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Bipolar Parents-Raising Kids

A place for Moms, Dads, and Parents-to-be.

by Mocha » Sat Mar 12, 2016 3:43 am

I know some of you guys have kids, and I also know how hard it can be to raise kids while dealing with BP. Hell, it's hard to raise kids no matter what.

So the question is.....How do you deal? What has been your experience/s? What are your fears?

My sons are grown ass men, as many of you know. They turned out just fine, amazing in fact, and I'm very proud of them....but....they had a very rough childhood because of me and my craziness.

It took me a long time to forgive myself for everything I put them through.

So? Anything?

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by Pancake » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:14 pm

How many pages do I have
:oops: :lol: :oops:
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by Mocha » Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:58 pm

Pancake wrote:How many pages do I have
:oops: :lol: :oops:

All the pages you want..... :)
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The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

~Martin Luther King~
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by Pancake » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:20 pm

Well. I'll start with fears.
Mostly I worry about how being unreliable/inconsistent/ unpredictable affects them, in part because my father was Darth Vader with alcohol and I see too much of him in myself. I have to keep reminding myself that even if I am experiencing similar things to what he went through, he was a professional denialist abusive passive-aggressive patriarchal self-styled 'head of the family' who expected respect he didn't earn, and refused to get help or acknowledge any issues until he very nearly lost access to his grandchildren. So I can relate more to why he could be such a dick without feeling responsible for his decisions, when my decisions and attitude are very different.

We have been unreliable with homework, forgotten school excursions, friend's birthday parties (!) "sure we can do that!" over and over again only to disappoint with a lack of energy/motivation/funds when it's time for 'that'... until I learned not to commit to anything, but we do a lot more stuff on impulse if I'm having a good day.

It means I haven't been very good at committing to school things (helping at excursions for example) because I don't know how I'm going to feel in 2 weeks time.
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by Mocha » Sun Mar 13, 2016 5:35 pm

I can relate to so many of things you posted, Pan.

I was completely unreliable as a mom. I lost custody of my boys at ages 2 and 4. I didn't even know where they were for years, not for lack of trying. I finally got them back just as they were becoming teens.

Their lives had been a living hell all those years. I wish I could say it was all sunshine and roses after they came to live with me but it wasn't. I was a unmedicated drunk, so you can imagine.

When I first got them back I was so overwhelmed to be responsible for two teenage sons, it triggered all kinds of episodes and of course, I just drank more. And I wasn't a 'happy' drunk......I was a 'mean' drunk.

Like you I learned not to committ to anything, always afraid I wouldn't be able to follow up...because I usually didn't/couldn't. Fortunately there were other people in my life who could be there for them. But I knew they had rather it be me. Over and over, like always, I let them down. And I could see the disappointment and hurt on their faces time and time again.....god it was like a knife in my heart. I couldn't even imagine the pain they must have felt.

After a while I got it together so I could be there for them, and helped them grow into fine young men, something I'll always be proud of. No matter what happened in the years before I have that.

About the guilt.....funny thing is, my boys forgave me long before I forgave myself......

Thank god/buddha/whomever for therapy....:lol:...



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by Blake's Poisontree » Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:05 pm

I tried but I couldn't do it. I never wanted children seeing that mental illness runs in my family, but yeah what can I say, some people can be very persistent. I love them very much (8 and 6) and even though I have joint custody I know there's no chance my ex will let them will stay with me. Not until they are much older. I can't handle little kids when I am down, I don't even really care whether I live or die so being all happy and supportive dad is very hard.

But I know it won't always be like this, when they get older they will understand and it will work itself out. I worry that one or both of them will get BP, so much that I changed careers and am busy with a diploma and a degree in psychology. That way I can help myself and them if need be. But for now I am the "stand on the side lines" dad. I take solace in the fact that one day it will change, just not right now.
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by Polrus » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:19 pm

I want to be part of this conversation, but I see so much of my own failings in your stories I choke up. It hurts so much to see me reflected so clearly in you. I'm guilty of many of the 'sins' you describe and some extras all of my own, but I'm going to try to turn it around here and look at positive (notice 'try', I haven't thought it thru, this could be short, lol).

When I used to get speedy manic (as opposed to psycho manic that I always get now) I was the funnest dad in the world. I remember one time taking my eldest daughter (then about 10) on a complete impulse to buy bikes for us both, once we had them we rode all around Walmart at break neck speeds and out into the parking lot. I doesn't seem much written down, but at time we laughed like hyenas. It's still one of her favorite childhood memories. There are a ton of similar stories, all involving spontaneity, impulse and energy.

