Tell my kids I have bipoloar disorder?
When I first learned about all of this, the last thing on my very active mind was what I would tell our 6- and 12-year-old. It’s not like I have cancer. They aren’t going to see mommy’s hair fall out. So why bring it up?
But the more I read, and the more I have grown to understand, the more I know that our kids not only should know, they need to know. My bipolar becoming the big family secret was not going to help anyone.
So after church one Sunday in September, I told them over grilled cheese sandwiches and cobbler that mommy’s brain was sick, that it works kinda funny. I told them that the funny brain stuff sometimes causes me to act differently than I should, or want to. I downed an entire, very large, blackberry cobbler as the words came out. I put it in very simple, non-scary terms. My daughter, the 6-year-old, broke down sobbing, snot and all, in the middle of the restaurant.
Yeah, I told ’em in an eating establishment. The time just felt right and being around strangers kept ME from having the in-public breakdown.
Our son just looked relieved, like certain things made sense, his gifted brain just clicking away. I whispered to him that we would talk more later, after he Googled “it.” And my husband, well I gave him a whole 1-minute bipolar warning in the parking lot that I’d probably tell the kids over lunch.
So the kids know I am taking meds and seeing doctors, and will have good days and bad days but that more good days is the plan. And that I love them more than anything. I didn’t say it aloud, because I don’t want to put this on them, but there were really, really bad days where their smiles were all that stood between rock bottom and a place much worse.