I'm 29 and have two lovely daughters... and bipolar disorder. I have been reading about the experiences of people with bipolar mothers, and I am terrified. It seems statistically guaranteed that my daughter's will grow up to hate and fear me, feel that I ruined their lives and endeavour to cut me out of their lives. Obviously I'm not judging anyone for their relationship with their mother, I'm not in contact with mine. But is it POSSIBLE for me to not screw everything up? Because right now I feel like the only way not to ruin their lives is to kill myself now.
I'm not at all qualified to respond, but didn't want to just read and run.
I don't think it's a given that your kids will be screwed up / will disown you. I know of 2 adult children of bi-polar mothers and they are perfectly well adjusted and have good relationships with their Mums albeit their teenage years were more complicated than most.
Hopefully somebody who knows what they are talking about and will be more use than me will be along soon...
Hi! It's my first time posting here but I really wanted to give you some reassurance! My mum had Bipolar that wasn't formally diagnosed till I was 5. I think the hardest thing growing up was not understanding and stress of that. We had some tough times and times when I really needed to put my life second and support her. In my teen years I was angry. But I always loved her and as I learnt more about any negative feelings towards past incidents faded. Now we have a great relationship sometimes it's hard work but I love her to pieces. My advice would be try to explain to your dds from a young age and educate them about mental health. Also don't beat yourself up and let guilt eat away at you as I know my mum often feels this!
365, Do consider that it has been less than a decade since Ruby Wax declared she is a manic depressive and openly said she is mentally unstable. I remember hearing her on Womans Hour whilst driving past Maldon. I instantly understood, this changes everything for people like me (and you) as mental health is now out in the open. Until then mental health was a taboo subject worse than Aids and being gay. People of your mums generation suffered in silence without help whilst bringing up children.
The downside of that is that we have less than a decade of experience of how to deal with it openly. In short there is not yet a body of knowledge on how to be a manic depressive mother for you to read and learn from.
That may sound frightening, but it also means you are part of a trailblazing generation. You have the opportunity to write the book for the next generation.
Whoa! You are one fired up, inspiring poster! Thinking of it that way, I already do my best to be a role model for non societal-standard femininity (insofar as self esteem allows) so the right mindset could be soft of an extension of that :D
Hi, I don't have much experience of it myself but Mil has bipolar, and all 3 of her children seem to have fairly good relationships with her and are all pretty well rounded people themselves. It's not talked about in their family so dont know much else about the effects it's had on them. DH was young and doesn't remember much apart from she was away for a while when he was small and she can be very up and down. I think being open about it and talking about it can only be a good thing. Don't be too hard on yourself you sound like a good mum and obviously trying to do the best by your children
My dh is bipolar. We have two dcs. It's very, very hard. I think if you genuinely want to be a good mum you have to trust that your oh and mental health professionals are acting in the best interests of the family.
So if your oh and/or mental health professional identify that you're ill/becoming ill that you do your best to trust then and the actions they say are necessary.
I am v sympathetic honestly, but being the other parent I know it can be honestly, a nightmare.
My children know everything about my struggle with mental illness. They are aged 20,18 and 14 and I have battled through and raised them alone. My mother disowned me decades ago but I have raised great kids who have never judged me. They love me anyway , even when things are bad. Mental illness is part of me, and everyone close to me accepts that. I don't fear anything anymore.
I have bipolar and have wound up in hospital a few times because of it. Of course it's hard on the children, but as a family we've done everything we can to shield them from the worst of it, and we do what we can to put their needs first.
They know I have bipolar. I've talked to them about it in age appropriate language. They're both happy and loving and deal with it well. I'm sure things may change a bit when they hit their teens, as. It's things do, but I'm hopeful we'll work through it.
Mental illness will always impact on the people around you, but it's not a given that it will screw them up. I can't help being ill, but when I am it's their needs, not mine, that come first and I do my best by working to stay as well as I can.
Don't give up hope. There's thousands of children out there with parents who have a mental illness who are happy, stable and doing just fine.
I'm not really in a place to advise but there are great charities out there that specialise in this area. Try reaching out to them. Mind have always been incredibly kind and informative for me and my family