So, tonight, after realizing my cell phone has been stolen, I only have $15 in the bank, and I have a huge car payment coming up at the end of the week, I broke down to my parents and explained to them my financial situation and how I got myself into it with my manic spending sprees...and they immediately jumped in and said, "Alright now, we don't want to hear you throwing that word around here. That's no excuse. Manic...puh-lease."
Later on, after some more fighting, I tried to get my mom to say the word, "BIPOLAR." She wouldn't say it, and that's when she told me she doesn't think I have the disorder.
I've never been more upset with them. I hate them. This I know for sure. I called my therapist to schedule an immediate family meeting because I can't go on with their insane lack of support and complete ignorance.
I just wanted to write a quick comment to your current situation. As with so many things, I can definitely relate to you about your relationship with your parents. Only after having almost nothing to do with them for several years are we able to get along now, but we are still just beginning to be able to talk about things beyond the surface. I really feel terrible for you, because I know how difficult it is to say that you hate your parents. I've said it hundreds of times (in my head, mainly) and it hurt every time. I have been VERY resentful nearly my entire life. It consumed me. And we both have EVERY right to be upset with them as far as I can see, bipolar or not. As for me, I had to cut all ties, not depend on them for anything, and I mean NOTHING--no support, no money, no understanding, nothing!--before we were able to have a decent relationship with each other. It's terribly hurtful and damaging for us, particularly because we already have to deal with stereotypes, stigma, and rejection, not to mention the disorder itself. It is a very lonely place to be, I know, and it does a real number on the self esteem, let me tell you. But I'm sure you know that.
Is there anyone else you can turn to to help you out of this rut? Grandparents? Friends? Try to take a deep breath and try not to dwell or obsess on their shortcomings and your resentment, as it can eat you ALIVE! The only advice I can think to give is to try to distance yourself from them as much as possible after this current situation is resolved. Try to learn not to rely on them, and you will find that you are stronger than you think without being shot down at every corner. Along with your new treatment, distance from them might enable you to become more independent and more confident. If you can do that, you will very likely start to feel better about yourself. You have to get away from that negativity; it will hinder all the progress you're making with treatment.
I just want you to know that I COMPLETELY understand what you're going through. Distance was the only way that I could salvage my relationship with my parents, and more importantly, my sanity. Now, I can say that things are pretty good. I had to force myself to maintain the relationship because I have a 13 year old daughter who loves them dearly, and they love her and treat her VERY well, much better than they ever treated me. But I do have to say, as they get older, they are getting better...and so am I. You will, too. But you've got to get away from that situation.
Keep your chin up, Frozen. Remember, YOU know who you are inside, YOU what you're going through. You don't need their approval or validation. You are your own person, with your own talents and gifts to present to the world. They are not your world. They are just people...
Keep your chin up, frozen. You know who you are, what you're going through. You don't need their approval or validation. You are your own person, with your own talents and gifts to present to the world. They are not your world. They are just people...
alot of people from the baby boomer generation dont like to admit problems like that or they tend to have complete denial if someone in there family has a problem like that. I am sorry that you are going through this and i hope that they will see.
Hold your head high, Frozen. You can get through this, with or without them. You will find a way. You're strong, you're great, you're caring and sweet, you're going to be fine. Remember that in the face of adversity, of negativity. Parents are just people, like you and me. They are not superheros, and sometimes, they're not even that great. Unfortunately for us, we ended up with the not-so-great ones. But, I survived it, and so will you. When they start to say mean things to you, just turn your back and walk away. Don't listen to it. I know it's easier said than done. But think of it this way, you only have to hear what you want to hear. You have control over that. If you don't want to hear anything negative, make a commitment to yourself that you won't, and react when you do. Condition your body to respond to negativity by walking away. You could even tell them that you won't stand for it. But first, you have to learn how to let go of them. It's very difficult. But if you can become more independent, you will become less afraid, more in control of the situation. Basically, cut out anything they could hold over your head, like financial assistance. If you don't need them, you will have a lot more control over how to handle situations like this.
Frozen- i could of written your thread myself.
I first tried telling my mum about my spending problem when i was 19. She brushed it to one side and said that its retail therapy and everyone does it.
Many times over the years that followed i tried to tell her i suspected i was bipolar because of my wild mood swings but she said there was no way i had it and used to get quite angry with me.
Maybe i should of took it off my own back to go and get help, but i kind of needed her approval in some way first, does that make sense? Ive always believed she was right about everything and wrongly ignored my instincts.
