Bipolar Disorder Acceptance

Anonymous writes, “I am 56, married with three grown children and one grown step daughter. All the kids are married, educated, successful in their fields, own homes and three have children…

I am in Pennsylvania with my husband of 20 years and all the kids moved south to escape the dreary weather here. We are suck here for my husband’s job until retirement. I have had Bipolar Disorder since my mid 20s, finally diagnosed about 25 years ago. A great deal of trauma as a child that I still struggle with and an addictive personality disorder which has been everything from shoplifting to alcohol.

Two of the kids (oldest and youngest) do their best to forgive and forget when things happen and I have a decent relationship with them. One son wrote me off nine years ago, saying that I used it to get away with stuff; he has two children who I have seen once. He’s a cop!

The remaining daughter suffers from depression and anxiety since her teens but has never had to be hospitalized.

My question is this… is it wrong of me to have expected the children to become educated about my disease as adults? I believe that if it were MS or Cancer they would have done tons of research on treatments and other information on what to expect and how to help as mental illness is not something you ever cure.

About 10 years ago I sent them some basic information but I don’t believe that any of them have done any real self education about mental illness and specifically Bipolar Disorder or addictive personality disorder.

My husband has tried to shield them from a lot that happens to protect my relationship with each of the remaining three. I have been my own advocate for my health, using natural treatments and only take three meds regularly.

I am tired of things just being accepted and forgiven but not understood. My kids never really went without, always had enough to eat, nice clothes and a solid roof over their heads. Is it wrong for me to expect them to try to understand the situation rather than accept it?

While I am grateful that the two forgive and forget, the third one with mental illness is a bit of a narcissist, she has stepped back from our relationship but doesn’t try to keep our relationship up. I hate that my illness has impacted them at all but I believe that our relationships would be better with more understanding of what is going on. What happens if this turns into dementia as I already have memory issues? Wouldn’t it be better to understand rather than just accepting or am I asking too much?”

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