Bipolar-ness has consumed me…..

Posted: December 1, 2010 in Life In General
Tags: , ,

I don’t even really know what to say. I am so consumed by this illness and I don’t even have it! I am just spent today. Just really feeling defeated.

For those who don’t know already, my son and my ex-husband both suffer from bipolar disorder. Many of you do know this and some of you I have even met specifically because of it. Anyway…..

This morning, James completely freaked out on me. And I, in turn, ended up freaking out on him. I hate hate hate when that happens. I hate the feeling afterwards that I was somehow dragged into the depths of hell by someone I love. I hate knowing that I should have known better because I am the one without the disorder and the parent. I hate it.

So I am pretty much having my own little pity party right now. I just have no clue what to do or what direction to go. I am drained of any energy or enthusiasm for helping him anymore. That feels so bad. I feel like a horrible person.

He was in a bad mood from the start. I could hear him bitching at his non-girlfriend when he woke up at like 11am. Then, he decided to force me to join in. He started bitching about his job. He has worked for 7 days straight with no time off for 6 hours a night. He was frustrated because he is working with all women and they are driving him nuts. He was pissed because he has no car and has to pay $10 a day to get a ride to work. He then proceeded to say that his life was shit.

This is where he pulls me in. He starts telling me that I am never there for him. That I am so consumed by my new boyfriend that I never think about him anymore. That I haven’t asked him how his life is in the last 2 weeks. That I am never here. That I never cook for him. That the house is always too damn cold. That it’s my fault that I am stuck with this stupid house. (Yeah…. that was random…)

He’s like screaming at me. He wouldn’t let me talk and when I tried he said I never let him speak. Dear Lord. He was coming up to me like he was going to chest bump me. He got mad when I recoiled from him. He gets mad that I am scared of him and what he might do.

My son is 21 years old. He’s not a child anymore. Hell, he shouldn’t even still be here. He should be out on his own, working a full time job or in college full time, living and building his adult life…. Yes, I have a new boyfriend and I spend alot of time with him. He is the one completely pure and loving force in my life. He makes me happy. He likes to take care of me. No one else does that for me. No one. And I need that. I didn’t know how bad I needed that until he came along, but I need that. And he likes taking care of me. He is the one person in my life that doesn’t expect me to be the strong one all the damn time.

I have been spending my nights at Andy’s, even when he is working. I was doing that because the kids seem to have people coming in and out of the house at all hours of the night. It was easier to stay there and just come home in the morning.

The house? I can maintain my house as long as nothing changes. The thermostat I have is a programmable one and it was set 5 years ago. I have never changed the settings. So the coolness in my house has never changed. NOW he has a problem with it? I admit that it’s cold here. I can’t afford huge heating bills and I have an older home with no attic insulation. Hell, I have to sell on ebay every winter just to pay whatever heating bills I do have.

He tried to act like he was doing me a favor by staying here with me and having at least someone living in this house…. Um….. no…. you are costing me money and house repairs. I am doing YOU the favor. I do not and never have felt that my home is a burden. I like my home. I really only use 4 rooms in the house total though. It is a bit big for just me. But it is far from a burden to me. I can maintain it just fine if it’s just me. So I have no idea where that assumption came from…..

I have been cooking for the 3 grown ass boys living here and supplying them with groceries and toiletries. None of them help me with that. They are all 21 years old and fully capable of doing that for themselves but they expect me to do it and never thank me EVER. I did not cook the week of Thanksgiving because I needed the money to buy everything for Thanksgiving. Before that, I was cooking every week for them and prepackaging all their meals. There were plenty of leftovers from Thanksgiving and they ate them all in 3 days. I bought 10 pounds of hamburger, bread, and some steaks last week for them. They have been cooking it. They go through a 4 pack of toilet paper in 3 days…. and they only need toilet paper 50% of the times they use the damn bathroom!

But I’m a bad parent….. because I never ask James how his life is and I’m not sympathetic to his complaints. And I fully admit this. I am here at least 10 hours a day. I work here. My office is here. I am usually gone at night (as are they) and on the weekends. But I am here almost every day. And I talk to James every day. Now, granted, I don’t sit him down every day and say “tell me how your life is going, dear”. Does anyone do that? I assume that if something isn’t going well for him, he will tell me!

