I'm still new to the forum. Here's a little background info:
http://ehealthforum.com/health/bipolar-dia gnosis-years-ago-t153117.html

Just wondering if this (info below) is a typical way for family members to "help" or if this has happened to anyone else, and what they did about it.

Here's what just started happening:

Family Member A calls me in the morning, sounding overly chipper, and gives me two "projects" to take care of. The projects involve things that I've let slide due to being bipolar. Example: a specific house cleaning chore and a specific health chore (take a walk).

Family Member A calls later that day to ask if I've done the chores yet.

Nope.

Family Member A calls the next morning to ask if I've done the chores yet.

Nope.

Family Member A reports to Family Member B, who is upset that I'm not doing said projects.

Family Member B warns Family Member A about the chores and says to get me under control and get me working on making those changes "or else."

I've heard hints that the "or else" involves Family Member B being at the end of the rope with me and if I don't make changes, there's the possibility of a permanent rift.

Family Member B also warns Family Member A that apparently Family Member A's recent "intervention" with me must not be working (otherwise I'd be obeying their to-do list of projects) so Family Member B is nearly ready to pop over with another "intervention."

Meanwhile, I'm back to the point where it's difficult to even get out of bed. Yesterday I took my kid to school, came back home and slept until 1:30. Was tired, draggy and weepy all day.

Today I took kid to school and made myself stop at the grocery store to get a few things so I can actually cook dinner for us tonight, although there isn't a single clean dish, pot, pan, or utensil clean. Everything is piled in the sink and on the counters. I haven't done dishes for about a week.

I hate going to the store when I feel like this. I saw a former neighbor and avoided her. And I hate when people insist on talking to me when I feel like this, even if it's as simple as "Hello" or "Paper or plastic?"

Oops. Now I'm babbling again. Back to the topic...

Do family members REALLY think fixing me is as easy as giving me a to-do list every day and then trying to make me feel bad when I don't follow their instructions?

They're making me want stop answering their phone calls, but I know if I do that, they'll just come over here and it will be worse.
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replied September 4th, 2008
hello bitterxwife,
im sure that your family cares about you, thats why they are trying with these to do lists, almost same happened with me. but like my family they dont understand our illness, i tried to explain what is bipolar and they are more soft now about their expectations from me. from the other hand now, i do believe that you must not stop communicate with your family, its good for you to have some your own persons to push you to do things. i think that you need to talk as family and try to explain them your situation. many times we try to help someone who do we love, but is not so easy always to help, specially in mental problems.

ps: i have similar mood problems with you from time to time, do not want to talk with people, cannot get up from bed etc., but there is no other way but to push ourselfs to do things..

regards tiphat
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replied September 4th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Are you taking any sort of medication? You sound like you are depressed from what you've written. I am a strong advocate of getting the proper chemical balance back in the brain and then working on the behaviors associated with the disorder. Many of these behaviors disappear once medication is used to bring about stability. Is your family aware of how you are feeling? Have they tried to help you find the proper treatment with a psychiatrist? It sounds like your family is not aware of how depression and bipolar disorder effect someone. They need some information and need to be educated about these disorders. This will help them know how to help you.

www.nami.org is a good resource for information, treatment centers, support groups, and has a state by state listing of resources. Try this site and see if you can find a practitioner near you that will take fee on a sliding scale. This may prove to be useful to you.
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replied October 20th, 2008
Hi again!

It's been a while since I posted. I've been spending more time reading up on bipolar and reading through this (and a few other) forums and web sites.

Also, I finally received my records from the doctor that I quit seeing more than 10 years ago. I requested them so I could see what my options are at this point. (I don't have insurance.)

Thanks for the responses.

Antigone --

No, I'm not on meds right now or under the care of a psychiatrist. I used to be on lithium and prozac, but that's been more than 10 years ago.

Well, that's not 100% correct. I've been taking a very low dose of Zoloft for the last 2 years but it was prescribed by an MD that I saw for regular checkup. I went to this doctor to establish a relationship two years ago, when I got a job and insurance, after not seeing a dr at all for a little more than 10 years. I am no longer working, don't have that insurance any longer, but I've got another couple of months left for the RX.

But I never mentioned the previous bipolar diagnosis to this doctor. Just told her I was depressed lately and she gave me the RX for Zoloft.

Yes, I'm definitely depressed.

