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Family, Addiction, and Bipolar

Posted Jan 09 2011 12:00am

One year during my dad’s big reveal of his addiction by way of our local police department, “Family” tagged itself with many other words. My uncle, stopped by on his way to the bailout, to remind me we don’t “choose family, it chooses us.” He continued with the bibilical message of “Those without sin, cast the first stone . . .” and asked did I have any rocks I wanted to get ready. Nope, I was really hoping he was going to tell me I was adopted. That settled, I went on to take care of my dad and all his established dependent ways.

I have a high regard for several professions. The Military stands alone as the finest example of what it means to serve without regard for self. Police officers, therapists, teachers, psychiatrists and the clergy also have my respect. Not as much the office, but my experience with them as individuals. It was a police officer who brought my dad’s addiction to his knees, several therapists who assisted in his healing and then mine, and a teacher who first taught me what it means to be a dependent and the relative, codependent. My psychiatrist has saved my life as her job entails. I have never been talked down from a ledge, but I have been at the brink of considering the other possibilities. Several clergy quietly loved me when I could not love myself, when others had wronged me, and the rejection of life was misunderstood.

Gladness for the stones I was ready to throw when dad took his trip downtown never left my hands came to a greater meaning when I had my first episode of Mania. Mania is the pole of bipolar that splits with a larger dust in it’s trail. In my experience with mania I said, did, and spent. After I was diagnosed, I remember sending my family an email . . .”Hello, I have bipolar and if not now, probably in the furture, I will be doing or saying something that will cause embarassment to you.” Then I texted, “For that (the embarassment) I apologize.” At least it wasn’t a phone call in the middle of the night like dad. Let’s just say, at first, I did not get the responses I hoped for. I later learned to express my diagnosis in a more appropriate means of revelation.

Over the years “family” has held many definitions for me. My family has stuck with me through all the dark depressions, credit card bills, and uncharacteristic behavior. They have learned the things they need to know and used them when they have needed to use them. For them (including dad) I am grateful.

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