Bipolar Disorder Community
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1344677 tn?1278344164

Does Your Family and Friends Understand Your lliness

This is a big one for me.  I've been living with my folks since last March.  They both have Altzheimers.  They don't see me ill and then they forget I am.  So I have a hard time with it.   Especially my dad once he said your not sick  until I see a note from the doctor.  I'm 58!  I've lost a couple of friends because I can't listen to their constant problems and then they start saying "oh, there's nothing wrong with you.  Or, Vickie You never listen to me when I'm having a bad time. I try to tell them that I can't listen to it.  It's one of my triggers.  Just the other day my friend of over 30 years said "Vickie we're going in different directions."  Well  I am.  So now we don't talk.  She had a habit of always putting me down and more or less making me fee stupid.

I have to work hard living in this house making sure my parents take their medicines, don't harm themselves, etc., and at the same time keep my sanity.  I don't have a social life this is it. My brother doesn't even come over or help.

Do you have issues with your family and friends?
30 Responses
Avatar universal
Good riddance to your ex-friend. It's difficult you probably feel it's your fault somehow, but it's not your fault that she finds pleasure in patronising you.

Issues - ye, Mom's an alcoholic, and genetics say she will also be dealing with alzheimers - double whammy - I'm going to have to look after her, her body is not well either. And I will also get no help from my brother as he doesn't care.

Avatar universal
Well it's funny, my mother told me I couldn't possibly have each diagnosis I received when I tried to tell her I thought I might have them and yet I ended up with them.  Irony at it's finest I guess.  My father's side of the family understands I guess, having bipolar disorder which is somehow clinically related to my disorder while the rest of the family does not.  I don't think anyone else really understands except people on here and people who work with me at PACT as much as they all possibly can anyway.
Avatar universal
Hey paranoid, I feel the same, the only place I can 'express' myself is on this forum.
What is PACT?
Avatar universal
Sort of. They don't get anything but the depression part. I do have to give my mom credit for trying - she listens and supports me when I'm not okay.

My dad - he's finally 'believing' that psychiatry is a real thing... so that should tell you something. At least he's coming around, but he has absolutely NO CLUE and just wants to get off the phone if I mention anything about my illness.

My grandmother on my dad's side really gets it. She is an angel, and helps me a lot.

I think paranoid is absolutely right. People with bipolar are the only ones who can truly get it. Even if they really try, it's impossible to understand unless you've been there. Which is why this board is so great... from meds to moods, I think everyone here can relate. And I like the feeling that I'm not alone...
Avatar universal
PACT is the Program for Assertive Community Treatment which is synonymous with ACT.

This will explain what they are.
Avatar universal
I meant worth with me as a client, I'm a client and not a worker there. lol
Avatar universal
It's true, people can only truly understand if they've dealt with something first hand, partially only understand if they've experienced it second hand.  Because imagination can only show you so much of something you never experienced.
1344677 tn?1278344164
Thanks for all the feedback,  I'm glad I'm not in this alone in this.  I need friends here where I live to talk to.  I can't talk to my brother or parents.  That's why I'm so glad this forum is here.  I found it by accident.  It's really sad when your own family can't believe or understand that you have a problem.  Lately I've been very tired.  The last two days has been irritating.  My mom went to the hospital and Vickie (me) had to do everything to take care of things like pack her bags, find the insurance card, I can't even find my things, sign her in at the hospital, etc.  My brother didn't show up, my dad (Altzheimer's) sits around and watches.  Then I had to go to the grocery store for them, pick up prescriptions, clean house, etc. The list goes on.  I hardly have time with me.  When I do I lock myself in my room and get on the computer.

If anyone lives in Dallas or near it would be nice to get together.  Thanks for all for listening to my venting.
1344677 tn?1278344164
Yes, no matter how many times I try to explain to mother my moods and why I get irritated, rages, moody - its goes in one hear and out of the other.  My dad doesn't believe he's daughter has anything. He's a hard man.  Once he said he wouldn't believe anything unless he got a note from the doctor.  I'm living in a world of Alzheimer's so matter what I say they don't remember.  That's why I joined this site.  I hope it works.

