If you are a parent and also live with bipolar, chances are when your child is old enough to understand the complexities of brain conditions, he or she will start to have some important questions. Here are the top five along with a suggestion from experts as to how to answer:
#1 How does bipolar disorder work? What is it?
“ Bipolar disorder affects how a person feels, thinks and acts; it’s an illness of the brain (describe how it affects you in all these ways) It will likely mean mom or dad will have to take medication to help control the high and low moods that are common with bipolar disorder. It’s important to know that no one is the cause of bipolar, it is a medical condition.”
#2 How will my mom/dad having bipolar affect me?
“The symptoms can be very difficult for me (can discuss what these are) and in turn for the rest of the family. It’s not always easy living with a parent with bipolar because that person may have many mood swings and may say things or do things that make his/her child feel confused or scared.
#3 Am I going to get this disease?
“You can’t catch bipolar disorder in the way you can catch the flu or a cold. There are no germs. And, while it’s true that bipolar can run in families, and no one can be absolutely sure if they’ll get this brain condition, generally, a child with a parent who has bipolar is more likely NOT to have the disease than they are to have it.”
#4 What will other people think?
“Bipolar disorder affects about 5.7 million adult Americans; this means there are many other parents going through the same thing. This means there are a lot of other children going through similar things at home as you, so you are not alone. Because it’s a brain disorder, there is nothing to be embarrassed about or shameful of, in the same way your friends’ parents may have diabetes or a heart condition.”
#5 What am I suppose to do?
“It’s very important that you know you are absolutely not the cause of my mood swings. It’s also important that you talk about how you’re feeling and let us (parents) or other grown-ups know what you’re going through, especially if you’re sad or confused. Please don’t feel like you’re adding more worry to us—parents always want to know how their children feel and it’s important for you to be able to ask questions.”
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community