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Reconnecting with my biological bipolar father 25 years later
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designmom651 posted:
This last summer/fall was my first full blown mania with psychotic features. After I got through the depression in January I told my mom the next time he called (he has called her at least 2 times a year the last 25 years) that I wanted his number. 1.) All the stories I had about him made me pretty sure he was bipolar, we knew his mom was and she killed herself. 2.) I no longer held resentment knowing he was a ill man.
He called 2 weeks ago today. My mom sugguested that I wait to call him the day before I went to therapy and so I called Sunday. He was diagnosed in 2000 after being on the road for 10 years. He was lost at a truck station and did not know his name or where he was at. The state trooper had him follow him into the city where he was in patient for 3 months while the diagnosed him and corrected his medications.
Now I know for sure that he has it, his mother, 2 of his sisters and one of his brothers are all bipolar. Than my aunt on my mom side was bipolar so the cards where stacked against me for sure.
Now after talking to him (at least every other day) he is a very ill man. He is medicated highly like alot of us are. But after hearing some of his war stories of his illness it is a connection that I dont have with my parents (my dad adopted me). My parents are great and have been very supportive but they are not bipolar and as we all know if you havent been in our shoes than you really cant understand it. So its been interesting to get to know the other biological half of me. Its nice to have someone "get it". But I dont mind that he lives in Fl and I am in MN. Phone calls are just fine for now.
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An_243880 responded:
Coming face to face with our own biology is one of the most difficult aspects of our illness. I am so glad you were raised by non-bipolar parents who could take care of you. I come from a long family history of schizophrenia. My sister developed paranoid schizophrenia at the age of 9. My father as a teenager. His mother in her late teens. Her father was confined to an "insane asylum" most of his adult life. On my mother's side, my grandfather had bipolar disorder and killed himself when I was eight. As all this pathology swirled around me as a child, I became terrified of what might creep out of my own mind. Would a shriek in horror one day because shower water was melting me and forcing me down the drain? Would demons come and snatch me out of my bed in the middle of the night and take me to a torturous place if I wasn't perfect? Do I dare tell someone at school or in an emergency room the truth about what my family life was like? Too many questions for a 5, 7, 9, 11, 14 year old. You learn to be silent. You learn to endure. You pray for freedom.


Then the family demons came for me. Psychotic mania mostly. I prayed everyday as a child to escape the demons of psychosis. Biology made that impossible. I look at my own daughter and hold my breath. Growing up with a loving but severely ill mom took a toll on her. However, she's 24 now and the demons don't seem to have come for her. A generation skipped? She doesn't want to have biological children though. I can't blame her. Was I selfish? She's such a gift I cannot believe her presence on this Earth wasn't absolutely directed by G-d. She carries her blindness with grace and the demons of my mind haven't become hers. I still hold my breath though.


Knowledge is good designmom651. My advice as a refuge from the insane asylum that was my biological family, Keep your distance from your biological family members. Celebrate healthy wherever you can.


Normally I post my full name. Not this time.
 
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designmom651 replied to An_243880's response:
Thank you for your reply. Yes keeping the distance between us is important. Phone calls are just fine with me. Last week he discussed coming up to MN that I am his only family he has left. I told him that I am a busy lady and I would not be able to see him often and he should stay down in FL with his girlfriend. They have been together 10 years and live with her parents as they have custody of her because of her schizophrenia. He called me the next day and told me he thought about it more and I was right he should stay with her as she has been good to him. Woofta! Crisis was adverted . I get his reason but I have no intention of letting him physically into my daily life. Though I dont hold resentment there are things he did to my family when I was young (when he was not diagnosed or medicated) that I know a safe distance is needed. Because we never know with meds if someone will go off them.
One of my best friends in bipolar 1 as well and I watch him come on and off his meds and than abuse other meds to induce mania and know oh to well what it is like to see that. Being I dont know my biological father well I could not trust how well he stays medicated.


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