P.S. How to you add more than one person in the TO area?
Avatar universal
It's funny that it works that way, we are also sick, but so much is loaded onto us that we sometimes really cannot handle.

And we are nice, so we do it.
When actually we should be resting so that we don't burn out or trigger another episode
Would - "leave me alone, my back hurts", make more of an impact than -

"I feel like a train has just ran over me - I can't physically or mentally do anything at this stage"    ?

The alzheimers must be really frustrating.
With my mom, I think I would eventually make up fairy stories to tell her just to keep myself amused. That's another thing I'm very UN-fond of - repeating myself.
I wonder if she would debate these tall tales with me?
hee hee

I just type the names in manually (in the 'TO' area)- and not necessarily the whole name, I think that works?
899491 tn?1243773627
I had to dump a friendship just recently.  Our school district is going through a lot of changes and it is creating uncertainity with the teachers. Uncertainity is not good for bipolars. It's not productive or positive. We are laying off teachers because of budget problems. I don't like gossip especially when facts are not straight. I know gossip exist and the grape vine is alive and well. If your going to gossip at least get your facts straight. When our district started restructuring, my friend kept on calling me up telling me the latest news who was getting axed or reassigned to another school.  When I talked to the person who was getting reassigned to show my sympathy, the teacher said no such thing is occurring and wondered who was giving out that information. I told the teacher it was my friend and I was warned that she likes to gossip.  If the gossiper is getting facts and figures wrong - what is she saying about me? Trust is a big thing with me. I lost all trust in this friend and I don't want to indulged any private information anymore  When I was ill last year she ask many questions trying to figure out what was wrong with me or asking how I was getting along with the other teachers during my vulenerable time. I had a bad episode. I became aggitated and said many things plus I was put on different med's to stablize me. So basically I showed my worst side of me. I am well now but I kept my distance from this individual and when she confronted me again she said it was my illness flaring up. She put a label on me which I did not appreciate and I don't think she has a clue what bipolar is. I have warned others about her because they thought I was big buddies with her and tell them to keep their privacy or she will twist everything around.  I don't think she is malicious or anything but I think she has a lot of time on her hands and I think she lives through other's lives.. She's a retired teacher doing substitute work.
1116728 tn?1276797124
no and i dont think they care either to be honest, i just get told that im imagining it,
1344677 tn?1278344164
I had been friends with my friend for over 35 years the whole time she had a habit of knocking me down.  She had big boobs so she made fun of that.  I don't know she just had a way of making me feel stupid.   She use to preach to me literally preach to me over the phone..  I don't remember a moment that she made me feel good.  She would say Vickie I'm so disappointed in you.   I feel much better knowing that I'm going to talk to her today or tomorrow.  Yet, I'm lonely to have a friend, but a friend that understands me.
899491 tn?1243773627
That's a long time being friends. My best friend is my husband. We been married for nearly 25 years. I do write to a friend I went to school with since middle school nearly 40 years ago!  I went over to visit her a couple of times when I went back to New England. She's always doing something productive like canning vegetables or fixing up her farm.

I have a lot of acquaintance - people who I socialize with but not particularly close. I like my privacy.

My daughter works with our neighbor as a hair dresser and we have been close almost like family...they include us in family get together which is nice.

My son hanged around with boys he knew since elementary school and I've been getting close to their grandmother who lives with her daughter.  I find her very positive person...she goes to church... I'm not a church goer but she enjoys it very much. She
loves to garden and make her own cloths. The daughter is also very creative fixing up her house and we trade fixer upper stories.

It seems to gravitate to people who are creative and friendships are extended from my children.

But breaking up a friendship is hurtful espeically when you assert yourself. If you see my profile I write about how life is like a life raft. To keep healthy and even keel I need people who are supportive & positive. It's also helpful if they know you if have bp that they treat you as a individual. Your personality is not define being bp. You know what I mean....assuming every action or word you make is based on being bp. You do have individuals who look at bp's in worst case scenario....like we are dangerous to ourselves or need constant supervision like a child. They don't understand and they can become a downer when they judge you by your illness.

