2 posts tagged “support of friends and family”

Parenting with bipolar II: Alysia’s story

Posted 3 months ago by

Meet Alysia, a member of the 2018 PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors who’s living with bipolar II disorder. Here’s what she had to say about parenting with a mental health condition, learning to adapt and how she “defies the odds.”

When I was younger I wrote stories about my alter ego who had kids. I lived almost vicariously through this alter, figuring I would never be a parent myself — that I was too damaged to be loved, much less be a parent. The resounding thud ending my hopes came when I was 20 and diagnosed primarily with bipolar II disorder, rapid cycling, during my first inpatient hospitalization. The relief of knowing what was going on with me was mixed with the fear and a sense of “no one is going to want to deal with this enough to love me.” I was wrong — I have an 11 ½ year old stepdaughter and a 3 ½ year old daughter.

To some extent they know that mom is “sick” and it doesn’t ever fully go away. It causes me to feel like I am not worthy of having kids or that they would be better off with anyone else as their mom. I worry constantly about the emotional damage I may be causing them because of my bipolar symptoms. That worry and my desire to do better for them, and myself, is a huge driving force to regain and maintain my stability.

When my husband and I were planning our family, I told him that:

“If our kid was like me, she would be in a great place full of love and understanding. Her family will know the battles they are about to face and how to face them.”

We will be as ready as we can be to help her. As a parent, that is all we can do — be there to help them through all of life — from learning to roll over, to walking, to homework, to heartbreaks and celebrations. Having a mental illness does not fully stop me from being there for them. I may not be as present and involved as I want, but I’m working on it, and the best part of kids is that they love you without hesitation.

My daughter is three, and she can be handful with her “three-nager” attitude that truly makes me fear puberty with her. She is also so incredibly compassionate, smart, funny, creative and loving that I’m in awe of her constantly. My stepdaughter is entering puberty and all of those joys and frustrations, but she is also: vibrant, headstrong, dynamic and an ever-evolving young woman. No matter what we face in the future, we are going to succeed because we are a family.

You can be an amazing parent with any type of illness; it does not define or exclude you from that. Every family has its own challenges and learning how to adapt and overcome your obstacles is vital to success.

Can you relate to Alysia’s story? Join PatientsLikeMe and connect with the 14,000+ members living with bipolar disorder.

 

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A Peek at the October Newsletter for Members

Posted October 31st, 2011 by

What kinds of things do we cover in our monthly newsletters for members? Take a look at the excerpt below from our October edition. Also, in case you didn’t know, anyone – whether a PatientsLikeMe member or not – can view our current and past newsletters in our Newsletter Archive. See what we’ve been up to recently, and if you are member who’s not opted in to the newsletter, sign up today.

MONTHLY MUSINGS

Do your friends and family give you the support you need as a patient? Or have you found that – despite their best efforts in some cases – they just don’t understand what you’re going through? We’ve noticed that this tends to be a hot topic in our forum, drawing many members to make their first post.

A PatientsLikeMe Member Enjoying Some Support

Here’s what some had to say:

  • “I was called a hypochondriac, a faker, a selfish jealous person, and the downfall of my family. I was astounded.” – Patient with fibromyalgia
  • “My friends know I have it and they are supportive, but I can tell some get uncomfortable talking about it.” – Patient with multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • “My family doesn’t really un derstand and has a tough it out or ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ mentality.” – Patient with major depressive disorder
  • “I have lost two friends of over 10 years. They were sick of me being late, canceling plans, or saying I wasn’t up to doing things.” – Patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

What about you? Do you believe anyone who’s not also living with the same conditions can truly “get it”? Share your stories in this ongoing forum discussion, a place where (as one member puts it) “you can find people who care because they know.”

Kate, Emma, Liz, Jeanette & Sharry

Kate"" Emma"" Jeanette"" Sharry""

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

What’s happening in the forum? Check out some of the recent buzzworthy threads below. Then jump in with your own questions and answers.

Need help using the site or want to learn more about recent changes?  Visit the Technical Help Using PatientsLikeMe Room.

THIS MONTH’S SITE IMPROVEMENTS

Thanks for your continued feedback about improving the site. Here are our top functionality enhancements for October.

A Popup Window for Entering Side Effects at PatientsLikeMe

In August, we changed the way we capture attributions – or the links between any two health concepts, such as treatments and side effects. As we watched you use these new features, we learned some valuable lessons about what makes sense to you from a user perspective and what is missing from a research perspective.  As a result, we’ve recently improved how we capture and reflect the data you’re entering so it’s done in the most meaningful way. See the full Release Notes for details on these recent changes to how you capture and share symptoms, side effects, “causes” and more.