Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Son is NOT Contagious

I blog because I like to write. I blog as a stress reliever. I blog because I have read so many blogs that have inspired me and helped me through another day. I blog because I have received so many amazing emails and comments from people telling me that many of my posts have inspired them and helped them through another day. I blog because it helps me remember that I'm not alone. While there are a few, the majority of the people who pass through my daily circle, don't understand and can't empathize.

I don't blog because I'm looking for sympathy or pity. I'm not looking for "poor me".  And when I talk about my son, his suicidal thoughts, his issues, my bipolar...I'm not necessarily looking for advice, but I am hoping that maybe my words will find someone else dealing with the same thing and maybe keep them from feeling so alone.

Unfortunately, the recent posts where I mention my son have become "controversial" in the tiny farming town in which I live. I realize that many people who grow up in towns where the cows and corn fields outnumber the residents have major misconceptions about depression, bipolar and most other mental "disabilities". Old fashioned values and beliefs are often more prevalent than modern research and science. I am by no means referring to everyone, but it has recently come to my attention that several fellow parents are offended by what I have written. Apparently, several have requested that their children no longer play with my son. While I only have a handful of facebook "friends" who have children in school with my son, I have a very good idea about who these people are. And quite honestly, they disgust me.

We live in America. It is 2011. Mental illness is not contagious, or any indicator of a child's behavior. His suicidal drawing will not doom their children. I'm sure that they would be amazed to learn that bipolar is not, in fact, caused by angry demons. It is caused by chemicals in the brain. It is not possible "to snap out of". More often than not, it will need to be treated with medication. It is not curable, but is most certainly controllable.

From http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/bipolar-depression/bipolar-disorder-misconceptions.aspx   "Suresh Sureddi, MD,(is) an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and a director of Lifepath Systems, a community mental health clinic in Plano, Texas. Dr. Sureddi explains that it helps to remember that bipolar disorder is a chronic illness, like congestive heart failure or diabetes, which sometimes results in patients having to be hospitalized and needing ongoing treatment."


Bipolar is an illness and it absolutely does not define who you are. Misconceptions abound about about bipolar, and these misconceptions are far more harmful than people think. While they remain secure in their ignorance, they may be missing signs in their own children, or filling their children with hate and fear for those who think differently. Bipolar children and adults in general, are more creative and intelligent.

"I must admit that one of the reasons why I have specialized in bipolar disorder is because it seems like nearly every single person with bipolar disorder I see is unusually creative or intelligent or charismatic or something. Quite a few have been really profoundly intelligent to the point where I have trouble keeping up with their minds," Jim Phelps, M.D. Per http://www.psycheducation.org/BipolarMechanism/introduction.htm

The point? Read a book, do some research, know what you're talking about before you feel the need to judge.

7 comments:

Brian Miller said...

ugh...sorry you are going through this...it is ignorance...and lack of understanding for sure...advocate for your child...he is not contageous...sheesh...

Kristin said...

First - *hugs*

You have been missed, and it sounds like you have had your hands full.

I know that I sometimes look at Ahna and wonder if it is ever going to get better. I know that she struggles with expressing herself "appropriately". The writing on her walls (in lipstick, none the less) screams, "Screw you world!" I feel helpless and hopeless all in one fell swoop.

But there are days that are brighter, and she knows that I love her. She also knows that even though I am walking blindly by her side, I am going to fight with every ounce of my being to help her.

Yeah, I have to dodge flying objects, and I have had my fair share of broomstick attacks. I have had to wrestle her to the ground to remove knives from her hand. But it's worth it. Every ounce of pain and every ounce of joy is worth it.

What should you do?

Who the hell knows. Just do it in love. Every day and every second.

And to the parents who want to ostracize your son... Fuck them. I only pray that they never know a day of the horror we, as parents of children with mental illness face. And honestly, if they can look at themselves in the mirror and believe that their choice to intentional outcast an already emotionally fragile child is the right one, well...maybe your son is better off not playing with their kids...

Joshua said...

"know what you're talking about before you feel the need to judge." -- Amen.

neelthemuse said...

Your blog has such an entertaining title!
Your blog will help so many people whose kids have to deal with bipolar...so don't stop blogging and don't worry about what people say as most of the time negative comments come out of a complete lack of understanding. You'll just have to educate people more.

Mrs Catch said...

These things need to be brought out into the open to be examined compassionately and sensibly. Mental illness in the dark is a sad and dangerous place.

SMJ said...

I'm sorry but I fail to see how ignorance is bliss - critical people who want to sit in judgement have GOT to be miserable, that's all there is to it. I am very sorry for the struggle in your family & definitely believe in the power of blogging. It's a great big world & you are reaching so many people who you may help to know are not alone & receive the "cyber hugs" you need as well. I hope you do not stop sharing because of those few very sucky individuals...sounds like they need a lesson in compassion & respect!

Suz said...

Standd firm and know that you are OK. Ignore those who judge. God will judge them in the end. Do and say what you need to and it will bless someone. It is a difficult thing to talk about but it is necessary.

God bless you and your in the new year.

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