4 thoughts on “Mental Health Day: More Lessons Learned from a Bipolar Dad

  • October 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Hi there, Chato! I read your article and wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences. The reason I stopped by to comment was because I thought your message about recovery and healing was a bit of a downer. I thought maybe I might share my own experience of coping with mental illness and maybe get your thoughts about that.I was a “bipolar child”. Dxd with Manic Depression (BP1) in my early teens during in an inpatient stay, I was told by the pros, the pdocs, that I had a mental illness that I would suffer from for my entire life. And for awhile, it seemed they were right. Multiple hospitalizations for recurring suicide attempts, an inability to escape from my own ups and downs, the ball-and-chain imagery certainly seemed to fit. But after a near-death experience I had during an OD, I was inspired to shake up and radically change my life around.I gave up many things people in their early twenties pursue, like relationships, careers, college, family, that sort of thing, and instead concentrated on living one day at a time, and focusing on my needs and stresses. During that time, I found good meditation instruction, and I took up tai chi. I practiced those things with a passion, until they dominated my life.Day after day of living this kind of lifestyle, allowed me to gain a measure of insight and control into my own behavior and thoughts. In time I found that I could detect manic episodes forming, and using meditation, I could de-escalate that process, thereby avoiding the out-of-control “ups”. Without the “highs” I found my nervous system did not get so burned out that I fell into depressions either, and so I avoided the “lows” as well. I did this recovery without therapy, or psych meds, neither of which I wanted (or could afford), back then.Long story short, doing that for several years, I eventually forget I was ever told I had an incurable disease. The label “bipolar”, the sentence to a life-long ball and chain, had nothing to do with me.Somehow, I changed my brain, I rebalanced my chemicals, or manipulated my gene expression through that lifestyle. Whatever you want to call the process, it has been over fifteen years since I had any signs or symptoms of bipolar, when previously the disease had owned the first twenty years my life. Against all medical prognosis and diagnosis I now live well, in my late 30s, without bipolar, without mental illness. The ball and chain are gone.That’s all maybe TL;DR but the main thing is, I refused to settle for a fatalistic view of my own mental illness, and worked on finding out if it was really true that I had “no control” over my own mind, moods and energy, if it was really true that the best I could hope for was “management of symptoms”, forever. Happy Mental Health Day. All the best!

    • October 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      LOL, sorry it was a downer and thanks for trying to brighten things up… 🙂

  • October 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this, and for your good humor! I’m a mom with bipolar disorder, and I rarely see the perspective of parents on their recovery journeys, so I’m so glad to see us represented in your World Mental Health Day contribution.

    • October 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Thank You Jenn for your comment and for your encouragement. 🙂


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