But here’s the thing….. I am not sympathetic to his issues. I know I’m not. And this is where it gets sketchy. He has bipolar disorder. His complaints about his life seem trivial to me. I know I should be more sympathetic, but I’m not. I find it extremely hard to be sympathetic about someone having to work 6 hours a day, not have any bills, and party every night. I have worked since I was 14 years old. I had my first apartment when I was 16 years old. I have worked full time since I was 16 years old AND I went to school and got pretty damn good grades. I have slept in cars in the middle of winter. I have worked shitty jobs to put food on my kids’ table. I have lived through some pretty depressing shit.

To me, and to most sane people, life is a series of ups and downs. You have to take the good with the bad. You have to be able to pull yourself up from the ashes of Hell to get to the good stuff. You don’t expect everyone to always take care of you. You don’t want anyone else to be miserable because of you. You don’t sit around forever complaining. If you don’t like your life, you fucking change it!

But, that’s not what James expects. He expects me to be here for him 24 hours a day, whether he is here or not. He expects, even as an adult, for me to cook and clean for him and be here to help solve all his issues. He expects me to be a sympathtic ear and say shit like “oh, I know you work sooooo hard. you shouldn’t have to work so hard, James. You should quit that job and find a new one where you only have to work 10 hours a week because this job is just too stressful for you.” That’s what he wants. It’s completely and totally not who I am and never has been who I am, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is what he wants and that he is happy. Fuck everyone else…..

And I understand that alot of it is the disorder talking. I understand that all the irrational thinking and insanely inappropriate reactions are the bipolar disorder. But now we are getting into that fine line in the sand that I had to cross with my ex-husband….. at what point do I have to say “sorry, but I need to maintain my sanity and I am sticking by my own belief system…. you know, the rational one….. You will NOT define my happiness for me and you will NOT steal it from me”?

When my ex and I were in marriage counseling, the counselor once told me that my ex really truly believed the outrageous lies he was telling me as well as everyone else on God’s green earth. My response was “that doesn’t make it okay!!!!” That’s how I feel now. And it makes me feel helpless. James doesn’t realize that everything he is saying is irrational. To him, all his demands (that I break up with my boyfriend and stay home everyday, that I cook and clean up after him, that I provide him with a comfortable home, that I ask him often how his emotional well being is and then sympathise with his “plight”) are all rational…. yes, even though he is an adult now. They are rational for a dependent child…… not so much for an adult child.

He is so self-absorbed and he really could care less if I am happy. Really. He just doesn’t give a shit what I need. All he cares about is what he needs. I know that has to be the disorder talking. I have a perfectly normal daughter who was raised the same way James was that is self-sufficient for the most part. The only issues she seems to have are geared towards love relationships and I atrtribute that to the fact that I set such a bad example for 20 years. But she doesn’t have the sense of entitlement that James does. And she was raised in the same household, with the same set of rules, with the same set of values. The bipolar is my only way to reason with myself why James is like this.

So what do I do? Do I sacrifice my own happiness to accomodate James? Do I break up with my boyfriend and stay home and be the awesome mother that James wishes me to be like he’s 12 years old still? Somehow, I think that even if I did that, he wouldn’t be happy with me. I feel like I can never be good enough for him. And, to be quite frank, it really pisses me off that he feels that I should sacrifice anything and everything that makes me happy so that he can feel good for a fleeting moment. Is that bad? It sure feels like it….

Maybe I am just a really bad parent. Maybe I am evil for wanting to have personal happiness in my life. I just feel dirty. I feel like a royal piece of shit tonight. I don’t know what to do….. I really just don’t know what to do…..

I’m beyond sad right now. 😦

  1. Brenda says:

    Oh my goodness, Renee. Don’t do anything rash. Call me immediately!

  2. anonymous says:

    I don’t know you but came across this as I was browsing wordpress tonight. I am bipolar mixed. I am 30 years old. I am male. I wanted to let you know somethings:

    You are not a bad parent. In fact, you sound like a very caring parent. I mean, you are actually considering breaking up with your boyfriend for your adult bipolar son? That’s very sacrificial! Please don’t do that.

