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Parenting while bipolar, can it be done??

Ask questions! Share your worries and fears.

by jmangum80 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:23 pm

Hi. My name is jared and i am new to this site and bipolar. I was diagnosed a few months ago and it wasn't until I started to take the meds and practice a few other things that I was able to really come to grips with what was going on with my mental and emotional state. While I know there is a long walk ahead of me I have been able to find ways to better structure my life to work with the disorder. I am a small business owner, am married with two children; a three year old son and a four month old daughter. Things have been rough over the past three years of my wife and I's relationship, with my son getting older and my daughter so new and perfect I am terrified of screwing up as a father. It seems that I have found a way to sabotage everything else in my life so why should this be any different? Any advice in learning how to live a full life as a bipolar parent would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know the tricks of the trade. I feel like I am either constantly upset, overwhelmed or apologizing.
"On this Path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure."
The Bhagavad Gita
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by Lulu25 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:28 pm

I dont think parenting is easy for anyone. Im a bipolar single mom of a soon to be 5 year old. Its hard but I honestly think im a great mom. She loves me, even when im grumpy. She literally told me tonight befors bed that she loves me so much, when im mad, sad, happy, or tired. My 4 year old was able to distinguish my moods and say she loves me through all of them. Since her dad isnt in her life, my parents help me bc i work full time. I have bad days sometimes. I know my patience isnt where it should be or im irritable. On really bad days im very open with my parents and tell them i think its best if she stays there that night. Its rare but sometimes its whats best for her. Other then that ive learned to tell her that mommy needs a few minutes of space. She understands now. I think the more i stress about trying not to effect her the more she picks up on my emotions and it in turn causes her to stress. Its possible to be a parent, you just gotta find what works for you and your family. The best way for you may not be the best way for someone else.

You being concerned about this goes to show youre a good dad. Just be you, they will love you unconditionally! You will be a super hero to them. Dont put so much pressure on yourself. Take care of yourself...meds and therapy...it will reflect in all other areas of your life. :)
She is a soldier in the war against herself...
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by Jemane » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:39 pm

It helps me that my husband works in the health industry so he has a good understanding of bipolar and especially depression.
Could you get your partner a book on bipolar (I have one called living with bipolar) that could explain about the illness? Maybe it would help your partner to go along to one of your pdoc appointments?
Parenting with bipolar can be done with the right support. I've got 3 kids aged 14, 10 and 6 and they've lived through me being hospitalised and they seem to be doing ok.
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
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by jmangum80 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:50 am

Wow Lulu25 that is really beautiful what you said about your four year old loving you no matter what, "My 4 year old was able to distinguish my moods and say she loves me through all of them." That gives me some hope. :) children are so pure.

And yes Jemane my wife and I got a book entitled, The Bipolar Survival Guide, we actually got it for both our parents as well and it has not only helped everyone to better understand the nature of bipolar but has also answered tons of questions in regards to past behavior.
When we started reading the book, and several others, it was pretty damning as far as what has been afflicting me (and my family) my whole life.

Because of some of the things I have witnessed and lived through, do to my desire to experience everything and anything while in manic states, I also have developed ptsd, so most times my episodes are triggered by flight, fight or freeze responses and result in fight; ANGER. I can get scary and that is what I hate about my disorder. While being on meds I have experienced more peace and freedom from alcohol than ever in my life. This has in turn resulted in acquiring the space to see myself with some clarity and that hurts almost as much as anything, knowing and admitting how off I have been. When my children push me, which all children do, I can feel those emotional charges starting to build and it scares the hell out of me.

I grew up in the construction field bc I just didn't fit in anywhere else, it was an easy place to hide. But even those jobs would breakdown and end in total failure at some point. My wife recognized and I always knew I just couldn't do it like everyone else, so we literally made our own way and started a small natural soap business that has done remarkably well and I love the time I have everyday with my kids and wife, but the hardest part is all the time I have with my kids and wife. lol

I am so afraid that it will all just unravel again. it actually feels strange to be somewhat center. I am learning to meditate daily to bring myself down and observe where I am emotionally and mentally but as business picks up and my moods shift/swing I can see how unreliable I am at times. My wife is very involved in therapy with me and in many ways needs my support as much I need hers but sometimes returning the favor seems a herculean task lol anyways this my first time to reach out this way and I have to say just getting some of this out through typing is relieving in and of itself. Thanks for the ears guys. :mrgreen:
"On this Path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure."
The Bhagavad Gita
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by MixedNut » Thu Jul 20, 2017 8:38 am

I can identify with much of what you wrote. I was finally diagnosed when I went to a psychiatrist due to my concerns about old, historical anger coming back. I had a one-year-old and wanted to be the best parent I could. That anger rapidly blossomed into full mania, but I was treated fairly quickly and with the stability, I was much better. But it was therapy that helped me to make peace with the things that drove the anger in the first place. I now have an 18 month-old and a three-year-old who respect my decisions but who do not fear me at all. They now come over and sit on my lap whenever they can.

The fact that you want to want to continue to improve your relationships with your family members is really important. Without that, it would be tough. But if your heart and head are in the right place in your saner moments, then you'll figure out what you need to do. Think about the possibilities! You can be that dad who has kids who adore him and don't fear him at all.
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by jmangum80 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:38 am

But it was therapy that helped me to make peace with the things that drove the anger in the first place. I now have an 18 month-old and a three-year-old who respect my decisions but who do not fear me at all.


Hey MixedNut, (I love that name BTW :lol:) I have been in steady therapy and yes it is amazing how much it has helped. I have also dropped all use of self medications such as pot and alcohol. Things have improved in ways I never thought possible. short of a few "normal" disagreements with my wife my life is actually moving right along smoothly and productively. Thank you so much for the support and encouragement. Best to you and much love my friend. :D
"On this Path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure."
The Bhagavad Gita
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by MixedNut » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:00 am

That is really wonderful to hear. Best of luck!
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by Echard » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:18 pm

I just wanted to add that it seems the key is the desire to be a great parent, and you have that. You're doing the therapeutic work that you need to do - kudos.

I have four kids from 7-13 years old. None of them even know of my diagnosis. I was only diagnosed about 3 months ago. I would say that in spite of my bipolar I've been a pretty stellar dad - my kids are really well adjusted. The fact that I would never want any harm to come to them is a driving force in my choice to always do what I need to do to be well.
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