I don't know if this is symptom related or just the me that bipolar made, but either way I am ridiculously attentive to both girls, there is nothing in the world (except sometimes my wife) that is more demanding of my time. I love the moments that gives us together, I love the bond and closeness it creates.

My crazy man/whacky world view has instilled in both of them a creativity and individuality that makes them unique, beautiful and special. My constant struggle has taught them to fight, to persevere and never give up.

I'm so fucking in love with both of them. They took my shit and spun it into gold. I'm sure if I'd thought this thru first I could come up with loads more examples.

It doesn't detract from my self hate at the darkness and chaos I caused, but I'm working really hard right now on silver linings and that's what I'd prefer to represent about my girls. They're gonna take the world by storm some day, they're amazing and I did that. I did that.
Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.

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by Pancake » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:32 pm

Thanks for bumping this up. I want to weigh in again but I need zzzzs first. Long day yesterday, paying for it today >_<

Edit: I'm up again.
I want to have a bit of a rant about gender equality and role division as it relates to BP and primary carers, but because I worked yesterday and I'm trying to find a balance between regret over career nosedive thanks to a mismatch of beliefs with my partner in this particular matter, and accepting the obvious that my BP would have gotten in the damn way anyway and things could have gone a lot worse than they are now, this is probably not the right time >_<

Pol there are a shitload of good things about BP as well as the bad. Sometimes I think it lets you let out the inner child and do the fun things that DO create great memories for the kids, and as they get older they understand better why mum (or dad) is sometimes the fun one, and sometimes they have to make their own fun; why it's Experimental Kitchen vs canned soup for dinner... unfortunately my youngest when left to her own devices has always been the type to "what happens if I...?" and if we ever let her study science she'll probably accidentally invent time travel ... Or blow up the universe.

They've all certainly felt confident expressing themselves in unique ways (Gishwhes, anyone? :lol: family event. Even dad helped with a random Lady and the Tramp scene staged at a restaurant - who also joined in the fun). But in particular they are all thoughtful, compassionate and understanding people.

if the things I can't teach them are different to others, the things I CAN teach them make up for it.
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by Polrus » Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:34 am

Pan, I love what you just said and obviously we are saying the same thing (from our own perspectives) but you made a point that I failed to say and I think is beautiful and wonderful and cuts right to the heart. (not an exact quote) 'We teach our children things that only we could and that makes up for the things we can't'. Beautiful, insightful, really touched me.
Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.

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by Jac68 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:34 am

I have a double whammy. I have bipolar 2 & even though I was diagnosed over 7 years ago, because my symptoms don't get as severe as some, I still go through periods of denial. I have 2 kids 20 & 18. I'm constantly plagued with thoughts of being a failure as a parent. Before the dignosis I was a screamer & would get in my daughter's face. To add to that I was dealing w/my son, who has been being trated for ADHD, mood disorder, OCD traits (need I go on) since abour 5yo. The constant chaos of trying to figure how to treat him has left my daughter feeling neglected. I've gone through the guilt of passing these disorders onto him. I've verbally told my husband that if I had known that I had mental illness we would never have had kids. We deal w/his struggles w/school. I had issues w/following through w/expectations & punishment.
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by Lulu25 » Sat Dec 31, 2016 4:48 pm

I'm a single mom of a 4 year old little girl. I do it on my own. Her dad has not been around since I left him when she was 10 months old. He was an emotionally abusive controlling co-dependent alcoholic. It was the best thing for both of us. Anyways, that's a whole other topic for a whole different discussion! lol

My daughter is the absolute best part of me! She is so girly and so optimistic. She is so high spirited, compassionate, intelligent, strong-willed, and optimistic. My kid believes the world is full of sparkles, rainbows, and unicorns haha. But I love it about her. I do struggle to involve myself with certain things she loves to do, because i'm irritable and I don't find it fun at all. I feel guilty because she just wants to spend time with me and I should allow her that. I've also noticed that when I isolate myself, I isolate her as well. She wants to go run and play, but I cant get myself to leave the house and go do those things. I don't want her to suffer and not experience those things because of my mental health. It makes me feel guilty and like a terrible mom. But then I think of all the things I do with her and do because of her. I'm an awesome mom! I work full time, try to manage my mental health, and i'm there every single day for her and her needs. I may struggle with the stability of my mental health but i'm damn good at keeping a stable environment for her,

Yes, I have issues and I fear they will affect her. But I cannot control everything and she will blossom into her own personality, with her own beliefs, and with her own identity. I will do my best at helping her with that. Considering where I've been and how far I've come without treatment on my own, I think i'm kicking ass at motherhood! That little girl loves me unconditionally, I can see it everyday. She thinks i'm the greatest person in the world. It's because of her I've held it together this long. She is my miracle (we both almost died during her birth) and in a sense she saved me from myself.