Sometimes making a clean break is refreshing but sometimes people just need educating. Sounds like your friend needs an attitude adjustment. Maybe she is not aware what she is doing is negative.

1344677 tn?1278344164
I've had a hard time getting friends because I stay home so much.  I 'm not involved in anything except going to book stores, which I love.  I like to educate myself and when I find something that interests I get obsessed over it and that's my only focus.  It was hurtful letting go of a friend, but when she said we were going in different directions, and I'm so disappointed in you Vickie, and a bunch of other hurtful things it was time to okay bye. I believe she was saying these to hurt me when in fact she was hurting.  Like all of you I don't need negativity in my life.  I've had that all that throughout my life.  I love my dad but he is the worse.  He never has anything positive just the worse scenario.  My life was drowned in alcohol after my abusive marriage.  I honestly believe that I developed bipolar from the marriage.  He was so abusive physically and mentally to the point where he had me convinced that I was a bad, ugly person and that no one would ever want me.

I responded to that by drinking to much, if a man showed interest in my I would just do what he said. This went on for years.  I couldn't keep a relationship because I would push them away with my wild antic ways.

Wow this is becoming a story, sorry.

I did need a clean break.  I feel like my life is just beginning.  I quit drinking and smoking March 2009 and now have two little grand babies.  That's what my focus is now.  I'm hoping to get better so I can form a relationship with a man.

I have so much more to talk about.  When I send to one does everyone get the same post.  I was trying to figure out how to send to all of the nice people that has corresponded with me.

Love you all.
874521 tn?1424116797
you need to congratulate yourself dear, you have done amazing changes in your life with little support and alot on your shoulders with looking after both parents.
I looked after my husband for 20 yrs after a head injury, I know how draining and also how difficult their behavior can be.....I also worked in long term care and looked after many Alzheimer people to do that 24/7 takes alot of courage, no wonder you have a problem with depression it would take a strong person not too.
Both my husband and my son have BP, I am there for my son with all his self hate and bad decisions, its not easy.
I too have trouble mixing with people and going anywhere, just antisocial I guess but also its the fact that no one truly understand what we go thr. therefore its hard to relate....and all the fast fixes they have so many opinions and advice on things they know nothing of.
I hope you find people to talk with and can relate too on this forum, you do need some support dear.
Avatar universal
Hey Vickie,

Wow! We both quit drinking about the same time.
I quit in April 2009 - it was the best decision I've ever made.

Quit smoking 10 years ago!
Vickie, you're so right about not needing negativity in our lives, and I think that's also why we quit these destructive habits.

I'm so sorry that you were with such a mean spirited person.

You are a jewel, and it will be a process to find somebody - it's a process for everyone.

About chatting to selected people, you can add them as a friend, I think - I haven't done that yet

539549 tn?1315981662
my mother is about as understanding as a person can get.....
My dad on the other hand....
just doesn't have a clue
Hes extremely arrogent and so he always thinks he is right about everything
In some ways I am really glad I'm not closer to my dad  
I really think it could only esclate the bipolar if I was around him long enough.................

My friends are an entirely diffrent story....
Generaly nowdays the bipolar has not really interfeared with my friendships
I'm careful to keep the bipolar and friendhips seprate
unless its with one of my friends who already has a mental illness
Avatar universal
I understand.  My parents "got it" and were wonderful.  They took me to doctors appts., to ect appts. etc.  My very closed minded Aunt and Uncle have even been very supportive.  But: I have lost jobs, coworker friendships, and even people who were very close friends due to either not understanding or not wanting to.  The biggest slap in the face came from my own brother.  He thinks I'm wierd and crazy.  The ironic thing about him is that his wife is a psychriatric nurse in a hospital.  (she is wonderful)  He even went so far as to tell me to quit talking to his wife about my "problems".  Of course she was furious and we just ignore him.
1344677 tn?1278344164
I love this, but then the illness is sad but I feel so grateful and happy that I am talking to people that can relate and understand.  It's been so hurtful here.  My brother want talk about it - we've never been close.  I even bailed him out of jail had to sit at the course house from 9am - 6pm waiting for his release. I didn't get much of a thank you.  It was more like we're suppose to help your my sis/brother.  When I try and talk to him about my illness he just hem has.  I asked him to take me to the airport next week he hesitate and when I then when I said I'll give you money for gas he agreed. I was just floored.  Congratulations Deepie for stopping drink and smoking.  You know I still have a pack of cigarettes in my drawer I don't know why I'm keeping them.

