phased out work.
I'm grateful to not be working now, and grateful for SSDI and some family help. Because I'm a creative and productive person, I work on literary and musical projects, but I don't "work" in the conventional sense of going to an office somewhere and making money.
I've struggled some with guilt feelings about not "working." Fortunately these feelings dissipate as I become increasingly grateful that I no longer have to seriously risk my health by participating in the daily grind and petty politics of many jobs. I have been stable for almost four years now, and I'm optimistic that without the pressures of work I can continue to be. Not working is enabling me to live a quality life, and my stability is also a tremendous relief from burden to family members who love me.
I really can't judge others with bipolar as to whether they "work" or not. First off, each case of bipolar is different, and it's impossible to get inside someone else's heart and mind and know exactly what they go through. Judgements are easy; understanding more difficult.
Sometimes, simply managing one's illness and staying healthy is a full-time job. The important thing is to have a productive and meaningful life, and "work" is not always the road to accomplishing that. So for those of us who are not "working," I say bravo if that is what we need to stay healthy. Then the challenge becomes to find ways to be creative and productive, and those ways also will vary for each person. And no one else can make the determination of what is a productive or meaningful life for us.
P.S. Congratulations, Renee, to you and your daughter. You are obviously a fabulous mom, and your daughter a courageous and accomplished young woman.View Thread
I think it's really important for you to be able to stay at home if you can. A stable living situation is crucial as you go through the process of learning to live with and manage your bipolar disorder. It sounds to me like your mom does not understand that you have an illness and she thinks you are willfully being irresponsible and dishonest. In short she does not understand that lying about going to college and some of your other difficult behaviors are a direct result of your illness. What is important now really should not be working or going to college. What is important now is for you to get the help you need and do the work you need to do to learn to manage your bipolar. If your mom could understand that this is your primary task, and that having the stability of a home is essential for you at this point, then she might change her ultimatum provided you commit to seriously working on your bipolar. Your mom now is probably in denial about your bipolar, too, and does not understand that you are ill. If she gets it that you are ill and not being willfully difficult, she might very well become more compassionate towards you. It also sounds as though you are becoming more open to accepting that you have bipolar, and to getting the help you need. This is an enormous step. I wish you the very best.View Thread
I agree with bptwin that staying grounded is incredibly important. I find meditation especially helpful in staying grounded. Also going on walks, especially in nature, cooking, and gardening help me keep my feet on the ground. And of course the medications, which I believe are essential for those of us with serious bipolar disorder.
It's nice to see how others are coping with the challenges of this illness, especially when there is progress in managing it. One key for me that took me many years to accept is that the illness does not go away. What can change is the skills I develop to manage this chronic condition. As I develop these skills, I still have some very bad times, but I have more coping strategies and can get through them better without succumbing to a major episode. And thankfully there are some good and even very good times as well.View Thread