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Bipolar is an illness....... not a personality flaw

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I have seen on here too many times that a parent is bipolar so they are worthless. Please stop this. It is a pepetuation of a stero type that mental illness is okay to use as a dehumanizing tool. People use to use race the same way. Not once have I seen on here that "oh parent a has diabetes so they are worthless. " Did you know that a majority of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness or personality disorder. That it affects every family in one way or other. That if one parent has it than there is a strong chance that the skid that you love like your own will either have it or have a child with it. That in the '50's people with cancer were talked about in the same way as people with mental illness are today. It is the last bastion of socially acceptable bigotry. If mental illness affects your family get educated, yes if BM is actually bipolar than SM needs to get educated. NAMI online is a good place to start. Thank you for reading this.
by on Apr. 27, 2012 at 2:17 PM
Replies (11-20):
by on Apr. 27, 2012 at 3:21 PM
Sds bm is bipolar and narcissistic personality disorder. She sometimes takes her meds and sometimes not. I have learned that dealing with the bipolar is nothing compared to the narcissistic personality disorder. Sometimes I this.k she is just plain out mean and evil and that these diagnosis are just made up by her to excuse her behavior. Any suggestions on how to understand her better?
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by on Apr. 27, 2012 at 3:21 PM
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What about schizophrenics, alcoholics, addicts, and pedophiles? Those are illnesses too.
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by on Apr. 27, 2012 at 3:23 PM
How about MS or alzhiemers? Should you be allowed to care for a child if you literally can't lift a finger to help them or can't remember that they even exist?
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by Member on Apr. 27, 2012 at 3:23 PM

I was not aware there are different degrees of BiPolar.... hmmm I guess I have more research to do.  In my experience the SF is bipolar and it is mean and aggressive when he is off his meds and That is not a safe environment for SD. 

I feel bad that someone is sick and wish them well, but a child's safety comes first!!!

by Member on Apr. 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM
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I think there are a lot of medical conditions that result in someone not being able to care for a child.  I am sorry, but that is my opinion.  If you can't keep a child safe, cared for etc then you are unfit.

If you are going to be so manic that you curl up in bed and ignore your child that is neglect.

If you go off your meds and get so angry you are throwing things and hurting those around you that is abuse.

Medical diagnosis or not.... you are unfit in these situations.

by on Apr. 27, 2012 at 3:29 PM

im bi polar and you would never know it im not on meds I manage it my self I used to have major problems with it but now its very minor issues every once in a while.

Iyou would never know I was bipolar unless I told you.yeah Ill brag Im a great parent my children are respectful ,responsible for thier ages, well mannared I have a healthy marriage. So for my self I think  when people have bad things to say about people who are bipolar more than like are well educated on the subject or have had bad experience with it thier self or with people close to them

by Bronze Member on Apr. 27, 2012 at 3:29 PM
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Quoting HopesNDreams:

 BP is an illness and should be regarded as such.  However, I have yet to hear of a person withndiabetes or other chronic physical illness sufferer going off their meds regularly and abusing their kids...or neglecting them....or engaging in dangerous behvaiors around them...or the ongoing destructive things that happen continually when a bipolar individual is off of their meds.  It is a disease and it is tragic, but the line gets drawn when innocent children suffer because a person with this diagnosis thinks they 'can handle life without their meds.'  This is true of any mental illness - it's the CHOICE to not help themselves and then punish others that frustrates people.  I have no sympathy for that - especially when children suffer as a result.