So, as a result of me continuing to be wrongly treated for just depression with ssri's, i carried on going into extreme (hypo)manic phases which led to me getting £90.000 in debt and stealing money too. Every few months my mum would find out about my latest spending/stealing episode and we would have an almighty row. At this stage i hadnt noticed the pattern and still believed i had a spending addiction of some sort, which my mum said was rubbish. She said it was bull**** and i was using it as an excuse, which was awful to hear as i felt so out of control and was screaming out for help. I knew i didnt WANT to be doing what i was doing, but couldnt help it and it made me feel so desperate. I eventually went for some counselling which helped uncover some issues with my mum (thats another thread!!) but still didnt uncover my bipolar.
I eventually got my diagnosis in May this year after doing my own research and discovering that the spending is part of bipolar. I noticed the pattern and everything fell into place. I asked to be referred and was diagnosed BPII. Now im being treated my spending is under control im pleased to say and i can budget money for the first time in my life.
I think seeing the change my mum has had to admit im bipolar although i know she doesnt like to, but it had definitely changed both our lives for the better. Maybe your parents will feel the same when they notice this change too.
Gav has given you some fantastic advice which i totally agree with, and i just wanted to let you know you're not alone with the whole 'parents in denial' thing. You know instinctively what is wrong so follow your instincts, as you are the most important person here.
I dont guess any parent wants to believe their child has bipolar, but diagnosis and treated bipolar is far better than untreated, and i think in time thay will realise that too
Just want to echo the other posts - have had exactly the same experiences and, like Gav 73, I now have a 'superficial' relationship with my mum, but only after years of hurting and fighting.
I just wanted to say that I realised a couple of years ago the one person I could always depend on, whatever the situation, was me. We have this illness because we are strong people and we cope amazingly well with our situations. I'm the only person who never, ever lets me down and is always there. What I found helpful when I was in your situation was to start focusing on me and what I could do and stop focusing on other people and what they weren't doing (which is deeply hurtful). Speak to a debt counsellor about your financial situation. You should be able to get your debts reduced because of the fact that your illness plays a part in it. Work out a realistic repayment plan (remember, you still need to live a decent lifestyle and can't live like a pauper for years) and get on top of the situation. Get rid of any easy access you have to cash (particularly things like credit cards) so that it's harder for you to get into debt next time you're up. Concentrate on looking after yourself - good food, plenty of exercise and some outside interests. Take up a new hobby, something that will occupy you and preferably something you can do at home when you need to distract yourself (practical things are good). Make a list of people you enjoy being around, who make you feel good about yourself and make a point of spending as much time as you possibly can with them. Post here for support from people who know exactly what you're going through! Make a big list of everything that is lovely about you - every good thing you ever did, every strength, every skill and stick it on your wall and keep reading it! Don't go to your parents for any kind of support - use every other trick in the book and you won't have to keep getting knocked back by them. I found counselling really helpful as well. It's hard, and having to accept that your parents aren't there for you is, I think, one of the hardest things anyone will ever have to do. But in the long-run it's the only way to move forward.
Hope something there helps. We're all thinking of you! xx
I love you guys, you made me cry!!! You all echoed much of the same things as my therapist said. For one thing, I've already decided on my own that I will not accept money from them...I now leave my checkbook and check card at home, and only carry cash for the necessities like gas and therapy each week, and a few bucks for emergencies.
My therapist suggested a singles group to meet new people, make friends who will not encourage my spending or pressure me to drink as they do now...hard thing is, my best friend suffers from depression and when we talk, it's almost a comparison/battle of who feels worse, and it is SO draining...anyone else experience this? Another good piece of advice she gave was to wait 24 hours before making any rash decisions when I find myself in a manic phase...
After I called this morning suggesting a family session (she said I wasn't ready to be assertive enough for myself yet and would only feel defeated) she suggested I stop using words like "manic" and just say I used poor judgement, just to suit them for now.
gav, walking away is all I can do anymore, but then they follow me! Or at least my dad does. He is persistent, and will continue to barage me until I'm in tears or start screaming to be left alone. I think I asked 20 times last night to be left alone before they finally listened. Why is it so much to ask??? It's the ONLY thing that makes me feel better when I'm in the house-not having to look at them or hear them. I feel at peace when I'm alone.
fallen_angel--I feel for you. I was treated for depression for 3 years with about 6 anti-d's, none of which worked, and some brought on mood swings, which led people (my roommate in college) to spread rumors that I was bipolar. I remember being SO angry and SO hurt then, (you wouldn't BELIEVE the e-mail I sent to her), I can't believe it's true now. It's so hard when you try to open up and tell your own family about your struggles and they brush it off. I thought honesty would help, I always think it's a good policy, but from now on, I will not speak to them at all. (They don't even know about the bottle of wine I keep in the basement...last night I went to take some, I was so upset, but somehow it had spilled............divine intervention?????)