It's so said that our closest friends and turn into our enemies.  That's when you feel really alone.  I've beenlooking for a church or support group here in Fallas that are nally on the up and up.  We have something called meet up  They meeting once every Saturday, but for some reason my intuition tells me know it not the right one.

I'm hoping to find a friend who lives in Dallas where we can meet and talk not a big group it would be like going to AA.

I spend a lot of time on my eBay store.  I love it and it's something I taught myself.  I read books, researched what to sell and what I liked.  Just being able to do this gives me a lot of confidence.  The one thing I'm having a hard time is inventory, keeping the booking.  I'm bad at that, but I'm working on it.

Thank to all of you.  Hope to hear from you.
1310468 tn?1274863925
Hi everyone.

In fairness to the "normals" trying to understand the illness from an outside perspective, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me either - I'm a hard person, so I have to admit that if I didn't have BPII and a sufferer explained it to me, I probably would think it was just an excuse (BPI I could probably accept more, I think).

A few months ago - without at any point taking leave of my senses - I quit my job, spent thousands of pounds I didn't have, ignored a tax bill, failed to pay my car bill, failed to pay my car insurance so was driving without (illegal in the UK), shot my credit rating to bits, stopped sleeping, exercised three times a day and started living on protein shakes and alcohol. Then one morning I woke up and realised what I'd done, and spent the next week on the phone to the Samaritans because I wanted to kill myself but couldn't bring myself to do that to my parents and partner.

Thing is, I was not at any point incapable of rational thought; I knew perfectly well what I was doing and why I shouldn't be doing it, but my optimistic state was such that I thought it would be OK.

Looking back, I can't even begin to understand that myself - so I can hardly be surprised that my parents don't.  They've lent me a lot of money to get myself out of the worst of the trouble, but they've since said that they don't believe there's anything wrong with me - my dad said "you've always been a bit strange emotionally".  I tried to tell him that was kind of the point, but nothing explains why a rational person does the kind of things I did while I was hypomanic.

My parents and my partner are wonderful people and they'd all do anything to help me - but if my actions don't make sense to me, I can't be resentful that they don't make sense to them.
1344677 tn?1278344164
What happen to you sounds very familiar to me.  Except I did take to the extreme.  However, like you I had parents to help me out.  I don't know what would of happen to me if I had not had them. They didn't understand any of it.  Or, they didn't want to.  Today, they act like it didn't happen.  Mostly my dad.   Additionally, they both ave Altzheimer's and don't remember it.  I try to remind them at times. The part they remember the most is coming to rehab and mom say "That's not my daughter."  I was so drugged out by med's they had me on I looked terrible.  That's what they do in rehab so you want cause too much trouble.

You too much happening to you at one time and your mind probably shutdown and just reacted.  That happens to me sometimes everything is just too much for me to handle and my mind shuts down and I do things or don't do things I'm suppose.  I usually drank thinking it would make it all go away.  But it didn't  All it did was make me sicker.  I wish I had of had someone to talk to at the time that could of helped realize that I was sick.
1310468 tn?1274863925
So your parents don't understand the illness but they still helped you?  That's good, you've got to give them credit for that.  At least there you can say that they may not want to accept that you have this weirdo illness and they may not understand how it affects you, but they love you enough to help you anyway. That's exactly the approach I've taken with my own parents - their willingness to help me almost mean more given that they really just think I've been a total idiot, because from their point of view that's a big thing to forgive.