My father is manic-depressive. He was diagnosed years ago, long before the term bi-polar was used with such reckless abandon. I am by no means an expert on the illness, but have read enough to know that it is often NOT a choice to not help themselves. Some people with this illness will take their meds and be well and then truly believe they don't need their meds because they're well! If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. It is part and parcel of the illness.

by on Apr. 27, 2012 at 3:42 PM
The fact is illness in a family affects the children. Remember the story in the news about BM with cancer. Her kids got taken. I read on this board how this was wrong . Bipolar or MDD are not reasons for a child to not have a substantial relationship with the children. Yes there r times to limit the relationship and I do think it puts a burden on the other parent to facilitate the relationship more. But the general dismissive attitude on this board is a reflection of societies attitude. If you see yourself in the original post than please get informed. Because like it or not you r shaping peoples attitudes about mental illness. Think , does the fact or theory that parent a is ill need to be in the post or the behavior. By starting the post with the illnes you say everyone with the illness is like that. Did you realize that. It also makes the person with the illness internalize that they are bad by nature and makes symptoms worse. Also BP is not an excuse for bad decisions. There are still consequences for negative behavior. I'm just pleading for less bigotry on this board. I know dealing with it can be frustrating. Imagine what it must be like for the ill person. One of my favorite singers has this and lost all rights to his daughter because of it. Any Man in America is the album that he sings about it. It is so sad.
by Silver Member on Apr. 27, 2012 at 4:03 PM

 The biggest issue here is that those with the disorder may not be aware when they are causing harm to the children in their lives.  They may be equally skilled at hiding just how bad things are from the other adults not in the household who may look out for them.  While this is going on, the children are being forced to parent their children, take on adult responsibilities, sometimes live in fear/abuse/neglect, and develop their own issues as a result, including depression, PTSD, social/emotional issues - all because no one wants to limit the role of the parent due to a mental illness. 

I do not believe that custody or parenting time should be restricted solely because of a mental health diagnosis.  I do think there should be open communication (something that is VERY hard when dealing with a OP with a mental illness) or, barring that, regular clearance from a psych. syaing that the parent is capable of being with the child full time and/or unsupervised.  This is NOT an issue of the parent's right to be with their child - it is an issue of a child's RIGHT to a normal, stable childhood.  The child's needs should always outweight the parents.

I would compare mental illness to alcoholism or substance abuse - they are both diseases and , in both cases, the parent is fine when the disease is not flaring up.  When it is, they should not be unsupervised near their child until it is.  If the individual cannot regulate that themselves, I wish to god the courts would.

My SD15 will forever live with the emotional scars her mother left on her.  Her five year old brother has autistic-like behaviors and speech/communication issues due to the stunted social upbringing from BM.  SD15 now lives with her father and I with my kids.  We are ALL affected daily by the damage that BM caused to this young lady.  So one individual's 'rights' to her child has damaged the lives of seven people (not counting BM's parents, siblings, ExH #2, etc).  How is putting her desire to be a parent with an out of control mental illness more important than all of these other's people's rights to live without her ongoing dramatics?

by on Apr. 27, 2012 at 6:55 PM

My best friend is bipolar. She is medicated and functions in society without most people knowing she is bipolar unless she discloses that. I have zero problem with that. She is an amazing mom and counselor. I am well versed in mental illness. 

What I have a problem with is that BM is bipolar (and BPD) and yes that's a real diagnosis not just what I think, as is her live in boyfriend, and oldest daughter. All three are not medicated. The boyfriend and older daughter were medicated and she convinced them they did not need to be. 

When someone has an illness say diabetes and they do not control it by their choice than I do not feel sorry for them. She choses to use exercise as her medication for her bipolar and OCD. This does not work. She feels that she is in the right to go off and call me a sickly, piece of shit whore, and then will turn around 45 minutes later and say can't we all just get along because she isn't getting her way.

It truly interfers with the children's lives as she found out last night when she learned that her children basically tell her nothing. And when she freaked out about that they let her know that is why they don't tell her anything because she freaks out. It also interfers that while she has not done it in a few years, when the kids were younger and she would go manic (high not low) she would take off for weeks with her new boyfriend (which still with DH) and leave the kids. DH would find out by the school calling to say no one picked them up. Or she doesn't pay the bills so that she can buy stuff she wants but then has no food for kids. Yet...the state lets her keep them because this state is so pro-MOM being CP that it's not even funny.

I always make a point when mentioning that BM is bipolar that she is unmedicated bipolar. The best three weeks we ever had with her (kids and us) was when she was on valium to calm her down after a surgery she had. And that makes me sad that she isn't willing to do that for her kids all the time.  

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