It is a strangely wonderful experience to discover that others not only have experienced even the strangest and most painful
things that you and your family have, but have survived with their senses of humor intact; and best of all, in many cases
-- through much hard work and prayer -- have been rewarded by seeing their loved ones go from extreme dysfunction to stability.
It gives us all hope.
A typical post from a new member who has discovered "kindred spirits":
"I am so blessed to be in this group. I have been reading my e-mails and boy I can sure relate to everything that
is being written. I just finished reading one e-mail that made me laugh and laugh because I could relate to the symptoms
they discussed. I laughed not to make fun but because I could not believe that these things happen to someone else. Since
I did not understand BP for many years, I thought I was going crazy, it was like a nightmare... As I continue to read these
e-mails, I don't feel so all alone anymore and am getting much education. I Praise God for this group. I'm not in the twilight
zone anymore, I think I can make it now!!! "
From a long-time member:
This list has been a wonderful experience for me and truly changed my life. I have made very good friends here, and have
even met with some. It's such a blessing to be able to talk with others who do really know what is going on in our homes.
The amount of experience that is combined, through everyone's pdocs, etc., is astounding. We all benefit. And the best part
is that when you really "need to talk" someone will usually answer your post within a few hours.
Powerful advice from one mother (long-time member) to another (new member):
<<My daughter is considered a fast cycler. She goes through this every 10
My husband is considered an ultra rapid cycler. When unmedicated he
cycled several times a day. I would begin a conversation with Mr.
Hyde and within minutes was in an argument with Dr. Jekyll - or vice
<<Is this reasonable to ask her to take medications when they do
this to her? Who would choose to be an automaton? >>
Considering what she does when she is not medicated is it reasonable
to cease your quest for stability?
<<Seeing what meds do to her makes me want to cry because I suffer
just seeing how adversely they affect her. >>
She's your child - how could it NOT make you want to cry? We hurt
when they hurt. My bp's are my husband and my eldest daughter who is 16
(and probably my youngest as well - she's almost 12). My husband
was diagnosed 10 years ago while very manic. He spent time in
a hospital for suicidality the following year. He didn't stabilize
for another year. And of course he was cycling long before his
diagnosis. During those years we all suffered greatly - and during
that time my daughter was diagnosed, which brought a whole different sort
of mourning. But, for both of my bp's, ditching the meds is not an
option. It took two full years to find the right mix for my
husband, but not working towards stability just could not be an
option. We all wanted - and had a right to - sanity again.
<<I am frustrated that nothing seems to work for her. >>
I don't blame you for being frustrated. It may take a long time for
her to find the right mix. And sometimes a medication that didn't
work on the first trial will work on the second trial. Don't give
up on the meds. Marie, what choices are open to you? If you choose
not to pursue meds then where, exactly, do you think you can move to
where it will be ok with society for your daughter to do insane things
and be welcomed?
<<All this does is make me feel worse, and frankly, I feel like I
am going through a death right now. >>
You are. Did you hear that? You ARE! You are mourning a "normal,
happy existence" for your daughter. She will never be like other daughters
that your peer group talks about. She will, through no fault of her
own, struggle with mental illness for the rest of her life.
This stinks - it's not fair for them or for us. And it is a death of sorts. Our dreams for them must now be modified
- and in some cases, given up.
But Marie, you still have
hope that she will find a mix that will work for her. As long as she
continues to draw breath there is hope for a renewal for her. And
even when we are at our lowest we must continue to send our children
the message that we believe in their ability to find sanity and
maintain it - if your daughter senses that you have already given up and
you believe that she can NEVER beat this illness then she will also
believe it. She takes her cues from you. Do the research about new
meds out there - there are so many that your daughter hasn't tried yet -
they're coming out every day. Don't give up! Go to the homepage of
our list and look at the links and research. Maybe you'll find
something that will be helpful for your daughter.
Big hugs to you Marie.