If you would have told me 10 years ago that at some point I would be writing about bipolar on the internet, I would have not believed you. I know that having lived my childhood and coming out the other side as delightfully suburban average, is nothing short of amazing.
Then I get a comment from a 15 year old and it’s like I’m back there. I feel compelled to say something to those kids who want direction. Who feel lost, unloved, and uncared for. This is for them.
Dear kids of bipolar parents,
If you’re googling this topic at all, I’m going to assume that you’re old enough to start realizing that things aren’t adding up. Maybe you’re around 10 like I was. Maybe you’re older. Either way, you’re questioning what the hell is going on with your parent.
Maybe one day they’re nice as pumpkin pie only to turn on a dime into something that scares you.
You just don’t understand.
I came up with this saying that I say to myself to this day:
“If I understood it, then I would be it.”
Say it. Say it out loud. Repeat it.
Mental illness like bipolar is barely understood by professionals. You may never understand why your parent is the way they are.
Why are they irrational.
Why are they so uncaring.
Why are they so unattached.
Listen to me, it’s not about you. Their brain does not and will not work the way that yours does. And it’s sad. I know.
So what can you do to survive?
Decide to survive.
Decide that you are worth saving. You are worth living a life filled with whatever you want.
When you are young, you may feel like you are caring for yourself. And you may be. Make the best choices you can. Feel your decisions with every cell of your being. If you feel like you’re making a wrong turn in life, immediately turn back. You have to have your own back.
Stay in school. Do well in school.
I took a job in high school just so I was out of the house more. Do what you have to do to survive.
Look for good role models. Maybe you have a friend who has a stable family. What makes that family work, look for those examples.
Learn to love. Growing up without love makes one very hard and cold.
Open up to people who will listen without judgment. Even though you have your own back, look for those in your life that can offer even a little emotional support.
Learn to trust. Growing up with parents that you can’t trust becomes ingrained in who you are. I personally had a hard time with this one. Trust those who have your best interests in mind. This might take a while, even years to do.
Don’t stop believing that you can do it. Because you can.
If you understood it, then you would be it.
But you’re not. You’re you.
Note: Please seek out professional help if you can.