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Replies to Family Member Letter about Rages

Person With Bipolar Disorder

Dear Family Member:

I can identify with your anxiety and frustration from two viewpoints: 1)I have watched my bipolar father manipulate my mother, brother and me for my entire life 2) I am bipolar myself.

First, you must understand that you are not responsible for the way the bipolar person rages at you. While the person may become out of control, it in no way means that you have said or done something unacceptable. I watch my brother and my mother walk around on egg shells in fear of setting my father off. I instead have distanced myself from the situation. The three of them work closely together in a family business. I have chosen not to be a part of it because I cannot tolerate the outbursts of anger that my father exhibits.

Here too, when my father is on a positive high, the entire family is "happy." Daddy has such a wonderful way of convincing each of us that his plans and dreams are tangible and that soon all of our financial worries will be over. And, sometimes Daddy's dreams do materialize--he is a successful entrepreneur.


Then, there are the depressed states that Daddy suffers. During these times my entire family is depressed. We see no way of winning. Everything is dismal and there is no help to be found.

So, while I have tried to distance myself, I am still affected by my father's illness whether I want to be or not. I worry about my mother who receives the full thrust of his illness. I have wondered for years how she has lived with him for 44 years. Yet, Daddy is a wonderful, loving, tenderhearted human being who will help anyone in any way that he can. We ride a roller coaster that never stops!

As for me, I have suffered from depression at least since I was 15 years old and I may have even earlier in life. I am now 38. Finally, after years of counseling my psychiatrist diagnosed me as bipolar. I am in my third marriage. I have worked nine different jobs in 14 years. I have run up credit card bills at least three times in my life that have taken years to pay off. I self-medicated with alcohol not realizing what I was doing. I loved to go dancing and drinking because I felt such relief as I drank, danced and acted crazy. It is okay to act crazy under the influence of alcohol. I did not understand what was going on with me until this diagnosis was made and I studied and continue to study everything I can about the illness.

It is not acceptable for bipolar people to treat others disrespectfully. I have learned that I must think------before I act, speak or do. Yet, I still lash out at times and regrettably so. However, it is so difficult to understand when I should stand up for myself and when I am going too far. 

The depression is horrible. It hits out of no where. Suicidal thoughts come. I just want to be completely alone, yet I cannot because of my children and my responsibilities.

If your bipolar mate will not work to understand the illness and he/she will not seek proper medical help and take the medicine; then, for your sanity you need to leave the relationship. Being bipolar is an illness just as other illnesses afflict our bodies--and if we don't do everything in our control to fight the illness, then it takes control.

You must take care of yourself.

Permission by Anonymous

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