    I was like your son up until I finally was medicated about 3 years ago. I put my poor single mother through living hell. I didn’t realize that at the time. I only realized it after I was fully medicated. Is your son on any medications? He needs adjustments made if he is.

    Once I was medicated, and the bipolar fog lifted, I began to realize the terrible injustices I put my mother through. I was such a bad son to her. I made her do such destructive things to her own personal life so that I could get my way. I am very ashamed of it now. I now try every day to make her life better since my own life is better. I feel like I owe her.

    Do not break up with your boyfriend. Do not do anything that will harm your personal self. It will do no good. You are right. It is the disorder talking in your son. Until his medications are right and his fog lifts, you may never be able to live up to his expectations of you. There is no reason to destroy your happiness. It still won’t make him happy.

    Do you have someone who can help you with this? Is your ex-husband medicated and able to take on some of the emotional load? My mother has always been a single parent and she wasn’t able to lean on anyone until she found a support group. Maybe you could do that if your local mental health clinic offers one.

    I have been where your son is at. It isn’t any fun at all. In hindsight, though, I feel so ashamed of all the heartache I put my own mother through and all the sacrifices she made for me because I demanded them. My best advice is to retain whatever you can that makes you happy and find a way to get your son medicated properly and in counseling.

    Peace and prayers.

    • Renee says:

      Thank you for the advice. It is sincerely appreciated.

      My son is currently unmedicated. It’s one of those things where he wants me to get that all set up for him because God forbid he should have to do anything for himself. The problem is that the mental health clinic here won’t let me do anything for him because he is an ADULT. He must be the one to make the calls and make the appointments and show up for the appointments…..

      I will take your advice to heart…. it is just really hard to take that stance when it’s your children, you know? I talk to people everyday about issues like this and I know what I tell them to do. Somehow, I can’t seem to take my own advice! But I will take yours…..

  3. Nate says:

    Girlie, don’t you DARE think about breaking up with that fine ass man Andy! Are you crazy? He is the best thing to happen to you in forever! And he loves you!

    I get why you would even consider it. I don’t agree with it, tho. This may be harsh to say, but you cannot save everyone. I realize that as a mother you feel you must at least save your children. My mom is very similar. She would do anything for me.The difference in that is that I am not mentally ill and I am rational and I would NEVER want my mom to sacrifice her happiness. His demand is irrational and if he was in a good mental state of mind, he would see that. All sons want their mothers to be happy. He just isn’t thinking straight.

    DO NOT DO THIS! This too shall pass. Let the kid blow off his anger and see where he lands. He is an adult after all. He just doesn’t want to be. I didn’t want to either. 😦

  4. Shane says:

    sounds to me like he feels he deserves all your time and attention. that was fine when he was 15. he is 21 now. time to let him go fend for himself if he doesn’t appreciate what you do give him. that’s the only way I learned to take care of myself.

    Shane, 29 yr old male bipolar II survivor

  5. Darlene says:

    I am one of the ones you met thru the online BP EP group. Not sure if you remember me or not —- I also have a son, bipolar mixed, age 26. I feel your pain, Renee. I know it is not easy and the guilt as a mother is overwhelming enough without our sons even taking advantage of that fact, and they do. I won’t claim to know the answer to this problem. I still have to work thru my feelings of guilt every day. It does get better but you do have to be strong enough to know when to say that you have had enough. As their mothers, we need to take care of ourselves first and foremost, because someday, we may be the only one these boys will have left in the world who truly loves them and I pray that we will not be so bitter, resentful, and jaded that we turn them away. I know your boy, like mine, is usually a great kid, but when an episode hits, they can be a nightmare. Hang in there! Come over to EP and unload the burden there. Keep writing in your blogs. Do whatever you need to do to relieve the stress. I know that you are not happy with the counseling community as a whole, but you should consider it. Taking this on all alone may be a suicide mission. I myself have found a wonderful support group offline thru my son’s psychiatrist. It’s like Al-anon but for people who have loved ones with a mental illness. God Bless You. Stay Strong!

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