New Year…New Life…Part 2

11 Sep

I-am-not-going-to-come-out

Having someone move in with you is always an adjustment, and I believe that you never really know someone until you live with them.  I knew some things about Auntie; like the fact that she didn’t drive,  she had some health problems, was a bit eccentric, and was barely on speaking terms with her kids. I knew that she’d been married and divorced several times,  that her last long-term relationship had ended, and that she received Social Security Disability payments every month that she planned on saving up to get her own place. I’m not the type to pry into someone’s personal life, so I never asked her what her disability was.  I figured if she wanted to tell me, she would. Looking back on it now, I wish I would have asked.  Her disability was Bipolar Disorder with symptoms severe enough that they kept her from obtaining/keeping gainful employment.  I didn’t know when I invited her to stay with us, and I am still amazed that neither my Mom nor Auntie felt that piece of information significant enough to share. In the countless conversations over the years with both of them, the subject never came up–not even once!

Living with someone with untreated Bipolar Disorder is not something I’d recommend to anyone, certainly not those with children, and especially not after what my family and I were put through.

***I feel it’s important for me to add that this in no way is meant to say that people with Bipolar Disorder are bad people.*** 

What I AM saying is this:

If you have Bipolar Disorder (AKA Manic Depression) and you’ve been prescribed medication, then your physician feels you cannot manage your symptoms on your own.  If he or she is willing to sign disability paperwork and you are granted Social Security Disability; then your doctor and the federal government are in agreement that your symptoms are severe enough to keep you from functioning in even normal activities of daily living, to include keeping a job. Further, if you are aware that you need medication and knowingly refuse to take it, you suffer and those who love you suffer right along with you.  After all, there is a reason why what a doctor gives you is called a “prescription” not a “suggestion”.   A very unfortunate and painful lesson I learned first hand.

A few days after Auntie arrived, the arguments began. It started out innocently enough.  She felt displaced and uncomfortable because she wasn’t in familiar surroundings.  She was also nursing some recent wounds.  She was heartbroken having just been through a very painful breakup to be followed by the added insult of discovering her daughter had gotten a hold of her bank card number and was using it for everything from ordering pizza to wiring money to friends. The first three or four times she blew up at me for no reason, I took it in stride.  I knew she was going through a rough time and I tried my best to be patient with her.  I gave her as much sympathy and understanding as I could under the circumstances. I assumed it was just the adjustment period and would get better given time.   It didn’t.  She started not only blowing up at me, but the kids as well.   She would hold grudges and sulk for days. Auntie’s moods were increasingly erratic and unpredictable. It didn’t take long before everyone in the house had at least gone a round or two with her.

If you would like to read more about Bipolar Disorder or the disability criteria, please have a look at the below links:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20436786,00.html

http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/win-can-you-get-disability-for-bipolar-disorder.html
http://bipolar.about.com/od/disability/a/disability_bp.htm

…next…choices

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One Response to “New Year…New Life…Part 2”

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  1. Choices | soul posts - September 13, 2013

    […] person with Bipolar Disorder experiences moments of Mania, where they are euphoric, have tremendous energy, and sometimes even […]

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