I figured it would be a good project – asking those closest to me how it was and is for them having a wife/mom/daughter/sister/friend with bipolar. What’s challenging? What’s strange? Anything interesting? Anything good? Or not really?
The project – a series of blog posts interviewing my family members – never went anywhere, and I abandoned it. I suppose it’s not an easy thing to tell someone you love what about them you don’t like, what irritates you, what makes you roll your eyes or grate your teeth. How they make you feel bad when they’re manic and their conversational filters are completely off and they say insensitive things. But you try to be understanding, and you’re glad it doesn’t happen very often. And you’re glad they’re aware of it and take their meds religiously. At least there’s that.
Supposedly we (bipolarians?) are a creative lot, but that may be the only across-the-board positive quality. I know I have other positive qualities, but just saying. We’re all different. Some bipolarians are downright assholes. And their family members might feel that way about them too.
It was unrealistic (and probably unfair) of me to think that people would feel comfortable talking about what my disorder means to them, how it affects or has affected their lives. These are their personal thoughts, memories, and feelings, and they have a right to them. They have a right to keep them private. But it makes me wonder – what would they not want to say? And would I want to hear it?
At least no one has to pull me aside to talk to me about my hygiene (yet, anyway). My 22-year-old son who has autism, bipolar, and epilepsy puts off taking showers as long as he possibly can. I went to have dinner with him as I do once a week and gently, diplomatically had to let him know that he didn’t smell good and needed to shower more frequently. A) He says no one else says he smells, so he must not. B) He says he has better things to do.
Don’t we all?