We do our best, they love us regardless. I think we should not be so hard on ourselves. Parenting isn't easy for anyone. If it's not BP it's something else. She loves me and I love her and I think we will be just fine. :D
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by 1bures » Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:00 pm

My 13 years old daughter is very angry and have a lot of resentment though me and the bipolar condition. The importance thing is that I keep trying to not let this difficult stage to break the bounds Mather and daughter. Lately, I started giving her a kiss every night like when she has little. She doesn't complain about it. Open communication and honest is essential to success in parenthood relation. I like the subject a lot thank you.
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by Jemane » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:34 pm

I've got 3 kids aged 14, 10 and 6. They are good kids and I'm proud of them.
I tried to take my own life last year when I was very depressed and ended up in hospital. I worry about the effect this has on my eldest daughter. She was aware of my depression and my hospitalisation and I think it made her quite insecure.
It's improving now, probably cause I'm manic at the moment and I'm a lot of fun to be around.
I'm not worried for my kids in general as I think they are growing up very loved and they also have the stability of their dad (my husband) who is my rock.
I guess my only fear is that bipolar is genetic so will they get it too?
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
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by jmangum80 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:52 pm

Thankful I found this thread, although a lot of the thinks described scare the crap outta me. My kids are young one three and the other four months. I am so terrified of the day they realize something is wrong with their dad. My three year old is catching on. poor guy has already seen me do some dumbass shit and just today while my wife was holding our little one I couldn't contain my mouth and lashed out pretty bad at my wife. Just thinking about my daughter being around that type of energy makes me sick. I can not imagine having to remove myself from their lives. I do really well 90% of the time but every now then on really low days or really manic days the anger monster gets out. marriage and business just get overwhelming.......... After one of these "episodes" has passed I just want to die, I can't help but ruminate on what a sorry bastard Ive been. I hope they will be to see the love I have for them and the creativity I want to teach them. I had hoped that by getting some help and stopping drinking I would be able to change for them. While things are better with meds and sobriety I can't escape who I am or the fact that this illness is present in my life. Looking for hope and hoping for vision lol great topic and beautiful stories I guess I am just afraid to face what is........
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by SlyPixie » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:25 pm

I have three children my youngest son is eight years old my daughter is 10 and the oldest one at home is 12 that and one is adopted out he is 14, so totally I have four children. I very much fear how my unreliable and inconsistent behavior will affect them as they get older… I fear that one or all of my children will have bipolar disorder... I would not wish this thing on anybody… their dad and I are divorcing and he doesn't live in the same state that I am and so I do this by myself. It's not easy...
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by AvantGarde » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:13 pm

I was reading this and thinking that despite all of your adversities you're still great parents. My dad was also an alcoholic and BP, but he was abusive. The particular inconsistency of his was either obsess about his daughters in a very unhealthy incesty kind of way, to completely ignore us and tell us he didn't want to be a parent because we were nothing like him.

We tried multiple hospitalizations, but sobriety never stuck, and because of the alcohol he didn't take meds.

There's more to the story, but this is the gist of it.

I went no-contact with him on my 18th birthday and he died two years later. I don't regret stop talking to him at all.

You guys are doing/did the best you can, and that's amazing. No need to feel guilty whatsoever.
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by Jemane » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:48 am

That's horrible AG. So glad you were able to make that courageous decision at age 18.
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by Mom2dani » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:53 am

My daughter is 14. When we moved to Vegas, this illness that we had no idea I had, escalated out of control. The husband's friends find any excuse to drink on the weekend. Oh having a garage sale this weekend, let's have a party, drink and price our shit. So I binge drank every weekend, my daughter was 7 when we moved here. She saw me drunk, passed out, vomiting, yelling at her dad, the works. With the reckless spending, she never knew there was problem until now. I've told her what the pdoc dx'd me with, what is great is she wants to be a licensed social worker dealing with with adolescents who suffer from mood disorders. I've always gone above and beyond being a better mom to her than my own. I believe my own mother has bipolar and is self medicating with alcohol, she is an alcoholic. Growing up she was not nurturing, not mothering, but physically abusive to my siblings and emotionally/mentally abusive to me. You could tell she hated being a mother. So I obsessed on being a great mom, always there for my daughter, talk to my daughter about her teenage angst, and she will and does know I love her more than anything. Maybe my obsession with being this way is a part of my illness because the hubs and finances were not as important as being a good mom. Who knows, but she is an intelligent, supportive thing and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her.
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