Re: [MOL] Re: bi polar [13243] Medicine On Line

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Re: [MOL] Re: bi polar

Gosh Jean I can't thank you enough for all the details.  I've only been
closely involved with sister in law's illness and how and where her journey
has taken her. What a rough life you've had to lead.  In my reading, the
illness usually shows up between the ages of 17 and 25 approx.  Drinking is
usually associated with the disease for some reason.  Sister in law loves
her beer but after her diagnosis she refrains until stressed out enough to
not care and then starts drinking.  Then we are in double trouble.  And the
worst part is that 50% of off spring end up with the disease or some form
of mental illness.  We watch niece closely.  I've explained to my niece how
her mom's illness works and asked her if she would like further info.  She
says no and that's ok.  I talked to her several days ago and boy does she
sound down.  Knowledge is the key, I say.  This illness takes so many
various forms that I'm sure it is hard to diagnose.  But it's so critical
for the bi-polar to be on the proper meds.  Like Patty Duke finding out,
after years and years, that that was her problem.  Now she understands and
is properly treated.  Now she knows she's not crazy.  She admits to needing
treatment.  Our sister in law won't do that.  She thinks she is well with
just the lithium.  She stays pretty level but could be a happy functioning
person if she would see an excellent psychiatrist.  She only sees the
county mental health people who check her lithium level once a month and
talks to her for about 15 mins.  Sister in law absolutely refuses to
acknowledge that anything else is wrong.  People meeting her for the first
time know there is something not right.  And I guess that's ok for her.  It
wouldn't be for me.  And I would want someone to tell me.  The books I've
read are so wonderful.  Explaining how to get better, not just from drugs,
but from forms of light.  Either sun or lamps.  Meditating.  Group
counceling.  Lots of different things. I guess that if she thinks she's
normal, then she is, to herself.  Depression being apart of bi-polar is
correct.  Depression on it's own is not part of bi-polar.  Bi-Polar in
itself won't let the victim seek help in most cases.  They just run amuck.
I'm sorry your dad wasn't able to get the help he needed so that he could
raise his family without turmoil.  It's such a shame that the family and
the children suffer for something that could easily be cured by a correct
analysis.  Thank you Jean for sharing your story.  It takes a well and
balanced person to be able to do that.  Our sister in law couldn't and
What you went thru as a child was enough to make you think all sorts of
things.  But your here, with us, and I'm so glad.  Love ya lots,   Vicci

> From: Thomas A Johnson <>
> To:
> Subject: [MOL] Re: bi polar
> Date: Monday, July 27, 1998 5:23 AM
> Vicci,
> Good luck with it all.  Sounds like you've been through a lot of stress
> with your sister-in-law and Rich.  I haven't had all that much exposure
> to bi-polar disorder because my brother and I haven't been in touch all
> of that much until recently.  And I always attributed my dad's problem to
> the drinking.  Only after doing genealogy and contacting a relative who's
> a psychiatrist did I learn the family history of manic-depression,
> depression, and ocd.  I had, of course, heard that dad was
> manic-depressive (bi-polar), as well as alcoholic, but I always had
> assumed he was just misdiagnosed (as some alcoholics are).  Behavior,
> hmm?  Well, Mom said my dad would often just disappear for days on end
> (this is before he began drinking) and then deliberately walk across her
> path one day.  It would turn out that he had been staying at a motel. 
> This was prior to their marriage.  She just didn't take this behavior
> seriously enough, I guess.  Dad had a way of working his way up to high
> positions in companies by back-stabbing people.  Then, once he reached
> the top, he'd just get upset about something and walk out.  Dad had a way
> of cycling between feelings of superiority and feelings of failure.  I
> think this happened after he began drinking.  I'm unsure if it happened
> prior to that.  I know a doctor once recommended shock therapy for him,
> but then he "snapped out of it" before they could do it.  Dad could start
> out a conversation all pleasant and nice and then he'd twist around what
> was being said and criticize.  I always thought this was due just to the
> drinking, but...  And Mom said Dad was paranoid - thinking that if she
> closed the blinds she was signaling a lover! (Even though it was Dad who
> ended up being unfaithful to her.  Some poor woman - a country singer in
> Alex., VA, who he was involved in an affair with and  who must have been
> depressed herself - called the house to speak to Dad just prior to
> committing suicide.)  Weird behavior that I had always attributed to the
> drinking, even though Dad was a teetotaler for many, many years - didn't
> start drinking until he got involved in the the printing industry.  But
> he was addicted to codeine (prescribed for his migraines) from a very
> young age.  Anyway, that's our experience.  I think the physical,
> emotional, and borderline sexual abuse we endured was probably due mostly
> to the drinking.  I am so very glad those days are over, although I still
> get nervous around big fights.   Being a typical alcoholic family, I
> would often jump into the middle to break up my parent's fight.  And Mom
> would find the whiskey bottles beneath Dad's mattress and pour the
> contents down the drain.  The typical story of many an alcoholic family. 
> Fortunately, we didn't end up on the street like some children do.  Mom
> pulled us out of it.
> So our experience w/Dad is so intertwined w/the drinking that it's hard
> to tell which behavior was from what!  Probably the disappearing and
> re-appearing were related to the manic-depression.  Probably the cycles
> where he worked his way up to the vice-presidency of companies and then
> haughtily threw it all away were results of the manic-depression. 
> Probably the paranoia was due to the manic-depression.  Interesting.  I
> learn more and more about my dad every day and I can only feel sorry for
> him.  What a tortured life these people must lead.
> I don't see any of this behavior in my brother except that he *has*
> talked about a roller coaster type feeling and he expresses a huge anger
> towards women.  Of course, he lived many years w/dad who expressed a lot
> of anger towards my mom.  My brother feels driven, too, to start his own
> business (like dad), but be more Christian-like than my dad was. 
> However, my brother is nearly constantly broke.  I just don't see him
> often enough, though, to identify the manic-depression.  All I know is
> that my psychologist (when my brother came in w/me once to see her) said
> she thinks he might have the disorder.  And another person to whom he
> spoke said he seemed very manic at the time.  When I first learned about
> the family history, I was afraid I'd find out that I'm manic-depressive,
> but my psychologist and I couldn't identify any manic episodes (Thank
> God!) - only one episode where I probably was on the edge of a nervous
> breakdown (my first year away at college).  All we could come up with
> were many periods of depression throughout my life - depression I'd
> always attributed to the effects of dad's drinking and behavior I'd
> adopted from it.  Now I know better.  And the more knowledge I get about
> this, the more I'm able to release anger towards my dad. :-)
> Oh well, sorry I can't be of more help.  Joicy probably has a better take
> on all of this.  I was just a kid trying to survive and confused by
> everything!  I thought my dad didn't love me until I got therapy and
> realized he was so tortured and ill that he didn't have much left over to
> give anyone else.
> -Jean
> P.S.  See what I mean about the victim mentality?  First thought when
> people act like they don't care is:  they don't like me.  Why should
> they?  What's wrong with me?
> I guess that's why the therapist wants me to get out among live people
> more often - so I'll become more other-oriented, rather than
> self-absorbed.
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