Picali, I'm going to call my car company today and ask if they will change the draft date for my car payment this month. Hopefully it won't affect my credit score. Because if it does, daddy offered to pull from my mutual fund, and that's the last thing I want. I love your idea of the list, but it's going to be tough!
Thank you all for hearing me out, and for the wonderful words. I honestly don't know where, besides therapy, I would turn without you all. Thank you thank you thank you.
You know, after reading Fallen's post, something occured to me that I thought I should remind all of us. Many, many parents subconsciously look at their children as extentions of themselves, not as individuals. In my opinion, most parents do that, to varying degrees, of course. Being a mother of a 13-year-old myself, I find it difficult not to "expect" her to behave and act a certain way, and I have to remind myself that she has her own thoughts and wants and needs that may be very different from mine. More importantly, she has her very own personality.
On the flip side of that coin, I also believe that the more insecure the parent(s), the more disappointed they are when their children exhibit traits that they don't like about themselves, and thus take their disappointment out on their children for being like them! You can't win with these types of parents. My situation was two-fold in that my dad, who exudes security and stablity (but doesn't have a creative bone in his body), felt disappointment in me for NOT being like him; and my mom, who is very insecure (and possibly bipolar herself), was disappointed in me (I suspect) for being like her! I couldn't win. I don't think any child can win in this environment, particularly when their parents choose to live in denial that something they created, an extention of themselves, could have something "wrong" with them. Therefore, if they refuse to believe that you have a very real and debilitating illness, they are choosing instead to think that everything is within your control, and you are choosing to be the way you are, when in fact, we all know that you are not. That is probably why they refuse to accept your diagnosis, and choose to blame you for your "choices" and bad decision making, because the alternative, in their minds, is much worse--that something is wrong with them. It is a very arrogant and ignorant way to be. But I believe that is what's going on with most of our parents.
But, that is just my opinion. I could be wrong, but it makes sense to me.
I have the same problem but actually from the other end-I am a baby boomer (49) with 3 grown children & 2 of them don't want to accept that I am Schizoaffective. Denial, denial, denial...& it is oh so frustrating, as I feel in all your posts. My husband isn't a whole lot of support either-he's not denying it but he's not exactly supportive of me...it can feel quite isolating. To only find comrades in arms online in a group, but then again it is very helpful to find such people. I don't post a whole lot, I do my ranting mostly in a private journal because even though I shouldn't I feel foolish many times to say the crazy things I'm thinking & feeling....& there's paranoia in there too...anyway I just wanted to say I "hear ya" even if I am on the other side of the age fence! Reading the posts really helps me.
That makes perfect sense to me Gav.
I think we all need to realise that we are individuals, for years ive felt a 'duty' to my mum (probably because she raised me as a single parent) and that i constantly needed her approval. I was scared to put a foot out of place and kept a lot from her because i knew she'd be disappointed.
I felt she was angry with me for my behaviour but refused to accept that there could be a reason for it. And i think your explanation is spot on in most cases Gav
Its hard when parents make things difficult for us but i think we need to see who we are when we stand alone and trust our own instincts. If i hadnt done, i would still be undiagnosed today
Last edited by fallen_angel; 10-04-2006 at 12:11 PM.
To MakeWorldGoAway, I never thought about it from your end, but I agree with you in that my previous observation would apply to you, too, but a little differently. I could imagine children being more afraid that it could "happen" to them, that since they share your genes, they will also be susceptible to the issues you deal with. Therefore, they just deny that they exist. I can imagine that your situation is very lonely and alientating, and I'm sorry for that. I know how that feels coming from the other side. Regardless of who it is or the the reasons for their non-acceptance of us, it still carries the same devastating results.
And Fallen, I totally understand how you feel about wanting your mother's approval. They say that the same-sex parent has the most influence on us, and especially with you, since you grew up in a single-parent household. She's really all you have in that regard (unless I misinterpreted the absence of your father as meaning he wasn't around). It's a difficult situation for all of us, that's for sure. That's why we must work extra hard to learn to love ourselves, and be satisfied with the things we have. Yeah, I know, easier said than done right? But, I do believe that's true. It is only when we learn to accept and love ourselves do we really learn to live.