I've been seeing a chiropractor for the last 5 weeks or so. He does a lot of natural medicine. I've been getting weekly accupuncture, on a strict diet, drinking tons of water, and getting my body moving. Did a "cleanse" that lasted 30 days to clean my system out. This doctor says he's had good luck treating depression.

I'm feeling better in some ways, but not in others.

There are still days when I go back to bed and sleep until noon.

There's still the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness.

But I'm over the intense cravings for carbs, chocolate, junk.

I'm not overeating like I usually do.

But I haven't lost any weight. I've held steady. Dr says the weight will come off if I keep with it, but says the goal right now is to clean toxins out of my system.

I'm not sure how long to wait to see if these methods will work for my symptoms.

I keep dreading hitting another really low point.

No, my family hasn't helped me try to get treatment.

In fact, one family member ( a VERY controlling one) insists that I don't have bipolar, the previous doctors must've made a mistake, and told me not to mention the previous diagnosis to this doctor when I went back to him.

I didn't listen to that one. I went ahead and told the doctor about the previous diagnosis because it's the main reason I went.

Over the last few weeks, I've really tried to learn more about bipolar. I feel like I'm doing the right thing by learning more about it, so I can better deal with it.

Just when I think I'm getting a better understanding of BPD and of myself, the family members stick their noses into my business AGAIN.

I'm dealing with another bout of feeling worse right now because of this continuous sticking-their-noses-in-my-business. It's like Family Member B takes delight in tearing me down, kicking me, and then a few days later saying:

"Why are you down? I don't get it. Get back up. No one is keeping you down. You're only doing this to yourself. Just clean your house and you'll be fine."

OK, that's an exaggeration but it sure feels like it sometimes.

I can be feeling good about making progress in certain areas, then I'm torn down again.

I was feeling good because:

* I felt like I'd made a connection with people on this forum through their posts, feeling like I'm not the only one who feels this way

* Learning about other BPD's behavior and experiences through books and web sites and getting that "Aha!" moment where I say "Hey! That's exactly what I feel like"

* Made a few lists to start getting myself organized in various areas of my life -- work, home, spiritual

* Started acting on those lists by decluttering (I'm a second-generation hoarder, and I'm constantly criticized by the first-generation hoarder for hoarding)

* Actually took a shower more often last week, rather than only taking one every 4 to 7 days like I've been doing for a while

I thought these were good steps for me. I was feeling OK about it UNTIL Family Member B decided it was time to sit me down and give me yet another lecture (kind of like the one Family Member A gave me several weeks ago).

I'd say that I'm going to print the post with all of the things to say / not to say to a BPD person and share that, but Family Member B refuses to accept the diagnosis. So as far as Family Member B is concerned, I'm not BPD. I just need to cheer up.

I still haven't checked on the possibility of services in my area and I need to do that.

The more I read about BPD people, the better I feel in terms of "Hey, I'm not alone" or "Hey, I've been there."

I know I need to see what I might qualify for. I'm also wondering how long I should wait to see if the accupuncture, natural stuff, eating right, etc., will help.

From what I've learned about BPD, it's not just a matter of eating right -- although I keep hearing in the media that people are having luck with changing diets of kids with autism.

But will accupuncture, eating right, drinking a lot of water, etc., really make the neurons firing in my head start doing what they need to do?
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replied October 25th, 2008
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bitterxwife
i'm sure you've heard some of these on the list of things not to say... hopefully a few off of the list of things OK to say, too.

it's great that you are trying to get better. hang in there and we are here for you! hope this list helps... puzzld

LIST OF THINGS NOT TO SAY TO SOMEONE WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER:

