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Old 06-05-2008, 03:05 AM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
4 posts, read 47,988 times
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Is anyone else trying to deal with being the parent of your Bipolar/Schizophrenic mom or dad?

Just wondering...

Last edited by Trusting Him; 06-05-2008 at 03:10 AM.. Reason: left out word in title
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Old 06-06-2008, 07:27 PM
tao
 
Location: Colorado
721 posts, read 3,017,269 times
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I am. It's been one long nightmare. Luckily one of my brothers has suddenly decided to take the reins and I am now free to live my life. I put in 32 years taking care of my sick mom and I'm glad I finally have a turn to be happy.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
4,728 posts, read 9,295,184 times
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Trusting Him and Tao, I can sympathize with you both. I grew up in a home with my mother suffering with bi-polar disease. At the time she began treatment of her symptoms she was 18 years old and it was determined that she was depressed.

It actually took another 40 years for her to have the correct diagnosis and some semblance of help with the correct meds.

As a child, I always felt that it was because we children were misbehaving that Mom was sick. It is very difficult for adult children to care for a sick parent, but devastating to a youngster who cannot understand that it is not their fault.

Peace to you both and your suffering parent.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,387 posts, read 31,915,199 times
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My father was bi-polar but I've never had to deal with being a parent to him unless you count the last 3.5 years of his life which he spent in a nursing home. While it was more like I was the parent, he was really cared for by the nursing home so I didn't consider myself to be in that role.

It's a tough place to be.
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Old 06-07-2008, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Atlanta suburb
4,728 posts, read 9,295,184 times
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I think having a parent with a mental illness like bi-polar disease does force a role reversal between parent and child.

One of the sad outcomes of this reversal is that while the parent is suffering from the disease the child, whether a youngster or adult, is suffering in his own way also. It can easily create resentment and severe pressure for the child of such a parent.

For a young child growing up with a parent with this disease it is particularly difficult because, as I had mentioned, the guilt that the child often struggles with as he lives with his unpredictable parent. Because the child is so often the target of the parent's anger, frustration, irrational behavior, etc. the child feels responsible for the parent's unhappiness. This is a terrible burden to place on anyone's shoulders, but particularly a child who does not understand the dynamics of the disease.

Even as an adult child, the guilt of feeling that one is never doing enough to help his parent or bring the parent happiness is ever-present. In our rational minds, we know that we are not to blame and that we are generally quite helpless to "fix" the parent's condition. Still, the pain, guilt and anger takes root in our minds. If only I . . .

There is often as much healing necessary for the coping child as for the afflicted parent. Counseling with mental health professionals and support groups of child with mentally ill parents is of immeasurable benefit.

If you do not already have someone to talk to, Trusting Him, you might want to consider a support group. We all need someone to listen to our pain and confusion. Just speaking the words often puts things into better perspective for us.

And, of course, you know that you always have caring friends on City-Data. Just consider that there is not a mental health care professional to monitor any discussion, so you must use wise discernment with any suggestions.
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Old 06-07-2008, 09:39 PM
 
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I grew up with a depressed mother and an alcoholic father so I know what it like to deal with mental ilness. My mother is ederly and lives with us and she is currently depressed - it is horrible living with her but she cant cope on her own.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:41 AM
 
Location: Long Beach, CA
4 posts, read 47,988 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gemkeeper View Post
Even as an adult child, the guilt of feeling that one is never doing enough to help his parent or bring the parent happiness is ever-present. In our rational minds, we know that we are not to blame and that we are generally quite helpless to "fix" the parent's condition. Still, the pain, guilt and anger takes root in our minds.
Gemkeeper, this is SO where I continue to live!
I'm an only child, so sharing the load is not an option. I've got a husband, a 5 yr old, and a 3 year old. My mom was put in a psych hosp for a month for discontinuing her meds early this year. When the month was up they decided she could no longer live alone and released her into my care. I brought her across state lines to my house with o2 tanks in tow. I've been operating at a level of high anxiety ever since. She's got the health of a 80 yr old women, but she's only 60. She's been in and out of the hospital since she's been here. I currently have her at a 6-bed and she hates it.
The guilt?!! Don't get me started on the guilt. It's been she and I throughout my teens and most of my adolescence. As I entered my teens, she began to self-medicate with alcohol. I can't ever remember being safe or taken care of with her. What a relief it was to leave at 18 and let her new romantic interest shoulder most of her load for almost 20 years! It's been suggested that I medicate her to make her "more compliant" and "less combative". Drug my 60 yr old mom to make my life easier?? And, anyway, it wouldn't make her any less needy.
ughhh, I may just lose it myself!

p.s. sorry it's taken me so long to reply to the message I started...I've been just a little busy...
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Old 07-18-2008, 03:30 AM
 
1 posts, read 21,493 times
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Default re: Adult children of Bipolar/Schizophrenic parents

i was raised by a mother with bipolar disorder after my father who is paranoid schizophrenic wandered away...it's a rather surreal upbringing that still affects me. I have a wide social network yet none has anything like a similar family dynamic...i've worked through a lot of the anger i carried in my younger years yet it seems to affect me more as a grow older as i tend to feel disconnected...recently my father returned into my life - sort of...
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Old 07-18-2008, 03:34 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
10,739 posts, read 32,625,677 times
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My Birth Mother is bipolar, something I was not aware of until years into trying to forge a relationship with her. As I got to know her extended family, I found that her and all three of her brothers were bipolar.

Luckily I am not charged with caring for her because she crossed a line with me and I no longer speak with her. She is my biological brothers cross to bear in life. I am lucky she gave me up for adoption.
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Old 07-18-2008, 06:00 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
2,657 posts, read 7,371,697 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trusting Him View Post
It's been suggested that I medicate her to make her "more compliant" and "less combative". Drug my 60 yr old mom to make my life easier?? And, anyway, it wouldn't make her any less needy.
ughhh, I may just lose it myself!

p.s. sorry it's taken me so long to reply to the message I started...I've been just a little busy...
Probably sounds callous but .... hey, whatever it takes to make your life easier.

Believe me, I know whereof I speak. I, too, have a B-P mother who self-medicated with alcohol, starting when I was quite young -- like 5 or 6. My siblings and I had no childhood to speak of. Walking home from school, it was always with the trepidation "is Mommy gonna be mad or drunk?" We had no understanding that she was suffering a mental disorder, just that she was "mad" most of the time. Being that this was over 40 years ago, the attitude was to keep it all hidden, that's why our father never did much except keep us out of her way as much as possible. He tolerated her drinking because it meant she would eventually pass out and things would get quiet. There were many times we kids went without food because it was spent on her beer. It also meant not having close friends who might "find out", and being shunned by neighbors who saw the worst of her behavior when she got drunk, stripped off most of her clothes and passed out in the front yard.

Once we were out of the house, our father left her and she sank so low that she was confined to a hospital and mercifully diagnosed. As adults, we came to understand and have some compassion for her; it wasn't her fault that she was messed up; but we also stand firm that she is not going to continue the hell into our adult lives. We deserve that much from her. So, if she wants us to visit; if she wants to see her grandkids; she takes her pills. No compromise on that. She complains that it makes her feel "out of it" (maybe sanity feels very off-kilter to her) but she is quieter, more docile, and a lot more pleasant to deal with.

I would not feel one.bit.of.guilt over medicating your mother. It's not her fault that she has screwed up circuits, but your innocence at being brought into the situation out of no circumstance but being born to her trumps everything.

Many {hugs] to you. I know the hell you've had to live through
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