In this series, we have been introduced to this heavy topic. We have covered how to support ourselves, and our children, while we face psychiatric challenges. And now, in conclusion, I would like to address the following:
What I blame bipolar for as a parent:
Being a parent was very much my choice, and I took on that responsibility without any caveats. Being bipolar wasn’t my choice, but it doesn’t make my children’s needs any different. Clearly, being a parent with psychiatric challenges, doesn’t make things simple, or easy, by any stretch of the imagination but it doesn’t change the facts.
My kids need a stable, loving, fun, and engaged Mom, and that’s what they have today. I’m not perfect – not by a mile. But I can say with all honesty that I’m doing everything I can think of to try and support my family, and myself. I work at it everyday. In return, I get to see them grow, thrive, and fill me up with their love and goodness. It fuels me to stay well, and on-top of whatever ugliness bipolar tries to throw my way.
If I were a diabetic, I wouldn’t leave the house without my testing meter, and insulin. Well I have bipolar instead, but I consider it similarly.
I get to see my children belly-laugh, learn new skills, and wonder at the marvels of the world around them. What greater gift is there than that? I can’t think of a single thing. There’s nothing besides the love of my family that I would fight this hard for.
Likewise, if it is needed, I’ll remove myself (temporarily) for proper treatment should it come to that. I won’t subject them to any extreme states – I believe it is entirely possible to commit to this notion. It is my responsibility to put into place systems for dealing with a potential crisis. It is my responsibility to be self-aware of my progress, and to ask others to keep a guarded eye on me. It is my responsibility to address bipolar head on, and not make it my children’s burden.
If you think mental illness disqualifies you from parenthood, I say think again. You just have to be willing, and committed, to going the extra mile to ensure you are exactly what they require, and deserve, as often as humanly possible. I believe in the power of the human spirit and the power of parental love, to overcome adversity. It simply requires dedicated effort and the right support systems in place. We can raise a more self-aware and healthy generation of young people, and we can have an incredible amount of fun doing it.
Wherever you find yourself in your parenting career, I hope we all remain open to change and evolution. No one is ever done learning, or developing. There are always things we can improve upon, but remaining open to that possibility is what makes it all possible. I hope you other parents out there, hug your children tonight, and fill their ears with silly thoughts.
Life with kids is joy incarnate. I wish you all a house full of love and happiness.
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Last reviewed: 10 Jan 2014