"What's your problem?"
'Will you stop that constant whining?"
'What makes you think that anyone cares?"
"Have you gotten tired yet of all this me-me-me stuff?"
"You just need to give yourself a kick in the rear"
"But it's all in your mind"
"I thought you were stronger than that"
"No one ever said life was fair"
"Pull yourself up by your bootstraps"
"Why don't you just grow up?"
"Stop feeling sorry for yourself"
"There are a lot of people worse off than you"
"You have it so good - why aren't you happy?"
"What do you have to be depressed about?"
"You think you've got problems..."
"Well at least it's not that bad"
"Lighten up"
"You should get off all those pills"
"You are what you think"
"Cheer up"
"You're always feeling sorry for yourself"
"Why can't you just be normal?"
"You need to get out more"
"Get a grip"
"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be"
"Get a job"
"You don't 'look' depressed"
"You're just looking for attention"
"Everybody has a bad day now and then"
"Why don't you smile more?"
"A person your age should be having the time of their life"
"The only one you're hurting is yourself"
"You can do anything you want if you just set your mind to it"
"Depression is a symptom of your sin against God"
"You brought this on yourself"
"Get off your rear and do something"
"Snap out of it"
"You're always worried about your problems"
"Just don't think about it"
"Go out and have some fun"
"Just try a little harder"
"I know how you feel - I was depressed once for several days"
"You'd feel better if you went to church"
"Poop or get off the pot"
"What you need is some real tragedy in your life to give you perspective"
"This too shall pass"
"Go out and get some fresh air"
"We all have our cross to bear"
"You don't like feeling that way? So change it"
"You're a real downer to be around"
"You are embarrassing me"
"You'd feel better if you lost some weight"
"You're too hard on yourself. Quit being such a perfectionist"
"Don't take it out on everyone else around you"
"You are going to lose a lot of friends if you don't snap out of this"
"You're dragging me down with you"
"You're just being immature"
"You are your own worst enemy"
"That is life - get used to it"
"My life isn't fun either"
"You don't care about the rest of us - you're so self-absorbed"

LIST OF THINGS TO SAY TO SOMEONE WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER:

"I love you"
"I care"
"You're not alone in this"
"I'm not going to leave/abandon you"
"Do you want a hug?"
"You are important to me"
"If you need a friend..."
"It will pass, we can ride it out together"
"When all this is over, I'll still be here"
"You have so many extraordinary gifts - how can you expect to live an ordinary life?"
"I'm sorry you're in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself so you don't need to worry that your pain might hurt me"
"I listen to you talk about it, and I can't imagine what it's like for you. I just can't imagine how hard it must be"
"I can't really fully understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion"
"I'm sorry you're having to go through this. I care about you and care that you are hurting"
"I'll be your friend no matter what"
"I cannot understand the pain you're in, I cannot feel it. But hold onto my hand while you walk through this storm, and I'll do my very best to keep you from slipping away"
"I'm never going to say, 'I know how you feel' unless I truly do, but if I can do anything to help, I will"
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replied October 25th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Hi bitterxwife, it sounds like Family Member B needs a lesson in boundaries. And in BPD. If you are in the states, refer them to NAMI -Nat'l Alliance of Mental Illness. A great resource for families and people dx with Mental Illness. You said not feeling so alone was a great thing for you -there are support groups that could offer help this way, too.

www.nami.org
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replied October 25th, 2008
Thanks for the responses! I kept checking back to see if anyone had replied and was happy to see comments.

Things have been steadily worse this entire week.

I agree Family Member B needs a lesson in boundaries and in BPD. But this person refuses to acknowledge that I have BPD, even though I have a diagnosis.

Maybe paranoia is setting in, but I'm starting to feel like I can't trust Family Member B or Family Member A (who tries to run interference between me and Family Member B).

Anything I say or do, Family Member B reports back to Family Member A, complaining about whatever I said or did -- even if it has nothing to do with Family Member B.

You see, Family Member B has a way of making EVERYTHING have something to do with her. It's been that way my entire life.

Friends tell me just to ignore the negative undercurrent caused by Family Member B. My chiropractor tells me we're working on making ME feel better, and we're not concerned with Family Member A or B.

But it's just not that easy to put myself in my own little bubble and not think about what they say or do.

I get phone calls all day long, interrupting my work, with Family Member B telling me I need to do this or that, even if it doesn't have to be done right away. Many times it feels like she's trying to pick a fight.

On top of all of that, I'm constantly reminded of previous failures in my life, most of which I can trace directly to being BPD.

The things not to say (and things to say) to someone with BPD are fabulous.

I probably need to talk to a professional about all of this stuff, and I will as soon as I figure out what I'm going to do to see someone (no insurance).

I feel like I'll never be a grown-up, even though I am one.

The lists continue -- that is, my family members think that if they make me a "To Do" list and then nag me to follow it, that's "helping" and if I don't comply, I'll need another lecture (or, as one family member put it, another "come to Jesus meeting").

Meanwhile, all of this stress isn't helping my high blood pressure.

I try to surround myself with positive things during the day -- uplifting CDs to listen to, calm music, windchime, small waterfall, positive affirmations, gratitude journal.

But these family members can tear it all down in just a few minutes.

Well, that's enough whining out of me for now. Hopefully next time I post I'll be able to say that I've had a nice session to vent with a professional and feel like I'm on my way to feeling better.

Thanks again, everyone!
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