In a way, having a hypomanic episode that bad has turned out to be a good thing; when I came out of it into the depressive stage, I just thought I was depressed because I'd been an idiot, but when I talked to my GP she asked loads of questions and pointed out that the drinking (really out of character for me), the lack of need for sleep, the obsessive exercise, the job change, the irresponsible decisions AND the spending had all happened at the same time - and from there I saw a specialist and we arrived at BPII.  I'm still in a mess and dealing with it is not fun, but at least I now know what's wrong and I can start dealing with it, rather than just continuing the endless cycle of giddiness and depression without realising it's abnormal.

For years we thought I had seasonal affective disorder - I think there might be an element of the winter blues triggering the depressive phases, but over the last couple of years the pattern's changed leading to a diagnosis of BPII.  Ironically, my parents "got" the SAD and were incredibly supportive; they bought me the lamps, accepted it when I dropped out of uni and quit a job because I was too depressed to be functional. I went through half a dozen antidepressants over three with hideous side-effects; I spent one winter hallucinating almost continually, with the result that even after I came off the meds I couldn't do something as simple as picking up a plate because I couldn't trust my eyes telling me it was there. My mum once had to rugby-tackle me to stop me jumping out of a second floor window, because as far as I was concerned there was a huge, rotting vultury-gargoyle thing preparing to pounce on me. With a diagnosis of BPII, even my extreme reactions to ADs starts to make sense - chances are, they were pushing me into a mixed state or even full-blown mania.

All that they were supportive with, and they never questioned the diagnosis of SAD - I think they'd known for a while that something was not quite right, and having a diagnosis that fit but that wasn't too severe was a relief for them.  I think they're just scared of the BP diagnosis, because to their generation BP means manic-depressive, and people get locked up for that.  I have no right to complain because they're helping me all they can even though they don't believe the diagnosis; and like I said, hypomania sounds like a pithy excuse even to me, so I can hardly blame them.

My boyfriend's attitude is more philosophical; as far as he's concerned, I've been like this for as long as he's known me so slapping a new label on it makes no difference aside from potentially helping with treatment.  It was him that made me see the GP about the depression this last time; he realised it was totally out of sync for me to be suicidal in April, which with SAD should have been when I felt best.

Anyway, that turned out to be longer than I thought - sorry about that.  The point I was making, Vickie, is that your parents love you enough to help even though they don't like the diagnosis. I'm not saying your situation isn't hard, but if I were you I'd try to keep that in mind the next time your dad's hurting you - and that his illness and frustration will be contributing to his bahaviour as well. If you want them to accept that BP affects your behaviour, you need to remember that Alzheimer's is an awful illness and that it will be affecting his too - especially if he's still at a stage where he knows something's wrong with him, which it sounds like he is.

Hope this helps a little bit - the same as you, I've found that hearing about other people's experiences helps enormously.
1344677 tn?1278344164
Wow you have had a rough time.  I'm sorry. I was suicidal at one time do - but I had godly intervention thank goodness. Yes, my parents have been with all the way and no they don't understand.  I guess you can see we're helping each other now.  Dad has come to depend on me a lot. I'm proud of him for a 83 year old man who has suffered a stroke, heart problem, vascular dementia is still trying to stay a live.  He does solitare on his computer, right now his redoing our concrete patio, it vacuums, works in the garden daily, and anything that he can do.  However, on the other side he is very slow, walks with a hunch - he just looks so old.  It's hard for me to see this.  But lately we have been bonding because of the problem with mom. It's hurting us both to see her this way.

Again, my problem has been my memory and being able to focus.  This last week hasn't been good.  I can't remember what day it is, I've forgotten some important issues I needed to take care up. I've been making lists and putting signs up every where.  I'm going to start carry a notebook so when there's something I need to remember I'll right it down.

There is one thing that I do that has been keeping sane, educated and focused and that's keep my ebay store together. I had no idea how to open a store but with my willingness to learn I did.   But I have to double check my inventory because I'm not sure or remember.  I've sold items and I didn't actually have them and that's not good.  Anyway the story is getting long.

Thanks for everything and I really enjoy our conversations.
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