The life we live as family and friends of those with mental illness is a daily roller-coaster ride. One moment things are calm and seemingly good, the next moment you are on a downward spiral chaos. You learn over the years what the triggers are and how to minimize them at all cost. That is not always possible. The Bipolar Mind for example is constantly evolving. My son was diagnosed at age 6 and we had him on various cocktails of medications to stabilize him but that was never perfect. The problem with the medications is that they are not themselves. Sometimes the cocktail creates a shell of the person you know. I honestly don’t know what the right plan is for this illness but there truly has got to be a balance. I want my creative, highly intelligent son, not the over-medicated zombie he is on medication but I also struggle with watching him ride this roller-coaster of emotions, lies and fantasy. He lives in a world in his head that is not easily explained to those who have never experienced it first hand.
As a parent you want life to be easy for your children and for them to have anything they put their mind to. We tell them that if they want something in life they just have to set goals and shoot for the stars. The problem with a mental illness is that the mind doesn’t know limits and when they can’t achieve what they strive for immediately they get overwhelmed and then spiral. To the outsider they can seem so normal and well adjusted when in actuality they are battling their own thoughts constantly. Living a positive life helps but it is not the complete answer. I sit by and watch and hope that one day a cure for this disorder will be found. The fear of self-medication with drugs and alcohol is a fear I live daily. I have the thought that I will get that terrible phone call one day that something horrible has happened.
Threats of suicide, irrational rages, lies and over-exaggerated thoughts. One minute loving life and the next thinking everything sucks and everyone is out to get them. How do we know what is real and fantasy if they don’t even really know themselves? Do we just walk away and let them fight this battle alone or do we allow them to run our lives with their lies and passive aggressive comments that leave you feeling you aren’t doing something right?
When you love a person with mental illness you have to accept them as they are and guide them to fight daily but not to use their illness as crutch and to never become the victim of it. We all have our battles to fight, it is up to us whether we continue to fight or just give in to the battle and lay down and let it defeat us. I will never stop fighting but I will also never allow this battle to take over my life.
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