To My Little One, From Your Mother With Bipolar Disorder


To my little one,

Right now, you’re 9 years old. You’re starting to understand the world, starting to know about so many things. What you might not know is I have bipolar disorder. You’ve heard the word, heard me talking about it, but I know it’s hard to understand — even for adults.

What you do know is I get sad sometimes. Other times I bounce around the house having just you and me dance parties. You know sometimes I just don’t have the energy to cook, so we’ll order a pizza. Sometimes I don’t have the energy for anything and you’ve learned how to be independent, to entertain yourself with books and video games. Other times we’ll spend hours running around outside, or take on big art projects. You know that every night I have to take my medication to help me function.

What you don’t understand is how much I hate my moments of weakness. When you ask me to play and I can’t get off the couch, or when you want to go to an event and my anxiety is holding me back. I hate these moments when I’ve disappointed you. I want you to know I feel guilty about these moments. I want you to know it’s not that I don’t want to do these things, it’s that my illness is always going to be a shadow in my life. I want to give you everything, as most parents do. The difference is I have a disorder, in my brain, that prevents me from many of these things.

Being a mother with mental illness is hard. Though it’s a challenge I happily face, I know I’ll never be perfect. But I’ve come to accept my condition, I hope when you’re older you can find that acceptance too. That you won’t only remember the bad days, that you’ll cherish the good ones. And most importantly know none of it is your fault. It’s a disorder, not something I chose or want. Please learn about mental illness and educate those around you, and share your own experiences to help others.

I often worry you might have to deal with my mental illness in yourself. That I might have passed on my own battles that you’ll have to someday fight. If you do, I want you to know I will be your biggest ally. I try and will continue to try to be the best mother I can be for you. I hope in the future you can forgive the disappointments, learn what is healthy, live a stable and happy life and know I love you completely.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via djedzura.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Bipolar Disorder

girl looking out window

Why My Mental Illnesses Are My 'Dark Passengers'

I was supposed to be graduating today, receiving my Master’s of Social Work degree. Instead, I am not even invited to see my cohort walk. I am not a party to the celebrations and excitement. Instead… I told everyone it was starting the chemo infusions that made me withdraw in the middle of the fall [...]
kissing

The Bipolar Urge We Need to Talk About

There’s this symptom that can cause pain when you’re in love while also struggling with bipolar disorder. And to be honest, it’s painful even if you’re not in love. It’s hypersexuality. Do we dare discuss the urge many people with bipolar disorder experience? In my experience, it’s a soft and sensual feeling that envelops you [...]
two business women drinking tea or coffee and talking

10 Ways My Daily Chats With My Boss Help My Mental Health

I have been lucky. Before I was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder, I had many symptoms and they could have made it impossible to hold a job down. But my manager stuck by me and helped a lot. Here are 10 ways our regular five-minute catch-ups have helped. 1) When I am depressed I become extremely anxious, so [...]
A woman stands on the side of a street at night with traffic lights all around her

When Bipolar Makes You Fear ‘Good' Days

Today, I didn’t have to depend on my alarm to wake me up. In fact, I woke up 10 minutes before it even went off. And when I woke up, I was full of energy and ready to face the day. So much so that you would have thought I had gotten a wonderful night’s [...]