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Being bipolar

My eldest sister started experiencing severe shifts in her mood and behavior. The time between her depression and manic episodes became shorter. At times she was psychotic. It severely affected her career, family life and life in general. She lost her job. She divorced. She lost custody of her children. I saw this happening over a period of twenty years. In the beginning she appeared to be just eccentric, but then it became obvious that something was seriously wrong. She was the golden child, and my parents didn’t tolerate any criticism of her. After my father’s death, my mother became even more involved in her life and more protective. Neither my mother, nor her husband could tolerate the ‘stigma’ of admitting her disease and getting her treatment. She had no insight in her condition at all. She lived in denial. I watched her as her life disintegrated – as she herself disintegrated. I tried talking to her. She refused to listen. At one time, we had her committed after a serious incident. But she discharged herself. The medication failed to balance her moods and she experienced severe side effects. She enjoyed the manic episodes – they might her feel good and high. She admitted that. During those times her behavior was most destructive. Life became unbearable for her. She experienced the greatest loneliness, cut off from all. She committed suicide. I did the best I could at the time with what I had. I tried to help, but I failed. I think about her everyday. I talk to her in my mind. I remember her as she was, when she was young and beautiful, carefree and light, before the times of darkness, heaviness and unbearable sadness. I should have been there for her. I should have been more honest, earlier, when it might have had more of an impact. I should not have been so afraid of hurting her feelings. I failed as her sister.

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Posted on December 26th, 2012 by ErnaV

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