The Moment I Knew My Mom Really Understood My Bipolar Disorder


I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was about 20, and in the ensuing 17 years, my mother has felt guilty about it. It’s not her fault I have it, and it’s not her fault that sometimes, despite my — and everyone else’s —best efforts, I slip into manic mixed episodes and have to be “talked down” from doing something I wouldn’t normally do.

My mother has seen some pretty “crazy” behavior from her eldest, dearest daughter. You all know the classics of hypersexuality, racing thoughts, grandiose ideas, etc. But the past decade has been pretty calm. I have excellent doctors, a medication schedule that works, and am pretty happy. I also have an overprotective mother. She always is “on the watch” in case something goes wrong.

So I was at my mom’s the other day, and was chatting away about something, and was extra chatty. Usually I’m not super chatty, but I was in a good mood, so I decided I wanted to be. My mom asked me, out of habit, if I was manic. And for the first time in 17 years, she caught herself. She literally said, “I don’t know why I said that. I’m sorry. I know that hurts you.”

It was such a wonderful moment. I was so proud of her.

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Thinkstock photo via DGLimages.


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