Fate of a Bipolar Child

I can walk and talk with you and share my experiences in living with and loving a person with emotional challenges. I can put into words descriptions of the roller coaster ride absent the obligatory squeals you hear at an amusement park. And as a fellow caregiver you'll understand, because we wrestle with a common demon that is like no other. No viral induced high fever to treat. No torn ligament needing time and liniment to heal. This demon does not go away with two aspirins at bedtime. This robber of emotional balance and sound reasoning infects the basis of conscious behavior, leaving the thoughts and actions of its wearers out of control. This demon is a disease that has numerous names, Bipolar Disorders, Depressions, mania and many others.

You and I will never truly know the suffering of those we care for. Nor will they understand the pain that their loving caregivers endure. As individual as a fingerprint the disease behaves differently in each person. It's a disease as unique as the DNA that houses its complexities, charting the destiny of the enfant. It extends to the afflicted and to all who love them a constant changing panorama of moods that can send you to blissful heights, then swiftly to dreadful and scary lows. It snatches the feelings from your loved one and carries you along for the ride. There is no mistake here. You are now a part of the process. Because it attacks all who love the sufferer. Driving them away and leaving the afflicted deep in sorrow and alone.

Loving words of comfort and encouragement delivered by you will often seem to fall to the floor and shatter like brittle glass – gone unnoticed by the recipient. The person you care for has taken up residence behind a milky wall of glass, clouded and obscured from your view. You press your cheek and beat your fist against the cool surface, begging for admittance. Then slowly, sometimes suddenly deafening silence becomes part of your life. Uninvited the disorder takes up residence and slowly gobbles at the love and trust. Always oblivious of any pain or suffering it causes. And like a terrible creature cloaked in black, apathy comes and takes away what is left of your beloved.

Yet the day will come when you'll understand how to look for those brief glimpses of light flickering behind dull expressionless eyes. Over time when the wellness slowly returns that small flickering light becomes a beam. Your love one is returning from a long journey to wellness. And still you know that this hard won battle is only a small part of the war. All is not won and the battle it's not over. Still yet to come is the high drama of lightning speed thoughts. They race producing brilliant conversations and moments of creative genius that leave you exhausted. Oftentimes anger and harsh words are followed by cold sober apologies, which can never patch the rift in your soul that they've caused. You're still catching your breath when again comes the sweet calm. You get a soldier's well-earned rest.

What weapons do you have to fight with? Learn, learn and learn about your enemy the Mental Disease. Study hard and understand this term well. For this is what will bring you some knowing, therefore comfort. Depression, Bipolar Disorders and the host of conditions running tandem are diseases of the mind and body. Just as all other afflictions of the body, those suffering the ravages of biochemical imbalances often have little control over emotions or reactions during their daily lives. This phenomenon is the most important thing to understand for your own survival. Confirm everyday your love and patience. Find sources of unbridled support outside your relationship and do daily affirmations in faith. These things will get you through.

For this is a battle forged in the venue of a relationship. The battle field is your heart and soul. This is not a noble fight. And winning this war requires more than two warriors, you the caregiver, a host of talented and caring psychologists, your pharmacists and most important the person who has the disease. And if you're very blessed, you'll also have the support of family and friends.

And as my friend while we stroll and talk of these things you may feel as I often do the utter despair and pain of frustration. Tears may choke your words when you ask me how long you can live this way. And I can only say this. How long you can endure is as unique as the disease. For when you feel your soul bleed from the emotional pain to the point where you find yourself lost. Then you must make the decision to withdraw your loving support. For if you truly care for your loved one you must understand and know that survival for both of you depends on your strength as well as their need to fight. You can not fight their battle for them. There may come the time when you walk away to fight another day. Regroup your forces. And never never lose yourself.

Bobann From Dome for Writers July 22, 2005